Sunday, April 21, 2024

Google Product Manager Interview Prep

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Preparing For Google System Design Interviews

Prepare for Your Google Interview: Project, Product, and Program Management

As you can see from the complex questions above, there is a lot of ground to cover when it comes to system design interview preparation. So its best to take a systematic approach to make the most of your practice time, which is why we recommend the four steps below.

For extra tips and resources, take a look at our system design interview prep guide and our list of 19 system design interview tips from ex-interviewers.

How To Answer Google Interview Questions

Before we dig into some examples, lets take a moment to talk about how you should answer Google interview questions. After all, Google has a reputation for asking some strange ones, many of which felt more like brain teasers than real interview questions.

Do you feel adequately prepared to talk about how many golf balls it would take to fill up a school bus?

Probably not.

The mere idea of facing off against a question like that would rightfully leave any candidate nervous.

Now, some of the questions were deemed so difficult that the company eventually banned them.Plus, there is evidence that these bizarre hypotheticals dont actually lead to better hiring, which may be why you dont see as many of those tricks today.

So, that means you dont have to worry, right? Well, no.

Even if youre only going to face normal interview questions, that doesnt mean you shouldnt have a strategy. Its also important to prepare, increasing the odds that youll impress during your Google interview.

Lets start with the basics. If you want to stand out for all of the right reasons, research is your friend. Start by scouring over the Google job description. That way, you can learn the ins and outs of what the hiring manager needs to find, giving you all of the foundational tools you need to incorporate the right details into your answers.

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Whats A Google Interview Like

The interview process is long, and requires multiple interviews with multiple people, so be prepared for that. There may be a few weeks in between stages where you dont hear from anyone, and this is to be expected. However if more than a month goes by, you may be able to take it as a sign that you have been passed for this particular opportunity.

In terms of the interviews themselves, whether they take place via video call or onsite, are not as full of strange brain-teasing questions as they once were.

Our data showed that brainteaser questions didnt predict how well someone would do on the job so we no longer ask them. Instead, we do work sample tests and ask structured interview questions.

-Google Hiring FAQs

So its now unlikely that your Google interviewer will ask you which type of soup matches your personality more, but that doesnt mean theyll go easy on you, and you should still aim to prepare as much as possible.

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Decide Where To Apply

Different companies handle the PM interview process differently. For example, Amazon heavily emphasizes their 16 Leadership Principles during their interviews, and Uber uses “jam sessions” to evaluate their PM candidates.

As a result, identifying the company that you’re most interested in can help you prepare more efficiently and more effectively. That doesn’t mean you have to apply to only one company. However, identifying your top choice can help you be more strategic during your preparation.

Once you have a company in mind, the next step is to familiarize yourself with that company’s specific interview steps and points of emphasis. To help with that, we’ve put together the free company guides below, which go into detail on each company’s interview process and how to best prepare for it.

Whether you’re targeting a specific company or starting with more general preparation, all PM candidates should do mock interviews as part of their preparation plan.

Team Matching And Hiring

The Product Interview Operating System Ace Your Interview


These are onsite discussions or calls with hiring teams to match you with one where youd be a good fit. This only happens for candidates who have already received a hiring package.

Only done with candidates who are getting a hiring package, so while these rounds can seem long drawn out, its rare to fail to find one.

Make sure you ask lots of questions, so you set yourself up for success in a team that actually works for you.

Once your team has been selected and your preferred package has been decided, you will receive the offer letter within two working days.

So, this was a brief overview of the Google Product manager interview process and prep strategy. Hope you found it useful.

Thank you!

Also Check: How To Write A Rejection Letter After Interview

Practice With Peers Or Experienced Pm Interviewers

Practicing with peers or experienced PM interviewers will give you an extra edge. You will find yourself more confident and focused, and it will help you correct your early mistakes.

Practicing with experienced PM interviewers will give you a real insight into what goes on with a PM interview. You will have the most accurate bunch of information from them.

Programs at Interview Kickstart include mock interviews with industry experts and hiring managers at Google. to learn more.

Google Interview Question Examples:

What will be the impact of self-driving cars.

Pick a product that you used this morning and tell me why you like it.

Pick a product you hate and tell me how youd improve it.

If you could implement a new feature for Gmail, what would it be?

Which tech trend are you following at the moment?

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More Google Interview Questions

As mentioned above, Google hires professionals for a variety of departments. Not everyone is going to face the same questions, as some only make sense for specific roles.


