Google needs no introduction. Businesses across the globe, no matter how big or small, use Google products. These technologies, which are used more than anything else, are driven by the Product Managers and Program Managers at Google. The technical program management team looks after the Google products through all stages, from the conception of its idea to its launch.
Every software developer, coding engineer, or product/program manager would want the Googler tag, but cracking a technical program manager interview at Google is not a piece of cake. The questions are complex and specific to Google and are multi-dimensional. However, it can be achieved through a strategic prep plan and lots of hard work.
This article will cover key information related to the TPM role at Google, along with some interview questions to help you with your prep. Here’s what we’ll cover:
Technical Program Managers at Google are responsible for handling all aspects of technical projects in their organization. They handle the program's initiation, following the process and providing support in case any issue arises.
"We are not simply looking for engineers to solve the problems they already know the answers to; we are interested in engineers who can work out the answers to questions they have not come across before." — Google
This applies to every engineering role at Google, irrespective of the domain or seniority. For the tech program manager role:
Recommended Reading: How Hard Is It to Get a Job at Google?
Typically, the process of interviews at Google for the Product Manager role has three rounds.
The first round is the Recruiter Round. The recruiter calls you to understand your motivations and expectations from the role. For example, they would ask you questions like "Why do you want to work for Google?" or "Why do you want to leave your current organization?" or "Why do you want to work as a Technical Project Manager?"
They would also ask you about your work experience. The recruiters are looking for character more than skills at this stage. Therefore, be honest, clear, and keep a positive perspective.
After this round, if the recruiter is satisfied with your profile for the role, HR will schedule your phone screen. They will let you know who will be interviewing you and the resources needed for the interview.
The second round would be the Tech Phone Screen. In this round, you are interviewed by the current technical program manager at Google for about 30-45 minutes. This phone interview will be a mix of technical and behavioral questions. If you get through this round, you will hear from the recruiter in a week or two.
The third round will be the On-site. These days this round is also called the Virtual On-site interview round. Typically, this round will include 4 to 5 interviews consisting of technical and behavioral questions, but you could also end up with all 5 being technical. Be prepared for a multi-dimensional interview. An interviewer starting with a behavioral question can also catch you off-guard with a technical question. Each interview will take roughly 30-45 minutes, with 5-10 minutes in the end to answer any questions you may have.
Recommended Reading: Google Interview Guide
Here are a few topics that you can prepare for your TPM interview at Google. First, you should get acquainted with data structures and algorithms. These are essential to crack coding interview questions at Google.
Data structures you should know:
Algorithms you should know:
You will also face some system design related problems. Read System Design Interview Preparation Tips to get a detailed understanding of how to prep yourself.
In addition to these, also make it a point to brush up on all your past projects. You can expect many discussions on topics like how you solved a problem and how you managed a team. Keep examples around these themes ready.
Did you know? The average salary of a Google Technical Program Manager in the US is $168,620 (Indeed). However, with companies like Google, the offer you receive will depend on how well you exhibit your value and negotiate. To learn more, check out The Ultimate Guide to Salary Negotiation at FAANG.
There are typically three kinds of questions asked at Google for a Technical Program Manager Role: Program Sense, Technical, and Behavioral. In this section, we’ve covered some sample interview questions asked at Google, so you can practice your interview skills by preparing for these questions.
Program sense questions assess your ability to manage risks, meet deadlines, manage changes, etc. These questions are focused on your technical program manager capabilities by recreating your past day-to-day work experiences.
Google's engineering managers and technical leads will assess your technical skills throughout the interview. They will judge you on your capabilities to work on high-end technical projects. Various technical scenarios and challenges will be presented to you, and you would have to give a solution for them.
These questions require a strong knowledge of system design concepts:
Recommended Reading: Google Interview Questions
Coding questions are relatively fewer at Google interviews for managerial positions. However, you still need to be ready to face a few of them.
Check out Top 29 Google Interview Questions to Crack the Coding Interview for more.
A technical Program manager is a highly functional and essential role where you will closely work with engineers, product managers, data scientists, and system designers. Behavioral questions will assess your ability to work well in a team and decide whether you are fit for the work culture at Google.
While the general FAANG interview tips apply, the Google Technical Program Manager Interview needs some additional tips. To ensure that you make the right impression during the interview, take care of the following:
Keep in mind these additional points while answering the interview questions:
If you’re unsure about how to start your prep, let Interview Kickstart be your guide.
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1. What happens internally after the Google Technical Program Manager interview?
First, all the interviewers are asked to send in their feedback, and then they are reviewed by the recruiters. If approved, it then goes to the hiring committee. Finally, it goes to the senior officer to sign the offer letter.
2. What if I did poorly in one interview round at Google? Can I still get in?
Yes, you still can. Unfortunately, it is impossible to impress all 4-5 interviewers. However, since everyone else's feedback is also taken into consideration, you still have a chance.