Navigating the Google Interview Process: A Step-by-Step Guide

Google’s seven-step interviewing process may seem strenuous for the first-time applicant. The uncertainty of which process is next and not knowing what lies ahead can be rather daunting for most applicants.

Google Interview

Google’s interview process is renownedly difficult and can take some time to complete; it generally takes between one to two months from start to finish. There are several steps that you will be required to accomplish before your interview is officially complete.

If you are applying for a role at Google, it is critical to be prepared for what’s coming so you don’t discover unexpected surprises at the last minute. In order to assist you with landing your dream job, we’ll take a look at what every step of Google’s hiring process entails.

Additionally, we’ve listed a few tips to boost your application and different types of interview questions you could expect to be asked.

What Does The Interview Process Include?

The seven steps of the interview process are:

  1. Résumé screening
  2. Recruiter call
  3. Phone screening
  4. On-site interviews
  5. Team matching
  6. Hiring Committee review
  7. The offer

1. Résumé Screening

Panel taking an interview

The first step in the Google hiring process is similar to most job applications- résumé screening. Google will screen your résumé to ensure that your qualifications meet their technical and educational requirements.

Screening is the initial step to sieve through the bulk of the applications and to decipher whether you will be a potential candidate for the job or not. To improve your chances of progressing to the next round of the hiring process, below are a few suggestions to boost your résumé:

Put Emphasis On Your Leadership Experience and Abilities.

Google is looking for job applicants that have had previous leadership roles. List your previous leadership roles, your duties, and any people you were responsible for leading.

Among your leadership roles, recruiters are searching for applications that have analytical-problem solving skills, exceptional written and oral communication, and a well-rounded personality.

Be Specific and Outline The Successes Of Previous Projects.

Keep your résumé precise by being specific about previous projects that you have been involved with and how the success of the project was measured. When listing your achievements, use objective information, for example:

“Increased sales by 15% for online sales stores by increasing the volume of traffic that visited their website”.

Use Professional Language.

We can’t stress enough how important it is to use professional, well-structured, error-free language. Résumés that contain basic typing and grammatical errors immediately raise red flags for the recruiter.

Use basic highlighting and number tools to improve the structure of your résumé. This will save the person reading your résumé time and create a great impression.

Limit Your Résumé To One or Two Pages.

There’s no limit to how long your résumé should be, but it becomes unnecessary to have multiple pages. Keep your résumé concise and list your key points.

Always have a second pair of eyes look over your résumé before submitting it to ensure there are no grammatical errors.

2. Recruiter Call

Business woman talking on call

Once your résumé is approved, you’ll receive a call from a Google recruiter. They will want to schedule a call with you. This call is generally between 20-30 minutes in length, and they will ask you several questions.

It’s best to prepare for the standard questions about your résumé and your qualifications. The most common questions that are more than likely to be pitched are: “Why did you choose Google?” and “Take me through your résumé.”

The recruiter will give you a breakdown of the overall interview process and how it will be conducted. Should you have any questions, the recruitment call is the ideal time to clarify information.

Answer all the recruiter’s questions to his/ her satisfaction, and they will get back in touch with you to schedule a phone screening interview.

3. Phone Screening

You’ve made it past the two preliminary interview stages. Now the real interviews begin. In the phone screening process, depending on what position you have applied for, there will be a minimum of one phone screening with a potential manager or team leader.

Phone screening will generally take place over Google Meet, and you should expect the screening to last between 45 minutes to an hour. The assigned team manager or leader will, in most cases, want to use a video call. Remember to dress appropriately and smile.

Phone screening can be a challenging process, so we’ve done some research on several job positions to give you a glimpse of what will be expected from different roles:

Account Managers

Client service skills are essential for this position. You’ll be asked questions that test your ability to deal with different behaviors. Your team manager may also ask you some background questions to test your experience with client service.

Software Engineers

Software engineers can expect multiple phone screening interviews; you’ll be expected to complete several phone coding challenges to test your problem-solving and data structuring skills.

Expect to be tested on DOM manipulation and CSS data structuring. Prepare for your software engineer Google interview with tailored resources at Job Test Prep.

Engineering Managers

Engineering managers will go through a similar test of their coding abilities as the Software engineer; there will be advanced coding scenarios that you will be expected to solve. Engineering managers will also be questioned on their behavioral and project management skills.

Product Managers

As a Production manager at Google, you’ll be responsible for launching and testing new products and analyzing data. You’ll be asked questions on product design, analyzing strategies, how to improve products, and some background questions.

Data Scientists

Data scientists will be required to perform several phone screening interviews where they will be put through statistical coding and SQL tasks on Google Docs or a coding platform.

