BizOps can mean a lot of different things across the tech industry. Today, we’re going to talk about BizOps at LinkedIn, where the function was founded by Dan Yoo (read about his founding journey here!) in 2009. If you’re interested in any strategic or analytical role in the valley, this is a great place to start.
This guide will include the following:
BizOps sits at the heart of strategic decisions at LinkedIn. It’s a matrixed organization, whereby each person is dedicated to one function and business area, partnering directly with a senior leader in the area. BizOps is the bridge between the analytical powerhouse of data science and the business owners in product, sales, and marketing. It’s the connective tissue across teams that help shape priorities and shepherd through cross-functional initiatives.
Playing all those roles at once is no easy task. A strong BizOps person needs to be able to talk about company-level strategic priorities in one meeting and dig through granular data analyses in the next, all the while building strong relationships and investing in the team’s overall culture and growth.
Yes, that’s right - part of your performance on BizOps at LinkedIn is determined by “citizenship,” or investment in your teammates. That’s what makes BizOps such an incredible team to work on. The culture is open and collaborative. The teams focus on learning and investing in junior employees. Coupled with the incredible benefits provided by the company, LinkedIn BizOps truly exemplifies what it means to put employees first.
While all BizOps take on the responsibilities described above, the ways in which they do so can vary significantly based on which function they are mapped to:
LinkedIn BizOps makes primarily experienced hires from other organizations, but there are a couple of ways for students to enter the company.
LinkedIn BizOps hires new grads through The Strategy, Operations and Analytics Rotational Program (SOAR Program). The program spans two years and includes four six-month rotations on various BizOps teams so that the new grad can build foundational professional skills and also explore interests across different products and functional areas. See here for more information on the program as well as interview expectations.
The program website will have information about the specific interview process for SOAR, which is separate from BizOps experienced hire recruiting. While the interview process described above does not apply to SOAR, the qualitative advice around how to think about conversations still apply.
For non-MBA Masters grads, recruiting for LinkedIn BizOps is a bit trickier because you will be treated as a new grad vs. experienced hire based on your prior work experience. For masters grads with limited work experience, you can recruit for the SOAR program. For masters grads with work experience, you’ll likely target levels that match your years of experience (2 years for associate, 4 years for senior associate, etc..)
LinkedIn BizOps does not have an MBA-specific program but will hire MBAs directly into the company in full-time roles through just-in-time recruitment. Typically, MBAs are leveled at Senior Associate when hired directly into the company.
When recruiting experienced hires, LinkedIn relies on work experience, leveling in comparable roles, and interview performance to determine leveling.
The interview process will typically involve 3 formal rounds of interviews:
From start to finish, the process can take 4-6 weeks.
The recruiter screen is a 30-minute phone call to discuss your interest and qualifications for the role.
Why BizOps? Why this product line / function alignment? What are your relevant backgrounds and experiences? Be prepared to share a short and succinct story about your trajectory and where you want to go.
The recruiter will have your resume and will recognize common employers and key roles that the team typically hires from. However if you don’t come from McKinsey or Bain, fret not. Compelling experiences that highlight key skill sets around problem-solving, communication, and stakeholder management can go a long way to demonstrating that your experiences are relevant and valuable to the BizOps team.
While interest in LinkedIn is not required, it can also be a huge differentiator at this stage. Demonstrating your understanding around the complex B2B and B2C business model the company has and its mission-driven culture makes your interest more credible.
Get ready to show-off your analytical and communication chops in this 45-minute case. This interview is typically conducted by an Associate or Senior Associate who has spent over a year at LinkedIn. Cases are relatively standardized scripts and graded on a rubric so you can expect consistent delivery of the cases.
Classic consulting case interview tips absolutely apply here. Did you clarify the question at the beginning? Did you take time to structure your thoughts? Are you able to follow through on your own framework? Did you provide the final recommendation succinctly and answers first? Make sure you practice those skills.
In addition to consulting interview skills, these cases often also involve a bit more quantitative analysis and understanding of company-specific characteristics. What are LinkedIn’s strengths and opportunities relevant to the prompt? Your passion for the company should show through your case considerations too.
It’s important to note that weaknesses highlighted in earlier rounds of interviews can become a focal point from this point after. For instance, if you made some math mistakes during the technical screen, you may be given a more math-heavy case later. It’s never a bad idea to ask for feedback at the end of the interview (in a diplomatic way) to gage how to prepare for the next round.
The hiring manager is the person who’s most invested in this process and this interview is a 360 assessment to make that initial assessment of whether you’d be a good fit for the role. But don’t be nervous, because the hiring manager wants to be your advocate. All you have to do is give them some reasons to go to bat for you.
