In this guide, you’ll learn about Google’s coding interview rubric. We'll cover how scoring works for algorithms, coding, communication, and problem solving. We also recommend checking out our guide to navigating the full Google interview process.
Whether we're talking about its world-famous search engine, YouTube, or one of its many cloud-based apps, millions of people use Google products every day. The software engineers at Google work on some of the most influential products in the world.
Google is often seen as one of the best places to work, with tens of thousands of people applying for jobs there every year. As a result, being a software engineer at Google can be an incredibly fulfilling career.
Google places a significant emphasis on technical skills for its engineering teams. This means that the coding interview rounds are crucial for aspiring software engineers. Hiring managers at Google will make recommendations during these coding rounds based on your performance.
The way they judge and score your coding interview performance is using the Google Coding Rubric:
Given the breadth and scope of Google engineering interviews, you may expect the interviewer's coding rubric to be elaborate. As you've prepared for Google's behavioral interview too, you've seen how thorough they can be. Google wants employees who can think outside of the box, know why they want to work at Google, and work well under constraints.
Interestingly, the rubric is quite simple.
It consists of only four categories, each consisting of four possible scores. These categories are Algorithms, Coding, Communication, and Problem-solving.
Candidates can receive a score of 1 to 4 in each of these, with 4 being the best possible score.
The Google Coding Rubric may look something like this:
First and foremost, a candidate's knowledge and experience with algorithms is a significant category of the Google coding rubric.
This category is concerned with the candidate's:
Obviously, high scores in each category are vital for an ultimate job offer. But being able to effectively answer questions about algorithms is of the utmost importance in the Google software engineer interview process.
The fact that your interviewer will be evaluating your coding ability is unsurprising. Nevertheless, there is only so much you can reveal about your coding skills during the length of a Google coding interview.
As such, Google hiring managers consider things like:
The coding portion of the interview is graded as follows:
Continue Reading: Google coding interview questions
Communication is an essential part of any successful interview.
An interviewer needs to follow you along to properly evaluate your merits. Only so much can be demonstrated during these coding interview rounds. Therefore, it is critical for candidates to properly communicate their thinking and decisions to fill in the gaps.
Here is how the communication rubric may look:
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Last but not least is the problem-solving section of the Google coding rubric.
While the other categories may concern your technical skills more directly, this category is more interested in how you approach solving the problem more generally.
Hiring managers will see if you consider different approaches while evaluating their trade-offs. Here is where asking clarifying questions is most important.
Ultimately, your interviewer will grade this section based on how organized, structured, and well-rounded your problem-solving approach is during your interview.
Here's how the problem-solving interview rubric looks:
While there are four points to each of the categories, there are six possible final scores that candidates can receive after their interviews. These are:
Interviewers will select one of these based upon their scores on the rubric and their performance in the interview.
For instance, 4's across the board would be a Strong Hire. Nothing but 1's, on the other hand, would be considered Strong No Hire.
While this coding rubric is undeniably simple, what makes up the categories themselves is anything but.
Luckily, every part of this coding rubric can be practiced before the big day. Here are some of the most effective ways to do so.
If you're in a pinch, you can also check out our SWE cheat sheet for your interview.
One of the best ways to practice the fundamentals of the Google coding interview (data structures and algorithms) is to complete Exponent's Software Engineer Interview Course.
Communication skills during your interview are incredibly important.
You could otherwise be an amazing engineering candidate, but because of poor communication, your hiring manager might not realize that.
The best way to sharpen your communication is completing some mock interviews using a platform like our peer-to-peer mock interview tool.
When it comes to developing your problem-solving skills for a coding interview, the best thing you can do is code as much as you can.
In this regard, experience is the best teacher.
Taking a closer look at the Google Coding Rubric may give you a good idea of how hiring managers at the company evaluate candidates.
However, candidates will need to go beyond acing the coding interview rounds to get an offer from Google.
Exponent gives you access to everything you need to ace your upcoming software engineering interview!
💬 Study SWE interview questions asked at some of the biggest companies
📖 Check out our company-specific Software Engineering interview guides
👯♂️ Practice your behavioral interviewing skills with our mock interview practice tool.
👨🎓 Take our complete Software Engineering interview course.