Understanding Google’s Product Management Hiring Criteria
First, let’s understand how Google defines the responsibilities of a product manager. Here are the 5 key responsibilities they list on their PM job listings:
Ultimately, Google assesses whether you’ll be able to perform the PM job by assessing you in five core categories: 1) product sense 2) technical chops 3) analytical chops 4) communication skills and 5) culture fit .
How To Use Google Hangout For An Interview
Video interviews are becoming a convenient and popular alternative to in-person interviews. Google Hangouts is one of the many alternatives to the traditional interview that employers use to find the right candidate. Understanding how to properly use Google Hangouts is a great way to prepare for your upcoming video interview. In this article, we explain what Google Hangouts is and how to use the platform for an interview.
Common Behavioral Interview Questions
Google has compiled their own list of behavioral interview questions that their hiring managers use in interviews.
Lets go through them.
Describe your work process for ____.
While there are no wrong answers to this question, it can be used to gauge how your experience impacts your day-to-day life as a developer. A good answer dives into your workflow process, tools, and ability to work on a team.
Tell me about a time when you took a risk and failed.
This question provides insight into how you learn and approach difficulty. A good answer demonstrates honesty and active learning in the face of failure.
What is an accomplishment that youre proud of?
This question is used for building diverse teams. Google is looking for your specialties, sense of success, and your values in the long term. A good answer looks beyond the accomplishment and prods at what it means about you as a person.
What is the most complex thing you know a lot about? Teach me about it.
This question looks at your skills, communication skills, and ability to explain complexity to others. A good answer focuses less on information and more on the effectiveness of your teaching style.
If you join, how will you impact your team?
This question looks at your ability to fit with others in a structure. A good answer shows that you did research on Googles values. Top answers speak to Googles goals.
Tell me about an unstructured environment youve worked on.
What does being Googley mean to you?
What scares you?
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Go Deep With Interview Prep Courses
If you want to dial up your preparation even further, try taking a dedicated PM interview course. There are a variety of courses that offer resume preparation guides, strategies for various types of interview questions, and deep dives on specific companies .
Personally, I recommend the Product Alliances excellent trio of interview prep courses. Some of their greatest hits:
- Techniques for snagging referrals and getting recruiters to reach out to you on LinkedIn
- Video strategy guides for many popular interview types including the design, estimation, and analysis questions that companies like Google love.
- Five videos on Google products and corporate culture, along with a whitepaper breaking down Googles corporate strategy. The Google whitepaper isnt available for free, but check out this Uber paper I thought the financial details and product roadmap were very well done.
This content is really the best in the business. Check it out at productalliance.com they often have discounts during recruiting season.
Check out one of my mock interviews with the Product Alliance!
What If I Dont Get The Job
It wont be the end of the world.
Ive put the time and dedication into my studies for the goal of getting hired as a Google software engineer, but even if I fail, Ill still be armed with the skills and knowledge required to work as a software engineer at any company.
Wherever I end up, Im going in as an entry-level software engineer. Im not going in with 15 years of software engineering experience because I simply dont have it. When it comes to this stuff, Im the equivalent of a fresh CS grad.
But I have the enthusiasm of a new grad, too. This is a new world for me. Im just getting started. Im not afraid to make mistakes. I know I will. I also want to learn everything I can and be an excellent addition to any team.
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What Does Google Look For In A Candidate
Cognitive ability. General cognitive ability refers to your problem-solving skills, abstract thinking, curiosity, and willingness to learn. Google looks for smart people who can think complexly about themselves, their teams, and their projects.
Googleyness. Like all organizations, Google has a specific company culture, and they look for candidates who mesh well with their values. Googles main focus is on people they care about inclusivity and the improvement of human life while remaining ethical. Google is known for small teams and a laidback environment to encourage creativity, innovation, and open communication.
Leadership skills. Google hires candidates with emergent leadership skills. For Google, leadership is the ability to step in and out of difficult problems when you are needed while promoting ethics and safety. Google also looks for those who empower others to self-organize and foster open communication.
