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Airbnb Product Manager Interview Guide

Interview Guide Jul 20

Detailed, specific guidance on the AirBnB Product Manager interview. Curated with the help of Senior PMs and Directors of Product at AirBnB; with breakdowns of each interview stage, expectations from candidates, practice interview questions and tips to succeed.

The role of an AirBnb Product Manager

Airbnb is a global hospitality platform that started in 2007 with just two guests and one host. Since then, it has grown exponentially to include over 4 million hosts and has facilitated more than 1 billion guest arrivals across nearly every country worldwide. With a single click, Airbnb provides travelers with access to over 6 million distinctive travel accommodations in more than 190 countries.

Product Managers at Airbnb are highly valued and rewarded within the company, and share the same adventurous spirit as their customers. They envision the ideal end state for the Airbnb community, including both guests and hosts, and then work tirelessly to create a sense of belonging throughout the world. They develop winning strategies and utilize metrics to track progress, whilst collaborating with talented cross-functional team members from engineering, design, data science, and other areas, they lead teams to execute a shared vision. 

In terms of compensation, the average total compensation for Airbnb Product Managers is $291,500 per year. This includes a base salary of $168,750, a stock grant of $95,000 per year, and a bonus of $27,750.

AirBnb Product Manager Interview Guide

  • Phone Screen with Recruiter
  • Phone screen with Hiring Manager
  • Phone Screen with Product Manager
  • On-Site Interview
Relevant Guides

AirBnB PM: Recruiter Screen

Overview

The Phone Screen with Recruiter round of the Airbnb Product Manager Interview is basically a friendly chat with a recruiter who wants to get to know you better and assess your fit for the role. It's a pretty laid-back conversation, lasting around 30 to 45 minutes, which usually starts with a basic introduction, and then the recruiter dives into some key questions. 

Since it usually kicks off with the classic "tell me about yourself" question, you can prepare a short summary of your background, highlighting your relevant experience and skills that make you a strong fit for the Product Manager gig.

Then the recruiter might ask you why you're interested in joining Airbnb, what attracts you to the company and its mission. Be ready to explain why you're excited about the role and the team you're applying for; this is your chance to show your passion and how you align with Airbnb's values.

They might also ask about your previous projects or technical knowledge. For example, they could ask you to describe a challenging project you've worked on before and how you tackled it. Be prepared with specific examples from your past experiences that showcase relevant skills and accomplishments.

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AirBnB PM: Hiring Manager screen

Overview

Moving on to the next round—you'll have a more detailed conversation with the hiring manager (or a business division manager), which will last around 30 to 45 minutes.

The hiring manager will take a deep dive into your resume to understand your experience and skills. Make sure you come prepared with relevant anecdotes and examples to illustrate your knowledge of both Airbnb's business model and how your past experiences have equipped you to be an asset to the company.

What's unique about Airbnb's process is that you can also expect to tackle a product case during this round. Airbnb is looking to assess your ability to critically analyze and solve problems related to product management, and thus might present you with a hypothetical scenario or a real-life situation to put your skills to test.

Interview Questions

"Let's say you want to introduce a new feature to enhance the user experience for one of Airbnb's products. Outline your approach to developing and launching this feature, including identifying the target audience, defining success metrics, and the key steps you'd take across the product development lifecycle." This is a similar question that you might face in Uber Product Manager Interview as well.

To ace this part, it's important to think critically; demonstrate your strategic thinking and show that you are knowledgeable of product management principles. You can draw from your past experiences and share how you've tackled similar challenges or used specific frameworks in the past to succeed.

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AirBnB PM: PM Phone screen

Overview

In the next round, you'll have a 30-45 minute phone call with a Product Manager who will be your peer at Airbnb. This PM will work closely with you, possibly on the same team, so their goal is to assess how you collaborate within a group. 

