How to Generate More Product Manager Interviews Part 2

So, you are doing everything we taught you in the first article, but now you are not seeing as many positions come up. What do you do? How do we solve this challenge? The truth is there is nothing we can do to create more openings in the market than there already is. What we can do is develop more funnels to generate more interviews from the companies already hiring or are considering bringing on new Product Managers to their team.

The initial challenge you will have is finding out where these other Product Manager openings are located.

Your Challenge: Where to Find Product Manager Positions Beyond LinkedIn, Indeed, and Glassdoor?

One of the biggest challenges in trying to secure more interviews for your Product Manager transition is just the lack of Product Manager roles that are posted on the market. As you may well know, a company can have as many as 22 Software Developers and may just have 1 Product Manager; so this role is not in abundance in comparison with other roles in technology. In fact, there are almost always going to be more roles in other domains than Product Managers. There will be more Quality Assurance (QA’s) than Product Managers, more Designers than Product Managers, and pretty much any other role you can think of including Sales and Marketing.

Your Solution: Let’s Create New Interview Funnels

If you have not read our article How to Apply at Scale for Product Managers, then now would a mighty fine time to do so, before reading any farther.

The reason why you are not getting more interviews is because you are only getting your interviews through a few funnels mainly from LinkedIn, Indeed, or Glassdoor. You need a better strategy. You need more funnels. There is no other choice, only 10 to 20% of the Product Manager positions that are posted on LinkedIn, Indeed, or Glassdoor or any job board is actually hiring. The other problem you face is just because you applied today, it does not mean the company will respond to you tomorrow or next week or next month or ever.

You need more funnels by which you can generate more interviews. Our proven methodologies if automated properly will help you generate 2 to 5 extra interviews each week. That way, you never have to worry about not having interviews. Your trajectory in landing your Dream Product Manager job is quite clear; without Product Manager interviews, there will be no Product Manager offers, and without Product Manager offers there will be no Product Manager job.

Hiring Challenge: Why Recruiters Do Not Respond to Your Application

You need to access this challenge through the eyes and perspective of your end user, which in this case is the recruiter. This is the first person your beautiful resume is going to land first. This person is extremely busy and is recruiting for a minimum 12 to 15 roles at any given time for teams across the organization. That’s right, they do not just recruit for technology roles and even if they did; they do not just recruit for one department. They are recruiting for everyone, that means developers, project managers, designers, data people, and anybody else you can imagine. They can not and do not spend an undefined amount of time recruiting for just any one role or department.

Many times, a recruiter’s weekly deliverable is to hand over 3 to 8 resumes to a hiring manager before recruiting for another hiring manager. If you did not get a reply, then chances are they did not even review your information. Think about it, if you found 3 to 8 decent resumes within the first 29 resumes you sifted through out of 80 or more resumes in your inbox, would you be motivated to review the rest of the pile? The answer is probably not.

Another reason why recruiters do not respond to your application is that they are not serious about hiring.

Hiring Challenge: Why Companies Not Serious about Hiring Post Product Manager Jobs on Job Boards and Company Career Page

What do you need in the interview more than anything? A company that is ready, willing, and able to make an offer; because they are serious about hiring a Product Manager immediately. More often than not, just because a company has posted for a Product Manager position on a Job Board or career page does not always mean they are serious about hiring. Why is that?

One of the biggest challenges in staffing is having to fill a role for somebody that just quit the organization. Companies spend a lot of time and more importantly “money” on recruiting, retaining, and developing their talent; so it always hurts the organization when somebody says they want to leave. Giving companies who just lost somebody they valued only 2 weeks to find another person either internally within the company or outside the company is not a realistic expectation.

In the case of Product Managers, this fact is doubly true. Hate it or love it, many professionals venture into Product Management to start their own businesses. They either have ideas that they do not know how to launch or are trying to figure out what their business idea will be while learning practical Product Management experience. Therefore, companies know when they hire for Product Managers, that this person will most likely leave at some point. The question thus becomes, when are they leaving?

