Cracking the interview is a crucial step for anyone who aspires to work as a product manager at Facebook. But the interview process is incredibly challenging, and the competition is immense. Armed without a strategy, it may seem impossible to wow the hiring managers.
If you want to know the secret sauce for Facebook product manager interview prep, you have come to the right place. At Interview Kickstart, we believe that with the correct preparation strategy, you can crack these interviews and land a data engineer job at leading tech companies.
Having trained over 6,000 software engineers, we know what it takes to crack the toughest tech interviews. Since 2014, Interview Kickstart alums have been landing lucrative offers from FAANG and Tier-1 tech companies, with an average salary hike of 49%. The highest ever offer received by an IK alum is a whopping $933,000!
At IK, you get the unique opportunity to learn from expert instructors who are hiring managers and tech leads at Google, Facebook, Apple, and other top Silicon Valley tech companies. That’s not all! We offer domain-specific interview prep programs, which include a Masterclass dedicated to Product Manager Interview Prep.
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We have put together this ultimate guide to amp up your product manager Facebook interview prep and increase your chances of acing the interview. In this article, we’ll cover:
- What Does a Facebook Product Manager Do?
- Difference Between a Facebook Product Manager and a Project Manager
- What Skills Do You Need to Become a Product Manager at Facebook
- Structure of Facebook Product Manager Interviews
- How to Prepare for a Facebook Product Manager Interview
- Sample Questions for Facebook Product Manager Interview
- Tips for Product Manager Facebook Interview Prep
- Ace the Facebook Product Manager Interview Prep
- FAQs on Facebook Product Manager Role
What Does a Facebook Product Manager Do?
Product managers are at the heart of every organization. What should be built, when should it be made, and why should it be built form part of the core functions of a product management team.
According to Facebook, a product manager is a “visionary who guides new product ideas from an initial concept to a full-blown product launch.” The primary role of a product manager at Facebook is investigating what should be built and aligning the team with the strategy.
Conducting user research, competitive research, applying strategic and analytical thinking, and closely collaborating with engineers and designers to maximize every product’s impact on the world are some of the key responsibilities a product manager working at Facebook is expected to carry out.
What Is the Difference Between a Facebook Product Manager and a Project Manager?
Even though a project manager and a product manager are essential cogs in the wheel for the successful outcome of a product, these similar-sounding roles are actually distinct.
As Marty Cagan, author of Mind the Product, rightly points out, the job of a product manager is to“discover a product that is valuable, usable and feasible.” So, driving the development of products is the job of a product manager, whereas ensuring that the development plans get executed as envisioned is the project manager’s job.
Setting the vision for the product, communicating the vision to the rest of the team, and laying down actionable tasks and deadlines to the team make up a chunk of the work a product manager does at Facebook.
On the other hand, planning the project timelines, allocating appropriate resources, monitoring the completion of tasks, communicating the progress to other stakeholders, and ensuring that the project is completed within the specified timeframe is what a Facebook project manager looks after.
What Skills Do You Need to Become a Product Manager at Facebook
“What skills does a good product manager possess?” is one of the burning questions for every software engineer or software developer preparing to apply at Facebook.
While technical expertise and fantastic communication skills are crucial for anyone who wants to excel as a product manager, these are not enough. Facebook is looking for product managers who demonstrate excellent business and managerial skills and are well versed in strategy, leadership, entrepreneurship, and management.
A product manager who aspires to reach right on top at Facebook should also possess marketing and sales skills, including market research, business development, social media marketing, and marketing strategy.
In terms of academic background, having a degree in software engineering is not necessary to get hired as a product manager at Facebook. It is not uncommon for Facebook to hire candidates with degrees in languages or social sciences as product managers. Facebook also prefers candidates who have prior experience in a business management role.
Recommended Reading: Facebook Product Manager Salary
Structure of Facebook Product Manager Interviews
Facebook doesn’t hire product managers for specific verticals. Once a candidate is hired, Facebook decides the team where the candidate should be placed. It is no surprise that the Facebook product manager interview is as extensive as you’d expect from FAANG companies. You’ll have the following rounds:
HR Phone Screen
The interview starts with a phone screening round conducted by HR. Questions are usually centered around your motivation to apply for the role and why you believe you are the right fit.
Tech Phone Screen
If you are able to make an impression and pass the phone screening, there are two phone interviews scheduled with product managers working at Facebook currently. You can expect a question about product sense in the first interview and an execution-related question in the second one.
You’ll have about 45 minutes to answer each question. During the product sense interview, the interviewers evaluate if the candidate can convert ambiguous problems into great products. During the execution interview, the emphasis is on understanding if the candidate can get things done efficiently.
If you pass these interviews, you will be invited for an onsite interview. The onsite interview is divided into the following themes:
- Product Sense
- Leadership and Drive
You’ll have a 45-60 minute interview for each theme with a calibrated interviewer. Scheduling the interviews with people trained on how to interview is what makes Facebook interviews different from the rest. In fact, you may even find yourself being interviewed by two people at the same time simply because an interviewer-in-training is learning the ropes from the interviewer.
Based on your performance during these rounds, the interviewers will make a Hire/No hire recommendation. A hiring committee that comprises senior leaders at Facebook will review your resume, cover letter, referrals, and the interview feedback from the calibrated interviewers to make a final decision and decide on your compensation.
