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How to Become a Slack Product Manager

Message-based communication platform Slack drives collaboration for some of the world’s most well-known companies. Along with Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and other tools for remote teamwork, Slack experienced a surge in its own popularity during the COVID-19 pandemic. Currently, it’s one of the hottest companies in the software space. On top of that, Slack is generally thought to be one of the best places to work as a Product Manager. So it’s not surprising that so many product pros would want a job at this fast-growing organization. 

Is a product position at Slack your dream job? Then keep reading!

Company Overview

Slack is a chat-based messaging platform that allows teams to communicate in real-time via text, images, videos, etc. The service is a powerful tool for remote work and collaboration. You can find Slack in use by blue-chip enterprises like Intuit, Target, Lyft, and Riot Games to small businesses and even individual users. 

Slack was actually born out of co-founder Stewart Butterfield’s previous company, Tiny Speck. In 2009, Butterfield and his team began development on a massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) called Glitch. To streamline the process and communicate with developers in different time zones, they built an internal messaging tool based on Internet Relay Chat (IRC), a chat program that was popular in the 80s and 90s. 

By 2012, however, Glitch had failed to attract a large enough audience to be financially viable. So Tiny Speck started investing in their internal communications solution instead. They named it Slack, an acronym for Searchable Log of All Conversation and Knowledge. By 2014, the company had grown rapidly, securing 8,000 signups in a single 24-hour period and receiving $120M in funding from well-known venture firms like Andreessen Horowitz. By April of 2015, Slack had more than 200,000 paid accounts and over 750,000 daily active users. Just over a year after its official launch, the company was valued at $1B. 

In June of 2019, Slack went public (NYSE: WORK) via a direct public offering. Less than a year later, the company acquired its largest client, IBM, and its workforce of more than 350,000. On December 1 of 2020, however, SaaS powerhouse Salesforce completed its acquisition of Slack in a deal worth over $27B. 

Today, Slack headquarters are in San Francisco, California with CEO and cofounder Stewart Butterfield at the helm. The company employs more than 1,600 people worldwide and earned revenues of $902.6 million in 2021, a 43% increase from the previous year. Slack has over 169K paying customers in more than 150 countries across the globe, and 65 of the Forbes 100 use Slack. 

Product Culture at Slack

Slack Technologies’ flagship product is the Slack messaging platform, which is available both online and through the Slack mobile application. Some of the product’s key features include channels for communications around a specific topic, Slack Connect for working with external organizations, strong security measures, and easy integrations with other tools commonly used by corporate teams, including Google Drive, Outlook, Zoom, Dropbox, and GitHub.

The company employs a freemium business model, with one version available at no cost and three others available for a fee. Users can continue on the free plan, which offers unlimited channels, file sharing, access to 10,000 messages, and up to ten app integrations, as long as they’d like. The Pro plan, targeted toward small teams, is billed monthly and includes additional features such as access to full messaging history, group video chat, and the ability to collaborate with outside organizations. The Business+ plan, also billed monthly, includes even more benefits, such as 24/7 support and identity management features. Finally, the Enterprise Grid plan is tailored to the specific needs of large enterprise companies and provides advanced security and data protection features, customized support, and more. 

Overall Company Culture

Slack’s mission is to “make work life simpler, more pleasant and more productive.” To support this goal, the company has established six core values that all team members should exemplify:

  • Empathy
  • Courtesy
  • Thriving
  • Craftsmanship
  • Solidarity
  • Playfulness

\Slack employees should be detail-oriented, creative, collaborative, and trustworthy. In return, they receive a number of perks and benefits, such as volunteer time off, paid parental leave, performance bonuses, stock options, gym memberships, job training, and professional development. The company is also committed to diversity and inclusion through its Diversity, Engagement and Belonging (DEB) and Rising Tides programs. In addition, Slack is involved with a number of charitable causes through the Slack for Good initiative. 

Product Team Culture

At Slack, product management is part of the Products and Technology team, which also includes engineering and data science. PMs will need to be comfortable working across multiple teams and collaborating to execute the roadmap. They’ll also need to be innovative, customer-focused, and empathetic. 

How to Get a Product Manager Job at Slack

At Product Gym, we apply a simple four-step framework to landing the Product Manager job you’re looking for. With this structure and the support of the PG community, both aspiring and veteran PMs have increased the number of calls they receive for interviews. The process also leads to more of those interviews being converted into offers.

Here’s how the magic works:

1. Optimize

From the best techniques for writing a cover letter to building an attractive Product Manager resume, the first step is to boost your credibility and professional branding. To get the offer from Slack, you’ll need:

  • A resume designed to beat the ATS
  • A cover letter that shows your culture fit
  • An optimized LinkedIn profile that aligns with the above
  • A 30-second personal pitch that sells you as the best possible candidate

At Product Gym, we provide branding workshops, resume reviews, and the tools you need to take your professional branding to the next level.

2. Apply

Product Gym members apply for 20+ Product Manager jobs weekly, and often average 9+ interviews in any given week. But how’s that going to help you get the job at Slack? Simple: by perfecting your application strategy and interview approach through practice and experience, you’ll build the confidence and expertise you need to wow the recruiter and interviewers at your dream company when the time comes.

Of course, our tried and tested application framework is paired with tools, tips, and interview support that all come together to form a job-hunting strategy that really works.

