Google Product Manager Interview Questions Answers

2/07/2011 No Comment

Google Product Manager Interview Questions Answers.

The questions provided below are the ones that interviewers have faced in a Google interview before. They are aware of these questions, and as such there is very less possibility that these questions will be asked again. However, these questions will definitely help you to get an overview about the interview process and the type of questions.

How many buses does the local transportation corporation own?
Answer: Try to estimate what the local population of the town. Come up with an approximate number , say 100,000. Second thing is to get the percentage of people who would use local transportation, lets say that percentage is around 75%. Next is to find all the possible routes, how many major routes the buses may take (routes to say from city A to city B/downtown/mall/universities/schools/colleges). Also, have to remember that most buses runs to and fro.
 Finally you need to take into account how many you can fit into a single bus, this way you can estimate how many buses a local transportation corporation could own.

How would you handle a resource who is just not doing the work, doesn’t get along with anyone, and is generally not much interested in his/her work?

Answer: This question is asked to find out the individuals management and leadership style. Try to cite an instance when you faced a similar situation and how you handled it effectively. At the same time, you should also keep in mind that company policies are not violated in addressing the issue.

Just give us a rough estimate of how many bottles of shampoo are produced in the world a year?
Answer: The interviewer is not looking for near specific numbers but instead trying to find out how you go about calculating it. So, an approximate figure is fine.

  • Approximate 30 million = Population of Canada
  • Approximate 6 billion = Population of the whole world
  • Around 23% of the world’s population are living in 3rd world countries.
  • Considering the world's population of bald to be around 2% who don't use use shampoo.
  • 25% of 30 million don’t use shampoo, use soap, are bald, or cannot afford to purchase shampoo (third world) (-7.5 million) gives us a figure of 22.5 million.
  • Consider a bottle of Shampoo lasts approx 2 months, which gives us 6 bottles/year per person.
  • 22.5million multiplied by 6 gives a figure of 133.1 million bottles in the whole of Canada
  • 6 billion – 25% = 4.5 billion.
  • 4.5 billion multiplied by 6 gives 27.0 billion bottle per year.
If you look at a clock and the time is 3:15, what is the angle between the hour and the minute hands?
Answer : Calculate mathematically - 7.5 degrees ( 30 degrees between ‘3′ and ‘4′, 30/4 = 7.5 degrees)

If the probability of observing a car in 30 minutes on a highway is 0.95, what is the probability of observing a car in 10 minutes (assuming constant default probability)?
Answer : P(30min) = 0.95 ; Pbar(30min) = 0.05; Pbar(10min)=(1/3)^(0.05)=0.368 ; P(10min)=1-Pbar(10min) = 0.6312 = 63.12%

Imagine you have a closet full of shirts. It is very hard to find a certain shirt. As such, what can you do to organize your shirts for easy retrieval?
Answer :  By this relatively simple question the interviewer is trying to find the organizational skills of a manager and in case of  a
 software engineer – grouping (hash tables). Say that you would have the closet organized by installing shelving units and compartmentalize some sections visually. Then you have a section for shirts you would wear outside and another section for shirts which you would wear at home, and another for laundry. Also in each section, you can organize the shirts by color from white to black which is a very great way to organize thereby helping in easy retrieval.

Explain the concept of a database in three sentences to your eight-year-old nephew.
Answer : You can answer this question in different ways. Try to cite an example instead talking and explaining in technical terms. Say that dictionary is like a database. In dictionary, you have words and what the word means and how they are organized. Another example is of a filling cabinet where your parents have where each hanging folder contains different information. For instance, one folder has your progress reports, another has my birth certificate, another has some childhood pictures of yours and and so on.

Why do you think a good user interface (GUI) very important for the company?
Answer : A good graphical user interface (GUI) encourages the visitor to stay longer on the page, explore other pages of the website, click on advertisement, and also helps in retrieving and access information in a easy manner. Many top companies have build their identities on a good user interface and many users associate them with it. Most companies have a separate UI team who comes up with the most user friendly GUI for end users.

Give us an estimate how many golf balls can fit in a school bus? 

