One of the most coveted dream jobs is working at Google. Unfortunately, landing a job at a multinational tech company like this is challenging, which is reflected in the elaborate Google interview questions and intensive interview process.
Even a quick glance at the set of questions typically asked by Google’s hiring and recruitment specialists is enough to intimidate you—well, that is, if you come unprepared.
If you aspire to work at Google and are seeking some guidance and tips on how to ace the tech giant’s challenging interview process, you’ve stumbled upon the right article! We’ll let you in on all the steps of Google’s interview process, and we’ll give you several sample questions for you to practice.
- Google’s interview process includes resume screening, recruiter calls, phone screening, on-site interviews, team matching, hiring committee review, and salary negotiation.
- Depending on the position, Google interview questions can entail both behavioral, coding, and technical questions that gauge a candidate’s fitness for the job.
- The secret to acing Google’s arduous job application process is to be prepared, genuinely interested in the company, exhibit creativity and leadership potential, and be tech-savvy.
- The STAR method is a practical approach that you can use to answer Google’s most challenging interview questions perfectly.
Interview Process at Google
The first step in your Google interview preparation is to submit your resume through Google’s job board. While waiting for a call from the recruiter, familiarize yourself with the interview process and the Google interview questions commonly asked by the hiring specialists.
At Google, screening and interviewing applicants includes seven steps: resume screening, recruiter call, phone screening, on-site interviews, team matching, hiring committee review, and salary negotiation.
The entire interview typically takes around one to two months to complete.
Let’s discuss the steps one by one:
#1. Resume Screening
In this step, the recruiters will review your qualifications and check whether they meet Google’s educational and technical criteria. Make sure your resume stands out by adding specific and measurable results to your professional experience.
#2. Recruiter Call
Once your resume passes the screening, the recruiter will call you and ask you general questions about your work experience, credentials, and skills. All the Google interview questions will be based on the information you provide in your resume.
The recruiter will also explain the rest of the interview process and arrange a phone screening interview with you if they find that your answers are satisfactory and meet their standards.
#3. Phone Screening
The phone screening typically lasts 45 minutes, and the number of phone screenings per applicant depends on the job position. An assigned manager or team leader will interview you, and you will also be asked to complete a series of tests depending on the position you are applying for.
You will be endorsed for an on-site interview if you do well in the phone screening and pass. The interview will be held either at one of Google’s physical offices or via video call. It comprises six continuous interviews lasting a maximum of 45 minutes.
Remember that at every interview stage, each recruiter you meet will grade your answers to all the Google interview questions using a standard form.
#4. Team Matching
At this stage of the interview, you will be introduced to your potential managers and team leaders, who will then evaluate your fitness for a specific team and your capability to fulfill the expected work.
You need to leave a lasting impression, as impressing one or more prospective managers can earn you a recommendation from them to the hiring committee. Sometimes, applicants are not required to undergo team matching and are asked to move on to the next interview step.
#5. Hiring Committee Review
Google’s Hiring Committee will evaluate your performance based on your existing knowledge and expertise related to the role, adaptability to new systems, cognitive abilities, problem-solving skills, leadership qualities, and ability to adapt to the company’s culture.
Each interviewer’s rating can be one of these four options:
- Strong For Hire
- Strong No Hire
- Leaning Hire
- Leaning No Hire
Consequently, you will receive any of the four possible responses:
- You’re hired.
- You’re hired, but we are still trying to find a team for you to join.
- We require additional information.
- You’re unfortunately not the right fit.
#6. Salary negotiation
The compensation committee creates an offer list that contains your proposed compensation. They will then send the draft to the executive committee to review and approve the proposed salary.
Once your salary is given the go-signal, the recruiter will contact you and provide the final offer details. It is up to you to either negotiate the salary offer, accept it, or decline it.
8 Common Google Interview Questions
Now that you have a clear idea of how Google screens job applicants, it’s time to study some of the most common Google interview questions and answers:
#1. What is your favorite Google product, and why?
Google is interested in your familiarity with their products, so expect this straightforward question to be a conversation starter during your interview. But beyond determining how much you know about their products, Google also wants you to commit time and energy to innovate if you become a part of their team.
I am very conscious of staying healthy and fit, and I hit the gym regularly and jog every morning and afternoon. As such, I’m impressed by the features offered by the Fitbit Versa 4.
