Every year Yahoo! aims to hire about five product managers into their Associate program, but there’s no “quota” nor “limit.” Several years they hire less than five because not enough candidates meet the bar, while other batches have had closer to ten hires. The program was started by Marissa Mayer during her time at Yahoo! as CEO. It’s a two year program with two rotations (a year each) and a trip around the world in between.
To be eligible for the APM program, candidates need to have less than two years of full time work experience. This differs than many other APM programs in that it isn’t strictly limited to new grads.
While there is no strict bar for technical ability, the hiring team considers it a plus if you have a technical software background, as represented through factors like work experience, courses taken, side projects, and areas of study.
The process consists of a phone screen / recruiter call, two phone interviews, and an onsite (which includes a series of interviews.)
The phone screen is usually done by a recruiter, and is very straightforward. No prep is generally required for candidates who know of the product management career track.
The next two interviews are both over the phone, and are both done by APMs currently in the program. The first call will be someone in the first year of the program, and the second call will be someone in the second year of the program. Candidates don’t automatically schedule both calls; candidates only have the second interview after receiving a passing score on the first one. If between both calls, the candidate receives more than just passing scores, but at least an “excellent” score by one of the interviewers, the candidate will be invited for an onsite.
The onsite usually consists of five interviews, conducted by more senior product managers and engineering managers at the company.
Across all interviews, both onsite and over the phone, candidates are graded on product sense, analytical thinking, technical ability, and communication skills. Interviewers will submit scores for each of these areas, as well as an overall score.
The interview process consists of questions to gauge product sense, analytical thinking, technical ability, and communication skills.
Product Questions. These are usually hypothetical questions. Interviewers will often ask to build a product that solves a very specific use case (how would you make product X for Y customer) or they will ask to do something more imaginative/generative (ex: tell me about your favorite product and then let’s add a feature to it.)
Practice Product Questions:
Analytical Thinking. These questions can also include estimation questions. At a high level, candidates should demonstrate a very strong grasp over their assumptions, how the constraints affect the situation, and what the cause-effect relationship is between topics. While most of this sounds “simple,” many candidates fail in this area. The goal is to make sure the candidate can break down problems and think with rigor.
Practice Analytical Questions:
Technical questions. Technical questions vary in difficulty, but during the onsite, usually at least one interview will be conducted by an engineer or engineering manager. The questions usually aren’t “Cracking the Coding Interview” level of difficulty, but instead focus on gauging how saavy the candidate would be at working directly with technical teams.
Practice Technical Questions:
Communication skills Fairly self explanatory, this criteria evaluates candidates on their ability to articulate thoughts and ideas. If the candidate cannot clearly walk through a conversation it will affect their score negatively.