Google Product Manager Interview Questions

Updated Sep 6, 2014
Updated Sep 6, 2014
219 Interview Reviews

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  1. 5 people found this helpful  

    Product Manager Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Application Details

    I applied through a recruiter - interviewed at Google.

    Interview Details

    Phone Screen for Google Product Manager -

    The questions were:
    * Why Google?
    * Tell me about the most exciting project you've worked on in the past, and why it was the most exciting for you.
    * Design scenario: The alarm clock industry is really waning as of late. What could you do to curb this trend?

    Interview Questions
    • Design scenario: Let's say you have a tv remote with 3 buttons, mute, vol up, vol down. What would you expect to happen if a user hits vol up button when its muted? Talk through the scenarios and what the user is trying to do. What would you expect to happen if you hit vol down button when it's muted?   View Answer
    Accepted Offer
  2. 15 people found this helpful  

    Senior Product Manager Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate  in  Mountain View, CA
    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Mountain View, CA
    Application Details

    I applied through a recruiter. The process took 3 weeks - interviewed at Google.

    Interview Details

    My interviews consisted of a phone screen and in person interview at the Googleplex

    My phone screen consisted of a product design / brainstorming question which was a lot of fun. The interviewer was a new PM and very respectful.

    I met with five PMs on campus. My reaction of the interview process is negative.

    The good: Coordination was good. Recruiter was in touch throughout the process. The lunch interview was the highlight of my day.

    The bad: The interview panel was not very diverse - in fact was largely white/male, former CS or Management Consulting background. Google's penchant for the tricksy interview questions is alive and well.

    Most of my interviewers were arrogant (with two notable exceptions). However what gave me pause was the uniform response from all of the PMs on the panel that "PMs only focus on execution", "Engineers hold the power here at Google", "Engineers need PMs only when they need to launch products", "Engineers look down on PMs that only focus on the front-end". This was very unexpected from my (external) perception of Google.

    Apart from the "pirates on a deserted island" set of questions, the rest of the questions were Product Design or Product Analytics focused. These were fun but I got the sense that they were going down a checklist without probing too deep. In fact, it almost seemed like they had made up their mind to reject anyone who doesn't fit a certain mold. I walked away very underwhelmed.

    1. Engineers have come to you with a cool new feature. What ideas can you come up with that incorporate this feature?
    2. Design an app around your interest. How will you take it to market? How will you evaluate success?
    3. How will you launch Android Wear?
    4. Brainstorm some unique ideas for a vending machine
    5. Estimate the bandwidth needs for You Tube for one year

    There were no technical or coding questions on my panel. Not sure if this means that Google has done away with the coding questions.

    Interview Questions
    • "On a scale of one to ten, how difficult was this question? "   Answer Question
    Reasons for Declining

    Google's process is geared at identifying very junior PMs.

    PMs on my panel seemed arrogant. The tidbit about being engineering led and only focusing on execution was very unexpected. There was also a candid observation shared that successful PMs at Google optimize for the short term rather than the long term. One of the PMs very arrogantly contrasted his startup experience and mentioned that he had never ever worked at a company where everyone was of a really high caliber - which is usually true of large companies.

    Finally, given the makeup of the interview panel, I am not sure I would be very comfortable in a PM culture that is not diverse nor values different perspectives. I also did not walk away with a sense that they were particularly engaged or happy at Google.

    Declined Offer
    Negative Experience
    Average Interview
  3. 3 people found this helpful  

    Product Manager Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Application Details

    I applied through an employee referral - interviewed at Google.

    Interview Details

    First step is a phone interview with a random person (who in this case was using some type of video conferencing system with a lot of echo that disconnected a couple of times.) Questions: 0) Tell us about yourself; 1) What is the total bandwidth used by a gmail server?; 2) Discuss a non-technical product you've used. What did you like about it? What would you improve? 3) The bounce rate on youtube videos is too high. how would you improve it?

    The overall feedback was very limited: good technical solutions, not enough focus on the user.

    Interview Questions
    • None of these questions are difficult or unexpected.   View Answer
    No Offer
    Negative Experience
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  5. 1 person found this helpful  

    Product Manager Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate  in  New York, NY
    Anonymous Interview Candidate in New York, NY
    Application Details

    I applied through an employee referral. The process took 4 months - interviewed at Google in October 2013.

    Interview Details

    I first spoke with the recruiter, who then referred me to a phone interview. The phone interview went well, so I was invited to in person interviews. Those appeared to go well as well, but not as well as I would have liked, because they said I needed another phone interview. That last phone interview did not go well, and I was not given an offer.

    Interview Questions
    • What is a traffic cone good for other than regular traffic stuff?   View Answers (2)
    No Offer
    Negative Experience
    Easy Interview
  6. 3 people found this helpful  

    Product Manager Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Interview Details

    I had a 30 min screening interview over the phone, followed by half a day of on site interviews at the Googleplex in Mountain View. Some of these were in person, while others were over video conference

    Interview Questions
    Accepted Offer
  7. 52 people found this helpful  

    Product Manager Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate  in  Mountain View, CA
    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Mountain View, CA
    Application Details

    I applied through a recruiter. The process took 2 months - interviewed at Google in September 2013.

    Interview Details

    Standard Process. A phone screen by recruiter followed by phone screen with a couple of product managers. After that got an invite to come onsite. Had 5 gruelling interviews ( 3 PMs, 1 behavioral with a Director of PM, 1 engineer ). They get you to lunch with one of the PMs and the lunch is fairly casual which gives you a glimpse of the famous 'free google food' Those candidates will succeed who practice and stick to an enterpreneurial mindset day in and day out. Its not something that you practice, prepare and acquire overnight or even in a few months. This was my second shot, I felt optimistic but unfortunately i did not make it.

