Applying for a product management role – that too, at Facebook – is a nerve-racking experience, to say the least. Preparation is key if you want to succeed. And anticipating some Facebook product manager interview questions can go a long way.
Great products aren’t created overnight. It takes consistent efforts to execute an idea, monitor progress, and maintain its success. At least that’s what every Silicon Valley giant believes.
Facebook is no different. To ensure they hire the right talent to manage their range of products – from its novel marketplace to something as simple as reactions – they have strict screening procedures in place.
If you’re a candidate who’s currently preparing for these rounds of interviews, keep reading. In this article, I’ll share the most commonly-asked Facebook product manager interview questions.
Let’s get started.
Breaking Down the Facebook Product Manager Interview Process
Before we jump into the actual questions, it’s crucial that you understand how the entire Facebook PM interview process actually works.
This will help you anticipate the journey, understand the goals of the recruiters at Facebook, and have a solid preparation.
That being said, for the PM role (regardless of which product the incumbent will be responsible for), the folks classify their interviews in the following three broad categories:
- Product Sense – the purpose of these interviews is to gauge your basic product management abilities.
- Execution – these are conducted to evaluate the candidate’s ability to actually execute, monitor, and improve product management tasks.
- Leadership & Drive – typically taken in the end, this interview will test your leadership qualities and the drive to move your company forward.
But how exactly are these interviews taken, and in what order?
Apart from the initial applications and phone calls/emails, the entire screening process is broken into the following three phases:
- HR Phone Screen – you’ll kick off your interview process with an HR phone interview. This will be a typical behavioral interview with a hiring manager, in which they’ll ask you run-of-the-mill questions.
- PM Phone Screen Interviews – these include two interviews with the existing product managers at Facebook (product sense and execution interviews).
- Onsite Interviews – if you make it through the PM phone screening interviews, you’ll have three onsite interviews (1 of each type of interview, including a leadership & drive evaluation). Depending on the location and logistical issues (if any), these can also be video interviews.
Keep in mind that the process discussed above isn’t fixed. Facebook can alter it anytime they want. Your initial call with HR will help answer your questions regarding preparation for the screening phases.
Typical Facebook Product Manager Interview Questions
With the interview/screening process out of the way, let’s dive into the typical Facebook product manager interview questions.
These aren’t mere sample questions. I reviewed the experiences shared by actual candidates on Glassdoor and made a list of the most frequently asked ones.
To make things more organized, I’ve categorized them into the following three types of questions:
- Product sense
- Leadership and Drive
Let’s take a look:
Product Sense Questions
As mentioned above, product sense interviews are meant to evaluate your actual product-related skills.
These will include series of strategy, creative-thinking, and product design questions, which will help the folks at Facebook test your ability to evaluate market needs, come up with solutions, and make intentional design choices.
Here’s a list of questions you can expect:
1. Design a social travel product for Facebook
At first, this might seem like a weird question.
“Why would Facebook need a social travel product, anyway?”
Believe it or not, Facebook PMs love to throw this market entry question to unsuspecting candidates (at least according to the people on Glassdoor).
To answer this question, I’d recommend setting a clear definition for what “social travel product” – one that both you and the interviewers agree on.
Is it supposed to be something similar to TripAdvisor? Will it also offer travel planning features for groups? Is a peer-to-peer boarding/accommodation option included?
Once everything’s clear, talk about how you would go about designing an amazing travel experience with this hypothetical product.
2. How would you tackle the decision of whether or not to accept payments via Facebook Messenger?
Another common, yet weird question that I’ve seen a lot of candidates share is about using Messenger as a payment processing app.
Whether Facebook actually plans on doing that or not is a completely different story. The question itself, like most product sense questions, is meant to evaluate your decision to enter new markets.
Think of existing apps that allow users to accept payments and answer the following questions:
- Can Facebook compete with these existing players?
- Is it the right time to enter the payment processing market?
- Should Facebook create a separate payment merchant or partner with existing payment merchants instead?
Remember – the more in-depth your answer, the more impressed the PMs will be.
3. How would you design a sports-related product for Facebook?
What would a native sports product look like?
A good way to start would be to understanding the audience for this new feature.
Then move on to suggesting different features. Some examples include live sports updates, the option to purchase game tickets online, live streaming, and fantasy leagues.
4. How would you go about designing a doctor referral feature?
While Google does a pretty good job at finding nearby hospitals, the results aren’t always so reliable.
