Google Technical Program Manager Interview Questions

Updated Aug 26, 2014
Updated Aug 26, 2014
19 Interview Reviews

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14 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 weeksinterviewed 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

Other Interview Reviews for Google

  1.  

    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+ monthsinterviewed 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
  2. 5 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
  3. 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+ monthsinterviewed 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
  4. Is this helpful? The community relies on everyone sharing – Add Anonymous Interview Review
  5. 8 people found this helpful  

    Technical Program Manager Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Application Details

    I applied online. The process took 2+ weeksinterviewed at Google.

    Interview Details

    Applied online and within a week I received an email from the recruiter. The recruiter asked for a couple of date/times for a phone interview with a team member from Google. Had the phone interview, but it was very hard to hear the person as they were on speaker phone. This really created a bad reverberation effect on the call. The person said they really enjoyed the call and said I should move onto the next step in the process. After waiting a couple of days, I reached out to the recruiter and they said they should know something in a few more days. After 10 days went by the recruiter sent email saying they decided to go with other applicants.

    Interview Questions
    • Nothing really difficult, just situational types of questions. What did you do on x project, etc. No brain teasers.   Answer Question
    No Offer
    Negative Experience
    Average Interview
  6. 2 people found this helpful  

    Technical Program Manager Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Application Details

    I applied through an employee referral. The process took 6+ weeksinterviewed at Google in January 2014.

    Interview Details

    Communication and followup were really poor.
    Interviewing was quite broad based technical but not commensurate with day-to-day function

    Interview Questions
    • How would you figure out how many gas stations there are in the US   View Answer
    No Offer
    Negative Experience
    Difficult Interview
  7. 5 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 through an employee referral. The process took 8 weeksinterviewed at Google in September 2013.

    Interview Details

    The process began with a phone screen with a recruiter for Site Reliability Engineer Role in Mountain View, CA. The questions were fairly straightforward, but I just did OK. I thought I should have answered all the questions correctly, but for whatever reason, I blanked on one or two of the questions. I was pleasantly surprised when my recruiter called me back an hour later. Given my career arc at my current employee, I had expressed an interest in leadership type roles. I felt given the amount of coding I had done and the significant challenges I have successfully overcome in the last few years at my current company, I could serve better the company at a leadership position. My recruiter was really great. She considered my experience, resume, and desire for a leadership type role and scheduled me for a technical phone screening for a managerial role.

    Two weeks later I had a technical phone screening. The questions were straightforward and the interviewer did a good job interacting. I did well enough to get to a managerial phone screening. That phone screening was also straightforward. I thought I had done OK. Unfortunately, my recruiter called me and told me I was "not a good fit" for the managerial role. She asked me to take another technical phone screening for a Site Reliability Engineer role. This screening did not go as well as the other two. I kind of got stuck on the problem and time ran out. What most annoyed me most was that within 15 minutes of ending the interview I had the entire solution to the coding problem completed coded. I sent the code the recruiter, but I do not think it mattered. Soon thereafter, I received an email from another recruiter saying my previous recruiter had passed me along to her. I honestly cannot say if my first recruiter passed me along due to positive feedback or negative. I was just very grateful to be still in the game, so to speak.

    The new recruiter scheduled me for a phone screening with the hiring manager for the TPM role. I felt I did well in this screening. I felt like I made a solid connection with the interviewer. Soon after my recruiter confirmed my feelings and said I had made it to the onsite interview.

    Google's mountain view campus is amazing and I was very excited to be there. I had 5 interviews. 3 with TPMs and 2 with SWEs. I had lunch with a SWE. The SWEs had system design questions and one coding question. The TPMs had more project management /behavioral type questions. I did not think any of the questions were terribly difficult and I honestly felt I did OK. I answered all questions and looking back, I know I answered behavioral questions honestly. In other words, I was not trying to answer the questions to satisfy/impress them, but rather I answered as if I would react if confronted with the situation posed in the question.

    Unfortunately, I was told I was "not a good fit". The rejection stings, but I knew google's reputation for hiring. I felt all the interviewers, but one, would probably have been good people to work along side. One interviewer had an air of arrogance and when I was done with interview, made me honestly not want to work for Google. All the interviewers were trying to push me, and this is to be expected. Whereas I could tell this one fellow did not think highly of me from the onset.

    That being said, my annoyance quickly went away as I drove around the campus and then Mountain View later. if given a reasonable offer, I am pretty sure I would had taken it, despite the one fellow.

    To close, I have no idea why I was not a good fit. They don't tell you. I don't know if the one interviewer railroaded my chances or maybe all the interviewers had issue with my answers.

    The only thing I am sure of (and why I rate this a positive experience) is that I made a positive impression on the recruiters and the hiring manager and I am very grateful that they gave me every opportunity to succeed.

    Interview Questions
    No Offer
    Positive Experience
    Difficult Interview
  8.  

    Technical Program Manager Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Application Details

    I applied through a recruiter. The process took 2 weeksinterviewed at Google in April 2013.

    Interview Details

    contacted by recruiter, passed the initial phone screening, set up a phone interview with someone from the group (future peer?) -- the call happened about 15 minutes late, the interviewer did apologize due to meeting running over time. Was asked a series of questions off a standardized list - some of the questions are a little too "academic" (i.e., what are the 7 layers of the OSI model?) -- if I were the one conducting the interview, I would have asked what's the purpose/reason behind the OSI model..

    Interview Questions
    • Can't really think of one - questions are what I expected   Answer Question
    No Offer
    Neutral Experience
    Average Interview
  9. 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

    The process took 4 weeksinterviewed at Google in June 2011.

    Interview Details

    Complex hiring process consisting of two phone screenings by lead members of the group resulting in an onsite interview. Onsite interview consisted of presentation and additional 1:1 interviews by skillset experts *not* in the group that I was interviewing for. Skillset experts asked a mixture of behavioral and general technical questions. HR was prompt in communicating with me as to process and results, however, was not rushed to complete the process making sure that multiple candidates where interviewed.

    Company does look like it would be very good to work for. Dogs were in the office, cafeteria is everything that it's rumored to be, and employess seem to very bright and well spirited - and busy.

    Interview Questions
    • Be prepared to dig deep into your skillset for the program manager position this included 3 skillset interviews.   View Answer
    No Offer
    Positive Experience
    Average Interview
  10. 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

    The process took 2 weeksinterviewed at Google in June 2011.

    Interview Details

    I felt the interview process was pretty standard for larger corporations. A corporate recruiter was the first to reach out to me after reviewing my resume. I submitted for three positions, but only one recruiter decided I might be a match. That was followed up by two 45 minute phone interviews. Do a lot of "interview 101" practice for these two phone interviews. In the interview, they jump right into a scripted scenario. However, it appeared that each person developed their own scenario, so this made it difficult sometimes to understand the context of their questions.

    Interview Questions
    • What do you consider your technical area of expertise?   View Answer
    • How do you make sure you are delivering quality in your product or service?   View Answers (2)
    No Offer
    Positive Experience
    Average Interview

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