Sunday, March 3, 2024

How To Crack The Pm Interview

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Cracking The Pm Interview Book Review Summary

CS50 and Quora Present: Prep and Practice for Tech Interviews

Cracking the PM Interview is a good resource if youre preparing for a PM interview or if you want to break into product management. However, it does have areas that need improvement. While the interview question guides, as well as the industry advice, are valuable, the book has dated information that may not be relevant anymore.

Those who want to prep for their interviews properly should take advantage of other resources like blogs, podcasts, communities, and the like.

It may be advantageous to take a PM prep course after reading the book so you can get more tips. Joining a community is also ideal as it gives you the chance to network and interact with other PMs. Doing this also gives you opportunities to practice which is highly recommended in the book.

Because the PM hiring landscape changes constantly, use your resourcefulness to look for other helpful materials.

Get Very Familiar With Their Products/services And Competitors

I cant emphasize how important it is to spend a ton of time using their product/services and exploring all the features available. In addition, you should definitely check out their competitors to get a better understanding of the ecosystem. This will help you identify areas of improvement and position them in the market.

Which Cracking The Pm Interview Sections Best Represent Todays Pm Hiring Landscape

We know that getting a Product Manager job is complicated: there are seemingly endless things to learn. In Cracking the PM Interview, Lackman does have many useful tips that prospective PMs could use. Its a great supplementary resource for your interview prep.

Her explanation of transitioning from engineering to product management is very informative. She shares a clear roadmap of how these two career paths are related and how one can leverage an engineering background to become a successful Product Manager.

However, there isnt enough clarity on how professionals coming from a non-technical or business background can make a transition to product management. There is definitely a strong population of non-technical professionals that would also like to transition to product management its not just software engineers.

We also love the fact that she addresses the MBA question. Many first-time Product Manager candidates believe that getting an MBA is the only way of transitioning to product management, but we believe otherwise. Based on the data weve collected while helping first-time Product Managers, its clear to us that you can succeed without an MBA. In this regard, It was very refreshing to hear a prominent voice confirm our perspective.

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So Is It Worth A Read

While you shouldnt necessarily use Cracking the PM Interview as your product management bible, its definitely worth giving a try. Its real-world examples and strategies to solve interview questions will offer useful context for your recruitment process, especially if youve never done a product management interview before. On the other hand, if youre an experienced PM, you may need to temper your expectations a bit. But it can still be an interesting read and a useful resource, even if youre just checking it out to see what everyone else is talking about.

The information provided herein is for general informational purposes only and is not intended to provide tax, legal, or investment advice and should not be construed as an offer to sell, a solicitation of an offer to buy, or a recommendation of any security by Candor, its employees and affiliates, or any third-party. Any expressions of opinion or assumptions are for illustrative purposes only and are subject to change without notice. Past performance is not a guarantee of future results and the opinions presented herein should not be viewed as an indicator of future performance. Investing in securities involves risk. Loss of principal is possible.

Our Top Tips On How To Crack Pm Interview

Cracking the PM Interview: How to Land a Product Manager Job in ...

Wondering how to crack PM interview? Keep reading and everything will soon sound like facile.

1. Understand the Role Ensure you know what a Product Manager is and that you possess all the skills needed for the job.

2. Read for the Role If you havent already, you should consider reading books that are essential to a product managers success.

3. Be in the Loop Keeping up to date with industry news because interviewers often ask for your thoughts around current events happening in the industry.

4. Avoid These Mistakes From using the word I instead of we to not properly articulating how your previous experience can be applied to the potential role- there are things interviewers class as red flags.

5. Prepare for potential questions A typical product manager interview judges the candidates in 5 broad categories. Know about those 5 areas and the example questions for cracking the PM interview.

6. Ask Questions At the end of most interviews, do you have any questions for us? is frequently asked. Preparing the right questions to ask is imperative.

7. An interesting read about how someone can learn from his mistakes

Check out our AMA session with Fernando to learn more tricks and growth hacks to crack a Product Management interview.

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Demonstrate Applicable Experiences And Skills

Interviewers like to hear how your past experiences are relevant to the job position youre applying for. Giving many examples is always very helpful to show how relevant your background and skills are. Explain your past roles, the skills you acquired and how you could use them in this new endeavor.

