When kick-starting your career in product management, you should definitely try your luck at large, reaching out to well-known tech companies first. A popular option is the Facebook rotational product manager program, which recruits fresh talent and transforms them into high-performing professionals.
Facebook has a list of impressive products that are used by billions of people every day. The opportunity to work on such products right off the bat as a rotational product manager is something that all aspiring PMs dream of.
But what exactly does a Facebook rotational product manager do? How do they differ from regular product managers? And more importantly, how to become one?
In this article, we’ll answer all of those questions and more.
Let’s get started.
Table of Contents
What is a Rotational Product Manager?
A Facebook rotational product manager is a full-time, entry-level employee hired under Facebook’s RPM program. These professionals work on different existing and upcoming Facebook products, develop their skills, and build hands-on experience solving real problems.
The Facebook rotational product manager (FBRPM) program is an 18-month program designed for entry-level product managers (called RPMs). Throughout the program, the RPMs undergo 3 rotations every 6 months and get to work with 3 different product teams.
It also includes a 1-month training, along with a 2-week research trip.
The purpose of this program is to recruit talented people interested in getting on the product manager career path and learning under the mentorship of experienced PMs. Considering that, it’s more of an extensive training program.
Facebook RPMs work with engineers, designers, marketers, and senior product managers to move the needle. As mentioned above, every 6 months, they get rotated to a different product team. By the end of the program (18 months later), they transform into high-level product managers.
These professionals bring different skillsets to the table (according to Facebook, their goal with the RPM program is to seek cognitive diversity). The only thing common among these RPMs is a good product sense with the potential to get better.
What are the Roles and Responsibilities of a Facebook Rotational Product Manager?
The Facebook rotational product manager does everything a typical product manager does.
Despite being an entry-level position, RPMs work on actual problems, suggest solutions, and make a real impact. That’s one thing that sets FBRPM apart from other entry-level programs.
While it’s difficult to list the specific tasks that a Facebook RPM does, we can generalize their main duties and responsibilities.
Working on Developing Product Strategies
A Facebook rotational product manager spends a great amount of time developing strategies and frameworks with stakeholders – ensuring that it aligns with the goals of the product teams.
Strategies usually only last 6 months, after which, the RPM may have to work on a new one from scratch.
These strategies can be both for existing and new products.
In addition, they can also be personal roadmaps that define their rotational product management journey at Facebook.
All things considered, an RPM gets to have a say in the overall strategy and make a difference.
Helping Oversee the Day-to-Day Operations
In a nutshell, a rotational product manager helps the senior product managers ensure that the product teams pull their weight.
For instance, if the goal is to design a new layout for, say the ads manager, the RPM will play a direct role in ensuring that the product design team pulls it off in the expected time frame.
That’s just one example – an RPM may help oversee several other tasks during those 18 months.
This mainly entails maintaining flawless communication with the different teams (engineers, designers, QA, sales, marketing, etc.). In a fast-moving company such as Facebook, rapid communication is the key to creating great products.
By forwarding updates and progress reports between stakeholders and the product teams, they keep everyone in the loop and ensure a smooth process – like a well-oiled machine.
Helping Conduct Market Research
Developing an in-depth understanding of the key customers and users is crucial for any PM.
For that reason, in addition to being responsible for the strategy and collaboration, Facebook RPMs also play a role in conducting market research.
This entails gathering feedback from users and leveraging a framework to ensure that it’s put to good use. The collected data is shared with the relevant teams and stakeholders.
To do that, the RPM collaborates with a bunch of different teams, especially product marketing and customer support.
Helping Analyze Product Performance
A Facebook rotational product manager is also responsible for helping Facebook analyze the performance of existing products.
For this, they look at certain product metrics to ensure that the teams are on their way to achieving their goals.
Since this is a data-oriented, technical task, RPMs receive all the guidance and assistance they need to pull it off.
How Do I Get to the RPM Program on Facebook?
Facebook RPM is a coveted role.
It’s estimated that Facebook receives between 8,000 and 10,000 applications every year for its RPM program.
Considering that, if you want to get noticed by that vast pool of candidates, you need to take the right steps and give your best.
Here’s what you need to know:
Mark Your Calendar
All things aside, you should first and foremost be aware of the application dates so that you don’t miss the deadlines.
