Software Engineer III @Google
Ace your Google technical and coding interviews with this in-depth guide. Get expert tips on the interview process and preparation strategies from a Googler.
When it comes to Google interviews, you can’t help but feel the weight of the challenge that lies ahead.
Anticipation mixed with nerves can leave you on edge.
A few years back, I was there standing on the edge of this thrilling opportunity that I got and was sure to not miss it.
This Google technical interview preparation guide was born out of the challenges that I have faced. ✔️
In this article, I’ll give you the essential insights you need to pass a Google technical interview.
So, let’s cut to the chase and navigate how to conquer google coding interviews.
Is Google technical interview hard?
I get this question a lot and it would be a lie to say no. But at the same time, a yes is not a definitive answer.
You see, although the interview process is very rigorous, getting into Google depends on your preparation.
Google interviews test candidates' technical skills, problem-solving abilities, and fit with the company.
Now, Google conducts both virtual and on-site interviews.
It depends on the circumstances and the specific stage of the interview process.
While the exact process can vary, here is a general overview of what you can expect:
If your application meets the initial criteria, you may be contacted by a recruiter for a brief phone screen.
This conversation focuses on your background, experience, and interest in the role.
Express your passion for technology and showcase your qualifications during this stage.
After passing the initial screening, you will proceed to technical interviews.
These interviews may be conducted over the phone or through video conferencing tools.
You can expect some theoretical questions over the phone.
After that, you will have multiple rounds.
This includes coding interviews, system design interviews, a behavioural round, or a combination thereof typically ranging from two to five interviews.
These interviews assess your coding abilities, problem-solving skills, and algorithmic knowledge.
You may be asked to solve coding problems on a whiteboard, online coding platform, or through shared code editors.
For entry-level positions such as L3, you’ll only face DSA rounds.
But for senior positions like L5, there is a mandatory system design round.
Here you'll need to design scalable and efficient systems to solve real-world problems.
Focus on understanding system design principles, scalability, and trade-offs.
Practice designing and discussing system architectures.
It's always important to stay updated and in touch with the recruiting team throughout the process to understand the specific arrangements for your interviews.
They will provide you with detailed instructions on the format of each interview round, whether it's online or on-site. ✔️
Knowing what Google looks for in candidates will help you align your preparation and show that you are a good fit.
Google seeks candidates who possess a solid foundation in technical skills.
They expect you to have a deep understanding of algorithms, data structures, and software development principles.
So, brush up on your coding knowledge and ensure you're well-versed in the fundamentals.
Google values candidates who can approach complex problems with clarity and ingenuity.
They want to see your ability to break down problems, devise efficient solutions, and think critically.
📌 Practice problem-solving techniques and develop your analytical thinking skills to impress the interviewers.
While technical prowess is important, Google also emphasises effective communication and collaboration skills.
They want to know if you can explain your thought process, work well in a team, and effectively convey your ideas.
Sharpen your communication skills and practice articulating your ideas clearly.
Google is known for its innovation, and it values candidates who show a knack for creative problem-solving and thinking outside the box.
Showcasing your ability to approach challenges with innovative solutions will make you stand out from the crowd.
The tech industry is constantly evolving, and Google wants people who can adapt to change and embrace new technologies.
Show your eagerness to learn and your ability to adapt to various situations.
Google places importance on finding candidates who align with their values and thrive in their unique work culture.
They value diversity, collaboration, and a passion for making an impact.
To show yourself as a cultural fit and to become a Googler, you have to clear the Googleyness round.
The first step for any interview is researching the technical skills the company is looking for.
This includes programming languages, data structures and algorithms, system design principles, and other relevant areas.
Review Google's job descriptions and speak to professionals working at Google for insights.
Strengthen core computer science concepts like data types, variables, loops, conditional statements, and basic algorithms.
Ensure you are comfortable with at least one programming language such as Python, Java, or C++.
If you are confused about which programming language to select, my recommendation is to go with Java.
📌 Familiarise yourself with the language-specific nuances, syntax, and best practices.
Data structures and algorithms are integral to Google's technical interviews.
Study and practise common algorithms like sorting, searching graph algorithms, and dynamic programming.
When you are preparing for DSA interviews, get a solid understanding of their time and space complexities to implement them efficiently.
Focus on topics frequently encountered in Google coding interviews, such as arrays, strings, linked lists, trees, and dynamic programming.
📌 Aim to solve problems optimally and consider edge cases for the same.
Gradually move towards medium to difficult-level questions.
Also, move to a different topic only once you are clear with the current one.
Solving a few problems from all the topics will not help you clear Google technical interviews.
You’ll never know what questions may be asked hence having clarity on concepts is important to derive the solution.
Learn how to design scalable systems by understanding distributed systems, load balancing, caching, and fault tolerance.
