Google's toughest interview questions revealed

Google applicants must prepare themselves to answer some tricky questions when they land themselves an interview at the company.

With about 2 million people applying for a job each year, it is almost 10 times harder to get a job at Google than it is to get into Harvard. Those lucky enough to land themselves an interview should get ready to answer some tough questions.

Those that make the cut will be asked questions like: "How many haircuts do you think happen in America every year?"

Business Insider has compiled a list of some tough and at times plain odd questions asked by recruiters at Google. The list was compiled using Glassdoor’s information about the tech giant.

For instance, one Associate Account Strategist was asked: “If you could only choose one song to play every time you walked into a room for the rest of your life, what would it be?”

Others were asked to describe AdWords to a seven-year old and how they would go about building a communication system to communicate with a colony on Mars.

While you may be able to find the answers by entering the question into the online search engine itself, the questions are not meant to be answered accurately but designed to challenge the candidate to act under pressure and see how the applicant solves problems.

Check out the questions below for inspiration on what to ask candidates at the next interview.  

  • List six things that make you nervous. — Android Support Level III, July 2014
  • If you wanted to bring your dog to work but one of your team members was allergic to dogs what would you do? — Associate Account Strategist, December 2014
  • Describe AdWords to a seven-year-old. — Associate Account Strategist Interview, December 2014
  • What do you know about Google? — Administrative Business Partner Interview, February 2015
  • How many cars travel across a bridge each day? — Advertising Interview, September 2014
  • If you could only choose one song to play every time you walked into a room for the rest of your life, what would it be? — Associate Account Strategist Interview, March 2014
  • If I gave you 10 million dollars right now, what would you do? — Associate Account Strategist, May 2014
  • What would you want to do if you didn't have to work? — Interaction Designer, September 2014
  • Tell me a joke. — Executive Assistant Interview, March 2014
  • How would you improve a shoe factory? — Field Operations Specialist, November 2014
  • Name a prank you would pull on x manager if you were hired. — Google Applications Support Engineer, June 2014
  • If you could be remembered for one sentence, what would it be? — Associate Account Strategist Interview, March 2014
  • If you had access to a bank's database, how would you use that information to design an ATM for elderly people? — Associate Product Manager, February 2015
  • You have a colony on Mars that you want to communicate with. How do you build a system to communicate with them? — Associate Product Manager, November 2014
  • How many ways can you think of to find a needle in a haystack? — Business Associate, May 2014
  • How many haircuts do you think happen in America every year? — Business Associate, May 2014


Google isn't the only tech company who frequently stump candidates with tricky interview questions. For instance, neither Netflix or LinkedIn shy away from challenging their candidates with tough interview questions.

Comments (5)
Tue, 25 Aug 2015 2:53pm BST
I totally understand the feedback comments, however it is important to understand the nature of the business, Google is a business that is focused on problem solving and engineering solutions to modern life technical issues, with the questions set out allowing an interview to understand how an individual would approach a problem to create a solution.

I like different, but understand this would not fit every business or circumstance.
+
- Show less
Thu, 13 Aug 2015 2:01pm BST
Hypothetical questions are utterly pointless, and in no way allow you to asses an individuals capability for the role.

Yes they may help you understand a bit more about the person and their personality, but what's wrong with good old fashioned conversation?

these kind of questions can damage your reputation as amanager.
+
- Show less
Wed, 5 Aug 2015 12:31pm BST
Interview questions from 1980? I hope Google does not do
+
- Show less
Tue, 4 Aug 2015 1:41pm BST
Naveen Rao
I dont agree. The more toughest interview? recruiters to be educated. they are asked to hire the talent and not to judge the talent by asking all unnecessary questions.
+
- Show less
Mon, 3 Aug 2015 3:34pm BST
Miss Anson
I'm not sure that Google are still so enamoured with this capricious interview style these days. I think they now focus on what success in a role actually looks like and then hiring against that model of success. The world has moved on from judgements and the idiosyncratic interviewer effect that can result from these types of questions which perpetuate unconscious bias and are really only vaguely entertaining and do not assess if someone is actually good at a particular role.
+
- Show less