As a PM at Twitter (more officially referred to as a “tweep”) you’ll be shaping the way people discover and consume information. You’ll collaborate with engineering, design, and user research teams to solve high-impact customer issues, and you’ll communicate your product vision to all stakeholders -- ensuring at every stage that your work aligns with Twitter’s values around health, privacy, and security.
Twitter is known as a particularly good choice for PMs who value work-life balance. The company’s Glassdoor reviews are full of love for its “amazing culture, true work life balance, and unlimited PTO.” PM’s with hobbies: this could be the place for you.
Background: While Twitter doesn’t require a technical background (i.e. a CS degree), you’ll be expected to have:
Twitter also offers a program for recent grads who may not yet have the requisite experience to become a full-fledged PM, so if you’re willing to take an internship, you’ll have ample opportunity to prove yourself. Read on to get a complete picture of the Twitter PM interview from start to finish.
Typically, there are 3 rounds of interviews: recruiter screening, phone interviews, and onsite.
On average, the entire process will take about 4-6 weeks, but this can vary significantly depending on roles available. Twitter is unique in that once you receive an offer, you get to choose the team you’d like to work with (given openings), so hang in there.
After you submit your application, a recruiter will call you. As with many other tech phone screens, they want to understand why you want to work at Twitter. Be prepared to talk about your past experiences, but a recruiter won’t go very deep with you technically. This call is mainly to ensure you’re a clear communicator, that you’re decent to work with, and you’re at least a marginal fit culture-wise.
To prepare for culture-fit questions, we recommend you take a look at their About, Company, and Values pages before crafting your answers. Make sure you can seamlessly blend their values into your responses and you’re golden.
Next, you will have a ~30 minute phone interview with your potential hiring manager. Expect a greater variety of questions during this call. The hiring manager will want to get to know you (behavioral questions) but you’ll be asked some product design questions as well.
Product design questions (as opposed to product strategy) at this stage are meant to gauge how you think; make sure you take the time to methodologically answer questions and don’t make assumptions without sound reasoning.
Your second call will be with a peer. This product manager will ask you questions meant to gauge your ability to execute on-the-job. Are you able to analyze a situation quickly? navigate ambiguity with grace? A recent Twitter PM hire reported that a favorite question at this stage is “What would you do if a key metric declined?”
As you’re speaking with a potential peer, be sure to use the time to ask questions you may have about company culture and expectations – you’re getting an early peek behind the curtain. Finally, it should go without saying but be friendly. Twitter employees work hard to maintain a welcoming and collaborative environment, so be personable.
Following the phone interviews is an onsite interview. A typical on-site interview consists of 5 rounds in which you’re meeting with 2 Twitter employees each. There will be a different task during each round, so you’ll need to practice switching gears quickly. Exponent members have reported that they’re often tested in multiple dimensions through the interview, but were able to give us a breakdown:
Each interview will take 30 minutes to an hour, with allowances for you to ask questions. You’ll be allotted time to use the restroom or get water if needed, and it’s likely that you’ll have a lunch break.
If an engineer shows up to one of your onsite rounds, expect some technical questions. The level of coding experience you’ll need will vary depending on the role you’re interviewing for, but at very least you should be able to speak to the base technology behind Twitter. Twitter’s blog is a great resource – spend significant time in both Engineering and Infrastructure and you’ll be well-prepared.
You should also be familiar with high-level system design and tradeoffs for the popular data structures and algorithms (including time and space complexity). Solutions should be scalable, reliable, and efficient.
Practice technical interview questions in our interview question database.
Product questions are typically vague. They’re meant to test your ability to design a new product or improve an existing one; mirroring your daily responsibilities as a PM. Your actual answers are less important than your thought process, but there are several frameworks you can use to navigate these.
First, be user-focused. This will help you eliminate a lot of potential “answers” as you begin to formulate your answer. If you have lots of ideas right away and are having trouble organizing your thoughts, try The Triangle Method. This framework will help you clarify your own thinking while summarizing your solutions in a way that will be memorable for your interviewer. First list three points and dive into each. Finally, summarize the three points at the end. Practice this graphically to get the gist; we’re sure it will help you articulate your points and sub-points.
If you’re prone to taking too long, try going "broad then deep". First, list ALL the ideas and solutions that come to mind. Then, eliminate the low-hanging fruit (maybe a fine technical solution, but one that would annoy users), and choose the best of what’s left and "go deep". Be sure to explain why you chose your answer!
Top grading is an interviewing methodology that aims to identify high-performers, or “A-players” through an exhaustive review of a candidate’s experience. We’ve grouped top grading and behavioral questions because both seek to understand how you respond to challenges, how you work with others, and how you solve problems.
Top grading assumes many candidates exaggerate or outright lie on their resumes, and seeks to identify these weak areas. Your best bet in preparing for top grading questions will be to prepare to expand on your experience as much as possible. Dump your resume into a spreadsheet and create a STAR-based story around each bullet point. You want to make sure you’ll be able to address questions about your own weaknesses, your interpersonal skills, and what you’ve learned from failures.
Practice behavioral interview questions in our interview question database.
These will be everywhere during your Twitter interview; first, during your call with your peer-PM and again during your onsite rounds. Because you’ll be responsible for big decisions, your ability to understand product strategy and to analyze data is important. 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.
Practice analytical interview questions in our interview question database.
Research Top grading Methodology. You’re probably not familiar with it, and if you don’t know what your interviewers are getting at you may get intimidated at what may seem like aggressive questioning. Be honest, be open, and be prepared. Read the wikipedia page, and reach out to current APMs/PMs at Twitter and ask them about their experiences. They’ve either gone through the process recently or understand what it takes to pass the interview, and they can reassure you that what you’re going through is normal.
Don’t be afraid to go into product strategy from product design questions. A recent Twitter PM hire reported that they won’t ask you specific questions about product features, but you should know the basics, and you’ll score points if you can draw strategic conclusions. Don’t be afraid, and don’t limit yourself.
Try to get to know your interviewers and ask lots of questions. Once you get an offer, you’ve got a unique opportunity at Twitter to choose the team you’ll work with. Get to know your interviewers, and once you’re in, reach out to different managers to get a sense of where you belong.