Examples For Google Product Strategy Questions:

  • Do you think Google should buy the iRobot company? Why or why not?
  • How do you see the “creator economy” evolving over the next ten years? What would you recommend we build if Google wanted to make a new significant product investment within this space?
  • Google Keep is a free product to save, share notes, etc. How would you make it a subscription product & monetize it?

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Why Its Not For You

Plenty of more established PMs mentioned that this book is good as a refresher but its contents are geared towards beginner PMs or those who are not in the industry but want to start their PM career. The lessons were more foundational which seasoned PMs are already aware of.

Cracking the PM interview has its merits but it also has some parts that need improvement. For instance, the book was first published in 2013. While some of the core ideas remain relevant, there is information that is dated. A lot of the information may not apply to todays PM hiring landscape anymore.

Importance Of Data And Innovation

CS50 and Quora Present: Preparation and Practice for Technical Interviews 2017

The reason that the product you want to build is cool is not good enough. The argument needs to be supported by data and you need to mention this fact in the interview.

Every hiring manager values innovation. What they want to know is what you are bringing into the company and to the team. When asked what you would want to build for their company all you need is one good idea. Randys advise is not to be afraid of getting up and using the white board for brainstorming and innovating on site. The person interviewing you might even join you for brainstorming!

Also Check: How To Prepare For A Podcast Interview

How Do I Cope With Rejection

Its been more than 5 years since I started receiving rejection emails, but I still feel my heart getting crushed when I see, Thank you for applying, unfortunately.

There is only one way that I know to really cope up: feel the pain completely. Do not let anyone make you feel guilty for feeling sad at least on the day of getting the rejection call. You did put in a lot of effort, and you deserve some time to feel the disappointment.

But, when you wake up the next day, shrug it off, and move on. Because a company does not define who you can be, only you can do that.


Guess what? Youre all set for the interview if you take the above advice seriously and work hard towards your goal. Interest is just a spark, Initiative is the fuel. Go ahead, and kick-ass!


If that was useful, Follow me for more and do you know what? If you really liked my writing, you would be doing it by default. 🙂 So, I just hope you liked it! Heres some of my other pieces:

Examples For Meta Analysis Questions:

  • You launched a new feature that determines whether a recipient read a Facebook message. What metrics would you collect? How would you know the feature was a success?
  • You are PM of FB Events, and you saw an overnight drop in RSVPs by 10%. How would you go about determining what happened?
  • What are the success metrics for Facebook Live at the growth phase?

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Bridging The Gap Between Theory And Practise

Disclaimer: Views expressed here are my personal thoughts.

Anyone who has interviewed Product Managers or interviewed for PM roles would tell you that its a pretty crazy role to interview for.

Youre expected to be good at a lot of different things and at the same time, you are expected to influence a team of people where everyone is better at their respective functions than you are.

You are expected to ship software even though you cant write code as well as your engineers can you are expected to guide the design process even though you cant play around with pixels as well as your designers do.

You are expected to act as a leader to these teams even though they technically do not report to you.

Practice With Example Questions

How to Crack the PM Interview by Gayle McDowell

In this section, you’ll find several example questions for each of the five primary PM interview question types we covered previously. This section is a summary of a separate article that we’ve written, which provides an even more extensive list of product manager interview questions.

For each question type below, we’ll also provide links to our related guides. These guides teach a step-by-step method for solving each type of PM interview question, and they also contain additional example questions if you want more practice.

Let’s start with strategy questions:

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One More Round Of Revisions And Fine

I did this about ten days before my interview at Uber. At this point, I was pretty comfortable with the frameworks, so I turned my focus to case studies I was able to find. On average, I worked on each case study for 20 hours. The process included:

  • Preparing final notes for all the frameworks
  • Working on detailed case studies to apply all the concepts and frameworks I learned.
  • Conduct more mock interviews with alumni.
  • Why This Blog Post

    I recently started a new role as a Product Manager. As I made the leap to product management from being a founder, I went through a set of interviews some of which worked out and some of which didnt.

    Like anything in life, I learned from the ones that didnt work and built a set of frameworks that helped me do well in the interviews that mattered.

    As I went through this process, I realized that most of the resources around preparing for PM interviews available online, are fairly shallow.

    In fact, most of them are really crappy . I want to call out Cracking the PM Interview by Gayle Laakmann as an exception because it really is a good book.

    That said, I still found it pretty shallow when it comes to areas like Product Design and Data .

    So, I decided to publish a list of missing things I wish someone told me when I was preparing for the interviews.

