How to Win the Robinhood Product Manager Interview

Robinhood product manager interview

For a long time, investing in the stock market was something that was considered complicated, confusing, and only feasible for the fairly wealthy. However, a number of organizations and companies have begun making investing more accessible for everyday people, even those who’d never considered themselves particularly financially savvy. One such business is stock brokerage app Robinhood. With more people getting interested in the stock market, cryptocurrencies, and ETFs, it’s no surprise that a company like Robinhood would be popular among Product Managers as well.

Thinking about joining this growing company? You’ve come to the right place. In this guide, we’ll be covering the following topics:

Company Overview

Robinhood Markets, Inc. is a stock trading and banking app registered with the United States Securities and Exchange Commision (SEC). The company is known for making financial trading more accessible to younger and less affluent investors. Unlike traditional brokerages, Robinhood does not charge commission on trades. Instead, their revenue comes from a combination of sources, including rebates from market makers, their Robinhood Gold subscription product, interest from uninvested cash, and interchange fees.

The company’s co-founders, Vladimir Tenev and Baiju Bhatt, first met as roommates at Stanford. Both relocated to New York City after college and began working in the financial sector. Through their experience building trading platforms for major Wall Street institutions, they discovered that brokerages paid very little money for stock trades, while individual investors were charged commission on every exchange. So they decided to build a new kind of brokerage that would make stock trading more affordable and accessible for everyday people, including younger demographics. 

Tenev and Bhatt founded Robinhood in 2013. In 2014, the Robinhood app officially went live on the Apple AppStore after building a waitlist of a million prospective users. Millennials were quick adopters of the app, and investors took notice. In early 2017, the company raised $110M in venture funding.

Robinhood Today

By August of 2020, the firm was valued at $11.2B and had received a $200M Series G investment round. During the first few months of 2021, Robinhood’s revenues grew substantially as investors jumped at the chance to take part in the highly-publicized Gamestop short squeeze and other trending trading opportunities. In Q1 of 2020, Robinhood earned revenues of $91M on payment for order flows. That number had shot to $331M by Q1 of 2021. 

In June of 2021, however, the company was fined $57M by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) for system outages and for disseminating misleading trading information. It was the largest FINRA penalty ever levied. Still, the fine didn’t stop Robinhood from going public (NASDAQ: HOOD) on July 29, 2021.

Today, Robinhood is based in Menlo Park, California and is helmed by CEO and co-founder Vlad Tenev. The app has 31 million users as of June 2021 and currently employs over 1,200 people.  

Product Culture at Robinhood

Robinhood’s first and still-flagship product is its commission-free stock and ETF trading platform, accessible via its mobile app. The company also has a no-commission options trading product that offers more advanced trading functionality for sophisticated investors. Another option for active traders is Robinhood Gold, a $5/month subscription service that includes access to professional research, additional market data, and investing on margin. 

In 2018, the company introduced its Robinhood Crypto product, which lets users buy and sell cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum without paying commission fees. The company moved into the banking world that same year, but wasn’t able to launch its Cash Management product until late 2019. Cash Management customers receive access to Robinhood debit cards, checking and savings accounts, and additional financial services.

As part of its overall mission to democratize investing, Robinhood also includes a few “educational” features. One is their Robinhood Learn site, which offers “Investing 101” content and a range of informative articles on various financial topics, such as dividends, portfolios, and credit unions. Another is their daily “Snacks” newsletter, which provides a 3-minute rundown of what investors need to know that day. 

Overall Company Culture

Robinhood’s mission is to “democratize finance for all.” To help guide them toward that overarching goal, they’ve established four core corporate values:

  1. Safety First. The company is committed to keeping user data safe and security, and to fulfilling all regulatory and compliance-related obligations.
  2. Radical Customer Focus. Robinhood strives to delight its customers and solve their most pressing problems. 
  3. Participation is Power. Robinhood wants everyone to be able to participate in the financial system, not just the wealthy or well-connected.
  4. First-Principles Thinking. Experimentation, iteration, and bold thinking are key to Robinhood’s success. 

In addition, Robinhood is dedicated to educating everyday people on the basics of the stock market and investing. 

Product Team Culture

At Robinhood, the product team is focused on building and testing hypotheses, and using the results of experiments to inform product development and iteration. Product managers are expected to be highly customer-focused and the team puts a significant degree of importance on customer feedback. 

The company is definitely committed to growing its product team. In March of 2021, they announced they’d hired former Google executive Aparna Chennapragada as their first Chief Product Officer (CPO).

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

The typical Robinhood product management job description starts with an “About the Company” section that outlines what Robinhood does, a bit about its missions and values, and a few of the reasons why a candidate might want to work there. It lists some of the workplace accolades Robinhood has earned as well. 

