The trickiest part of interviewing for Product Manager roles is crafting your story. You have to talk about your professional experience that resonates with Product Management.
Many people believe that the only way of accomplishing this is actually coming from a Product Manager background. How do you get a Product Manager job if the job requires a Product Manager experience in the first place?
What if you just graduated from college/grad school, and this is supposed to be your first Product Manager job?
We asked these questions to Chris Beck, a Product Gym member and now a mentor, who went through a similar route.
Make sure you watch Chris’ unique transition story as well as his useful tips on how to land an Associate Product Manager role straight out of college here:
The most crucial strategy is changing your mindset about interviewing. Like many other Product Gym members, Chris went through the same issue and explained the number one factor that prevents everyone from getting what they want: not focusing on the immediate problem.
Keeping your head high and staying motivated is crucial in the Product Manager job hunt process. Make sure you read our article here on the mindset you should be adopting to stay competitive on the job market here.
After getting an interview with a company, people panic about not having enough experience to do the job rather than focusing on crushing their Round 1 interviews and getting to the second round. You have to focus on the next phase rather than the result.
Another problematic aspect of this mindset is that people see the negative side instead of the positive side of the situation.
Rather than stressing about your upcoming interview, think about the fact that your resume was chosen among hundreds (or even thousands!) of applications. Use it as your confidence fuel and source of motivation!
Lack of work experience is a significant concern among many applicants. One of the most effective (and proven ways) of overcoming this is doing very thorough and intuitive research about the company and its business.
By research, we don’t mean going to the company’s website and reading about its mission, vision, etc. It’s doing customer and market research that is crucial to the company’s business.
One of our members with a year of experience in Product did exemplary research about his prospective company. He was interviewing with a medical device company specializing in diabetes patients, and so he talked to one of his relatives who have diabetes to understand significant customer pain points.
Despite his lack of experience, he managed to beat the competition and land the job (during COVID-19). His intuition and passion showed the hiring manager that he is more than ready to succeed.
Not all interviews have to go well, regardless of how much you prepared. If you face a question that you don’t know, the best way about it is, to be honest. Tell them that you don’t know, but you are willing to learn it.
We have another success story about a member who converted an interview failure into a Product Manager offer by proving that he doesn’t know everything, but he is willing to learn.
This member was asked about agile principles; however, coming from a banking background, he had no idea what agile was and so he had to be honest about it. The interviewer had to end the interview as knowing agile principles was an essential part of the job.
Rather than getting upset about this situation, this individual went to the nearest bookstore, grabbed a book about agile, and spent his weekend learning about it. He wrote everything he learned and emailed it to the hiring manager. The hiring manager was impressed and had him come in for another round, which ultimately turned into an offer.
Like anything in life, failure is a part of the success. To succeed, you need to use your failure as a fuel to motivate you. That’s the only way you will learn from your weaknesses and turn them into strength.
This story also reminds us of the importance of authenticity. Rather than pretending that you know something, you should say that you don’t know it, but you would be willing to learn about it.
Coming out of college, many young professionals think that they figured it out because they were academically successful. Academic success consists of systematic studying while achieving success in professional life consists of a more complicated path.
There are no study guides or flashcards to help you get an A. If you are just coming out of college, you have to put in the time and learn what you need to learn.
You will spend a lot of time learning about things that might not be immediately useful but never consider that time as lost time. You will end up learning how to figure out what to learn.
Many people who are about to start a new profession feel scared and insecure about themselves. To pass that, you should feel confident about your ability to brace new challenges and adapt to changes. You should be your number one cheerleader to succeed as it’s impossible to accomplish anything if you don’t believe in yourself.
Here’s our full conversation with Chris:
If you are not sure if Product Management is the right choice for you or not, Chris has also shared his thoughts on determining the right career path after college:
Are you on your path to landing your next Product Manager job? We are here to help! Schedule a free consultation with us today to figure out whether Product Management is right step for you or not.