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Twitter (TPM) Technical Program Management Interview Guide

Learn how to prepare for the Twitter Technical Program Manager interview and get a job at Twitter with this in-depth guide.

Interviewing for a TPM position at Twitter is similar to that of other major tech companies. However, candidates should rightfully expect a company such as Twitter to have its own nuances to prepare for. The role of a TPM is to connect the engineering teams with the end-users of a product. Being one of the largest social media companies to ever exist, you can expect the Twitter TPM role to come with many novel chances to further the social connections people make online using a platform like Twitter. In this capacity, TPMs will work alongside the engineering, design, UX, and marketing teams to further tackle the social challenges facing the tech giant. Like all TPMs, they will need the ability to communicate the product vision to all the necessary stakeholders. Not only that, they work to align their technical programs with the greater values of the company, that being health, privacy, and security.

If you're an aspiring TPM looking for a company that values its employees and work-life balance, you should look no further than Twitter. Based on the countless Glassdoor reviews, it is safe to say the company can provide its employees with a healthy corporate culture, work-life balance, and unlimited paid time off.


While Twitter is typically known for not requiring a technical background from many of its candidates, this attitude may not necessarily extend to TPMs, given the nature of the position.

Twitter's TPM job postings list the following requirements:

  • Bachelor's degree or higher in computer science, engineering or a related technical field, or equivalent work experience
  • 3+ years as a TPM, engineering leader, product manager, or related field
  • Experience working with several different development methodologies and productivity tools
  • Consistent track record of shipping products with high customer impact
  • Proven ability to identify and resolve systemic issues in both software and people systems

Nevertheless, as we mentioned, Twitter is much more open-minded than other companies with its candidates. The company does offer a program for those recently graduated candidates that lack the required work experience for these positions.

##The Types of TPMs at Twitter It should also be noted that when you are applying for a TPM position at Twitter, generally speaking, you will be vying for a spot in one of the following departments, each of which comes with its own unique set of responsibilities:

  • Platform: The Twitter Platform TPMs work on some of the company's most central problems. These TPMs are responsible for building and developing the Twitter platform, as the name suggests. They are involved in work such as cloud migrations, expanding data centers, improving privacy protections, engineering tools to protect user data, and designing tools to measure the effectiveness and performance of the Twitter platform.
  • Cortex: Like many big tech companies today, Twitter extensively uses its own AI technologies. The team responsible for building and operating these technologies is called Cortex. The company itself describes Cortex as "a group of researchers and engineers working to help Twitter improve how we apply machine learning in a range of impactful systems, such as recommendations, safety, abuse detection, content understanding, and advertising." As you can imagine, the Cortex TPMs are those who drive the execution and delivery of the machine learning and AI initiatives needed by the company.
  • Revenue: Much of the technical program management work that needs to be done at Twitter is focused on Twitter's revenue model. The Revenue TPMs oversee and execute the technical initiatives surrounding the company's many advertising products, tools, and platforms. This team of TPMs is responsible for the cross-functional delivery of strategic, high-value revenue programs at Twitter.
  • Mergers & Acquisitions: Twitter is one of the largest tech companies in the world. As such, these have a large and robust Mergers & Acquisitions department. Many different teams are involved with M&A at Twitter, and a group of TPMs is one of them. The M&A TPM primarily works alongside the Corporate Development & Strategy team along with teams in Product & Engineering. With these teams, M&A TPMs are responsible for the evaluation/integration of the mergers and acquisitions that the company makes.

Interview Process

Most of the interviews (not just the TPMs') at Twitter have a very similar structure. Usually, the Twitter interview plays out in 3 distinct rounds. First, an initial screening with a recruiter. Then, a round of phone interviews, and finally, an on-site interview. You can expect all three rounds to take up to 4-6 weeks to complete. This can fluctuate, however, depending on the particular role. TPMs, for example, could go through several on-site interviews, meeting with hiring managers from different departments.

