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How to prepare for a product management interview, part 1

March 10, 2018

How to prepare for a product management interview, part 1

This blog series is for product managers who are in the recruiting and hiring cycle, working with recruitment agencies, working with product management recruiters and anyone looking to hone the interview skills needed for product management.


How do I prepare for a product management interview?

The first round call with the internal product management recruiter will operate much like a checklist. They are going to ask you to talk about yourself, how you transitioned into product management or how you currently perform product responsibilities, why you are leaving, and what you are looking for in your next role.


To prepare for this first round product management call, you need to do basic research about the company. Find resources about the company you are interviewing for on Google News, LinkedIn, Crunchbase and other news outlets.


Remember to think like a product manager when you are going through these sources. As a PM focused on the business and sales side, you want to ask product questions that might impact the business models. Specifically, look for sources that answer these product questions:


  1. Does this company have a suite of software products or one core product that fuels the business?
  2. Did they just get a recent round of funding so that they’re looking to hire product managers?
  3. If so, what type of product managers? B2B, B2C, E-commerce or a PM to build internal tools?
  4. Who are their customers, end-users and more specifically, how do they make money? What is their monetization strategy?
  5. Who are their competitors, either directly or complementary to their services?


You may not be able to answer all of these questions in-depth but you must have a general grasp of the direction that the business is in or wants to head. Otherwise, the product management information you need pitch yourself to the recruiter will be uninformed.


Specifically, you want to tailor your pitch to the first round recruiter to what they tell you. If they say that they’re looking for a product manager who is passionate about their mission, do your best to find a personal experience that speaks to it. Or if they are looking for a B2B product manager but you’ve only done B2C, focus your pitch on the interactions from when you interfaced with the business stakeholders.


If the recruiter asks you to talk about yourself first without giving you any context for the company, make sure to have your personal pitch and backstory ready. What should your personal pitch be and how do you craft a product management story, especially if you are trying to make a transition? Click Here to find more


Lastly, you want to sound energetic, engaged and enthused about the company. Ask lots of intelligent questions but some of the best questions to ask recruiters and product managers can be found below:


Best Questions to ask Product Management interviews

  1. How long has the company been around?
  2. Are the original Founders still there?
  3. What is the company culture like?
  4. How large is the company?
  5. How large is the Product Department?
  6. How large is my working team?
  7. Is there anything in my background that would make you hesitate in moving me forward in this application process?
  8. What is your interviewing process like? How many rounds and with who?
  9. How long has this job posting been up and where are you in the job candidate search?
  10. Are you looking to hire soon? How soon?


For a more comprehensive list of Product Management Interview questions to ask Recruiters and Hiring Managers, please subscribe to our newsletter.


If you are looking for product management resources to transition into this space, please Schedule a Call with us or join us at one of our upcoming Product Management Events.

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