If you are a regular user of social media platforms, there is a high probability that you have heard of Reddit. It is one of the popularly used social media platforms all over the world. The chances are that you love the company and desire to work with them as a product manager. At Product Gym, we are delighted to give you an expository on Reddit, how it runs, their product managers’ duties, and how you can win a product manager interview in a team of your choice.
Here’s what we will be discussing today:
- Company Overview
- Product Culture at Reddit
- What Does a Typical Product Manager Job Posting at Reddit Look Like?
- How to Get a Product Manager Interview at Reddit?
- What Is the Interview Process and Timeline?
- How to Win the Reddit Interview?
- How to Did COVID-19 Change Hiring?
Reddit is an American social community with a combination of news aggregation, discussions, and an algorithm that arranges news according to their web rating. It is a platform where social users interact by sharing thoughts and news content, thereby building a community where their number of engagements ranks the most discussed news contents.
Unlike other conventional social media platforms, Reddit users share written posts, images, and links with other members. In turn, other users vote the post either down or up depending on their reaction to the center. The seats are later ranked by the number of positive votes and engagements. Users can also create “subreddits,” a group or a community where users can interact and share ideas, where specific topics can be discussed. Several popular subreddit topics include finance, sports, fitness, politics, family, law, and memes. Subreddits with a high engagement and positive vibes get the ultimate opportunity to be displayed on the web platform’s front page.
Reddit (a product of a wordplay, coined from the phrase “Read It”) is a user-driven company with over 40.9% of its users from the United States, the 7th most visited website in the United States, the 17th most visited website in the world. It was founded June 23, 2005, by two students of the University of Virginia; Steve Huffman and Alexis Ohanian. The idea of Reddit came while Ohanian and Huffman applied for funding at the Y-combinator startup incubator of Paul Graham. The idea had a platform that is generally regarded as the “front page of the internet.” Upon receiving the funds, the two got to work and worked on the idea, bringing it to reality. Huffman built the platform using Lisp, a coding language, and he officially launched Reddit with Ohanian in 2005.
As continuous growth and development took place, so did the need for expansion became imminent. Ohanian and Huffman later sold Reddit to Condé Nast on October 31, 2006. The company was then relocated to San Francisco. Huffman and Ohanian left Reddit in 2009 to partner with Adam Goldstein to establish a company named Hipmunk.
In 2009, Reddit launched two advertisement methods, which are using sponsored content and using self-serve ads. The company introduced gold benefit programs, which ushered in a new source of income in 2010. This program provided added advantages to editors and created a stream of income that is non-dependent on the use of banner ads. By September 6, 2011, Reddit was operationally free from Condé Nast and existed as a separate subsidiary entity. In the desire for experienced leadership, Yishan Wong joined Reddit as the CEO in 2012. Sadly, he resigned voluntarily after complaints about the workload and the stress attached to the job position, and its refusal to move its offices from San Francisco to Daly City. However, Wong’s efforts were applauded by Ohanian as Wong took the company from a 35 million user base to 174 million user base.
Wong also partnered with Coinbase to accept Reddit Gold subscriptions in Bitcoin. Ellen Pao quickly assumed office as the interim CEO to carry on the vision in 2015. However, she resigned in 2015 due to a user protest against her decision to sack a popular Reddit employee. She initiated the introduction of anti-harassment policies into the platform. These policies were put in place to curtail sexual harassment and harassment across all subreddits and posts.
Huffman eventually returned to the company as the Chief Executive Officer, July 10, 2015. After assuming the leadership role at Reddit, Huffman introduced the A/B testing infrastructure, fixed the company’s e mobile website interface, and built the mobile applications for iOS and Android devices.
The main website was redesigned in 2018, followed by several other technological changes and adjustments. Some of these changes include the introduction of private messaging features, features to hide posts and comments.
All of these are to minimize significantly online harassment and violence-inciting posts. Christopher Slowe joined the executives as the Chief Technology Officer in 2017. June 5, 2020, Ohanian voluntarily gave out his executive position and requested that it be given to a black candidate following the #BlackLivesMatter nationwide protest.
Reddit’s headquarters is currently situated in San Francisco, California, with a record number of 400 employees as of September 2018. It generated a revenue base of $1.8 billion as of 2017 but is now valued to be $3 billion, following a $300 million funding by Tencent in 2019. It has generated revenue from advertisements and subscriptions, including a premium plan where users pay to turn off ads and enjoy several other benefits. It recently signed an advertisement deal with the NFL (National Football League). Although the NFL is not paying a fee to Reddit for this deal, revenue from sponsorship that contains video content is shared between the National Football League and Reddit.
