Google Product Manager Interview Questions & Reviews
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Associate Product Manager Interview (Neutral Experience)
Interviewed at Google
Interview Details – First round is a phone screen. Second round is on-site with three interviewers. There are two or three more rounds to an offer. There's also an essay involved for the final round.
Interview Question – Nothing unexpected. Answer Question
Product Manager Interview (Negative Experience; Average Interview)
I applied through an employee referral and the process took 4+ weeks - interviewed at Google in October 2013.
Interview Details – Interviewing at Google was quite a strange experience. A friend of mine who works as a software engineer forwarded my resume to the recruiting team. Regarding my background: I have 10+ years of experience, worked for a while in consulting, then as an IT director and founded a couple of startups so it seemed like a good fit. I also have a MS in physics from my home country and a MS in applied mathematics from Stanford.
I was contacted the day after my friend submitted my resume. After a couple of emails exchanged with the recruiter, I was scheduled for a phone interview with the PM. The interviewer was a junior PM who had been with Google for a few months. Interestingly enough, I wasn't asked anything regarding my background, only a couple of textbook questions: "why does Starbucks expand the way they do having multiple stores next to each other?" and "how would you design a new computer keyboard?". The interviewer then proceeded to talk about Google for 15 minutes mostly about his own experience as a PM. Overall the call lasted about 45 minutes.
I received an email a few hours after my interview letting me know that I would move on to the next round. After a week of radio silence, I sent an email inquiring about the status of my application and was told that they were swamped figuring out the interview schedule but would get back to me as soon as possible. The next day I received another email letting me know that I actually wouldn't move on to the next round but a couple of other teams were interested in my resume: a "stealth" project and the gTech team (sales support) as a Partner Technical Manager for Google shopping.
I was then interviewed by a second recruiter for the PTM position who asked me very basic questions. "Do you have experience working with cross-functional teams?", "Can you code?", etc... I moved on to the next round with a second PTM recruiter who again asked me basic questions: "what motivates you to join this position?", "do you have experience working with partners?", etc... After the call I was told they would send my resume for the next rounds which consisted of 2 hangouts, followed by 3 on-site interviews.
Again after a week I sent another email to the recruiter inquiring about the status of my application. I was told that basically I wouldn't move on to the next round but yet another team was interested in interviewing with me. I was given a self-assessment form to fill out: I had to give myself a grade from 1 to 5 on various topics ranging from coding, to management, to linux proficiency etc... I sent back the form but told them that at this point I had been interviewing for over a month and that I had other offers (I had already declined 2 offers to keep interviewing with them) and I needed an offer from them within a week. They told me they understood but couldn't accommodate me and that was the end of the recruiting process.
- Google recruiters are fast. They will work hard to find you a team that is a good fit for you. Be nice to them and they will go out of their way to send your resume to other recruiters if they cannot find you something.
- You initial rounds of interview will be with junior employees (recruiters, PMs, etc...) even if you are an experienced candidate. Questions will be basic and may be unrelated to your areas of expertise but it's a way for them to weed out candidates.
- The recruitment process varies from one team to the next and is specific to a particular project. For instance type of questions, number of phone/hangout/on-site interviews, etc...
- The recruitment process is opaque; you will not get feedback on your interview performance and they will cancel interviews if they found a better candidate for the position even if you did well.
Interview Question – Why does Starbucks expand the way they do having multiple stores next to each other? View Answer
Associate Product Marketing Manager Intern Interview (Positive Experience; Average Interview)
I applied online and the process took 3 months - interviewed at Google in February 2013.
Interview Details – Applied Online in December. Received an email in February asking me to do 2 phone interviews. Phone interviews were 2 back-to-back 30 minute interviews. Mostly standard behavioral questions, some industry and market sizing questions as well.
Interview Question – Tell me about a product that you don't like. How would you fix it? Answer Question
Negotiation Details – I did not negotiate.
Product Manager Interview (Neutral Experience)
Interviewed at Google
Interview Details – Recruiter contacted after going through the LinkedIn profile. It took them about 2 weeks to schedule the first round of interview, which was a phone interview. They provide only the first name of the interviewer and in my case, the interviewer changed at the last minute. Interview was set of questions - mainly technical case based questions. The interview last for 45 minutes and HR got back in 3-4 days.
Interview Question – limited behavioral and mostly case base questions...do a thorough analysis of Google and competitor products. Answer Question
Associate Product Manager Interview (Neutral Experience; Difficult Interview)
I applied through college or university and the process took 4+ weeks - interviewed at Google.
Interview Details – Lots of questions about your opinion on Google products and of hypothetical new products. They will ask you your favorite new product and how you could market it further, increase its profits, etc.
Interview Question – Which Google product would you cut and why? Answer Question
Product Manager Interview (Positive Experience; Average Interview)
I applied online and the process took 2 months - interviewed at Google in June 2013.