For me, Fitbit’s tips on how to balance my exercise with the proper amount of rest are proof that Google has always exhibited keen attention to user preferences. The Daily Readiness Score feature has made it easier for me to monitor my daily fitness stats and give my body enough time to recover after working out.
#2. Why do you want to join Google?
The best way to answer the question, ”Why do you want to work in the company?” is to talk about your passion for the company, its impact, the culture, and why your skills and previous work experiences make you an excellent addition to the team.
Google has always been dedicated to innovation and testing new possibilities to see whether these could turn into useful everyday devices for people across the globe. The continuous commitment to constant improvements inspires me to never stop learning, to venture out of my comfort zone, and to aim for exponential progress.
In other words, I am adaptable and open to taking on new challenges, as well as willing to help your team achieve groundbreaking results.
#3. What do you know about Google’s history?
The question seeks to measure your familiarity with Google’s history. The lack of basic knowledge about the company you are applying for greatly diminishes your chances of getting hired.
Google was first created as a research project by its founders, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, in 1996. Fun fact: Google was initially named ‘Backrub’ because its primary function was to scrutinize the backlinks on the web. In 1998, Andy Bechtolsheim, the co-founder of Sun, and David Cheriton were the first investors in Google. They each invested a check worth $100,000, thereby generating a total of $200,000 worth of funds that prompted Google’s founders to establish a more well-defined structure for their company.
The name ‘Google’ was derived from the mathematical term ‘Googol.’
From humble beginnings offering a simple search function, Google continued to expand and develop and soon became an integral part of every internet user’s online search journey.
Aside from being the most significant search engine, Google also produces a broad selection of high-tech gadgets and innovative products, alongside fellow tech mammoths such as Microsoft, Apple, and IBM.
#4. Who do you think are Google’s biggest competitors? How would you gauge Google’s standing compared to these competitors?
This Google interview question is often reserved for applicants vying for a software developer or product manager job. Aside from understanding your brand’s product inside and out, it is just as important to know about the products your direct competitors offer.
The recruiter wants to gauge your capacity to think outside the box and possibly broaden the possibilities for developing and enhancing Google’s existing product lineup.
While Microsoft, Facebook, and Yahoo are some of Google’s biggest competitors, none can beat Google’s convenient and cohesive cross-platform user experience. Not only does Google offer a broad range of products, but it also enables integration for all of its services.
#5. If there is any feature you could add to Gmail, what would it be?
At first glance, this question might seem like what a recruiter would ask to gauge your familiarity with Google’s services. However, this also tests your ability to innovate and experiment with existing concepts and structures as well as create something new.
I suggest adding a feature that prompts users to check their unread emails and clean up old messages in their inboxes every 15 to 30 days. I noticed that most of my colleagues have thousands of unread emails, and I strongly believe that decluttering one’s work email is a big step towards improving productivity and focus.
The prompt will only be applicable if a user has over 50 or 100 unread messages in their inbox, and it can work simultaneously with Gmail’s priority types and color-coded tags to help users reorganize the clutter in their inboxes and archived messages effectively.
It is a simple solution, but it is helpful, especially for people who handle multiple emails daily.
#6. Should Google charge for its productivity apps (Google Sheets, Google Docs, Google Slides)? Why or why not?
From a business perspective, adding a price point to some of Google’s apps is a not-so-distant possibility, depending on the changes in industry and market demands. To ace Google interview questions as challenging as this, you will need to be equipped with critical thinking.
In addition to focusing on the benefits for the company, you also need to keep the users in mind, as this will also show how you consider user experience and convenience when making decisions about the company’s product development.
I firmly believe that charging for Google’s productivity apps will only lead to losing a massive chunk of its existing user base. Google has helped countless businesses, employees, and even students with its accessible online tools for productivity.
If users have to pay for such a convenient lineup of online apps, that will likely lead to a significant decrease in user satisfaction and customer acquisition.
#7. How would you explain how this Google product works to a four-year-old?
This is one of the trickiest and most entertaining Google interview questions because it pushes you to tap into your creative juices and envision yourself as a product manager in charge of Google’s products.
Do you know how, when you are lost in a new place, you ask people for directions to get to a specific area? Well, that’s what Google Maps does for you. It’s a map you have on your phone, so you don’t lose it, and you can ask it for directions, just like you would ask a person.
