9 mini-essays for preparing for Product Manager interviews.
Written by David Cai, former APM at Verizon Media (Yahoo).
- Land your story: When talking about any personal experience, make sure you are 100% clear on the purpose the story serves, and make that clear to the listener.
- The best interviews are conversations: Anyone can have an idea for an app. The real work is in getting others excited and willing to work on it. Have you ever convinced someone to do something by waiting for them to ask you questions?
- Color it in with tech: A PM at a tech company should have a grasp on the fundamentals of the industry. No one is going to ask you to list the features of the iPhone Xs vs Xr, but the better answers have subtle shades of industry knowledge coloring in the background.
- Create scaffolding: Phone interviews are tricky because you lose the ability to literally be on the same page (whiteboard) as your interviewer. Be intentional about the structure of your answers.
- Prepare questions: “I’d love to hear about your day-to-day as an APM!” Questions are a proxy for interest, and generic questions don’t show much.
- Clock management: Everyone loves talking, but be careful not to get carried away. Remember, if your interviewer wants to know more, they can always ask.
- Have a warm-up routine: Maybe power posing isn’t for you, but developing an interview routine separate from your day-to-day will put you in the right headspace.
- Have a cool-down routine: Athletes watch film to improve. You should do the same.
- Take care of the rest of your life: While interviewing may be your first-semester priority, the rest of your life still goes on.
9 Mini-Essays on Product Manager Interview Preparation