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

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, including example questions from real Google interviews.

Let’s get started.

Google interview process

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 to one page: “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.”

For more in-depth information on how to tailor your resume to specific roles, take a look at one of our comprehensive resume 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, we’ll get to that in Step 4.

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.

As we mentioned before, we have created in-depth guides to the interviews for top Google roles. Below, we’ll give you a breakdown of real interview questions asked at Google for each of these roles, according to data from Glassdoor. 

Use these questions to prepare yourself for the onsite interview loop of the role you’re applying for.

4.1 Google product manager onsite interview questions

Google PMs must take on a range of tasks, including designing product features, improving existing ones, and setting product vision, all while working with a diverse range of stakeholders.

To test these capabilities, interviewers ask questions like the ones below. For more interview questions and resources on how to prepare for the Google product manager interview, take a look at our guide to Google PM interviews, or our guide to Google APM interviews.

Google product manager interview questions

Product design

  • What's a product you love / hate and why? How would you improve it?
  • How would you improve [Chrome / GMap / Android / etc]?
  • How would you improve [Dropbox / Netflix / Facebook / etc]?

Strategy

  • How would you solve homelessness in downtown San Francisco?
  • Why does Starbucks sometimes have coffee shops on both sides of the road?
  • Google has invented a technology that makes air travel 4x cheaper and 4x faster. What do you do with it?

Estimation

  • How much money is spent on gas in the US every year?
  • What is the market size for driverless cars in 2025?
  • How much storage space is required for all the images in Google Street view?

Behavioral

  • Why Google?
  • Why this PM position?
  • Tell me about a time you demonstrated leadership / solved a difficult team conflict / cracked a tough problem / etc.
  • What's a good PM? A bad PM?

Technical

  • Explain the concept of "protocol" to a four-year-old child using an "ice cream store" as an analogy.
  • Explain the concept of "recursion" to my grandma.
  • Describe a typical page load time distribution on desktop? What about on mobile?

Data analysis

  • How would you measure the success of Apple's WWDC event?
  • What are things Netflix should measure and analyze on a daily basis? 
  • YouTube traffic went down 5% yesterday. How would you report this issue to Larry Page?
  • You are the PM for YouTube analytics. What are your three most important metrics?

4.2 Google software engineer onsite interview questions

Google software engineers solve some of the company’s most difficult problems through code, while working closely with cross-functional teams. Take a look at the questions below to practice how you will demonstrate these skills in an interview.

For even more questions, an overview of the process, and a step-by-step preparation plan for Google software engineer interviews, take a look at our Google software engineer interview guide, or our guides for Google machine learning engineersdata engineers, and/or system design interviews.

Google software engineer interview questions:

Data structures & algorithms

  • Given a binary tree, find the maximum path sum. The path may start and end at any node in the tree. (Solution)
  • Given an encoded string, return its decoded string. (Solution)
  • Implement a SnapshotArray that supports pre-defined interfaces (note: see link for more details). (Solution)
  • Given a string S and a string T, find the minimum window in S which will contain all the characters in T in complexity O(n). (Solution)
  • Given a matrix and a target, return the number of non-empty submatrices that sum to target. (Solution)
  • Given a rows x cols binary matrix filled with 0's and 1's, find the largest rectangle containing only 1's and return its area. (Solution)
  • A strobogrammatic number is a number that looks the same when rotated 180 degrees (looked at upside down). Find all strobogrammatic numbers that are of length = n. (Solution)
  • A group of two or more people wants to meet and minimize the total travel distance. You are given a 2D grid of values 0 or 1, where each 1 marks the home of someone in the group. The distance is calculated using Manhattan Distance, where distance(p1, p2) = |p2.x - p1.x| + |p2.y - p1.y|. (Solution)

System design

  • How would you design Google's database for web indexing?
  • How would you design Google Docs?
  • How would you design Google Home (voice assistant)?
  • How would you design Amazon's books preview?
  • How would you design a social network?
  • How would you design a task scheduling system?