Your Solution:

Read the rest of this article to learn how to develop other funnels for more interviews. There is nothing you can do about this challenge. It is a part of the game and you have to learn how to manage your own expectations.

The purpose of this article to provide clarity on what challenges hiring teams have in recruiting for Product Manager roles and solutions you can use to work around these challenges.

Follow Up, Follow Up, Follow Up Methodology

Do yourself a major favor and get more out of the spreadsheet of positions you have already applied to. You spent the time searching, sourcing, and applying. Why are you not getting more out of that list? Many people assume that if they re-apply to the same position that they may end of on some blacklist. First of all, there is no truth to that and secondly even if there was; what other choice do you have? Wait? Hope? Pray? Waiting is not a strategy and neither is hoping or praying your way into a Product Manager job. It simply does not work like that.

First Follow Up: 5 Business Days After Application

The first thing you want to do is set a schedule to reapply for the position that you applied for the week before. Be sure to apply directly on the company website. If you find yourself unable to apply for the role, a quick workaround to apply for the position by altering your email address.

For Example,

Let’s just say that your email is:

jamestillman@gmail.com

If you change your email to

james.tillman@gmail.com

In the event that the company replied this the email above it will go back to the same email. All you have to do is add a period anywhere in your Gmail address and you will be able to receive emails directly into your main Gmail account. This works for Gmail, but it may not work for other email domains. Please let us know if you find a workaround.

Second Follow Up: 10 Business Days After Application

If there still is no response, reapply again with the same steps outlined in the First Follow Up.

Third Follow Up: 12 – 15 Business Days After Application

Go reach out to the Product Team directly on LinkedIn.

Be a disruptor! You can not wait indefinitely for them to respond. There may be multiple reasons why a company is not responding. They may not have urgency right now for a number of reasons. For example, another role might be more urgent than the Product Manager position you saw posted. The recruiter may be preoccupied and is not passing your information along. Another reason may be your resume is just trapped under an avalanche of resumes that are above yours. You have no control over any of this, but you do control your effort.

Here is exactly what you want to do.

Look up the company page on LinkedIn and click on See all employees.

There will surely be many contacts on there, so you want to be sure that you are only focusing on contacts that are located in the city of the position you applied to. You will find this bar on top and click on All Filters.

If the company is large enough with there will surely be multiple offices you need to update the location of the position you want to land.

You also want to Type in Product under the Title search bar to only view contacts that are Product Managers at this company.

You will now see a list of people that are working as Product Managers in this organization. The people that you want to reach out to specifically are people with the title Chief, Head, Vice President, or Director of Product.

You want to connect with all of them and include a message where it says Add a note.

Here is how the message should read:

We accomplished a few objectives in this one single message contained within the connect request.

First, you are showing this person respect for their internal process by stating you have applied directly on their company website, twice! Why? If somebody reached out to you on LinkedIn wanting to work at your current company right now, what is the first question you will likely ask this person? Probably something along the lines of, “Did you apply to the position already?”, because if the applicant’s information is not even inside the systems of the organization; then any further conversation is irrelevant. Furthermore, it would probably be the first thing you suggest that other people do immediately if they have not done so already.

Second, since you have not heard back from the recruiter; that means you have not yet been rejected from the process. This is a huge red flag for any company. Everyday there are applicants who get rejected and because they are such big fans of that company they find new ways wiggle their way in. It is tasteless for someone to do so, but it does happen.

This is a lot of effort and we can definitely help you automate this process, so you can generate an extra 3 or more interviews a week.

Strip and Rip Methodology

There is another benefit for you for reaching out to Chiefs, Heads, Vice Presidents, or Directors of Product. These people have been Product Managers elsewhere and that means those companies may be hiring for Product Managers too. Through this methodology, you will likely learn about companies that you have never even heard of before. They just may be working on Products that you have always had an interest in.

