How to Win the LinkedIn Product Manager Interview

LinkedIn Product Manager Interview
7 min read

Anyone who’s been involved in hiring has almost certainly visited LinkedIn. Unlike fellow social media giants Twitter and Facebook, LinkedIn encourages users to showcase their professional life rather than their personal one. PMs at LinkedIn get the opportunity to work on a product that can affect a big part of a person’s life: their career. It’s therefore not surprising that LinkedIn attracts product professionals who really hope to make an impact. If you want to get hired by the ultimate “hirers,” you’ll need to nail the LinkedIn Product Manager interview.

In this guide, we’ll cover the following topics:

Company Overview

LinkedIn is a social media and professional networking site that allows users to build profiles, search for and apply to jobs, find candidates, and connect with current and former colleagues. The company also offers a number of solutions for businesses and professional organizations, including advertising tools, recruiting services, and sales enablement products.

As far as social networking sites go, LinkedIn has been around for a long time. Co-founder Reid Hoffman started LinkedIn in his living room back in 2002, and the official site went live on May 5, 2003. A little over a year later, LinkedIn had more than a million members. By April of 2007, that number had skyrocketed to 10 million. The company began introducing revenue-generating products, such as the ability to post job listings and search for candidates, and soon launched a mobile version of their site. LinkedIn officially went public (NYSE: LNKD) on May 19, 2011. That year, total membership exceeded 100 million.

In June of 2016, Microsoft announced that it would be acquiring LinkedIn for $26.2 billion ($196 a share), their largest acquisition to date. Soon thereafter, LinkedIn released a new version of its site, with an updated UI spanning across both desktop and mobile experiences. The company’s current CEO, Ryan Rolansky, took the helm in June of 2020. Unfortunately, the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic led to a mass layoff of six percentage of their workforce in late July of that year.

Today, LinkedIn has more than 756 million members worldwide. The company is headquartered in Sunnyvale, California, and has 16,000 employees spread across 33 offices. Over 57 million companies are active on LinkedIn and there are currently 15+ million open positions listed on LinkedIn Jobs. In Q1 of FY21, LinkedIn earned $1.86 billion in revenue. Twenty-eight percent of American adults say they use LinkedIn, and three people are hired via the platform every minute.

Product Culture at LinkedIn

LinkedIn offers both free and premium versions of its signature professional networking platform. The paid version comes in four tiers: Premium Career, Premium Business, Sales Navigator, and Recruiter Lite. Each subscription is billed monthly and can be tried for free for 30 days. The four tiers include additional features and functionality from the base product, such as InMail messages, candidate and lead tracking, and detailed profile analytics. About 40% of LinkedIn users are premium subscribers.

In addition, LinkedIn provides a number of solutions for sales, marketing, and HR professionals. LinkedIn’s Campaign Manager allows businesses to target, build, deploy, and track advertising campaigns aimed at specific segments of LinkedIn’s audience. Talent Insights and LinkedIn Recruiter help hiring teams fill open positions by recommending strong candidates. Sales Insights and Sales Navigator both enable sales teams to research opportunities, source leads, and gather customer data. Finally, LinkedIn Learning is a platform for employee education and professional growth.

Company Culture

LinkedIn’s mission is to “connect the world’s professionals to make them more productive and successful,” and their overall vision is to “create economic opportunity for every member of the global workforce.” At the center of their company culture are five words: transformation, integrity, humor, collaboration, and results. In addition to keeping those concepts top-of-mind, each LinkedIn employee is expected to consider the company’s core values when making any decisions: Members First, Relationships Matter, Be Honest, Open, and Constructive, Take Intelligent Risks, Inspire Excellence, and Act Like an Owner of #OneLinkedIn.

Diversity, inclusion, and belonging (DIBs) are also key initiatives at LinkedIn. The company has committed to building a diverse workforce and ensuring every employee feels comfortable and welcome, especially those from underrepresented groups. All LinkedIn employees are eligible for significant benefits and perks, including education reimbursement, donation matching, paid parental leave, fertility and adoption assistance, and product discounts.

Product Team Culture

At LinkedIn, the product team encompasses product management, user experience research, and user experience design. According to one group PM, the company’s core value of “act like an owner” is particularly relevant to the team’s culture. PMs at LinkedIn are expected to  think creatively and take full ownership of their ideas from start to finish.

What Does a Typical LinkedIn PM Job Posting Look Like?

Each LinkedIn job description starts with an overview of their mission and vision. Next comes a paragraph or two about the specific role and the product the person would be managing. After that comes a list of responsibilities. Then the job description lists both basic and preferred qualifications for candidates.

Product manager positions at LinkedIn require at least four years of experience and a bachelor’s degree in a technology-related field or equivalent experience. Preferred qualifications generally include a master’s degree in a technology-related field, experience building and launching web products, and knowledge of trends in social media. Certain positions also require specific domain expertise. For example, applicants for the Product Manager, Developer Experience position must have experience with API design.

