How to Win the Square Product Manager Interview

square product manager interview

Founded in 2009, Square is an American financial service and digital payments company. It has revolutionized the way in which organizations can sell using financial technology to streamline receiving payments, making it easier for customers to pay. Sellers use Square to reach buyers, whether that be online or in-person, manage their business, and access financing. But you already knew that, didn’t you? Square has become a business staple and a household name. It’s a company that most aspiring PMs would jump at the chance to work for. But first, you’d have to win the Square Product Manager interview.

As soon as the seller downloads the Square Point of Sale mobile application, they can accept their first payment, whether that be a swipe, a dip or a tap. Once they start accepting payments, the sellers gain access to features such as reporting and analytics and payment dispute management. On the flipside, Square provides the customer with various ways of paying and sending money. 

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

Company Overview

Established in 2009 by Jack Dorsey and Jim McKelvey, Square’s first platform launched in 2010. The initial idea came from a time when the two men were unable to complete a $2000 sale for glass faucets through credit card payment — thus was the birth of their Square company credit card readers. Square has marketed itself as the enabler for small businesses to accept any kind of payment. 

With most of its business coming from small businesses, Square provides sellers who don’t have the time or inclination to understand the kind of software needed for accessible payments with a product that also helps them track various data and trends amongst their customers. 

Since their birth in 2009, the organization has grown rapidly, expanding and acquiring organizations such as Weebly and Zesty

Product Culture at Square

Square is very much defined by both the software and hardware interface of its product. The card reader attaches to smartphones and tablets. 

  • Square Cash: a peer-to-peer payment, enabling the use of credit and debit cards for businesses and consumers.  
  • Square Capital: extends credit to Square customers.
  • Square Payroll: Enables organizations to track employees’ hours and wages. 

It uses a 68 technology stack — the complex interface enables sellers to customize their selling interface to make it easier and more attractive to their consumers. 

Overall Company Square

According to Square Inc, their company culture is very much based on inclusivity, investing in employees, and providing equal opportunities. Employee reviews on Glassdoor tend to affirm this stating the commendable work-life balance, the endless opportunities for career progression and great salaries, with 87% stating that they would recommend working there to a friend. 

There are three main elements on which Square prides itself when it comes to company culture: 

Leadership In Action: Using career development, mentorship and community building, our inspiring leadership team is committed to building an environment that challenges, supports and uplifts.

Inclusion and Diversity: We’re building an inclusive economy where all sellers have equal access to opportunity. We strive to live by these same values when building a workplace that is inclusive.

Social Impact: We connect Square employees with local volunteer and service opportunities, and foster small business growth with programs like our Self Made event series.

Square also emphasizes work-life balance: Most employees are given the opportunity to work wherever is best for them. This flexibility is not only present in whereabouts, but the number of hours an employee works, even if it falls out of the traditional 9-5.

Product Team Culture 

As highlighted on Glassdoor, employees rave about Square’s product team culture. With the company so invested in constantly innovating, the product team is a vital cog in its machine. And they ensure that their product team knows this.

Whether it be the competitive salary, the paid employee stock plan, or the premium healthcare coverage, your hard work is clearly valued by management. Don’t expect that to be an easy out, however — they demand the best.  

What Does a Typical Square PM Job Posting Look Like?

A PM post at square relies heavily upon the individual being innovative: 

  • 3+ years of previous experience in product management
  • Strong interpersonal and communication skills — both needed for strong leadership, as well as being able to communicate and collaborate with a variety of stakeholders. 
  • The ability to produce high—quality product roadmaps, prioritizing stakeholders and executing delivery times. 
  • Being a strong advocate for the consumer— this includes the collection and interpretation of data, undertaking research to understand the user experience and see how these are used on different interfaces. 

Other common skills include working intimately with partnering technology, prioritizing stakeholders and their demands, and fostering an innovative culture for your team that encourages them to make mistakes. 

How Do You Get a Square Product Manager Interview?

