PM Interview Prep Plan: How I got PM offers from Google, Expedia, Microsoft, and Facebook
Five months ago I got fedup with the crap culture at Amazon (needs a separate post) and decided to start working on my game plan for interviews at tech companies. Now, I have three offers from the tech companies - Expedia is travel not in the same league I know. No trolls please.
Profile: CS Engineer and Ivy MBA
TC 240K (Luckily with stock appreciation. Original grant was just 115K over four years)
Expedia: 220 TC all cash - M5
Google: 380 TC (MV) - L5
Microsoft: 250 TC (Fucking lowball) - 64
Facebook: They asked me to come back for one more rounds of product sense and execution. I refused - no gas left in the tank.
My goal was to land a PM role at Google. This post is about how I prepared.
At Google PM interviews, you may have some coding or algorithmic questions, but likely not a lot and possibly none. My friends who recently interviewed got system design Qs and basic data structures like what data structures for implementing load balancer etc. Since, I have CS engg I prepared extra hard to feel super confident going into tech interviews.
1) Week 1: Basic technical prep:
Wanted to get my technical basics refreshed on programming to make sure I can answer questions on recursion, encapsulation, pointers, object oriented programming etc. Read: Let Us C++, a basic undergrad book used in India - free PDF copies circulating online. Took extensive notes on each topic for easy refresher.
2) Week 2: Data Structures deep-dive
Learnt four things: 1.Insertion, 2.Deletion, 3.Search, 4.Sort for these data structures and their time complexities: Queues, Linked list, Stack, Hash Table, Array etc. I watched this YouTube channel https://bit.ly/1ElhMUl and read this http://bigocheatsheet.com
3) Week 3/4: System Design
There are two types of system design Qs
1) Design problems related to real life websites. These problems apply scalability theory, load-balancing, redundancy etc. For example Design Facebook, Design bitly, Design Quora, Design Uber etc.
2)Design Elevator system, design valet parking, design restaurant system etc.
Read about Pub-Sub architecture, Producer Consumer architecture and what AWS services can be used to build them.
This is gold mine to learn about system design.
Practice these problems after you have learned the concepts. https://bit.ly/2hgv0KW
Master scalability concepts such as these
My interview Q was design an architecture for video sharing website. It is similar to Netflix that I practiced.
Week 5: Machine Learning concepts
I prepared for it because it is a hot topic. I was lucky that I did because one of my technical interview Q was - If you have records of all tennis matches in the history how will you build a ranking algorithm. I was able to leverage this knowledge.
I took Week 6 just to recompile everything I read so far.
Read 1) Decode and Conquer and another book from Lewis C Lin's website on Google PM interview - this book is good.
Practice with people I used this Slack channel to find partners https://bit.ly/2OuQnI8
I found a friend who was also interviewing with Facebook/Google and instead of interviewing each other we collaborated and solved every product sense question that existed on Glassdoor for FB and Google. This gave us two advantages we were using two smart people's brain to solve problems and learn from each other. Irony to say he got FB offer but not Google and I got Google but not FB.
Product Strategy: Just read some blogs online and revised my Strategy frameworks from Bschool class 3Cs, 4Ps, Porter etc. The Lewis Lin book helped me provide structure to some of these questions.
Week 10: Behavioral
All standard Amazon Behavioral STAR. Having that internal Qbank (perks of Amazon) helped me. Atleast prepare 1)a failure story 2)diagreement story with manager or team member 3)disagreement with Dev team 4)short time prioritization framework 5)not meeting deadline 6)what makes a team successful 7)what are your design principles. I was able to handle all of my behavioral questions from these 7 stories.
Week 11: Estimation
I was really good at this but I still ended up spending this week focusing on it. My friend had this book Interview Math by Lewis Lin it helped me give structure to my thought process.
Week 12: Revise everything
Week 14-16 I did all of my interviews
This is no way an ideal plan but what I did to prepare. By sharing this I wanted to help fellow Blinders.