The LinkedIn Associate Product Manager (APM) program is a small, selective program — 7-12 per class (3-6 new grads, 3-6 internal transfers from different job functions within LinkedIn) — that develops entry-level talent into world-class product managers. From Day 1, LinkedIn APMs take ownership of large and impactful projects, while still receiving mentorship and guidance from some of the best product leaders and entrepreneurs in the industry.
As an APM at LinkedIn, you'll define the product roadmap, and you'll partner with a team of engineers, designers, product marketers, and others to launch it. APMs interact frequently with company leadership—presenting product reviews to the executive team, gathering advice in weekly learning sessions, and more. In addition, APMs expand their professional and cultural horizons through organized events with renowned entrepreneurs and leaders in Silicon Valley, and through the annual APM international trip.
As an new grad APM, you will typically go through two 9-month-rotations and a following 6-month evaluation period to be promoted to Product Manager.
New/Recent Graduate. LinkedIn’s APM program specifically recruits new grads (both undergrad and grad students). If you’re an external candidate few years out of college/grad-programs, instead of applying for the LinkedIn APM role, you may want to consider applying for the LinkedIn Product Manager role.
Technical Background. Contrary to popular myths and unlike Google’s APM program, technical background (i.e. having a CS degree) is not a prerequisite for the role. However, as you will be interacting daily with engineers to build complex software systems, solid understanding of technology and how it works is a must-have.
Know your resume: make sure you can tell a coherent, compelling story around all the experiences listed on your resume, and why that would make you an ideal PM candidate for LinkedIn. Prepare your “elevator pitch” of varying lengths (30 seconds, 2 minutes, 5 minutes) and perfect it. Be prepared for follow-up questions around your contributions, leadership, and conflict management.
Mock interviews: do LOTs of mock interviews (check out Exponent's coaching services) until you feel comfortable. Grab a friend and discuss your favorite products and how you would improve them. Use and study different products to see what works and what doesn’t. Practice makes perfect.
Reach out: reach out to current APMs/PMs at LinkedIn and ask them about their experiences. They’ve either gone through the process recently or understand what it takes to be an effective PM at the company so will be able to provide a lot of relevant information.
The LinkedIn APM interview consists of potentially four steps:
Screening Call. At first, you will receive an initial phone screen call with a LinkedIn recruiter. The purpose of this call is to ensure that you’re a good fit for the role. There’s not much prep work to be done here, as it’s a fairly straightforward call about your background and fit for the role.
Two Phone Interviews. The LinkedIn APM phone interview will generally consist of product, analytical, strategy, or estimation questions. The phone interview questions are generally lighter than the in-person interview.
Take-home Assignment. After the phone interview, you’ll be sent a prompt over email and be given a set period of time to answer the prompt. The deliverable usually consists of 2-5 pages of written content in response to the prompt.
In-person Interview. Next, you will be invited for an on-site interview where you’ll meet face-to-face with 4 LinkedIn PMs, with one of them normally being a VP-level executive.
Generally, LinkedIn's interview questions can vary widely but will consist of one of the following categories.
Product 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.
As a product manager, you will be expected to make decisions that will impact the business. Analytical questions test your ability to understand the product strategy and the data. You will want 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.
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. We recommend employing the GAME framework for key metrics questions, as demonstrated in this PM lesson.
With estimation questions, interviewers want to see the logic behind your estimations. These can also test your ability to size a potential market. While these questions may at first seem insane, the interviewer isn't really looking to see if your answer is right. Rather, the interviewer wants to see how you are approaching the question. Ask clarifying questions. Break down the problem and make reasonable assumptions if needed.
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