As a candidate, the recruitment process can seem like the most mysterious process you ever encounter. Fortunately, Product Gym will take you inside the mind of a recruiter and uncover some of the mysteries, so that you can ace your next product management interview.
What if I get nervous?
Nerves are a normal part of the interview process. The only way you can alleviate your nerves is to practice.
How do you do this? By interviewing for positions outside of your local area.
For example, if you live in NYC, don’t be afraid to apply for jobs in Boston, Denver or San Francisco! This way, you can gain valuable practice and the next time you interview for a job in your home market,
you’ll be ready to go.
What mindset should I have going into an interview?
Here’s the thing. If you don’t succeed in this interview, another one is right around the corner. Get on the phone and talk to that interviewer as if you are there to solve their problems, not land a job. Act as if you are there to help them, not bother them. They have a problem, which is the reason they posted the job. This should give you confidence, something that you should do your best to portray. Don’t have much confidence? Fake it until you start acting confident.
Are your “presentation skills” of yourself defined by this one phone interview?
Yes and no. It’s a trailer of what’s to come. The best part is, you can control this. Speak up, sound more excited and pumped up. Start thinking “I LOVE this company”. If it’s a pet company, make sure you get the message across that you LOVE pets. Enthusiasm goes a long way.
What is the recruiter’s goal of the initial phone screen?
The initial goal is to determine you aren’t crazy. Next, is culture fit. People want to hire who they want to work with. Again, up the excitement, enthusiasm, and knowledge about the company beforehand.
Example: If the company just received a round of funding, make sure you bring it up in the interview. It will show genuine interest and that you’ve done your research. BE AUTHENTIC – Make sure you know your resume inside out and be prepared to be called out. If you say you are “data-driven” and a data scientist asks you how you are data-driven, be ready to explain it in depth. Any sign you are dishonest is a red flag and guarantee you won’t move on to the next round. They are looking for a reason to NOT hire you – Once a role is posted, recruiters and hiring managers don’t know who they will hire and cast their net wide. Focus on uncovering the problem they are trying to solve and your valuable contribution. Think like a Product Manager – If you are getting phone interviews and not moving on to the next round, you have a quality problem. Think like a Product Manager. Run some A/B tests on your pitch and refine it. Record yourself, play it back and see if you made any sense. Treat the company you are interviewing for as an account you are trying to land. Treat the entire process as a funnel and roadmap (interviews, phone screens, etc). Know where the company is in the funnel and know your intention to land the right offer with the right company.
Not getting enough phone screens? A/B test your resume and increase your applications. Go ahead and create an account with Trello and Jira to manage this entire job hunt.
Rich is the Founder of Product Gym™, the first professional career coaching service committed to helping aspiring and veteran Product Managers transition into the Product Manager job of their dreams. Previously, Rich worked as a Technical Recruiter for both CyberCoders and Workbridge Associates, where he partnered with countless companies to attract, develop, and retain their top talent. Currently, he specializes in coaching his students to generate more interviews than they can count, perfect their interview pitches, as well as negotiate the biggest offers for themselves with the most exciting companies. Rich graduated from Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles with a Bachelor’s Degree in History.