But you are probably thinking if these companies are hiring for Product Managers; why is there no posting on a Job Board?

Hiring Challenge: Why Some Companies Looking for Product Managers Do Not Post on Job Boards

Another challenge hiring teams have is dealing with the insane fees they have to pay LinkedIn, Indeed, and/or Glassdoor or any other job board they choose to post on. These platforms allow companies to post jobs for a fee. The more jobs you post, the more fees you pay. Many times, there are additional add-on services that do not help hiring teams generate more relevant candidates. What happens? You post a role on Indeed and although there are people that apply immediately to your posting, a lot of these resumes are just plain bad. This causes hiring teams or recruiters to spend more time sourcing resumes rather than fulfilling other responsibilities.

A great question to ask on your next interview is, “How many resumes did you have to sort through before you found mine?” and “What is it about my background that made you want to schedule a call with me?” because the answer to the first question is surely to be a lot.

Your Solution:

You want to capitalize on this challenge by first building a list of places these Chiefs, Heads, Vice Presidents, or Directors of Product have worked at before as Product Managers.

In fact, it is not even important whether they worked at those companies as Product Managers in the past; because those companies might still hire for Product Managers. Create a new spreadsheet and start building a list. Before long you will easily build up a list of 100 to 200 companies.

Next, search their website career page to see if they are hiring. If they go back to the standard protocol and apply and follow up.

If they do not have a position posted, that does not necessarily mean that this company is not hiring. It just means nobody has gotten around to the posting the role. Hiring teams procrastinate on posting roles ALL THE TIME.

Hiring Challenge: Why Companies Procrastinate on Posting Positions

The reason is because once the position has been posted there will be an outpouring of applications (many of them being very bad), technical recruiters and account managers from staffing agencies start blowing up the phones of anybody and everybody that may play a part in hiring for this position, and the majority of the applicants that make it to the interviews will be a complete waste of time. This is why companies favor internal hires (people that already work at the company but on different teams) or internal referrals.

Your Solution:

Separate the list of companies that “are” hiring right now versus the companies that are not. From the list of companies that do not have a Product Manager role posted, reach out to the Chiefs, Heads, Vice Presidents, or Directors of Product. Connect with them on LinkedIn and send this message:

Hey (Manager Name),

I am reaching out to you because I am a big fan of what you guys are doing right now. I did not see a Product Manager position posted and wanted to inquire if you are guys planning to bring on anybody new.

I am also open to having a conversation with you guys even if you not currently looking for someone.

This message shows a lot of respect for the hiring team. It shows that you are actually interested in what they are doing rather than just trying to update your LinkedIn profile saying that you work there. In addition, it also shows that you have done your due diligence before reaching out; which shows even more interest.

In the past, there have been 7 Product Gym alumni that have landed Product Manager jobs by using this exact same methodology. There are no guarantees, but at least you are generating interviews through another funnel that most people would otherwise not go the extra mile for.

Reaching Out to Companies that Just Received Funding

Early bird gets the worm as people often say. We have mentioned before the challenges that companies face when they post for a Product Manager job. However, have you ever stopped to think what about those companies that need a Product Manager, but does not even know where to start looking or how?

Hiring Challenge: Recruiters are the Last to Get Hired

Recruiters and Internal Talent Acquisition people do not produce revenue. Hence, they are the last to be hired in any startup. In established organizations, Internal Recruiters are the last to get the fancy computers, new Microsoft office, perks, and basically everything else. Why? Because they do not generate revenue for the company. So, imagine a startup that just received funding; if none of the people in that startup has done any hiring in their previous careers….How do you think they are going hire new people? Many times, newly funded startups will pay Staffing or Technical Recruiting agencies a fee to help them onboard much-needed talent.

Your solution:

This is where you come in. Going after positions that are posted is necessary, but that is low hanging fruit. You need to reach out to companies that have not posted their Product Manager position yet. How?

