Interviewing for product manager roles can be tough, exhausting and nerve wracking. But it doesn’t have to be like that. You can improve your chances of converting the interview by focussing on three aspects of the product management interview:
We have broken this down into a three part blog series which covers each aspect. In this blog we will learn about the interview format that most companies follow. Each hiring team will tweak it to meet their own specific needs. But the general flow usually remains the same.
The entire interview process can divided into four stages. Each stage has a different goal. If you meet the goal you reach the next stage. Sounds simple enough :).
Lets dive right into each interview stage!
This is your first official interaction with the company. You might have networked with different people to reach this point. This is where the company has looked at your resume, LinkedIn profile and online avatar and said ” We like this candidate on paper”. Let’s get to know them better and find out if they will be a good fit for the role.
How do they get in touch with you?
If it’s a small company the hiring manager might reach out to you . In larger organisations someone from the HR team will email you to find out your interest in the role.
How should you respond?
Make sure of the following in your response:
What to expect on the call?
Companies talk to many candidates for the same role at a time. The goal of this round is to find candidates who:
What should you do after the call/interview round?
Send a “Thank You” email to your interviewers within a few hours of speaking with them.
This applies to each round. It is important to do this after each round. We won’t keep repeating it in each section but can’t stress enough how important it is to do. Here’s why:
Try and end your email with a question or building on a discussion that you might have started during the call. It helps build a rapport with the prospective employer.
What happens after the call?
The interviewer will share their notes with the hiring manager. Based on that you might get called in for the next round. In that case Yay!. You’ve cleared the first hurdle.
If you get through don’t feel disheartened. Keep at it! Trust me when I say this ” Hardwork always pays off in the end”.
The second round is often conducted in person. It depends on where you’re located. While every round is important, this one is right there at the top.
In this round the goal of the hiring manager is to find the following:
Product Management roles in each company are different. It is very rare that a company will find everything in a candidate they are looking for. What is important for you is to:
The focus in this round is the work you have done and the achievements you have highlighted on your resume. This round usually lasts for about 45 minutes to an hour.
Product Managers spend as lot of their time writing. Your written skills and analytical thinking is put to test here.
What is the assignment?
You will be presented with a scenario that you are likely to face as a product manager. You are required to submit a two page analysis of how you would go and work through the scenario. You are expected to spend around four hours on them. Some that I have seen in the past are:
Most of the time these are open ended exercises. Some things to consider when working on them:
This has always been my favourite part of the interviewing process. For a candidate it’s a chance to:
For employers, it is an opportunity to:
Who can you expect to meet and what do they generally ask?
You will meet people from different groups. Some of them are:
At the end of your onsite interview you’ll have a feedback session with the HR manager. They will want to know how your day went, your impressions of the place and if you see yourself working there.
I have seen a few different ways companies communicate their decisions to candidates:
You GOT the Offer
If you’ve made it and got the job, the HR manager or the hiring manager will call you.
They will congratulate you and present you the offer. You should thank them for the opportunity. I know you’ll be super excited and must have worked hard for this day. You might even want to accept the verbal offer without taking the time to go through everything. I did that at the beginning of my career. My advice would be to hold your horses. Take your time to:
Don’t worry, nobody is going to take away your offer! Companies expect candidates to negotiate!
You didn’t make it:
It would be great if companies provided you feedback on how to improve. What didn’t go well, where you were lacking. Unfortunately I have never been able to get feedback after rejection. It is because of two reasons:
Irrespective, you should try and stay in touch with everyone you meet throughout the hiring process. Some ways to do that are:
That wraps it up. We’re done! I know this sounds like a really really long process. But don’t worry. Enjoy the ride and make every interview a learning experience for the next. Best of luck in your product management journey. Let us know if we can help in any way getting you ready for your interview!