How to Become an Adobe Product Manager

adobe product manager

Just about every professional has used an Adobe product, whether they realized it or not. If you’ve ever downloaded or opened a PDF, for example, you’ve interacted with Adobe Acrobat Reader. If you’ve used Photoshop, you’ve used an Adobe product. This worldwide enterprise offers a huge suite of solutions spanning content creation, marketing, cloud services, and more. And that means Product Managers at Adobe have the opportunity to craft the experiences of millions of users across the globe. 

Want to become part of the Adobe product team? Then keep on reading. In this guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know to win the Adobe Product Manager interview and become an Adobe Product Manager:

Company Overview

Adobe Inc., which was known as Adobe Systems Incorporated until 2018, is a software company that offers a range of digital media, content creation, and marketing solutions. Its flagship products include Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, Flash, Acrobat, and Dreamweaver, among others. Users can access these tools via a monthly subscription, though many products are also available through free trials and unpaid versions. 

The company was founded in 1982 by two computer scientists at Xerox: John Warnock and Charles Geschke. Their initial product was a programming language called PostScript that described where objects and symbols were located on a page. Xerox decided not to move forward with their project, so the two established Adobe instead. 

About a year later, Apple invested in Adobe and their PostScript language, combining it with their LaserWriter printer to allow users to print high-quality documents directly from their personal MacIntosh computers. This massive shift became known as the desktop publishing revolution. Adobe was so successful that it went public in 1986 (NASDAQ: ADBE) and continued to focus on licensing its PostScript product and on creating new fonts. In 1987, the company released its first software application: Adobe Illustrator. Adobe Photoshop followed three years later, quickly becoming a huge success. 

During the 1990s, Adobe invested heavily in electronic document formatting, developing the now-ubiquitous portable document format or PDF. They also grew their software portfolio through a number of acquisitions. Their biggest to date, however, came in 2005, when Adobe purchased competitor Macromedia Inc., the creators of Dreamweaver, Shockwave, and most notably, Flash. Other key acquisitions followed over the next decade and a half, including web analytics firm Omniture in 2009, portfolio and social media site Behance in 2012, stock photography company Fotolia in 2015, ecommerce platform Magento and marketing automation software Marketo in 2018, and 3D editing tool Allegorithmic in 2019. Most recently, the company acquired collaboration platform Workfront in December of 2020. 

Today, Adobe is headquartered in San Jose, California, with satellite offices in cities across the globe, including New York City, Munich, Paris, Seattle, and Toronto. It’s helmed by chairman and CEO Shantanu Narayen and employs over 22,000 people worldwide. Adobe’s Creative Cloud, which emcompasses software applications like InDesign, Illustrator, Premiere, and Photoshop, is estimated to have more than 22 million subscribers. In 2020, the company earned over $2.3B in revenue.

Product Culture at Adobe

Adobe offers a wide range of software applications and digital products. Their full product suite can be categorized into three groups: the Adobe Creative Cloud, the Adobe Document Cloud, and the Adobe Experience Cloud. 

As its name implies, the Creative Cloud includes tools aimed at creative professionals such as graphic designers, video editors, illustrators, animators, art directors, etc. More than 20 apps (Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign among them) are part of the Creative Cloud, as are the Behance and Adobe Portfolio sites. Subscribers also receive access to thousands of Adobe fonts, 100 GB of cloud storage, and a number of collaboration features.

The Adobe Document Cloud encompasses the company’s document sharing, formatting, editing, and e-signature solutions. Examples include Adobe Acrobat, Adobe Reader, and Adobe Sign. Last year, more than 300 million PDFs were accessed using Adobe products, and 8 billion digital signatures were processed via the Document Cloud. 

Finally, the Adobe Experience Cloud includes products centered on content management, marketing, commerce, and digital strategy. One of these is collaboration and workflow management tool Workfront, their most recent acquisition. 

Overall Company Culture

Adobe has received a lot of recognition for its corporate culture. This year, for example, the company celebrated its 21st straight year on Fortune’s 100 Best Companies to Work For list. 

Adobe cites People, Purpose, and Pride as their differentiators as an employer. They hire excellent workers, provide access to meaningful tasks and projects, and ensure employers have good reason to be proud of where they work. 

The company’s overall culture is centered on four core values

  • Genuine: We are sincere, trustworthy, and reliable.
  • Exceptional: We’re committed to creating exceptional experiences that delight our employees and customers.
  • Innovative: We’re highly creative and always striving to connect new ideas with business realities.
  • Involved: We’re inclusive, open, and actively engaged with our customers, partners, employees, and the communities we serve.

 

Adobe employees are expected to be transparent, hardworking, creative, and inclusive. In return, they receive numerous perks and benefits, including sabbaticals, tuition reimbursement, free snacks and meals, stock options, and charitable donation matching. Philanthropy is also a big part of the organization’s ethos and is based on three pillars: Creativity for All, Sustainability, and Community. The company celebrates users who make a difference through their Adobe Changemakers program. 

Product Team Culture

At Adobe, product management is under the “Engineering and Product” team umbrella, which also includes data science, security, and reliability engineering. The department attracts talented professionals because it offers the opportunity to touch global products that reach millions of users. Product Managers at Adobe should be collaborative, highly creative, and forward-looking. 