Initial Recruiter Screening

First and foremost, a recruiter will evaluate your job application shortly after it is submitted. They will be the first point of contact you will encounter during the Twitter interview process. As an applicant to TPM, they will call you for a phone screening. One critical question, in particular, they will have for you is why you want to work at Twitter. You should be prepared to answer this genuinely, along with giving an overview of your past experiences. Chances are, however, that they will not ask you that many technical questions. These come later. The recruiter is primarily focused on investigating your communication skills and discovering whether or not you would fit within the corporate culture of Twitter. This means you can prepare for this part of the interview by studying many common culture-fit interview questions. If you do not know where to begin, you should consult the About, Company, and Values pages on the Twitter website. If you can incorporate or mingle their corporate values into your interview responses without it coming across as forced, you should nail the recruiter screening.

Hiring Manager Phone Interview

So long as no red flags emerge during your recruiter screening, you should then get a call from a hiring manager. They will seek a 30 (or so) minute phone interview that will include a much wider variety of interview questions than the initial screening. This stage of the interview will involve many behavioral questions in particular. Yet, you should still expect your fair share of technical questions, as well, considering TPM is a very technically-centered role. TPM-specific questions during the phone interview will be primarily concerned with assessing how you think, the range of your problem-solving abilities, and how you would develop solutions to technical problems alongside the many stakeholders a Twitter TPM would be working with.

Second Phone Interview

Chances are, even if the first phone interview goes swimmingly, you will receive another call from a separate hiring manager. Considering the T in TPM stands for technical, this second hiring manager might be in an engineering department. If so, the interview questions you will be asked will unsurprisingly be highly technical and will be designed to gauge your ability to perform in the role as a Twitter TPM. This portion of the interview may include some coding questions to solve along with many on system design. But, while this phone screening may be very technical in nature. Twitter strives to preserve a welcoming and collaborative work environment, so be sure your highly personable and friendly personality can shine through your responses.


If you have successfully completed all these stages thus far, you will finally receive an invitation for an on-site interview. This is the home stretch. Usually, on-site interviews at Twitter will involve 5 rounds of meetings, with each involving two Twitter employees to interview you. Each one will be a little different, with varying tasks being required in each meeting. This means that you need to prepare yourself for a day or more of changing pace and switching gears suddenly. Members of our community have noted that interviews at Twitter involve tests in many different rounds and dimensions. Here is a general breakdown:

  • Round 1: The first round will usually be a meeting with members of the engineering team. Given the technical nature of the TPM role, the first round will revolve around the technical solutions necessary at Twitter. This group of hiring managers will almost always include a member of the engineering team.
  • **Round 2:**Twitter is a very user-focused company, and the second round of your interview will be focused on this. While TPM is a technical role, they still must be capable of thinking from the users' perspective while developing and implementing their programs.
  • Round 3: The third round of interviews will be centered around what you can bring to the table. Your hiring managers here will be concerned with how you, as an individual TPM, can make Twitter a better company. For the best success during these rounds, you will need to rely upon your understanding and knowledge of the company and its core social media product.
  • Round 4: Many of our users have noted that Twitter, like other companies, uses an interviewing methodology known as Topgrading in their talent search. This means that applicants are classified as high-performing candidates that can hit the ground running or those who will need some help to be at their best. These rounds will be evaluating your previous experience and how you performed in these roles. Expect questions relating to your greatest successes along with your worst mistakes or struggles.
  • Round 5: The final round will be largely behavioral in scope, especially when it comes to your leadership abilities. TPM is a management role, after all, and leadership is crucial. Not only that, this round will evaluate your candidacy with how it reflects Twitter’s core values. If you haven't done so already, we recommend you consult these values on the Twitter corporate website.

Each round will approximately be 30 - 60 minutes. You will have an opportunity for questions in each round, and we recommend you always take advantage of them.

Sample Interview Questions

Architecture & System Design

The interview questions that you will be asked during the technical portions will be centered on system architecture and design, in particular. Such questions are common and significant in many TPM interviews, and Twitter is no different. These questions allow your hiring managers (usually a member of the engineering team) can evaluate the technical skills necessary for the TPM role. Questions they will be asking themselves will be: can the candidate perform well on highly technical projects? Can they manage the decision-making process involved in assessing tradeoffs in technical solutions? How would they handle various cross-functional scenarios when developing technical solutions with many different teams? And more. Unsurprisingly, you will be unable to answer these questions effectively unless you have a solid grasp of system design concepts and fundamentals. If this is one of your weak spots as an aspiring TPM, be sure to thoroughly review these topics before your interview. These questions often involve heavy knowledge of system design concepts, so be sure to study those before the interview. To help you get an idea, here is our list of common system design interview questions. To help prepare you for the system design sections of your interview, be sure to review both our TPM interview course and our system design interview course.

