How to Prepare for a Product Management Interview at Google
Google Product Managers bring to fruition new products and features that impact millions of users every day. They act as general managers of their products, providing leadership across engineering, design and business teams. Here is a quick summary about what it takes to apply to any of Google’s
Skills required to work as a Product Manager at Google
According to Fortune magazine, Google is the best company to work for in America so they can afford to ask for a lot of things including:
- Previous experience as a product manager. Google has an agnostic interview process in which they aim to hire “generalists” that can easily float through different product lines such as consumer, mobile, enterprise or platform to name a few. That being said, you don’t need to study an MBA in order to work at Google.
- Technical background. Google is an engineering-driven company and appreciates that product managers are former engineers or have a proven track record working with engineers. That being said, you don’t need to hold a Computer science degree in order to work at Google.
- Previous startup experience. Google operates as a big startup made out of smaller startups. Having past experience either as a startup founder or early employee in a fast-growing startup are definitely a big bonus points. That being said, you don’t need to try to create a company if your goal is to work at Google.
Interview questions at Google
In preparation, you can expect discussions around the following topics:
- Product design – Thinking creatively/critically about products – eg, how to monetize twitter, how to change Gmail, design an app for the Louvre. Give feedback and analysis on features (think of how to best delight the user), technical design, UI design.
- Product strategy – Understand Google’s competitive landscape and discuss the vision for Google, the mobile market, the ad market, the internet, and technology in general. Discuss long term product roadmaps & strategies to increase market share.
- Analytical – May be a market analysis, problem solving or brain teaser question, eg. How would you store all the phone calls in the world? Most important is attention to detail and communication of how you’d break the problem into smaller nuggets to reach an overall solution.
- Technical – You could be asked architecture/design (eg multi-tiered web apps, data storage in databases) or conceptual questions (eg internet technologies and protocols). Possibly even an algorithm/coding question or two.
Additional resources to prepare for an interview at Google
- Read through this blog.
- Practice these PM interview questions.
- Watch these videos: Cracking the PM Interview and Cracking the Coding Interview.
- Skim through the following books: Business Model Generation, The Algorithm Design Manual, Escape Velocity, and The Design of Everyday Things.
- Take a product management course at Product School.
- Familiarize yourself with all of Google products.
- Learn a little more about Google’s culture.
Check out this short clip featuring Lead Product Manager at Google talk about being his experience becoming a product manager and why he decided to teach it at Product School.