If you’re looking to land an interview with Google, you’re going to need to prepare yourself beforehand by doing some research into their interview process and the types of questions they ask potential employees. We have done the research and compiled the requisite information for you in this guide. This comprehensive list of the top 40+ Google interview questions has been updated and expanded with the most researched and ingenious answers. Also, make sure you brush up on your interview skills by practicing these sample questions before your big day!
Google Interview Process
- Recruiter Connect: The recruiter can contact the candidate based on his/her profiles on LinkedIn and other employment-oriented online service providers or if any of his/her friends/acquaintances have referred him/her to the company. However, it’s always best to message the recruiters via LinkedIn and apply for the roles on the Career page of Google. If the candidate is good in DS & Algo skills, it is highly recommended that he/she participate in Google Kickstart- a hiring contest conducted by Google six times a year. The recruiters will contact you if the results in those competitions are good enough.
- Interview Rounds: Google conducts a total of seven rounds of interviews. The first two are telephonic interviews where the interviewer mostly asks one medium or two easy Algo DS problems to the candidate, and the candidate has 45 minutes to solve the problems. However, if Kickstart's performance is a success, you move straight to the next round. Next, they have five onsite interviews, out of which four are Algo DS interviews, and one is a Googliness interview, which is mostly a behavioral interview.
After the interviews are over, the recruiter will contact you with feedback from the interviews. If the performance is good and the interviewers are satisfied, your profile goes to different teams in Google for a team matching round. In the team matching round, you understand the work style and interests of each other and learn about the requirements and expectations of the teams. If both sides are satisfied and comfortable with each other after finishing the discussions, an offer letter is prepared to offer you a job at Google.
- Telephone interviews (two rounds): These are two 45-minute telephonic calls during which the interviewer asks you to solve either a medium problem or two easy problems from a list of Algorithms and DS questions. It is expected that the candidate first explains the solution of the problem to the interviewer and then codes the problem on Google Docs in the given duration of time. (Suggestion: Practice writing the code on Google Docs if you have any interviews coming up, as it is a different experience compared to writing the code in any text editor).
- Algo DS Interviews (Three or Four Rounds): These are 45-minute interviews where the interviewer shares a Google Doc with the candidate and asks medium to hard problems about Algorithms and DS. It is expected that the candidate first explains the solution of the problem to the interviewer and then codes the problem on Google Docs within the given time frame.
- Googliness Interviews (One Round): This is an interview process started by Google in 2020. The goal is to check for cultural compatibility with the company as much as interviewing skills. It is primarily a behavioral interview to check the adaptability of a candidate to the diverse cultural environment of the company.
How to Answer Google Interview Questions
Are you sure you know enough about golf balls to make a speech about how many could fill up a school bus? Most likely not. Don't you think it's important to have first-hand knowledge about what you're speaking? Being put on the spot with a question like that would make anyone nervous.
One of the drawbacks of this hiring procedure is that such challenging questions can throw candidates off their game, and they may fail miserably; answering such questions can be exhausting. However, even though it might help fetch suitable candidates to a few hiring authorities; there is no evidence that these bizarre hypothetical interview questions actually identify capable applicants, which is why they are not in practice today.
Let’s look at the strategy you can follow to sail through the interview process.
Even if you're only going to be asked normal interview questions, you shouldn’t go in without a strategy, especially when your goal is to impress the interviewer.
- Start by looking at the job description to understand what the hiring manager will be looking for. This will ensure you give all the pertinent information in your interview.
- Then, review the company’s mission and values statements to learn more about the organization, including its priorities and perspective.
- Finally, look at Google’s profiles for company news about recent accomplishments, or do a quick news search for more details. If you can discuss new developments with the hiring manager during an interview, there’s a good chance the interviewer will be impressed.
Okay, now you've got some great material to work with!
Moving forward, how do you answer the simple, straightforward questions?
Straightforward questions can be answered with a simple ‘Yes’ or ‘No’. To demonstrate, for example, if the hiring manager wants to know if you have a skill, reply with yes or no, followed by telling them how you acquired or used that skill. If your answer is no or you know little of that skill, explain that you're making an effort to improve in that area.
Now, how to handle those tricky interview questions? The ones that don't have a "right" or a "wrong" answer. The key here is to adopt the right strategy. Follow the STAR method which is a structured manner of responding to behavioral-based interview questions by discussing a specific situation and providing information about the task, action, and outcome of the situation, but add in the Tailoring Method and then make your answers specific to the interview to maximize your chances of getting selected. The tailoring method is essentially a way to customize your job interview to align exclusively with the specific company and position you are seeking.
