Facebook PM Interview: Product Sense and Execution (Example Answers) by@product42

Facebook PM Interview: Product Sense and Execution (Example Answers)

Facebook PM Interview: Product Sense and Execution (L4- L7) All you need is one concept, one story- Be curious and understand it to the fundamental level- everything unifies. All the interviews have more of a conversational tone than a judgmental one. Recruiters might reach out to you on Linkedin, so make sure your Linkedin profile is all prettied up. If you already know most of the details, and you're looking for something impactful to add to your story, read only the Must Do's.
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Manoj Madanagopal Hacker Noon profile picture

Manoj Madanagopal

All you need is one concept, one story. Be curious and understand it to the fundamental level- everything unifies.

In this article, I'll share the experiences of candidates (including myself) who've experienced Facebook's Product Manager interviews (L4- L7). At the end of this article, I hope you feel that the Facebook PM interview is a piece of cake. If you already know most of the details, and you're just looking for something impactful to add to your story, read only the Must Do's.

Let's begin... 🎢

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πŸ˜‚ This is fluff.

First and foremost, I must mention that fb's overall recruiting process is one of the best in the industry (I have also interviewed with amazon, not so good). Your recruiter is trying his/her very best to get you the job (not only the recruiter but also the interviewers). They will coach you with the tips and tricks (no kidding).

All the interviews have more of a conversational tone than a judgmental one. This helps a lot of people, including myself, as it puts you at ease and helps you deliver your best. I hope all other companies follow their lead.

How do I apply? I'm pretty sure I won't get a call back... 😏

While the call back portion might be true, we all have to start somewhere.

Plus, with the DOJ turning screws on big tech, FB's acquisition side has taken the back seat, and their recruitment is red hot. So, now is the time to apply.

On some occasions, recruiters might reach out to you on Linkedin, so make sure your Linkedin profile is all prettied up. I've heard that referrals give you a better chance, maybe they do.

Perhaps a referral from a person who is working in the same role will help. There are some referral sites such as rooftop slushie (you pay someone who works in fb and they refer you). I'm not sure if it works.

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As you can see, fb is going through an exponential growth phase in their employee base.

☎️ Call from the recruiter.

Congratulations! You have made it through the door and you are at the reception. Your recruiter is going to ask you what you do (the typical "tell me about yourself"). Be prepared.

He/she will also go through the process, briefly explaining what you should expect. They might also setup more time with you to discuss the specifics of the interview.

They will send you the interview prep materials, detailing the goal of each section, they will also attend the interview on your behalf, if you ask them nicely (jk, maybe give it a shot).

You will also receive a link to join (not mandatory) a mock interview conducted by fb PMs (its meh but do join).

πŸ‘ Eye of the tiger: Round #1.

You might already know the formats of the interview.

But briefly: One is Sense (fancy word for design) and the other is Execution (think of metrics).

Getting the basics right: Frameworks Frameworks Frameworks

I have seen so many candidates obsess over frameworks. I suggest before getting into any of it, just try to understand the product space (look around and see the products, how they came into life, their purpose, and more boring stuff).

This step is easy for someone who has 2-3 years of PM experience vs 7-8 years of experience. I have spoken with VPs and Directors during my mock sessions, and the theme I heard come through was that they had to do a lot of unlearning. So, keeping your mind fresh, and be willing to start from scratch.

So, now that you have not touched any coursework, any book, any frameworks and all you did was sit back and go through the pain points of your daily life, of your community and solve for them. Pick a product, for instance..think of how you would increase your community engagement (fb is all about community and small business). No frameworks yet, remember.

Where do I start? Which courses should I sign up for?

Facebook gives you ample time to schedule your interviews. So, with more time comes more anxiety. It depends on the person you are and where you stand. If you think you need a structured refresh then sign up for one (I did try exponent and product alliance), or pick up a book.

Sense.

Arguably the toughest segment. This is a part of round 1 and round 2. Interviewer typically asks you to design a product.

For example: Design a product to help people save money (you can expect a very open ended question like this or something simpler such as help the people to find apartments). The main goal of this round is to turn an ambiguous idea into a solution.

Let's think about how you might tackle this.

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Going through this step by step in a structured manner will help you think and speak clearly and concisely.

Must do's:

  1. Clarify the question,
  2. Be clear and concise in your answers (do a lot of mocks, self mocks are very underrated),
  3. Take a break in the middle to recap,
  4. Tie back your pain points and solutions to your goal,
  5. Empathize during pain points,
  6. Think Big (think of ~2B users),
  7. Prioritize (at fb you can work on a 1000 things) everything and explain why.

Execution.

During this round, primarily you are asked to measure the success of a product using metrics.

On top of this, they'll ask you to diagnose a metric (could very well be the north star that you set), as well as a trade off.

Frameworks work.

I followed the GAME framework (tons of articles on this online) for setting the success metrics.

Goals, Actions*, Metrics, Evaluations.

*I changed the Actions to User journey. This helped me not lose sight of core actions, and I verified this with the interviewer.

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For Diagnose:

I came up with my own framework and I call it CIA (Clarify, Investigate, Act).

This way it helped me stay on track and also got a giggle from the interviewer.

For the Tradeoff:

You guessed it, I came up with my own framework and I call it CSA (Clarify, Strategize, Act.) πŸ˜‰

Must Do's:

  1. Be clear and concise, State the product/ company mission,
  2. Set a strong north star,
  3. Debate your choices (practice, speak out loud, challenge all your metrics),
  4. Don't speak until it's clear in your head

A sample question might look like: Set the success metric for Uber (mostly it'll be a product from fb): What would you do if total number of orders went down by 10% (diagnose)? Which feature would you prioritize to connect with friends or create a weekly meal routine (tradeoff)?

🐯 Roar of the tiger: Round #2

Yes, Roar. Enough of giving the eyes. Congratulations, you made it this far. Your recruiter might give you a call to discuss next steps, make sure you ask them for interviewer's feedback, very helpful.

So, Sense and Execution rounds are going to be the same, the level of answers that you give will set the tone for your level setting. You might want to up your game a bit.

Leadership and Drive.

For some of my peers, this was a daunting task.

Get all your stories ready.

Go through your previous work and prepare a story.

I mean like, a real story.

Just like a movie, interviewers expect you to tell them what is this movie about, why you were the hero, what are your superpowers, what are the conflicts you faced while achieving your mission, why did you think this movie was such a hit, where could you have been better in this movie, what's the box office.

Don't worry, They also love to hear about the movies that flopped, so make sure you have an amazing failure story (think of Rise of the Skywalker).

Must do's:

Make sure you know your story very well (they could just start with one story and drill only on that one story),

  1. Be clear and concise,
  2. Pause and think,
  3. Connect with the interviewer,
  4. Smile. 😊

Now that you have made through the reception, gone through couple of doors, and waiting to hear back. I hope you all make it, and if you do I suggest you talk to some negotiation agencies (plenty out there).

Good luck! ✌🏾

Ad Astra.

Manoj Madanagopal Hacker Noon profile picture
by Manoj Madanagopal @product42. All you need is one concept, one story. Be curious and understand it to the fundamental level- everything unifies.Read my stories

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