Form a Google news alert for tech companies that just received funding in your local area. Use this message to reach out to them:

Hi Founder,

Congrats on securing X amount in Series ______. I am a big fan of what you guys are doing right now and would love to talk to you about possibly joining your Product team.

Can we chat Tuesday or Thursday / Monday or Wednesday (always space out the days to two days apart) at 11:30 am (this has proved to be a great time because people are waiting to go to lunch)?

Name

If you are living in a big city right now you are sure to generate an extra interview a week from this methodology. The best part though, if you are first; then the competition will not be as fierce as a posted position. You will see the results, but we urge all of you to be consistent with this methodology.

Attending Meetups

Going to Meetups is another way to develop a new funnel to secure more Product Manager interviews.

Hiring Challenge:

There simply is not enough time to interview everyone. There are bound to be others like you who may be qualified for the role but fell through the cracks. Moreover, if the recruiter (gatekeeper) does not pass your resume through; then the hiring manager has no way of actually knowing you are interested. The whole recruiting process as a whole is flawed. Think about it! Hiring teams are reviewing your resume and in 2 to 5 minutes have to decide whether or not they want to have a 20 to 30 minute phone call with you, to decide if they want to grill you for 3 to 5 in person, to finally decide if they want to work with you for the next 18 to 24 months. There just is not enough time for the hiring side to really get to know you.

Your Solution:

Make a list of Meetups and make an effort to attend. Go there with resume and cover letter in hand be ready to ask for the interview.

Hey

I am a big fan of what you guys do! I saw a Product Manager opening and came here to ask you for an interview.

Be bold! Yes! This is kind of scary and there is no guarantee this is going to yield you interviews all the time but we have seen this work before. A few months ago we had a Product Manager from WeWork present at our New York Campus. Our event staff clearly noticed that many people came, because they are interested in joining WeWork as a Product Manager.

Your Solution:

Make a list of all the Product Management Meetups there are each week and attend them. You can find these Meetups of course on Meetup.com, but there are other sites as well. Here is a list of other websites that would be aggregating not just Product Management, but also other technology Meetups.

https://www.meetup.com/Product-Lounge/

https://nytm.org/events

http://www.builtinnyc.com/events

https://tech.co/submit-your-industry-event

http://www.digital.nyc/events

http://www.garysguide.com/events#

https://www.startupdigest.com/

Working with Technical Recruiting and Staffing Agencies

The last option that we will mention for this article is working directly with Technical Recruiting and Staffing Agencies. These people are great to network with, because think about it; if a company is contracting an agency to find you they are pretty adamant about hiring a Product Manager.

How Staffing Agencies Work

Staffing agencies are paid a fee, usually, a percentage of the candidates first-year annual salary. This fee is paid for by the company that is working with the agency and will not hurt or affect your salary in any way. Companies use recruiting agencies because the other does not have a recruiter working internally or need the resources that only a specialized recruiting agency can provide. In essence, recruiting agencies have resources most internal recruiters do not have; because their end product is recruiting. Agency recruiters are incentivized to get you the most money possible because the more money they get you; the more money makes in commission. The commission structure varies from agency to agency and is also dependant on the recruiters standing and merits within their own company. More seasoned recruiters are better skilled and thus earn more.

Your Challenge:

Since agency recruiters are incentivized by the commission, it becomes obvious that may not have your best interests at heart. They will not doubt do their utmost to help you secure the position that you interviewed for, but that position or company may not always be the RIGHT fit for you, nor do they always align with your professional goals and aspirations.

Your Solution:

Do more inquire about these roles you interview for through Staffing Agencies. Understand that there agencies that specialize in staffing for Product Manager positions and those that do not. It is also dependant on the specific recruiter that you are working with. There are Recruiters that Product Gym has worked with in the past that our alumni have found to be very helpful. Please note that not all Technical Recruiters are out to put you in the wrong position.

Please schedule a call today or RSVP for our next event to see how Product Gym can help you land your next Product Manager job.

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