7 Top Most Common Google Interview Questions and Answers

Google job interviews tend to be amongst the most difficult in the world. The process can consist of multiple rounds with each stage of the interview providing a different set of challenging google interview questions, from behavioural questions, strength based questions, open ended questions to technical, case studies, hypothetical (General Cognitive Abilities, GCA) and finally questions that assess your googleyness! Therefore when it comes your interviews then your Google interview preparation has to be on point! So how do you ace a Google interview? Well, by going through all the key points in this blog article you’ll definitely be one step closer!

1) Why Google?

Out of all of the Google interview questions this is probably the most important to ace, as it sets the tone for the rest of the interview. The way to standout with your answer is to firstly ensure that you tell a truly authentic story of your journey to you applying apply for this role at Google. Make sure that your story is anchored to a key driver, motivator or value which you can align with Googles’. This can then be a consistent point of reference throughout your interview. For example “I’m driven by excellence…Google are driven by excellence” secondly make sure you are completely up to date with Googles latest developments, whether it is technological, business related or otherwise.

2) What skills will you bring to this role?

As part of your Google interview preparation learning how to answer this question effectively, is crucial. There are many ways to approach this question, however a strategy I recommend is to firstly to have a story about your love for the role and your field. This personalises your answer instantly and makes it more unique and memorable. Secondly, focus on highlighting three areas and experiences of expertise that are relevant for the job. Try to be factual with figures to support what you say, additionally if applicable try provide short sharp mini examples from your experiences within your three areas.

3) Provide an example where you’ve had to deal with criticism about your work?

This is a classic Google behavioural interview question and therefore will require you to utilise the competency STAR method (Situation, Task, Action and Result). Many interviewees trip up on this particular type of question because it’s putting yourself in a position to have to talk negatively about yourself. However that is something you shouldn’t be afraid of as the Google interviewers are looking for authenticity in your example. However at the same time ensure that the example you use isn’t for something mediocre, for example you were criticised for coming late to work. Secondly ensure that you show your process of reflection, how you dealt with the negative feedback and eventually turning it around. Don’t be afraid to be vulnerable in this process, however do ensure that the lessons learnt are truly implemented at the end by highlighting further work that you’ve turned around.

4) Provide an example where you’ve had influence and convince a difficult stakeholder?

If you have any type of managerial, customer facing, project related role you, Google interview questions about your ability to influence and navigate difficult interactions and work related situations are bound to come up. The way to successfully answer these types of Google behavioural questions is to tell the story from a first person perspective.

You are main protagonist of this story and you’re going to share with them your personal experience within this interaction. So this means What you did, why you did it, when the person responded negatively or aggressively, how did you feel in that moment. From there elaborate on how you responded and why you responded in this way. By taking the interviewer through the back and forth of the interaction, having it played out my a scene from a movie or a play will result in them getting a very clear and intimate picture of your level of emotional intelligence. They will also be able to extrapolate the example and be able to apply it to the job role.

5) Tell us about your favourite Google product?

This question I comes up at virtually every Google interview, if you’re interested in working for Google, they’re going to want to know why! The key to answering this question is two fold, firstly you need to demonstrate an in-depth knowledge of this particular product. Secondly is to talk about your personal relationship with this product, how it’s bought value to your life and what it means to you on a personal level.

6) Provide an example where you’ve had a disagreement with a colleague or manager?

This is one of those Google interview questions irrespective of whether you’re interviewing for a technical or non technical job role it’s bound to come up and is a question that you need to be fully prepared for. Before trying to answer this question the key is to understand the purpose behind it. For this it’s really about how you’re able to demonstrate a competent level of emotional intelligence as well as conviction in your own position i.e. if you believe that the other person’s position is detrimental to the project, how far are you willing to pursue your position without negatively impacting the relationship.

 

7) Provide an example where you’ve had to make a difficult decision?

In this Google interview questions and answers blog, one thing that you may have noticed is that Google value the process above all else and the most important being your thought! With this particular question it is important to firstly highlight all the variables that you have to consider, sign post what they are and then go through the value of each one, by one within the context of why you have to make a decision. Through this process you should be able to successfully answer this question.