Top 4 Google Interview Questions
It's important to note that the Google interview questions you face will vary depending on the position one is being interviewed for. For instance, a software engineer will not be asked the same set of questions as an HR professional. However, certain common questions can apply to almost any subject or career.
The four Google interview questions you may be asked are-
1. What Google product do you use the most? How can you fix it?
This is a question to assess how much you know about Google's offerings. The answer you give doesn't matter, as long as you talk about the company with excitement and say how it's changed your life somehow.
I use YouTube to find new ideas, gain skills and explore new subjects, while others use it to promote their work. To provide more customization to the users, I would implement an option to say how the video recommendations are affected by each video. The overload problem may be solved depending on the feedback that the YouTube community wants.
2. Who are Google's top competitors? Does Google stand out from the rest?
With this question, the hiring manager can tell if you are familiar with the other companies who are vying for the same position as Google and give you a fair opportunity to mention your relevant strengths. This can be specifically helpful for more creative or experimental roles such as product managers, or software developer jobs, where demonstrating how you are more experienced or better is important.
Google's competitors vary, depending on the market. Google has the ability to seamlessly integrate its services into one user experience. In addition, Google offers a variety of services, making it versatile and easy to avoid leaving the website to accomplish a task.
3. How do you go about ensuring that your co-workers are doing what they need to do?
Accountability is an integral factor for employers; in the eyes of Google, you want to make sure that you take on your responsibilities and live up to the company's expectations. A hiring manager may favor candidates who can also help their co-workers stay accountable, especially if the company expects a lot of group projects.
For me, accountability is always a priority. One of the things I do to stay accountable is to track all of my deliverables and associated due dates. A list is how I stay organized, create notifications and block out time on my calendar as necessary, ensuring I can focus on the task and finish on time when projects are larger. I also employ the use of mini-milestones, which helps me explore the step-by-step process and plan more effectively.
Working with my co-workers, I find that keeping in touch is often helpful. This can be in the form of scheduling team meetings to discuss our progress or bouncing ideas back and forth. Additionally, I try to contact them periodically to check if they need anything or offer assistance if they appear to be falling behind.
4. Have you ever done something professionally, risked a lot, and failed? What was it? What made you take the risk, and what did you take away from it?
Google seems to love innovation, and with innovation comes risks. So, when Google finds a creative person, it is appreciative and respectful of the courage to do something no one else would. There should be something to help that next effort succeed in future endeavors.
More Google Interview Questions
5. What drew you to Google in the first place?
The presence of free food and the ability to bring your pet to the Googleplex isn't what you want to do here — although it is a very important factor to some. Instead, discuss how your skills mesh with what Google is looking for, what the company offers, and the specific job you're applying for. This is your chance to show that you are the right person for the job and understand the company.
Google always releases new devices and apps. Your skills as an app developer could be of assistance to this group. Tell them that you would like to get together with the team and discuss how you can be of help.
6. What is your knowledge of Google's history?
Headquartered in Mountain View, California, Google LLC, formerly Google Inc. (1998-2017), is an American company which develops, produces, and distributes software in diverse technological domains. With more than 70% of worldwide online search requests being handled by Google, it is essential to most internet users’ experience.
At first, Google just focused on its search function, but now it offers a multitude of products such as email, document-creation software, and more. However, 2012's acquisition of Motorola Mobility enabled it to sell its own hardware as well.
Google's wide range of products, size, and influence on the high-tech market makes it one of the four largest companies alongside Apple, IBM, and Microsoft. Yet, its search tool is its core product which drives its success.
Google earned all of its revenue in 2016 from advertisements based on people's search requests.
7. In your opinion, should people have to use their legal names when setting up a Gmail account?
Although it is required by Google, you don't need to use your real name (or the Google username of your choice) to complete this profile. You can put your nickname, make sure it sounds authentic like a first name, and you should be all set.
8. What changes do you think digital marketing will undergo in the next five years?
It is difficult to predict how digital marketing will change in the next five years, but it will most likely be more integrated into our daily lives. Digital marketing is already widespread in most countries, and it’s not going anywhere anytime soon. With the popularity of smartphones and other mobile devices, users are spending a large percentage of their time online and on mobile apps instead of watching TV or reading magazines like they used to. As such, advertisers are quickly adapting to the way people consume information on the go.
9. How would you explain this Google product to a young person? Say a four-year-old.
This is a complicated test which can seem impossible when you are not well prepared. Chances are the interviewer will ask you questions about Google products connected to the job you are applying for, so focus on those. Know how the product works, what it does, and whether you understand it well enough. If you understand it well enough, you should be able to rephrase it enough so a four-year-old can understand.
