How to Win the Snapchat Product Manager Interview
Snap Inc., the company behind the popular Snapchat mobile app, changed the social media game forever. It was the first social network to delete images and messages after a set amount of time, which ushered in the “Stories” feature now ubiquitous across all major social platforms. This creative company remains at the forefront of social innovation, so it’s no wonder so many Product Manager pros would love to have a hand in crafting Snapchat’s next big idea.
If you’re one of them, then read on. In this guide, we’ll go over the following:
Snap Inc. is the creator of the Snapchat mobile app, a popular social networking application. As of 2021, the platform had approximately 250 million daily active users. Snapchat users can create and edit images to share directly with friends, experiment with filters, film short videos, text back and forth, and more. The Snap Inc. portfolio also includes the Bitmoji personal avatar brand, as well as Spectacles smart glasses.
Snapchat Company History
Snapchat was founded in 2011 by Bobby Murphy, Evan Spiegel, and Reggie Brown, who were all Stanford students. Brown wanted to create a social platform in which content was deleted after a short amount of time and asked Murphy to help. Users wouldn’t have to worry about an old photo or comment being found years later and potentially used against them. In July of that year, they released “Picaboo,” the first version of the app. They relaunched and rebranded the platform as Snapchat just a few months later.
At the same time, however, Brown was forced out of the company and Spiegel took over as CEO. A year later, the app introduced video capabilities, and soon users were sending out 50 million so-called “snaps” each day. In 2013, Snapchat released its hugely influential “Stories” features, in which images or videos added would be deleted after 24 hours. It saw massive success, leading to a failed attempt by Facebook to buy the company. Facebook tried again in 2014, with the same result.
In 2015, Snapchat released its popular “Lenses” feature, which let users add humorous filters to their selfies. A year later, they acquired Bitstrips, the company behind Bitmoji, and changed their company name to Snap Inc. in preparation for going public. They did so in March of 2017 (NYSE: SNAP). However, they were soon dealing with significant challenges. First, Instagram released its own Stories feature, which took business away from Snapchat. Then they released an unpopular update in 2018. Mega-influencer Kylie Jenner complained about the changes, causing a massive drop in their stock price.
In a somewhat surprising turn, the COVID-19 pandemic led to increased adoption of the Snapchat platform as a way to stay in touch. In fact, the company’s share price has increased by 450% since the beginning of the crisis.
Today, Snap Inc. is headquartered in Santa Monica, California and led by CEO and co-founder Evan Spiegel. The company currently employs around 5,600 individuals and has approximately 250 million daily active users. In 2021, Snap Inc. earned revenues of $4.11 billion.
Product Culture at Snapchat
Snap Inc.’s flagship product is its Snapchat social media application. The platform’s most popular features include Stories (image, video, and/or text content that disappears after 24 hours), Maps (“snaps” organized by location), and its library of filters and selfie lenses.
The Snapchat AR product allows developers to create their own Lenses and other Augmented Reality experiences. So far, about 2.5 million Lenses have been created through their Lens Studio. Another product aimed at developers is Spectacles, the company’s brand of smart glasses. While not for general sale, these glasses are available to a select group of AR creators.
The Snap Inc. portfolio includes two additional mobile applications. One is Bitmoji, which allows users to create their own avatar for Snapchat and beyond. The other is Zenly, a location sharing and personal map app.
As of 2018, a huge majority (98%) of Snap Inc.’s revenue came from advertisers, so their suite of ad-focused products is quite robust. Snapchat for Business offers a variety of digital ad formats, from images to lenses to AR, to companies in a wide range of industries.
Overall Company Culture
According to Snap Inc.’s “Our Mission” page:
“Snapchat is an app that empowers people to express themselves, live in the moment, learn about the world, and have fun together. It’s the easiest and fastest way to communicate the full range of human emotions with your friends without pressure to be popular, pretty, or perfect.”