Leadership

  • Tell me about yourself.
  • Why Google?
  • Tell me about a recent / interesting project you worked on.
  • Tell me about a time you had to handle a project that was late.
  • Tell me about a time you demonstrated leadership even though you weren't the formal manager.
  • Tell me about a time you used data to make a critical decision.

4.3 Google engineering manager onsite interview questions

Engineering managers at Google must have similar technical skills as those tested in software engineer interviews, with an emphasis on soft skills like people and project management. This is because they’re moving from managing individual features to managing projects and teams.

The questions below were reported by real Google engineering manager candidates. Use them to practice your answers. For a comprehensive guide to Google engineering manager interviews, take a look at our Google EM interview guide and/or our guide to Google system design interviews.

Google engineering manager interview questions

Behavioral

  • Tell me about yourself.
  • Why Google?
  • How do you deal with low performers?
  • How do you handle conflicts?
  • How do you handle people who are not team players?
  • How do you deal with high performers? 
  • As a manager, how do you handle trade-offs?
  • Describe how you deal with change management.
  • Describe in detail a project that failed.

System design

  • How would you design Google Docs?
  • How would you design Google Home (voice assistant)?
  • How would you design a ticketing platform?
  • Design an in memory cache for webpages.
  • Design a boggle solver.

Coding

  • Given two words (beginWord and endWord), and a dictionary's word list, find the length of shortest transformation sequence from beginWord to endWord, such that: 1) Only one letter can be changed at a time and, 2) Each transformed word must exist in the word list. (Solution)
  • Given a list of query words, return the number of words that are stretchy. Note: see link for more details. (Solution)
  • Your car starts at position 0 and speed +1 on an infinite number line. (Your car can go into negative positions.) Your car drives automatically according to a sequence of instructions A (accelerate) and R (reverse)...Now for some target position, say the length of the shortest sequence of instructions to get there. (Solution)
  • Given the root node of a binary search tree, return the sum of values of all nodes with value between L and R (inclusive). The binary search tree is guaranteed to have unique values. (Solution)
  • You are given two non-empty linked lists representing two non-negative integers. The digits are stored in reverse order and each of their nodes contain a single digit. Add the two numbers and return it as a linked list. (Solution)

4.4 Google data scientist onsite interview questions

Data scientists at Google must be able to derive useful insights from large and complex data sets. They use and manipulate that data using SQL, while working closely with cross-functional teams.

Interviewers ask questions like the ones below to test candidates on these skills. For more questions as well as a step by step plan to prepare for Google data scientist interviews, take a look at our Google data scientist interview guide

Google data scientist onsite interview questions:

Statistics

  • In what situation would you consider mean over median?
  • For sample size n, the margin of error is 3. How many more samples do we need to make the margin of error 0.3?
  • I have a deck and take one card at random. What is the probability you guess it right?
  • Explain a probability distribution that is not normal and how to apply that.
  • Given uniform distributions X and Y and the mean 0 and standard deviation 1.

Machine learning

  • If the labels are known in a clustering project, how would you evaluate the performance of the model?
  • Why use feature selection? (Solution)
  • If two predictors are highly correlated, what is the effect on the coefficients in the logistic regression? What are the confidence intervals of the coefficients?

Coding/SQL

  • Write a function to generate N sample from a normal distribution and plot the histogram. (Solution)
  • Write code to generate iid draws from distribution X when we only have access to a random number generator.
  • What are some ways to effectively reduce the dimensionality of a data set? (Solution)
  • How do you invert a binary tree? (Solution)
  • How would you find the top 5 highest-selling items from a list of order histories?
  • Can you explain how SQL works?
  • Given three columns of data, how would you compare the first three to the last three?

Behavioral

  • Why Google?
  • How do you sort your priorities when engaged in multitasking?
  • Describe a past project you worked on.
  • In what direction do you see your career moving?
  • Do you prefer working in small or large teams?
  • How do you push back when disagreeing with a manager?

