Associate product manager Interview Questions

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UnitedHealth Group
Associate Project Manager was asked...24 July 2011

Pepsi or coke?

28 Answers

Water!

Coke, please. And a bourbon chaser to go with it. Thanks. ;>)

Personally, I can't tell the difference between Coke and Pepsi and I try to limit my consumption of soft drinks because they are unhealthy. If you compare the ingredients in in a can of Coke vs. a can of Pepsi, they are essentially the same, but everybody has their particular brand affiliation. That's really where these beverage producers excel: branding. And I think UnitedHealth could learn a lot from Coke and Pepsi in terms of branding and PR. The insurance industry in general isn't always seen in the best light and I think that's something I could really help with, marketing UnitedHealth's services so that customers have the same positive feelings they do towards Coke and Pepsi. Less

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Google

What is the marginal cost of a gigabyte in gmail?

12 Answers

Here's my guess at what they're looking for. Marginal cost - this is the additional cost for adding a user. It doesn't need to take in to account the software development effort, but it should take out the atomized cost for everything else. You need to price out the the cost of the enterprise HD/GB. We can call it $1 by GB. Then you need to realize that there needs to be redundancy, so at the lest we need to double that number, if they put a super high value on data retention triple it. Then you need to think about server cost and divide that out, server rack space cost and physical rack area...etc. So if it's $1 for the actual HD space it's probably more like $2.50-$3.50 for the total marginal cost. I don't work for google, but my guess is that they're looking at the though process. What will change with a marginal user increase and what will not. If you only think of the cost of the HD then you're not getting a job with google. Less

The marginal cost of adding a gigabyte is either zero or thousands of dollars.. Either the gigabyte is already physically in existence or you would have to build a new server. The marginal cost is not averaged across all gigabytes. There might be a minor increase in energy consumption due to this extra gigabyte, but who will notice that? If your goal is to stand out in an interview, I would suggest going the Thousands of Dollars answer. For those non computer guys out there, let's relate this question to something physical.. What is the marginal cost of adding one more person to an airline flight.. Their are two situations, the plane in not already full so we can essentially neglect the cost of the additional passenger since it is so low.. (The extra energy to move the 200 pounds, when the plane is already moving hundreds of thousands of pounds, and the 25 cents for a soda..) But if the plane is already full, then the marginal cost of one extra passenger is the cost to fly a second plane.. Thousands of dollars... Less

Isn't marginal cost the cost to produce an additional unit? So costs like designing the user interface, maintaining the webpage (which would have to be done no matter the gigabyte capacity) shouldn't be accounted for. Less

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Google

How can I get to some gold in the middle of the amazon in the cheapest way possible?

5 Answers

outsource to india.

Light a match and hope the wind blows from the right direction.

Send some there. The question does not ask how to get in out of the Amazon.

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Google

Microsoft have just realsed Bing, Eric Schmidt wants you to give him analysis on which search engine gives the most accurate results in 1 hour. How would you be able to rate accuracy results on returned queries from Google search and Bing.

5 Answers

Among thousand of queries that reach Google's search engine every second, there will be, without doubt, similar/exact ones. So a filter can be applied to the Google's Web Server that can spot such queries (already answered from Google) and forward those to Bing, get Bing's response and forward it to the user. Then gather all clicks coming from users and comparing whether users clicked higher in the searches coming from Google or the one coming from Bing (spoofed by Google). The rest is simple. Got to say that the response pages have to be tagged etc. making it a tad more complicated. Also the constraint is to be able to do this within one hour (and honestly I don't think that from programing to deploying to gathering and analyzing can be done that fast) makes this one kind a utopic solution. Otherwise, one can just ask friends to try certain searches in both engines and give you their, most likely biased, opinions. You could, in theory, proxy all this from your desk (not telling them where the search is going -- Bing or Google) and then compare what they think is best answer. Less

I think the question is not so technical and requires an answer with a bit more of semantics. Accuracy in search results is purely semantic. Relevance of search results and their priority (pagerank style algorithm) is strictly mathematical and lacks a human analysis. Therefore, a user test should be made. A representative sample of Bing and Google users should be gathered and they should be able to perform search operations with both of them simultaneously. They should not be able to know which search engine is which. Then analyze the results given by the users on whether what they were looking for was precisely found by the search engine and rate this accuracy. Less