What questions are asked in a Google Interview?

There are three key types of questions asked at a Google Interview, here we are going to go through them in more detail.

1) STAR or Competency Based Behavioural questions

This will make up the bulk of most Google interviews, this includes other organisations under the Google Alphabet umbrella such as Waze, Deepmind and YouTube.

Google behavioural interview questions are measuring specific competencies which they believe are important part of the job. In additional to that you will need to ensure that not only are you showing your qualities to do the job but crucially you show case ‘googleyness’ or Google’s principles and values within your actions. In many cases interviewees can give a strong example however don’t demonstrate the required values in their answers which are important to Google, such as Google’s slogan of “do the right thing” and end up failing at the interview.

 

2) Open ended questions

These questions are similar to the hypothetical questions expect here there is virtually no direction or guidance, it is completely down to you to decide how you will approach it. They are very popular with Google Cloud and parts of Google which have a strong B2B business model. Questions can include the following.

  • Can you show us a basic business plan for our X product range.
  • Outline your approach to a business strategy for Google Cloud enterprise business?
  • How you would approach taking a new product to market?

3) General Cognitive Abilities GCA questions

To measure your cognitive ability, Google dedicate a certain amount of time in their interview process to present a range of hypothetical scenarios. In many ways they’re almost the antithesis of Google’s behavioural interviews. The scenario that the interviewer presents will almost certainly be linked to the job role, therefore you don’t need to be to anxious that they’re going to throw you a curve ball question. However, you do need to keep calm when being asked and not rush in to answering the question of the Google GCA interview.

  1. Think of about one of your favourite Google products. What would you do to try to improve this product for users?
    How would you make Google Maps profitable?
  2. If you had to invest in a YouTube campaign for Football World Cup or Paralympics, how would you go about this?
  3. Picture that you are sitting next to Sundar, CEO of Google on the plane, he is wanting to invest in driverless cars, how would you respond?
  4. Imagine you are pitching an incremental $1m spend on a current marketing campaign, how would you go about this?
  5. Tell me about the insights that you would look for when developing a strategy from scratch? [in your area of expertise i.e. Programming or Marketing etc.]
  6. Imagine that you are considering investing in a new local business. How would you make this decision? (Follow-ups: What are some things you’d want to research? What factors might impact your return on investment? What challenges do you foresee the company having during their first year in business? How would this influence the amount/rate of your investment? How would you measure your ROI? If the ROI was less than what you expected, what would you do? What if it was more than you expected?)
  7. Name a Google product or service we should continue to invest in during the upcoming year. Why? (Follow-ups: What factors did you take into consideration? What information did you rely on when making this decision? Why are these investments crucial for Google? How might Google further develop these products? How would this affect Google and Google’s users?)
  8. Technology and content has drastically changed within the last decade. Explain to me how this change has impacted user engagement. (Follow-ups: If you were tasked with boosting user engagement, what technology or strategies would you use? Will the technology you use differ for varying users, why or why not? What other factors might influence the technology or content strategies you decide to use?)

How to answer Google GCA questions

As mentioned previously GCA interview questions are the most unique interview question type. Therefore they require particular attention and focus. Questions are usually job specific: whether you’re interviewing for a TPM (Technical Project Manager) role, working in marketing, or software engineering. Here are five steps to answer GCA Google interview questions:

  1. Write down the question: General Cognitive Ability questions can be long with many layers. Therefore, it’s important to take a moment to write down the interview question to fully understand what is being asked.
  2. Ask the interviewer clarifying questions: This is important because you want to gain a complete sense of what the interviewer is seeking with regards to a response. Also, to be able to focus your thought process in developing a coherent solution to the answer. I normally recommend four go to default questions to gather information for a GCA question:
    1. The timeline
    2. The budget
    3. The resources available (from workforce to technology etc.)
    4. The scale (which geographical region is it to cover, local, planetary etc.)
  3. Ask for some time: So, that you can prepare your response and answer strategy. Don’t feel pressured, take your time in systematically going through each one of these steps that you have used to gather information.
  4. Answer the interview question and explain your rationale: This should be done in a systematic way. whether it’s done by the way of a timeline “So in phase 1 I would do…then in Phase 2 … and phase 3 ….”. Or Step by Step “firstly I would do this secondly I will assess this thirdly check that…”.
  5. Don’t rush-in to follow-up interview questions: With a Google GCA question you are going to receive a follow-up question from the interviewer. Make sure that you take a moment to really digest and understand what is being asked. Don’t be afraid to ask clarification question in return if you’re not certain or you feel the question that they have asked requires further information.