What Does a Typical Adobe Product Manager Job Posting Look Like?

Each Adobe product management job posting starts with an “Our Company” section, which describes what Adobe does and shares a bit about why working there offers a unique career experience. That section is followed by a “Position Summary,” which gives a brief overview of the position and why they’re looking to fill it. For example, the Product Manager, Partner Ecosystem position is critical for creating strategies around the Experience Cloud and working with partner organizations.

Next comes a “What You’ll Do” section, which is essentially a list of job duties and responsibilities. This is followed by a list of qualifications and requirements. Generally, product management roles at Adobe require at least three years of Product Manager experience. Adobe Product Managers are also expected to possess the following:

  • A technical background
  • Demonstrated decision-making skills
  • Strong analytical ability
  • Experience identifying areas of opportunity
  • Excellent communication and presentation skills
  • A willingness to collaborate across team lines to move projects forward
  • Curiosity and creativity
  • A willingness to consider “out-of-the-box” ideas
  • Familiarity with A/B testing and experimentation
  • Strong prioritization skills
  • A bachelor’s degree (Computer Science major preferred)

Some of Adobe’s Product Manager job postings also include a “preferred qualifications” section, and/or a section on equal opportunity employment and expected salary range(s). 

How Do You Get an Interview at Adobe?

Begin by searching through Adobe’s current job openings to find the position(s) that match your skills, expertise, experience, and career goals. Once you’ve found one (or a few) that appears promising, your next step is to create a standout application — and that starts with a strong resume. 

Write a Top-Tier Product Manager Resume

Most likely, the Adobe Hiring Manager will look at your resume first. Be ready to highlight your relevant job experience and your Product Manager skill set, along with any expertise involving the specific responsibilities and tasks described in the job opening. If you can show previous quantitative results around those parts of the role, definitely do so.

Before crafting your resume, check out our free webinar on resume writing, which takes you through the process of structuring a resume that can be used for multiple Product Manager positions. 

Craft Your Pitch and Position Yourself as a Standout Product Hire

Your next step is to demonstrate your product management skills by writing a pitch that outlines the Product Manager position’s key responsibilities. Here’s how.

Apply!

Now it’s time to submit your application. But don’t stop there — if you know any employees at Adobe, see if they’d be willing to give you a referral. According to Glassdoor, 19% of interviewees got their foot in the door through an employee referral. Also, our step-by-step recruiter networking methodology can help you secure your first interview.

What Is the Adobe Product Manager Interview Process and Timeline?

The hiring process at Adobe generally follows these steps:

  1. Introductory call with the Hiring Manager
  2. Technical and behavioral round(s) with team members and stakeholders
  3. The offer

The process typically takes between two and four weeks from end-to-end. According to Glassdoor, 61% of interviewees had a positive experience, and the average difficulty was rated a 3 out of 5.

How to Win the Introductory Call With the Hiring Manager

The goal of this first round is to clearly demonstrate your value as a Product Manager hire and show that you’re more than qualified to move to the next stage. Interestingly, your first conversation will be with the Hiring Manager, not a member of the recruiting team. According to Glassdoor, you should be prepared to answer the following questions during this stage:

  • Why Adobe?
  • What professional accomplishment are you most proud of?
  • What did you like most about your last job?
  • Tell me about a product you worked on at a previous job and what you would do differently if you were to work on it now. 
  • How would you explain what a Product Manager does?
  • What is one of your favorite products? Why? If you were the Product Manager of this product, what would you improve and why?
  • Tell me about yourself.

If you do well during this round, you’ll be asked to interview with several members of the product team and additional stakeholders. 

How to Win the Technical and Behavioral Round(s) With the Hiring Manager and Stakeholders

This round will include multiple one-on-one interviews with other product team members and additional stakeholders, including a skip-level conversation. The questions will be focused on the specific role you’re applying for and the general dynamics of the team. Some of the questions you should be prepared to answer are:

  • Describe your prior experience with A/B testing. 
  • If you had a disagreement with an engineer about what to build, how would you go about solving that?
  • What should the strategy of multiplexes be during lockdown?
  • Describe a product release from your career, detailing all of the steps.
  • Design a strategy for Microsoft Office.

Most likely, you’ll also need to complete a product design exercise. 

After this round, the hiring decision is in the hands of the Adobe team. Good luck!

How Did COVID-19 Change Hiring at Adobe?

Like most companies, Adobe shifted to a fully-remote interviewing process during the COVID-19 pandemic. With some restrictions easing, the company will likely begin scheduling in-person interviews in addition to remote ones. Currently, Adobe is hiring for more than 3,000 roles, including several on the product team.

Recently, the company’s Chief People Officer, Gloria Chen, shared a blog post outlining the future of working at Adobe. After extensive employee interviews, focus groups, and team surveys, Adobe’s leadership has decided that the organization will operate as a hybrid workplace going forward. Employees will be able to work from home half of the time and the other half in the office. In addition, Adobe will be expanding remote work as an option for new hires.Want to learn more about becoming an Adobe Product Manager or getting hired at a well-known company? Our career coaches are now offering free sessions: schedule yours today. We’d be glad to answer any of your questions.

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