Google Program Manager Interview Questions

Updated Aug 26, 2014
Updated Aug 26, 2014
56 Interview Reviews

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  1. 9 people found this helpful  

    Technical Program Manager Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate  in  Kirkland, WA
    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Kirkland, WA
    Application Details

    I applied through a recruiter. The process took 6 weeks - interviewed at Google in August 2014.

    Interview Details

    I was contacted via email from an in-house Google recruiter working out of Mountain View. He was very interested in my breadth of experience and felt I'd be a strong fit for a technical program manager role in their Site Reliability Engineering (SRE) group.

    This process took a LONG time. To save space I'll just outline the timeline:

    Day 0 - recruiter email, I reply same day giving my availability to talk

    Day 1 - I have a 20 minute chat and recruiter asks me some classic computer science trivia.

    Day 2 - I have another 20 minute call with a different recruiter who specializes in the program management space. This again was a solid conversation. He seemed really pleased that I could gives the pros/cons of agile, and could cite numerous real world examples for successful and failed projects (15 years of experience will see all kinds of projects). So this ended well and the next step was a series of "real" phone screens.

    Day 16 - I had 2 separate 45 minute calls scheduled with a 15 minute break between. The initial recruiter had sent me some study suggestions in advance, which was really nice of him. So for the 2 weeks leading up I practiced various academic programming exercises. Stuff like implementing Hashmaps from scratch in java, various sorting algorithms, traversing trees and other tedious stuff I hadn't done since college.

    Tech interview: linux system internals. The questions started with easy stuff like run levels, permissions and some file system stuff that was a bit harder. Then we got into low level CPU/arch stuff involving context switching etc. We concluded with a java coding exercise, that I didn't ace, but I did get working before the time was up. Overall I'd say I scored a 75% or so. Not awesome, but for a TPM role I thought this proved I had a clue and could interact with engineers well.

    TPM interview: I can't even remember all the questions, but I was able to address each question with a real world example. The guy absolutely loved my anecdotes. He was very quiet and spent a lot of time typing, so I wasn't sure how we was receiving me until the end.

    Day 20 - Orig. recruiter contacts me and says TPM interview was "the best they had ever seen". Bad news was I didn't cut the mustard with the technical. However he said it wasn't fair to have asked me all those linux internal questions, and they would like to re-do the technical interview AGAIN with more of a traditional CS/programming focus. Well, I agreed because that was better than getting rejected outright.

    Day 34 - Technical phone interview part II. Audio quality was rough at first. Speaker phone in apparently an open environment, as I could overhear folks walking and talking. Interviewer had a strong eastern European accent, which I'm used to now, but it didn't help with the background noise, echos and other interference. I will say this interviewer was very encouraging and friendly. He never called me out for being a goof, he would say instead "is there a better way?".

    In hindsight my implementation was a little bit sloppy, but it functionally got the job done before the time was up. I felt I did better than the first time, so was content.

    Day 35 - Recruiter says he has sent all feedback to hiring manager(s) and will have feedback early next week.

    Day 38 - Recruiter calls me.

    I'm still the best technical program manager google has ever seen (tell that to by current boss), but even though I clearly know how to code and work through technical problems my coding is not of the rock star level they require. This is a little discouraging, as I'm interviewing for a role where I'm not programmer on a regular basis, though I would do design, architecture and code reviews.

    Then he dropped a weird suggestion - while I wasn't smart (my word), enough to work on the SRE team in Seattle, he suggested that there may be many other roles at the Mountain View, CA headquarters. Perhaps one of the various teams back at HQ had lower standards where I guy like me who didn't actually major in Computer Science would be accepted. I politely declined that, but asked to be contacted for future local positions.

    I realize this may sound like sour grapes (it could be a little), but I spent nearly 6 weeks JUST to get through the phone interview process. I also dislike the mixed messages along the way. I'm awesome, but there's a technical requirement that I absolutely must meet and that's there policy.