    Questions :

    1) concept to design - how would you build X for Y kind of people?

    2) Strategic - what would you do if u were the CEO of X?What is the next big thing that you would design for XYZ company?

    3) Sizing/estimation/consulting case type questions - if you build xyz product what is the market size like and how much? key here is to make assumptions, think details and incorporate them..

    4) Puzzles - i got a couple of them....imagine u are on an island and....or u hav a billion numbers and...

    5) behavioral - i did not encounter them when i interviewed at google a few years back...seems like Google is changing its approach towards a more rounded up interview process

    6) engineering/CS - this does require a solid CS Foundation...didn't help that it came towards the end of a long and tiring day...last time around i also got Big( O ) estimation problems thrown at me..

    Tips:

    1. Use the whiteboard to articulate and frame your thoughts and go through the problem solving process...what you should be thinking of is to come up with a framework for the answer instead of jumping rightaway to a nice well rounded andswer..google wants to see your framework not your final answer....
    also my big takeaway from the interview (even though i didnt get the job) was this framework building process could be used beyond this interview even in my day to day work with great results

    2. Have a 'recursive approach' - which means when given a problem with which you are absolutely stumped, try to think of the simplest 'base' case...scale it slightly...observe the pattern and come up with an insight...if you have 7 bullets in a gun kinda problem try to think of it in terms of 1-2 bullets in a gun scale...figure out the pattern for the smaller problem and that is the key to the larger problem as well...

    3. be creative, think about the status qou and whats wrong and what you would like to change..whether its google's products or a competitors...

    4. Keep your calm...this is the most most important of all...remember to simply slow down since your heart rate will be 2x the normal...

    At all times, Google's followup was very professional...u will learn of how you fared in 1 or 2 weeks and the recruiter was exceptionally considerate in reaching out to me at intervals and letting me know where the process was...a far cry from some of the other behemoths in the valley who do not even bother to acknowledge your onsite visit to them....

    No Offer
    Positive Experience
    Difficult Interview
  8. 2 people found this helpful  

    Enterprise Product Manager Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate  in  New York, NY
    Anonymous Interview Candidate in New York, NY
    Application Details

    I applied through college or university. The process took 4+ weeks - interviewed at Google in April 2010.

    Interview Details

    Has initial phone interview with HR. Scheduled a phone interview with a product manager in the Google NY office. The interviewer asked me general questions about my background and about how I think Google makes money from ads. I was also asked why I want the PM role (as I have a technical background). I was asked why I want to work at Google and which Google products are my favorite. I mentioned that I like the Google search engine. Overall I got the impression that Google gets many applicants and they are really looking for candidates with MBAs and exceptional backgrounds for their PM roles.

    Interview Questions
    • Why don't you use Google Scholar for searching for publications?   Answer Question
    Reasons for Declining

    Personal reasons - did not want to relocate to NY.

    Declined Offer
    Neutral Experience
    Average Interview
  9.  

    Associate Product Manager Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Application Details

    The process took 2 weeks - interviewed at Google.

    Interview Details

    Overall, I thought that the HR department at Google was very helpful and easy to work with. However, it seems that for APM they are still using Fermi Questions. Overall, I was not happy with my performance on the interview, but much of that has to do with not knowing what to prepare in the first place. It didn't seem like going over technical skills helped at all. The first round was a Fermi Question (below) and other questions like

    Interview Questions
    • If scientists said that phone batteries could not get any better. What would you do to make a better phone experience?   View Answers (2)
    No Offer
    Positive Experience
    Difficult Interview
  10. 5 people found this helpful  

    Product Manager Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate  in  Mountain View, CA
    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Mountain View, CA
    Application Details

    I applied online. The process took 2 weeks - interviewed at Google in May 2014.

    Interview Details

    One guy was literally yawning all the time at around 11AM, which is very unprofessional. I was like, dude, doesn't Google serve coffee or sth?

    I won't share specific interviews questions (I don't think they actually help much), but I will share some of my observations (which may not be 100% true):
    1) Google seems to maintain a pool of interview questions. I was asked 2 of the same questions listed on glassdoor. But sometimes the interviewer just make up questions on the fly.
    2) On-site consists of 5 rounds, 3 peer PMs + 1 PM director + 1 engineer, you'll have lunch w/ a lunch buddy after the first 3 peer PMs (food is actually so so). Meanwhile, your recruiter will gather quick feedback and make a snap judgement about whether to proceed w/ the PM director and engineer. If you don't make it to the after-lunch session, it is a ding for sure.
    3) You need at least one 'strong hire' recommendation from the 5 rounds. It is not unusual for someone to get 5 'hire' recommendation but get dinged. So try very hard to really impress one interviewer.

    Interview Questions
    • Design app stuff. I was killed by 2 of those questions.   Answer Question
    No Offer
    Difficult Interview
  11. 1 person found this helpful  

    Product Manager Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate  in  San Francisco, CA
    Anonymous Interview Candidate in San Francisco, CA
    Application Details

    I applied through college or university - interviewed at Google in May 2013.

    Interview Details

    I initially applied online for an interview for a product manager position. my profile later got selected and I was asked to provide time for 2 phone interviews with senior. the process later included an onsite interview with a group panel.

    Interview Questions
    • Come up with a new product idea that is suitable and doable by google.   Answer Question
    No Offer
    Positive Experience
    Difficult Interview

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