Interview Guide Nov 05
Nov 053 rounds
Elevate Your Product Manager Interview Performance: Proven Tactics and Expert Advice Tailored to Waymo's Unique Hiring Process
Product Managers at Waymo play a key role in the company in and driving forward the autonomous driving industry forward. As PMs, the goal is to tie together a vision for where the industry (and company) should and could evolve to, and execute on this mission across the entire self driving car ecosystem.
PM roles could cover extremely technical domains such as in the hardware or ML ecosystems. They could also focus on the more customer facing aspects of the ecosystem such as rider experience and satisfaction. They could also deal with internal products focusing on QA and privacy. These are just a couple of examples, but they hopefully help establish the breadth of roles Waymo hires for.
Product Managers at Waymo receive an annual average total compensation of $327K, consisting of a base salary of $215K, stock options valued at $80K per year, and a bonus of $32K.
Waymo Product Manager - Interview Guide
The Waymo Product Manager interview process consists of three main rounds. The expectations are very similar to those of Google Product Managers, with some additional craft expectations in some role which are domain specific.
- Phone call with a recruiter
- Screening call with the hiring manager
- Onsite interview
During the Phone Call with the Recruiter at Waymo, you can expect a 45-minute conversation that serves as an initial screening to assess your qualifications and suitability for the role. The recruiter will provide information about the position and the company while getting to know you better. The discussion will cover your past experiences, focusing on both technical expertise and project management abilities.
Example questions for this round could include:
- Give me a high-level overview of your background.
- Tell me about your experience in product management and how it relates to the autonomous vehicle industry.
- Can you describe a challenging project you've worked on and how you tackled it?
- What interests you about the role of a product manager at Waymo?
- How do you approach prioritizing and managing tasks and deadlines in a fast-paced and dynamic environment?
- How have you demonstrated your ability to collaborate with cross-functional teams in your previous roles?
- What do you believe are the key challenges in the autonomous vehicle industry, and how would you address them as a product manager at Waymo?
The Screening Call with the Hiring Manager at Waymo is a 45-minute interview where you will be asked a couple of typical product design questions. The goal of this round is to assess your ability to think strategically and solve problems related to product design.
Example questions for this round could include:
- Design a new feature for autonomous vehicles that enhances passenger safety and comfort.
- How would you design an interface for autonomous vehicles that promotes trust and transparency for passengers?
- Imagine you are tasked with improving the user experience of the Waymo mobile app. What specific changes or features would you implement?
- How would you approach designing a self-driving car subscription service for consumers?
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The Waymo Product Manager onsite interview is not unlike Google's PM interview—except it largely focuses on specific challenges related to autonomous vehicles (AVs). Each interview is designed to delve into the intricacies of Waymo's use case, metrics, and the unique considerations that come with developing and managing AV technology. In addition to that, you undergo a holistic evaluation of your product management skills.
Broadly speaking, you can expect four one-hour interviews that cover various aspects of product management (product design/sense, estimation), and behavior leadership skills where they judge you for your flexibility and problem-solving creativity.
Here's a brief overview of the various rounds you can expect
This focuses on assessing your product intuition and ability to solve a problem or pain point for a very specific user. You’d typically get a broad open question such as “Create a blind-friendly fridge” or "How would you design a TV Remote for old people?" OR "Design a self-driving car for the high-net-worth individual"
You’d be expected to dive deeply into the persona you’re optimizing for, their needs, and underlying pain points, prioritize these, and propose solutions you can tie back to them, before thinking of how you’d measure progress or learn from your efforts.
Other common product design questions include:
- What product would you design for the purpose of finding roommates?
- What would be the ideal design for your dream kitchen?
Here, they want to see if you can build a solid product strategy. You might face scenarios like, "Imagine Waymo is up against a powerful, well-funded competitor. How would you adapt your strategy?" The key is to cover all angles - market, competition, internal and external dynamics, customers, you name it. Think long-term and structure your thoughts to weave a compelling narrative around your recommendation.
Other common questions in this segment include app critique questions like "What is your favorite product? What improvements would you make?" Or "What is a website you use often? How would you improve it?"
They’re meant to see how you approach product management in a structured way, and how you break down the complexity into a set of steps where you can take your interviewer along on the journey.
Here is where your analytical and problem-solving skills are tested. The most common type of question here is to break down a problem into its contributory elements and diagnose a root cause; so something like "You learn from Waymo engineering just before launch that a coding error has been found and the launch has to be pushed back. How do you go about it?" Another common question in this interview type is either a market sizing or estimation question - for instance, "It is your responsibility as the Product Manager at Waymo to develop a plan for expanding into new markets. Investigate your opportunities."