Design Twitter

It should come as no surprise that one of the system design questions you would be asked is to design Twitter itself. While this is obviously the core of the business for the company, it should be answered no differently than any other system design question. This means that you should first establish the fundamental requirements for the system. In many system design questions, your interviewer will give you a list of requirements that are necessary for the question, but this is not always the case. Either way, it is always best practice to confirm the requirements with your interviewer before going any further. When it comes to the requirements of an application such as Twitter, your system design will need the following:

  • Sending tweets
  • Following other users
  • Tweet feed/newsfeed
  • A scalable system
  • Quick to load/refresh
  • Reliability

Once you have organized and established these requirements and confirmed them with your interviewer, you can then flesh out your plan for the Twitter API. Doing so could look something like this:

"We'll begin by sketching critical endpoints for the API design. Then, we can start drafting out the architecture necessary to support these features and requirements. A great place to start would be with the user making a request to the Twitter server. To ensure our system remains scalable, we can set various API servers behind a load balancer in case our system needs to handle larger volumes of traffic. Our system would also require a database to store all the users' tweets. Because the API needs to be scalable, the database we make use of must be simple to shard, while also supported many reads and writes by the API servers. Another way to help ensure our system can be scalable and reliable is making such that one of the API servers is reading from a separate cache than the others, to support our newsfeed."

Keep in mind, however, that the comparable question asked at Twitter itself may be much more specific than this. Your interviewer may ask for you to design one particular aspect of Twitter, rather than the system as a whole. Either way, it would still benefit you to thoroughly understand how the Twitter system operates and how to design it, if need be. To learn more, you can watch our Design Twitter video here.

Featured lessons on Design TwitterDesign Twitter
Design TwitterVideo Answer

Program Sense

Program sense is another huge part of the TPM role. As such, it will be an important aspect of the Twitter TPM interview. This part of the interview will assess your capabilities as a TPM more generally. This is especially true for things like managing risks, sticking to deadlines, implementing necessary changes and requirements, and more. When it comes down to it, these are the fundamentals of technical program management, and you will need to use your previous experiences to best answer these questions. To give you a better sense of what kind of questions to prepare for, check out our list of program sense questions.

Another great way to prepare for program sense questions is to review that section of our TPM interview prep course.

Cross-Functional Partnerships

Another critical piece of the TPM role is the cross-functional partnerships that they must engage in. These kinds of questions will, unsurprisingly, be focused upon and assessing your ability to navigate cross-functional collaboration and form partnerships with the many technical and non-technical stakeholders involved in your programs. It is best to come prepared with several examples beforehand. Twitter prides itself on establishing a very collaborative work environment. So, in a sense, these questions will be culture-fit questions along with TPM-specific questions.

Here is a list of behavioral questions that can help you prepare.


Similar to that of the cross-functional partnership questions, your hiring managers will undoubtedly ask you questions regarding your leadership, and how you work within your teams. These behavioral questions will be investigating and assessing your capability to resolve conflicts between team members. A big part of leadership is the ability to inspire your colleagues and those employees that report to you. The best thing you can do for these, and comparable questions is to create your personal story bank so that you can come in the interview with concrete examples you can speak from that can demonstrate these best. One of the biggest struggles in interviews for positions like TPM is that applicants' answers can be unorganized with a tendency to ramble. A story bank can help avoid this.

Here is a list of behavioral questions that can help you prepare.


As you can already guess, TPM interviews will require more in-depth technical questions than other positions such as product managers. As we mentioned, the most common will be focused on engineering ability and system design in particular. You can also expect the typical algorithm and data structure questions at Twitter. Hopefully, you have already done so beforehand, but you should examine Twitter's core products in depth along with the general technical challenges that social media giants must face.


