Introduction to Facebook's Execution Interview
During the PM or RPM interview, Facebook's execution questions are the most mysterious question type. It's not a surprise that failing the execution interview is the reason why many do not get the job offer.
One may think "execution" refers to one's ability to get things done, like a project manager would. However, that's not FB's intent.
When assessing a candidate's "execution" skills, what FB really means is testing one's "executive decision making." And FB evaluates a candidate's executive decision making skills through six categories of rare and peculiar questions that revolve around metrics, ROI estimation, and root cause analysis.
Examples of Facebook Execution Interview Questions
There are six categories of Facebook execution interview questions:
Category 1: Choose a *Success* Metric
Interviewers are testing your judgment in choosing a reasonable goal, along with your ability to defend your opinion.
Imagine you are the PM in charge of Reactions on Facebook - the new way to interact with posts by using “love”, “haha”, “wow”, “sad”, and “angry” reactions. Your gut tells you that the average number of these reactions per post will be less than the current average number of likes per post. What would success look like in terms of number of non-like reactions per post at launch and how do you come up with this? Would this number differ by reaction? Why or why not?
Category 2: Diagnose
Tests your ability to diagnose and explain a drop in a critical metric.
- Weekly active usage dropped on Android. Why?
- Facebook signups dropped. Why?
Category 3: Solve a Metrics Issue
Tests your ability to diagnose an issue and suggest a solution.
You are the PM of Facebook Ads. Ads return rate has gone down 5%. What do you do?
Category 4: Product Design, with Possible Execution Emphasis
Sometimes FB interviewers will ask a question that is essentially a product sense (aka design) question with an emphasis on execution (aka implementation) details.
You are the PM of Messenger. Zuck comes up to you and says, 'Grow Messenger.' What do you do?
Category 5: Product Design, with Execution Emphasis
Sometimes FB interviewers will ask a question that focuses only on a product's execution (aka implementation) details
- Interviewer then says that based on the reports gathered, 2FA seems like a good first option to implement. What sort of things would I consider upon the development of 2FA to ensure that the development/adoption goes well?
- Imagine you are the product manager behind launching the Safety Check feature. Walk me through the various product design and software engineering tradeoffs you had to consider when defining which features would make it to MVP.
Category 6: Strategic Opinion
Sometimes interviewers ask for your strategic opinion, as a way to test your ability to reason out a course of action.
What are the tradeoffs between having advertisements vs. no advertisements on Facebook?
An Exclusive Teaching Note on Facebook's Execution Questions
A few months ago, Lewis C. Lin penned a teaching note that:
- Details the six different "execution question" categories
- Shares secrets on how to approach each one
- Recommends relevant practice problems
A small group of former clients and students have seen this teaching note.
It's now available to all of you. For more details, check out the Facebook Execution Question teaching note sign-up page.