The world’s biggest social network, however, presents a great opportunity for both patients and doctors.
Facebook groups are already being utilized for referral marketing. What if a separate feature for patient/doctor referrals was introduced?
How would the appointment feature work? Would it be a native platform? Or would the potential patients be redirected to the websites of the doctors (with special parameters to keep track of everything)?
Furthermore, how would the “commissions” work?
Come up with creative answers to all of those questions.
5. Design a feature for book recommendations.
You might be wondering – how do books fit with a social network?
The way you answer that question will tell the Facebook PMs a lot about your out-of-box thinking.
Among many other things, Facebook groups are doing a wonderful job at providing a platform for bookworms.
Would it be feasible to create a separate feature for book recommendations? How would it help the company achieve its strategic objectives?
The execution interviews are mainly focused on determining how good the candidates are at with the nitty-gritty of product management.
The questions asked in these interviews will make you think about the potential root causes of problems, figuring out trade-offs, and determining appropriate metrics to measure the success of different products.
Here are the relevant Facebook product manager interview questions that will be included:
1. How would you measure the success of Facebook lite?
Facebook Lite was launched as a simple and leaner alternative to the main Facebook app.
The purpose of this app is to get rid of unnecessary features and deliver a lightning-fast experience (especially on devices with smaller RAMs).
There are generally two ways a PM can go about measuring the success of Facebook Lite:
- Usage-rate relative to the actual Facebook app
- Product adoption-rate in the relevant regions
By leveraging the aforementioned metrics, a PM can then come up with potential ideas to further improve the app.
2. How would you measure the success of Facebook marketplace?
Facebook marketplace is a new platform that will allow users to buy and sell both used and new items.
As of now, FB marketplace is only available in certain regions.
To measure the success of this new feature, I’d recommend using the following metrics:
- Number of items put on sale (daily)
- Number of items sold/bought (daily)
- Engagement with users (total number of people who contact each other on this platform)
I would then look at the trends, forecast future figures, and compare them with other marketplaces.
3. How would you improve Facebook newsfeed?
News Feed is one of Facebook’s central features.
A candidate who doesn’t understand the existing core features well isn’t the right fit for the job.
For that reason, Facebook PMs often ask this question.
A decent response would be to first determine the possible culprits for a decline in the use of newsfeed (if any) by looking at feedback, prioritizing the fixes, and coming up with an additional idea or two to enhance the user experience.
4. What metrics would you use to measure the success of Instagram ads?
In case you forgot – Instagram is a part of Facebook.
Recruiters will often ask Instagram-related questions to surprise candidates and see if they’ve come prepared.
As far as the use of Instagram ads is concerned, a great way to start would be to look at the total ad spend over a fixed period of time (say, a quarter).
To dig down even further, you could consider looking at the figures for different types of ads.
Leadership and Drive Questions
To wrap things up, Facebook PMs will ask you leadership-related questions to see if you’re the right culture fit for the company.
Keep in mind that there are no right or wrong answers. Your responses are supposed to be unique and reflect your personality, otherwise, it defeats the purpose of this interview.
Here are some popular ones I came across when scouring through Facebook product manager interview questions on Glassdoor:
1. What are the strongest skills for a PM?
This question is meant to help understand what product management means for you.
Sure – Facebook has a list of preferred skills that it actively looks for when evaluating candidates.
However, they also want to know what you feel a PM should be skilled at.
2. Describe a recent experience you had managing/leading a team.
This is expected.
As a product manager, you’ll be responsible for supervising a team, communicating with external members, and being accountable for results.
Share any recent experience (especially product-related) you had that ticks all of those boxes.
3. How would you go about prioritizing/allocating resources?
Prioritization is a PM’s most useful skill.
How they decide to allocate resources between multiple projects can make or break their final results.
Considering that, you should definitely expect this question in the drive interview.
4. Describe a time when you failed.
Product managers have to think big.
But that comes with the risk of failure.
The folks at Facebook aren’t only interested in what you can do for them, but also how you’d react to not achieving your goals.
Preparing for the Interviews
Whether you’re interviewing in New York, San Francisco, Tel Aviv, or any other corner of the world, remember one thing – your goal should be to answer questions truthfully and in the most concise and clear way possible
As far as the actual preparation is concerned, I would recommend getting in touch with candidates who have gone through the process. If you have time, reach out to former PMs on LinkedIn, talk to them about the possible pain points of Facebook, and what steps you can take to overcome them.