6 Brain-teasing Google Interview Questions and How to Answer Them

Girl about to have interview for google and answering google interview questions while wearing google shirt

Not long ago we have written a blog post with most common IBM Interview Questions and how to answer them. This time we are willing to share you most common Google interview questions since this tech giant is one of one of the world’s most valuable brands that makes sure to hire the right people who can solve complex problems while working in a challenging environment. 

Google is popular for asking brain-teaser questions to test the mental sharpness of potential candidates. These interview questions might don’t have specific answers, but they can certainly help companies gauge the ability of a candidate to work under pressure. 

If you’re passionate about working at Google, be sure to prepare yourself for hypothetical questions that don’t necessarily have a right or wrong answer. This makes Google interview questions much different when compared to any other interview questions. It’s not about knowing the answers, rather you need to think broadly and quantitatively to show how good you’re at tackling problems on the spot. You can’t be certain about the interview questions. So, all you have to do is to practice and improve your analytical skills. 

Business Insider revealed some of the questions Google had asked candidates over the years. Let’s take a look at 6 of Google’s brain teaser interview questions and how you should answer them: 

1. How many golf balls can be easily fitted inside the school bus?

This is one of those confoundedly difficult questions. Even if you know the width and length of a standard school bus and the volume of a golf ball, solving this kind of question during a job interview can be difficult. Let’s see how we can answer it mathematically: 

Let’s assume a standard school bus is 6ft high and 20ft long, which means 960 cubic feet or 1.6 million cubic inches. If the volume of a golf ball is 2.5 cubic inches, divide 2.5 into 1.6 million. The answer is 660,000 which is the number of golf balls you can fit inside the school bus. Here is another similar question: Estimate the number of tennis balls that can fit into a plane.

A question like this can be asked to evaluate your approach towards solving a problem. It’s not important to come up with an exact answer, but your response should be based on the right thought process. 

2. Explain a database in three sentences to an 8-year-old.

Companies, whether small or large, need people with great communication skills no matter the job role. This question is a good one to test the ability of an applicant to communicate complex ideas. The answer isn’t something specific. All you have to do is simplify the concept. For example, ‘a database is a machine that is good at remembering plenty of information’. Make sure to check out Apple’s question with a similar subject.


Start practicing Google Interview Questions now!


3. You have eight balls all of the same sizes, seven of them weigh the same, and one of them weighs slightly more. How can you find the ball that is heavier by using a balance and only two weightings?

Here is a simple solution! Take 6 balls and put 3 on each side of the scale. It will tell you whether or not the one that weighs slightly heavier than others is in the group of 6. If the weigh on both sides is equal, you know the heavier ball is in the remaining two. So, you weigh the remaining two to solve the puzzle. If the heavy ball is in the group of 6, pick 3 balls that are heavier than the 3 on the other side of the scale. Now, pick 2 of them and put them on the scale. If they are of the same weight, the heavy ball is the one you sat to the side. 

4. You have a 3-gallon jug and 5-gallon jug, how do you measure out exactly 4 gallons? 

There’s no way you can measure out exactly 4 gallons in a 3-gallon jug. So, you need the 5-gallon jug to solve the problem. First, fill the 3-gallon jug and pour it into the 5-gallon jug. Now, again fill the 3-jug gallon and pour it into 5-gallon jug. Since the 5-gallon jug already has 3 gallons in it, only 2 more gallons can be poured into it. Now you have 1 gallon left in the 3-gallon jug. 

We’re so close to solving this problem. Empty the 5-gallon jug and pour 1 gallon left in the 3-gallon jug into it. Fill the 3-gallon jug one last time and pour it into the 5-gallon jug. Congratulation! You have measured out exactly 4 gallons. 

5. How much should you charge to wash all the windows in Seattle?

Some questions look difficult but are surprisingly simple to answer. In the case of this question, you don’t have to and you can’t count all the windows in Seattle to come up with a quote. So, the trick is to find an easier answer. Let’s say you would charge $10 per window. Problem solved!

6. Why are manhole covers round? 

This question has been around for many years. Large organizations like Google and Microsoft have asked this one to test the ability of a candidate to think on their feet. 

Why aren’t manhole covers square or triangle? There is more than one reason why manhole covers are round. First, it’s the best shape to resist the compression of the earth around it. Second, round covers are easy to manufacture and transport. Third, round covers are easy to slip into place. One of the leading reason manhole covers are round is that they can’t fall through a circular opening. 

Bottom line 

It’s critical to use a well-thought-out interview strategy and determine what kind of questions you need to practice, especially when you’re targeting a specific company. Most of the leading tech companies ask brain teaser questions while interviewing candidates for different positions. So, make sure to practice solving tricky questions. 

More than two million people apply to land a job at Google every year. However, getting a job at Google is almost ten times harder than it is to get into Harvard. To improve your chances of acing the Google interview, make your interview preparation process more efficient and smart. 

If you found Google interview questions interesting then make sure to check out Microsoft hiring process next.

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Author: Ilija Mladenovic
Other than creative writing, solving problems is my passion.