    I also decided to write about this because PM interviews seem fuzzy and daunting at first sight youre often told even during interviews that there is no right answer to a question. The set of things mentioned in this post hopefully provide a structure that reduces this fuzziness a little.

    In a typical PM interview, you are evaluated on the following areas:

    Also Check: How To Analyze Interview Data In Qualitative Research

    How To Crack The Product Manager Interview

    Before you plan to make Product Manager your career, here are few questions that you should ask yourself.

    Are you really passionate about product management? What part of this role excites you the most? Does it give you an adrenaline rush to make a change when you see non-intuitive apps?

    Are you someone who is having FoMo because your Product Manager friends are doing pretty well, or you find Product Manager a fascinating job to be into?

    If you fall under the second bracket, then I suggest that you do some retrospection and seek mentorship to figure out your Ikigai. Following the flock will lead you nowhere.

    Product management is for passionate people who want to make a difference. It could be a passion for technology, innovation, solving a customer problem, or redefining the user experience. Or it could be a passion for capturing a market and implementing a winning strategy. Nonetheless, there is a passion for what they are doing and what they want to do.

    In this article, I am sharing few simple tips & tricks that have helped me cracking Product Manager interview. These are from my personal experience and I hope you will utilize the below to your advantage and breakthrough your interview.

  • Practice case studies
  • Be thoughtful, empathetic, practical, goal-oriented and analytical in your approach.

    Few case studies for your reference:

    2. Learn about KPIs, OKRs, and metrics

    KPIs example:

    • Keywords in top 10 search engine results
    • Number of customers retained this month

    Get Familiar With The Product Manager Interview Process

    Data Structures: Trees

    The interview process for Product Managers will vary significantly depending on the company, the specific role, your level of seniority, etc. However, there are some elements that are pretty typical across the board.

    So, in this section we’ve summarized common elements of PM interviews to help you get an overview of what to expect. This is an important first step because it will help you gain a high-level understanding of the steps you need to prepare for, allowing you to be more strategic with how you allocate your prep time.

    Note: If you are interviewing for a product leadership position , learn more about the process and how to prepare here.

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    Alternative Resources To This Book If Youre In A Hurry

    If you dont have the time or money to invest in buying and reading a book, there are still plenty of free resources you can check out. Check out the Product Gym YouTube channel for our interview tips playlist, or peruse our blog for templates on how to answer all the most common product management interview questions as well as interview strategies.

    Still sound like a lot of work and research? We are always here to help you land your dream Product Manager job in the shortest amount of time without quitting your full-time job. Schedule a call to get a free career coaching session with our in-house team. Wed love to answer any questions you may have about interview resources.

    Practice With Experienced Pm Ex

    Finally, you should also try to practice with experienced PM interviewers, because theyll be able to give you much more accurate feedback than friends or peers who don’t have first-hand experience with the PM interview process.

    If you know a Product Manager who can help you, that’s fantastic! But for most of us, it’s tough to find the right connections to make this happen. And it might also be difficult to practice multiple hours with that person unless you know them really well.

    Here’s the good news. We’ve already made the connections for you. Weve created a coaching service where you can practice 1-on-1 with ex-interviewers from Google, Facebook, Amazon, and other leading tech companies. Learn more and start scheduling sessions today.

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    Uber Product Manager Randy Edgar Reveals How To Crack The Pm Interview

    Former Facebook Product Manager of Enterprise Product, Randy Edgar, has done hundreds of job interviews. He does not lack experience in that field. Previously he worked six years at Facebook and is now the Group Product Manager at Uber. He studied Business Administration and Management and ended up in product about ten years ago.

    In Product Schools event, he shared his insights on how to crack the PM interview. The main thing to remember is never say no to an interview because you never know how its going to work out. The key points that he went through in his presentation were what are Product Management Managers looking for when they are hiring Product Managers and when they ask a question you know what theyre looking for and what the signals for what theyre looking for are. He also shared some tips for how things work out and what guidelines to follow with some questions.

    Select Companies To Interview With

    Cracking the pm interview

    First, you’ll want to pick a few companies you are interested in. Id recommend including both your dream companies and “safety” companies that you’d consider working for, or might want to use as an opportunity to practice for the dream companies.

    This is an important exercise to determine what you really want to do and where you really want to work. This will also help eliminate a few companies where you may never be interested in working in.

    Remember, interviewing takes a lot of time on both sides so you may want to not interview only for the sake of practicing. You have mock interviews for that .

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