So you’ve decided to become a Product Manager or better you are already in the process of trying to become one. However now that your interviews are booked things are getting real and you need to prep. This can be an overwhelming process, there is so much to work on, from strategy to system design. For the past year I have helped about a dozen candidates prepare for their interviews and I have seen common themes emerge from our conversations so I am putting them in writing to hopefully help you approach the process with more peace of mind.
In order to help you structure your prep for interviews we will be delving into a few areas which in my opinion are essential to make sure you focus your energy on the right things because it is far too easy to get lost in the weeds. The structure will be the following:
- Product Design: This where it all falls together. Candidates often fail to see that this is the interview that ties everything together from strategy, user empathy, technical constraints and quantitative analysis in some cases. Frameworks will be your best friend here so we will explore which ones can help you structure your thoughts.
- Analytics: Metrics, metrics, metrics and how to tie them to an overarching goal.
- Technical: How technical do I need to be? This has to be the most frequent question I receive, especially from candidates who are non technical.
- Mental prep/Resilience: The process can be hard on you, it often involves cutting down on time with family, friends (remember these pre-pandemic people?), weekends etc… so it is important to make sure that you keep you mental health in check as you progress through the interview process.
If you’re looking for a silver bullet or “hacks” then this is definitely not the right place for you.
Now before we start with the first part of these series of articles, setting expectations is important. If you’re looking for a silver bullet or “hacks” then this is definitely not the right place for you. The goal of these articles is to help you build mental models and frameworks that will help you structure your thoughts and communications. However, do not expect answers or content that will magically get you through the door. I truly believe that if you don’t enjoy answering these questions then maybe this is not the right role for you, a lot of the mental process you go through is going to actually be your job (including back of the envelope estimations). The magic is within you and I hope this will help you unleash it as you walk in your interviews!
If you’re still with me here, then let’s start with the first part: Product Design.