Technical Program Managers

TPMs are responsible for overseeing, managing, and evaluating the risks of projects. Managers will ask you questions based on project management, leadership, and technical aspects.

Once you have passed your phone screening interview, you’ll move on to the more familiar on-site interviews.

4. On-site Interviews

Panel Interview

Following the phone screening process, you’ll move to the most challenging part- on-site interviews. Interviews will typically be held at Google’s physical offices. However, they could also take place via video call, depending on your location and the position.

You’ll have to go through six (6) continual interviews that are usually 45 minutes each. Should you be at Google’s physical offices, you will have the opportunity to have lunch with a future member of the team as part of your assessment.

The back-to-back interviews are focussed on assessing whether you’re capable of performing the requirements for the position, your ability to work in a team and if you fit in with the culture of the firm.

If you are applying for a technical role at Google, you will be required to pass several on-site Coding and System Design interviews.

If it’s not evident already, Google has a rigorous interviewing process and takes the time to ensure that they only hire the best Software engineers.

To help you pass the on-site interviews, we’ve compiled some useful tips:

  • Google is particularly interested in scalable system design. Expect to be asked questions such as: “How is a NoSQL database different from SQL databases?”
  • Prepare to be asked questions on System Design and Memory limits. You will be asked questions on designing URL systems and how you might design Google docs.
  • Get familiar with Whiteboard Solutions and Google docs.
  • In addition, there will be questions asked about basic algorithms and data structures, and you may even be given an encoded string and have to return its decoded string.

Pass all the on-site interviews, and you can almost consider yourself hired. You will now move on to the team matching phase.

5. Team Matching

a Woman and Man Shaking Hands

Well done, you’ve successfully made it past one of the toughest on-site interview processes, and the next phase is team matching. In the team matching phase, you will be introduced to team leaders or prospective managers.

The team matchup will focus on the type of work that you will be required to perform and your firm fitness for the specific team. Impress your prospective manager and they will recommend you to your recruiter. This recommendation will form part of your portfolio.

Your portfolio will be submitted to a hiring committee for review. However, not all candidates are required to perform the team matching process. Some candidates’ portfolios will be submitted straight to a hiring committee after on-site interviews.

6. Hiring Committee Reviews

Now that you have completed all the on-site interviews, your interviewer will evaluate your performance. Google uses a standard form where your interviewers are required to fill in your responses to each of their questions.

Candidates’ answers are graded using four criteria:

  1. Google’s interviewers will assess your knowledge and experience with the related role. This is to ensure that you have sufficient experience, you’re an expert in the domain, and that you’ll be able to fulfill the requirements of the role.
  2. It’s not just about your expertise but the ability to adapt to new systems. Google wants to hire employees with outstanding cognitive abilities and your interviewer will be tasked with testing your problem-solving abilities.
  3. As we mentioned earlier, Google is searching for individuals with leadership capabilities. Google’s employees are generally grouped into cross-functional teams, and individuals are required to step up and fulfill leadership roles when necessary.
  4. Interviewers will look at whether you are a “cultural fit” for Google. Do you showcase the characteristics of a Google employee? Your interviewers will assess your natural values and characteristics.

Every interviewer will fill out their final recommendation, deciding whether you are “Strong for hire” or simply “Strong no hire.” Should they be unsure, there is the option of “Leaning hire” or “Leaning no hire.”

All your interview assessments, together with your resume and feedback from your phone screening, are combined into a portfolio. This document is sent to Google’s hiring committee for review.

Members of the hiring committee will each make their own recommendations based on the above criteria. The best applicants will be considered, and your recruiter will notify you of the hiring committee’s decision after you have received one of four possible responses.

The four possible responses that you could receive are the following:

  1. The response you are hoping to hear: “You’re hired!” The good news will proceed with an offer from the Executive Committee.
  2. “You’re hired, but we’re still trying to find a team for you to join.” You’ve been accepted to join Google, however, they just need to place you in a team.
  3. “We require additional information.” This response means that the hiring committee requires you to attend additional interviews to clarify some unclear information. Once you have completed the additional interviews, the hiring committee will make an informed decision.
  4. “You’re unfortunately not the right fit.” This means that you were unfortunately unsuccessful, but you are eligible to re-apply in the future.

7. The Offer

You’ve made it! The hiring committee will make an offer list of all the successful candidates. The offer list is sent to the Executive Committee for review, as the committee is required to approve an offer before it is made to a candidate.

The offer is drafted by a Compensation Committee, which is responsible for determining the appropriate compensation amount. When the offer has been approved, your recruiter will contact you with the offer. You can choose to accept or decline.