Uber is one of the most ambitious companies in the technology sector.
It's stated mission is to make transportation as reliable and pervasive as running water. And Uber product managers are critical to executing against that mission.
Given that, it's no surprise that landing a PM job at Uber is tough - the competition is intense because the opportunity is compelling. And the salaries don't hurt either. Levels.fyi reports that Uber PMs can make total compensation of around $156K for it's entry leve APM position and hits as high as $1.27M for Director level roles.
In this deep dive, we'll cover what to expect in the Uber interviews and how to prepare:
Let's start by understanding what Uber looks for in its product management candidates. Browsing through Uber PM listings, here is a pretty typical summary of the requirements:
A few things immediately jump out: relative to peer company PM job listings like Facebook's and Google's, Uber's PM requirements are more role-specific (e.g., the one above, for an Uber Eats role, references a specific Eats use case, handling custom order requirements in the attention to detail line).
However, amongst the unique attributes, Uber also consistently calls out four key requirements for product managers: core product experience, data-driven decision making, technically fluent and customer obsessed.
In contrast to Google, Facebook, Amazon and others, Uber starts most product management interviews with a group interview called a jam session. After a jam session, if a candidate performs well, they'll be invited back to an on-site "loop" where they do one-on-one interviews with four to five interviewers across functions (e.g., PMs, engineers, designers).
A jam session is a group interview with 2-3 Uber product managers focused on a product case question.
The candidate is expected to lead a discussion and dissect the product problem from all relevant angles. In many instances, the product problem is sent to the candidate in advance but not always (sometimes the prompt is given at the start of the jam session).
During this discussion, Uber PMs want to see that the candidate can frame the problem, lay out objectives, walk through proposed solutions and articulate how to measure success and impact. It's common for the interviewers to question assumptions, probe deeper on key topics and throw out their own ideas for the candidate to react to.
Allegedly, the origin of the jam session came from long, product-oriented discussions that Uber Co-founder and early CEO, Travis Kalanick, used to have with friends and early hires. They were said to be "jamming" on product ideas and, in the early days, Kalanick would often attend interview jam sessions.
Assuming the prompt is provided before the actual interview, you'll want to come prepared with your thoughts on how to dissect the problem. This doesn't mean that the conversation will be a one-way presentation but rather that your prepared thoughts will serve as a jumping off point for the discussion and provide an anchoring for how you approach the problem.
I covered how to put together a jam session deck in deep detail here, but I'll call out a few snippets here as well to provide a sense of how I framed up the discussion.
NOTE: This particular homework assignment is from the early days of Uber and the problem statement was broad: design a better driver home screen for Uber drivers.
Stating the problem: Clearly stating the problem to be addressed in the exercise
Framing the approach: Defining how the candidate is constraining the problem and hammering it home with a visual
Laying out hypotheses: Giving a window into the view of the variety of considered approaches
"RocketBlocks was a perfect interview tool during hectic recruiting seasons. I could quickly do it for 20-30 mins between my prep or if I had more time I could deep dive into some of the larger exercises. It does a great job throughout." - Anirudha Nandi, Uber APM, Ivey HBA Grad
The so called loop is more traditional and mirrors the mix of cross-functional, one-on-one interviews that peer companies like Google and Facebook do as well.
In these interviews, candidates can expect to answer questions across core PM skills like product sense, technical fluency, analytical skills as well as behavioral questions about leadership, etc.
For all the skill set categories Uber tests, the questions mostly revolve around Uber's domain (e.g., transportation, logistics and on-demand services).
This is different than companies like Facebook, which often ask questions outside their core domain, like "How many Instacart deliveries are made a day in NYC?"
As with all leading tech companies, this is *the* critical category for PMs. It's no different for Uber's product managers either.
Similarly to Amazon, Uber places a high premium on obsessing over meeting customer needs as a north star in its product development process. Here interviewers will be trying to assess the following capabilities:
Analytical skills are in demand at all tech companies, but Uber adds its own, unique twist on this.
Uber refers to this as "finger-tippiness" with data: the ability to ask the right questions, source the right data to answer them and avoid getting bogged down in analysis paralysis.
Uber hires for a wide range of PMs. Some roles are extremely technical (e.g., PM for API platforms) while other roles are less technical (e.g., PM for Rider Experience).
However, while the level of technical fluency required varies, there is a common baseline Uber interviewers will expect. Here are the baseline questions interviewers will want to answer:
All leading product companies often cite drive as an important cultural trait, but more than others Uber puts lots of emphasis on finding PM leaders who exhibit significant drive and grittiness - likely traits that were engrained in the culture early on as the company battled entrenched taxi operators and protectionist government regulation.
Here Uber interviewers will be asking themselves the following questions:
As with all tests, knowing what skills will be tested is only the beginning of the battle.
To prepare thoroughly, you should dedicate time to drilling 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 Uber 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:
At this point, almost everyone is intimately familiar with at least one Uber product as a user (whether it's Uber X, Uber Eats or Uber Pool). However, truly understanding the mechanics of Uber's products and business requires going a step deeper.
You should devote time to thinking about the business of Uber: what products do they offer and why? How does their product suite compare to their competitors? What major competitive advantages does Uber possess? How can they leverage those to create increased differentiation between them and their competitors?
One helpful starting point for asking and answering these questions is reviewing Uber's growth over time and their core business metrics.
We've gone into extensive detail on Uber's core metrics in the Uber data pack here, but here we'll highlight a few key starting points here.
Given the high-scale business Uber is in, it's interesting to look at how much revenue they pull in per ride. Note that since the number of rides per day and net revenue are estimated, the following analysis serves only as directional guidance, not a precise forecast.
Uber's culture is a reflection of its founders and their drive to reinvent the global transportation industry. At its best, the culture is hard-charging, determined and obsessed with providing unrivaled value for its customers.
Often, cultural strengths taken too far can be weak points as well and Uber's experienced its share of well-documented struggles under Travis Kalanick's tenure as CEO. That said, Dara Khosrowshahi, the new Uber CEO, is making dedicated strides in the right direction.
Finally, if possible, it's always helpful to reach out to friends who work (or have worked) at Uber and ask them for their first hand input. If not, the next best resource is to observe what the company representatives say publicly in interviews, conferences, and blog posts.
Real interview questions. Sample answers from PM leaders at Google, Amazon and Facebook. Plus study sheets on key concepts.