Well, do you know how we pay the cashier at the grocery store for our food? It's easier than ever to use my phone to pay the cashier with Google Pay. My bank account is directly connected to the purchase, so I don't have to worry about leaving my card behind.
10. What do you think of Google charging for their productivity apps? Do you agree or disagree?
I disagree with Google charging for their productivity apps. By charging for these apps, it will be difficult for them to get a large user base, as not everyone is willing to pay for software. Many users use these apps every day as part of their jobs and don’t want to pay money for them. By charging these fees, they may see a decrease in their users, or they may even lose potential customers due to high prices.
11. Share a detail about yourself that you haven't put on your resume.
Hiring managers often use interview questions like these to see how quickly you think on your feet and to get a sense of your personality. Be ready to describe something unique about yourself that isn’t listed on your resume or in any other documents you provided. Avoid getting flustered and struggling for words, but also be careful not to oversell yourself or give off a false impression. For example, if you say you can juggle flaming bowling pins while riding a unicycle, hiring managers might want to know why that skill is relevant to their business. (Hint: It probably isn’t.)
12. Can you give me an example of a time when you and your manager were at odds? How did you two finally come to an agreement?
I once disagreed with my boss about a decision that would have cost the company a lot of money. It was about how we were going to handle our Facebook advertising, and I suggested a solution that saved the company about a grand. I wrote up a document with my plan and emailed it to him, asking if we could discuss in person. He loved the idea, so we went with it, and it ended up working out wonderfully.
13. What does multithreaded programming mean?
A multithreaded program is an executable program with multiple execution threads, each running on its own processor. Sometimes there could be multiple threads running simultaneously on multiple processor cores.
14. Could you briefly explain AdWords to someone who's unfamiliar with the product and online advertising?
Google Ads is an online advertising platform used by companies to promote their products and services on Google Search, YouTube, and other sites. With Google Ads, companies can also specify what kind of traffic they want the ads to generate. With a Google Ads account, advertisers can customize their budgets and targeting and start or stop their ads at any time. This question tests whether you can articulate a complicated business issue and solve someone's problem. It’s not about how much you know but how well you can communicate it to someone else.
15. If you were told to create an initiative to increase Gmail's user base, what would you do?
If you were in charge of marketing Gmail, how would you go about getting more people to start using it? This type of question is designed to see if you can formulate a strategy on your feet. Show them that you can brainstorm and execute strategies. Give an example of a time when you increased your team’s sales numbers or user base by X% through a particular initiative. It could be a real situation or something hypothetical. Just make sure it’s relevant!
16. Describe a time when you faced a technical problem. How did you fix it?
Working in my current position, I often get to call customers on the phone and fill orders through the company's system. However, on one particular day, the system went down, and there were more than 100 callers waiting to place their orders. Initially, it was difficult, but then I realized that there were a number of things I could do to help with the problem. I contacted our customers and reassured them that we were doing everything in our power to assist them. I spoke to as many customers as I could so that they were on top of the priority list and their wait time would be shorter. I always stayed sincere and helpful and told them the truth - our system was down momentarily.
I have always enjoyed telling our customers the truth about their service when it hasn't been perfect, and I love taking the initiative to get to the bottom of messy situations when my managers have left me in charge. I am very eager to tell your customers about your wonderful product, should there be a time when your system is temporarily inaccessible.
17. Let me know three non-Google sites that you like to visit. What do you like about them?
Google has developed a reputation for asking brainteasers that don’t actually provide much insight into candidates. And no, your answers shouldn’t mention Turing machines or anything like that. Still, Google is interested in knowing how you think; remember to describe your reasons and back them up with examples from your experience and knowledge. Your answer might be straightforward. For instance, you can say you like CNN because you always know what’s going on in the world, and you love sites like Facebook because it lets you connect with friends. Whatever you choose, make sure to stick to it—Google will ask follow-up questions about why you said what you said.
18. How do cookies move along through the HTTP protocol?
A cookie is transmitted as part of an HTTP protocol via a header field. Cookie lifecycle: The first time a browser connects with a particular server, there are no cookies. The server creates a unique identifier, and returns a Set-Cookie: header in the response that contains the identifier.
19. What is the function of congestion control in TCP protocol?
To prevent congestion or mitigate congestion after it has occurred, the TCP protocol incorporates congestion control mechanisms. In contrast to the sliding window used in the flow control mechanism, TCP uses the congestion window maintained by the sender.
20. If an advertiser doesn’t see the benefit of Adwords due to poor conversions, how would you convince them to stay on board?
If conversion rates are low, I'd first try to work out why. Usually, the client's website is the problem in cases like this.
