What are some tips for preparing for a product manager interview?

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There’s really 3 areas to prep for any Product Manager interview.

First, update your resume. You may even want to target the resume for the role you’re going after. For example, in an application to a smaller company PM you may want to highlight your ability to “do it all”, or for larger companies your ability to think strategically. At a minimum, make sure your resume is up to date and give it a read through to make any last tweaks. While resumes have become less important over time, it just takes one typo or mis-statement in a competitive market to hurt your chances.

Second, get recent project work ready. Make sure you’re able to clearly articulate the following:

  • Why was the work you’ve done important?
  • Who cared about it, who did it impact?
  • How did the build and release process go?
  • What were the challenges?
  • What were the results?
  • Overall, success & failure of the delivery?

I suggest you actually create and maintain a product portfolio to keep your experience sharp and ensure you cover all your work and respond to interviews quickly. It’s a good habit to update every 6 months. Here’s some more information on how.

Third, do your homework on the company and product you expect to work on. If the product is in-market then download and use the app. Critique the design, user flows, and missing functionality. Have at least 2-3 strong product recommendations to discuss in the interview, ideally based on your past product experience. For example, I interviewed for a senior product role for an eCommerce company and they had not introduced “recently searched” as a component on the homepage. As a Product Manager in other eCommerce roles, I knew just how valuable this component was to traffic & revenue and could use this opportunity to give a recommendation in context of previous work.

In addition to product recommendations, check Glassdoor reviews. What is the best & worst feedback on the company? Let these items give you a sense of the overall work life and common concerns. Raise these as questions in the interview. Remember, interviews are a two way street and you need to make sure you’re comfortable that this will be a great place to grow your career.

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About Author

Co-founder of productmanagerclub.com, ex-Audible (Amazon), AmEx and TribalScale Product Management leader, currently living in Portugal leading product management of vertical expansion for automotive within OLX. Mike has built products and coached teams all over the world.

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