What is accuracy? Most likely relevance or a combination or relevance and speed. The bad answer is: Design a program that sends inputs to bing and Google and measure output in terms of organic results. The good answer is: You have an, hour so you don't have time to go into algorithms. Its an estimate. Pick 10 individuals representing a cross section of search engine users. Example: include gender, age, race. You can even just do the power user which is: e.g young college male/female Anyway you are trying to get a cross section of the population. The key I think is basically give them inputs. The odds of Bing and Google getting normal queries both right is great. i think a better search engine will be able to do edge cases: So you query should have the following: 1) mispellings 2) another language 3) Cultural nuance: 4) Video/image 6) specialiazed seach such as "public static void". 7Most current event, say something that happened 10 mins ago Basically, make them tabulate the relevance on a scale 1-5 for both engines. report the results. This is so easy you can do it in 1 hr. Less

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Google

What is your favourite Google Product, and how would you improve it?

5 Answers

dfsdgfd

google playstore by adding various app to it

I would take a mask for my friend

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Google

Google want to change youtube from having one image for videos to having several to better indicate what the video is about(5 images was used). How would you achieve this

4 Answers

Talked about extracting images as specific intervals based on the lenght of the video and the number of images needed. Also mentioned video analytics and how major changes in frames could signify a scene change and take an image from that point Less

Split the video in 5 segments that overlap, but barely. In the first segment, find the frame that differs the most from the previous one and save it as a thumbnail. Do the same for every segment, just make sure that in successive segments not to pick a frame that might have been already picked (i.e. from the overlap area). Less

As a PM you don't worry about the nitty gritties of the code, like they are talking about above. I took a PM approach to solving this issue. Devs are the ones that will come up with the specs such as AJAX blah blah back end. A PM looks at it from a high level: First, you need to make sure that the feature is worth releasing. How does it affect current customers (advertisers) and users. Do tests so that you have data driven results. Here are some tests that are run before a feature is released: 1) A/B testing - measure clicks on ads, share, exits, e.t.c. Since they want to make a video relevant with more images, in this case exits will be more relevants metric to measure. You can check if advertisers are now getting more ROI. 2) Analytic systems to measure how users interact with the new feature 3) Logging sytems, dogfooding, and even forums, and mentions. All the above gives you data to make an informed decision. Say you decide to go ahead, metrics have improved. You need to estimate impact Business impact - how does this affect ads, do you want to have ads have more images too? Engineering impact - you need to think about storage- in this case its marginal storage cost Now that you have estimated the below, how do you go about releasing it: Here are options: - Invite only -release to specific market say North America first. Iterate and find bugs and improve - Have a fail back strategy - how could you revert if this do not work out as possible, Less

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Google

If scientists said that phone batteries could not get any better. What would you do to make a better phone experience?

4 Answers

Understand the question first: Key Terms: Phone batteries- Are we talking about smart phones or just regular phones. Smart phones eat power due to APPS and the logic of optimizing apps cannot be applied to regular phones. Getting Better- Batteries cannot get better is an ambiguous statement. Does better mean size( where smaller size is better) or does it mean power life. I believe that the interviewer would want power life. Two of the above answers made the first mistake. If size cant change, its more likely that your answers will focus on hardware design, making other parts of the phone light as battery weight is fixed. Let us assume you we are talking about the life of the battery. User: Users of smart phones tend to do the following: Browse the internet, Apps, email, phone calls and text - all these eat power. Goal becomes, with these information how can users continue to perform their tasks as if they had infinite power. in the interim - we can have a campaign to teach better power managements ( Marketing) while we develop a long term plan. 1) Improve easy access to power - for example, humans generate electricity, device technology that would charge while humans are holding on the phone in the palm. This is a crazy idea so is a car that drives itself 2)Improve easy access to power - by allowing solar recharging or other natural forces 3)Optimize apps so that they don't use a lot of electricity. This is a difficult task as apps are developed by different people. Compared to the above two, which you are in charge of. A good PM knows the limitations of expecting other people to solve a problem for you 4) Lets dig deeper. Here we use what we already know. Internet Based Apps and browsing takes the most power. Why, either because connection is power. So if we make internet available and very fast all over the world, its is unlikely that the phone will waste energy with searching slow connections. Google is already doing this with Google Fiber. The above 5 are just ways you can maintain user experience on a smart phone even if life of power of the batter cannot be improved. Note if the interviewer flipped to size. Your answers will be geared towards hardware e.t.c Less

