My Google Software Engineer interview experience
Google always was and still is one of the companies, I wanted and still want to work for.
I never liked standardized tests in school (I finished it 8 years ago) even though I was almost always great at doing them. But yes they were a major cause of stress, especially for me, a guy from a poor family when my future was really dependent on them.
Everyone is unique, but standardized tests also do not take into account other factors that are unique to each student, such as their mental health, family life, or socioeconomic status.
And yes, if someone wants to work, one of the big tech companies, they have to pass a lot of technical interviews, mostly consisting of problems about algorithms and data structures. There are a restricted number of available roles and many who want to take those roles. So yeah, companies have their own “standardized tests”.
As I remember I always studied very well, I think I’m good at algorithms too. Nope, I haven’t participated in IOI (I don’t even know what it was at that time) or have won ACM ICPC (but yes participated and were in regional finals a few times). I got my first laptop only when I was 15 (yes, it was a presidential program, got it because I was studying really well) and started programming only when I started studying in University.
Getting a chance of first interviews in big companies are even challenging. Do you know someone who just applied for a CV using their career site and got a call from Google? I didn’t either, especially when I tried a few times and yeah never got any interaction from anyone. I’m not that type of person who will ask someone to refer to him, I only once tried to directly contact google’s recruiters in LinkedIn. Yes I never got a chance before.
I redesigned my CV a few weeks ago and I don’t know why, but still decided to apply again at Google. You wouldn’t believe it but I got mail from a recruiter right after few hours and asked me to book a call. So the next day we discussed the first step and I chose the closest day for the first phone screen (one week after is minimum).
On the phone screen, the interviewer asked the graph problem after solving it, added a new statement and made it harder. This guy was so nice and friendly and after the interview (from 45 minutes, last 10 minutes you can ask questions to the interviewer) he answered a lot of questions even though we passed that 10 minutes. I liked it but yeah, I could have done much better. So I waited. After one week I didn’t get any feedback, and I thought I hadn’t made it. After 2 weeks, I was really sure about it. But suddenly got mail after 3 week from another recruiter about interview feedback (previous one did left Google, so it took a time). Yes, actually I made it.
After a phone screen interview there are on-site interviews but because of COVID-19, everything happens now virtually, so I had 5 interviews (one googliness interview and 4 technical ones) on this Monday.
Unfortunately I didn’t make it, but I want to share my feedback and my experience (yes your experience could differ from mine).
First 2 interviewers were nice and friendly, their attitude was great and it was easy to understand what they were looking for or what they were asking me (even though I don’t totally agree with what one of them wrote as feedback).
I thought maybe conducting an interview is mandatory for everyone (asked to recruiter and it is not), and somehow they don’t want it and it’s becoming a routine rather than enjoyable process for them. But I think even if it is routine, if you agree, you have to do your best. And during the interview you’re representative of your company and somehow, should think that working somewhere is a bidirectional process (even if you represent one of the best companies in the world).
And yes, depending on the attitude of the last 3 interviewers, I don’t want to work with them.
I really don’t get what was wrong with the 3rd interviewer, he didn’t even say hi (I get it maybe most of them don’t care what’s my name but it’s disappointing to see that kind of behavior in a company which does value everyone as an individual). I don’t remember when we started exactly interview (let’s assume it was 13:00), but none of them started exactly on time and I waited him to open problem and corresponding google doc like 5–7 minute, but what’s fun is that he ended call on exactly on 13:45 minute, and didn’t allow to me finish my sentence. ok.
I get it that probably in the Warsaw office (he is working there) majority are polish and some of them have not to communicate English verbally very often, but it was too difficult to understand the 4th interviewer and I didn’t get if he was understanding me either. During the interview sometimes he was muted and just ignored (or didn’t get what I asked) my questions.
I really don’t get it if you don’t want to do something, just don’t do it. When we started the 5th interview, the interviewer told me he was tired a few times (I get it, it happens, but I had 5 hour interviews and still worked 8 hours after it). And even my approach was not to exactly the best solution, but it was really close, but he constantly told me that I was wrong. We still had 12 minutes left (until 17:45 but again none of them started on time and I waited for all of them to open the problem and open the google doc), but he closed google doc saying that we didn’t have enough time to make it work. So during that time he told me to ask questions, so I asked how he would solve that problem. He was “mumbling” for 10 minutes and didn’t explain it to me, telling me that he forgot how to solve it because he was tired. Really, he asked me a question he wasn’t able to solve?!
It’s ok, I get it that 3 people don’t represent the whole company, but I am really sad to see that in one of my idol companies. And yeah, even after that, I still want to join Google’s family, every family has its own flaws, it’s ok.
I’m still grateful for that opportunity, yeah it was stressful but I know 5 more problems how to solve, and I just can’t avoid saying, that my recruiter is one of the best recruiters I ever had. She was so nice, friendly, and supportive. I’m really thankful for her.
My point is that you have to just try again, don’t give up your ninja way. Do you know someone who just applied for a CV using their career site and got a call from Google? (yeah, me).