PMs at LinkedIn are expected to have specific technical skills, including:

  • Experience with A/B testing 
  • The ability to build detailed product roadmaps
  • An understanding of competitive analysis
  • Strong familiarity with product design and product planning
  • Experience setting and tracking key product metrics
  • Familiarity with technical topics
  • Knowledge of growth strategies 
  • Strong analytical skills

On the “soft skills” side, LinkedIn product managers must be:

  • Excellent communicators
  • Adept leaders and managers
  • Enthusiastic collaborators
  • Highly curious
  • Empathetic and member-focused
  • Familiar with consumer trends
  • Innovative and creative

How Do You Get a LinkedIn Product Manager Interview?

First, find the perfect PM job opening, which you can do right on LinkedIn. To make your search results relevant to your needs and interests, filter by years of experience, location, title, seniority level, etc. Once you’ve found that ideal role, it’s time to build a standout application.

Write an Awesome Product Manager Resume

Since your resume is likely the first thing the hiring manager will see, you want to make sure it properly showcases your talents and experience. Highlight the key skills and responsibilities listed in the job description and include those keywords if you can. The role will probably require past experience with three or more of the functions mentioned above. If possible, point to prior quantitative results in those areas.

Before getting started, we recommend checking out our resume writing guide, which will walk you through the process of writing a top-tier resume that you can use for multiple PM positions.

Build Your Pitch and Position Yourself as a Fantastic PM Hire

Your next step is to demonstrate your product management skills. You can do that by crafting a pitch that highlights the product manager position’s key responsibilities. Learn how.

Apply!

Now it’s time to hit that “submit” button. But don’t stop there — if you know any current LinkedIn employees, reach out to them for a referral. According to Glassdoor, 24% of interviewees got their foot in the door through an employee referral. Our step-by-step recruiter networking methodology is another tool for helping you secure that initial interview.

What Is the LinkedIn Product Manager Interview Process and Timeline?

LinkedIn is committed to transparency and fairness in its hiring practices — they even have a “How We Hire” page. The overall process follows these steps:

  1. Application
  2. Conversation
  3. Interview
  4. Decision

According to Glassdoor, 53% of interviewees had a positive experience, and the average interview difficulty was rated a 3 out of 5. The average timeline from application to hiring decision seems to be around six weeks, with the quickest decisions taking about a month. 

How to Win the Introductory Call With the Hiring Manager(s)

After the initial call with the recruiter to go over logistical fit (salary, location, etc.), you’ll be asked to interview with the hiring manager. Luckily, LinkedIn provides a number of resources to help you prepare for this conversation, including sample answers to the most common interview questions asked during this round:

  1. Why should we hire you?
  2. Tell me about a time you showed leadership.
  3. What would your coworkers say about you?
  4. Tell me about a time you had to manage conflicting priorities.
  5. Describe your leadership style.
  6. Describe your most challenging project.
  7. Tell me about a time you worked with a difficult person.
  8. What feature or piece of work are you most proud of?
  9. Tell me about a time you created a goal and then achieved it.

How to Win the Technical and Behavioral Rounds With Team Members and Stakeholders

According to LinkedIn’s “How We Hire” page, this stage involves a series of interviews with multiple team members. Each interview evaluates a different skill set, and some may include whiteboard sessions and/or case study presentations.

During this round, be ready to answer the following questions:

  1. You are a PM for LinkedIn Trust Team. A number of senior influencers at LinkedIn have complained that they receive innumerable spam connection requests and they threaten to leave the platform or launch a tirade against LinkedIn. What do you do?
  2. As PM of LinkedIn feed, what would you show on the top right of the page-“Sponsored ads” or “People you may know”?
  3. How would you test the LinkedIn feature “People you may know” when you don’t have any data to base your decision off of?
  4. Design a product for a preliminary screening interview for a recruitment firm.
  5. How would you get Sales Professionals to post more links on LinkedIn? What metrics would you look at?
  6. Should LinkedIn launch LinkedIn Stories similar to Facebook?
  7. Tell me about an app that you have recently downloaded. How was their on-boarding process?
  8. Tell me about a product that you love. Why? How would you make it better?
  9. Design a feature for LinkedIn to hire remote workers for software/IT companies.
  10. As a PM candidate, how would you measure if LinkedIn is better for iOS or Android, given that the look and feel is the same across both platforms?

In addition, you should be prepared to discuss your favorite LinkedIn features, as well as metrics and KPIs for specific product areas. You’ll also need to demonstrate your ability to work with members of different teams, including engineering.

After this round, the decision is in the hands of the hiring team. According to LinkedIn, this process can be lengthy — up to several weeks.

How Did COVID-19 Change Hiring at LinkedIn?

Currently, all of LinkedIn’s interviews are taking place virtually due to the coronavirus pandemic. And in spite of COVID-19 (and recent layoffs), the company is still hiring. Their Jobs page lists over 800 openings, including nearly 40 on the product team.

We understand that you may be somewhat nervous about remote interviewing. After all, the dynamic of a virtual interview is different from that of an in-person one. To prepare, check out the Product Gym guide to dominating your virtual interviews. Also, LinkedIn has its own dedicated resource for preparing for remote interviews. 

Want to learn more about getting hired as a product manager at a top company? Schedule a free consultation with us.

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