The interviewer is looking to understand your strengths as a PM; basically assess your approach and thought process when setting measurable objectives for a project, learn how you achieve meaningful outcomes, monitor progress, and so on.

Again, the key is to be prepared with specific examples of your experiences and insights regarding setting metrics and goals. Show that you have the ability to think critically and strategically, track progress, drive outcomes, etc.

AirBnB PM: On-site interviews

Overview

The on-site interview typically includes a case study (for which you usually have a week to prepare for) and 5-6 Airbnb-specific cross-functional interviews which include behavioral/core values, technical, analytical interviews. 

Let's take a look at each of these briefly:

Case Study Presentation

Before your case study interview, the recruiter will send you a 2-3 page PDF seven days before your scheduled presentation. It will contain a specific scenario (typically McKinsey-style cases) related to the job domain, and you'll be asked to provide recommendations based on it.

For example, the case study problem might involve improving the user experience for booking accommodations or improving on-trip experience for users.

There are typically two rounds to the case study presentation: 1) A Group Stage, 2) Breakout Sessions

  1. For the first round, you'll be expected to give a presentation to a panel of around five individuals in under one hour. For instance, you might present your proposed solutions for enhancing the search functionality on Airbnb's platform, using Google slides or whiteboarding to illustrate your ideas. The panel typically includes the HM, a team member or peer you've previously interviewed with, as well an Airbnb engineering manager, data scientist, and a program manager.
  2. For the second round, you'll have breakout sessions with individual panel members, each session lasting 30 or 45 minutes. You'll be asked a combination of questions, including prompting you for suggestions, deep-diving into the technical aspects, and analyzing behavioral aspects. Thus, you can expect follow-up analytical questions related to your case study presentation. They want to see how you consider success metrics, reason with user feedback and bugs, and critically analyze the situation. For example, the panel member might ask you how you prioritize your decisions when faced with multiple tasks and how you would establish metrics to measure the success of your proposed solutions.

Throughout the process, the recruiter will guide you and provide a thorough explanation of what to expect. They will also be available to address any clarifying questions and relay them to the hiring manager for answers.

Cross-functional Interviews

The cross-functional interview process is rather unique to Airbnb and includes behavioral/core values and technical/analytical interviews:

Behavioral Interview

During the behavioral interviews, you meet with a cross-functional group of individuals who won't necessarily be part of your future team as well as hold senior positions. They  ask you behavioral questions to gauge your alignment with the company's core values. Their primary aim is to assess whether you align with the company's culture.

Which is why it is important to align your answers with Airbnb's core values—which include embodying mastery in hosting guests, having an entrepreneurial spirit, striving to create a global experience, and embracing adventure. 

To begin with, have a concise elevator pitch ready that gives an in-depth insight into your background, experiences, and core values. For example, if you have a background in the hospitality industry, you can bring up instances where you went above and beyond to create memorable guest experiences.

The idea is to provide examples from your personal and professional life that demonstrate your commitment to Airbnb's values. For instance, let's say you are asked about someone you admire. You might name a famous adventurer/entrepreneur like Richard Branson and go on to speak to his fearless pursuit of new experiences, ability to create unique global ventures, and highlight his adventurous spirit.

Technical and Analytical

On the technical and analytical side, you will be interviewed by leaders from various departments who you might collaborate with in the future. These interviews will focus on specific domains relevant to Airbnb and your understanding of the technical aspects related to product management. For example, you could be asked, "How would you approach measuring the success of a new feature release on the Airbnb platform?"

For the analytical interview, you may be presented with a hypothetical scenario or a real-life data set pertaining to Airbnb's user behavior. Based on it, you would need to analyze the data and draw meaningful insights to inform decision-making. 

Here is an example question:

"Based on Airbnb's dataset containing information about user demographics, property details, and booking history, 

  • Analyze the dataset and identify key factors that contribute to user conversion rates. 
  • Provide actionable recommendations to improve conversion rates in that market."

