Google Interview Experience for SDE

Google Interview Experience for SDE - Learn all about the process, interview questions and preparation strategy for SDE role at Google | Exclusive tips included



So you’re preparing for your Google SDE interview…

A Google interview is a tough cookie to crack. But with consistent practice and well-planned preparation, getting through the big glass doors is achievable. 

Getting to know a Googler’s interview experience is a good way of understanding what’s coming your way - it’s a small but impactful step in your Google interview preparation journey. 

In this blog, I’ll be sharing with you an interview experience of one of the candidates, Devashish Nyati, who recently got placed at Google, Kirkland Washington office as SDE I. 🎉 Devashish has 3 years of software development experience and has worked at Oracle before joining Google. 

I have personally interviewed him to gauge a picture as detailed as possible so that you can be absolutely braced for your Google interview. 

I am also adding video snippets of our interview throughout this blog if you’d like to sneak peeks of the real conversation. 

So, without further ado, let’s dive into the specifics of this Google SDE interview 2022. 

Que: What is the application process at Google?


I’ve seen some candidates applying directly on Google’s website or through Google’s LinkedIn job openings page. In my case, I had received a call from a Google recruiter with whom I shared my resume. And that’s how my application went ahead in the funnel. 

Que: How was the overall experience being interviewed at Google?


My experience interviewing at Google for the SDE role was unlike anything I had faced before. A lot of people dread going for interviews at tech giants like Google, but quite honestly, I enjoyed the interview process. I went fully prepared for all the interview rounds and left no stone unturned, as this was something I’ve always dreamt of achieving. 

Also, I had fun answering all the questions and solving all the problems in the interview because the interviewers were a bunch of really nice people who made me feel comfortable throughout the process. So, the fear and nervousness of Interviewing at freaking GOOGLE kind of melted away in those friendly, cordial conversations. 🙂

Que: How many interview rounds were there and what was the difficulty level of questions?


There were 7 interview rounds excluding the Team Matching Phase, which is something that happens when you clear all the rounds. 

Here is a detailed overview of them.

1. HR Round: It all started with an initial HR round. I got on a call with an HR representative of Google and he asked me about my previous work experience and educational details. Just like the usual initial HR interview rounds, we discussed my resume and my eligibility for the SDE level 3 role at Google. 

2. Technical/Coding Rounds: I had a total number of 5 coding rounds. Each round was around 45 to 60 mins long. There were 2 questions in each round. The difficulty level was different in each round. The difficulty level for three rounds was moderate to high and for the remaining two, the difficulty level was high. 

The topics of questions also varied in each round. For example, in the first coding round, they asked me 1 question that was followed by another connecting problem statement. In the second round, there was 1 question about a certain topic and then question number 2 was about a completely different topic. 

Also, the interviewers did not discuss my resume in any of the coding rounds. They were totally focused on my coding and problem-solving abilities. 

3. Googleyness Round: Googleyness round is the behavioural round at Google. I found this particular behavioural interview to be the most difficult as compared to all the other rounds. 

I realised, just a mechanical understanding of Google as an organisation won’t help me pass this round. Understanding it as a lively tribe of people who always strive to do the right thing was crucial to be able to pass this round. 

The questions asked in this round were quite interesting; some of them were tricky. So, I would advise all the Google aspirants out there to prepare well for this round. 😅

You can also watch the interview where he explains the interview rounds and shares his Google interview experience.

Que: What happens in the Team Matching Phase?


Team matching is known as a phase for a reason. It’s not another interview round. It’s a ‘team fit’ discussion with a couple of prospective team managers who will try to understand you as a person and as a teammate. 

I met with two team managers. I liked the first team that I met with; the team manager also found me suitable. During the discussion, I could totally see myself working in that team. And fortunately, I got the same team. Yay!

Anyway, so after this call, the managers usually inform HR if they want you on their team. As per your previous experience with technologies and tools, you get selected into a team and then go ahead and meet with the hiring committee for a CTC package discussion. 

So, I advise not getting too complacent when you reach this phase, because you are not totally in until you have that offer letter in your hand. 😬

Que: What was the best part about your Google interview experience?


The best part was that the Google interviewers were really supportive and considerate. They acted as enablers to help me clear the rounds. At some points, they gave me hints by asking leading questions that directed me to the right path to solving a problem. I felt like they were there for me in this interview process. 

Also, even though the questions were challenging, answering them and thinking out loud kind of brought out the best in me. This made my interview experience all the more interesting. 

So now you know what a Google SDE interview looks like. Let’s jump on to the preparation bit then! 

I also asked Devashish how he prepared for these interview rounds. He had some valuable advice and tips to share with our community. 👇

Que: What interview preparation timeline did you follow to prepare for all the rounds?