My approach to this is pretty straightforward: I can either sell them a new website or improve their existing one. On the other hand, I can make a landing page with a tool like Unbounce to see if we get any leads or make sales- it only really works for lead generation, not e-commerce.
You can test if your conversion tracking is actually working and make sure you're tracking every conversion you can, contact forms, sales, phone conversions, etc. Sometimes a client may not see any benefit, even though conversions are happening, as they are not being tracked. You need to show them how successful your Adwords campaigns are. In other words, Adwords is only an issue when it is related to converting views. Present them with numbers such as time on site, number of pages visited, and bounce rate. But do it with an idea of what the problem is and how to fix it. Let the client know that you spotted a potential problem and gave them a potential solution, even if it's just a test.
21. Pick an app on your phone’s home screen. What do you like about it? What do you dislike about it?
I would like to share my opinion on my app, iFitness, which has a home screen. I like that it is simple and easy to use while having multiple features. But there are many things I dislike about it, such as having to pay every month even if you do not use all of its features. The app is also very complex and takes up a lot of memory on my phone, making it longer for my phone to boot up.
22. What steps could YouTube take to improve its business model?
YouTube is currently a free platform for users and makes money primarily through advertisements. YouTube could possibly create paid accounts for users who wish to avoid ads. Another option would be to offer users pay-per-view videos and exclusive content only available with a subscription.
23. Describe a time when you were faced with adversity. How did you overcome it?
My former employer put me through an Excel training course that I flunked. It was too challenging. I soon realized I shouldn't have started with an advanced-level course. I brought up this issue with my boss, and we both came to the conclusion that I wasn't quite ready for advanced-level coursework. I am not a skilled user, but I have used computers a lot. To solve the problem, I studied online for a few weeks and then took up the course again when I was better prepared. This approach was much more successful as I not only managed to complete it, I secured 92%.
24. Could you explain why the Google homepage is mostly blank?
In the wake of annoying pop-ups and advertisements, the Google founders have made it simple for the users, which ultimately led to a better interface.
25. In layman's terms, how would you explain the balance sheet to someone who isn't familiar with accounting principles?
A balance sheet is a simple, one-page financial statement showing what you own and what you owe. They're simple to create and comprehend. On one side, it lists what your business owns, while the other side lists how much debt you owe as well as how much of the company you own. The info on a balance sheet will give you, your lenders, and your investors a brief overview of your company's current fiscal health. That is, when you need to take your company's temperature, a balance sheet is your thermometer.
26. How would you assure a hesitant client that making the move to a cloud solution is the right thing to do?
You’d want to understand what specifically about a cloud solution is causing them to be hesitant. You’d also want to gain an understanding of how it would impact their operations, as well as any potential security or compliance concerns. Most importantly, you’d want to establish a clear course of action that will help your client make peace with moving forward with a cloud solution and ensure that they fully understand how and why such a move will benefit them in the long term.
27. What is Google's largest concern right now?
For a while now, Microsoft has been Google's biggest threat. It has had a tough time making gains in the PC market but is still firmly entrenched in the office space. Industries that Google is aggressively trying to compete in include technology, business, gaming, and the cloud. If Microsoft's phones can be significantly upgraded, they may have the ability to outperform Google in various areas. To note, Google's greatest competitor in advertising at this point is Facebook, while Microsoft is their main competitor in search with a spot at #2 position with significant gains. As is the case with many Android-based phones, Android companies have moved away from using Android due to their disdain for the way that Google dictates their product, choosing to launch their own alternative software.
28. Given an autosuggest issue in a developing country, what steps would you take to correct it?
A few steps to resolving an autosuggest issue for searches in a developing country would include: 1. Identify keywords that are being searched frequently in your country, and then test those out for feasibility as suggested search terms by watching live autosuggest results, testing out potential abbreviations, etc. 2. Try to find similar countries or regions where you can test it first before launching it on a larger scale.
29. Tell me about an area where you believe Google is underinvested.
If you work for Google, it’s a pretty safe bet that they are already investing heavily in social media. But even if you don’t, your job is to be able to pinpoint areas where Google is underinvested and potentially could use some extra help. For example, if you believe Facebook has been expanding into YouTube territory by producing engaging videos and therefore has a potentially lucrative revenue stream at its fingertips, then explain why.
30. Tell me about an area where you think Google is overinvested.
Just as above, your answer should follow the same formula—replace underinvested with overinvested.
