Product management is a career that involves creating and marketing products with the main aim of raising revenue, earnings, and profit margins. A PM is in charge of evaluating business conditions, supervising product creation, and deciding the functionality of their product. One factor that makes a PM's work more complex is the amount of decision-making involved in the process. The interviews are challenging as they explore a broad range of topics and have a variety of questions.
Spotify is an audio streaming service that allows users to listen to music, podcasts, radio shows, news, and other content. The company operates on a "freemium" business strategy. Throughout its history, the company has made substantial expenditures in improving the user experience of its products. Customer loyalty and product "stickiness" have been driven by features such as personalized playlists, recommended songs and artists, enhanced sound quality, and social networking capabilities. And these efforts have paid off.
The interview guide below will take you through the process of interviewing for a Product Manager at Spotify, presenting you with a range of tips and practice questions to help you stand out.
The interview procedure begins with an online application to the firm's career page or with the assistance of a recruiter via LinkedIn. Typically the process takes about 4-5 weeks but can take longer. The following steps are included:
- Call with a recruiter
- Phone screen with a hiring manager
- On-site interview (held virtually in special cases)
Spotify is deeply committed to fostering a work culture that values and supports all of its employees so much that they developed "The Band Manifesto", a concise description of their company's vision and values. At Spotify, the team is viewed as a band, with various components all working toward a shared aim.
The company's purpose is to "unlock the potential of human creativity by allowing a million creators to live off their art and billions of admirers to appreciate and be inspired by it." Spotify has defined five essential attributes that all employees should embrace to help their team to work toward this goal: Innovative, Sincere, Passionate, Collaborative, and Playful. The organization encourages its employees to have fun, collaborate, and be creative in their positions.
The first step is a brief phone conversation with a Spotify recruiter. These calls are less evaluating and more encouraging and level-setting in nature. The recruiter will inquire about your product management background as well as your motivation for working at Spotify.
The interview will last for 25-30 minutes.
What the interviewer will assess
- Previous knowledge and prior expertise with product management.
- Excellent communication skills.
- Organization and structure.
- Ability to come up with new ideas.
- Make sure you understand how to utilize Spotify's core product before applying. Applicants must be experienced Spotify users or grasp the fundamentals of the streaming music industry.
- Spotify prefers to hire people from diverse backgrounds and experiences because they add diversity to teams. They feel that by doing so, they will be able to establish a better working atmosphere for their staff, resulting in a better product. Therefore, rather than trying to build a personality for the interview, be yourself!
- Have you worked with platforms and APIs in the past?
- Do you use Spotify often? Is there anything that you would suggest to improve about the platform?
- How well balanced are you in a cross-functional environment?
- Why do you think you are a good match for this position?
- As a Product Manager, how do you prioritize technical debt?
You will speak with the hiring manager for the position during this one-hour conversational interview. Unlike larger corporations, Spotify allows you to directly speak with the hiring manager you'd be working with. This is an excellent opportunity to exhibit your abilities if you're looking to become a product manager while also acquiring a deeper understanding of the role.
With a taste of the on-site interviews, the interview will focus more on your PM skills and knowledge. The interview will last 40-50 minutes.
Please note that at the end of this round you might be given some take-home assignments and exercises, which will then be discussed at the onsite interviews.
What the interviewer will assess
- Whether you can come out with creative, out-of-the-box ideas.
- How good your fundamentals are.
- The ability to prioritize consumer requirements while also balancing them with strategic priorities.
- Knowledge of data analysis and how to apply it to make product decisions.
- Remember to put your response using the STAR approach. To help frame your response, consider a previous situation, task, action, and result.
- Prepare to delve deeper into questions that put you to the test. The interviewer will not be satisfied with a brief response and will expect you to demonstrate your proficiency in the topic.
- Instead of broad generalizations, provide specific and realistic replies. This provides the interviewer a good sense of your knowledge and avoids the perception that you are dodging the subject.
- Describe a research project on which you worked and its impact on the organization.
- How do you deal with people who criticize your work?
- Can discuss your failings openly and provide instances of what you've learned from them.
- How adaptive are you with working out of your comfort zone?
- Tell me about a situation when you went above and beyond for a client.
- How do you work out goal-setting in your team?
- What is your approach to people management?
- What do you do to build up team morale?
- Can you explain how JVM works?
- Do you have any experience with music licensing?
At this step, you will be interviewing with team members and stakeholders from the many departments with which you will be working. This phase is divided into four sections: Technology & Design, Execution & Scaling, Leadership & Culture, and Vision, Strategy & Instinct.
Each interview lasts about 30-45 minutes. Spotify also promotes its principles during the interview; research these and be prepared to speak about them throughout the day.
What the interviewer will assess
- Your knowledge of the principles at Spotify.
- Your core PM skills and knowledge.
- Your decision-making and strategy.
- Calculation of growth metrics for e-commerce.
- Ability to recognize possible risks and quantify them.
- Do not go for interviews unless you have a thorough understanding of Spotify's values - Spotify is rather serious about their principles, even "playfulness," so it's paramount that you come off as natural and playful in your interviews. Keep in mind that Spotify wants you to succeed just as much as you do!
- The key to success in these interviews is to be relaxed, cool, and confident. There are, however, aspects of this interview that you can prepare for. Create a narrative bank of experiences, for example, that you may utilize in interviews.
- Typically, product design questions will direct you to create a product in an open-ended environment and explore relevant solutions, thus focus on your grasp of quantitative reasoning around metrics.
- How would you introduce Spotify to a new market?
- What is your approach to working with designers and engineers?
- Tell me about a situation when you introduced a feature that did not function as expected.
- Spotify offers a free one-month trial membership. We discovered that after the free trial, users were not converting to a paid membership. What can you do as a product to promote user engagement and, as a result, customer retention?
- What metrics did you use for your most recent project?
- Spotify installs have climbed by 25%. What are the possible causes of this? Provide at least four.
- Tell me one of your qualities that make you an excellent product manager.
- Spotify generates a monthly report that includes information such as the user's viewing time, genre, and music composer, among other things. Why do you believe such a report is produced?
- What would you do differently if you had to start your last job over?
- How will you define an MVP?
- If you could add one feature to Spotify, what would that be?
- Let's pretend we didn't launch in South Africa in 2018. How would you manage an entry into that market?
- How do you get rid of a linked list?
- What technology stack did your previous company utilize?
- What artists are you listening to currently?
- How do you visualize the growth of a product over time?
- Give me two strategies to increase the engagement of 45+ people with Spotify.
- Suppose a competitor has emerged and is taking over customers. What would you do to find out the reason for this change?
- What will you do to persuade your grandmother to use Spotify?
- How do you compare competing features?
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Your job is finished after the on-site interviews are completed. Spotify makes every effort to respond within a few days, though this may take a little longer if numerous candidates are interviewing for the same post.
Your recruiter will go through all of the specifics of your customized offer with you.