It took 5 months to make myself absolutely ready for the technical interviews. I started preparing in September last year. At that time, I had not even had a single lead in terms of any upcoming interviews. The call with the Google recruiter also took place much later. But I guess, beginning my interview preparation journey much earlier worked to my benefit. 

I started my preparation by setting a proper study routine. I would get up early every day and study for 4 to 5 hours. As I was working with Oracle full time, following that routine was challenging for the first 2 weeks. When I started preparing, I realised that some of the basic concepts had slipped away from my mind. Finally, after 3 weeks of consistent studying, I felt confident about my capabilities and I was inspired to keep going on. 

Que: How did you prepare for the coding rounds? What resources did you rely on?


I started by studying the basics of data structures and then began coding with data structures. Solved a lot of problems on Leetcode. I started to write down the root for a solution and then optimising the solution to gain the basic pattern recognition. For some questions, I was not able to come up with a solution. Spending some time reading and understanding those concepts again helped tremendously. 

Every day, I used to solve one revision set. Watched a lot of Nick White videos on YouTube. The S30 classes also helped a lot.  

Moreover, preparing with a mentor by my side helped me gain new perspectives on problem-solving. 

Here's the interview video where he explains his journey and his interview preparation plan.

Que: How did you prepare for the Googlyness round? What resources did you rely on?


Here is a helpful article that I read while preparing for this round. I tried to understand what Google’s values were all about and how every single employee considers these values to be a part and parcel of their day-to-day responsibilities. Also, studying the 16 Amazon Leadership Principles really helped me to adapt to that mindset interviewers always look for. 

Apart from that, I practised interviewing with my mentors and peers and asked them for feedback on my answers. I also tried to imbibe those values at work and instilled them in my behaviour. It took some time to do that, but now I can see how impactful this practice can be. 

Que: When did you know you were ready for all the Google interview rounds?


Mock interviews. They truly prepared me for what was coming. Towards the end of my preparation journey, I was consistent with the quality of responses that was expected by my mentors. This made me feel more confident about my overall performance and delivery of responses. I, then, prepared a list of questions I liked and kept practising with those. 

I think in order to be interview-ready, it’s crucial to know how much more practice you require in that stage. And I got that through constantly being in touch with my mentors and their valuable feedback.

Que: What are some of the common mistakes candidates should avoid?


Not practising the basic, core topics is one of the biggest mistakes one could make when preparing for Google SDE interviews. It is cardinal to focus on the basics because they’re going to help you ALL the time. Calculus, Algebra, and basics of DS - if you don’t know this, then it will be very difficult, almost next to impossible to crack a Google interview. 

Candidates should have a fundamental understanding of each data structure - what is an array, hashmap, LinkedList, trees, graph, stack, queue, etc. and how are they different from each other. They should be familiar with any one of the coding languages and code out addition, deletion, search, iteration, etc operations on all of the data structures. Once you are ready, you should jump on to leetcode problems, NOT before that. 

Many people don’t believe in setting SMART goals for their interview preparation. So structuring your interview preparation properly is extremely important. 

Que: What advice would you give to those preparing for Google SDE interview?


Be presentable for all the interview rounds. I can’t stress this enough - know how to communicate effectively. Those interviewers are looking for a potential teammate, so steer clear of getting into any arguments with your interviewers. Behavioural skills are tested throughout all the rounds, not just in the Googleyness round. 

I have seen candidates solving hundreds of leetcode questions and still not getting selected for Google. So go for mock interviews - as many as you can. Have supportive people around you with whom you can have these conversations. 

There is no shortcut to success, or in this case, getting this amazing opportunity to work for Google. So, don’t run away from hard work. Do everything that you possibly can to make yourself confident and likeable in those interviews. 

Work on your resume. Your resume should be readable and your work, measurable. So, do add numbers and figures to your resume. Add soft skills to your resume. And then get it reviewed by your mentors and peers whom you trust. 

Be active on LinkedIn. It’s a very powerful tool for job seekers. In fact, I got my job at Oracle through LinkedIn when I connected with someone at Oracle to get my GitHub portfolio reviewed. That person liked my approach and that’s how I was hired. 

So, networking is key. 🙌

Here's the video version of the same.


So now you know what it takes to prepare for the Google SDE role. 

If you’re preparing for this role at Google, you’ll need to put in a lot of work to succeed. But first, you’ll need a strategic plan for your structured interview preparation. 

And second, you’ll definitely need people around you who will be your guiding light - people who will help you through the journey, motivate you, and mainly, will give you honest feedback on your skills.

Preplaced is the 1:1 mentorship-driven interview preparation platform where you will find such people. 

Happy prepping and all the best!

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