4) Google Interview Presentation

At Google if you’re asked to do a presentation the topic of the subject that you’re asked to present is very likely to be about you and you’re experiences. It can range from anywhere from between 10minutes to 40minutes and of course depending on the length of your presentation the amount of depth expected from you will increase and decrease accordingly. The key thing to remember about any Google interview preparation for presentation is to make it engaging and entertaining alongside the technical aspects.

5) Google Technical Interview

These interviews usually are for software developers and engineer roles. Depending on the role they will present an algorithmic, logic and coding problem. With technical interview practice makes perfect and it’s really about familiarising yourself with these types of Google Interview questions and answers.

6) Google Leadership Principles Interview

At Google everyone is thought of as a leader, therefore whatever level that you are interviewing at you’re going to be asked interview questions about Google’s leadership principles. which will assess your capability to truly become a Googler, as all Googlers are expected to be leaders. Whether it’s in their day to day job or in a direct leadership role. If you you wish to ace your interview we provide tailored google interview coaching programmes for professionals across the the world. So drop us a message an I’m sure we’ll be able to help.

Leadership questions from Google tend to be behavioural interviews. therefore they require you to apply the STAR method in answering the question. With a Google behavioural interview there is an expectation that in your response you are showcasing certain qualities that are vital in any Googler. This includes compassion, empathy, encouragement, empowerment, emotional intelligence, principled, values driven, enthusiastic. Therefore, in your stories integrating these keywords and having them anchor points in your narrative is crucial. You will then be able to extrapolate and create a well rounded thorough and high-quality response.

With Google behavioural interview questions Each response should be anywhere from between 3 to 5 minutes long. don’t be afraid to go into depth but at the same time it’s important to keep the story moving is a fine balancing act and one of the best ways to stay on the right track is to make sure you signpost by saying firstly secondly and thirdly so you don’t lose track of where you are in the response which is vital in a Google interview. Typical interview questions and answers can include “Provide an example where you led by example during a time of difficulty?”.  This is also one of the top Google interview questions. Below are some common Google interview questions for leadership.

Top Google Interview Questions (Leadership)

  1. Provide an example where you’ve had to inspire a team?
  2. Provide an example where you’ve had to make a difficult value driven decision?
  3. Tell us about a time where you’ve had an underperforming team member, how did you support
  4. and empower them to turn their situation around?
  5. Describe a time where you’ve then ownership of a situation and driven it through to completion?
  6. Describe a time where you’ve shown excellent leadership?

7) Role Related Interviews (RRI) Questions & Answers 

Role Related Interviews of the title suggest interviews that directly Assess your ability to do the job that’s been advertised. It’s the no frills part of the interview process, questions asked in the form of a Google behavioural interview however there will also be many hypothetical interview questions. It’s usually conducted by your direct line manager, so expect there to be a lot of follow up questions and some deep diving in to your answers. Below are some common Google Interview questions for RRI.

Top Google Interview Questions for Role Related (RRI) Hypothetical Interview questions:

  1. What would you do in the first 90 days of your role?
  2. What would be your priorities coming into this role?
  3. Talk us through how you would do X i.e. Identify new enterprise level clients (Google Cloud Enterprise Account Manager role)?
  4. What experience do you have in using Google Adwords? (Google Adwords role?)
  5. What is your understanding about this role?

