Fourth or last round calls are usually with the CEOs, presidents or business strategy/visionaries.
For a startup, the Product Manager and hiring manager is likely the CEO. Companies that don’t have a Product department have the founders as the Product Manager.
If you’ve gotten this far into the process, it’s likely that you already know enough about the role or the Product Manager. What you need to demonstrate during this interview is genuine interest in the role and competency in communicating knowledge.
This ties very specifically on asking questions about the business because if they’re the CEO or the President and they can’t give you a good answer on the strategy of the business, you probably don’t want to work there.
When you talk to these individuals you have to understand that if they’re the president, the founder or the CEO or visionaries, especially they’re in this stage, they’re very focused on the company vision.
This means that every question you ask and every answer you give to their questions has to be focused on the company vision. Whether it is the reason for leaving or your product development lifecycle – it has to be focused on company vision.
“Talk to me about your ten-year plan. Do you think that your primary product is going to be acquired? Do you have an extra strategy? Are you looking to become public? Are you looking to become the Apple of your domain? Are you looking to sell the company and be a feature on Google? What is the long-term strategy?”
When you’re asking them about the business, ask them about the industry, ask them about their competitors, ask them about their placement on the marketplace.
“What do you see is your key competitive advantage across these people? Do you see it changing in the next five to six years?”
Ask questions about change, because when they hear that from you, that means you are thinking of staying with the company longer term, and you’re evaluating the business short term and long term.
Simply put, when you are asking questions about the business, you’re asking about their story.
Again, you have to understand that these people, especially the founders, they have been the Product Manager. They have been the CEO. They are the Product Managers. So, if they exist past the initial interview stage, they are really handing you their baby. You want to make sure that you ask the right questions related to their baby, like when their baby grows up, when the baby needs to be independent, or anything that has revolves around with how the baby changes.