How to Win the Qualtrics Product Manager Interview

Think about the most recent purchase you made. What were your opinions about the brand prior to the purchase? How about after? What was the buying process like? Did you feel valued? Questions like these are critical for experience management platforms like Qualtrics, a global leader in this sector. With Qualtrics, companies can measure and manage customer, employee, product, and brand experiences across all stages and channels of interaction.

Company Overview

Qualtrics is a cloud-based software-as-a-service (SaaS) company that provides solutions around “experience management” — the process of identifying, quantifying, and improving how customers and other stakeholders interact with a business. The Qualtrics software product suite acts as a single source of record for what is referred to as “X-data” (experience data). It allows organizations to track and store X-data related to four key experience areas — brand, product, customer, and employee — in a single platform

In 2002, company founder Ryan Smith returned home to Utah from college to help his father Scott through cancer treatment. After chemo appointments, the two worked on his father’s business idea: a field research and data tool for professors and other academics. Scott had taught at Brigham Young University and saw the need for such a solution over his own career. By the time his father had fully recovered, Ryan had built a working software product and they had signed 20 customers (all universities).

The company grew quickly, and soon Ryan had convinced his brother Jared, an engineer at Google, to join the team. That team numbered 100 by 2010, and Qualtrics received its first outside investment in 2012 after a decade of being self-funded. By 2014, Qualtrics was valued at $1 billion. In 2016, Qualtrics earned revenues of over $190M, and that number grew by 52% the following year. In 2018, the organization began planning for an initial public offering. Before it went through, however, enterprise software giant SAP announced it had acquired Qualtrics for $8 billion. Due to strong post-acquisition performance, SAP ended up taking Qualtrics public in January of 2021 (NASDAQ: XM).

Today, Qualtrics has co-headquarters in Provo, Utah and Seattle, Washington, and is headed by CEO Zig Serafin, who first joined the company as COO in 2016. Ryan Smith remains involved as the executive chairman. Three-quarters of the Fortune 100 are Qualtrics customers, and their overall customer base totals more than 13,000 brands. Notable Qualtrics clients include BMW, Chobani, Microsoft, Pinterest, Under Armour, Yamaha, and Zillow. Currently, Qualtrics employs over 4,000 people and is expected to reach revenues in excess of $1 billion in 2021.

Product Culture at Qualtrics

Qualtrics’s flagship product is their Experience Management Platform or XM Platform. Described as “the operating system for experience management,” this solution includes a number of sub-products aimed at specific experience areas.

Core XM encompasses all things experience data, including behavior analytics, segmentation insights, statistical analysis, and response monitoring. This tool is particularly popular with market research teams, and Qualtrics data analysis has even appeared in academic publications. CustomerXM aims to track and quantify every aspect of the customer experience, from first touches to final purchases. The solution also helps customers deliver feedback back to the brand.

BrandXM provides tools for companies to better understand how their brand is perceived and features for driving loyalty and advocacy. It also offers advertising capabilities. Another product is, well, ProductXM, which assists with product research, naming, and feature prioritization. This solution is particularly relevant to product teams and PMs.

Qualtrics also offers DesignXM for experience research, cross tabulation, regression analysis, and more. On the employee side, Employee XM helps organizations retain talent, build corporate culture, and boost team productivity. Finally, the XM Marketplace includes all of Qualtrics’s integration and platform products, such as their Slack and Salesforce integrations and survey templates.

Overall Company Culture

The Qualtrics mission is to “build technology that closes experience gaps,” and to support that mission, they’ve established five core values (referred to as “TACOS”)”

  • Transparent: “Our default is to share, leading to open debate, trust, and decisions based on data, not politics.”
  • All in: “We bet on Qualtrics and Qualtrics bets on us. This is our company. We deliver, whatever it takes.”
  • Customer obsessed: “If a customer is upset, we failed. Period. We learn, and we fix it.”
  • One team: “There is only one team at Qualtrics. We win and lose together and never say, ‘That’s not my job.’”
  • Scrappy: “We’re smart, resourceful, and find a way. We write our own story instead of following others.”

Qualtrics team members are expected to be collaborative, willing to go the extra mile, and creative. The company is also committed to a number of philanthropic endeavors, including the 5 For the Fight endeavor to support childhood cancer treatment.

Product Team Culture

Qualtrics product managers should be prepared to demonstrate resourcefulness, innovation, and a willingness to work across departments to move the roadmap forward. The team is also highly selective — less than 1% of Qualtrics applicants eventually get hired.

What Does a Typical Qualtrics Product Manager Job Posting Look Like?

A Qualtrics PM job description usually starts with a brief description of Qualtrics as a company and of the XM platform as a product. It also outlines the overall philosophy of working at Qualtrics. This is generally followed by a “The Challenge” section (which you can see in the Product Manager — EX+CX position shown below) that explains the key issues this person would be managing.

