From the application process to the actual experience - everything you wanted to know about being an APM at Google.
Google's Associate Product Manager program is arguably the most prestigious PM program available.
With the amount of responsibility they give their employees, the opportunities for growth and mentorship, and the high salary, it's no wonder the acceptance rate is staggeringly low. In this guide, we'll give you tips and resources to boost your chances of getting through the process. And, if you're not already convinced, we'll tell you more about why this program is so fantastic!
It's estimated that 8,000 people apply to the APM program each year. About 40-45 of them get accepted, making for a ~0.55% acceptance rate.
These folks can be graduating seniors from top universities, or young professionals with just a few years of experience.
They seek people who solve problems efficiently and in a unique way. Google values diversity of thinking, but an ability to improvise and an improvement-oriented mindset will help you.
The APM role requires above average people skills. Google looks folks with experience leading teams, clubs, or projects. They want people who have learned to resolve conflict, persuade and inspire others, and unite a group under a common goal.
Be innovative, change oriented, and driven to succeed. Google is looking for folks who are ready to come up with world changing ideas - having projects you can showcase will greatly boost your application.
This term is used to describe the personality Google seeks out in potential employees. In addition to the right skill set, they want fun, humble, conscientious, and interesting people on their team. Overall, they're looking for uniqueness and a positive contribution to their culture.
First impressions count the most here. Tailor your resume to showcase your experiences, skills, and projects relevant to the position. When doing so, highlight aspects of your background that APM recruiters will be drawn to. In addition to the above, touch on any experience with software, data analysis, design, and research, especially if it ties back to product creation or management.
For an example of a resumes Google liked watch this video.
You only need 2 things to apply. The initial application consists of a resumé submission and a cover letter. Both of these need to be unique, interesting, and representative of the skills/qualities expected out of APMs. See our tips above or check out one of the resources we list later in the guide.
Depending on your region, applications are accepted at different points throughout the year, usually for a two-week - two-month period. Apply in a country where you speak the business language.
Bonus: If you know someone who works for Google and would be able to vouch for you professionally, ask them to refer you. It will boost your chances of making it to the first interview.
Get comfortable with the interview process, the role, and people's experiences in the program. Various forums, tech blogs, and articles written by APM grads are tremendously helpful You should also familiarize yourself with Google's product offerings and company culture-- this will be essential to answering product design questions and assessing your fit.
PM interviews are difficult and take a lot of trial & error before you master them. Pay attention to questions surrounding product design, business strategy, coding/technical skills, and standard behavioral responses.
To get started, look into tech and business news to build your knowledge base. Consider enrolling in PM-specific courses, and thoroughly research interview questions. Finally, of course, practice answering those questions before you make it to the interview.
This is one of the top things interviewers look for. Practice answering interview questions in ways that highlight these skills (it's not as easy as you think). Here are a few tips on how to do this:
There are countless resources to prepare for the associate product manager interview. Here are a few of our favorites...
Google's Associate Product Manager program has 4 rounds:
As a general outline, the interviews will include some "warm up" questions and casual conversation, product management, technical, or design questions, and time at the end for your questions!
These questions focus on product design, strategy, or both. If you've reviewed any PM interview resources, you've probably come across quite a few. Examples include...
These questions are reminiscent of consulting cases. They often don't have a right answer, rather, interviewers want to see your thought process. They expect you to break large, abstract concepts into bite sized pieces. In the consulting world, Case in Point is the go-to resource. It might help you too! Here's what these questions might look like...
These questions require an understanding of computer science and fundamental algorithms. You may be asked to explain technical concepts, write algorithms, or perform other basic CS functions. This could include questions like...
Don't forget: Behavioral!
You should also be prepared to answer standard behavioral questions regarding your experiences and motivations (hint: always have an answer to "Why Google?").
Just like the 2 year program, the internship is fast-paced, and you're expected to figure out a lot of things on your own. Throughout the program, you work on projects, sit in on meetings, communicate with tons of people, and undertake other PM duties. Your internship experience will vary greatly based on team, but expect to work hard, bond with other interns, (maybe) do a bit of traveling, and have tons of fun in the process!
You're going to be thrown right into the responsibilities of a product manager. Expect to hit the ground running each day, with plenty of emails to respond to, meetings to attend, and projects to work on. Everyone will want to hear your perspective on products and, after a while, you'll be the one making decisions and leading meetings. They expect you to adjust to a steep learning curve quickly and embrace being a self-starter!
The short answer: whatever you'd like!
About 20% of APMs stay on board with the company.
Some are promoted to product managers, while others may opt to apply for different roles within the company, like software engineering or product marketing. Once you're a part of Google, they will go to great lengths to make sure you find the right position.
The Google stamp of approval is incredibly powerful-- having such a big name on your resume opens a lot of doors.
Graduates of the APM program have their pick of top-tier organizations and roles. Some folks go on to other tech companies, like LinkedIn or Dropbox, while others harness their entrepreneurial spirit and start businesses of their own.
Quip, StoryWorth, Optimizely, and Asana are just a few companies that APM graduates have founded.
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