How to Prepare for a Facebook Product Manager Interview
In the words of a former chief product officer at Facebook, every candidate who wants to work as a product manager at Facebook must use and love Facebook products. This means that a deep dive into the organization and the products is the starting point when you are preparing for the interview. So start with annual reports of Facebook and strategy presentations. You should also be familiar with the fundamental concepts of product management, such as coming up with a clear product vision, communicating the vision to the rest of the team, creating accountability in your team to achieve the vision.
Here’s what Facebook is looking for in a candidate for each competency and tips on how to prepare for them:
Facebook is keen to understand how you decide who to build for and their needs, how you ensure intentional design choices, and how you handle critique about your choices.
When you are answering questions for this competency, you need to establish a meaningful value proposition and demonstrate the impact your product has and how you can maximize it. Download a wireframing tool like Balsamiq or Adobe XD to get comfortable with sketching UI designs on the whiteboard.
Facebook is keen to understand how you set up the team for success, set goals and metrics to evaluate results, and analyze and debug problems.
Your analytical thinking skills and approach to troubleshooting are the focus of this competency. Familiarize yourself with concepts such as ROI estimation, root cause analysis, Rule of Three, and AARM Method™. Your responses should be highly structured, and you should be able to take a problem statement and end goal and identify the necessary metrics for the goal.
Leadership and Drive
How you overcome difficult situations and support people around you through such difficulties is the key focus for the interviewers at Facebook. This competency is specifically geared to evaluate your behavioral skills. Learn the company values and practice answers using the STAR framework.
You can also read the following on leadership to take your product manager interview prep to the next level:
- Inspired: How To Create Products Customers Love — Marty Cagan
- My Product Management Toolkit — March Abraham
- Crossing the Chasm — Geoffrey Moore
- The Lean Product Playbook — Dan Olsen
It is extremely important to identify your weaknesses and come up with a game plan to conquer them. For instance, identifying the users’ pain points is a critical skill to master as a product manager. If this is something you struggle with, ensure that your Facebook product manager interview prep is focused on developing this skill. Scour through different Facebook products to identify how you can improve the overall product experience -- this exercise will you develop a product design intuition.
Don’t underestimate the importance of mock interviews. Those are perfect for giving you a flavor of what to expect on D-day. But make sure to practice with the right people -- someone who has little experience in product design or management will not be able to add much value to your preparations.
Sample Questions for Facebook Product Manager Interview
We have prepared a list of the most frequently asked questions at Facebook interviews. Make sure to pay close attention to these questions during your Facebook product manager interview prep:
- Should Facebook create a dedicated app for the dating market?
- How would you envision monetizing Facebook Messenger?
- What is the most important change you would implement on the Facebook platform as a product manager?
- If you were responsible for News Feed, how would you evaluate its success?
- Walk us through how you would decide whether to show someone an Ad or a "People You May Know" story in the News Feed?
Leadership and Drive:
- Tell me about a time when your team wasn’t working well together and how you overcame that challenge.
- Tell me about a time when you were aware of a critical problem but failed to resolve it on time.
- Tell me about a time when you had to change your working style to work well with others.
For a comprehensive question bank, head over here.
Tips for Product Manager Facebook Interview Prep
Demonstrate your experiences and skills with examples: Every interviewer is keen to see your expertise in action. Don’t forget to back up your responses with as many examples as possible to help the interviewers measure the impact.
Use frameworks to answer questions: Whether you are answering a technical question or a behavioral one, a framework helps you structure your answers methodically. It also adds clarity to your responses.
Stick to your lane: You are interviewing for a product manager position. Make sure that your examples and experiences demonstrate your capabilities as a product manager. Examples from an unrelated domain may not create the right impression on your interviewers.
Make brevity your best friend: To quote Albert Einstein, “If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough.” Succinct responses can help you charm the interviewers. Avoid cluttering your responses with irrelevant information.
Highlight Facebook’s vision in your responses: Facebook’s values ( Be bold, be open, focus on impact, build social value, and move past) play a crucial role in shaping the outcome of the interview process. Ensure that you weave the values into your responses to let the interviewers know that you understand the Facebook culture.
Practice, Practice, and Practice some more: Facebook product manager interview prep is no cakewalk, regardless of how many years you have worked as an engineering manager or a tech lead. If you are serious about beating the competition, you need to practice as much as you can. This will not only make you confident on D-day but also help you answer the questions.
Ace the Facebook Product Manager Interview Prep
Product manager Facebook interview prep is undoubtedly challenging. However, cracking the interview in your maiden attempt is not an impossible feat with the correct plan in place. We know how grueling these interviews can get, and that’s why we are here to extend our help.
At Interview Kickstart, you’ll get an opportunity to learn from the very best as you can practice 1-on-1 with tech leads and hiring managers from FAANG+ companies. Our structured curriculum covers all the critical concepts that one must have at their fingertips to excel in any product manager interview. All the resources we offer can help you level up your skills for any tech interview and perform effortlessly.
Register for a free webinar and learn more about our one-of-a-kind interview prep program.
FAQs on Facebook Product Manager Role
1. What’s the most important thing for me to do in a product manager interview? What would make me stand out as a candidate?
Facebook is looking for self-aware product managers, have a learning mindset and are humble enough in the face of adversity. If you have a zeal for solving real-world problems and articulate your point of view, you will be able to excel at the interview.
2. I do not have a background in product management. Can I transition into the role?
Facebook is keen to have product managers who love solving problems through strategic thinking and collaboration with other team members. If you can demonstrate that you have experience solving real-world problems and leading a cross-functional team, you will have a better shot at starting your journey as a product manager at Facebook.