Technical skills. Google hires candidates with the strongest coding abilities, and they assess technical skills mostly on conceptual understanding, not memorization. They assess coding skills on the following topics:
Getting Noticed By Google
Google receives more than two million resumes but hires only around 4000 employees every year so its not easy to get noticed by recruiters for interview calls. Take the referrals through some connections working in these companies or you can take the help of LinkedIn and online coding platforms to increase your chances for interview calls. Below are some points that will help you in getting the call for interviews
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How Do I Prepare For A Google Interview Within 2 Weeks
4.8/5ininterviewThings to focus on:
9 Tips to Prepare Your Coding Interviews In One Week
how hard is it to get an interview at Google? It is difficult to get a job at Google because of their quality standards and the high number of applications they receive per year. For example, INC reported that Google receives 2 million job applications per year, which means it’s more competitive to get into than Harvard University.
Simply so, how long does it take to prepare for a Google interview?
Time ConstraintsThe phone interview is 30-45 minutes, and each of the one-on-one onsite interviews will be roughly 45 minutes to an hour each. In each of these scenarios, you will be presented with at least one question, which, in most cases, is a coding category question.
Does Google Ask manipulation questions?
Bit manipulation is only of moderate importance for the Google interview, as it is not asked as frequently as questions on topics such as arrays, trees, and graphs. However, you are expected to know it and it does come up from time to time.
My Guide To Preparing For The Google Technical Interview
With over ten years of programming experience and a CS degree, it took me about a month and a half of daily practice to get ready for the interview. Ready, for me, is ambitiously defined as the ability to tackle almost any technical interview question in 30 minutes or less and reach an optimal solution. The following is based upon what I did to prepareyour mileage may vary.
- About two years of solid coding experience
- Pencil and paper
- Your favorite algorithms bookIntroduction to Algorithms, The Algorithm Design Manual, and Programming Pearls are a few good choices. Might I suggest you go low tech and buy physical copies?
- Two or three hours a day
- Highly recommended: Whiteboard
- Optional: MIT OpenCourseware or another learning site
1) Learn as much as you can about the Google interview process
Just like an incomplete understanding of a technical question will ruin you in the actual interview, misinformation will derail your preparation leading up to it. I learned this the hard way when I failed at my first attempt after emphasizing brain teasers over studying algorithms and data structures.
Once you have a solid foundation, Id recommend following up by reading CTCI. Particularly focus on chapters 5 and 6 entitled Behavioral Questions and Technical Questions.
Build Knowledge Of Google As A Business And Company Culture
Google products are ubiquitous. There is a good chance that if you’re reading this you likely used Google search to find it or a friend emailed it to your Gmail account.
Warning! Don’t delude yourself into thinking that usage equals thinking deeply about the products, features and business. If you’re interviewing for a PM position at Google, devote time to thinking about this.
One helpful helpful exercise here is to consider how Google thinks of itself as a company. To do so, start by thinking about the overall Google organization .
How Is The Google Interview Different From Other Companies
Google isnt shy about sharing their hiring practices. In fact they have a whole page dedicated to exactly that.
The interview process begins with at least one phone screen and, if successful, a series of onsite interviews. The Google phone screen and onsite portions are fairly typical across the board of technical interviewing, but the process at Google is unique in a couple specific details:
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Prepare Answers To Some Common Questions:
Furnishing yourself with answers to the questions that they regularly ask is always a good idea. Do not assume that just because you are familiar with the principle things, you will be able to get through the interview successfully.
Often though we are familiar with answers, we find it tough to coherently get our words and thoughts across and end up using extremely unprofessional statements like you know what I mean or you get the point. The interview questions might cover anything that is on your CV. Thorough knowledge on the fundamentals of Computer Science is a must for any engineering job that you might apply for at Google.
The questions will test your knowledge on topics like-logical problems, hash tables, stacks, system design and arrays. If you answer the questions well and confidently then you have nothing to worry about.
Sample Interview Questions From Google Pm Interviews
Like all tests, knowing what’s going to be on it is only the start of the battle.
Practicing is the key. But don’t take it from us… here’s a snippet from Google’s own hiring page:
“Practice: Everyone gets better with practice. Practice your interview answers – out loud – until you can tell each story clearly and concisely.”
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Practice Like You Play
Effective practice is realistic practice.
