I recently interviewed with Google for a University Grad role based in Tokyo, Japan in October. After passing my phone screen, I was invited to interview onsite in Bangalore. Honestly, I was a bit disappointed because I was hoping to visit the Tokyo office for the onsite but unfortunately that didn’t happen.
The interview consisted of 5 rounds — 45 minutes each. After the first three interviews, there was lunch where I was accompanied by a Software Engineer working at Google. 1 round was a Googleyness & Leadership round while the other 4 were all technical. I didn’t have a System Design interview since I was applying for a new grad position. All the technical rounds were based on my understanding of data structures and algorithms. I was supposed to write code on an editor used by Google for interviews. It had the basic functionalities such as selecting a language, code highlighting and brace completion. They provide you with the option of using the whiteboard, pen and paper, sticky notes etc.
This interview was surprisingly taken by a Software Engineer. He started the conversation with a simple behavioral question and built up further questions based on my responses. The entire time, he was taking notes of everything I was saying. At the end of the interview, he asked me if I had any questions for him that I wished to ask. This round was quite enjoyable, in fact it eased me out of my anxiety that I had been feeling since morning!
This round immediately started after the first one ended. They make you sit in a meeting room where all of your interviews will take place and the interviewers will be joining you there itself. In this round, I was asked 2 questions. The first question was fairly easy and was based on Trees. I wrote the code for it in Python. The second question was based on strings. I came up with two approaches, coded both of them, but unfortunately, I couldn’t optimize it further.
The Engineer for this round had declined due to some other commitments and so they had to find a replacement for me. Eventually, my next two rounds were preponed. The interviewer came in a hurry. We went ahead straight towards the question just like all the previous interviews. This question was based on Binary Trees. I did come up with a naive approach but I had to optimize it further. I got overwhelmed and confused, the interviewer gave me a lot of hints. By the end, I felt like he was the one who solved it. I did write the code at the end and did a dry run on an example but I believe I performed poorly in this round.
I was accompanied by a Software Engineer for lunch. We walked to the cafeteria out of the meeting room. We had about 30 minutes for the lunch. He asked how my interviews went so far. I told him about the last interview and how I totally ruined it. He said not to worry too much since we didn’t have to ace all of our interviews and he shared his own experience interviewing there.
After lunch, I went back to my room. I had some time to kill by myself since the next interview wasn’t for another 45 minutes. I was again asked two questions in this round. The first one was based on strings, and it had a follow-up question. I wrote the code for both. Then the interviewer asked me to optimize it. I gave an optimized solution but he didn’t ask me to code it. Then he searched for another question to ask since we had about 15 minutes left. I gave the solution for this with the help of some hints but didn’t write any code since we didn’t have any time left.
I was asked a single question in this round which had multiple follow-ups. It was based on Binary Trees again. I wrote code for the first two variations of the question. I discussed the approach for the last follow-up. The interviewer said he didn’t expect me to write code for this one.
If you would have read my previous post you would already know that I was in contact with two recruiters — X and Y. After about 10 days, I pinged Y asking for any updates. She said that the feedback was still being finalized and she will let me know of further updates. After another 15 days, I finally received a rejection saying that they decided not to move further with my application and that they cannot share further details of my result.
I was really disappointed because this entire process took about 4 months. I wanted some feedback on my performance so I emailed them again asking for my cool-off period to re-apply and feedback from the interviewers. X told me that he would be happy to get on a call and talk about it.
He told me that I received mixed reviews on my performance. My Googleyness & Leadership interview went well and they liked how I articulated my thoughts and experiences. However, two of my technical interviews received mixed reviews and two went good. So, they couldn’t make a strong case for me to the hiring committee. But I should re-apply after 10 months or so and he will try to get me directly to onsite the next time.He also told me not to feel discouraged since it’s difficult to clear Google Interview in the first go and that I should look forward to reapplying.
I wouldn’t lie and say that I am over it. I did spend months preparing for it. I invested a lot of time and energy and therefore I am still upset about it since I received the rejection earlier today in the morning.But I didn’t want this negative energy to eat me up, therefore, I decided to write this postinstead.I learned a lot throughout the process. I would love to share about my preparation and other resources I discovered — but that’s for another time!
Also, Iam grateful for having such helpful recruiters who rooted for me and gave me amazing tips throughout these past few months.