It’s important to know that when you are interviewing for a Product Manager position that you are not interviewing to be hired because your skills and talents are better than everyone else that was applying for the same role.
In reality, you are applying for this position (and prospectively hired) in order to help a company solve its existing problem or need. In many cases that we have seen here at Product Gym, prospective hires lose the true focus of why companies want to hire someone like them to become a member or lead associate at their Product division.
Companies don’t hire someone because that person has the most talent out of everyone in the existing applicant pool; they hire someone because they believe that someone is the one piece needed to solve the puzzle that is their problem. Someone ranting or speaking endlessly about their experiences of becoming the leader or brainchild behind a successful product or idea in an interview is unnecessary, and honestly annoying, to the interviewer or hiring recruiter.
In today’s podcast, we talk about such situations as well as what it is a recruiter is looking when hiring someone with someone who has had experience recruiting people to work with him, Ross Sclafani, Senior Product Manager at ListenFirst Media.
In this podcast, Ross will tell us his experiences as the one hiring and interviewing in all the hiring process, ranging from the laughingly obnoxiously worst to the best where he personally ran to his company’s Human Resources division in a bid to hire the person straight after his interview with the applicant. Product Gym and Ross will also discuss the importance of empathy in this interview process, and how disappointing it is when someone applying to be hired shows through their actions that they do not agree on the same amount of importance in the interview.
The strongest characteristic or criteria that a prospective Product Manager applicant, whether it is an experienced veteran in the field or a newbie hoping to complete the transition into Product Management from another non-Product related industry, is empathy. In today’s hiring atmosphere, Product Gym knows well enough that recruiters like Ross will not hire someone based on their talents alone. If someone wishing to be hired, regardless of background, is able to establish a connection with the company that he or she indeed wants to be helpful and orchestrate a solution to the company’s met and unmet needs, that person will eventually get the advantage in being hired compared to someone that may or may not have all the skills needed in the industry but lacks that empathetic connection between applicant and hiring party.
In an interview when the person interviewing you is someone experienced like Ross, who has had opportunities hiring and working with Product Managers with technical or non-technical backgrounds, it’s imperative that you always put the company’s needs above your own. Ask about what problems the company wants the prospective hire to solve – once they see that you are giving a genuine effort to help, they are more than happy to leverage that real concern into added points that may be the difference between you or somebody else getting hired.
About Ross Sclafani:
Ross is currently a Senior Product Manager at ListenFirst Media, where he is in charge of steering the user experience for the company’s data and analytics platform. Ross has been a Product Manager at ListenFirst Media for four years. He has experience with user interface design, interaction design, and digital media and strategy. Before ListenFirst Media, he had worked at Bloomberg, Showtime Networks, GrabMedia, and other well-recognized companies. Ross graduated with a Master’s Degree in Thesis Pending and Film Directing from Columbia University, and a Bachelor of Science from New York University.