Facebook RPM interview: the only post you'll need to read

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If you're lucky enough to get into the Rotational Product Manager (RPM) program, it can be an incredible way to break-into into an exciting career. But if you want in, you're going to have to dig deep and prepare tenaciously for the Facebook RPM interviews. 

The interview process is tough, but don't be intimidated. If you learn the proper techniques and prepare accordingly, you can set yourself apart from other applicants and (hopefully) get the offer.

This guide will cover everything you need to kick-start your preparation for the RPM interviews. We'll begin with a quick overview of the program, and then we'll dig into the interview process, example questions, and a few key preparation tips. 

1. Facebook RPM program overview

The Facebook RPM (Rotational Product Manager) program is a full-time job consisting of 3 rotations, which provide exposure to a variety of product teams within the company. 

Check-out the 2-minute video below to see a nice introduction to the program:

1.1 RPM program basics 

 The RPM program lasts for 18-months, and includes the following elements:

  • 1 month of product bootcamp training
  • ~16 months of rotations (3 rotations)
  • 2 weeks for a global research trip 

During the rotations, RPMs might work on product roadmaps, new product strategies, product design, metric selection, and more. 

1.2 Who can apply

The RPM program is an entry-level PM role meant for applicants who are early in their careers, which includes recent graduates or candidates with a few years of experience.

Facebook also recruits people from a variety of different backgrounds for RPM roles, so you should feel free to apply even if you don't have a PM or tech background.

1.3 RPM program locations

The primary locations for the RPM program are the following Facebook offices:

  • Menlo Park, California (headquarters)
  • Seattle, Washington
  • New York City, New York
  • London, United Kingdom

And according to Parth Datroja, the location for a given RPM hire tends to be influenced by their level of experience.

More specifically, new graduates are usually brought into Facebook headquarters in Menlo Park, whereas RPMs with more work experience are likely to be placed at one of the other locations.

1.4 RPM program perks

Facebook's RPM program also has some really cool perks. Here are four that we think are particularly compelling:

  1. Launching pad for PM/tech career: Facebook brings in entry-level candidates from a variety of backgrounds (not just engineers and developers) and gives them exposure to high-impact projects. So if you want to pursue a career in tech, the RPM program is one of the best launching pads you'll find.
  2. 6-figure salary: Facebook pays their RPMs VERY well, and you'll probably be making a salary of $110k-130k+, depending on location and when you're hired.
  3. Research trip and community events: As part of the program, you'll also get to go on a 2-week research trip somewhere in the world. This could be a great opportunity to experience a new place for free. There are also ongoing events (including a holiday party) organized for RPMs and RPM alumni. 
  4. The network: You'll be paired with at least 4 PM mentors during the program (your manager and a mentor on each of 3 projects), you'll get to know other RPMs, and you'll make connections in several different teams at Facebook. That is an exceptionally good way to meet interesting people, and build relationships that could last your entire career.

Mentorship is such an important part of the RPM program, let's briefly touch on that topic in more detail.

1.5 RPM Mentorship

When they start, RPMs are paired with a single manager for the entire 18-month duration of the program. This provides a source of consistent, ongoing support throughout the program.

In addition to their manager, RPMs are paired with a mentor on each of their projects (rotations) who is an experienced PM at Facebook. 

At the peer level, RPMs can also learn from each other through RPM Circles, which are small groups that support one another during the program. 

 1.6 RPM program values

If you're really interested in becoming an RPM, then you're also going to need to know about the program's values:

  1. Impact
  2. Growth
  3. Community

A big point of emphasis for the program, is the impact that RPMs can have right away. Facebook has a huge user base, so the work of RPMs could end up impacting millions (or even billions) of people. 

Facebook is also using the RPM program as a talent development mechanism. They invest heavily in their RPMs and want them to learn, acquire new skills, and become the company's next wave of high-performers and leaders.

Finally, when you join the RPM program, you'll also be joining a community of other RPMs and RPM alumni. This can be a great way to make professional connections and even friends you'd hang out with outside of work.

Now that we've covered the basics of the RPM program, let's turn our focus to how you can get in!

2. Interview process and timeline

It's important to know that the interview and application process for the Facebook RPM program is similar to the process for other PM roles at Facebook.

That means that the tips and example questions in our guide on Facebook's PM interviews will still be relevant for RPM interview prep. 

2.1 Timeline and interviews to expect

The end-to-end timeline for the Facebook RPM interview process is typically 4-8 weeks. This can vary by a couple of weeks depending on the situation, but that tends to be the timeframe. Here's a quick overview of what the timeline looks like:

Facebook RPM Interview Timeline

And of these stages, you should pay the closest attention to the first four:

  • Stage 1Resume, cover letter, and referrals
  • Stage 2: HR phone screen: one interview
  • Stage 3: PM video call: two interviews
  • Stage 4: PM on-site: three interviews

After your application is accepted (stage 1), you'll usually start your interview process by talking to an HR recruiter on the phone (stage 2). They are looking to confirm that you have a chance of getting the job, so be prepared to explain your background and why you’re a good fit for Facebook.

In the first interview, you should expect typical behavioral and resume questions like, "Tell me about yourself," "Why Facebook?" or, "Tell me about a product you launched from start to finish."

If you get past the HR screen, the recruiter will then help schedule your first PM interviews (stage 3), which will be done on a video call like Zoom or Skype.

One great thing about interviewing at Facebook is that they are very transparent about their recruiting process. Your HR contact will walk you through the types of questions interviewers will ask in subsequent rounds and they may also share this helpful Facebook PM interview guide PDF with you.

After the initial HR phone screen, each of your subsequent PM interviews will take about 45 minutes and will follow one of three themes:

  • Product sense, where you'll be tested on your product design and strategy skills
  • Execution, where you'll be tested on your data analysis and prioritization skills
  • Leadership & drive, where you'll be asked to demonstrate that you are an empathetic leader

During your PM video call (stage 3 above) you will typically get one product sense and one execution interview. And at the on-site interviews (stage 4 above), you will typically get one of each of the three types of interviews listed above.

2.2 What happens behind the scenes

Your recruiter is leading the process and taking you from one stage to the next. Here's what happens behind the scenes at each stage:

  • After the PM video call (stage 3), the two interviewers you've talked to have 24h to submit their ratings and notes to the internal system. Your recruiter then reviews the feedback, and decides to move you to the on-site interview or not depending on how well you've done.
  • After the PM on-site (stage 4), the three interviewers will make a recommendation on hiring you or not and the recruiter compiles your "packet" (interview feedback, resume, referrals, etc.). If they think you can get the job, they will present your case at the next hiring committee.
  • The hiring committee includes senior leaders from across Facebook. They will review your packet and make a final decision based on all the data points that have been collected about you in the process. 

It's also important to note that hiring managers and people who refer you have little influence on the overall process. They might be able to help you get an interview at the beginning, but that's about it.

Now that we've covered an overview of the timeline and interview stages, let's dig into some example questions to help you get prepared!

3. Example questions

There are three types of PM interviews you can expect at Facebook: product sense, execution, and leadership & drive.

We've analyzed questions reported by former Facebook PM candidates on Glassdoor.com and identified the top ten most frequently asked questions for each interview type. The results of this analysis are listed below.

Note: The below questions are taken from PM (not RPM) interview data, but as we mentioned earlier, the interviews for both roles are similar.

3.1 Product sense interview questions

Facebook RPMs decide what problems their teams work on and help design solutions for these problems. It's therefore important that they have strong product design and product strategy skills.

This is the part of the interview process where you should show that you're obsessed with the user. Here are a few of the skills Facebook is looking for when asking product sense questions:

  • How you identify who to build for and what their needs are
  • How you focus on creating value and impact
  • How you make intentional design choices
  • How you handle critique, constraints, and new data

Below, we've listed the top ten product sense questions that Facebook tends to ask, according to data from Glassdoor.

You may notice that these questions are a mix of product design, product improvement and product strategy questions. We recommend studying the articles we've written on each topic to learn how to answer these questions in a structured and impactful way.

Top ten product sense questions asked by Facebook

  • Pick a Facebook app / any product — how would you improve it?
  • How would you improve Facebook groups?
  • How would you improve Facebook birthdays?
  • Design a social travel product for Facebook
  • Design a jobs product for Facebook
  • Design a product to help users find a doctor on Facebook
  • Facebook events is struggling. How would you turn it around?
  • Should Facebook enter the dating / jobs market?
  • How would you monetize Facebook marketplace / messenger?
  • What should Facebook do next?

Exercise: Pick one of the questions above and answer it in the comments section below, without looking at other people's answers. This is a great opportunity to gain some practice for your Facebook RPM interviews.

3.2 Execution interview questions

Once an RPM has decided what problem to solve and what features to build, it's time to execute! Facebook prides itself on being a data-driven organization so it's essential that you show you’re data-driven too.

This is the part of the interview to display that you have strong analytical and prioritization skills. Here are a few of the things Facebook is looking for when asking execution questions:

  • How you set the right goals for a product and measure against them
  • How you identify, frame, and evaluate trade-offs
  • How you analyze and debug problems
  • How you set your team up for success

Below, we've listed the top ten execution questions that Facebook tends to ask, according to data from Glassdoor. Once again, it's a good idea to develop a framework to answer these questions.

For more information, check out our article on how to answer metric questions. And we also recommend reading up on how to answer prioritization questions.

Top ten execution questions asked by Facebook

  • You are the PM for Facebook live — what features would you prioritize?
  • You are the PM for Facebook pages — what features would you prioritize?
  • You are the PM for Facebook posts — what reactions should we add next?
  • How would you set goals and measure success for Facebook live?
  • How would you set goals and measure success for Facebook notifications?
  • How would you set goals and measure success for Instagram stories?
  • Facebook groups usage dropped 10% — what do you do?
  • Facebook ads revenue dropped 20% — what do you do?
  • Facebook newsfeed engagement dropped by 2% — what do you do?
  • You are the PM for Facebook newsfeed — how would you rank posts?

Exercise: Pick one of the questions above and answer it in the comments section below, without looking at other people's answers. This is a great opportunity to gain some practice for your Facebook PM interviews.

3.3 Leadership & drive interview questions

RPMs work with a variety of different people: engineers, designers, data analysts, etc. They need to be able to motivate their team, resolve conflicts, drive alignment, build relationships, and work with others.

This is the part of the interview where you really want to show that you've got drive and empathy. Here are a few of the skills that Facebook is looking for during the leadership & drive interview:

  • How you earn trust and take ownership
  • How you process and grow from past experiences
  • How you support the people around you
  • How you overcome difficult situations

Below, we've listed the top ten leadership & drive questions that Facebook tends to ask, according to data from Glassdoor. For more information, check out our articles on how to answer behavioral interview questions and the "Why Facebook?" question.

Top ten leadership & drive questions asked by Facebook

  • Tell me about yourself
  • Why Facebook?
  • Why product management?
  • What's your biggest accomplishment?
  • What's a good PM / bad PM?
  • Tell me about a product you led from idea to launch
  • Tell me about a time you overcame a really difficult challenge
  • Tell me about a time you managed a conflict / disagreement in a team
  • Tell me about a time you failed at work
  • Tell me about a time you led a team

Exercise: Pick one of the questions above and answer it in the comments section below, without looking at other people's answers. This is a great opportunity to gain some practice for your Facebook PM interviews.

4. Preparation tips

Now that you know what questions to expect, let's focus on how to prepare. Here are the five most important things you can do to get an offer as a Facebook RPM.

4.1 Deep dive into the product / organization

As you've probably figured out from the example questions listed above, you can't become an RPM at Facebook without being familiar with the company's products and its organization. You'll, therefore, need to do some homework before your interviews.

Here are some resources to help you get started with this:

4.2 Brush up on product fundamentals

It's also important to understand basic product management concepts. To help you expand your PM knowledge, check out this list of free resources as a starting point:

4.3 Learn a consistent method for answering PM interview questions

As mentioned previously, Facebook will ask you a few different types of questions during your RPM interviews. Approaching each question with a predefined method will enable you to build strong interview habits.

Then, when it comes time for your interviews, these habits will reduce your stress and help you to make a great impression. Here is a list of our free guides on different types of PM interview questions to help you prepare: 

BUT, having a method for solving PM interview questions isn’t enough by itself. You also need to be able to communicate your answers clearly, under the pressure of interview conditions. That’s where practice comes into play. 

4.4 Practice by yourself or with peers

Practicing by yourself is a great way to prepare for RPM interviews. You can ask and answer questions out loud, to help you get a feel for the different types of questions. Practicing by yourself will help you perfect your step-by-step approach for each question type. It also gives you time to correct your early mistakes. 

If you have friends or peers who can do mock interviews with you, that's a great option too. This can be especially helpful if your friend has experience with PM interviews, or is at least familiar with the process. You can also find peers to practice with on our new PM mock interview platform.

4.5 Practice with experienced PM interviewers

Finally, you should also try to practice with experienced PM interviewers as they’ll be able to give you much more accurate feedback than friends and peers. If you know a Product Manager who can help you, that's fantastic!

But for most of us, it's tough to find the right connections to make this happen. And it might also be difficult to practice multiple hours with that person unless you know them really well.

Here's the good news. We've already made the connections for you. We’ve created a coaching service where you can practice 1-on-1 with ex-interviewers from leading tech companies like Facebook. Learn more and start scheduling sessions today

 

PM Interview Coaching

Any questions about Facebook RPM interviews?

If you have any questions about Facebook RPM interviews, do not hesitate to ask them below. All questions are good questions, so go ahead! 

Keep reading: Facebook PM Interview Guide, Facebook Software Engineer Interview Guide