It is in direct competition with big-league players like Twitter, Facebook, etc., and other platforms like Quora, Tumblr, etc. Unlike its competitors, the algorithm is less mysterious and easy to understand. It is easier to find topics of interest and communities to join the conversation.
Reddit is no stranger to the Product Gym community as we have a member, who accepted a product manager offer there, after working with us! To learn more about his journey, make sure you watch his video!
Understanding the nitty-gritty of the product culture and the technicalities in how products of the company are delivered to the users gives an in-depth knowledge of product managers’ functions and responsibilities. Firstly, the web platform was written in Common Lisp but was later re-written with Python. The change was so that the venue can accommodate more code libraries and exponentially improve flexibility. Aaron Swarz rebuilt the web framework using Python’s framework, web.py.
Therefore, any product manager joining Reddit will be expected to tackle scalability challenges.
The codes were then published openly as a source code that can be modified and redistributed. Every content of the project codes, excluding the anti-spam/cheat portions, was made available as open-source codes until late 2017, when further modifications were not published to the public.
The reason for this change was because it was getting increasingly difficult to change some features on the web platform without exposing the intention to the public. Every update would not be much of a surprise as every web user with basic knowledge of programming and web development can decipher the codes and the updates being introduced.
With the massive increase in users, there was a need to migrate to better hosting platforms to manage the data influx. This necessitated the need to drop their services and move to use Amazon Web Services.
Reddit primarily employs PostgreSQL as their primary data store but is now slowly migrating to Apache Cassandra, a column-oriented data center. It uses RabbitMQ for offline processing, HAProxy for load balancing, and Memcached for caching.
Following the constant evolution of taste based on web users’ analytics, the company launched the mobile website interface in 2010. This mobile interface was available for all phones with touch screens. Before this change, users on the Reddit platform used to access the website on their phones using third-party access sources.
Sensitive to the customer’s demand, Reddit acquired Alien Blue, one of the media that allowed mobile users to access the Reddit website. This acquisition brought about the first IOS app for Reddit.
Subsequently, Reddit released the official application for Android devices as well as IOS devices. It also created an application for its famous “Ask me anything” subreddits with other added features to give users the best web experience.
The company has done well over the year by converting hypotheses on user behavior and their reaction to new products to create better products hence enhancing a better user experience.
Reddit works on the analysis and deduction of users. With this in mind, they have successfully built a chain of change and redress that allows them to make the best of the A/B testing strategy. Several products were introduced over the years, including comments in 2005, subreddits in 2008, and multi-reddits in 2013. This change in 2013 was a giant and including leap to achieving the goal of being the internet’s front page.
The multi-Reddit feature allowed subreddits to be arranged in order of engagements. Other significant changes include introducing “embedding” to the back end (this allowed posts to be shared to other sites), deterring from using Imgur to enable interactions including images on the website. Reddit built its platform to help users share media.
In 2017, they also fixed video hosting capacities to host videos on the website without going through other third-party options. Late 2017 featured further changes on the mobile application interface where user-to-user chat feature was introduced and theatre mode.
Following Huffman’s return to Reddit, the overall structure took a new turn as he (Huffman) noted that the website’s design repelled users from using the platform. The change was not solely on the appearance alone but also on accommodating more users with glitches and faults. A noteworthy shift in the structure of Reddit is the adoption of Artificial intelligence.
Comments from Head of Growth, Vaibhav Sahgal
Sequel to an interview session with Vaibhav Sahgal, we gathered specific information on its product culture.
As a company that works with specific and detailed reports on user behavior and product performance, Reddit has a team of professionals headed by the Head of Growth with the sole aim of reviewing, brainstorming, and strategizing. All these are to find out how to get the best out of the present products and develop better products for users.
This team meets at a meeting called “the roadmap preview” to review the peach department’s suits and activities to achieve better results. Ideas are spontaneously discussed and analyzed by every member of the team. Tasks are then prioritized and assigned to team members to execute and bring back feedback reports on them. This is more or less an agile approach to problem-solving.
At each meeting and review session, experiment readouts are discussed extensively. This prioritizes the need for a detailed and explicit report on the analytics and qualitative conclusions.
The product manager is briefed in the context of the assignment and how it directly affects the product, so they do not have to be involved in the process when the plan is being executed. Before any decision is made, the product manager considers each project’s long-term effect and its alignment with the company culture. These meetings’ details are essential as products have to be scrutinized before being A/B tested with users. Quarterly, the team meets to discuss their OKRs (Objective and Key Results).
Here they discuss, based on hypothesis-driven backlogs, the problem to be solved and how it can be solved. The cheapest and effective route to solving the problem is then A/B tested to get the best results.
