Cracking the Uber Associate Product Manager (APM) Interview
I didn’t get the offer, but hopefully, this will help the next candidate!
The APM program at Uber is one of the most prestigious roles a newly minted college grad can land. More than 10,000 apply each year to join the coveted 10-person cohort. Preparation is key, and I hope this article will help you properly prepare to launch your career as a product manager at Uber!
Step 1: Homework Assignment
Applications open in early August. Two weeks after I applied, an Uber recruiter invited me to complete a homework assignment that would be submitted via HackerRank. The homework involved walking through the full product lifecycle, and they recommended I spend about 6 hours completing it.
My advice for the homework is to follow each step in the instructions very closely. Friends of mine who did not make it past this round got feedback that their homework was missing one (or more) of the expected criteria.
I highly recommend checking out these examples:
UberCOMMUTER (Matt Alston, current Uber APM)
Step 2: Phone Interviews
If you make it past the homework, the next round is back-to-back 45-minute phone interviews to test your product skills and analytical thinking. These interviews will both be conducted by product managers and sometimes current APM’s.
Product Interview: I recommend learning a framework like CIRCLES and making sure your personas account for both sides of the marketplace — riders and drivers. Questions will likely be specific to Uber, so understanding the business is key.
Analytical Interview: Make sure you get comfortable with the common Uber metrics. Practice by working through theoretical Uber-related scenarios, and strategize how you would identify and optimize specific metrics. Make sure to address specifically how a change would affect supply (drivers), demand (riders), and Uber’s bottom-line as a company.
One helpful example I got from a current PM at Uber (not an actual interview question) was a scenario where Uber releases a 25% discount to attract new riders to the platform. In this case, demand goes up because of the newly decreased fair. In order to meet that demand, Uber activates surge pricing to attract more drivers onto the platform. But with this surge, the rider’s discount is negated. So was the discount promotion really worth it for Uber?
Step 3: On-Site Interviews
If all goes well with the phone interviews, Uber will fly you out for a 3-hour interview session at their San Francisco HQ. The session consists of 4 straight 45-minute interviews with two product managers, an engineer, and a product designer.
Product & Analytical Interviews: These interviews are very similar to the phone round. Make sure you stay structured and avoid jumping directly into solutions (this was my downfall). Being in the room with the interviewer can feel daunting, but stick with what you did in the previous round and don’t be afraid to take a silent moment to think if you need it. Lastly, remain focused on the user experience. Nundu Janakiram, Uber’s Director of Product and head of the APM program, focuses on creating an experience that feels “seamless” and “magic” for the user.
Design Interview: Product designers are experts at understanding user personas and walking through the user journey. In this interview, the product designer wants to see how you’ve approached this process in the past through internships, projects, or founding a startup. Be prepared to dive deep into your past experiences focusing on the user and implementing product design frameworks in real life.
Technical Interview: The goal of the APM technical interview is to analyze your past technical experience. They want to know that you’ve played a key role in a highly technical project and that you can explain the technical concepts of that project to an engineer. If you have a computer science background (major or minor), this interview should feel more like a fun exercise than a grueling test. My favorite resource for the technical interview is this Quora post by a current Uber APM.
Overall, the Uber APM interview process was strenuous but rewarding. Along the way, I learned tons about the ridesharing industry and product management as a whole.
In my opinion, the best part about this company is the people. Everyone I interviewed with was extremely collaborative and truly passionate about the work they do on a daily basis, which is something you won’t find at every company. When I reached out to other employees within the company, they were happy to offer advice and were greatly supportive along the way.
One downside I’ve heard from within the company is that PM’s often feel a high level of external pressure, and the culture can sometimes be driven more by results than by relationships. But as a whole, the Uber APM program seems like an amazing place to start a PM career and offers new-grads a rare opportunity to work on high-impact products right out of the gate.