    Now I can empathize with excellent waitresses that don't get hired because they are attractive enough.

    Interview Questions
    • I had no brain teasers. No fluff like estimating the number of gas stations, round manhole covers, or grains of rice in China. They expect excellent CS fundamentals: algorithms, data structures and solid coding ability.   Answer Question
    No Offer
    Negative Experience
    Difficult Interview
  2. 1 person found this helpful  

    Program Manager Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Application Details

    I applied through an employee referral. The process took 4+ weeks - interviewed at Google in August 2013.

    Interview Details

    Google's recruiters are amazing--after interviewing with over 10 companies during my current job search, I can say without a doubt that they are the best in the industry. My recruiter was super attentive--called me throughout the process, and the company really takes an interest in finding you the right fit within the company. After my initial recruiter call, I was then set up with a hiring manager. The questions he asked were very position focused, because the behavioral/fit questions come during the on-site interview. The on-site was very efficient, and I met with 5 team members, and 1 fit interviewer. Overall, they assess you for leadership, skill-based competency, and most importantly, your Googley-ness, or what I like to call the "airport test". If you can pass all that, then it goes to the hiring committee, for which you have to assemble a candidate packet, complete with a questionnaire and references. Then wait one more week, and then the recruiter will call you personally to tell you that you've gotten the offer or not.

    Interview Questions
    Negotiation Details
    The compensation package was attractive enough that I didn't feel the need to negotiate.
    Accepted Offer
    Positive Experience
    Average Interview
  3.  

    International Recruiting Program Manager Interview

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

    I applied through a recruiter - interviewed at Google.

    Interview Details

    Was contacted by Google's recruiter and a quick phone interview was set up. Was not actively looking for a change at that time, but who wouldn't want to work at Google, right? That was my thought. After the phone interview, came to Google campus twice for series of interviews. It was a combination of 1:1, 1:3, interviews, and there were total of six settings. After weeks have gone by, I was asked to do another phone interview with an recruiting executive based in the East Coast.

    Interview Questions
    • Could you do a phone interview after 12 sets of interviews   Answer Question
    No Offer
    Positive Experience
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  5.  

    Technical Program 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 months - interviewed at Google in July 2014.

    Interview Details

    Started with a phone screen from a sourcer, then did two phone interviews with Google employees. This was followed by a trip to mountain view for 5 face to face interviews. Google Treats its interviewers with as much respect as they treat their employees. It was overall a very positive experience. Thanks Google for showing me your company. Was very impressed with the site and all the people I met. The interview was a fair evaluation

    Interview Questions
    • Don't believe in giving out others questions. With Google, you either know the subject matter or don't. Especially for this position. If you want to prep, study Map Reduce and related problems.   Answer Question
    No Offer
    Positive Experience
    Average Interview
  6.  

    Program Manager Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Application Details

    I applied through an employee referral. The process took 5 days - interviewed at Google in May 2014.

    Interview Details

    Do phone screening. Didn't get to the next step. Recruiter said that team didn't want to pursue any further. Didn't say why. The process was fast although if I got further in the process, it could take two months to complete.

    Interview Questions
    • Question around whether I have own product roadmap decisions.   Answer Question
    No Offer
    Average Interview
  7.  

    Program Manager, Network Performance Interview

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

    I applied through a recruiter. The process took 2 months - interviewed at Google in April 2014.

    Interview Details

    Series of 4 phone interviews with recruiter and technical peers, including technical personal and project manager leader. Considering the position requirements and the type of questions from all the interviewers, Google requires expert technical level experience and also extensive project management experience, which is not very common. Anyone applying to the Program Manager positions should be able to prove being a technical expert and excellent project manager.

    Interview Questions
    • All questions were pretty much related to the position but the Program manager role a Google would be seen as 2 different roles in other companies.   Answer Question
    No Offer
    Positive Experience
    Average Interview
  8.  

    Program Manager Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Application Details

    I applied online. The process took 1 week - interviewed at Google in May 2014.