Requirements and actionable skills are quite familiar to every job posting. The same applies to the product manager job posts at Reddit. Reddit has made a mark as one of the most desirous places to work, especially as a product manager. To prepare you for what you’ll need and the specifics involved, we have helped research what to expect as a requirement and the skills required. Some of the product manager job postings available at Reddit require at least three years of experience building and launching advertising products.
Some others require more than three years. Nonetheless, we, at Product Gym, are encouraging you to apply for the job postings. You may not be lucky to get the job, but you’ll gain a lot more experience than if you did not try to apply.
Here are some of the responsibilities required of a product manager at Reddit:
- You must build products using the data from users and other advertisements to help advertisers reach their desired audience.
- You must develop and incorporate privacy principles into ads products by working in partnership with other Reddit teams.
- You must be able to work closely with Engineering to ideate, prioritize, and build products.
- You must possess the technical knowledge to oversee technical integrations with external partners such as DMPs/CDPs.
- You must partner with Marketing and Sales teams to develop a go-to-market strategy and manage launches of new products and features.
- You must be able to, with the leadership team, create new processes that enable the growing Ads team to work more effectively.
Alongside these responsibilities are the requirement, qualifications, and skills needed to apply for this job posting.
- You must have excellent product sense and a deep technical understanding of how the ad tech ecosystem works.
- You must have exceptional problem-solving, project management, and organization skills, with careful attention to detail.
- You must have a Bachelor’s degree or higher in Computer Science or a related field or equivalent technical expertise.
- You must be highly analytical and understand how to measure success, and use metrics to optimize products.
Like every other company, you can get access to job postings across media platforms and outsourcing websites. According to Glassdoor, a record of 57% of people got their interview by applying online, 20% of them got their interview by a referral from an employee, 15% got theirs by a recruiter, 4% got theirs by submitting their resumes in person. In contrast, others got theirs through campus recruitments and several different methods. Whichever way you choose to apply, we have prepared several steps to follow to secure your interview.
Write a product manager resume
- Look at the requirements and responsibilities in the job posting and make you highlight the keywords. This goes a long way to get the attention of the recruiter.
- Your resume is your passport to getting your job. Hence, it needs to be structured appropriately and customized. You can check out our resume writing guide to customize your resume accurately.
- You can also watch this video to synchronize your resume and your LinkedIn profile.
Learn how to market yourself
Having customized your product manager resume, you can create a “killer” pitch that highlights the product manager part of your career and get comfortable with it. This goes a long way to impress your recruiter and help you win your interview.
You don’t just write and submit your resume and sit it out. You can also network your way to the interview. Networking presents you with an opportunity to familiarize yourself with the work environment and the employee. You will also be able to get information about your recruiter and the interview exercise. This gives you leverage when you get called up for your interview. Watch this video to learn how to network with recruiters to getting your product manager interview.
A close observation of the itemized processes above shows that there will be three or more stages in the interview process. To help you get the best of the interview process, here are guides on passing each of these stages.
The first-round call will be with the recruiter, and it will be a complete discussion about your resume, your experiences, behavioral questions. You will also be given a brief overview of the company and the job posting’s responsibilities. Suppose the recruiter finds your qualifications satisfactory enough. In that case, you will be qualified for the second round, which might be a physical interview with the interview or an onsite interview with a product manager.
Make sure you read our PM Questions Guide to prepare for your behavioral interviews.
Also, here is a video to prepare you for questions like “Tell me about yourself.”
For the next couple of rounds with different stakeholders such as the product team, engineering, design, senior leadership, or even the recruiter. You might be asked technical questions related to your field and the responsibilities attached to the job posting you to apply for. Be ready to answer more behavioral problems, such as:
- What’s your biggest weakness?
- Do you have strong A/B Testing experience; what methods have you used?
- When leading a product, what’s your management experience within an in-house development environment? Are you comfortable communicating with Engineers?
- What product performance metrics do you use? Is this driven by data-driven or otherwise?
- What’s your favorite product?
If you have no idea about working with other teams, here is a video on how to tackle questions regarding working with other teams.
Given the current conditions, it’s no surprise that hiring changed after COVID-19. Thankfully, Reddit is one of the few companies that could ride the waves of the widespread devastation caused by the pandemic. Thankfully, Reddit is still actively looking for talented product managers to join its team!
So while the expectations are similar, virtual interviews are a whole new ball game from in-person interviews. If you are looking to win the Reddit product manager interview, one of the things you must do is to read the Product Gym guide. Although virtual interviews can be challenging for the uninitiated, this guide will show you how to ace your virtual interviews.
Need more help with acing your PM interview? Schedule a call with us today to find out how we can help you.