The road to success in Product Manager interviews is to question and understand why this role was open in the first place.
Make sure you watch the video version of this article here:
If you are interviewing with the Recruiter for the first round, make sure you read our first round interview guide here.
While talking to the Hiring Manager, make sure you get an answer to the following questions:
- Why are they looking to explicitly looking to fill this role?
- Is it a backfill, or is it a brand-new position?
- Will you have to inherit some legacy debt, or are you building a product from scratch?
- Who are the types of stakeholders that you need to talk to to be successful?
The key here is to get into the mindset of them envisioning you already as a candidate.
Remember that asking the right questions will guide you to understand what exactly you want to talk about with the Hiring Manager. Here are a couple more questions that aren’t only impressive, but will help you know what you need to talk about in your interview.
Ask them to see how do they define success for you in the first 30-90 days.
Ask what the Hiring Manager is looking for. Get them to tell you whether they are looking for someone with stakeholder experience or engineering experience? You should figure out which challenges they are trying to overcome by hiring you. This way, you will identify what professional expertise in your background successfully demonstrate that you overcame those challenges.
Ask them where other candidates are falling short. What is it that stood out from other candidates when they looked at your resume?
This way, you will know exactly what aspects of your resume to defend, and you will end your call with them in a strategically positive note!
Strategy 1: Do Your LinkedIn Homework
You have to understand who you are talking to as you have to build rapport with this Hiring Manager.
We have observed that many times candidates forget to research their interviewers before stepping into their interview.
In many cases, your interviewer will be a Lead Product Manager, Director of Product, or even the Head of Product in a smaller company.
Check their backgrounds and see which companies they have worked for previously. This way, you can find common points or topics to discuss in terms of culture and fit.
It’s always important to find ways to build rapport because that speaks to how you potentially be working with your Hiring Manager, not only as a Product Manager, but also as a peer. So always ensure that when interviewing with a hiring manager, understand who they are, where they came from (academically or geographically.) This will help you with what to talk about in your conversation.
Don’t know what kinds of questions you would face in the second-round Product Manager interview? Make sure you take look at our list of most commonly asked interview questions, categorized by each round:
Strategy 2: Use the First Round
You should use your notes from the first-round interview to help you ask relevant questions or make relevant points.
What should you ask in the first round to get the necessary information you need to dominate your second round interview?
The number one question that Product Gym tells its members to ask is, “What is it about my background that you like and drew your attention?” Ask the same question to the Hiring Manager to see if they are on the same page with the Recruiter. Take note of the answer and use it to write your pitch for the second round.
The same thing is true for the question, “Where have you been seeing candidates fall short?”
If you talked to a well-versed Recruiter, you would understand exactly what kind of talent the company is looking for. Therefore, you must gather as much information as possible from your first-round interview.
Note that it’s entirely possible for the Hiring Manager or the Recruiter not to know exactly what the role entails, especially if it just opened. Even if that’s the case, make sure you ask the questions we are telling you here to guide them to understand and determine what exactly they are looking for.
Now that you have gathered the necessary information from your first round, it’s time for you to prepare a well-versed pitch to answer the “Tell Me About Yourself Question” thoroughly.
If you haven’t already, make sure you watch the following video to learn the best template to answer such questions:
Step 3: Craft a Detailed Story
The most crucial aspect of your second-round interview is your story. The Hiring Manager will be looking for a lot more detail and depth in your stories. So, make sure that you know your story end-to-end.
The Hiring Manager will have really specific questions for you in the second round regarding the products you have built in your previous roles.
You should be ready to answer questions such as:
- Which metrics did you measure?
- How did you manage different stakeholders?
- How did you prioritize which features to build?
Your story should show the Hiring Manager that you were the hero of the product.
While this question might sound simple and straightforward, you need to include specific keywords that prove your proficiency in Product Management practice. If you are struggling to figure out which terms to use while answering the “Tell me about yourself” question, make sure you watch our video guide:
Note that nobody is expecting and wanting you to use jargon specific to your industry. The chances are that you are coming from a different industry, and the interviewer will not be able to understand what you were talking about.
Your pitch should be beyond any industry, and the interviewer should understand what you built regardless of where you are coming from.
Here’s a guide to explaining your Product Management process regardless of the work you did:
Strategy 4: Articulate Your Background
In most cases, you are leaving your job either because you want to become a Product Manager, and you are coming from a non-PM background or want to change the industry you are working in.
In the new role you are interviewing for, you should be able to tell what gap they are looking to fill. Are they looking for someone with Product Management experience? Or are they looking for someone coming from your industry?
You should ask the right guiding questions to be able to tell which option applies to your case. Depending on the answer you get, you should be able to articulate your background accordingly.
Always try to relate your specific background to what the role is looking for. Be flexible and mold your story accordingly. You always want to show relevance.
Don’t try to talk about something that they’re not interested in. You can gauge that from how they are interacting with you on the call.
A successful second-round interview will go beyond qualifying you for the further rounds. The Hiring Manager will have a good word for you when the rest of the hiring team is assessing whether you are a fit for the role or not.
If you are interviewing and struggling with getting the offer, make sure you schedule a call with us today to find out how we can help you!