Landing a PM job at Facebook is tough but it's worth the effort.
After all, Facebook PMs have an opportunity to shape one of the biggest, most influential products in the world and their alumni go on to do great things (e.g., Matt Cohler, now a General Partner at Benchmark Capital or Josh Elman, now VP of Product Management at Robinhood).
In this deep dive, we'll present a high level plan for preparing for your Facebook PM interviews:
First, let's understand how Facebook defines the responsibilities of a product manager. Here are the 7 key responsibilities they list on their PM job listings:
Ultimately, Facebook assesses whether you'll be able to perform the PM job by assessing you in the three core categories: 1) product sense 2) execution and 3) leadership.
Product sense is the key category. Why? Well, if you're a great executor and great leader, but you can't design a great end-to-end product experience, then product management is going to be poor fit.
Here interviewers will be trying to assess the following capabilities:
This category is all about getting things done.
As a PM, much of the fun strategy work falls into the product sense bucket, but a bulk of the day-to-day work is in executing on a product plan, getting a product live and iterating to make it a success.
Here interviewers will dig into the tactical skills that help you execute well:
Leadership and drive is essential to the Facebook PM role.
More so than other major tech companies (e.g., Google, Amazon), Facebook prides itself on hiring entreprenurial talent for its PM ranks because it wants PMs who have a track record of demonstrated leadership (e.g., CEO of a startup) and the drive to accomplish tough tasks.
Like all tests, knowing what's going to be on it is only the start of the battle.
At some point, you have to sit down and drill yourself on the types of questions that will come up in an interview.
There are a ton of ways to do this. You could ask a friend to quiz you. You could use the Facebook product and make up sample questions for yourself. Or you could use something like RocketBlocks PM prep to work through sample PM questions and answers (with embedded concept reviews).
Regardless of the method, don't go into the interview cold turkey. To help kick the preparation off, here are some sample questions to think about:
Everyone knows Facebook as a user. In fact, there is a meaningful percentage probability that you've used Facebook today already (and maybe even multiple times.)
However, if you're interviewing for a Facebook PM role it's important to start thinking about Facebook as a business and company - not just a product you use.
There are many ways to do this, but an incredibly helpful exercise can be to start by understanding how Facebook thinks of itself as a company. One great way to do this is to think about what metrics matter to them and how those have trended over time.
We've gone into the key metrics in great detail in our Facebook data pack here, but here we'll highlight some solid starting points.
As a business built on advertising revenues, it's critical that Facebook grows and maintains a large base of users who they can effectively monetize by selling ads to advertisers that want to reach that base.
While no one is going to directly quiz you on DAU or MAU, understanding these baseline metrics provides helpful context. For example, if you're asked about how to increase MAU by 5%, if you know that MAU is already 2.2B you'll know how big of a challenge that would be.
Furthermore, understanding Facebook's ability to monetize those users is critical as well.
For example, many casual observers (and some investors) often lump Facebook and Twitter together when discussing social network monetization. Despite some similarities in the types of ads they serve, there are massive deltas in how effective each company is at monetizing users (e.g., Facebook's ARPU is 2-3X higher than Twitter's.).
Finally, take the time to learn more about Facebook's culture.
If you have friends already working at Facebook, ask them if you can take them out for coffee or jump on a quick call to learn more about what's it like on the inside. If you don't have connections on the inside, it's worth scouring YouTube and other sources online to find Facebook leaders talking about their vision and the product.
Below, we've highlighted one oldie but goodie where then VP of Product, Chris Cox (now Facebook's Chief Product Officer), discusses the Facebook news feed, the social graph and his long term vision.