This is a self-guided, 30-day, step-by-step interview prep guide for Google product management (PM) interviews. It’s one of the most popular features from my new book, The Product Manager Interview; this brand new book has over 160 practice questions for product management interviews.

I’ve excerpted that Google PM study guide here.

Best of luck and hope the study guide helps with your product management interviews!


30-Day Google PM Interview Study Guide

Day 1. Getting familiar with Google’s PM Interview



Know the scope and nature of the Google PM interview.

Day 2. Getting familiar with the product design interview

Background Reading

  • Read about the CIRCLES design method in Decode and Conquer.
  • Review the product design examples from Decode and Conquer to see how CIRCLES is applied.


Do the following pain point exercises in The Product Manager Interview:

  • Child’s 1st Birthday Party
  • Best Handyman
  • Job Search Pain Points
  • Finding Someone to Do Taxes

Do the following customer journey map exercises in The Product Manager Interview:

  • Expedia Journey
  • AirBnB Journey
  • Online Course Journey
  • Job Search Journey
  • Home Improvement Journey
  • Customer Service Journey


  • Learn about product design questions.
  • Understand the product design framework, CIRCLES.
  • Observe how others answer interview questions with CIRCLES.
  • Practice two parts of the CIRCLES framework:
    1. Listing (brainstorming) solutions
    2. Reporting customer needs (customer journey map).

Day 3. Putting product design questions together with the CIRCLES method


Do the following product design exercises in The Product Manager Interview:

  • Disney Experience with Your Phone
  • Improving Google Hangouts


  • Like a wine connoisseur, detect and deduce how your response differs from the sample. As you become attuned to the differences, your own responses will improve.
  • For now, don’t worry about response quality or speed. Getting started, by practicing, is half the battle.

Day 4 to 10. Putting product design questions together with the CIRCLES method


Complete one example a day for the next seven days, choosing from the list of questions from The Product Manager Interview, below.

  1. Improving Google Play Store
  2. Monetizing Google Maps
  3. Mobile App Design for Nest
  4. Favorite Product
  5. Favorite Website
  6. People You May Know
  7. Car for the Blind
  8. ATM for the Elderly


  • Easily explain why CIRCLES leads to better interview responses.
  • Understand when, how and why one should adapt CIRCLES.

Day 11-13. CIRCLES in Real-life


Further improve your product design skills by applying the CIRCLES Method to real-life. For each one of the next three days:

  1. Walk around the neighborhood.
  2. As you walk, use the CIRCLES method to improve everyday items. Here are some design problems you can ponder:
  • How can sidewalks be improved?
  • How can street lamps be more effective?
  • Build a product to solve the dog poop problem.
  • What new products can prevent flat tires in cars or bikes?
  • What innovation can make gardening less of a chore?
  • What innovative new product can make park gatherings be more social, with strangers?


Acculturating a product design mindset 24 hours a day, both at the interview and in your everyday life.

Day 14*. Find a practice partner for product design


Sign up for the product management interview practice group on Slack:

Post a request for a partner or partners in the #req-practice-ptr channel.

Take turns during your practice session. That is, Partner A (interviewer) gives a case to Partner B (interviewee). Then, swap roles.

Coordinate in advance which case each person will receive; to simulate the interview environment, the interviewee should do a case that they are not familiar with. The interviewer should take time to acquaint themselves with the question and the sample answer.

* Repeat the partner practice activity as often as you would like. The best candidates will have practiced at least 20 product design cases.


Master the product design interview. It is the number one reason why candidates fail the Google PM interview. If you have committed yourself to thoughtful practice, you should be an expert when it comes to tackling product design questions. Use the guidelines below to gauge your product design proficiency:

  • A novice suggests the obvious or copies competitive features. An expert suggests novel and memorable ideas. An expert suggests ideas that make the interviewer go, “Hmm, I wish I thought of that; maybe I should build a company based off of that idea.”
  • A novice mentions user insights that are shallow. The novice does not take interest in users or their motivations. The novice is deficient in user empathy. The expert is a lifelong learner of human psychology and behavior. An expert continually asks questions about what people do and why they do it. As a result, an expert easily points out insights that are urgent, relevant and surprising.
  • A novice follows the CIRCLES method step-by-step, like a home cook trying to make a sophisticated soufflé for the first time. The novice is afraid of making mistakes and clings tightly to a prescribed framework. The novice is so busy trying to recall the different steps of the CIRCLES framework that the novice’s responses sound robotic and textbook. The expert understands that a framework is a checklist, not a recipe. The expert understands that CIRCLES is there to prevent errors of omission. CIRCLES is there to help ensure that the listener’s experience is complete, satisfying and possibly even entertaining.

