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Google Senior Product Manager Interview Questions

Updated Jul 14, 2014
Updated Jul 14, 2014
16 Interview Reviews

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19 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 weeksinterviewed 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

Other Interview Reviews for Google

  1. 1 person found this helpful  

    Senior Product Manager Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Interview Details

    The hiring process was as one would expect - simply a case interview with some fairly challenging questions. The interviewer was rather cold and stern, but that could be due to the fact that I didn't do a good job of articulating the answers to my questions. All in all, a difficult but not out of the ordinary interview process.

    Interview Questions
    • How much bandwidth does YouTube require to achieve 100% uptime. Rationalize your answer.   Answer Question
    No Offer
  2.  

    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 2+ monthsinterviewed at Google in September 2013.

    Interview Details

    Starts with a phone interview, followed by an on-site half day. Interviewed by a two Product Managers, an Engineer (more technical) and a director of PM. Followed by a Hiring Comittee, another Director and a final Comittee.
    The entire process took more than two months.

    Interview Questions
    • Nothing unexpected or out of the ordinary you can read in this site and others. Tell me about a Google product, what you would have changed etc. Invent a product and build a business case for that etc.
      You see a decline in traffic to a service. What do you do?etc
      Why do you want to work for google? etc.
        Answer Question
    No Offer
    Neutral Experience
    Average Interview
  3. 2 people found this helpful  

    Senior Product Manager Interview

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

    I applied online. The process took 2+ monthsinterviewed at Google in July 2012.

    Interview Details

    I applied online and got contacted after about 3 weeks. The HR person scheduled a phone interview and asked typical screening questions for PMs and Google in general. That round was easy and went well. I was then scheduled for a technical phone interview, which I knew would be a random PM from any location. It turns out I got an Associate PM 2 years out of college (from NYC) who said "Okay, cool" before each question. She clearly was not an experienced interviewer (esp. for Senior level position) and made no effort to connect with me, find out about my experience, what I knew about Google and their products or anything else specifically relevant to the position for which I was interviewing. She asked me a few brain teasers, such as Russian Roulette questions. After the 45 minute call, I did not hear anything for 2 weeks, which ended up with Google not wanting to pursue any further steps. I was not impressed with their interviewing process, but mainly with the Associate PM that I talked to which had no relevance to my local Google apps/features or the team I would be working with.

    Interview Questions
    • Suppose there is a smart phone API that can give you a person's mood and that there are 100 different moods. There can be varying level of moods, such as happy, very happy, sad, extremely sad, etc. You can also have more than one mood at a time (such as nervous and excited). What app would you create to take advantage of this API?   View Answers (3)
    No Offer
    Negative Experience
    Difficult Interview
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  5.  

    Senior Product Manager Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Application Details

    I applied online – interviewed at Google in March 2012.

    Interview Details

    The person interviewing had a "I am better than you " attitude .

    Interview Questions
    Declined Offer
    Average Interview
  6.  

    Senior 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 3+ monthsinterviewed at Google in January 2012.

    Interview Details

    The whole process took about 3 months, from the original conversation with the recruiter. I got a call from the recruiter and had a phone screen. After the phone screen, I heard back the next day, inviting me to come onsite to Mountain View. However, it took about 2 weeks to just schedule the on-site, which was then about 2 weeks off. In Mountain View, I interviewed with 4 people, and one for lunch. After the on-site interview, I sent thank you letters, but did not hear anything back for weeks. Then I followed up with a phone call, and again, and learned that the recruiter has not yet received feedback from people I interviewed with (this is now weeks past). When I followed up again, they said still no review, but they'd like to ask me to come out to Mountain View the second time, so that, as the recruiter has put it, she can get the required number of interviews in. This made me curious as to the whole review process. The candidate takes the time to prepare for the interview, fly to a different city, do their best, and the reviewer does not bother to submit their feedback (and is not pushed by Google to do so). Strange.

    Second round on campus was with 2 people. After that, heard back in 2 weeks. All in all took 3 months.

    Interview Questions
    • What is the best way to sort a terabyte of array of data, when you have limited RAM (500k), and each array element has a couple of items of data, at about 1-10k each.   View Answers (4)
    • What is the product you are most proud of releasing and why.   Answer Question
    No Offer
    Neutral Experience
    Difficult Interview
  7.  

    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 2 weeksinterviewed at Google in April 2011.

    Interview Details

    Friend submitted resume into internal tools for Product Manager position.
    Got email from recruiter a few days later.
    Phone screen 1 week later.

    Phone screen was very vague, similar to those for NCGs vs. experienced folks.

