How to Prepare for the Facebook Product Manager Interview
September 5th, 2013 by lewisTweet
For those of you with an upcoming Facebook PM (FB PM) interview, this article reviews the FB PM interview process and how you can best prepare. We also have a Facebook PM interview class video that reviews actual FB PM questions and provides sample answers.
There are four parts to the Facebook PM interview:
- Metrics & analytics. FB PMs use data to make product decisions. Good PMs can identify potential metrics, prioritize their importance, and define success criteria. Example questions include You are responsible for the health of the FB newsfeed. What are your considerations? You just launched the FB events 2.0: what metrics would you collect, and how do you know if the launch was a success?
- Product design. FB PMs can dream up innovative new products, and describe how they should be built. Expect questions like How would you build a new FB events feature? Design a new feature that tells the user whether a recipient has read a FB message.
- Technical. Good FB PMs can lead and influence engineers. They can participate and contribute to technical discussions. Your FB interviewer will evaluate if your track record of leading engineers. They’ll also see if you are familiar with technical concepts and clearly communicate technical issues to non-technical audiences. Sample questions include Explain recursion. Give me a real life example of recursion. How do you work with engineers? How do you gain their respect?
- Innovation and vision. Good FB PMs can boldly describe a compelling product future and clearly define the steps to make that future vision a reality. Expect questions like What should FB do next? How would you create the next killer breakthrough in TV? If you were the CEO of Twitter, what would be your big bet initiative?
Also expect standard interview questions types including Tell me about yourself, Why Facebook? as well as questions about your background and experience (aka behavioral interview questions).
To prepare for the four interview components, I would recommend the following:
- Metrics & analytics. Understand FB’s business goals and the underlying metrics that drive that main business goal. For example, Facebook revenue is driven primarily by advertising. Advertising revenue is a function of the number of page views and the price per page view. The price per page view is dependent on audience quality, which is driven primarily by the audience’s propensity to buy products. Time spent understanding FB’s metrics and distilling the sea of metrics to the 3-5 will help you be more confident at the interview. Also take time to also prepare for estimation questions.
- Product design. Practice leading product design discussions using a design framework. Explore possible personas and articulate the use cases. Prioritize the use cases and then brainstorm solutions. Most candidates fail the product design interview because they jump straight into solutions. Download a wireframing tool like Balsamiq, and get comfortable sketching UI designs on the whiteboard.
- Technical. Unlike the Google PM interview, you’re not likely to get programming interview questions at the FB PM interview. Instead, they’re likely to quiz you on technical concepts, asking you to explain them concisely and effectively. Also prepare stories on how you lead and influence engineering teams.
- Innovation & vision. Before the interview, brainstorm big ideas on what Facebook, its competitors, or other consumer tech companies might build in the future. Keep in mind that it should meet the BHAG test. That is, it should be audacious and emotionally compelling. At first, your proposed product vision should sound impossible. However, upon further explanation, it should appear to be plausible in the near or medium term.
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