Where can you look for PM roles at Square? According to Glassdoor, 25% of applicants found job postings online — Square currently has 28 jobs posted on Glassdoor. While 67% of interviewers got connected via referral, and 8% found the job through a recruiter. Once you’ve found the job posting, here’s how to apply:

Write a Product Manager Resume 

When it comes to applying for jobs, your resume equates to your passport for securing that interview. With such significance, ensure that you structure the resume properly so it is relevant to you and what you have to offer Square as a Product Manager.

This involves properly studying the role’s requirements and responsibilities and incorporating these into your resume. If you skip this step, the recruiter will simply ignore your application. Remember, there tend to be about 200 people on average also gunning for the PM job, so you need to stand out!

If you need some help with this, check out our resume writing guide as well as our free tutorial on how to synchronize your resume and your LinkedIn profile.

Prepare Your Pitch  

What’s just as important as an impressive resume? A killer pitch. How you market yourself cannot be emphasized enough when it comes to impressing the recruiter and winning the interview. 

Apply!

Submitting your resume is the only way of obtaining that PM interview at Square, right? Not so: You can also use networking to get that interview, especially when — as previously mentioned — many PM roles have been achieved through an employee referral.

By networking your way into the interview, you’re familiarizing yourself with your possible work environment, employee culture, and more information regarding the employer. However, the most important benefit is that you learn everything you need to know about the interview exercise, giving you the all-important leverage when you are called to interview. This video teaches you just how to network your way into a Product Manager interview:

What Is the Square Product Manager Interview Process and Timeline?

The Square Product Manager interview process has three main stages:

  1. the recruiter interview
  2. the teams’ interview
  3. the projects and assessments stage

Like many initial stages of PM roles, Square uses the first step to enable the recruiter to get to know you and what you can bring to the role — this will focus on your previous experience and why you would like to work for Square Inc. 

How to Win the Introductory Call With the Hiring Manager

This stage will be defined by behavioral questions

  1. Describe a situation in which you were not able to communicate effectively with a colleague. What did you do to resolve the miscommunication?
  2. Tell me about a time you had to conduct a project.
  3. What do you know about Square?
  4. Tell me about a time you were given feedback. How did you handle it?

Such questions give the recruiter an opportunity to discuss your resume and review your experience. Check our focus piece on these questions for guidance on the best way to approach them. Square makes no mystery regarding what they’re after from their applicants — they want them to do their homework. On Square’s interview page it states: 

“Use storytelling to show your skills through the S.T.A.R. method: Situation, Task, Action, and Result. Bring forward scenarios you have encountered in your life, professional or personal, that relate with the job you are interviewing for.”

According to Glassdoor, 44% found the interview process positive, characterized as a professional and well-thought-out process. In comparison, 50% described it as a negative experience due to the amount of chasing up they had to do to know whether they received the job or not.  

So if they do respond to you and are happy with your performance in the initial stage, congratulations! The second round focuses on team interviews.

How to Win the Technical Round With the Hiring Manager and Team Stakeholders

Once passing past the initial stage, this stage will serve as an opportunity to meet with your potential product team at Square. This will be another review of your previous experience and give each member of the team to ask about your goals: 

  1. How would you conduct a project?
  2. Tell us about what you would like to achieve during your time at Square? 
  3. Think of an experience where your team faced a challenge. How did you help resolve that issue?

If you want further assistance on this stage of the interview, check out some tips here:

How to Win the Project and Assessment Round 

Unlike the other companies that we cover in our ‘How to Win’ articles, Square has one final stage to their interview process. This tends to be an assessment stage, but this can range from a case study to a portfolio submission, and that is all very dependent on the interviewing panel. Furthermore, as Square is very team-dependent, these assessments may be carried out in collaboration with your possible team, another way of ensuring that they are successful in finding a candidate whose core values align with theirs. 

How Did COVID-19 Change Hiring at Square?

Square has repeatedly been praised for their response to Covid-19 — especially as it has made the organization become more flexible in the way they allow employees to work. 

Obviously, as highlighted previously, many of the interview stages previously take place in person, now exist online over teams. This can change the game when it comes to interviews, so make sure you read our guide on being able to overcome this and ace that Square Product Manager interview.  

Need more help with acing your interview? Schedule a free career coaching session with our in-house team of coaches to learn more about how we can help you kickstart your PM career. 

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