There is a legitimate reason why you are looking for another position right now. It really comes down to a lack of fulfillment you feel towards your current job. Job hunting can be exhausting enough and if you are not careful, you just might end up in another toxic work environment or worse. You have to look out for yourself for your best interest since nobody else is going to do so for you.
Here is a direct response we have for one of our coaching clients right now.
Dear Product Gym,
How do I know if this is the best company for me to be a Product Manager? What are some good questions for testing out if this place is really the kind that I would want to work?
There are 3 ways for you to find out if this is the best company for you to be a Product Manager. You need to ask every stakeholder about their:
- End User Feedback or Communication
- How organized are they about breaking down their vision into roadmap items that will get them to where they want to be?
- How is the business strategy developed, what’s the involvement of the PM?
- Who has the most control over the roadmap?
- Who has the final say?
- How good is that main controlling power about taking suggestions from other contributors?
Knowing who has control of the roadmap allows you to understand who is really calling the shots. Perhaps the person with control of the roadmap is not even a Product Manager (this is a real red flag).
Key Performance Indicator or KPIs
- Do they set KPIs to measure or account for what has been achieved and what they set out to do, respectively?
- What are their KPI’s?
Understanding what a company’s KPI’s are is very telling of where they have their priorities or whether they even have a clear set of priorities. If the goals the company tells you they want to achieve have no correlation with the KPI’s they have set, then you might want to learn more about why that is. If you can’t make sense of it, then you should probably walk.
Interviewing End Users
- How frequently do they talk to users or customers?
You want to know if this is something that is regularly scheduled, or just when the need or problem arises. If they answer or communicate with their users or customers only when the need arises, that is a major red flag.
- What is the autonomy for a Product Manager at this company?
- How does your inter-department communication work?
- What are your internal process like in terms of collaboration, sharing knowledge (e.g. A/B testing results from other teams), and decision-making process?
You want to ask these questions repeatedly over and over again with every stakeholder you come across. Through this repetition of questions can you gauge how different stakeholders might interpret the situation differently. Do not assume an interrogative tone when asking these questions; instead, approach the problem from a place of curiosity with a sincere interest to help. This is exactly what you will be hired to do anyway. Getting to know the internal workings of a company before you officially start there might give you a better understanding of whether or not this is a place you want to take a job. Running through this list of questions will also provide with more insight beyond that of any job description on the Internet.
Please do not feel hesitant, awkward, or fearful about asking these questions. You have a right to know exactly what kind of environment you are leaving your current position for. The nature of Product Management is inherently chaotic, but it is always better to know how bad the situation is right now rather than later.