Google Interview questions

The Most Common Google interview Questions (with Answers)

The most effective way to prepare for a Google interview is to practice real Google interview questions. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a cheatsheet for your Google interview, so you know the answer to questions before they’re asked? Luckily, this cheat sheet exists–Google published it themselves. Google outlines common interview questions, the values (Googleyness) they’re looking for, and the interview process on their own site. Google employees and candidates have shared real Google interview questions and the Google interview process all over the internet on sites like Glassdoor and LeetCode. But how do you know which questions will actually be asked? We’ve compiled the most common Google interview questions and answers so you can go into your interview with confidence.

What Are Google Interview Questions Looking For?

Google interview questions assess you based on 4 criteria.

  • General Cognitive Ability (GCA)
  • Role Related Knowledge (RRK)
  • Leadership
  • Googleyness

We’ve outlined each type of interview and their respective interview questions in this article. In short, Role Related Knowledge (RRK) will be assessed by technical questions, often via coding. Googleyness and Leadership will be assessed via behavioral questions. General Cognitive Ability is a bit more open-ended–literally. General cognitive ability (GCA) is usually assessed with open-ended questions or hypothetical scenarios where you can show your thinking process. Rarely, Google will ask brain teasers or riddles. But open-ended behavioral and technical questions are usually sufficient for Google to assess your cognitive ability. Keep these 4 criteria in mind when answering Google interview questions.

How to Answer Google Interview Questions According to Google

One of the worst mistakes candidates make is just casually scanning Google interview questions online before their interview. They study questions carefully, but don’t prepare answers–they plan to “wing” their answers. But Google interviewers certainly don’t have such a casual attitude. They’ll carefully note your responses and meticulously review what you shared. Google themselves say not to do this on their own site!

While you shouldn’t memorize interview responses word-for-word, you should have a pitch prepared along with common interview responses. On Google’s interview tips page, they recommend you prepare examples before the interview to prepare situations you can share using the STAR method.

Google quote

As a Product Designer at Google and a mentor at Pathrise, Garrett Nakamoto emphasizes coming to behavioral interviews prepared with examples from your previous experience. “Having situations from your work experience already prepared means you can focus on showing Googleyness and sharp cognitive ability, instead of tripping over your words as you try to remember a highly specific experience on the fly.” Google excess like NAME at Pathrise landed jobs by acing Google interview questions, demonstrating their soft skills, technical skills, and cultural alignment with Google.

If you’re preparing for a Google interview, don’t just read the questions in this article. Actually write your own response (or modify our example answers), then practice the answers aloud with a friend or in the mirror. You will absolutely be asked some of the Google interview questions in this guide.

Common Google Interview Questions from Their Own Website

To help candidates prepare, Google outlines the interview process and offers tips on their own site. Google wants candidates to arrive prepared and communicate their experiences as effectively as possible. After all, hiring managers want to hire the best candidate possible–not the candidate who just happens to excel at interviews. To level the playing field, Google offers these tips:

  • Find connections between the job listing and your resume
  • Focus on data
  • Look back at past work experiences
  • Come ready with questions

All of these are self-explanatory besides “focus on data”, which means bringing data to the interview that shows your impact in previous roles. The format Google suggests is “Accomplished X as measured by Y doing Z.” You should practice answering with proper interview etiquette, which will not only make you more effective, but also display the respect component of “Googleyness”. Some of the most common Google interview questions include:

  • Describe a time when you had to make a difficult decision.
  • What is your preferred work style or approach to collaboration?
  • Tell me about your greatest accomplishment.

These types of questions will come up in almost any interview you will ever have or have had. Understanding these questions and the STAR interview technique (situation, task, action, result) will be the most critical step to succeeding in any interview. But since these questions are so common, we won’t analyze them in-depth here. Check out our full guides on answering “tell me about yourself” questions and “what areas do you need to develop further” questions–these simple questions come up in almost every interview. Instead, we want to focus on technical and behavioral interview questions specific to Google.

Star method

Most Common Google Interview Questions

Google’s top 3 questions are behavioral interview questions specific to Google as a company. These questions are designed to assess how you think and relate to Google. While these questions don’t necessarily require you to know anything about Google, sharing Google-specific information can help you prove your genuine interest and Googleyness.

1. Why Google?

This is your chance to demonstrate cultural alignment with Google and show you’ve done your research. While you obviously shouldn’t lie, prepare a thoughtful answer that’s connected to Google’s stated values, mission, and history.

Based on our data, the most effective way to answer is to explain why you’re a good candidate and how you connect to the company’s mission, values, products, and goals. Check out our full guide to answering “Why do you want to work here” questions because they’ll come up in almost every interview. However, your answer should depend on the company.

Our answer: 

“That’s a great question. I want to work at Google because I feel that our goals align. I have always been passionate about accessible yet intuitive products that anyone can easily use, just like how Google’s mission is to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.