    Interview Details

    An email from the Google recruiter to notify me that I have been selected by the hiring manager. I needed to confirm the schedule for the phone interview by the team.

    Interview Questions
    • Trivial technical question, basic definition of web programming. Either you remember or you don't.   Answer Question
    No Offer
    Positive Experience
    Average Interview
  9. 3 people found this helpful  

    Program Manager Interview

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

    I applied through an employee referral. The process took 3 weeks - interviewed at Google in April 2014.

    Interview Details

    My interview with Google spanned a couple months. The first was for a Program Manager I didn't actually apply for (but was similar to one that I applied for). After an initial phone screen with the Recruiter, I was set up for a Google Hangout interview with the hiring manager and then they flew me out to Mountain View for a series of interviews with various people from the team, and a person from outside of the team. I ended up hearing back from them a couple weeks later that while the team had a lot of positive things to say about me, they didn't think it would be a good fit for the role. The Recruiter actually passed me onto another Recruiter, because they thought I would be a good fit for another role within the larger organization. It's great that they take the time to really think about where you would fit into the organization if they think you bring valuable skills and experiences to the table.

    My second set of interviews went rather fast. I went through the same process of having a phone screen with the Recruiter, having a Google Hangout interview with the hiring manager, and then being flown out to Mountain View again. This time though, the Recruiter didn't get back to me with feedback until I emailed her twice. This kind of shows that the Google interview process is really hit or miss; sometimes you would end up with a great recruiter and other times, you'll get one that's pretty useless.

    Interview Questions
    • There wasn't any question that was really difficult or unexpected, but one of the senior leaders who interviewed me responded very argumentatively to my answers. I wasn't sure whether to actually launch into a full debate outlining the logic and reasoning behind my answers, or to just acknowledge her point of view and let it slide.   Answer Question
    No Offer
    Neutral Experience
    Average Interview
  10. 4 people found this helpful  

    Technical Program Manager Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Interview Details

    Typical interview process. Started with a recruiter and then had a phone screen with someone in a product team. That was followed a couple of weeks later with an on-site interview. The interview process was long and tiring. It is a full day of meetings where they want to know two things. 1) do you know your stuff technically. 2) do you think and communicate logically.

    Interview Questions
    • Design a the server infrastructure for gmail.   View Answer
    Negotiation Details
    I negotiated for signing bonus.
    Accepted Offer
  11. 2 people found this helpful  

    Technical Program Manager Interview

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

    I applied online. The process took 8 months - interviewed at Google.

    Interview Details

    The interviewing process is disorganized and painfully slow. I was contacted by a recruiter about 6 months after I submitted my resume. Then I was scheduled to do a phone screen with a peer who was also a technical program manager. It took one month to schedule that phone interview because the interviewer called in sick or took the day off, after it was scheduled two weeks in advance. Then it took about another two weeks to reschedule to speak with him.

    The interview lasted 45 minutes and we talked a lot of general responsibilities and scenario based questions. Then it took about 5 to 6 weeks to hear back from the recruiter to see if another interview would be scheduled if there was an interest. During that time I followed up about every two weeks until finally they sent me an email to let me know they were pursuing other candidates

    The craziness was in scheduling the interviews with people who did not have it as their priority and took their own sweet time. Imagine if it took me so long, i.e., one month to have a phone interview that they were taking forever to schedule other phone interviews with other candidates and dragging the process out.

    Interview Questions
    • I was asked if Google bought another company and those employees didn't want to move to the Mountain View campus how would I merge these two locations together via networks and systems. Also, questions about programming vulnerabilities such as cross site scripting and information security risk management.

      Did I think I knew everything? No. Did the interviewer know everything? No. This goes to show you that interviewers are biased and think in their own little world, they ask a broad range of questions that they've already researched in advance and knew the answers to, but if I asked the interviewer my own set of questions he wouldn't be able to answer all of them either. We're even.
        Answer Question
    No Offer
    Negative Experience
    Average Interview

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