Interview Details – The process is pretty well documented. I applied online and contacted weeks later. The recruiter explained the process and set expectations: The process can take about 8 weeks. The recruiter also did some basic validation of my skills (do you work with Eng., UX, etc?).
2 weeks later I had the first phone screen with a PM. For that, the recruiter sent me some preparation material. One big question mark is: how technical is the interview? Not so much. You need to know basic infrastructure but there is no code involved...so relax and enjoy the trip.
My first phone screen went so-so. I was fairly nervous. We covered the usual question about your favorite product, why, make it better. Product design with a minute to brainstorm ideas about how to make an alarm clock better. The conversation was really friendly and she tried her best to make it easy.
After this I received an email to schedule a second phone screen. My guess is that as expected, I did good but not great enough to go on-site. The second phone screen was really similar although we focused more on Product Strategy, market analysis, etc. Again the interviewer was really friendly and we had a really interesting conversation.
A couple of days later I was contacted by the recruiter to invite me on-site.
The on-site day consisted of 5 interviews.
The very first one started with statistics questions before introducing herself. It was really of putting (we are talking 10 am in the morning). I think this was my worst performance of all 7 interviews. We covered statistics, Product Strategy, algorithm design (elevator design). Expected questions but I didn't perform. The interviewer was constantly typing and it didn't help to focus either.
The second interview was about product design and it happened mainly in the whiteboard. I enjoyed the interview a lot.
Third interview consisted of several different topics. Product design, Google product knowledge, technical knowledge. Quite standard.
After this, you go for lunch with a PM, not really knowing if you will interview in the afternoon or not. I was told that it's not an interview...and it didn't feel as such. We talked about Google culture, hobbies, etc.
After lunch I interviewed with the engineer. Again, not necessarily super technical. We spoke about product design, architectures, etc. The feeling is that engineers want to know how are you and how are you going to work with them. We laughed a lot, so I guess it was a good one.
Finally you interview with a more senior PM. In my case this was the most strategic interview of all. The questions where pretty open and not really specific. This created some confusion because he was looking for some other things so he kept clarifying his question.
After a full day of interviews I left campus pretty empty. The recruiter contacted me the next day to inform me that he will push the candidacy to the hiring committee the next week.
A week later I was contacted by the recruiter to inform me that they were not going to move forward and he couldn't share more details.
Interview Question – How is the distribution of a page loading time? Why? What is bigger, the mean or the median? What about mobile sites? Answer Question
Product Manager Interview (Negative Experience; Average Interview)
I applied online and the process took 4+ weeks - interviewed at Google in September 2013.
Interview Details – It was a phone screening interview. The questions were very standard.
I got a "NO" 2 weeks after the phone interview. They didn't give me the opportunity to move forward even though I felt very strong about the interview. It was also impossible to get any specific feedback or to understand what I did wrong.
- You own a burrito shop and you want to advertise in a fleet of 100 cabs in San Francisco. The ad will be seen only by the passenger(s). How much are you willing to pay per month. View Answer
- Google just invented the teletransporter. Give me your go-to-market plan. Can you add 3 features to this teletransporter. View Answer
Product Manager Interview (Positive Experience; Easy Interview)
I applied through other source and the process took 1+ week - interviewed at Google in September 2013.
Interview Details – I was contacted via email through my LinkedIn account, asked if I'd be interested in a Product Management position at Google. I initially thought it was spam, so was short with response, asking questions. Once I realized it was legit, I said "sure"!
I had a phone call with the staffer - only 15 minutes long. No hard questions - essentially just verifying things on my LinkedIn profile. Then the staffer set up a 45 minute call with a PM for the following week.
I studied all of the goofy brain teasers that other reviewers have shared - was dreading the call because of that...
But the call came and the PM was friendly, encouraging, and thoughtful. No brain teasers - just talked about business. It was a 45 minute interview - we talked for an hour. I actually enjoyed talking with him.
I got an email a couple of days later from the staffer thanking me, that my resume was forwarded on to the hiring manager and they thought "I'd be a better fit in a different department". The staffer said that they would follow up if they found a fit...
Interview Question – Explain how certain product decisions were made on previous product development cycles. Answer Question
Product Manager Interview (Positive Experience; Difficult Interview)
I applied online and the process took 3 weeks - interviewed at Google in March 2012.
Interview Details – Phone interview for 30-40 minutes with basic work experience in product development then was invited back to NYC Google office for a full day interview.
Interview Question – Did my research and went pretty much what others have said about the G interview process. Answer Question
Product Manager Interview (Negative Experience)
I applied through a recruiter and interviewed at Google.
Interview Details – Phone screened twice as the first position evaporated after a very positive initial phone screen process and I was forced back to square one. In the first screen, I was asked to estimate the number of windows in all of Manhattan, which I answered quite well. The second screener rejected me almost certainly because I wasn't able to adequately solve the probability question below in my head on the spot.
Interview Question – What's the probability of pulling four of a kind from a deck of cards in five tries. View Answers (8)
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