In particular, I am about to have a team fit call with a senior manager at Google for an L5 role. The corresponding team/job description from the careers page looks a bit ambiguous (it's a role in google distributed cloud hosted).
I am already HC approved post my interviews.
I wish to gain understanding for the following topics in the role:
Of course, I do realise that its a fitment call and I need to leave a strong impression on the manager.
But need advise as to how can I balance the two aspects given its a short 30min call. Thanks!
Domain specific knowledge requirement for the role
There's a ton of resources (including certifications) for Google Cloud. I would ask the manager if there's any resources they recommend going through to get a head start. It's mutual benefit as it shows the manager that you take initiative (expected as an L5) and it gives you a way to prepare for the role and maximize chances of hitting the ground running.
Whether my previous SWE backend experiences (in Ads Search and in ML Infra) could be aligned with the role
I actually don't think this question has a ton of value (if it carries over, it will and if it doesn't, it won't), but if you want to ask it, I think you can just ask this as is.
"How's the work-life balance on the team?"
If a manager's good, I have found they'll give an honest, nuanced response for this question. If they're bad, they'll just lie to you anyways.
Check this out as well: "How possible is it to spot red flags about toxic culture during the interview?"
I would decouple the two objectives of the call: (1) impress the manager and (2) get intel about the team. Focus almost completely on #1.
Once the manager likes you, then ask to speak to 1 or 2 engineers on the team to learn more. The senior ICs on the team are more likely to give you straight answers to your questions compared to the manager anyway.