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Google technical program manager interview questions

Google technical program manager interview questions 

Are you preparing an interview at Google for a Technical Program Manager role? If yes, I can advise you a few books and online resources that will tremendously increase your chances to be hired. Here is my book list and review. I am sure these resources will really help you to answer most interview questions!

A photo from inside the Google Campus. (credit: Paul Miller)

Let's start with the basics before giving you a few tips you won't find anywhere else. Study the material provided in the two books "Cracking the PM Interview: How to Land a Product Manager Job in Technology" and "Cracking the Coding Interview: 150 Programming Questions and Solutions". They were written by Gayle Laakmann McDowell, a former recruiter from Google who also worked at Apple and I find them really great!


The second book, "Cracking the PM interview" is particularly useful for Technical Program Managers. In my opinion, it focuses more on Product Manager positions, as the author has a non-technical background, but is nevertheless the best resource I have found to date to prepare for a Technical Program Manager role at Google.

Google's interview process

The best post I have found on the web to learn about the reality of Google's interview is there, on reddit. I recommend it a lot! It will help you understand the process, which is the first step towards getting hired as a TPM by Google. 

Fortunately, there is also the Google Software Engineer Interview Guide by GAYLE LAAKMANN, which is quite comprehensive and interesting to read, even if you target another kind of role at Google. It also gives some general culture about important topics that may arise in the interviews: MapReduce, coding standards, large system design, etc. This guide is outstanding! Make sure you read it before starting to study other resources on the web.

Although Google's interview process has some specificities, Google recruiters also ask the same "classical" questions as any other company. Therefore, I advise you to read the (excellent) free ebook from careerconfidential that answers the top 50 interview questions.

Beware: less than 1 tenth of interviewees succeed and get an offer from Google... That's why, you should study thoroughly the resources detailed in the rest of this post too, to put all chances on your side.

Google offices in 2010 (Credit: Marcin Vichary)

Google Technical Program Manager questions

Many TPM recruiters will ask you the difference between a process and a procedure, how to manage communication with international project contributors who are not native in english, and how you dealt in the past with a difficult collaborator. If you are not able to answer theses questions instantaneously, you should beef up your project management skills.

If you read this blog regularly, you should know already that the PMBOK is a definitive resource for project managers. It describes the standard methodology and good practices of project management as seen by the Project Management Institute (PMI). Studying the PMBOK is also a good idea to prepare the PMP certification, which is definitely helpful on a CV, whether you are recruited by Google or not.

Programmer interviews

You really should read programming pearls... It's a super old book, available for free online, which describes exactly the type of reasoning you should have in front of a coding interview question. Think first, identify the category of problem, explain your reasoning and only after that, sketch a solution. It helped me a lot.

As already mentioned, a former recruiter of Google has written two excellent books to help candidates prepare for interviews. They are easy to read and really helpful, in my opinion. Going to interviews without having read them is risky:
You have found other books extremely useful? Feel free to comment this post! And I love external links: they help my blog rank better in search engines... Thanks!

Google market share on search is close to monopolistic: working for them sounds like a better career choice than working for Yahoo and Bing. Best of luck for your interviews with Google!

About Gilles


  1. Programming is very interesting and creative thing if you do it with love. Your blog code helps a lot to beginners to learn programming from basic to advance level. I really love this blog because I learn a lot from here and this process is still continuing.
    Love from Pro Programmer

  2. The best Resource is -

    It has a long list of both tech and non-tech questions.

  3. Thank you for sharing the information here. Its much informative and really i got some valid information. You had posted the amazing article.
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