Practice designing and discussing system architectures for different use cases.
Sharpen your problem-solving skills by practising logical reasoning, pattern recognition, and analytical thinking.
Solve brain teasers and puzzles regularly to train your mind to think creatively and critically.
Work on improving your ability to tackle unfamiliar problems efficiently.
The internet contains all the necessary information.
Knowing how to leverage it will make a real difference.
Explore coding platforms that offer interview-focused practice problems.
📌 Take advantage of online tutorials, coding boot camps, and Google's own resources for your preparation.
Having a portfolio is no longer a secret.
Create an amazing online presence by contributing to open-source projects, and maintaining an active GitHub profile.
Develop a portfolio that showcases your projects, coding skills, and technical knowledge.
Use LinkedIn and other platforms to engage with the tech community and expand your network.
By the way, feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn too! If you have any doubts, I'll do my best to help you out.
Mock interviews simulate real interview scenarios.
They help you become comfortable with the interview format and time constraints.
As a Google mentor, I regularly conduct mock interviews and provide actionable feedback to my mentees.
Join online coding communities, forums, and interview preparation groups.
Engage in community discussions, ask questions, and share resources.
📌 Participate in events organised by these communities to gain exposure to different problem-solving methods.
By the way, you can also post your questions in the Preplaced forum and get them answered by domain experts.
Participate in coding competitions like Topcoder, or Hackathons.
These events sharpen your problem-solving skills, improve your coding speed, and expose you to various problem domains.
Solve coding challenges on platforms like LeetCode, Codeforces, HackerEarth or HackerRank regularly to enhance your skills.
To tackle Google coding problems, start by grasping the requirements, and analysing different approaches.
And then divide the problem into smaller, more manageable parts.
📌 Plan your solution before writing code, considering edge cases and potential optimisations.
📌 Optimise your code for time and space complexity.
Strive for efficient solutions and consider trade-offs between different approaches.
Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of your chosen solution during the interview.
Google wants to see clean, readable code that follows industry best practices.
So, how can you ensure your code meets Google's standards?
All the questions carry a limited time, it can be 30 or 45 minutes.
It's easy to get carried away or get stuck on a particular aspect of a problem.
Hence, keep an eye on the clock and ensure that you cover all the important aspects within the given time frame.
📌 Practise time management through mock interviews to develop a natural rhythm to solve problems within the given time.
Generally, interviewers do give hints to guide you in the right direction.
It's important to be receptive to hints and adapt your thinking accordingly.
Don't be afraid to ask for clarification or further hints if needed.
📌 Share your thought process and reasoning with the interviewer as you work through a problem.
Why is this strategy valuable?
Well, thinking out loud allows the interviewer to get an insight into your problem-solving abilities.
Again if you are facing a tricky problem, letting the interviewer know about your approach is best.
In case it is not right, you may receive some hints to identify any flaws or gaps in your reasoning.
Recommended Reading: 11 Best Practices for Technical Interview Preparation
Apart from all these technical strategies, I have a few more tips or advice that I’d like to share to help nail your Google interviews.
Understand that interview nerves are normal and with practice, you can manage stress.
Practice relaxation techniques and maintain a positive mindset.
Focus on your preparation rather than fixating on the outcome.
Take care of your physical and mental well-being throughout the interview process. 🌟
Authenticity and genuineness leave a lasting impression on interviewers.
Be yourself, express your love for technology, and showcase your unique strengths and experiences. ✔️
Stay true to who you are while conveying your skills and potential.
Prepare a list of thoughtful and relevant questions to ask the interviewers.
This shows your genuine interest in the role and company.
Ask about the team dynamics, the challenges they face, and opportunities for professional growth.
Engage in meaningful conversations that showcase your curiosity and understanding. ✨
Finally, develop a mindset of continuous learning and improvement, even after the interview process.
Stay updated with the latest industry trends and technologies.
Embrace feedback and learn from your experiences. ✔️
And seek opportunities to enhance your skills and knowledge. 🌟
Don't be disheartened by unsuccessful interview attempts.
It happens to the best of us.
Instead, reflect on what went wrong and learn from your mistakes.
📌 Analyse the feedback received and identify areas for improvement.
And finally, adapt your Google technical interview preparation strategy accordingly.
With the right approach and practice, you can increase your chances of success and pass Google technical interviews. 💪
However, you do need a solid plan and dedication to get into Google.
And for this, I can help you through 1:1 sessions. 🙌
I'll be glad to assist you in any way I can with your Google interview preparation.
Your interview success is just a click away!
More Google Guides that you'll like: 👇
Software Engineer III
6 yrs of Exp. at
"Hello there! I'm a software engineer who specializes in data structures and algorithms. I have worked for the past 4 years at Google, and have taken 70+ interviews...read more