Facebook usually starts accepting applications for its RPM program around late June or early August every year.
At a time, Facebook usually hires candidates for two start dates – one for January and one for August in the following year.
For instance, the candidates who will be hired this year (2021) will be split into batches of two:
- Batch #1 – will start in January of 2022.
- Batch #2 – will start in July of 2022.
While Facebook has yet to officially announce the application dates for 2021, it’s estimated that they’ll begin from August 3rd and end on August 10th (5 PM Pacific time) for North America. For candidates applying from London, the estimated deadline is August 31st.
In addition, the locations for the RPM role include:
- Menlo Park (California)
- Seattle (Washington)
- New York City (New York)
- San Francisco (California)
- London (United Kingdom)
Polish Up Your Resume
When applying for any role, a good practice is to modify your resume based on the preferences of the recruiter.
This is especially true if you’re applying as a Facebook rotational product manager.
Here are some quick tips that will help you create an attention-grabbing resume:
- Highlight Key Projects – if you’ve ever worked on an independent side-project, make sure to highlight it.
- List the Relevant Skills – highlight all of the relevant product and project management skills.
- Share Other Accomplishments – if you’ve won any accolades, successfully built any company, or achieved some other impressive feature, make sure to list it.
You can also get your resume analyzed by an expert.
Prepare for the Interview
Due to how competitive it is, the Facebook rotational product manager program has a long interview process.
Shortlisted candidates have to go through 3 main rounds of interviews. Here’s a quick overview of each:
- First Round – this involves a phone screen interview with a recruiter. It usually lasts 15 minutes.
- Second Round – the second round involves two video interviews (each lasting 45 minutes). The first includes interview questions that gauge the product sense of the candidates, while the second one is an execution interview.
- Final Round – the third and final round includes 4 different RPM interviews, including product sense, execution, leadership, and drive. Each interview lasts 45 minutes.
Make sure to read up on the experiences of past candidates. Prepare genuine answers for all of the possible questions.
Practice giving mock interviews with a friend, family member, or mentor until you develop a smooth and natural flow.
With everything else out of the way, the only thing left to do is to apply.
As mentioned earlier, keep an eye out for any news from the official channels of the Facebook RPM program.
Specifically, bookmark the applications page on their official website, and keep checking for updates from time to time.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Below, we’ve answered some frequently asked questions about the Facebook rotational product manager role and program:
Is Facebook RPM Program Paid?
Yes, the Facebook RPM is a paid program.
Since it offers great learning opportunities (similar to an extensive internship), some people assume that it doesn’t pay, which isn’t true. Not only do RPMs get to learn from the best, but are also well compensated for their time and efforts.
Considering that, it’s no surprise why thousands of candidates apply for the RPM program every single year.
Who Can Apply to Facebook RPM?
There are no strict eligibility criteria to apply for the Facebook RPM program.
Unlike traditional PM programs, FBRPM doesn’t require candidates to have a technical background. In fact, they don’t even require candidates to have a college degree. This entry-level, full-time experience is open for everyone, regardless of their background.
Whether you’re a new grad or someone without a college degree, you can apply for the Facebook RPM program as long as you have little or no experience in product management. The program isn’t meant for experienced product managers.
How Much Do Product Managers Get Paid?
The estimated salaries for product managers, in general, vary from state to state. This depends on a variety of factors, including the cost of living.
Here are the national average estimates collected from different credible sources:
- Glassdoor – according to Glassdoor, product managers in the US earn $111,124 per year on average. This average is based on 30,176 salary reports collected from all over the US. The highest recorded salary is $171,000, while the lowest outlier is $72,000 per year.
- PayScale – as per the 5,843 salary reports received on PayScale, product managers get paid $98,259 per year in base salary in the US. However, that doesn’t include the additional compensation. If you count that, a product manager can earn up to $145,000.
- Indeed – according to Indeed, product managers earn $98,554 per year on average, which is based on 3,900 salary reports received from real product managers.
Facebook rotational product managers can earn anywhere from $114,823 and $136,963.
Wrapping it Up
From day one, Facebook rotational product managers start developing successful careers in PM by working on real problems.
From overseeing the day-to-day product operations to helping conduct market research, their decisions impact the billions of people that use Facebook’s products.