Day 15. Getting familiar with the metrics interview

Background Reading

  • Read about the AARM framework in Decode and Conquer.
  • Read metrics examples in Decode and Conquer to get familiar with metrics questions in an interview setting.


Do the following metrics brainstorming exercises in The Product Manager Interview:

  • Metrics for eCommerce
  • Metrics for Two-sided marketplaces
  • Metrics for SaaS
  • Metrics for Mobile Apps
  • Metrics for Publishers
  • Metrics for User-Generated Website
  • Metrics for Support Tickets

Do the following metrics prioritization exercises in The Product Manager Interview:

  • Most Important Metric: Two-Sided Marketplace
  • Most Important Metric: Mobile App
  • Most Important Metric: eCommerce


Get more familiarity in coming up with and identifying good metrics.

Day 16. Diagnosing metrics problems


Complete the following examples in this book, on your own or with a partner:

  • Shopping Cart Conversions
  • Mobile App Ratings
  • Reddit Posts


Gain proficiency in brainstorming a complete and exhaustive list of issues when troubleshooting a metric.

Day 17 and 18. Putting the metrics problem together


Complete one example a day for the next seven days, both on your own and with your practice partner, from this book.

  • Your Favorite Google Product
  • Drop in Hits
  • Declining Users
  • Slow Download on Kindle
  • Pinterest Metrics
  • Go-to-Market and Success
  • Metrics for Uber Pick-up


Build proficiency in identifying, prioritizing and diagnosing metrics issues.

Day 19. Getting familiar with the estimation interview


  • Read about estimation questions in Interview Math.
  • Read the following estimation examples in Interview Math to get familiar.
    • Women’s Rain Boot Market
    • Smartphone Case Market
    • Subway’s Sales
    • Netflix Subscription Sales


  1. Learn about estimation questions.
  2. Learn how to setup estimation questions using issue trees.
  3. Learn how to make assumptions.
  4. Try the following estimation questions:
    1. Cars in Seattle
    2. How Many Google Apps Users
    3. Revenue from YouTube Red

Day 20. Practice estimation questions


Complete one example a day, from this book, for the next seven days.

  1. Planes in the Air
  2. Gmail Ads Revenue
  3. Google Buses
  4. Gmail Costs
  5. Driverless Car Purchases in 2020
  6. Storing Google Maps
  7. Facebook’s Ad Revenue


Master estimation questions. Not only is response quality important, but also you should complete most estimation questions in about 10 to 15 minutes.

Day 22. Learn more about strategy questions


Read the following chapters in Decode and Conquer.

  • Strategizing: Tradeoffs
  • Strategizing: New Market Entry
  • Strategizing: CEO-Level Issues


  • Learn about common strategy question types.
  • Figure out how to approach strategy questions using frameworks.
  • See how the frameworks are applied to common PM strategy questions.

Day 23. Practice strategy questions


Practice the following strategy questions, in this book, either on your own or with your practice partner:

  1. Google’s TV Cable Service
  2. iPhone Exclusive Partnership


Provide a response that is thoughtful, logical and addresses the company’s objectives. For more examples of thoughtful strategy responses, refer to the popular blog,

Day 24. Learn more about pricing questions


Read the “Pricing” chapter in The Marketing Interview.


  • Learn about pricing questions, including the difference between pricing new vs. existing products.
  • Figure out how to approach pricing questions using frameworks.
  • See how to apply pricing frameworks to popular questions.

Day 25. Practice pricing questions


Practice the following pricing questions, either on your own or with your practice partner:

  • Pricing New Products
    • Google Driverless Car Pricing
    • Google and Teleportation
  • Pricing Existing Products
    • AWS Price Reduction
    • Kindle Pricing at Target


  1. Google’s Strategy
  2. Google vs. Microsoft
  3. Google Moonshot Projects
  4. Google Maps in Mongolia
  5. Google Store

Day 26. Traditional and Behavioral Questions


  • Read the “Winning the Behavioral Interview” chapter in Decode and Conquer.
  • Draft and polish your answers for the following questions:
    • Tell me about yourself.
    • Why Google?
    • Influencing your team
  • Practice and get feedback from your practice partner


While Google has an affinity for case questions, you should spend some time preparing for traditional and behavioral questions. Google interviewers usually ask traditional icebreaker questions like “Tell me about yourself” and “Why Google?” However, behavioral interview questions like “Tell me a time when you influenced a team” is a newer occurrence. Google’s HR department, since 2013, has asked its PM interviewers to ask more behavioral interview questions.

