7 steps of Google's interview process (and how to ace them)

Google interview process

Google’s interview process is long and arduous, seeming like a black box to many candidates. Not knowing what’s ahead makes it even harder to prepare.

We’re here to help. We work with 50+ ex-Google interviewers on our platform, who have helped thousands of candidates navigate the Google interview process.

Here’s what you need to know: Google’s interview process takes around one to two months, and there are seven steps: resume screen, recruiter call, phone screen(s), onsite interviews, hiring committee, team matching, and salary negotiation. The steps that will require the most preparation are the phone screens and onsite interviews.

In the rest of this article, we’ll dive deep into each step and how you can prepare for it.

Let’s get started.

Google interview process

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Step 1: Resume screen

The first step of Google’s interview process is the resume screen. Here, after you’ve submitted your application through Google’s jobs portal, or been contacted directly via email or LinkedIn, recruiters will evaluate your resume to see if your experience aligns with the open position.

Note: Google does not require cover letters and admits that they “may or may not be considered.” So, unless you have a highly untraditional profile that needs to be explained, we recommend focusing on your resume.

Thankfully, Google has already laid out their own list of tips on how to craft a great resume. We recommend you follow them. Here are the tips:

Google’s tips on crafting a resume:

  • Study the job description: “Align your skills and experience with the job description. Tie your work directly to the role qualifications (and don’t forget to include data).”
  • Be specific: “Be specific about projects you’ve worked on or managed. What was the outcome? How did you measure success? When in doubt, lean on the formula, “accomplished [X] as measured by [Y], by doing [Z].”
  • Emphasize leadership: “If you've had a leadership role, tell us about it. How big was the team? What was the scope of your work?”
  • Include coursework only if you’re a recent graduate: “If you're a recent university graduate or have limited work experience, include school-related projects or coursework that demonstrate relevant skills and knowledge.”
  • Keep it concise: “We don’t have a length requirement, but concision and precision are key — so think twice before letting your resume move onto multiple pages, and take careful aim with your information.”

To learn more, take a look at our comprehensive guide: How to write a resume for Google (including 5 examples from successful Google candidates).

Alternatively, you can use one of our role-specific guides:

Don’t forget to have a friend or family member proofread your resume before finalizing it. They’ll be able to spot grammar and formatting errors. For expert help on whether or not your resume is best suited for the position, you’ll need to get input from ex-Google interviewers.

Step 2: Recruiter call

After your resume has been approved, a recruiter will get in contact with you to schedule a call. This generally lasts 20-30 minutes.

During the call, the recruiter will have a non-technical chat with you about your background and why you are interested in the job. You should have answers prepared for questions like, “Tell me about yourself,” “Why Google?”, and “Walk me through your resume.”

The recruiter will also discuss with you how the overall interview process will work. If you have any specific questions (e.g. timeline, location, clarification about the job description), now is the time to ask. 

The recruiter will be your point person for the rest of the interviews, and the best suited to answer your questions about the process. So it’s important to keep lines of communication with them open.

If all goes well, the recruiter will get back in touch with you to schedule your first interviews: the phone screens.

Step 3: Phone screen(s)

Depending on the role, you will either have one or two phone screens with your hiring manager, or a future peer of the team you’re applying to join.

These will typically last between 45 and 60 minutes each, over Google Meet. In the majority of cases, this will be a video call, but in some cases the interviewer may choose to keep their camera turned off.

We’ve researched the interview process and questions for six Google roles, so we’ll give you an idea of what to expect by role. If you’re looking for exact example questions to work with, see our guide to Google interview questions and answers.

What to expect in Google phone screens (by role):

Product managers: you’ll be asked about your background, followed by a mix of product design, estimation, and strategy questions.

Software engineers: you’ll share a Google Doc or a collaborative coding platform with your interviewer and answer data structure and algorithm questions, as well as a few behavioral questions.

Engineering managers: you’ll have a similar coding round as the software engineers, with higher-level coding questions and behavioral questions around people and project management.

Data scientists: you’ll be asked a few general background questions, as well as SQL, coding, and statistics questions, showing your work on a Google Doc or coding platform.

Technical program managers: you’ll be asked a mix of program management, technical, and leadership questions.

Account managers: you’ll be asked primarily behavioral and background questions that test your client service skills.

Ultimately, if you’re prepared for the types of in-depth questions you’ll receive at the onsite stage, then you’ll be prepared for the initial phone screens. So let’s dive into the onsite portion, including the exact interview questions that have been reported by past candidates.

Step 4: Onsite interviews

The longest and most daunting step of the Google interview process is the onsite interview loop. This may take place in Google’s physical offices, or via video call.

Here, you will face up to six back-to-back interview rounds that last around 45 minutes each. If you are physically onsite, one of these will take the form of an informal lunch interview with a future peer of the team you’re applying to join.

To see a breakdown of the kind of questions you're likely to face in your onsite interviews, check out our comprehensive guide to Google interview questions (with answers).

Step 5: Hiring committee

After the onsite rounds, your interviewers grade your performance using a standardized feedback form. It contains your responses to each of the questions, their feedback on your responses, and their final recommendation (e.g. "Strong no hire," "No hire," "Leaning no hire," "Leaning hire," "Hire," "Strong hire").

