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Vitalii Ermolaev
Vitalii Ermolaev

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How to Prepare for a Product Manager Interview

New job interviews are always stressful. But if you roughly understand what you might be asked there, then the excitement fades into the background. In this article I will tell you what steps accompany the selection of candidates for the position of a product manager, what you need to know about successfully passing them.

Research the product you intend to work on

Research the services of the team and their competitors before going into an interview. Find strengths and weaknesses, and formulate some ideas and suggestions on how they can improve the product. You can also use the service for some time to evaluate it from the point of the audience view. 

Improve your knowledge of the product technical component

Not all companies are looking for a product manager who can be a developer at the same time but you need to know the basics. For example, you won't see a single technology question on, and you'll have to write the code yourself together with the programmers at Google. In large tech companies, it all depends on the team interviewing you.

Organize an interview with yourself using open source interview templates

Find examples of interviews for different companies on the Glassdor website and try to parse a few questions to see how you would answer them in a real interview.

Ask questions

Remember that the interview is not just for you. You, too, interview the team to see if you want to work with these people or not. Also, if you have no questions for the employer, you may get the feeling that this job is not particularly interesting to you.

Don't be afraid to be wrong

There are no right or wrong answers during an interview. The team looks at how you reason, and they try to understand how your views align with theirs. In the real world, problems can also arise for which there is no answer, and the solution must be developed along the way. 

Prepare some stories about your past work experience

You may be asked to talk about a specific work situation: describe it, explain the problem, tell what solution you proposed and what it led to. The STAR Job Interview Methodology can help you with this.

Feel free to share what your bad experience taught you.

Don't be afraid to talk about failures, because no one is immune from them. 90% of experiments fail, so learning from your own mistakes is practically the most important skill of a product manager. Moreover, if you tell the story correctly, it will surely help you. For example, if you did A/B testing incorrectly, then explain how and when you realized you were wrong, what actions you took to fix the situation, what it taught you, and what you are doing to avoid the same in the future. 

Don't think easier is better

Some people think that if the interview was too difficult, then most likely it didn't go well. And vice versa: if the interview seemed too easy for you and you were asked simple questions, then you will be hired but I don't advise you to join such a team. During the interview, you simulate a real work situation and try to test each other to find out how comfortable you would be to work together. If people can't conduct a good interview, then most likely they will also be negligent in their approach to tasks.

What else to read about interviewing:

  • Gayle Laakmann McDowell, Jackie Bavaro. Cracking the PM Interview: How to Land a Product Manager Job in Technology 
  • Lewis C. Lin. Decode and Conquer: Answers to Product Management Interviews

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