The Ultimate Guide to Acing Your Google Program Manager Interview

Program manager interviews at Google are really challenging. The questions are difficult, specific to Google, and cover a wide range of topics.

For those who want to work at Google (or Google Cloud), the good news is that getting ready can make a big difference. We have put together this ultimate guide to help you maximize your chances of success.

And if you’re looking for a job as a technical program manager, which is a similar job, see our separate guide on Google TPM interviews.

Interviewing for a program manager role at Google is no easy feat. With thousands of applicants and only a handful of open positions, the competition is fierce. But with the right preparation, you can stand out from the pack and land your dream job at one of the most prestigious tech companies in the world.

In this comprehensive guide we’ll walk you through everything you need to know to crush your Google program manager interviews including

  • An overview of the interview process and timeline
  • The most common interview questions (with sample answers!)
  • Expert tips to help you prepare

Let’s dig in and get you ready to ace your Google PM interviews!

Overview of the Google Program Manager Interview Process

The Google program manager interview process typically takes 1-3 months from start to finish Here’s an overview of what to expect along the way

1. Initial Resume Screen

  • Your resume will be reviewed by a recruiter to ensure you have the basic qualifications before moving forward. Highlight your PM experience and results achieved.

2. Recruiter Phone Screen

  • A 30 minute call with a recruiter to assess your experience, skills and motivation. Expect questions like “Tell me about yourself” and “Why Google?”

3. Hiring Manager Video Interview

  • A 45 minute remote video interview with the hiring manager for the role. Both behavioral and PM-specific questions will be asked.

4. Onsite Interviews

  • 4-6 back-to-back interviews onsite at a Google office. A mix of technical, PM, behavioral and leadership questions.

5. Offer!

  • With stellar performance, an offer can come within 1 week after the onsite interviews. Base salary, stock options and signing bonus will be included.

Now let’s look at some of the most common questions asked at each stage so you can practice and come prepared.

Most Common Google Program Manager Interview Questions

Here are some of the top questions that get asked in Google program manager interviews:

Recruiter Screen Questions

  • Tell me about yourself and walk me through your resume.
  • Why are you interested in Google and this program manager role?
  • What are your salary expectations?
  • What excites you most about program management?

Hiring Manager Video Interview Questions

  • Tell me about a recent program you managed from end-to-end. What were the scope, challenges and results?
  • How do you handle ambiguity in moving programs forward despite unknowns?
  • Describe your leadership style and how you motivate cross-functional teams.
  • What PM metrics do you typically use to track program progress and success?

Onsite Interview Questions

Program Management Questions

  • How would you go about planning a large, complex program with many dependencies?
  • Tell me about a time you had to manage several projects simultaneously. How did you prioritize?
  • Describe a situation where you had to manage a program through changes or pivot in strategic direction. How did you communicate and align teams?

Behavioral Questions

  • Tell me about a time you effectively rallied a team behind a new initiative or idea.
  • Describe a challenging cross-functional team you worked with. How did you build relationships and earn trust?
  • Share an example of when you failed or made a mistake on a program. What did you learn?

Technical Questions

  • How would you technically design a program to launch a new cloud storage product at scale?
  • Explain a technical program you managed in detail so I can assess your hands-on abilities.
  • What PM tools are you familiar with? How would you use them to manage and track program health?

Tips for Acing Your Google Program Manager Interview

With practice answering questions like these, you’ll be well on your way to nailing your Google program manager interviews. Here are some additional tips:

1. Thoroughly research Google – Study their products, business model, culture and mission statement. Understand their focus on innovation, data and technology.

2. Highlight relevant PM experience – Google wants to see that you have successfully managed complex programs end-to-end through execution. Quantify results achieved.

3. Prepare PM stories – Have 5-8 detailed stories illustrating your program management skills ready to go. Practice telling them clearly and concisely.

4. Brush up on PM fundamentals – Review key PM methodologies like agile, scrum, waterfall, etc. Know the terms and best practices.

5. Practice aloud regularly – Verbalizing your answers will help polish your communication skills for a stronger interview performance.

6. Do mock interviews – Practice with friends or colleagues first, then work with an expert coach to finetune your answers and receive individualized feedback.

With dedication and rigorous preparation using a structured approach like this, you’ll be primed and ready to take on your Google program manager interviews with confidence. The work you put in now will pay major dividends in landing your dream job. You’ve got this!

How to prepare

Now that you know what questions to expect, lets focus on how to prepare. Here are four things you should do to get ready for a job as a Google (or GCP) program manager. For extra tips, take a look at our guide to program manager interview prep.

2 What exactly is Google looking for?

At the end of each interview your interviewer will grade your performance using a standardised feedback form that summarizes the attributes Google looks for in a candidate. The form is constantly evolving, but below we have listed the main components we know of at the time of writing this article.

In the first section of the form the interviewer fills in the questions they asked you. These questions are then shared with your future interviewers so you dont get asked the same questions twice.

Each interviewer will assess you on the four main attributes Google looks for when hiring:

  • General cognitive ability. This is often referred to as “GCA” by Googlers. The company wants to hire program managers who are smart and can learn and change with the times. This is where the person interviewing you will try to figure out how you learn and how you solve problems. Find out more by reading our guide to the GCA interview.
  • Role-related knowledge and experience. This is often referred to as “RRK” or “RRKE” internally. The company wants to make sure that you have the right skills, experience, and knowledge for the job you’re applying for. Find out more by reading our guide to the RRK interview.
  • Leadership. Google is looking for a certain kind of leadership known as “emergent leadership.” At Google, you’ll mostly work in cross-functional teams, and each member of the team is expected to take the lead when their skills are needed at different points in the project’s lifecycle. More information in this guide to Google leadership questions.
  • Googleyness (i. e. culture fit). The business wants to make sure that Google is a good place for you to work. Your interviewer will look to see if you naturally show the company’s values, such as being able to deal with uncertainty, wanting to take action, and working well with others. More information in this guide to Googleyness.

Depending on the exact job youre applying for these attributes might be broken down further. “Role-related knowledge and experience” could be broken down into “Program management” and “Technical judgment” if you were applying to be a TPM.

In this part in the middle, Google’s interviewers write down all of your answers and give you a score for each one (e.g. g. “Poor”, “Mixed”, “Good”, “Excellent”).

After the interview, the people who were there will write a summary of how well you did and tell Google whether they should hire you or not. g. “Strong no hire”, “No hire”, “Leaning no hire”, “Leaning hire”, “Hire”, “Strong hire”).

Google Program Manager Interview: Inefficient Processes


What does Google look for in program managers?

Preferred qualifications: Ability to operate in a high-paced, changing work environment, prioritize multiple functions and tasks, manage time efficiently, and navigate ambiguity. Ability to work effectively in a collaborative environment and external vendors.

How do I prepare for a Programme manager interview?

Expect to talk about yourself, your work history, and any skills that are directly related to the program manager job description. This shows the interviewer you have the required skills and that you’ve researched the company you’re interviewing with. Keep this to no longer than a few minutes.

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