The goal here is to see if you can think of what considerations to evaluate; how you narrow down the possibilities, make logical assumptions, and come up with a pragmatic solution.
Another common question you can expect is "In your opinion, who are Waymo's primary competitors?"
This round is to explore your behavioral competencies, and fit with Waymo's culture and leadership potential. You can expect broad questions like "Why do you want to work at Waymo?", but also those that delve into depth into how you’ve navigated tricky situations in the past, whether you demonstrate leadership with influence rather than authority, and so on.
Here are a few common questions to practice:
- Assume you propose a project and just about everyone at Waymo opposes it. Would you still try to complete it?
- How do you deal with junior vs. senior ICs differently on your team?
- How have you dealt with varying levels of performance from your directs?
- Tell me about a time when you went above and beyond to gain a deep understanding of your customers and how it influenced your product decisions.
- Share an example of a complex technology you had to understand in detail as a Product Manager. How did this knowledge contribute to your decision-making process?
- Explain a situation where you utilized a collaborative problem-solving approach to tackle a significant challenge. How did you leverage the diverse perspectives and expertise within your team or organization?
- Waymo has an ambitious vision for the future of autonomous driving technology. Can you provide an instance where you proactively pushed the boundaries in your previous role as a Product Manager?
- Describe a time when you had to make a difficult decision regarding product development. How did you weigh the various factors, such as customer needs, business goals, and technology constraints?
- Waymo values continuous learning and growth. Are you doing anything to set yourself apart from others?
Remember, practice and guidance are invaluable in boosting your confidence and readiness for the interview. Start by creating an action plan that outlines your preparation strategy. Then seek out a friend or peer who can conduct mock interviews with you, simulating the real interview scenario and covering potential questions.
If you can find an experienced Product Manager, take advantage of their insights and expertise to go over interview questions together. Prepfully has a bunch of PMs from Waymo and other top companies who would be glad to help you out. Connect with them here.
The following are the roles and responsibilities of a Waymo Product Manager:
- As a Waymo PM, you'll be responsible for developing the roadmap for critical components of the simulation infrastructure as Waymo expands its presence across multiple cities and platforms.
- You'll be expected to comprehend and advocate for the needs of Waymo's infrastructure customers.
- You'll be tasked with creating cost-effective infrastructure products that prioritize enhancing development speed.
- You'll need to establish precise and straightforward key performance indicators (KPIs) that not only guide progress but also demonstrate it effectively.
- As a Waymo PM, you should strive to strike a balance between simulation reliability and cost to maximize return on investment (ROI).
Here are the skills and qualifications that a Waymo Product Manager must have:
- You'll need over 5 years of proven experience in successfully developing and launching technical products, with a minimum of 2 years in a Product Manager role.
- You will be expected to have extensive expertise in building infrastructure products that operate on a massive scale and possess intricate complexities.
- You should have a background in software engineering, providing valuable insights and understanding of the development process.
- You should be proficient in delivering both internal and external infrastructure/platform products, catering to the needs of various stakeholders.
- You should be skilled in forecasting and effectively managing substantial compute budgets.
What can I do to stand out as a candidate during the interview process?
To stand out, showcase your experience in driving product success, highlight your ability to work collaboratively with cross-functional teams, and provide examples of how you've contributed to innovative product strategies.
How long does the entire interview process at Waymo typically take?
The duration can vary, but it usually takes several weeks to complete the interview process, including phone screens, technical interviews, and possibly onsite interviews.
What should I know about Waymo's company culture during the interview process?
Waymo values innovation, safety, and a strong commitment to autonomous technology. Demonstrate your passion for these values and your ability to thrive in a dynamic and pioneering environment.
Is there a case interview component in the Waymo PM interview process?
While case interviews are less common for PM roles, be prepared for questions that assess your analytical and problem-solving skills, especially as they relate to product management.
Are there any specific behavioral or situational interview questions asked during the process?
Yes, Waymo may ask behavioral questions to assess your ability to handle real-world scenarios. Examples include, "Tell me about a time when you had to pivot a product strategy based on new data" or "How do you prioritize features in a competitive market?"
What are the key competencies or skills evaluated during the Waymo PM interviews?
Waymo may assess skills such as product strategy, market analysis, stakeholder management, data-driven decision-making, and your ability to solve complex problems related to autonomous driving technology.