How to Win the Facebook Product Manager Interview

In Product Gym, we have encountered many people that have dealt with noteworthy companies like Facebook, be it a student or a teacher. The social media giant has been heavily pursued as a great place to work at by Product Managers and non-Product Managers alike. However, when it comes to applying for a Product Manager position at Facebook, it becomes very hard to get in, as they are obviously selective with any position that they may have available. It is therefore very important to take advantage of any opportunity you may get.

Thankfully, we here at Product Gym have had experience dealing with the application process at Facebook and have written some basic questions that we believe will be asked by any of their recruiters at any stage of the interview process after applying. Facebook used to ask more technical-related questions in interviews, but they have moved to become more spread out in the topics and subjects being asked.

A lot of these questions still do, however, relate to the technical side, as Facebook Product Managers will heavily collaborate with the engineering team. As a website with hundreds of millions of users across the world, Facebook will have an eye on prospective hires having a strong product sense, a proven leader with strong organizational and execution skills, and a solid technical background, if possessed. We have provided access to questions broken up into two categories – technical and non-technical – that will be asked in the first couple of rounds of the standard interview process so people wanting to work at Facebook but worried about being unprepared will have a leg up on their competition and answer these questions with heavy preparation.

We also have an example of interview questions and process from one of our students who interviewed with Facebook. He had two interviews, one dealing with Execution and the next one dealing with Product Sense.

Highlights:

  • Non-Technical Questions
  • Technical Questions
  • Execution Interview
  • Product Sense Interview

 

Non-Technical Questions

Relating to personal experience, etc.

  • Why did you apply to Facebook?
  • Tell me about yourself.
  • Tell me about the products that you have launched or have been a part of its design and pre-launch projects.
  • Are you familiar with how Product Management is done at different establishments (a bank – if you’re a finance person, an accounting firm – if you’re an accountant, etc.)?
  • Tell me a product you have successfully launched. What is your process? How did you get there? What did you do?
  • What is your strength? Why should we hire you?
  • What is missing from Facebook? What would you change and why?
  • You will be responsible for the growth and customer acquisition as Product Manager, can you talk a bit about how you would view growth and market acquisition initiatives?

Technical Questions

Relating to skills and technical experience.

  • How do you:
    • motivate your engineering team?
    • work with the engineering team?
    • prioritize features?
  • How would you utilize tools like Jira?  How would you utilize A/B testing to test consumers?
  • Tell me an application you use and why do you like it.
  • As head of product for a hypothetical new app similar to that of Facebook, what would you do? What changes would you make? What is the first initiative you would take on?
  • Other than reducing the scope, what new things would you do?
  • When you think about your roadmap, how do you think about what to build versus what not to build?
  • What is your framework when someone on Facebook’s corporate board asks you “How will we get this new feature to the market?”

In the next section we have an example of a Facebook interview that one of our students was a part of.

Execution

The first interview was about execution. They will look to assess:

  1. Can you prioritize and execute well?
  2. Can you structure an argument and investigate to get things done?
  3. Can you identify and advocate goals and trade-offs in your decision criteria?

Some core skill areas that they look for are: Metrics, goals, and making trade offs. Some possible questions they may ask are:

  1. How would you decide whether to make UberEats a separate app from the Uber app (same concept as Facebook and Messenger)?
  2. How would you decide whether to initiate a free tier version on Apple Music (Apple does not have a free version currently)?
  3. What would you do if you saw X metric change? For example:
    1. You are the PM for Facebook Login and one day you saw a 10% decrease in log-in data, what would you do?
    2. How would you set a goal for X? (* a big goal will be asked).

During the interview you may talk about metrics and goals. For metrics you may talk about:

  • What metrics you pick out and why?
  • How they relate to the problem statement?
  • How would you measure success of those metrics? (You should be able to advocate for these metrics).

The interviewers will poke holes in metrics. You should be able to defend them to the best of your abilities. You should also be able to identify trade-offs and metrics to measure your trade-offs.

In summary, you should be as structured as possible. This includes being able to take a problem statement, end goal, and create metrics that tie back to the goal. Being able to identify the dynamics of product and any trade-offs you make along the way, and be able to simply layout decision criteria for everything.

Product Sense

The second interview was about Product Sense. The interviewers will look to assess:

  1. Can you turn big ambiguous problems into great products?
  2. Can you anticipate a customer’s needs, develop frameworks around that, understand them, and ultimately make choices to solve these questions?
  3. Can you identify the right questions to ask?

Following are some possible questions that they may ask. In these cases, a big and generous product will be chosen. There’s no need to be an expert user to answer these questions.

  1. What would you build if you were the PM of Wikipedia?
  2. What would you build if you were the PM of a new camera app?

The interview will also include some follow up questions. These questions will touch back on some of the answers from the Execution phase. For example, the question “How would you decide whether to initiate a free tier version on Apple Music (Apple does not have a free version currently)?” will be followed up on.

Whatever product they give you, here are some things to keep in mind:

  1. Segment your customers and audience (as the customer). For example, if there’s a question on “Sports App.” Who is your customer target? Why would you target them?
      • I would target a “nutty sports fan” because sports is addictive to them.
      • I would target a “casual player” who only goes to one year per game.
  1.  
  2. Prioritize your product areas around your segments.

Note: In this section it’s not necessary to talk about goals and metrics since it was covered in the Execution phase.

It is important to focus on (1) establishing a meaningful value proposition, (2) customers and business areas, (3) what kind of impact this product has, and (4) how can you maximize that impact. You should also be able to answer how you will segment the customers and audience. Based on your segmentation decision, tie this back to impact.

Structure your answer. Before diving into a solution, lay out your plan. Only after comprehending should you make an attempt at solving a problem.

Be creative and simple.

Make intentional choices. Perhaps there is a decision on a set path that increases friction, but the upside will be more engagement via another route.

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