To help drive this mission, the company has established three core value statements that all team members are expected to exemplify:
- We Are Kind. We operate with courage, show empathy, and instill trust through honesty and integrity.
- We Are Smart. We solve problems through action, make high-quality decisions, and think with a strategic mindset.
- We Are Creative. We gracefully manage ambiguity, cultivate innovation, and demonstrate an insatiable desire to learn.
Snap Inc. employees should be innovative, transparent, open-minded, and forward-looking. As part of the Snap Inc. team, they can also expect to receive a number of perks and benefits. These include parental and family caregiver leave, stock options, volunteer time off, cooking and nutrition workshops, fitness classes, speaker series, job training, and financial education programs.
Snap Inc. is also committed to a number of environmental and philanthropic causes through its Citizen Snap initiative. Some of their goals include encouraging better mental health among young people, combating misinformation on social media, and fighting climate change.
Product Team Culture
At Snap Inc., the product team includes product management, product design, user research, interface design, product marketing, and UX research. Snapchat Product Managers should be ready to work with all of these groups on innovative projects. According to Snapchat’s careers page:
The Product team uses creativity, insights, and operational excellence to steer our product vision across Snap Inc. This team of designers, scientists, and product managers work in a highly collaborative environment to build the products and experiences that bring our community together in new and special ways.
How to Get a Product Manager Job at Snapchat
At Product Gym, we apply a simple four-step framework to landing the Product Manager job you’re looking for. With this structure and the support of the PG community, both aspiring and veteran PMs have increased the number of calls they receive for interviews. The process also leads to more of those interviews being converted into offers.
Here’s how the magic works:
From the best techniques for writing a cover letter to building an attractive Product Manager resume, the first step is to boost your credibility and professional branding. To get the offer from Snapchat, you’ll need:
- A resume designed to beat the ATS
- A cover letter that shows your culture fit
- An optimized LinkedIn profile that aligns with the above
- A 30-second personal pitch that sells you as the best possible candidate
At Product Gym, we provide branding workshops, resume reviews, and the tools you need to take your professional branding to the next level.
Product Gym members apply for 20+ Product Manager jobs weekly, and often average 9+ interviews in any given week. But how’s that going to help you get the job at Snapchat? Simple: by perfecting your application strategy and interview approach through practice and experience, you’ll build the confidence and expertise you need to wow the recruiter and interviewers at your dream company when the time comes.
Of course, our tried and tested application framework is paired with tools, tips, and interview support that all come together to form a job-hunting strategy that really works.
Once you’ve lined up your interviews, it’s time to zero in on converting those round ones into round twos, and so on, all the way to the Snapchat Product Manager job offer. It’s no secret that we focus on the Product Manager interview process here at Product Gym: we’re there to help our members learn how to ace every step and every question — including behavioral questions, technical questions, case studies, salary negotiation, and more.
When should you start building your product management skillset? Before you apply? When you’re on the job? Honestly, transitioning into product management can be a long journey. We encourage Product Managers (whether you’re a first-timer or an industry vet) to start learning at the beginning and continue on past the finish line.
You likely already have skills that translate well into a Product Manager role: keep sharpening them, and find the gaps where you can learn, grow, and practice new skills to become a better Product Manager every day.
We want to make sure our members show up skilled and prepared for their interviews and their first day on the job, which is why we offer 20+ technical and business courses taught by industry experts.
What Does a Typical Snapchat Product Manager Job Posting Look Like?
Snapchat’s Product Manager job postings begin with a brief description of what the company does, then an overview of the team the candidate would be working on. Next comes an introduction to the specific product or area the person would be managing. For example, this Product Manager, Lens Studio job opening includes an overview of the Lens product and how it fits into the Snapchat ecosystem.