Twitter is a very culture-oriented company. This means that aspiring TPMs may experience many different behavioral questions that they might otherwise have at other companies. It goes without saying that your technical skills must be up to the standards of the hiring managers, but these behavioral questions are the make or break in the interview. For instance, if Twitter is considering two candidates with equal or comparable technical abilities, they will choose the candidate who can mesh better within the company. The only way for your hiring managers to make this determination is through a series of behavioral questions. While our previous sections discussed this in more detail, given the nature of Twitter, it must be reiterated how important these questions are in your TPM interview.

Think deeply about why you want to work at Twitter, why you'd make a great addition to the team, and how your previous experience can demonstrate this. Be sure to develop your story bank, as we suggested earlier to help keep you organized. Some examples of behavioral questions may be:

  • How do you influence team members or stakeholders you do not have direct control over?
  • Tell me about a time when you had to manage and resolve a conflict between team members.
  • How do you make decisions regarding what should be prioritized?
  • Tell me about a time you failed or struggled with meeting your goals.
  • What tools or strategies help you most as a TPM?
  • What is your management style?

Hiring Decision

#Hiring Decision

After your on-site interview, those who interviewed you will debrief together and discuss how you performed and how they evaluated you as a TPM candidate. Many candidates find that Twitter works its best to make them as comfortable as possible during the interview process. This includes processing their feedback rather quickly, being respectful of your time, and leave you wondering for as little as possible. Chances are, you will receive your hiring decision within a week or two. When it comes to the actual determination of the hiring decision, Twitter emphasizes specific characteristics in its candidates. For example, humility, self-awareness, a willingness to grow, a proactive work ethic, and the ability to work well within teams are crucial. If you can demonstrate all these qualities through your many responses while also having the technical and cross-functional skills to perform well as a TPM, you have a solid chance of nailing the Twitter TPM interview.

Tips and Strategies

#Tips and Strategies ##Learn about Twitter's culture: As we mentioned, you will face many culture-fit questions during the initial stages of your interview. Like most major tech companies, finding employees who fit within the corporate culture is always a priority and goal of their interview process. As such, the single best thing you can do to prepare for this is to study Twitter's Culture. There are ample resources on their corporate website that can help you. Believe it or not, many interview candidates do not do this. Some may even neglect it entirely. Make no mistake, however, the hiring managers at Twitter will be determining if you are a culture fit at the company. Nevertheless, you should be doing the same. In learning about the corporate culture you should be evaluating whether or not Twitter is the company for you. If you are genuine and authentic in your desire to work for the company, the culture-fit portions of the interview should be a breeze.

##Practice with peers: While the majority of your interview practice will be with yourself, it can only do some much for you. A great way to prepare for an interview is to practice with your peers. When it comes to TPM interviews, the biggest challenge for candidates is communicating their range of experience, technical solutions, or different stories in a way that is concise and easily understandable. Because the questions can be ambiguous or complex, some people tend to ramble. Practicing with peers beforehand, however, is a great way to avoid this, as they can provide you with actionable feedback regarding your answers. If you're looking for such peers to practice with, we recommend you check out our mock interview platform.

##Build rapport and get to know the hiring managers: Twitter is unique in that they allow their candidates who have received an offer considerable liberty in choosing the teams and departments that they work in. This means that it is always wise to build rapport with your hiring managers during the TPM interview. Chances are, if you receive and accept an offer, you will be working alongside some of them. Not only that, it will help you to make the best impression during your interview, ultimately bringing you that much closer to an offer.

It may be unintuitive, but one of the most effective ways to get to know your hiring managers is to talk about the things you enjoy and are passionate about. Some candidates may not do this because these things may not directly relate to the company, but that does not mean that they are not valuable to discuss during your interviews. Because, after all, doing so is one of the best ways to showcase your personality and how you'd fit within the Twitter environment.

##Make use of various interview frameworks to best answers the question: There are many different interview question frameworks at your disposal. While it is never recommended that you answer your Twitter TPM interview questions in a formulaic way, using the appropriate framework could help you organize your thoughts. One of the most useful frameworks is the "broad than deep". As the name suggests, you begin by "going broad," or giving a general overview of all your initial ideas and technical solutions that you first think of. Then, after choosing the most pertinent one, you proceed to "go deep" and elaborate on it much further, explaining why this solution is the best for the particular problem. Broad than deep is one of the best interview frameworks for technical questions, but it's not the only one you'll need for your interview. There are many others you should review, such as the Triangle Method, and the STAR Method.


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