Day 27. Getting Familiar with Technical Interview Questions


Review the technical topics suggested in:


Gain familiarity with technical concepts and questions. At Google, technical interview questions are reserved for on-site interviews, usually for candidates who have succeeded in other parts of the interview such as product design, analytics and strategy questions.

Day 28. First Try at Technical Interview Questions


Attempt the following technical interview questions:

  • 100-Story Building and Two Eggs
  • Reducing Bandwidth Consumption


Try some technical interview questions, with a focus on calming your nerves and approaching questions with open curiosity. The “100-Story Building and Two Eggs” question is an example of an algorithm question. “Reducing Bandwidth Consumption” is an example of a technical architecture question.

Day 29-30*. Second Try at Technical Interview Questions


Attempt the following technical interview questions from The Product Manager Interview:

  • Load Balancer for
  • Dictionary for Scrabble
  • Google Search Services
  • Bayesian vs. AI

* Repeat the technical interview practice activity, as necessary.


Build confidence tackling technical interview questions.

Photo Credit: Google Inc


Thank you everyone for all the positive feedback, comments, and suggestions on this article since I published it back in September 2013.

I’ve updated this article to reflect the latest questions, interview reports, and comments I’ve received about the Google product manager process through Impact Interview’s 1:1 work with clients.

You can find the updated article and tips at this new location:

How to Prepare for the Google Product Manager Interview

Photo Credit: Antonio Manfredonio

During the interview, it’s not just your vocal delivery that matters; the content counts just as much.

When deciding what content or stories to share, McKinsey offers some valuable tips which I’ve paraphrased here:

Behavioral Questions about Leadership

Good examples show that you guided a group to overcome a significant challenge or obstacle. Keep in mind that you did not have to be the official leader for your story to be good.

Bad examples are ones where you were “elected” as the leader but never faced any challenges.

Behavioral Questions about Influencing Others

Good examples share a challenge where you had to convince one or more people, who were initially resistant to your idea, to embrace that idea or proposal.

Bad examples share a situation where an individual or group embrace an idea that they weren’t resistant to in the first place.

Behavioral Questions about Accomplishments

Good examples show that you both set and accomplished a challenging goal.

Bad examples are ones where:

  • Someone else set a goal, and you achieved it.
  • You set the goal, and someone else achieved it.
  • You didn’t set the goal, and you didn’t achieve it.
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The Google Cloud TAM phone interview usually lasts about 45 to 60 minutes. Here are the questions you can expect during your interview.

If you’re looking for tips on how to prepare for the TAM case study, refer to this answer here.

Icebreaker Questions

Why Google?

Why Google Cloud?

What’s your current role? What are you looking for your next role?

Role Related Knowledge


Explain what Google Cloud is to a customer.

Who are Google Cloud’s competitors?

What do you know about the cloud market?

Hypothetical questions

How would you measure success of customers?

how do you manage a project schedule from start to finish?

How would you onboard a new customer?

Describe a time you failed to deliver for a customer.

Describe a time you had to deal with unrealistic customer demands.

Describe a time the internal team could not support you.

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design portfolio interview with digs method lewis lin

If you’re a designer interviewing for a new role, you’ll have to get ready for the dreaded design portfolio interview.

The Internet has no shortage of tips on what your design portfolio should look like. However, there are few tips on what your verbal commentary should sound like.

I recommend using the DIGS Method™. Here’s why:

  • Provides context about your design task or challenge
  • Tells us how you approached it
  • Helps us appreciate your innovative approach
  • Emphasizes your process, tools, and techniques
  • Summarizes with your product or business impact

For a more detailed walkthrough, here’s what your DIGS-influenced design portfolio response should sound like:

Dramatize the situation

Start by helping us appreciate your design challenge.

Here’s what it might sound like:

“My boss told me that our goal was to increase the time spent on Facebook from 1 minute to 2 minutes. That’s a whopping 100% increase. To make it worse, he said that removing that annoying login wall wasn’t up for discussion. I was dumbfounded, especially since we knew that darned login wall was responsible for 94% of all short visits on Facebook.”

You’ll see that this narrative makes the design objective clear. It also dramatizes how impossible the task is; you don’t want to convey a design challenge that’s ordinary and simple. Lastly, it hints at some constraints. In this case, it’s a design constraint, but it could also be time or resource constraints too.

Indicate the Alternatives

Indicate at least three alternatives and talk about the pros and cons of each. If you fail to indicate the alternatives, we have a hard time appreciating why your solution is innovative. We’ll simply conclude that your single solution is obvious and not-so-noteworthy.

