The role of a Product Manager (also called a PM) in an organization is at the intersection of design knowledge, business strategy, and customer needs to build a valuable, relevant, and feasible product. PM roles in FAANG companies differ from Product Manager roles in general. Even with each company, there is a range of product manager roles. For example, within Amazon, the role of a PM for AWS will be very different from that of a PM for Prime Music.
So then, how does one prepare for such a diverse role? Aspiring Product Managers must focus on three factors when getting ready for a Product Manager interview – their core competencies, their emotional intelligence, and company fit.
If you are preparing for a tech interview, check out our interview questions page and salary negotiation ebook to get interview-ready! Also, read Google Product Manager Interview Questions and Google Interview Questions for specific insights and guidance on Google tech interviews.
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We have put together this article on the Product Manager interview process and preparation to ensure you have everything you need. We will cover:
Before getting into the interview process, let’s look at what a PM at a FAANG company is expected to do in general:
Recommended reading: What Does a Google Product Manager Do?
During the hiring process, companies evaluate candidates based on three main factors:
What Is the Difference Between a Product Manager and a Product Developer?
The role of a Product Manager is chiefly strategic. Product Managers execute product plans, create timelines, line up resources, organize systems, and ensure that the organizational goals are met. They also work in collaboration with various stakeholders.
On the other hand, a Product Developer’s role is to build products as directed by the Project Management team. Their tasks include building, developing, maintaining, testing, and improving system architectures.
The most promising and upcoming industries looking to hire Product Managers are:
According to Comparably, a Product Manager’s average compensation is $115,734 per year. The annual salary can range from $35,000 to $505,555. Your final offer depends on various factors, such as your experience and the value you bring to the organization.
Tips to Negotiate Product Manager Salary
Salary negotiation is a must-have skill. Read The Ultimate Guide to Salary Negotiation at FAANG for Software Engineers to hone your negotiation skills and get an offer that matches your value.
A Product Manager interview process will naturally differ from company to company. This process will also depend on the specific role you have applied for, your experience, and your level of seniority. Despite these factors, some elements of the process remain the same across all companies and levels:
2. Phone Screen: The phone screen involves an initial phone screen with HR or a recruiter and 1-2 phone interviews with existing PMs or the Hiring Manager. Find out how to face phone screen interviews with ease.
3. Onsite Interviews: 3-7 onsite interviews at the company's office, which may include multiple coding interviews, a system design interview, and behavioral interviews.
Product Manager Interview Timeline
The PM interview process normally takes 4-8 weeks in total. This timeline varies for different companies and could go up to more than 3+ months.
What to Expect in Product Manager Interviews?
If your resume is shortlisted, a recruiter will call you to get to know you better. A Product Manager phone interview is a mix of behavioral questions to see if you are a good culture fit and a product design coding assessment on a remote online editor to gauge your technical skill levels as a software developer.
Once you pass the recruiter screening and preliminary technical interview, you get called for an onsite interview. These interviews are based on product design, technical knowledge, behavioral aspects, and strategy. Each of the rounds lasts about an hour.
In the technical face-to-face interview, you will be given a real-life problem related to data structures and algorithms that you will have to solve with code on a whiteboard.
In the system design round, you will be asked to build a system design around a given problem. System design interviews test your ability to design large systems with various constraints and requirements.
A separate HR Interview is also conducted sometimes. It focuses on evaluating whether you are culturally a good fit for the company or not. It involves behavioral questions.
Skills Required for Product Manager Interviews
Here’s a breakdown of the types of Product Manager interview questions ask and the related skills FAANG companies look for:
Check out this low-down of the top skills in 2021 that FAANG+ companies are looking for.
Some important topics for Associate Product Manager interview prep and Product Manager interview prep are:
Some sample Product Manager interview questions are listed below:
Recommended reading: Google Product Manager Interview Questions
You can create and follow a strategic interview prep plan for the Product Manager interviews to ensure that you cover all ground. Practice as many Product Manager interview questions as you can.
For a real advantage over others, sign up for an interview prep bootcamp like Interview Kickstart that offers a one-of-its-kind, tailor-made prep interview course for Product Managers.
Sign up for the FREE webinar on How to Nail Your Next Tech Interview to learn more.
Here are a few more tips to help you prepare:
Interview Kickstart has helped thousands of experienced professionals get their dream jobs. We aim to help everyone from an aspiring Product Manager or Senior Product Manager to a Software Developer, Engineering Manager, and Tech Lead get better acquainted with the intricacies of their chosen field. Then, we provide you with all the guidance you need to clear interviews with the most coveted tech giants.
Knowing very well that clearing an interview requires much more than sound technical knowledge, we train you in a manner that helps you develop a winner's stride. IK is THE golden ticket for all Product Managers who want to land the role of their dreams.
Want to learn more? Sign up for our FREE webinar on How to Nail Your Next Tech Interview.
1. Do all FAANG companies follow the same Product Manager interview process?
No, every company will have its own interview structure and hiring process for the Product Manager role. Even within a FAANG company, this process will differ from division to division. However, some steps remain the same through all hiring processes:
Getting the Interview > Phone Screening > Onsite Interviews
2. Do companies ask coding questions in Product Manager interviews?
Yes. You can be asked coding questions during the phone screen as well as during face-to-face interviews. Practice is the key to faring well in coding questions in Product Manager interviews.
3. For how long does a face-to-face Product Manager interview last?
Each face-to-face interview typically lasts for 45 minutes – 1 hour. This duration will differ from company to company.