Being a Product Manager is really a challenging role. You need to be the calm voice of reason in the room more than any other, be it the developers or the analysts. Manini Roy, a Google Product Manager, has some expert advice for prospective PMS, on how to prep your mind for the behavioral questions in a Product interview, and how to get into the right mindset once you land that dream Product job.
Manini Roy: The Yogi Product Manager
Manini Roy is a Chemical Engineer who chose to become a Product Manager. She started her career as a PM from AMD working on the hardware end of the spectrum. Then she shifted to becoming a PM at a software industry, with Microsoft.
She finds Chemical Engineering more relevant to being a PM as the time passes. She is currently working for Google as a Product Manager and believes yoga has played a major role in keeping her cool while managing tasks.
Landing the Dream Product Gig
Tips to prep for a product interview
- Study the right content
- Practice, practice, practice!
#1 Research Phase
- Most PM interviews. Questions are a combination of estimation, product design, strategy & execution questions.
- Some will be a subset of the above areas.
- You will always get behavioral questions (so nail those.)
- Some companies also have a technical round.
- Determine what content is coming.
- Understand what the acronym “PM” means in different industries: Product Manager, Program Manager, Technical Program Manager, Product Owner, Project Manager, and Product Marketing Manager.
#2 Study the right content
- Find the right books
- Google search is your friend
- So are actual friends!
- Find people in your network that can introduce you to PMs (preferably folks who currently work or have worked in the company you are interviewing for)
- Find or create frameworks that work for you
Check out our Product Manager events for local networking opportunities.
Examples of framework
This method talks about things you have to think about a product design solution.
- Comprehend solutions – What? Who? Why? How?
- Identify customers
- Report customer needs
- Cut through prioritization
- List solutions
- Evaluate tradeoffs
- Summarize recommendations
#3Practice practice practice
- Practice on your own
- Find a friend to practice with
- Practice in the correct environment (phone interview or in-person)
- Practice the standard questions( i.e the favorite product, favorite product from company X, etc.)
Check out our Ultimate List of Product Manager Interview Questions
Things to remember during an interview
- Pause – helps you compose your thoughts
- Ask questions
- Use your framework
- If you are not already a Product Manager, draw from skills obtained from your other role to demonstrate why you would make a good product manager.
PMs often come from other related disciplines (Design, Engineering, Data, etc) and almost every time it helps them to gain a larger perspective of the role and bring some new insights to the team.
This is not a disadvantage, it’s something that your interviewer will be expecting. So look for what you’ve done well from your past, whatever your experience!
Once you land the job, now what?!
- Build great relationships
- Keep calm and carry on…even when everything is falling apart)
Manini recommends that when you try to control a situation, always take a step back and take a cleaner approach when things go wrong. Often, time will handle the situation.