How to Nail the Shopify APM Interview and Application

Associate Product Management Programs are a great way for entry-level PMs to get real product management experience and add top companies to their resume. Here is a guide to the Shopify APM program application process.

Posted May 21, 2024

Free Event

Launchpad to APM: Your 90-Day Blueprint

Starting Tuesday, June 18

12:30 AM UTC · 60 minutes

undefined's profileundefined's profile

The Shopify APM program is one of the best APM programs out there. They target people that are in their last year of their undergraduate degree looking to start something full time after graduation. I personally went through the process this past year and learned a ton along the way. In this article I will explain the whole interview process, what I learned from it, and tips for those applying next.

Tips

Before I jump in, I want to share a few tips that helped me make it to the final round.

  • Hire a coach on Leland. This is one of the most competitive roles coming out of undergrad in the world. Getting a coach that has extensive experience in product management gives you a leg up on other candidates.
  • Be familiar with Shopify’s product. If you haven’t already created a Shopify account or built a website, I would suggest understanding the full process. They want ecommerce minds building their product.
  • Practice. I used Chat-GPT to give me case studies related to ecommerce, and I would talk through them out loud. This helped a lot.

Timeline

Applications opened on January 8th, 2024, and they closed January 16th, 2024. The cohort of around 10 - 15 APMs then started full time April 1st.

Step 1: The Application:

The application consisted of common questions that you will find on other applications like your resume, personal information, as well as three short essay questions similar to the questions below:

What is a software product that you have recently started using, what sets this product apart from other software products?

Example of what I wrote for this question:
“One product that I have recently started using is AllTrails, a hiking app that allows you to discover trails all over the world with dozens of reviews for each hike. What distinguishes AllTrails from other hiking and mapping software is its open-source community. The community adds to the platform and enables AllTrails to recommend local hikes that otherwise would not have been discovered. I use it to find bucket list hikes that I would like to do at some point in my life, save them, and send them to my friends.”

  • What was a difficult decision that you have had to make in the past? What was the outcome?
  • What is a project that you have worked on in the past that you are proud of?

My advice would be to take your time on these essays and make them good. I worked with Warren who is a Shopify APM as well as with Mike who is a former APM at Atlassian. These coaches helped me polish my essays and made sure I was telling my story coherently. Good writing skills go a long way.

If you have a solid resume and you take your time on these essays, you’ll have a good shot at making it to the next round. I personally did not have a referral but I would try to get a referral to increase your odds of getting the job.

Step 2: The Mini Case Study:

The Mini Case Study is a Zoom interview with a current Shopify Product Manager. We joined the call, and went straight into the case below:

The PM interviewing me didn’t ask any behavior questions, he wanted to understand how I thought through the problem. Again, hiring a coach on Leland helped me understand how to go about thinking through these types of problems. I would also recommend reading other product management books and articles. If you nail this interview you will be invited to a final round interview.

Step 3: Final Round Interview

Obviously, this is a very competitive process and so making it to any of these stages is very impressive. The final round is very similar to the case in the previous round. It was a Zoom interview with a senior product manager. We hopped on the call and dove straight into this case:

Like I mentioned before, in this case study they are wanting you to dig deep into the problem. If you jump to a solution too early you won’t build the right solution and you won’t get the job. Shopify wants to see that you have thought through everything and have truly identified what is wrong before you start talking about what to build next. Being a Shopify APM would be very challenging and they want to make sure that you would be a good fit for that position. Digging into the problem will help them see that you understand product management.

Other Thoughts

Shopify doesn’t ask many behavioral questions. They are more interested in finding out how you think through problems rather than what you have done in the past. Obviously, they will check your resume and want to see that you have some valuable experience. They also want you to be very familiar with their product. Make sure that you watch YouTube videos or build a site by yourself before you go into the interview. They will get all the information they need about who you are from your resume and your short essays that you submit in the first step. They want to test your knowledge of Product Management with their product.

There is no chance I would have made it to the final round without having a coach on Leland. I learned so much about product management and developed better interview skills in the process that was totally worth the price.

Free trial!

Access a library of videos, templates, and examples curated by Leland’s top coaches.

undefined's profileundefined's profileundefined's profile

From 115 top coaches

150+ Video Guides

Video Guides Image

Example Resumes

Example Resumes Image

Exercises & Templates

Exercises & Templates Image

Technical Skill Development

Technical Skill Development Image

Browse hundreds of expert coaches

Leland coaches have helped thousands of people achieve their goals. A dedicated mentor can make all the difference.

Browse Related Articles