In my past role as a product manager at Etsy, I worked to build streamlined back-end functionality for creators to easily upload their products, interact with customers, and sell their creations more easily. The intuitive updates and accessible products I managed increased creator NPS by 60% and led to a 45% increase in creator retention. And I did it all in just 6 months.

With my experience working with Etsy creators and my perspective as a frequent small business shopper, I know I can provide valuable input to the team so that Google can continue to offer the most intuitive UX with useful search results. In addition, I know that as a company Google values speed and curiosity, which are traits that have been extremely important to me in past roles. I am looking to join a mission-driven technology company with a focus on accessibility and continued learning.”

2. Tell me about a time that you went against the status quo.

This type of open-ended behavioral question is designed to assess your Googleyness and leadership, as well as your work style. The key to answering these questions will be to have an example from a past role prepared.

This question can be particularly challenging because candidates think they have to share a story about how they went against their company’s values. But the question only asks about going against the status quo in general. You don’t have to share a conflict. You can just as easily share a story focused on innovation. When did you solve a problem that people didn’t think could easily be solved? When did you use a technology that others weren’t familiar with?

While researching Google is less critical to this question, understanding that Google values going against the status quo and seeking out new information can be helpful. The key to acing this Google interview is the same strategy that will help you ace most of their interview questions: come prepared with a relevant experience you can tailor to their questions. When answering, use the STAR method, and focus on your impact whenever possible. You can tie your answer to Google’s values, but you don’t have to do this with every single question.

Our answer:

When I worked at Etsy in 2018, some of the site’s users and creators complained about eye strain from using the site for hours. Others were frustrated that their batteries seemed to die quickly from using the design platform. The design team assumed that these were engineering problems, or inevitable. “Of course users get eye strain after hours of designing”, they’d say. But I went against the status quo by proposing a design solution: dark mode. I worked cross functionally with the dev team to create a dark mode version of Etsy for creators to help avoid eye strain, improve concentration, and prevent battery loss. We successfully launched dark mode in late 2019, with almost a quarter of creators switching to dark mode instantly. We increased user click through rates by almost 15% on IOS and Android devices in dark mode as well. 

Going against the status quo doesn’t always make sense–tradition is often tradition because it works. But like Google, I believe that there is always more knowledge out there. When a new technology or approach to solving is developed, going against the status quo makes sense. For example, dark mode was becoming the industry standard in 2019. It made sense to change the interface given the new technology and information.

3. Tell me about your favorite Google product and why

This question didn’t mention Google for no reason. This is your chance to thoughtfully show your familiarity with Google as a company while also displaying your personality and thinking skills. You can take the question in many directions. Some candidates might choose a highly successful Google product, then share the specific features Google designed to make the product successful. Others might be more straightforward, sharing the devices they use most often and why they find them useful to their work. While both these approaches are effective, they can be combined:

Our answer:

“My favorite Google product has to be Google Chrome. While I can find more powerful browsers, Google Chrome is by far the most accessible and easy to use.  Its intuitive practical UX shows off Google’s mission to deliver accessibility and usefulness above all else. Chrome’s multiple different profiles and simple navigation help me prevent technical difficulties when presenting to key shareholders and working cross-functionally with less technical teams.”

The most common way to fail this question is to thoughtlessly list a product name like YouTube and move on. While a casual one-word answer won’t necessarily work against you, it wastes an opportunity to showcase your culture fit and passion for Google.

Googleyness Interview Questions


After the initial interviews, you may be invited for a “Googleyness” interview that assesses your culture fit. Google may call this a “Googleyness Interview” or “Leadership & Googleyness Interview”. These are really just fancy words for a behavioral interview. These Google interview questions will focus on assessing soft skills instead of technical questions. They’ll be similar to the questions answered in the previous section.

While “Googleyness” means alignment with Google’s company culture, it’s more of a personality than a set of principles or values. Unlike companies like Amazon that have extremely precise cultural attitudes, “Googleyness” is usually more open-ended. But in general, Googleyness will mean a positive attitude and curiosity. Receiving feedback well and having a growth mindset are also some of the most important “Googleyness” traits.

You won’t win points for telling your interviewer that you have “Googleyness”, aside from maybe surprising the interviewer that you’ve heard the word before. Don’t force it. You can demonstrate your culture fit by thoughtfully answering questions with the STAR method. If your experiences happen to align, you can also mention Google’s stated values. While Google’s values are not the same as Googleyness, you’ll be demonstrating Googleyness by reading up on Google’s values and mission. Here are some common Googleyness questions.

  • If you had coffee with our CEO, what would you talk to him about?
  • Tell me about a time you made a serious mistake. What did you learn?
  • What is your greatest weakness?
  • What is your favorite Google product and why?