Next comes an “Expectations for Success” section, which is essentially a list of job responsibilities. This is followed by a list of qualifications and requirements for the role. Overall, product managers at Qualtrics should have at least five years of PM experience. They’re also expected to possess the following:

  • A “CEO of the product” mindset
  • Excellent analytical skills
  • Strong familiarity with building out product roadmaps and a history of executing on them successfully
  • Experience with user stories and user research
  • A willingness to collaborate across team lines
  • Experience with driving large projects forward
  • A well-rounded background working on SaaS and technical products
  • The ability to create a strategic go-to-market plan and communicate it throughout the org
  • Familiarity with experimentation, A/B testing, and opportunity sizing
  • A bachelor’s degree (tech major preferred)

The job description concludes with a “What differentiates us from other companies” section, which lists the various perks and benefits that come with working at Qualtrics. These include team outings, happy hours, 30 days of PTO, free snacks and lunches, and medical and dental insurance.

How Do You Get a Qualtrics Product Manager Interview?

First, search through Qualtrics’s current job openings to find the role(s) that best fit your skills, expertise, experience, and professional goals. Once you’ve found one (or a few) that seems promising, your next step is to create a strong application. That begins with a well-written and impressive resume.

Write a Fantastic Product Manager Resume

The Qualtrics hiring manager will likely look at your resume first. Be sure to highlight your skills and relevant job experience, along with any expertise involving the specific responsibilities and tasks listed in the job description. If you can show past quantitative results around those parts of the role, definitely do so.

Before updating your resume, view our free webinar on resume writing, which takes you through the process of crafting a resume that can be used for a range of PM positions.

Create Your Pitch and Position Yourself as a Standout Product Hire

Next, you should demonstrate your product management skills by writing a pitch that outlines the product manager position’s key responsibilities. Here’s how.

Apply!

It’s time to submit your application. But don’t stop there — if you know any Qualtrics employees, see if they’d be willing to give you a referral. According to Glassdoor, 14% of interviewees got their foot in the door through an employee referral. Also, our step-by-step recruiter networking methodology can help you secure your first interview.

What Is the Qualtrics Product Manager Interview Process and Timeline?

The hiring process at Qualtrics typically follows these steps:

  1. Introductory call with the hiring manager
  2. Technical and behavioral round(s) with team members and stakeholders
  3. The offer

The process generally takes around two to three weeks from end-to-end. According to Glassdoor, 51% of interviewees had a positive experience, and the average difficulty was rated a 3 out of 5.

How to Win the Introductory Call With the Hiring Manager

Your hiring experience at Qualtrics will start with an initial recruiter screen to go over logistical fit, expected compensation, location, etc. If that goes well, you’ll move on to an interview with the hiring manager. The goal of this first round is to prove your PM skills and know-how and demonstrate that you’re qualified to move to the next stage. According to Glassdoor, you should be prepared to answer the following questions:

  • What are two relationships outside of your family that are important to you?
  • Tell us why you want to work at Qualtrics.
  • What makes you stand out from all of our applicants?
  • How many registered cars are there in X location?
  • What was a book you recently read and what did you learn/how did it influence you?
  • What were three times you’ve been compared to others and where did you rank?
  • What is your biggest accomplishment?
  • Please share with me an overview of a recent role in which you worked on solving some difficult problems in the same domain or subject matter of the open position.
  • Tell me about yourself.

In addition, the team at Qualtrics has shared some helpful hints for nailing your interview. You can see them on their Careers page.

If you do well during this round, you’ll be asked to interview with several members of the product team and additional stakeholders.

How to Win the Technical and Behavioral Round(s) With the Hiring Manager and Stakeholders

During this round, you’ll go through multiple one-on-one interviews with other product team members and additional stakeholders. The questions will be focused on the open role’s day-to-day responsibilities and on team culture fit. Two you should be ready to answer are:

  • What project/product have you delivered that added the most value for the organization?
  • Why did you decide to build a product in-house instead of using a third-party tool?

After this round, the hiring decision is in the hands of the Qualtrics team. Best of luck!

How Did COVID-19 Change Hiring at Qualtrics?

Like most companies, Qualtrics shifted to a fully-remote interviewing process during the COVID-19 pandemic. With some restrictions easing, the company will likely begin scheduling in-person interviews along with virtual ones. Currently, Qualtrics is looking to fill nearly 600 roles, including several on the product team.

In addition, remote work won’t be disappearing from Qualtrics anytime soon — at least not entirely. The company decided to let their employees share their own opinions and preferences with regard to a return-to-office before setting an official policy. Recently, they surveyed their entire team and made the decision to establish a hybrid work environment. According to CEO Zig Serafin, “We expect the majority of our employees will work from a Qualtrics office approximately three days a week and will spend the other days working wherever they’re happiest and most productive.”

Win the Qualtrics Product Manager Interview

Want to learn more about winning the Qualtrics Product Manager interview or about getting hired at a well-known company? Our career coaches are now offering free sessions: schedule yours today. We’d be glad to answer any of your questions.

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