The conversation will typically start with behavioral questions around your background, interests, and motivations. The hiring manager will then launch into a case that could either be a standard problem-solving case or a business problem more specific to the team you’re interviewing for. Finally, this is an opportunity to ask questions about the role specifically to demonstrate that you’ve done your research.
Congratulations on making it this far!! The team is extremely excited to meet you and get to know you better in the context of the broader organization.
While the onsite interview can vary a bit based on the role and seniority. For more junior roles (associate & senior associate), you could be interviewing into a general pool or for a specific team. For more senior roles (manager+), you’re typically interviewing for a specific position. The process for one role typically consists of 3-4 interviews.
Two interviews will be with the immediate team (peer, hiring manager, skip level manager). At least one of them will include a mini-case, this time more specific to the types of problems that the role will see rather than just a generic problem-solving case. So if you’re interviewing for a Product BizOps role, make sure you’re fluent in metrics and prioritization. If you’re interviewing for a GTM BizOps role, dust off your stakeholder management stories. This is where you should start highlighting team-specific experiences and interests.
Given the employee-centric culture at LinkedIn, the team will also be interested in what you want to get out of this role and experience. How does this fit into your career trajectory? Will the team be able to offer the opportunities that you want? Some introspection is warranted here.
One to two interviews will be with the cross-functional stakeholders that you will be working closely with. As a BizOps person, you often spend a lot more time in a room full of cross-functional stakeholders than in a room full of other BizOps-ers. While these folks aren’t on your immediate team, building strong relationships with them is critical to your success.
Think about the relationship BizOps would have with the stakeholder you’re talking to. Is she a senior stakeholder and P&L owner? Ability to quickly build trust and credibility is key. Are they an operationally focused team? If so, highlight your ability to get sh*t done.
Some stakeholders may ask questions around how you would tackle specific problems, but they are unlikely to give a full-fledged case.
If you are being considered for multiple teams, you may have conversations in addition to the ones listed above. That information will be brought to a room with hiring managers for all the roles and they will discuss your interest and fit for the different roles. Make sure your narratives are consistent.
Tech companies are overflowing with data and LinkedIn is no exception. However, using that data effectively is much easier said than done. Having some examples around how you thoughtfully gathered and used - or didn’t use - data is key.
A lot of BizOps work involves charting new territory and serving as the compass for the broader organization. Having stories about how you tackled big hairy problems and broken them down into pieces is a must.
BizOps often has to bring together cross-functional teams and align them around a shared vision without direct authority. The ability to influence and build relationships is a core competency in this role.
Just knowing where to go isn’t enough. BizOps is often the quarterback for key initiatives, so you want to demonstrate the ability to shepherd a team and deliver results on time.
The recruitment journey for BizOps at LinkedIn can be long, but fear not, here is a step-by-step guide.
Use the classic consulting interview resources. Some describe the BizOps team as the internally embedded and matrixed consulting team, so consulting skill sets are critical.
Layer on your knowledge and insights about the company specifically to tailor your frameworks and analyses. Being part of the internal team means you have access to the institutional knowledge and domain expertise, so make sure to use it. Mention how you could creatively get the data and insights you need to make better decisions. Internal to the company, you have access to systems and resources that external consultants don’t, so show that you know how to use it to your advantage.
Commute your hypotheses clearly and highlight operational considerations because you’re not an external consultant but a member of the internal team. If your recommendation is approved, you could very much be on the hook to make it happen.
The classic behavioral interview advice applies here. Prepare your stories to make sure they’re easy to understand and demonstrate your impact. Review the videos and practice lessons above to get a sense of what sort of stories to emphasize and how. Don't forget to highlight instances when you:
Why LinkedIn? Why BizOps? How does it fit into your trajectory?
LinkedIn’s employee-centricity means that hiring decisions need to be a mutual fit. Being able to articulate why the company and role fit into your career narrative is the first step in convincing the team to take your interest seriously.
Of course, part of this narrative involves you building the skills that would enable you to succeed on BizOps, but remember that it’s a two-way street.
Create economic opportunity for every member of the global workforce. The mission of LinkedIn is simple: connect the world's professionals to make them more productive and successful.
At the company level, the mission drives everything. While the company has business models spanning consumer, B2B, and advertising, they all fit together to build a community of professionals and enable professionals to succeed.
How does each segment of LinkedIn fit into that vision? How does the company make money? What are the proprietary assets and how do they affect the company’s strategic thinking as is relevant to the case problems?
Why does this mission matter to you? Building your own thesis and illustrating that throughout the interview process is critical to showing that you’re motivated to be part of that movement.
At the team level, each team has its own flavor under the core role of BizOps. Those who stand out to land an interview customize resume bullets based on the job description and get additional insights on team and cross-functional collaboration dynamics from current team members.
Customization is key in tech, and it’s no different here.