Let’s say you’re craving some ice cream and want to find the nearest shop that sells the tastiest ice cream in town. You can use Google Maps to quickly find an ice cream shop so you can enjoy your favorite flavor without getting lost in the city or the neighborhood.
#8. How do you ensure accountability is practiced in the team?
Google interview questions are not just about assessing your knowledge about the company and its products. The questions are also designed to determine your work ethic and core values. An impressive portfolio will only get you so far if you lack the key traits that make you an invaluable part of any company or team.
To answer this question with flying colors, cite a concrete example from your work experience where accountability was central.
In the company where I used to work, we failed to close a huge client. According to the client, the new account manager he spoke with needed to understand the services he was pitching to him more deeply. My job as the head of the sales department was to guide and onboard the new account manager with our processes and product database.
I was so preoccupied with handling our existing client accounts that I did not prioritize guiding our new teammate and exploring the knowledge base in detail with him. Instead of blaming our new account manager, I made it clear that it was not his fault and apologized for not giving him the guidance and assistance he needed.
Based on my experience, I can say that accountability starts with acknowledging one’s mistakes and limitations. By accepting our shortcomings and faults, we become more aware of how our actions and decisions affect the people around us.
7 Coding and Technical Google Interview Questions
Google specializes in tech; hence, expect a series of highly technical Google interview questions about programming and coding.
#1. Could manholes be any other shape than round?
Don’t be taken aback by this question. It is meant to gauge your ability as a designer to be original and inventive in addressing problems and generating solutions.
Manholes are best formed in a round shape because it underscores practicality in design and promotes a higher level of safety for both workers and civilians. A square-shaped manhole with a square-shaped cover increases the chances of the cover falling into the hole when tipped diagonally. Triangular manholes are more difficult to dig, while oblong holes take up more space than necessary on public highways and roads.
A round-shaped manhole takes into account the earth’s compression as well as the ease of digging a hole and manufacturing a cover in that shape. Furthermore, circular covers are easier to transfer and significantly more ‘fall-proof’ than any other shape.
#2. What is multithreaded programming?
This is among the most straightforward and technical Google interview questions that experienced programmers should know.
Multithreading refers to the capacity of an operating system or a program to handle multiple user requests without having several copies of the same program functioning on the computer. Microprocessors power it.
An example of multithreading would be playing a video and downloading it at the same time. Although related, these are two different functions that require a separate thread.
#3. What is the function of congestion control in TCP protocol?
Google is the most popular search engine, with millions of users across the globe. The sheer number of users browsing the internet leaves network systems congested and online traffic overloaded.
The question is testing how familiar you are with some of the most common challenges Google faces in ensuring the user experience is not compromised.
Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) utilizes a combination of receiver window size, Additive Increase/Multiplicative Decrease (AIMD) scheme, and Congestion Window (CWND) to prevent congestion and traffic overload.
TCP is also instrumental in maintaining the efficient use of bandwidth to prevent exceeding the bottleneck link’s designated bandwidth.
#4. How is a NoSQL database different from SQL databases?
This Google interview question is all about software development, and it is typically brought up when interviewing applicants for a data engineer, data analyst, or data scientist role.
NoSQL databases are horizontally scalable and enable data storage using any required structure. Since the data is not saved or stored directly in the SQL query and users are not required to define the schema, NoSQL systems make data accessible as documents or columns.
Contrastingly, SQL, or relational databases, follow a specific schema when storing data. SQL databases can be expressed as tables or rows and are vertically scalable.
#5. How do you explain Google Ads to someone unfamiliar with the product or online advertising?
Google Ads is an online advertising system. It benefits big and small businesses by serving as a digital counterpart to old-fashioned advertising such as leaflets, flyers, and billboards.
Despite the increasing integration of technology and the internet in everyday life, not all business owners and entrepreneurs know how Google Ads works or what it is all about. The question then tests how you would pitch and convince a prospective client to try the benefits of Google’s advertising program.
Google Ads is the modern counterpart of the traditional flyers, billboards, and print brochures we used to market our services and products. There is nothing wrong if you want to stick with print-based marketing materials.