3. Convert

Once you’ve lined up your interviews, it’s time to zero in on converting those round ones into round twos, and so on, all the way to the Slack Product Manager job offer. It’s no secret that we focus on the Product Manager interview process here at Product Gym: we’re there to help our members learn how to ace every step and every question — including behavioral questions, technical questions, case studies, salary negotiation, and more.

4. Learn

When should you start building your product management skillset? Before you apply? When you’re on the job? Honestly, transitioning into product management can be a long journey. We encourage Product Managers (whether you’re a first-timer or an industry vet) to start learning at the beginning and continue on past the finish line.

You likely already have skills that translate well into a Product Manager role: keep sharpening them, and find the gaps where you can learn, grow, and practice new skills to become a better Product Manager every day.

We want to make sure our members show up skilled and prepared for their interviews and their first day on the job, which is why we offer 20+ technical and business courses taught by industry experts.

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

Slack’s Product Manager job postings start with a “Jobs Detail” section, which gives a brief overview of the role and the types of projects the candidate would be working on. This section also includes some information on Slack’s corporate culture. Next comes a “What You’ll Be Doing” section, which goes through the key responsibilities of the position in more detail. That’s followed by a “What You Should Have” section, which is essentially a list of qualifications and prerequisites for the role. In general, Slack Product Managers should possess the following:

  • At least a year of product management experience
  • Strong “systems-thinking mentality”
  • Experience building features for enterprise clients
  • Excellent communication and collaboration skills
  • A technical background 
  • A passion for data and familiarity with tools like SQL and Excel
  • The ability to work in a fast-paced and constantly changing environment
  • A proven track record of delivering against a product roadmap 
  • Natural leadership ability 
  • An eye for detail 

Next is an “Accommodations” statement, which invites candidates with disabilities to request an accommodation form. The job listing ends with a “Posting Statement” section, which explains that Salesforce is an Equal Opportunity employer. 

While salary is generally not listed in the job description, Glassdoor puts Slack’s average Product Manager salary at $109K annually. Senior PMs can expect to earn about $187K per year.

How Do You Get a Product Manager Interview at Slack?

Get started by browsing Slack’s current job openings to find the positions(s) that most closely match your expertise, interests, experience, skills, and professional goals. Once you’ve found one (or more!) that seems promising, the next step is to create an awesome application — and that starts with a great resume. 

Write a Standout Product Manager Resume

The Slack Hiring Manager will likely look at your resume first, so be sure to highlight your relevant job experience and your Product Manager skill set, along with any qualifications around the specific responsibilities and tasks listed in the job opening. If you can demonstrate previous quantitative results around those parts of the role, definitely do so.

Before updating your resume, check out our free webinar on resume writing, which takes you through the process of crafting a resume that you can use for multiple Product Manager roles. 

Position Yourself as an Excellent PM Hire

Next, you should demonstrate your product management skills by writing a pitch that outlines the Product Manager position’s key responsibilities. You’ll need your personal elevator pitch polished and ready for the interview process, where you’ll use it to showcase your history and experience.

Apply!

Now it’s time to submit your application. But don’t stop there — if you know any employees at Slack, see if they’d be willing to give you a referral. According to Glassdoor, 20% of interviewees got their foot in the door through an employee referral. Also, our step-by-step recruiter networking methodology can help you secure that all-important first interview.

What Is the Slack Product Manager Interview Process and Timeline? 

Slack’s Product Manager hiring process typically follows these 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 between two and three weeks from end to end. According to Glassdoor, 50% of interviewees had a positive experience. Candidates rated the difficulty of the interview a 2.9 out of 5.

How to Win the Introductory Call With the Hiring Manager

During this initial round, your goal is to demonstrate that you’re qualified enough to move on to the next stage. According to Glassdoor, you should be ready to answer the following questions during this conversation:

  • What are some ideas you have for monetizing more Slack features?
  • Describe how you would imagine your first 30 days at Slack.
  • Walk me through how you’d convince an engineer to do X.
  • What is the most important metric for Slack and why?
  • What Slack features would you improve?
  • Describe a well designed product and why you love it?
  • What books are you reading?
  • How have you used data to inform your decisions?

If your answers impress the Hiring Manager, you’ll be asked to move on to the technical round with additional members of the team. You’ll also receive a take-home assignment to prepare before the virtual onsite interviews. 

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

During this round, you’ll present your answer(s) to the take-home assignment. The prompt may be one or more of the following: 

You’ll also interview one-on-one with several team members. According to Glassdoor, these may include a data scientist, an engineer manager, and a UX lead.

After this round, the hiring decision is in the hands of the Slack team. Good luck!

How Did COVID-19 Change Hiring at Slack?

Like most companies, Slack switched to a fully-remote interviewing process during the COVID-19 pandemic. Because of the massive increase in remote work and virtual collaboration brought about by the crisis, Slack grew rapidly during 2020 and 2021. The company continued to hire, and currently has nearly 900 open positions, including several on the product team.  

Prior to the coronavirus pandemic, Slack’s culture was office-focused. However, in June of 2020, Slack announced that the majority of their employees would have the option to work remotely forever and that they would be hiring more fully-remote team members. 

Become a Slack Product Manager 

Want to learn more about becoming a Slack Product Manager or getting hired at a well-known 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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