We have determined the following findings based on the feedback of over 70 Google Product Managers and Product Manager candidates that have interviewed for a Product Manager role at Google as either a Hiring Manager or Product Manager candidate. For your benefit, we have broken our findings into ten sections.
The first item you have to get done as soon as possible is to write your Product Manager resume. This is the most crucial step since an insufficient resume will not get you anywhere! Writing a Product Manager resume is challenging as you have to frame your professional experiences from the perspective of a Product Manager.
Thankfully, Product Gym has the right resources to guide you in this grueling task. Make sure you watch our video:
Writing a Product Manager resume and sending your application to Google won’t get you far without networking! You should be reaching out to Google recruiters and adding them to your network as much as possible.
Your networking skills should go beyond asking for a Google interview to a stranger that you connected with online, and you should aim to build long-lasting relationships instead.
To master the art of networking, make sure you watch our recruiter guide video:
Last but not least, you should get cultured and familiar with the practice of Product Management as much as possible. Make sure that tech blogs or news sites are on your daily reading list. While the internet is full of high-quality content, our favorite is Stratechery.
We love the daily feeds from Launch Ticker as well!
You were invited to the Google Product Manager interview! Great! Now what?
Let’s take a closer look at what to expect in terms of interview structure and content.
According to IGotAnOffer and Glassdoor, you should expect the interview process to be similar to this:
From what we gathered from different members, the process takes about 4 – 6 weeks, and sometimes up to three months!
Now that we know how the interview process is done, here’s a list of topics to expect.
There are six major components to the Google Product Manager (PM) interview:
Google Product Managers put users first. Product Managers are obsessed with providing the best user experiences. Think about all the Google Products you use and take for granted every day and imagine life without them.
At Google, this process begins with customer empathy and a passion for products, down to the most acute details. A wireframe can be sketched just to convey an idea to a designer. Many of our members who interviewed with Google, say that you will be expected to sketch out wireframes during your Product Manager interview.
The best way to prepare for product design questions is by understanding how a sufficient answer is structured. Make sure you watch our video, solving a very popular FAANG case study question here:
Here are other ways to prepare:
Google Product Managers are fluent in the language of numbers to define the right metrics. Google Product Managers make their point by communicating their analysis. They can decipher and make decisions from A/B test results, go so far as to write SQL queries, and even run scripts to extract data from logs.
In essence, they don’t mind getting their hands dirty and doing whatever is required to prove their point.
Google Product Managers are business leaders. As a result, they must be familiar with business issues. Google Product Managers don’t need to have business experience or formal business training. However, they do expect you to pick up business intuition and judgment quickly.
Google Product Managers lead and influence effectively, have a bias for action, and get things done. Many Google Product Managers go on to become CEOs of their own companies and other companies.
Being smart isn’t enough; YOU HAVE TO FIT IN WITH THIS CROWD. Google prides itself on its ability to get things done as an organization. This is one of the most challenging criteria to fulfill and one of the reasons why Google is so cool to work at. You will have to show that you are smart enough to hang with the best of the best, and fit in with the rest. It’s a balancing act, but absolutely necessary to weed out all the people that Google DOES NOT WANT.
In this section, you will likely get to explain more about your previous projects and experiences. While talking about your experiences might sound easy, Product Manager interviewers expect thorough and well-structured answers.
Watch this video to learn how to structure your answer to the “Tell Me About Yourself” question:
Also, watch this video to learn how to use the critical Product Manager terms in your interview responses:
Google Product Managers lead product development teams. Leading effectively means Product Managers have influence and credibility with engineers. At the final round (aka onsite) interview, a senior member of the engineering team will evaluate your technical competence. Be prepared to whiteboard coding questions at the onsite interview.
Coding questions are unlikely during the phone interviews, but if you are invited to an onsite interview, you must prepare for programming interviews. The technical interviewer does not expect your programming syntax to be perfect. You should have sufficient mastery of technical concepts so that you can participate in technical discussions and help make technical trade-offs. We would recommend going over computer science fundamentals and practicing a couple of coding questions.
One of our favorite resources is How to Ace the Software Engineering Interview. Also, be prepared to describe key technologies, including search engines, machine learning, and MapReduce.
Be prepared for behavioral interview questions such as, “Tell me about a time when you had to influence engineering to build a particular feature.” Google Product Manager interviewers are relying more on behavioral interview questions in the recent months.
Google is a very professional company, and as a Product Manager, you are expected to explain how you work with engineers and other kinds of technical stakeholders.
Make sure you watch our guide to explaining your professional experiences with the engineering team as a Product Manager to understand what the interviewers are looking for:
Brain teasers, such as logic puzzles, are rarely used in today’s Google Product Manager interviews. Google’s HR department found a low correlation between job performance and a candidate’s ability to solve brain teasers.
However, hypothetical questions have not been banned at all. Hypothetical questions are imaginary situations that ARE related to the job. (This is in contrast with brain teasers, which ARE NOT related to the job.) An example of a hypothetical question could be, “How would you design an algorithm to source data from the USDA and display on Google nutrition?”
The following are questions that may contain more than 1 of the six criteria that Google looks for. Be prepared to answer them, if you aim to work there. We wish good fortune on your journey to becoming a Product Manager with Google. If it were easy, everybody would work there, which would defeat the purpose you want to work at Google in the first place.
The world’s first professional career coaching service committed to helping aspiring and veteran product managers transition into the product manager job of their dreams. Product Gym’s online curriculum helps you get the job and then crush it while on the job.
Participants attend class every Saturday for six weeks in a program designed to help them master a number of technical and soft skills, including product launch, data science, UX, interviewing, whiteboarding, and pitching.
Members have access to Product Gym’s career support services and resources, including a member network, workshops, offer and salary negotiation training, and interview feedback.