31. Share a time when a project had expanded beyond what was originally anticipated.
This is an open-ended question that you should handle carefully. While it is good to be honest, you don’t want to come across as arrogant by saying something like your project was so important that they couldn’t ignore it. Instead, you should simply say something like it was clear early on that we had far more work than we had initially anticipated. The key thing to remember is that there are always unexpected issues in any given project. When faced with a situation where there is more work than anticipated, your response will help determine whether or not you are viewed as someone who can take charge of a situation and ensure things get done or if you’re someone who cannot effectively manage time and resources. A good answer would acknowledge their concern while also reassuring them that even though there were challenges, everything worked out in the end.
32. What can I discover about your personality by checking your browser history?
Some of these questions may seem odd or irrelevant but remember that interviewers are trying to get a sense of your personality. Many candidates have failed not because they couldn’t answer questions about technology and data structures but because they lacked social skills (that is, being a team player). While there isn’t really any right answer for these questions, it helps to be personable and show your human side through examples that you come up with off-the-cuff. For example, if asked if you open your browser history, what will they learn about your personality? One answer could be that you spend a lot of time on Facebook—you like connecting with friends and family! But if they look at your LinkedIn profile instead, they might see that your interests revolve around artificial intelligence. When you were younger, you wanted to work at IBM Research.
33. Share a story with me about when you had to handle confusing circumstances.
All of us have to handle confusing circumstances at work. It’s important to remember that you don’t have to come up with a solution on your own in such situations; instead, you can seek help from colleagues and mentors. If you have an opportunity to work at Google or other huge technology companies, then it’s very important to prepare such questions beforehand.
34. Let me ask you something: what do you enjoy doing outside of work?
The idea behind this type of interview is to have a more conversational style. One-way interviewers can get a sense of who you are and what matters most to you is by asking you about something in your life that isn't related to work. You may discuss what matters to you the most in life. You may speak about your family, non-profit, or your favorite sports team. Share with others not just what you like but also why it matters to you.
Why does it matter to you? Do you mind if I ask why you care so much? I'm curious how it has influenced your career. If you had no fear of failure, what would be your dream job? - Some companies interview potential candidates by asking them what they would do if they weren't afraid of taking risks and didn't fear trying new things because they want people who are cautious risk-takers and can take up challenging assignments.
35. Tell me a time when you had to "sell" or propose a solution to an Engineering or Stakeholder Team.
I had a codebase that I inherited from another developer. It was unmaintainable because it was a confusing mess of spaghetti code; many developers were afraid to change it. I put together a presentation and shared my plan for refactoring it with my team, then made changes using pair programming so we could all learn something new together. Afterward, we worked through bugs collectively, passing fixes back and forth until our process became smoother and more efficient.
36. What's the maximum number of golf balls that can fit in a school bus?
School buses are enormous vehicles, often reaching lengths of about 40 feet. The average school bus can hold about 56 students, but how many golf balls could fit in a school bus? In 1994, one person calculated that approximately 34 million golf balls could fit into a single school bus. And that’s not just a guess—he had actually measured it! At least two were inside each seat, and another 16 were scattered in every square foot of the floor space as well.
37. Between learning and earning, which one do you enjoy more?
I enjoy learning, and I’d rather focus on being more career-oriented than money-minded, as I feel that's how you become more qualified at what you do. Knowledge will lead to wisdom and a deeper understanding of what you are doing.
Five Great Questions to Ask at the End of a Google Interview
38. When I first started working for Google, what surprised me was...
…the diversity of its workforce. It's important to be aware that most people there are talented in their own way. When I first joined, I imagined everyone who worked there to be like a typical computer geek. Every one of my co-workers comes from a different background, and I have learned something new from each of them. This welcoming of new ideas is another of your company's core values, which inspires me to constantly challenge myself, improving my skills at work and elsewhere.
39. What challenge is Google facing today? What does this role hope to do to fix this challenge?
Google faces several a multitude of challenges every single day. The company has to ensure that its products and services stay on top of customer trends and ahead of competitors’ offerings, or else it risks being irrelevant in today’s fast-moving business landscape. Google is always innovating new products and updating old ones to make them more user-friendly, so you should mention one challenge Google faces in this area and how you hope to help fix it if hired.
40. What does an average day look like for this role?
This question is all about making sure you know what you’re getting yourself into, so be honest with your interviewer. If a typical day involves any of these things—like working on Saturdays or traveling several times a month—say so. That way, you won't have any later unforeseen surprises.
41. What does success mean to you in relation to this job?
By asking this question, they want to see if your definition of success matches that of the potential employer. Don't try to hide your answer and expect them to give you a different one. There are many different ideas of what success means, so the important thing is that you're honest with yourself about what makes you successful and write that down.
42. On average, what do the most successful people in this position share in common?
Most successful people in this position share not only a willingness to learn and put in the effort but they also have a great enthusiasm for their position and their area of expertise.
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