Well, that is, if you don’t mind executing advertising strategies that reach a limited audience and hardly generate useful insights on customer preferences and market trends. Conversely, the advantage of using Google Ads is that it increases the probability of reaching your target customers.
The digital ads you create with Google Ads are not hit-or-miss because you can incorporate keywords related to your services and products. This means your promotional content is more focused on the appropriate demographic, and your ads get engagement from users who have genuine interest in what your business has to offer.
#6. How do cookies move through the HTTP protocol?
Unfortunately, Google will not be asking you about the baked treat during your interview. Instead, the cookie in this question pertains to the digital, inedible cookies you encounter when browsing the internet.
This is a fundamental question that you should be able to answer quickly as an IT expert.
Cookies, in web-speak, are small bodies of text that visited websites send to your browser. These texts contain information on your browsing activity on the site’s pages, and cookies enhance the browsing experience across frequently visited websites.
Header fields are used to transmit or move cookies using the HTTP protocol. When a user visits a website for the first time, the server generates a distinct attribute or qualifier and returns a Set-Cookie: header in an HTTP response. The process results in storing and resending the cookie if the user revisits the website and makes requests to the server.
#7. What is the difference between coding and programming?
Google expects its employees to have certain flexibility and take on different roles when needed. One of the many ways they can assess your adaptability in group settings is if you can distinguish how your roles and responsibilities differ from those of your coworkers.
Coding is a component of programming that focuses on writing codes in machine language, and it entails having an essential background in programming. Coding utilizes the process of trial-and-error, simple tools, and syntax.
The most common coding uses include web development, database administration, and mobile development.
Programming deals with the process of instructing a computer or system to perform specific tasks to solve a problem. It involves writing code for a specific command and then converting each line of code into computer lingo. In turn, the computer reads and analyzes the code before executing the tasks it is set to fulfill.
Examples of programming or programming languages are procedural programming languages (C and C++, Pascal, Java), logic programming languages (Abys, Datalog, Prolog), and scripting languages (PHP, Ruby, Node.js, Python).
How to Prepare For an Interview at Google
Indeed, the tech giant’s screening process is so intense that there are hardly any Google interview questions for freshers. However, that does not mean that lacking professional experience automatically disqualifies you from applying or acing your interview.
The following are practical tips you can incorporate to help answer all Google interview questions confidently and correctly:
#1. Research Google Extensively
Google may be popular and recognized globally, but how well do you really know the company? What kind of team culture does Google have? What are some of the biggest challenges that Google has faced, and how did the company overcome them?
Refrain from relying on surface-level knowledge only; you need to provide insightful responses. Recruiters are impressed by applicants who exhibit in-depth knowledge about the company and express a genuine interest in learning more.
It is the kind of attitude that says a candidate has the desire to become a valuable part of the team.
#2. Use STAR Method for Behavioral Questions
The STAR method is a valuable technique that will help you answer the Google interview questions successfully, particularly those concentrating on behavioral queries.
Keep in mind the definition of the STAR method if you want to utilize this tested and proven technique:
- Situation: Describe the case or the problem.
- Task: Specify the role you had to portray in that specific situation.
- Action: Enumerate the steps you took to address the problem or deal with the situation efficiently.
- Result: Discuss all outcomes of your actions and include quantifiable results if possible.
#3. Be Engaging
Being memorable is a secret weapon that helps you stand out from your fellow candidates. Regardless of whether you are asked to answer the most accessible or challenging Google interview questions, make it a point to answer animatedly and exude a pleasing personality.
People are instantly drawn to individuals who can express themselves well. Think of the interview process as a type of interaction akin to courtship. You want to capture the attention of the recruiters and keep them curious enough to want to know more about you.
Doing so increases the possibility that the interviewer will remember you and mentally note your performance during the interview.
#4. Emphasize Your Leadership Skills and Experiences
Google seeks candidates who can take on the role of leader at the drop of a hat. This is not an exaggeration, considering how the company is expected to adapt seamlessly to any big or small changes that could shift the company’s structure.
In other words, all the staff are leaders in their own right, and it is just a matter of time before each team member can showcase their ability to take control.
Let’s say you are matched with the team responsible for developing Google’s new lineup of products. Due to unforeseen circumstances, your manager has been asked to transfer groups, and you are expected to assume the vacated role of team leader.