Here are 27 more Google interview questions you might face, depending on the job youre trying to land:

  • Why do you want to work for Google?
  • Tell me what you know about Googles history.
  • Do you think that using legal names when setting up a Gmail account should be mandatory?
  • How do you think digital marketing will change in the next five years?
  • If you needed to find a given integer in a circularly sorted array of integers, how would you go about it?
  • Do you think Google should be charging for its productivity apps ? Why or why not?
  • Tell me something about yourself that you didnt include on your resume.
  • If an extremist video makes its way onto YouTube, how do you think it should be handled?
  • Tell me about a time where you and a manager were in conflict. How did you ultimately resolve the problem?
  • What is multithreaded programming?
  • How would you describe Adwords to someone completely unfamiliar with the product and online advertising?
  • If you were tasked with increasing Gmails user base, what steps would you take to make that happen?
  • Describe a technical issue you once encountered. How did you solve it?
  • Tell me about three non-Google sites that you visit frequently. What do you like about them?
  • How do cookies pass along in HTTP protocol?
  • Explain the function of congestion control in TCP protocol.
  • Practice With Experienced Pm Ex

    Top 20 Google Product Manager Interview Questions and How To Answer Them

    Finally, you should also try to practice with experienced PM interviewers, because theyll be able to give you much more accurate feedback than friends or peers who don’t have first-hand experience with the PM interview process.

    If you know a Product Manager who can help you, that’s fantastic! But for most of us, it’s tough to find the right connections to make this happen. And it might also be difficult to practice multiple hours with that person unless you know them really well.

    Here’s the good news. We’ve already made the connections for you. Weve created a coaching service where you can practice 1-on-1 with ex-interviewers from Google, Facebook, Amazon, and other leading tech companies. Learn more and start scheduling sessions today.

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    Practice With Experienced Pm Interviewers

    If you know a Product Manager who can help you, that’s fantastic! But for most of us, it’s tough to find the right connections to make this happen. And it might also be difficult to practice multiple hours with that person unless you know them really well.

    Here’s the good news. We’ve already made the connections for you. Weve created a coaching service where you can practice 1-on-1 with ex-interviewers from Google, Amazon, and other leading tech companies. Learn more and start scheduling sessions today.

    List Of Favorite Product Question Variations

    There are a few ways you might be asked the favorite product question in PM interviews. You should use the BUS method for any variation.

    To help you identify the different ways you might get asked this question, and to help you practice, we’ve compiled the below list of examples that were asked in PM interviews at companies like Google, Facebook, and Amazon, according to data from

    Also, if you’d like to learn about the other types of questions you may face, you can also visit our ultimate guide to product manager interview questions.

    • Pick your favorite app. How would you improve it?
    • Tell me about your favorite product thats not an app or website
    • Pick your favorite Google product. What would you change about it?
    • Tell me about a free service you like and how would you monetize it
    • Whats your favorite Microsoft Office Product? What are the first three things you would change about it?
    • Tell me about a product you love. How would you make it better?
    • Whats your favorite Facebook feature?
    • Tell me about a product you use often

    Now that you have a list of sample questions to work with, its important to consider how you will practice with these questions.

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    Q6 How Would You Ensure That Your Co

    Ans. This question targets the emotional quotient of a candidate. It highlights the responsibility that is an integral factor for any employee. The interviewer wants to know how attentive, honest, and responsible you are. It not only targets your responsibilities for the company but also points out your accountability for tasks that you undertake. Whether you are accountable for your mistakes or not. Sometimes, an employee needs to deliver the milestones and deliverables on time. There could be some delay in deadlines. But it is your responsibility to take accountability for what is done and tackle the situation using your skills.

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    Q1 Which Google Product Is Your Favourite And How Can You Fix It

    Audience Reach Strategies

    Ans. This question is subjective because a candidate may not be familiar with each product that Google owns. Here, the interviewer is trying to analyze your observations and familiarity with Google products or the Google family. Think about each product that you came across in your daily life. Most of the applications we use displays Google. Products such as Chrome, Gmail, YouTube, Google Analytics, Google Ads, and many others are some of the many options.

    Once youve figured out which product you are going to talk about, the next step is to zoom into technical domains. Present some ideas where the company can use your expertise to improve. Remember that the interviewer is testing your familiarity with Google and your expertise that can bring value to the company.

    For instance, you can choose Youtube Music or YouTube, which can give more power to customersimplementing customization, flexibility to choose between quality, adjustment with sound quality, and so on.

    Learn Software Development Courses online from the Worlds top Universities. Earn Executive PG Programs, Advanced Certificate Programs or Masters Programs to fast-track your career.

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    Study The Company You’re Applying To

    Get acquainted with the company youve applied to. In many cases, the product questions youll be presented with will be based on real-life cases the company is facing. If youre applying to a specific team, study up on their products, the user, etc.

    Take the time to find out which products youll most likely be working with, based on the job description, and research them. Look up relevant press releases, product descriptions, product reviews, and other resources in order to discuss whats most important to the role: the companys product.