Here’s what it might sound like:

“There were three design approaches I considered. Here’s one, here’s a second, and here’s the third. The advantage of the first one is …, but the disadvantage is…”

Go through what you did

Many candidates choose not to talk about what they did. Maybe they feel it’s too obvious. Or they think it’s too boring. Obvious or not, interviewers are looking for evidence that you possess the skills and the techniques that matter. So play along and describe the process, tools, and techniques you used.

Here’s what it might sound like:

“I first built a paper prototype of what I wanted to accomplish. It was quick, easy, and tactile. Then I created a low-fidelity mockup in <tool name>. Then I created a high-fidelity, clickable prototype in <tool name> which we used in our usability sessions.

Summarize the result

It’s not enough to present the designs. You’ll have to explain whether the design realized the main goal. In this example, it’s whether you increased the time spent metric to 2 minutes.

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Interview Coaching: Amazon Interview

October 25th, 2018 by lewis


We provide interview coaching services for Amazon interviews. Over the last 10 years, we’ve coached hundreds of candidates on how to prepare for Amazon’s leadership principles interview. We’ve also developed the world-famous Amazon interview stories worksheet.

But don’t just take our word for it. Read what our clients have to say about our Amazon successes below.

If you’ve got an Amazon interview and you’re looking for help crafting your interview responses to their 14 leadership principles, that’s our speciality. We’ll help you through it. Contact us at

Here’s what clients say about us: Amazon Interview Prep

Find more Impact Interview testimonials here

“I just wanted you to know that I was offered the position of area manager at Amazon. I accepted last Friday, and I start in two weeks. Thank you for your guidance. The preparation allowed me to shine int he interview.” – S.O.


“I have got an offer from Amazon. They told me I beat 3 internal candidates. Thanks for your interview consultation.” – K.V.


“I just received an offer from Amazon for the Senior Product Manager Technical Products internship! I wanted to take a moment and thank you for all the help you’ve provided me.” – E.O.


“I’ll be starting at Twitter next week. I got offers from Amazon, Twitter, Groupon, and a couple of startups. I decided to go with Twitter!” – O.J.


“FYI – I just received the OFFER from AMAZON yesterday evening!!!!! I am beyond excited and wanted to send a note to you to thank you for your help through the process. You were a fantastic interview coach and really helped me think about the best way to frame up my experience and examples. THANK YOU!!!!” – M.I.


“Lewis, I am a current second year student at [top-tier business school]. If you remember, we had met during your session here last month, and I had mentioned how I had found your workshop and book useful for securing the internship at Amazon and was about to interview with Google. I have gone through the recruiting process with Google as well, and have an offer from them as well now for a full time role. Thanks again for all the help through the process through your material!” – B.E.


“Good news! I just accepted an offer from Amazon for a Sr.Program Manager role.” – W.K.


“Amazon plans to extend an offer as a senior manager. Thanks for your help in prepping me. Really appreciate it.” – B.D.


“I am happy to report that I have received a job offer from Amazon. Your coaching program for Amazon has definitely benefited me!” – M.B.


“Got the Amazon offer, with an initial package that was ~$100K more than what I currently make at [a top 5 tech company]. It’s a dream job for the role of Principal Product Manager for a [special project]. – Q.K.


“Thanks Kelly for your interview coaching! I got offers from both Amazon and Apple.” – S.N.


“I am happy to share the good news with you- Amazon made an offer today and I accepted the position. Thank you for your coaching and guidance.” – I.M.


“I’m very happy to share the news that I’ve been offered Principal Product Manager with Amazon. Thank you for giving me the confidence to succeed at the interview!! Definitely worth the money!” – I.J.


“Lewis, I got an offer to join Amazon as Senior PM – Technical products and have a second round for Google PM next week. ” – N.D.


“My son received an offer last evening from Amazon. He mentioned that the coaching was very beneficial.” – A.I.


“I’ve landed on an Amazon PM internship + offer last year thanks to your awesome materials.” – I.K.


“I received and accepted an offer with All the coaching/practive were a huge part of giving me confidence to go in a “sell, sell, sell” myself. I’ll be passing your name along to those (like me) who need some brushing up on their interview skills!” – B.H.


“Martins, I just wanted to drop you a note, and thank you for your excellent coaching and guidance. I noticed an immediate change in my interview performance after our sessions and I believe that is what got me from being rejected in Rounds 1-2 to actually seeing what a final round looks like. Unfortunately, I couldn’t make it past Amazon’s final round. I finally forced myself to stop cramming the day before the interview and take it easy. That really helped me relax and my mind finally seemed to work. I received three really great job offers last month. I am really excited! This is what I’ve been praying for, a chance to start fresh and build a new life. From the bottom of my heart, thank you very much for your help. That really was the best use of my money ever and I would do it all over again.” – Y.K.