How to Answer:

With Hypothetical interview questions ensure that you fully understand what the role consists of. This can usually be done through the job description but also having a conversation with the hiring manager or the recruiter prior to the interview to get further insight. also importantly look for synergies between your experiences and how they overlap in the role that you’re interviewing for at Google.

Top Google Interview Questions Role Related (RRI) Behavioural questions:

  1. Provide an example of a key project that you’ve led?
  2. Tell us about a time when you’ve had to come up with an innovative/out of the box solution to a problem?
  3. Provide an example of a key improvement/efficiency/growth that you’ve led?
  4. Tell us about your biggest achievement in your previous role?
  5. Describe a time when things didn’t go as expected ….how did you manage to turn things around?

How to Answer:

When it comes to answering role related behavioural questions it’s always important to ensure that any example that you’re using has a high level of synergy with the role that you’re interviewing for so this doesn’t necessarily mean need to be your strongest example because if it’s irrelevant to the role they might be impressed impressed b however you won’t score well. Therefore it’s always important to think about what is the strongest example in terms of synergies and relatability. If you’re finding that your current role is quite different from the role that you’re interviewing for, it’s then important to do your research and identify where the overlaps are between your role and the position at Google. Particularly when it comes to your behavioural answer the situation will be very important in building the context to ensure that day you get a complete understanding from the off this all make the rest of your response more pertinent.

8) Googleyness Interview Questions & Answer Strategies

No Google interview process is complete without a Googleyness interview. This assesses your personality and character suitability for Google. They will scope your ethics and personal values through a mixture of hypothetical and behavioural questions. These questions can sometimes have little to the role itself. So if you have a possible Google interview it’s important not to overlook this interview, as sometimes people underestimate it’s importance. However it’s very important and an interview can very much be won or lost at this stage.

  1. Provide an example where you’ve supported a team member?
  2. How would you deal with a situation where you saw someone doing something unethical?
  3. Provide an example where you’ve had to deal with conflict or a disagreement with a co-worker, how did you handle the situation?
  4. What are you currently doing as part of your professional development?
  5. What is your greatest achievement and why?
  6. Tell us about a time when you disagreed with your manager? How did you approach the situation?
  7. Provide an example of when you’ve failed, how did you respond and deal with the situation?

How to Answer Googleyness Interview Questions:

The Googleyness interview can be a mixture of behavioural hypothetical questions. However, whatever the question your answer needs to Showcase some important qualities, these qualities include compassion, curiosity, morality, fairness resilient and reflection. therefore again is important like with the leadership interviews to ensure that these qualities are integrated into your response. If you’re struggling to do so, take one of these words such as curiosity and look at at synonyms linked to that keyword inquisitiveness, but also word searches innovation creative desire to learn can all all fall under the Curiosity umbrella within the context of a job. so keep this thought in mind because it will help you build a high quality response

 

What are the top questions to ask an interviewer?

As a Google Interview Coach I always recommend that asking a question is your opportunity to leverage control over the interview and show off your strengths, meaning your research, knowledge of the company, your ability to solve problems and generate a positive engagement.

1) I’ve recently read in an article in IT weekly that Google Cloud is planning on challenging AWS in a number of key areas. I think the biggest challenge will be convincing companies come out of the amazon eco-system, despite a better product. I believe of the ways we can overcome this challenge is by creating spaces where companies can come in and experience Google Cloud having a mixture of consultative sales and direct sale approach. What are your thoughts on this?

2) I can see that there is a great atmosphere and chemistry between yourselves and the teams. What would you say is the best thing about working here?

3) In doing my research in to abc, I believe the following areas ____ ____ ____ would be my key priorities when coming in to the role. What are your thoughts on this?

How to dress for a Google Interview?

The Google Interview dress code it can range anywhere from smart casual to formal. It usually depends on the business area. If you’re in sales or legal it will be better to play safe and go down the formal route. However if you are a software developer, they’re not going to mind if you’re wearing a smart jumper/sweater.

How do you answer a Google interview question?

Simple, with confidence, clear steps of your process and thought process. Finally take your time to internalise and understand the question. Don’t feel overwhelmed just because it’s Google.

 

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