Make sure you demonstrate that you can think critically, analyze data, and draw actionable insights with expected business goals. 

Interview Questions

1. Name three common problems guests have with their houses, and how can Airbnb improve them?

2. Can you provide examples of your prior experience related to B2C products?

3. What motivates you to join Airbnb?

4. How would you enhance the on-trip experience for Airbnb guests?

5. Can you explain your approach to designing a roadmap?

7. How do you demonstrate your skills as a good host in your personal life?

8. What strategies would you use to keep developers motivated and ensure they consistently deliver quality work on a product?

9. Evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of building a super app that encompasses various B2C features such as entertainment, e-commerce, food ordering, hotel booking, cab booking, chat, holiday planning, gaming, medical ordering, service booking, etc.

10. Can you provide an example of a poorly designed product?

11. Which A/B tests would you run to increase the booking rate among Airbnb guests?

12. How do you measure the success of Airbnb online experiences?

13. What criteria would you use to determine the success of the "Things to do" feature in Airbnb?

14. How would you address the challenge of ensuring data privacy and security for Airbnb users?

15. Describe a situation where you had to manage conflicting priorities within a product team and how you resolved it.

16. How would you approach gathering user feedback to drive product improvements at Airbnb?

17. Give an example of a successful product launch or feature implementation you were involved in, and explain the key factors contributing to its success.

18. How would you balance the need for rapid innovation with maintaining a stable and reliable product experience for Airbnb users?

19. What steps would you take to foster a strong collaboration between the product management and engineering teams at Airbnb?

20. Describe a time when you had to make a difficult decision that affected the direction of a product, and how you arrived at that decision.

Airbnb PM Roles and Responsibilities

  • As an Airbnb Product Manager (PM), you'll have the responsibility to define the product vision, set goals, and establish objectives for your specific platform area while considering the broader analytics platform strategy. 
  • You'll collaborate closely with Engineering, Product, TPM, and Data Science teams, working together to understand their goals and establish success criteria with measurable objectives and key results. 
  • As a PM, you'll play a vital role in developing a comprehensive product roadmap. This involves gaining alignment with stakeholders on prioritization and timelines, ensuring that the roadmap is designed to effectively meet the business goals.
  • Additionally, you'll actively contribute to shaping the vision for metrics and analytics infrastructure products and platforms. This will involve collaborating both internally and externally to define and maintain a cohesive vision that supports Airbnb's overall objectives.
  • You will be expected to have a deep understanding of Airbnb's technology infrastructure and its various business verticals. It will enable you to develop products that seamlessly integrate into their customers workflows, and provide a seamless and delightful experience.

Here are a few other PM roles that we have interview guides for:

Uber Product Manager Interview

DoorDash Product Manager Interview

Google Product Manager Interview

Airbnb PM Skills and Qualifications

  • You should have at least 10 years of experience in product management, specifically in building tools and platforms within the data infrastructure space.
  • You'll require domain expertise and technical knowledge in developing metrics platforms to support both product and business analytics.
  • It is preferred if you have a background in data engineering, as it provides a strong foundation for the role.
  • You must have a strong understanding of the technical architecture required for complex and highly scalable solutions.
  • It's important that you can understand immediate and long-term customer goals and needs, and have the ability to build products that align with and meet those objectives.
  • You should possess an entrepreneurial drive and a demonstrated ability to lead and influence cross-functional teams, fostering alignment on vision and product strategy.
  • You should be able to quickly grasp technical concepts and effectively communicate with both technical and non-technical partners across different levels of the organization.
  • You should be skilled in prioritizing and scoping user requests and product capabilities, effectively balancing long-term vision with short-term pain points.
  • Previous experience as a data scientist, analytics engineer, or data engineer is a plus, as it provides valuable insights into the data-driven aspects of the role.
  • It would be advantageous if you're familiar with a broad range of analytics, metrics, and data engineering products, as it allows for a more comprehensive understanding of the landscape.