Answer : You need to provide some rough calculation. 
  • Calculate the size of bus (approx in feet 8 length 6 width 20 depth) = 960 square feet 
  • Convert to Square Inches multiplied by 1728 = 1,658,880; 
  • Golf ball is of dimension 2.5 cubic inches (4/3* pi*0.85 inches radius) ;
  •  Divide it by 2.5 ie 1,658,880/2.5=663,552 ;
  •  Considering the bus seats and other things, we can round down to say 500,000.
What are three things Google should know before releasing a product in a certain country? 
Answer : Culture, Language and Social System are the three main things that should be considered before releasing a product in a different country.

Give us an idea how would you design Google Maps.

Answer : Since this question is for a Product Manager, presumably the interviewer is not looking for a technical but rather for a marketing answer.

Can you tell us what is Google’s primary source of income/revenue? 
Answer : The primary source of revenue for Google is Advertising which accounts for 96% of its revenue. It is the biggest online advertiser in the world. A whopping 42 billion dollars in 2012 came from Adwords. Apart from that there are TV Advertisements, Android Applications, Youtube Services, but it pales when compared to their advertising revenue.

Some tricky and intelligent questions asked in a Google Interview

  • Tell us some of the effective ways by which you would you boost the GMail subscription base?
  • Write an algorithm to sort a million integers? Also calculate the time complexity.
  • Can you tell us some ways by which you would re-position Google’s offerings to counteract competitive threats from Microsoft?
  • If you are thrown into an empty glass blender where the blades will start moving in 60 seconds, what will you do?
  • If you are given to wash all the windows in Seattle, how much should you charge?
  • Tell us how would you find out if a machine’s stack grows up or down in memory?
  • You have to get from point A to point B. You don’t know whether you can get there or not. What approach would you take?
  • There’s a latency problem in South Africa. Tell us the steps how you will go about diagnosing it.
  • Design an evacuation plan for San Francisco in case of an emergency.
  • What do you think are three long term challenges facing Google as a company?
  • What do you know about Google’s product and technology?
  • Describe a situation when you faced a critical technical problem and tell us how you solved it.
  • Design a simple search engine? What do you think are the main features of a search engine ?
  • Name about the latest technology articles you have read about recently. Can you tell us your own creative execution for an advertisement for that product.
  • Lets say that if you are hired as a Product Manager for Google’s Adwords Program, how do you plan to market it?
  • In an AdWords or AdSense product seminar, you are asked to speak to the audience. What will be your main focus and what will you speak?
  • Who are the main Google’s competitors, and how does Google compete with them?
  • What is the most creative way of marketing Google’s brand name and product. How it is different from other companies?
  • Lets say that you are the product marketing manager for Gmail, how do you plan to market it so as to achieve a target of 100 million customers in just 6 months?
  • Just give us a rough estimation of how much money you think Google makes daily from Gmail advertisements?
  • Now a tricky question. A man pushed his car to a hotel and lost all his fortune. What happened?
  • Calculate how many piano tuners are there in the entire world?
  • Imagine yourself as a parking lot attendant. Now in a lot that has one open spot, and you want to move the cars from their original positions into a new arrangement. Create a program that will print out instructions on how to move the cars most efficiently between the positions.
  • What would you do to improve inefficient airports?
  • What is the Google product do you like the most and what features you would include to improve it?
  • Give us an estimate of the marginal cost of a one GB space in Gmail?
  • Can you name three non-Google websites that you visit often and like. What are the main things you like about the user interface / design. 
  • Tell us how would you determine if someone has won a game of tic-tac-toe on a board of any size.
  • Estimate the number of students who are PHD students, college seniors, attend four-year schools, and graduate with a job in the United States every year. Explain mathematically
  • If you were given the land prices in the San Francisco Bay Area, what would you pick, the mean or the median price and why?
  • Estimate the revenue of various free web services from Google and competitors.
  • Tell us about your favorite Google product. What do you like most and what are the changes you want it it?
  • Tell us how will you make Google win in specific country/zone?
  • What is the website that you visit the most and what steps would you take as PM for that website?
  • With age, it becomes difficult to remember what you read, especially after working in industry for so many years. Can you tell us how you will address this.
  • Just give us an estimate of how many vacuum cleaners are made annually in USA?
  • How many resumes does Google receive each year for the role of Software Engineers?
  • Design an elevator for a building. Can you write the elevator scheduling algorithm here.
Google give a lot of importance to the IQ , reasoning and analytical skills. As such, a candidate appearing for the interview should be good in writing algorithms and in solving problems mathematically

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