The feedback forms from each of your onsite interviewers are combined in a packet, which includes your resume and feedback from the initial phone screens, and it is sent to a third party hiring committee for review. 

Your recruiter will notify you when your application has progressed to this stage—all you have to do is wait.

The hiring committee is made up of a group of third-party Googlers who were not present during your interviews. Google uses this committee to make the hiring decision, rather than your interviewers, in order to remove bias from the interview process. 

Overall, you’ll be assessed on the four main attributes Google looks for when hiring:

  1. Role-related knowledge and experience (RRK). The company wants to make sure that you have the right experience, domain expertise, and competencies for the position you're applying for. More information in this guide to Google RRK questions.
  2. General cognitive ability (GCA). The company wants to hire smart employees who can learn and adapt to new situations. Here your interviewer will try to understand how you solve hard problems and how you learn. More information in this guide to Google and GCA.
  3. Leadership. Google looks for a particular type of leadership called “emergent leadership.” You'll typically be working in cross-functional teams at Google, and different team members are expected to step up and lead at different times in the lifecycle of a project when their skills are needed. More information in this guide to Google leadership questions.
  4. Googleyness (i.e. culture fit). The company wants to make sure Google is the right environment for you. Your interviewer will check whether you naturally exhibit the company's values, including: being comfortable with ambiguity, having a bias to action, and a collaborative nature. More information in this guide to Googleyness.

Your recruiter will notify you when the hiring committee has made a decision. This typically takes one to two weeks after the onsite interview rounds. Beyond that time, if you have not received an answer, send a polite check-in to your recruiter to get more information.

There are four general responses that you may receive from Google’s hiring committee:

  • You’re hired! Now you just wait to receive your offer package and go through salary negotiations.
  • They want you onboard, but have to find out what team to put you in first. (More on team matching in the next section.)
  • They need more information about you. One or two more interviews will be scheduled, after which the hiring committee will reconvene to make a decision.
  • You get rejected. Try not to be too disappointed, many candidates get in after multiple attempts. Read our article on Google rejection and get ready to try again!

Step 6: Team match

If you applied and interviewed for a role that is specific to a certain team at Google from the beginning, then you will likely skip the team matching step. 

Otherwise, candidates go through a separate step in order to find out which team they’ll be working for at Google. This may occur before or after the hiring committee makes its decision.

If team matching occurs after the hiring committee, the candidate’s information is passed along to teams with open headcount, in order to find the best fit for the new hire.

If team matching occurs before the hiring committee, the information is added to the packet of interview materials that the hiring committee evaluates to make its decision.

In either case, you may have an interview scheduled to meet with members of a few different teams. Here, the recruiter will inform you of the interview and of whom you’ll be meeting with. We recommend that you research the teams ahead of the interview to get an idea of what questions to ask them, and of what you’re most interested in.

As always, if you are unsure of any step in your specific interview process, check in with your recruiter.

Step 7: Salary negotiation

Finally, once you’ve passed each of the six steps above, you’ll receive your offer package from Google.

At this point, all that is left for you to do is negotiate your offer. Your recruiter will get in touch with you about the details, likely scheduling one final call to clarify and discuss the terms. If they have not scheduled a call, you can ask for one.

Of course, salary discussions can be difficult and a bit uncomfortable, especially if you are not used to them. Below are some tips to help you navigate your salary negotiations. And you can also get salary negotiation coaching from ex-FAANG recruiters to help you maximize your compensation.

Salary negotiation tips:

  • Be polite: Remember that the person you’re negotiating with is just doing their job, and that the two of you are not enemies. You’ll get much farther in your negotiations if you approach the conversation with grace.
  • Don’t give a number right away: Whenever possible, it’s better to wait until you receive an offer to start negotiating. This reduces the risk of giving a number that is lower than what the company otherwise would have paid, or giving a number that is so high that they are reluctant to interview you.
  • Do your research: Have a number in mind before the conversation begins, and back it up with data. Research your position and level on Levels.fyi, ask around on professional social networking sites like Blind, factor in the cost of living where you are, and, ideally, get some input from a current Googler.
  • Start highTo start the conversation, name a compensation number that is higher than your goal, and the Google negotiator will likely end up negotiating it down to a number that is closer to your original goal.
  • Negotiate everythingYour offer will include more than a base salary and stock options—you also have bonuses, vacation days, location, work from home, and other aspects to consider. If the compensation won’t budge, there may be some wiggle room around the other perks.

Once you’ve completed this step and accepted your offer: congratulations! It’s time to start your career at Google.

Are you ready for your Google interviews?

As you may have noticed, Google has a long and difficult interview process, which means that it requires quite a bit of preparation to succeed.

The lists of practice questions and resources in section 4 above will give you a great start, but practicing by yourself will only take you so far. Ultimately, the best way to improve your interview skills is to do as many interviews as you can.

That’s why we’ve put together a coaching service where you can practice Google mock interviews one-on-one with real ex-interviewers from Google. Start scheduling sessions today.