Next is a “What you’ll do” section, which goes through the major responsibilities of the position in more detail. That’s followed by a “Knowledge, Skills, & Abilities” section, which lists the qualifications for the role. After that comes a list of minimum requirements and preferred qualifications. In general, Snapchat Product Managers should possess the following:
- At least two years of product management experience
- A bachelor’s degree in a related field or equivalent years of experience
- Excellent presentation and writing skills
- Comfortability working with multiple stakeholders from other departments
- The ability to deeply understand trends and present forward-looking recommendations
- Strong prioritization skills
- Experience with data analysis
- Experience managing competing tradeoffs
- Creativity and problem-solving skills
The job listing ends with an Equal Opportunity Employer statement.
While salary is generally not listed in the job description, Glassdoor puts Snapchat’s average Product Manager salary at about $140K annually.
How Do You Get a Product Manager Interview at Snapchat?
Start by browsing Snap Inc.’s current job openings to find the positions(s) that best match your goals, expertise, experience, and skills. Once you’ve found one (or more!) that seems promising, your next step is to create a standout application — and that starts with an excellent resume.
1. Write a Fantastic Product Manager Resume
The Snap Inc. Hiring Manager will likely look at your resume first, so be sure to highlight your relevant job experience and your Product Manager skill set, along with any qualifications around the specific responsibilities and tasks listed in the job opening. If you can demonstrate prior quantitative results around those aspects of the role, definitely do so.
Before polishing up your resume, check out our free webinar on resume writing, which takes you through the process of creating a resume that you can use for multiple Product Manager positions.
2. Position Yourself as a Top-Tier PM Hire
Next, you should demonstrate your product management skills by writing a pitch that outlines the Product Manager position’s key responsibilities. You’ll need your personal elevator pitch ready for the interview process, where you’ll use it to showcase your history and experience.
It’s time to submit your application! But don’t stop there — if you know any employees at Snapchat, see if they’d be willing to give you a referral. According to Glassdoor, 19% of interviewees got their foot in the door through an employee referral. Also, our step-by-step recruiter networking methodology can help you secure that critical first interview.
What Is the Snapchat Product Manager Interview Process and Timeline?
The Snap Inc. Product Manager hiring process generally follows these steps:
- Introductory call with the Hiring Manager
- Technical and behavioral round with team members and stakeholders
- The offer
The process typically takes between two and four weeks from end to end. According to Glassdoor, 43% of interviewees had a positive experience. Candidates rated the difficulty of the interview a 3 out of 5.
How to Win the Introductory Call With the Hiring Manager
During this first round, your goal is to demonstrate that you’re qualified enough to move on to the next stage. You’ll also need to show that you’ll be a good culture fit for the company and exemplify their core values. Some of the questions you should be ready to you should be ready to answer include the following:
- Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
- How do you work with engineers?
- Why do you want to work at Snap Inc.?
- What’s your favorite app?
- Tell me about yourself.
- How do you interpret our values?
- How would your friends describe you?
If your answers impress the Hiring Manager, you’ll be asked to move on to the technical round with additional members of the team.
How to Win the Technical Round With the Hiring Manager and Team Stakeholders
During this round, you’ll meet with the hiring manager again in addition to other members of the product team. Two of the questions you may be asked during this round are:
- Design a camera that automatically uploads.
- What big idea could you think of to improve Snapchat?
After this round, the hiring decision is in the hands of the Snapchat team. Good luck!
How Did COVID-19 Change Hiring at Snapchat?
Unlike a lot of companies, Snapchat saw a massive surge in popularity during the COVID-19 crisis. In fact, their stock increased in value by 450%. Snap Inc. did switch to a fully-remote hiring process at the height of the pandemic but may be including in-person components and even onsites at this point. Currently, they have more than 1,300 open positions.
Initially, Snap Inc. had planned to reopen its offices in September of 2021. However, they have since implemented a “virtual first” work policy, meaning that employees can continue working remotely for as long as they’d like.
Become a Snap Inc. Product Manager
Want to learn more about becoming a Snapchat Product Manager or 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.