In the midst of an interview, you want to be focused and able to spend the majority of your mental energy on the problem given from the interviewer. You dont want to be thrown off by extraneous factors such as not being used to writing code in a non-IDE environment.
Here is a list of factors that you should be mindful of when developing your practice regimen.
The phone interview is 30-45 minutes, and each of the one-on-one onsite interviews will be roughly 45 minutes to an hour each. In each of these scenarios, you will be presented with at least one question, which, in most cases, is a coding category question.
In order to effectively practice under time constraints, one strategy would be to select one specific problem.
For instance, selecting a problem from one of the book or video resources under the Additional Resources section of this post would be a good place to start. Then, start a timer and attempt to solve the problem without access to an IDE.
Following this practice for a few different categories of questions will give you some signal with respect to how you are faring with time constraints. Getting optimal solutions within the time interval of 30-45 minutes consistently for problems of varying difficulty is the ultimate goal. If you are struggling to hit this goal, use this as an opportunity to tighten up this area is something you will need to work on.
How To Prepare For Behavioral Interviews
Google has outlined 8 steps for preparing for behavioral interview questions. Study these and use them to shape your preparation and answers.
Predict the future. You can anticipate most of the questions you will be asked. You have the resources to prepare your answers. See below for 10 common questions.
Plan. Write your answers down. Practice strategically. Dont wing the behavioral questions.
Have a backup plan. Google recommends having 3 answers per question. This helps you prepare diverse, interesting answers.
Explain. Google asks you to explain your thought process and decision-making. Explicitly stating your assumptions and processes helps you stand out.
Be data-driven. Google wants answers that relate directly to tangible growth, change, or demonstration of skill.
Clarify. You can use open-ended questions to offer insight into your value as a candidate.
Improve. Google encourages you to always focus on improvement. You can start with a brute force answer, but then work through how you could improve your process.
Practice. Google encourages you to practice aloud to construct clearer answers.
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Top 15 Google Coding Interview Questions
Find the kth largest element in a number stream
Problem Statement: Design a class to efficiently find the Kth largest element in a stream of numbers. The class should have the following two things:
The constructor of the class should accept an integer array containing initial numbers from the stream and an integer K.
The class should expose a function add which will store the given number and return the Kth largest number.
Find k closest numbers
Problem Statement: Given a sorted number array and two integers K and X, find K closest numbers to X in the array. Return the numbers in the sorted order. X is not necessarily present in the array.
Delete node with given key
Problem statement: You are given the head of a linked list and a key. You have to delete the node that contains this given key.
Copy linked list with arbitrary pointer
Problem statement: You are given a linked list where the node has two pointers. The first is the regular next pointer. The second pointer is called arbitrary_pointer and it can point to any node in the linked list.
Your job is to write code to make a deep copy of the given linked list. Here, deep copy means that any operations on the original list should not affect the copied list.
Mirror binary trees
Problem statement: Given the root node of a binary tree, swap the left and right children for each node.
Find all paths for a sum
Longest substring with no more than k distinct characters
Equal subset sum partition
Seeking A Career Change
Remember the part where I didnt get a computer science degree? It has made a difference.
A few years ago, I thought I could get hired anywhere. I thought I was hot stuff: the elusive full-stack web developer. But during my job search in 2013, I realized my skills were lacking. I had spent so much time chasing dollars by running startups in my spare time, that I had let my skills atrophy. I hadnt kept up with technology.
For years, I had learned just enough to get by. I had a wide skill set but wasnt an expert in anything.
Dont get me wrong, I could still get hired, but not in the technologies or areas I wanted to work in. I could get hired for areas where the tech stack was somewhat outdated, like me. Theres big money in there, but I didnt see exciting prospects.
The realization reached its peak last year at a career fair. I was interested in perhaps working for one of the local companies that were startup labs run by venture capital firms. However, the fact that I lacked a computer science degree, and the skills and knowledge that accompany such a degree, meant I didnt have a chance.
I was working full-time on my businesses at the time, and still am today.
At the beginning of 2016, I decided it was time to make a career change from web developer to software engineer. I would need to study hard and practice in order to compress a computer science degree into a few months, but once I did, I could start a new career.
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