Product sense

  • You have a google app and you make a change. How do you test if a metric has increased or not? (Solution)
  • How do you detect viruses or inappropriate content on YouTube?
  • How would you compare if upgrading the android system produces more searches?
  • The outcome of an experiment is that 5% of one group clicks more. Is that a good result?

4.5 Google technical program manager onsite interview questions

Google TPMs design and execute programs from end-to-end, while engaging in highly technical discussions with engineers and other teams. They must be able to influence others without direct authority in order to drive programs through.

Practice demonstrating the skills above using the questions below, from real Google technical program manager interviews. For more information about Google TPM interviews, take a look at our Google technical program manager interview guide, or our Google program manager interview guide.

Google technical program manager interview questions:

Program management

  • Tell me about a time you had to manage a technical program from end-to-end.
  • How would you manage hypothetical project XYZ (e.g. replace discs in a data center)?
  • How do you prioritize your work?
  • What is a critical path in project management?
  • What's your process to kickoff programs?
  • How do you handle additional requirements in the middle of a project?
  • How do you manage risks on projects?
  • How do you choose to build in house vs. to use a third party solution?

Technical

  • Design a server infrastructure for GMail.
  • Design a global system to upgrade software on a fleet of machines.
  • What happens when you enter a URL in your browser?
  • How does the cloud work?
  • What is the Ethernet?
  • Write a program to select two numbers which sum is lower than a target number.
  • Write a program to reverse a string (no built-in functions can be used).

Leadership

  • Tell me about yourself.
  • Why Google?
  • Tell me about a time you worked with a difficult engineer / executive / stakeholder / client.
  • Tell me about a time you failed.
  • Tell me about the biggest challenge you faced as a TPM / in your current role.
  • Tell me about a time you faced a technical and people challenge at the same time.
  • Tell me about a time you had to work with a "superstar" and how you dealt with them.

4.6 Google account manager onsite interview questions

Account managers at Google serve clients who use Google’s products by identifying new opportunities for them to grow, helping them implement Google’s products, solving their problems, analyzing data, and more.

Practice demonstrating your ability to do these things using the questions below. For more information about Google account manager and technical account manager interviews, take a look at our complete guide on the subject

Google account manager interview questions:

Client service

  • A local ice cream shop wants you to run a Google AdWords campaign. How can you help them reach their audience?
  • Your client that runs a burger shop has come to you for help, saying their sales have dropped since a McDonald's opened in the neighborhood. What is you strategy?
  • Explain a business plan you would propose to a friend looking to start a bakery in the [nearby city] area.
  • Tell me about a time that you used data to convince your client of something.
  • Give me an example where you had to manage a large amount of data.

Behavioral 

  • Why Google?
  • What is your greatest weakness?
  • What are your biggest achievements in your past work? 
  • Tell me about yourself.
  • How is your current role applicable to this role at Google?

Leadership 

  • How do you manage conflicts between your work and that of an Account Executive?
  • If you had coffee with Sundar Pichai what would you talk to him about?
  • How would you deal with a coworker who you notice is isolating themselves from the larger group?
  • Tell me about a time you faced a challenge and how you solved it.
  • Tell me about a time you improved a process at one of your previous workplaces.

Product / strategy

  • You're in charge of the team that just acquired Waze. What do you do next?
  • What is your favorite Google Product and how are you going to improve it?
  • How do you intend to sell Google Products?
  • What kind of app/startup would you build right now given the state of the ecosystem?

Technical (technical account managers only)

  • A new customer would like to migrate an existing ecommerce app to the cloud, how would you guide them?
  • How would you recreate Netflix using Google Cloud Platform?
  • What data structure would you use to represent a scenario where a person has friends and each friend has friends?

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.
  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.
  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. 
  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.

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’re not the right fit at this time—but never fear, you’re eligible to apply again in 90 days.

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 mock interviews one-on-one with real ex-interviewers from Google. Learn more and start scheduling sessions today.
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