General Cognitive Ability Google Interview Questions

A General Cognitive Ability (GCA) interview assesses your critical thinking skills. In Google’s own words, a GCA interview involves: “open-ended questions to learn how you approach and solve problems. There’s no one right way to answer—your ability to explain your thought process and how you use data to inform decisions is what is the most important.”

The most common GCA Google interview questions are open-ended hypotheticals asking how you’d solve a non-technical problem. For example, you might be asked how to launch a new app or improve their Google virtual assistants. Other GCA questions may be like brain teasers, asking you to solve a riddle that requires thinking on your feet. But even their brain teasers will usually be framed in terms of “How would you do X”. This means thoughtful creativity is usually more important than any one specific right answer.

  • If you look at a clock and the time is 3:15, what is the angle between the hour and the minute hands?
  • How would you go about opening a successful bakery?
  • How would you measure the effectiveness of our employee referral program?
  • If you were the chief traffic officer of Los Angeles and someone asked you to reduce traffic, how would you solve this?

Technical Google Interview Questions from LeetCode

Google often asks Leetcode style questions. If you have LC premium, you can use the Google company tag to find the most common Leetcode questions. But with the free version, you can still find some of the most common Leetcode Google interview questions.

In 2022, a Leetcode user on Reddit found a list of the 100 most common Leetcode challenges in Google interview questions on CodeDrill. It’s supposedly based on questions tagged as being real interview questions from Google. However, we highly recommend using the actual Leetcode platform at to practice for technical interview questions at Google. Some of the most common LeetCode style questions in Google interview questions today include:

Technical Google Interview Questions for software engineers

Besides Leetcode style questions, here are some of the most common Google interview questions asked in software engineering interviews.

  • Find out whether a given binary tree is a binary search tree.
  • Given a binary tree, find the maximum path sum. The path may start and end at any node in the tree.”
  • Given an encoded string, return its decoded string.
  • Write code that prints the Cartesian product (row by row for each combination) of a given list of lists (that contain integers).
  • Write a code to compute the square root of a given number.
  • Write a program that shortens URLs.
  • Write a code to convert a given set of integers into their Roman number equivalents.
  • Write a program to find out if a given number “N” is sparse. (A number is said to be sparse if no two bits are in binary representation).
  • Find the longest word from the dictionary that can be made from given characters. How will you do it if ‘*’ (matches one wild character) is also included?
  • Given a set of points, find the line with max points on it.
  • Compute the area of a polygon.
  • Write a class to define a deck of cards, and write a shuffle function for the cards.
  • Given a sorted matrix where the number below and right of you will always be bigger, write an algorithm to find if a particular number exists in the matrix. What is the run time of your algorithm?

Google interview Questions for Data Scientists?

Data Scientist candidates can also expect Leetcode style Google interview questions, which can be found here or on LeetCode. Besides Leetcode style questions, here are some other common Google interview questions for data scientists:

  • Write a Python function to calculate the factorial of a given number.
  • What is the difference between K-mean and EM?
  • What is the function of p-values in high dimensional linear regression?
  • Given two strings A and B, return whether or not A can be shifted some number of times to get B.
  • You flip a fair coin 576 times. Without using a calculator, calculate the probability of flipping at least 312 heads.
  • You have a deck and you take one card at random and guess what the card is. What is the probability you guess right?
  • How do you test if a new feature has increased engagement at Google’s?
  • Write a function to generate N samples from a normal distribution and plot the histogram.
  • Given a percentile threshold and N samples, write a function to simulate a truncated normal distribution.

Google Interview Questions for Design

Design interviews tend to be far less technical. Google interview questions for designers will usually be more behavioral or based on your portfolio. However, these semi-technical questions have come up in past Google interviews.

  • Portfolio review follow-up: Have you considered alternative solutions?
  • Portfolio review follow-up: What would you change if you had to do it again?
  • Portfolio review follow-up: If there were researchers helping you, what would you do to find out more about the interview?
  • What are the differences between the various web frameworks in Python (django, fast API, etc)
  • Design a stove for the blind.
  • Design a CRM for door-to-door salesmen using Google Maps.
  • Design a remote for a toy car.
  • Tell me about a product that you really love and why. How could it be improved?
  • Design a kiosk animation
  • How could you describe interaction design to someone who doesn’t know interaction design?
  • Design a few fake websites and redesign the Amazon homepage
  • How do you design an interface for a 1000 floor elevator
  • Design a system for controlling a toy car with a smartphone.
  • How would you design Gmail labels so that people would use them more?

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Check out our other Interview Questions to prep for your next interview:

Patrick Bohan

Hi, I'm Patrick, I write about the job search. After graduating from Cornell, I became a content lead at UBS where I helped professionals at Fortune 500 companies understand their stock options, salary, and benefits. When I'm not writing about the hiring process, I write novels for teens.

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