    If you’d like to learn more about a specific company’s PM interviews, then we’d encourage you to check out our guide for that company below :

    Design A Dictionary Lookup For Scrabble

    Business objective considerations:

    • Is this for online Scrabble games or the physical board game? Will the dictionary be in print or a website/app? What will set this apart from a standard dictionary? Will it be English-only or need functionality in several languages?

    Possible user problems:

    • Standard dictionaries lack the point score of Scrabble letters
    • Physical standard dictionaries take time to find the right words
    • If a word is not playable, users lack suggestions to other words with the same letters

    Possible solutions:

    • App-based dictionary where users can type in the word
    • Automatic calculation of word value, with options to input triple or double letter-score
    • Options to suggest high-value words with a given string of letters

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    Tell Us About A Product Idea Of Yours That Didnt Pan Out Where Did You Go Wrong And What Would You Do Differently

    As a Product Manager, you need to be a critical thinker. You have to know how to monitor performance and pivot on a dime, how to test and evaluate your design ideas, and how to conduct a thorough and unbiased post-mortem. This question is an opportunity to show that you are capable of handling criticism and taking a clear-eyed critical look at your own work. Its also a chance to show that you take ownership of your mistakes and dont shift the blame to others. But you still want to make sure the project you choose to discuss wasnt a total disaster. Instead, provide an example of when you realized through some form of analytic reflection that your initial concept wouldnt work and you made changes on the fly to fix it.

    • Tell me about yourself.
    • What aspects of the product management process do you find the most exciting?
    • Why should we hire you?
    • Why do you want to work at XYZ Company?
    • What do you do in your spare time?
    • Where do you see yourself in five years?
    • What do you need from your manager to be successful in this role?
    • What does success as Product Manager look like to you?
    • What is one of the best ideas youve ever had?
    • What is one of the worst ideas youve ever had?
    • What interests you about this role?
    • What is your superpower as a Product Manager?

    Design Autocomplete For A Search Engine

    Complete guide to Google Product Manager Interview Process | What to expect and tips.

    This question came up most frequently in software engineer and engineering manager interviews. Take a look at the framework below for an approach to this question, followed by the video version of a full sample answer.

    Sample answer: Design autocomplete for a search engine

    Ask clarifying questions

    • What are the key features?
    • What are the functional and non-functional requirements?

    Design high-level

    • What data structure will you use to find suffixes and word completion, and how will you sort the solutions?
    • How will you store this data structure and connect it with the rest of the system?

    Drill down on your design

    • How would you modify the frequency of the system without compromising availability or increasing latency?
    • Consider the fault tolerance of the system – How would you store the already built trie data structure so that in case of failure the system can be restored?

    Bring it all together

    • Is there any more optimization that you could do? Does the system meet the requirements laid out in the beginning of the interview?

    For a full answer to this question, take a look at the video guide below from Narendra L.

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    What Is The Pm Interview Process At Google

    It is important to understand the different stages of a product manager interview before you start preparing for it. Once your resume is shortlisted, it is followed by a phone screen interview with the recruiter . The next step is a phone screen with product managers . If everything goes well, you will be called for an on-site interview, which typically consists of three to four rounds.

    Phone screen:

    • Phone screens generally last for about 30 minutes
    • Phone screens are carried out by the recruiter and the product managers separately
    • It is to check if you meet the basic requirements for the job
    • Recruiters mostly ask behavioral and resume-based questions
    • Product managers ask more job-profile-related questions about product design, estimation, and strategy


    • Each on-site interview lasts for about 45 minutes
    • Interviews are placed back-to-back with a 15-minute break between two rounds
    • Usually carried out by the product managers, but sometimes, engineers also participate to understand your ability to communicate with the developers

    After the on-site, interviewers evaluate and file a detailed report to the hiring committee, who then pass on your profile to senior leaders for review. If deemed fit, the senior leader documents it for the compensation committee recommendation. Finally, a senior executive reviews the application, and the offer is made.

    What To Interview Product Managers For

    In Who, Geoff Smart and Randy Street offer an approach that starts by articulating a positions mission, outcomes, and competencies. Ive articulated XO Groups key Product Manager competencies in this article defining the modern strategic Product Manager. For each Product Manager level at XO Group, we evaluate

    • Strategic Thinking, including macro and micro level design making and problem structuring
    • Technicals, including engineering and design collaboration tools
    • Collaboration, including EQ and conflict management
    • Communication, including the ability to inspire others
    • DetailOrientation, including QA
    • User Science & Empathy, including qualitative and quantitative user research

    I asked several other Product Leaders for their top interview questions and key competencies. In addition to the six skill areas above, several also called out:

    In addition to competencies, I also evaluate if the candidate would be motivated by the positions mission, users, team, structure, and growth opportunity. Not just *can* the candidate do the job, but *will* the candidate be excited waking up every day to do the job? These two separate notions are also known as will and skill.

    Will: does the person have the will to do the job, i.e. is the person motivated and excited? Does this position feed the persons soul?

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