ProductCamp Boston is the world's largest and most exciting crowd-sourced one-day event for product people. It's organized by and for product managers, product marketers and entrepreneurs, so attendees get the most out of the day.
Attendees learn about and discuss topics in product management and product marketing, product discovery, product development & design, go-to-market, product strategy and lifecycle management, and product management 101, startups, and career development.
138 - Secrets to Succeeding at Product Management Interviews
Secrets to succeeding at
Product Management interviews
A quick intro
● PM for TripAdvisor’s Hotels B2B team
(generates >50% of TripAdvisor’s revenue)
● 10+ years of experience (mostly as PM)
● Worked at very small to very large companies
● Conducted 50+ interviews
● 14 PM interview offers so far
Goal of the presentation:
To go beyond the obvious on
how to succeed in PM interviews
Each person here improves their chances
of converting a PM interview by x%.
Stats from interviews
Based on sample size of 8 product managers,
the interview success rate follows the below
funnel on average:
Recruiter phone interview
Hiring manager phone interview
Focus of this presentation
The Obvious reading list
- ‘Decode and Conquer’ by Lewis Lin
- ‘Cracking the PM Interview’ by Gayle L. McDowell
- ‘Inspired’ by Marty Cagan
- ‘Swipe to unlock’ by Neel Mehta, Aditya Agashe
- ‘Grokking the system design interview’ by Educative
Know the company
- Think deeply about the reason to work there. If possible
connect a personal story.
- Understand company’s vision and strategy. Read articles
discussing company strategy (e.g. stratechery).
Read the latest news
about the company.
If the company is public,
read the Investor
Research the role
- If the hiring is for a particular business/ department, understand
the product well. Try to use it if possible.
- Understand why customers want to use it/ buy it i.e. value
proposition of the product.
Find job descriptions of other roles in
the same department to understand
what is the company trying to build.
Figure out atleast 3 ways to
improve the product (if it is an
- Save mental strength by preparing Q&A in
- Tell me about yourself? Why PM?
- Why joining the company? Why leaving
your current company?
- Answer for situational questions with instances
- Biggest success and biggest failure
- Using data to make decision
- Not meeting timeline
- Conflict with team member and manager
- Ask the interviewer for focus areas of each interviewer
- Research LinkedIn profiles of each interviewer
- Understand their domain and background
- Prepare initial talking points for each of them
- Have a list of questions you would ask each of them
Practice mock interviews with PMs
- Best is to sync up with other PMs who are also preparing for
- Solve mock questions from Glassdoor and other forums which
have actual questions.
- Spend time solving questions together instead of only playing
- Prep Sources:
- Lewis Lin’s PM interviews slack channel
- Stellar Peers
- Solve management case studies
- obtain through B-school friends
- Use rule of 3 while answering questions
- Try building your answer using a mix of key frameworks
- Porter’s 5 forces
- 4 Ps of Marketing (Product, Price, Place, Promotion)
- AARRR (Acquisition, Activation, Retention, Revenue, Referral)
- 5 Cs of Pricing (Company objective, Customer, Cost,
Confidence and Positive body language
From interviewer perspective
- It’s a fine line between coming across as anxious vs energetic
- Similarly, it is very easy to confuse between can-do attitude vs
What can you do?
- Understand the question completely before answering. Ask
clarifying questions if necessary.
- Be authentic
- Anticipate the questions
Recharging during onsite interviews
Taking breaks is crucial
- Go for coffee/water and restroom breaks
- Ask questions - why, how
- Use the whiteboard, it gives you more time to think
Apart from breaks
- Eat healthy and light
- If travelling to a new time zone,
- try to adjust the interview timings