    Was very unclear what the interviewer was looking for.

    Interview Questions
    • What exciting things are happening in the web space?   Answer Question
    • Develop an algorithm to sort prime numbers   Answer Question
    • Develop an algorithm to sort 100m books and find functional duplicates   Answer Question
    No Offer
    Neutral Experience
    Difficult Interview
  8. 10 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 other source. The process took 3+ monthsinterviewed at Google in February 2011.

    Interview Details

    Google reached out to me through LinkedIn and asked to interview me for a product manager position at one of their satellite offices. They described it as a role that determines what products to make based on market trends and then builds them.

    They conducted two separate rounds of phone screens before deciding to invite me to Mountain View for a day of on-site interviews. Fairly normal for the industry, though unusual that at no time was I asked to talk with anyone in the office where I'd be working.

    Points of interest:
    1) All interviews were identical, consisting of hypothetical scenarios that I was asked to re-design or improve like "how would you redesign a gas station to make it better?", "how would you redesign your favorite web site to improve it?", "what business opportunity would you tell LinkedIn to pursue to improve growth?", and "design the elevators for a 40 story office building and the best algorithm to fill and empty the building each day". Fun!
    2) Only one screener asked anything about how I'd implement any of the changes I offered.
    3) Although my recruiter mentioned they selected me because of my extensive experience, all my interviewers relayed that they'd graduated within the previous 2 years and had all their experience at Google. None could answer questions about how hard it was to garner support for their ideas or what their biggest challenge was in bringing a product to market. I expected at least one person in the loop to have a similar background to mine and test the breadth of my knowledge. It didn't happen.
    4) All screening interviewers were currently working in the role I was interviewing for. No cross-group teams were represented. Maybe they would have included more perspectives if I'd done better during the on-site interviews. Since I don't live in Mountain View that seems like an expensive way to interview if in fact that's how it's done (repeat trips).
    5) A screener commented "one of the best things about working here is that everyone works hard to build the best product and experience for the customer. If you can argue that your idea is better for customers, you win". When I asked how they research what's best for customers, he replied "that's a problem." I got the distinct impression that 'winning' depends not on what's actually best for customers but on what stakeholders imagine is best.
    6) I did quite a bit of homework on the company before the loop. None of my interviewers asked me what I knew about the organization. They did ask me what my favorite Google product was and why.
    7) My lunch host (not a screener) had the most experience, about 8 years in various startups in the valley. He commented that he'd been with the company under a year and expected to quit before two. He wanted to add some name recognition and credibility to his resume' but found it too frustrating to actually get anything done to want to stay.
    8) I asked if the company had considered a way of using their search data to better target product opportunities (was quite specific in fact) and although it matched the core philosophy of the company founders was told my idea to drive decisions on massive data trends "would never work".

    I can't imagine how the on-site loop added anything to their phone evaluations. If I was the hiring manager and had only the assessments the loop did to inform my decision I wouldn't have hired me. Too little unique information and almost none about the hardest aspect of product management: execution. Likewise I learned too little about the position including the most important aspect of a new role at a new company - who would I be working for and what is their management philosophy?

    I would not have accepted an offer and wasn't surprised when the company didn't extend one.

    Interview Questions
    • How would I design the elevators for a new 40 story office building that had an average of 100 people per floor to most efficiently fill and empty the building given a standard 9-5 workday and traffic conditions in my city? The answer needed to be completely detailed, including expected passengers per car, time per stop, average floors stops per trip at various hours, etc.   View Answers (6)
    No Offer
    Negative Experience
    Easy Interview
  9.  

    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 4+ monthsinterviewed at Google in January 2010.

    Interview Details

    They discourage those gotchya questions now. The process takes forever.

    Interview Questions
    • It's all at the whim of whoever you're talking to. There aren't typical questions anymore. Someone may ask you the "how many telephone poles in texas" sort of thing, but maybe not.   Answer Question
    Negotiation Details
    None
    Accepted Offer
    Negative Experience
    Difficult Interview
  10.  

    Senior Product Manager Interview

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

    The process took 6 weeksinterviewed at Google in June 2009.

    Interview Details

    The interviewing process was very professional and thorough from the end to the beginning. However, what I was not told they were hiring for very specific position with a certain language requirement. It was just assumed on their part that I would be proficient in that language given my name. So it was disappointing after six weeks of interviewing that I was not being interviewed for just a "Senior Product Manager" but a "Senior Product Manager for language X".

    Interview Questions
    No Offer
    Positive Experience
    Difficult Interview

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