How to Prepare for the LinkedIn Product Manager Interview
September 10th, 2013 by lewisTweet
Have an upcoming LinkedIn product manager (PM) interview? This post describes what to expect during the interview and how you can best prepare. For more details, tips, and sample answers to actual LinkedIn PM questions, check out our LinkedIn PM interview class video.
What to Expect
LinkedIn evaluates PM candidates in 7 different areas:
- Product design. LinkedIn PMs can articulate a compelling product vision, develop roadmaps, and collaborate on product designs. Questions to anticipate include:
- How will you improve LinkedIn’s webpage?
- What improvements would you make to the site?
- How do you like LinkedIn’s endorse feature?
- How would you improve the signup process of LinkedIn?
- Design an iPhone app which lets you get news content on it.
- How would you improve Facebook to get people to share more photos?
- Analytic ability and data-driven orientation. LinkedIn PMs can identify a shortlist of critical metrics and make decisions of the data. Example questions include:
- Estimate McDonald’s annual revenue.
- How would you determine the success of a specific feature?
- What metrics will you look at in order to evaluate the success of our product?
- Business acumen. LinkedIn PMs understand recent trends with social media, web & mobile. They understand the customer and competitive landscape along with the threats. Example questions include:
- Why do people use Facebook? How does Facebook increase its page views?
- How does Facebook increase the number of users?
- What are mechanisms which Facebook uses to keep people coming back to their website?
- Strategy & planning. LinkedIn PMs can think strategically about business issues. They lead the analysis of the competitive environment, customers, and business goals. Sample questions include:
- How many elevators do you need for a 40 story building?
- If you were the CEO for Facebook what top 3 things would you do for the company?
- Leadership. LinkedIn PMs work with the product development team to bring features to life. LinkedIn PMs influence others by being decisive and backing up their decisions with clear reasoning. Sample questions include:
- How do you influence engineering to build a particular feature?
- Tell me a time when you convinced an executive to reverse a critical decision.
- Operational ability. LinkedIn PMs know how to launch products. They work with various teams such as marketing, operations, and legal to get products on the market. They know how to engage with the user community and how to use social media to drive feature awareness. Questions to anticipate:
- What would you do to increase users signing up for LinkedIn? How will you promote a new feature?
- Technical. LinkedIn PMs can lead engineering discussions, participate in technical brainstorming, and help assess technical trade-offs. Sample questions include:
- Explain object oriented programming to your grandmother.
How to Prepare
- Product design. Practice leading design discussions with a framework. Start with possible personas and detailed use cases. Prioritize the use cases and then brainstorm solutions. Invigorate the interviewer with unique, compelling ideas. Draw wire-frames on the whiteboard to help visualize your ideas. To practice, download a wire-framing tool like Balsamiq.
- Analytic ability and data-driven orientation. Brainstorm LinkedIn’s business goals and the drivers for the goal. Identify the different ways that LinkedIn generates revenue including consumer and corporate products. Also practice estimation questions.
- Business acumen. Empathize with the customer by going over LinkedIn (and competitive) products. Understand motivations for using the products. Walkthrough the customer funnel, analyzing what aids or hinders customers during the product journey. Read about successful customer acquisition (aka growth hack) efforts at comparable companies.
- Strategy & planning. Use a framework like SWOT or Porter’s Five Forces to think through the various strategic issues.
- Leadership. Prepare leadership stories from your background, using the STAR or SOARA method.
- Operational ability. Understand what it takes to put together a go-to-market plan.
- Technical. No need to prepare for programming interview questions, so it is unlikely you’ll get those questions at the interview. However, you may be asked about technical concepts and definitions, so take time to brush up on computer science fundamentals and web development basics.
Photo credit: Adriano Gasparri
If you liked this article, let us know by clicking Like.