Having skills and experience in leadership is a plus because you have a good grasp of the responsibilities and expectations, coupled with the ability to supervise a group or project.
#5. Think Outside of the Box
Go beyond the conventional way of analyzing and answering questions. If you haven’t noticed yet, creativity is a must-have trait in Google’s company culture.
The capability to think outside the box demonstrates how you can generate a fresh perspective when addressing issues and resolving conflicts in the workplace. Not to mention, Google caters to many customers and end-users, which means that expectations of excellent service are at an all-time high.
You need to demonstrate that you can adhere to these demands and maintain the quality of Google’s services by knowing how to keep up with technological changes and market trends.
#6. Be Tech-Savvy
Unfortunately, a career at Google might not be a good fit for you if you don’t have any particular interest in anything tech-related.
How will you comprehend the professional lingo programmers and developers use? How can you translate the technical aspects of Google’s products and features in a manner that ordinary individuals with little technical knowledge can understand?25 More Google Interview Questions
Below are additional Google interview questions that you will probably encounter at any stage of Google’s recruitment process:
- If I check your browser history, what type of information does it reveal about your personality?
- What do you enjoy doing outside of work?
- Which one do you find more enjoyable: Earning or learning?
- What initiative would you create to boost Gmail’s user base?
- Share something about yourself that you did not include in your resume.
- Choose an app on your home screen. Tell us what you like and dislike about the app.
- What is the most valuable feedback you’ve ever received?
- Tell me about when you set a goal at work but failed to make it happen.
- Tell me about a time you set a challenging goal for yourself career-wise and achieved it.
- What was the biggest adversity you had to overcome in your last job? How did you overcome it?
- How do you ensure clean code and thorough documentation?
- Do you think Google’s user privacy protection practices are enough/satisfactory? Why or why not?
- What is the biggest threat that Google is facing today?
- Why is Google’s search page primarily blank?
- What do you think is the best way to handle extremist videos making their way to YouTube?
- How do you envision digital marketing in the next five years?
- Aside from Google, what other websites do you visit frequently? What do you like and dislike about them?
- How would you enhance YouTube’s business model?
- How many golf balls can you fit into a school bus?
- Tell me about a time you achieved a goal.
- What is the most valuable feedback you’ve ever received in your career?
- What is the most valuable feedback you have ever given to someone?
- Design a chatbot.
- Design a platform similar to Instagram.
- For a given Singly Linked List “K,” write a code to select a particular “random” node from the list.
5 Questions to Ask at the End of the Interview at Google
It is always good practice to return the favor and raise your questions about the company at the end of the interview. It shows curiosity about the factors that distinguish a company from its competitors.
Here are five questions to ask once you reach the end of your Google interview:
- What is your definition of success in this role? This question highlights the challenges and expectations associated with the job position. Ask this question if you want to create the impression that you are prepared to take on new and demanding obligations.
- What do you love most about working at Google? It gives you a preview of what being a part of the Google team is like. Each recruiter will have a different answer to this question, and the variety of their responses will help you envision whether you can thrive in the company.
- How will this role contribute to addressing Google’s most significant challenges? Aside from demonstrating your desire to dig deeper into the scope of the role you are vying for, you also want to learn about the position’s impact on the company.
- What was the most surprising thing you discovered when you started working at Google? This question aims to identify a distinct factor in the company regarding workplace culture and policies. Who knows? Google may have company policies that oppose your values or beliefs, and it is best to discover these differences in perspectives early on.
- What does an average day look like for this position? Alternatively, you can also ask the recruiter to describe a typical day at the company. This more straightforward question requires information about the day-to-day working scenario at Googleplex.
One of the secrets behind Google’s consistently high-quality service and unfazed versatility for different industries and customer expectations is its work structure.
Google emphasizes cross-functionality across all of its teams, which means that every team member is expected to have what it takes to step up and take the lead whenever the situation calls for it.
As such, Google interview questions and screening procedures require job applicants to maximize their experiences, skills, and knowledge to the best of their abilities. Only the toughest, the most creative, and the ones prepared to lead will make it to the end of the interview process and have the highest chances of getting hired.
Before you send your application or attend your first Google interview, take a deep breath, browse through this article, and take down notes. That way, you are fully equipped to convince Google that you possess the traits and attitude they seek in an efficient and dependable employee.