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In the previous blog post, I talked about a strategy for answering the “What animal would you be?” interview question.

As part of a recent team activity, my colleagues shared their choices and reasons why they would be a particular animal.

The team came up with several clever examples including some unique justifications. Hope it helps you brainstorm your own answer to the “What animal would be?” interview question.

Sample Answers for the “What animal would you be?” interview question

  • Elephant 🐘: intelligent, social, introverted
  • Waterbear: Tolerate extreme conditions, outlast anyone, microscoipc
  • Dolphin 🐬: communicative, social
  • Lion 🦁: courageous
  • Fox 🦊: clever, cunning, cute
  • Bird 🐦: fly, be part of a flock
  • Cat 🐱: independent, resilient
  • Dog 🐶: get attention, play with others
  • Flamingo: pink, be fashionable & stand out, travel in groups, and sleep on feet
  • Eagle 🦅: be free, troll others

🐶 Answering the “What animal would you be?” Interview Question”

A popular, off-the-wall interview question is:

If you could be any animal, which one would it be?

Interview candidates absolutely dread this question. It seems fun, casual, and harmless. But blurt out a short response like — “Giraffe because I’m tall” or “Fox because I like to plan” — and you’ll disappoint the interviewer.

To help you think through this problem, here are some tips to answer this question, adapted from my recently released book, The Marketing Interview.

What Is the Interviewer Looking For?

Most interviewers would explain that they ask off-the-wall questions to assess a candidate’s ability to think quickly, showcase their personality, and demonstrate creativity. A small handful might admit that they ask off-the-wall questions to lighten up the mood.

Thus, make it fun and make it creative. Present a dull and formal response at your own risk!

How to Approach the Question

Treat this question as a personal brand question. That is, what would you like to be known for? Perhaps you want to be known as someone who is intelligent yet social. In this case, your animal might be an elephant 🐘, an intelligent species that emphasizes social bonding and enrichment. A social yet intelligent personal brand would be ideal for a business development role, where strategic skills and intelligence are prized.

How do you determine your personal brand? You’ll find your personal brand intersecting between where your strengths lie and what the employer is looking for in an ideal candidate. The last part is critical. Your employer has a picture in their mind of what skills and traits an ideal candidate has. To increase your chances of getting the job, synchronize your response with what they’re looking for.

A few more tips

Despite the seemingly inconsequential nature of off-the-wall interview questions, you are still being judged, so take the question seriously.

Details convey credibility. So use the Rule of Three and have three reasons on why you chose a particular animal.

Lastly, it’s very difficult to come up with a creative answer to this question without thinking about your response first. So pre-think your answer in advance. And if you must, take a moment to collect your thoughts before answering.

Conquer those interviews,

Lewis C. Lin 🦊


Behavioral interview questions are interview questions about your past experience. They usually start with “Tell me at time…” or “Give me an example…” They are very popular at most every company, especially medium to large corporations.

Hypothetical interview questions revolve around fictitious scenarios that could happen in the future. It’s a way to evaluate what you would do in the future, if you were placed in a similar situation.

Traditional interview questions are typically questions that do not fit the behavioral or hypothetical categories. They’re typically common interview questions such as:

  • Tell me about yourself.
  • Why do you want to join this company?
  • What’s your biggest weakness?

Usually, traditional interview questions are meant to gather background information about a candidate.

Examples of traditional, behavioral, and hypothetical interview questions

Traditional Questions

  • Tell me about yourself.
  • Why did you leave your last company? Did you get fired?
  • What have you been doing since May 2018?
  • Where do you see your career in 5 years? How about 20 years?
  • What’s your biggest weakness?
  • Why should we hire you?

Behavioral Questions

  • Tell me a time when you had to meet an aggressive deadline.
  • Tell me a time when you disagreed with a co-worker.
  • Tell me a time when you solved a difficult problem.
  • Tell me a time when you had to complete a task with limited guidance.
  • Tell me a time when you made a mistake.

Hypothetical Questions

  • What would you do if you had an upcoming deadline you feel is too aggressive?
  • What would you do if you disagreed with a co-worker?
  • What would you do if you had to complete a task with limited guidance?


If you’re getting ready for a Facebook product manager interview, they will ask you questions from three fundamental areas:

  • Product Sense
  • Execution
  • Leadership & Drive

Here’s more information on what you’ll receive from their HR team: