Adobe makes the most popular image editing software, Photoshop. It also has a number of other tools in the multimedia and creativity space including Flash, Illustrator, Acrobat Reader, and Creative Cloud.
If you are passionate about the world of creativity, Adobe may be the place for you. Product managers at Adobe care deeply about its customers in the creative fields, and work to improve the way people work with cutting-edge digital mediums. They understand the fundamentals of business and marketing as well to work with cross-functional teams while working with quantitative data to make decisions.
While many product managers at Adobe have a computer science background, it is not absolutely necessary to have one to become a product manager at the company. It is more important to be able to work with engineering and data scientists. This means having a high-level understanding of the architecture so that you can ask educated questions (eg. topics like scaling). However, teams have an engineering manager who would often handle the technical requirements.
Adobe hires both entry level as well as senior product managers: APM, PM, Senior PM, Group PM, and Director. Adobe hires many interns who get converted to full-time PMs. While an MBA is optional, it is a plus. For experienced hires, they are hired into a very specific role, outlined in the job posting. While the Senior PM, Group PM, and Director roles are more "people manager" type roles, even they are hands-on with many of the projects in the company.
Adobe cares about its employees, as it has a generous vacation allowance (2 weeks off on top of your vacation time to help you cool down), ESPP program (purchase shares of the stock at 15% below market value), and each employee has a budget to help them pursue educational opportunities and personal growth.
The recruiter phone call is the first touch point for many candidates. Here, a recruiter will spend 30 minutes going through your resume with you and understanding your motivations for joining the company. Be prepared to talk about your past experiences (both from work and side projects) and practice communicating clearly.
The recruiter will provide a high level walkthrough of what the role entails. He/she will also try to figure out how your previous experience fits into what Adobe is looking for. You should hear back within 1-2 weeks.
Next, you will have a 45 minute phone interview with the hiring manager or another product manager on the team. You'll face 1 or 2 product design or strategy questions. Be prepared to answer follow-up questions, so think carefully about any of your responses. It is likely that they will test you by drilling down deeper into your thinking.
You should hear back within 1-2 weeks.
If all goes well, you will reach the on-site. In the on-site, you will meet with 5 product managers for 50 minutes each. Each of these PMs are stakeholders for the role in which you are applying for. This means they can be either direct counterparts, PMs in neighboring teams, or even your potential manager's boss.
In the on-site, you will face product design and analytics questions. One of these five interviewers will pose a question that they themselves have encountered. Therefore, they know the solution they used. However, they are not looking for correctness in your solution to match theirs. Rather, they would like to see how you think. Therefore, it can be useful to research the team's product(s) and make guesses as to which real-life problems they may face.
Product managers at Adobe are also highly data-driven. With a vast trove of data, what would you do as a PM on the team? How will you validate assumptions? How can you take actionable insights from analyzing the data? Adobe never launches anything without conducting many tests. How would you cohort the data and know if the data is wrong? These are all questions you should consider when answering any question.
You should hear back within 2 weeks. In your offer, you might not be able to negotiate your base salary or bonus by much, but there is a chance you can negotiate your stocks.
With behavioral questions, it is important to show that you will work well with everyone: product managers, engineers, designers, sales, and legal. Focus on communicating well: enunciate, speak slowly, and speak with meaning.
Prepare a good talk through of your resume. Have a “60 seconds to wow” pitch and be prepared to provide clear and in-depth explanations of each of your experiences that you’d want to highlight. These experiences can include previous work experience, side projects, classes, or even hobbies. Think about not only what you’ve achieved, but also what you learned, the challenges you faced, and the strategies you used to succeed.
Prepare real anecdotes so you can use specific examples. Your interviewer already has your resume so those anecdotes will add a more human touch to your application, making you more memorable. Think about anecdotes that show off how you were customer-obsessed, dealt with ambiguity, and had a growth mindset in approaching the task at hand.
Why do you want to work here? Why this role and team? Think carefully about why you are applying for this role, and why this team specifically. It helps to know as much about the role and team that you’re applying for. Try to watch tech talks or conference keynote speeches from the team online. It will also leave a good impression if you have previously used a feature of the team and can speak to it. At that point, the interviewer will likely probe you for feedback on the product. Use this opportunity to show how you would converse and work with your interviewer as if you are already a member of the team.
To put your best foot forward, record yourself speaking. Many people have weird quirks about the way they present themselves. Some may jiggle or shake their leg. Others may use excessive filler words (like uh or um). It is nearly impossible to catch these quirks on your own. So, recording and re-watching yourself is a good way to be more cognizant of how you are presenting yourself.
Product design questions test your ability to design a new product or improve an existing one. Be user-focused. The key is to ensure you're organized with your thoughts and have a clear goal in mind that will solve the user's problem(s).
One of the best frameworks is to go "broad then deep". First, "go broad" by listing all the ideas and solutions that come to mind. Then, pick one to "go deep" on and explain why that is the solution you chose.
Another approach we see candidates have success with is The Triangle Method. This framework will help you articulate your thoughts and help nail your points into the interviewer's mind. To accomplish this, first list three points. Then, dive into each point. Finally, summarize your three points at the end. This will help you articulate your points and subpoints.
Be sure to demonstrate competency in defining metrics as well as understanding what to do when metrics change. Be methodical and show that you make data-driven decisions.
Strategy questions assess your ability to reason about competitive landscapes and high-level product direction decisions. The key to success in these interviews is starting at a high-level with the goals of the product, and then drilling deeper into actions and metrics.
With regards to metrics, we recommend employing the GAME framework, as demonstrated in this PM lesson.
Be methodical and show that you make data-driven decisions.
With analytical questions, you will be presented with a situation and asked to provide some analysis. Here, the interviewer wants to see how you reason with metrics and how you can think critically about user feedback and bugs.
Be prepared to face pushback on any assumptions you make. Don't immediately start answering. Have a structure. Successful candidates consider all variables and scenarios before diving into the nitty-gritty details.
Within a day or two of the on-site, your interviewers will book some time to chat about your interview in a round-table discussion. Candidates applying to be a PM at Adobe are evaluated for their product sense, data-driven, communication, and industry abilities.
Adobe wants to see its product managers to have not just an understanding of what the product does, but also the underlying user needs and behaviors. PMs at Adobe are very data-driven as they run many tests. They must also be good at communicating. This means speaking succinctly and not rambling when sharing thoughts. Your ability to communicate in interviews will reveal how you may communicate with stakeholders if you are hired. Finally, it is good if you have past experience in a relevant industry for the role in which you are applying for.
When asked why you'd like to work at Adobe, think about products outside of Photoshop. Have some insights to share about its other offerings such as Acrobat and Lightroom. A complete list of its desktop, web, and mobile applications can be found here.
Download the product that the team built. Think about every process of the experience from onboarding, to checkout, to retention. If there are any points in the process where you may feel like you will churn, make note of that. It may be useful to then brainstorm how you, as the PM on the team, may try to bring back churned users and grow existing users.
One unique aspect to interviewing for a PM role at Adobe is that there will be one product manager in the on-site final round who will ask you a question specific to the product. This can be a real problem that the team faced. Do your research into the product line that the team works on, and try to hypothesize different real-life issues that they could encounter.