My answers involved harnessing solar, kinetic, and other forms of energy. The interviewer kept asking: "is that it?" Seems like they really want you to think out of the box on these. Less

I can try in 2 directions.. 1. Improving the battery usage by using better algos to control mobile programs. 2. Somehow extending battery life - solar, kinetic, using the heat energy from our laptops etc. , modular batteries which can be replaced in a phone like cartridges without the phone getting restarted or Some kind of flash charge which can boost my battery energy levels to 70-80% quickly without having to wait for 2 hours to get my battery charged. Less

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Google

What website do you visit the most and what would you do as PM for that website?

4 Answers

What's your favorite product? Why? How to improve it? is a classic 3 step question for every PM interview. Learning the frameworks, and reviewing tons of sample answers can help you ace those questions. Ace chatbot is perfect for that. It has cases like Chrome browser, Calendar, Maps, Uber to walk you through step by step. m.me/AceInterviewApp Less

It was a campus interview.

Was it a phone interview and did you get called onsite?

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Google

Design a washing machine and dryer for a bachelor.

4 Answers

I agree with the above answers. First understand the question. Even if it wont matter, ask the clarifying questions so that we don't assume anything. For example, everyone assumed that this is an in-house washer dryer. I think that is what the interviewer is looking for but ask if this is an industrial washer dryer for bachelors or in -house. Where - US vs Africa where water is scarce or electricity. Design becomes extremely different. I think the Interview would say US as its more interesting Users: -Bachelor say 22-30 yrs, live alone blah blah. Not very interesting, everyone will get this. -Pain points, ALMOST ALL BACHELORS want to spent as little time doing laundry. This is key, so should focus on this. Use cases: Jeans and shirts, and spend as little time as possible doing it. In an ideal world, every bachelor will never have to do laundry. Design Features 1) 3-1 device that has a section for dirty laundry, a washer and a dryer. 2) System is connected to smart device such as phone Drop you laundry, don't care what - go party, keep dropping laundry. When the laundry is full, triggers the washer ( which alerts you on your phone (while you are at a bar)). Confirm start or maybe you have default start. After washer ends, you have dryer starting. Alerts you when done. You are busy doing whatever you want, but your machine is smart enough to do laundry for you. This is a MVP - Minimal Viable Product. You might not get the job coz most people will get this. So go further: 1) Heat from the dryer can be used to heat the house 2) Solar - less carbon footprint 3) Alerts you when you run out of detergent - so sycncs with your list say with EverNOte Again this might not be enough: Self criticize: 3-1 is hard to maintain. If one part breaks the whole cycle stops blah blah. This is just one way to think about this. They are plenty other ways to think about this. Less

well first would be define a bachelor, a 17 year old kid can also be a bachelor, also a 70 year old single guy, so we should define what does bachelor means, we can give suggestion that we assume some who is from 21 to 40 and is not married, also are we talking about single men only what about homosexuals, are they considered bachelor? the design could be that the dryer and washing machine are the same, so once i put clothes in, they automatically get dried, also it can have a placeholder for detergent that once i filled it up, it automitcally takes 30ml and i dont have to put detergent in it again n again, second enhacement would be it should have a cupholder and bottle opener, for the bachelors that can keep their drink nearby while they do laundry, the washer/dryer should have speakers which can be connected to the tv or pc through bluetooth, so i can hear the sports comentary while i am doing my chores, or my fav music. comments/suggestions Less

Some requirements for a bachelor washing machine: - Bachelors tend to postpone their laundry. Therefore, usable size of washing machine should be optimized to a maximum. - Options for: (in ºC) 40, 50, and 60. (Temperature) - Options for: 40, 60, 80 minutes. - Drying should automatically start after washing cycle. - Options for: Low, Medium, High temperature. - Options for: 45, 60, 75, 90 minutes. - Easy compartment with label: DETERGENT - Easy compartment with label: SOFTENER No cup holders, speakers, bluetooth or music. It's just a washing machine. Less

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Google

Why are manhole covers round?

4 Answers

You can't put them in the wrong way

I got a full list of all frequent Google questions asked so far in 2020 from candor.co/interviews and none of them were on Glassdoor. Check it out 💎 Less

So they can't fall down the hole. <-- Best answer

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