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138 - Secrets to Succeeding at Product Management Interviews

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ProductCamp Boston is the world's largest and most exciting crowd-sourced one-day event for product people.  It's organized by and for product managers, product marketers and entrepreneurs, so attendees get the most out of the day.

Attendees learn about and discuss topics in product management and product marketing, product discovery, product development & design, go-to-market, product strategy and lifecycle management, and product management 101, startups, and career development.

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138 - Secrets to Succeeding at Product Management Interviews

  1. 1. Secrets to succeeding at Product Management interviews #Session 138 Mahesh Chayel
  2. 2. A quick intro About me: ● PM for TripAdvisor’s Hotels B2B team (generates >50% of TripAdvisor’s revenue) ● 10+ years of experience (mostly as PM) ● Worked at very small to very large companies ● Conducted 50+ interviews ● 14 PM interview offers so far Goal of the presentation: To go beyond the obvious on how to succeed in PM interviews Success measure: Each person here improves their chances of converting a PM interview by x%.
  3. 3. Stats from interviews Based on sample size of 8 product managers, the interview success rate follows the below funnel on average: Resume selection Recruiter phone interview Hiring manager phone interview Onsite interview 100% 30% 22% 10% 3% Focus of this presentation
  4. 4. The Obvious reading list Mandatory: - ‘Decode and Conquer’ by Lewis Lin - ‘Cracking the PM Interview’ by Gayle L. McDowell - ‘Inspired’ by Marty Cagan Bonus: - ‘Swipe to unlock’ by Neel Mehta, Aditya Agashe - ‘Grokking the system design interview’ by Educative
  5. 5. Before the Interview During the Interview
  6. 6. Know the company - Think deeply about the reason to work there. If possible connect a personal story. - Understand company’s vision and strategy. Read articles discussing company strategy (e.g. stratechery). Read the latest news about the company. If the company is public, read the Investor Relations presentation.
  7. 7. Research the role - If the hiring is for a particular business/ department, understand the product well. Try to use it if possible. - Understand why customers want to use it/ buy it i.e. value proposition of the product. Find job descriptions of other roles in the same department to understand what is the company trying to build. Figure out atleast 3 ways to improve the product (if it is an existing product).
  8. 8. Prepare FAQ - Save mental strength by preparing Q&A in advance - Tell me about yourself? Why PM? - Why joining the company? Why leaving your current company? - Answer for situational questions with instances of - Biggest success and biggest failure - Using data to make decision - Not meeting timeline - Conflict with team member and manager
  9. 9. Research interviewers - Ask the interviewer for focus areas of each interviewer - Research LinkedIn profiles of each interviewer - Understand their domain and background - Prepare initial talking points for each of them - Have a list of questions you would ask each of them
  10. 10. Practice mock interviews with PMs - Best is to sync up with other PMs who are also preparing for interviews. - Solve mock questions from Glassdoor and other forums which have actual questions. - Spend time solving questions together instead of only playing interviewer/ interviewee. - Prep Sources: - Lewis Lin’s PM interviews slack channel - Stellar Peers
  11. 11. Before the Interview During the Interview
  12. 12. Structured Thinking - Solve management case studies - obtain through B-school friends - Use rule of 3 while answering questions - Try building your answer using a mix of key frameworks - Porter’s 5 forces - 4 Ps of Marketing (Product, Price, Place, Promotion) - AARRR (Acquisition, Activation, Retention, Revenue, Referral) - 5 Cs of Pricing (Company objective, Customer, Cost, Competitor, Channel)
  13. 13. Confidence and Positive body language From interviewer perspective - It’s a fine line between coming across as anxious vs energetic - Similarly, it is very easy to confuse between can-do attitude vs arrogance What can you do? - Understand the question completely before answering. Ask clarifying questions if necessary. - Be authentic - Anticipate the questions
  14. 14. Recharging during onsite interviews Taking breaks is crucial - Go for coffee/water and restroom breaks - Ask questions - why, how - Use the whiteboard, it gives you more time to think Apart from breaks - Eat healthy and light - If travelling to a new time zone, - try to adjust the interview timings
  15. 15. Good luck!