Google | L3 | Paris [Rejected]
As you can see I interviewed a few months ago, but I remember scouring these Interview Experience posts and lamenting the fact that I couldnt seem to find that many posts about the experience in mainland europe. Even though I was rejected, I hope this could prove helpful to someone.
Background: 2YOE as a Software Engineer, did my interview in Java, although I do not use it for work.
I did a single phone screen with Google and completely tanked it. I had a 2D matrix question for my phone screen (hill height) that I of course couldnt solve as I had never even practiced that type of question before. My recruiter called me like 1 hour after the phone screen, thanked me for my time, and said they would reach out in 12 months for me to re-interview. I thought, I blew it, I will probably never hear from Google again. In EXACTLY six months they contacted me, and I frantically started preparing again, kicking myself for not prepping for the entire duration of the previous six months. As of this second contact point, I did almost every single question in CTCI to start, then did Leetcode (104 questions).
I tried to delay my phone screen a bit, but was encouraged to keep things moving by the two recruiters I dealt with (They were such awesome people, I feel privileged to have had such recruiters, as I've read some horror stories online! They were so responsive and made the process so much easier) I had two phone screens (1 hour and another lasting 45 mins) at two separate times and in both cases came to an optimal solution.
About 3 months after I first started prep I was On-Site at the Paris Office, my very first On Site interview ever of this nature.
To the best of my memory here is what I was asked!
- output a beep or some type of signal every time your method finds a match to some string in a non-stop stream of text. (Think about a Google Home, listening for "Okay Google") The optimal solution would be the use the KMP String Matching Algorithm, but I could not code it perfectly from scratch.
- I really can't remember exaclty what I had to do here, but it was an interval question, similar to this type of question https://leetcode.com/problems/non-overlapping-intervals/ I did a solution, but there was a bug which I had no time to fix.
- Googleyness and Leadership - all the questions they asked here are the standard types you see when you check online, e.g: * Tell me about a time you took a risk and failed. * Tell me a time when you have hard time working with any colleagues
LUNCH - Spoke at length with an engineer about their background in computer science and their role, and they also gave me a tour of the office. (You can see the Eiffel Tower from one of the coffee rooms! Beautiful!)
- When i came back from lunch and I heard this question I was pretty happy since I had practiced so many of these types of questions. It was this type of question: https://leetcode.com/problems/valid-parenthesis-string/. Solved it with no problem :)
- This was related to TreeMap. I had a sinking feeling when I heard this, because (I didnt prepare TreeMap, and also never saw TreeMap in class) Still I answered the question to the best of my knowledge, that related to BSTs. I had to do several traversals of this TreeMap.
I have a full time job so prepping for 3 months was very intense. I didn't go out, didnt do anything except solve questions as soon as I got home from work. I had a LOT to cover and practice, especially since I do not code in Java. I got to a point where I could solve most LC easy in 5 mins, but some mediums still took me 30 mins plus. Next time I will start my prep earlier, to give myself enough time to practice even more questions and cover more topics!
I feel like making it On Site was a personal achievement in and of itself, as I never even entertained the thought of interviewing for Google, let alone being on site! I don't have friends working in Big N companies, or know developers who have been through interviewing with Big N, nor even heard of Leetcode. It felt like a world that had no place for me, and I am really grateful to Google for opening this door. Prepping hard to ace it next time!