Pinterest Design

Interviewing at Pinterest: Advice from Apprentice Alumni

Jun 10, 2024

By Cristal Reyes and Bethany Burns

Person at a laptop with a "Create Belonging" mug.

The Pinterest Products Apprenticeship Program is an opportunity for candidates from non-traditional backgrounds and those who face barriers of entry into the tech industry to experience product management, design and research at Pinterest.

As you get ready to apply or prepare for your interviews, our Apprentice Alumni are sharing their journey to tech and important tips that helped them throughout the interview process. Find the section for the role you’re interested in or read all of the stories as they each provide useful tips that can be applicable to all roles.

Product Design with Bethany Burns

Hi there! My name is Bethany Burns, and I’m a Product Designer based in Atlanta. Pinterest was my first tech job. Before delving into design, I was on my way to entering the healthcare field until I realized that it just wasn’t for me. I’ve always loved science and the thought of helping people, and even though I didn’t take the healthcare route, I was still able to nurture those same passions through design while also fulfilling my need for creativity.

Photo of Bethany Burns

As some of you may be in similar positions of changing your paths, here are a few tips I’d give to design prospects applying for the Apprenticeship Program:

  • Don't compare yourself! It can be so easy to fall down the rabbit hole of comparing both yourself and your work to other candidates and designers you may come across while researching and preparing yourself for this process. Try your best to stay focused on you and what you bring to the table. It’s not always about being the best designer or having the most picture-perfect designs. Sometimes it’s just about showing untapped potential and your readiness to tackle that potential. 
  • Let your work tell a story. When it comes to design portfolios, we often get caught up in showing the perfect step-by-step design process (you know the classic empathize, define, ideate, etc. that we all know and love), but make sure your work tells a cohesive story. Set the scene. Don’t just tell us how you designed something, tell us why! Don’t forget, in every great story, there’s a bump in the road. Don’t be afraid to showcase the outtakes and designs that didn’t work out the first time. Allow your case studies to show a bit of depth when it comes to your ability to find, ponder and solve problems through design.
  • Remember your “Why”. This phrase quickly became a personal motto for me throughout my interview process, and remains so, even currently as a designer. Be clear on why you want to become a designer, know why you decided to implement certain design choices when it comes to your work, etc. Being able to answer the question of “why” means you have done your research and reveals so much about you and your thought process. Believe it or not, it can be a game changer.

One thing I wish I knew before beginning this journey…It’s probably cliche, but I wish I knew to enjoy and take what I could from the process. During the interview process and just the general journey of becoming a designer, I learned so much and met so many wonderful people who gave me great advice and encouragement along the way. Try not to take those moments for granted. That way you’re left with something no matter the outcome of the application or interview!

Product Research with Cristal Reyes

My name is Cristal Reyes, and I’m a Qualitative Product Researcher based in New York City! Prior to joining the Pinterest team, I spent five years in the world of education as an 11th-grade US history teacher in the South Bronx. While I thoroughly enjoyed teaching and working with teens, I also wanted to pursue new challenges and interests, which is why I decided to take the leap and apply to the Pinterest Products Apprenticeship program!

Photo of Cristal Reyes

Here are three tips that candidates applying and interviewing for a Product Apprenticeship position may find helpful:

  • Do the research: While candidates are not required to have related previous experience, it’s important to have a basic understanding of the area you are applying for (i.e., product management, user experience, etc.). You do not have to be an expert by any means but showcasing your understanding and any relevant skills/experience can go a long way! 
  • Emphasize collaboration: Since product roles often involve close collaboration with various stakeholders across different functions, it’s important to showcase your ability to work well within a team, communicate effectively and collaborate cross-functionally throughout the application and interview process. It may be a bit cliché but teamwork really does make the dream work! 
  • Be YOU: During this process, don’t try to fit into the perfect mold that you may think we’re looking for. We want to get to know the real you and authenticity trumps perfection any day! 

One thing I wish I knew…Before embarking on the interview journey, I wish that I had participated in additional mock interviews to practice and ease my nerves prior to the actual interviews!

What’s next?

Discover open positions on the Apprenticeship page and apply at your earliest convenience. For information about the program and answers to frequently asked questions, visit our Early Career - Apprenticeship Program page.

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