Up next is an “About the team” section, which goes into greater detail about what the product team does at Robinhood and how the role will fit into the larger organization. After that is a “What you’ll do day-to-day”section, which describes the key responsibilities of the position. 

Next comes an “About You” section, which is essentially a list of prerequisites. Generally, PMs at Robinhood are expected to have the following: 

  • At least two years of experience building consumer products
  • Excellent communication skills
  • Passion for financial products
  • Familiarity with research and running experiments
  • A collaborative and team-oriented mindset
  • Technical curiosity
  • Strong analytical skills 
  • Experience using product data to inform decision-making

Some PM roles, like the Product Manager, Crypto job below, also require specific domain expertise (in this case, 2+ years of experience working on crypto projects).

Many Robinhood PM job descriptions also include a “Bonus points” section, which lists preferred qualifications. Typically, these are a degree in computer science and past experience working in fintech or finance. 

How Do You Get a Robinhood Product Manager Interview?

Get started by browsing Robinhood’s open positions to find the role(s) that best fit your experience, skills, goals, and areas of expertise. Once you’ve identified one (or more) that seem well-suited to your needs, it’s time to craft a great application — starting with a well-structured resume.

Write a Standout Product Manager Resume

The hiring manager at Robinhood will probably look at your resume first, so be sure to highlight your most relevant prior experience and specific skills, along with any experience involving the responsibilities and tasks listed in the job description. If you can point to prior quantitative results related to those aspects of the role, definitely do so.

Before you begin revamping your CV, check out our free webinar on resume writing, which guides you through the process of creating a resume that you can use for a range of PM positions. 

Craft Your Pitch and Position Yourself as an Excellent PM Hire

Next, you’ll want to demonstrate your product management skills by writing a pitch that showcases the product manager position’s key responsibilities. Here’s how.

Apply!

Now it’s time to send in your application. But don’t stop there — if you know any current Robinhood employees, reach out to ask for a referral. According to Glassdoor, 9% of interviewees got their foot in the door through an employee referral. In addition, our step-by-step recruiter networking methodology can help you get that critical first interview.

What Is the Robinhood Product Manager Interview Process and Timeline?

The product manager hiring process at Robinhood typically follows these three steps:

  1. Introductory call with the hiring manager
  2. Technical and behavioral round with team members and stakeholders
  3. The offer

The process generally takes about three weeks from start to finish. According to Glassdoor, 45% of interviewees had a positive experience, and the average interview difficulty was rated a 3.0 out of 5. 

How to Win the Introductory Call with the Hiring Manager

After an initial call with a member of the recruiting team to discuss logistical issues such as location, salary, benefits, bonuses, etc.), you’ll be invited to an interview with the role’s hiring manager. Generally, this is a product manager on the team you’d be working on. This introductory round focuses on basic behavioral questions like “Tell me about yourself,
Why should we hire you?” and “What is your greatest professional achievement?” According to several Glassdoor responses, additional questions you should be ready to answer are:

  • Describe a time when something you worked on failed.
  • Tell me about a product you worked on.
  • Why do you want to work at Robinhood?
  • Here are 5 traits. Pick one weakness and one strength.
  • Walk me through your background.
  • What about this role stood out to you?
  • What are you looking for in your next role?

If your answers impress the hiring manager, you’ll be asked to meet with several members of the product team and additional stakeholders. Some Glassdoor responses from job candidates mention a case study. However, it’s unclear whether it’s a take-home or on-the-spot assignment. We recommend preparing for both possibilities.

How to Win the Technical and Behavioral Round with Team Members and Stakeholders

The next round will include one-on-one interviews with other members of the product team. At this stage, the questions will be far more specific to the PM position and the specific role you’d be filling. You’ll likely be asked the following:

You’ll also go over the case study and be asked to explain your thinking and decision-making process. 

After this stage, the decision is in the hands of the hiring team. Best of luck!

How Did COVID-19 Change Hiring at Robinhood?

Like most organizations, Robinhood changed to a fully-remote interviewing process during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the company did not plan to slow down when it came to hiring. In July of 2020, Robinhood’s People Operations Manager, Lauren Van Cavage, told site Built In, “We have more than 100 roles currently open across all our offices and plan to add hundreds of new employees globally in 2020.” Currently, Robinhood has more than 400 open positions, including several product management roles. 

As of August 2021, Robinhood remains a remote workplace. However, the organization plans to adopt a hybrid work model in the very near future. According to the company’s VP of Engineering, Surabhi Gupta, Robinhood will “embrace a distributed workforce model, with some teams working remotely and others coming into an office full- or part-time.” Recently, Robinhood began hiring for roles that would work out of their new Seattle and New York offices.

Want to learn more about winning the Robinhood Product Manager interview or about getting hired at a top-tier 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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