How I Prepare for Product Manager Interviews

Content Research

I like to read but I cannot learn things just by reading. I learn the best on taking notes while reading/watching contents. Additionally, I like to read “real” books, not online ones. All of the above is suitable for me but everyone is different. Here is the list of books that I read and felt useful,

Content Preparation

This is a hard one as everyone is coming from different backgrounds and with different personalities. I will share how I prepare it. One thing I like to do is to repeat. It might be easier to explain if we take the example of learning a new song. When we first listen to a song we are fond of, chances are that we cannot remember the rhythm, melody or lyrics. What is strange is that after listening to the song for 5 times, we might start remembering some parts of the melody; 10 times, we might start remembering the chorus and a verse. Before you know it, you might be able to sing the whole song pitch perfect without lyrics. Then one day, you decide to look into the lyrics while listening the song or you decide to watch the music video of the song and everything starts connecting. Our brain works in magical ways. It almost feels like we need to compartmentalize things to learn and piece them together at some point before we can really say we know them. The same goes with the interview preparation. If I can share anything, it is that after going through the highlighted paragraphs in each book and the handpicked videos in each YouTube channel for consecutively 5–7 days, a lot of things just becomes natural. I do not need to think because they are there in some parts of my memory already. By no means am I referring to memorization, it is actually more of knowing the key framework and concepts by heart. If I can give another example, it is like understanding what add/deduct/times/divide means in math and you are ready to face any general math problems.

Interview

It is not easy to be scheduled into an interview loop but it is not difficult to join a product manager community or find friends that are product managers to have mock interviews. One thing for sure in any sort of exam/interview is that it is not just about whether you fully understand what are being tested but also how you present you understanding and how fast. Especially for product manager interviews, the questions vary from company to company, team to team, there are no guarantees what to be asked in interviews. The way I prepare for this is to throw myself in an ocean of different people, scheduling time with them for doing mock interviews. Again, you might be surprised how different questions you are getting asked based on each person’s background. When I started to feel that I am not getting anymore “surprised” questions, I know that is the time for me to actually step in a real interview.

Additional Pointers

This is brought up in a lot of contents references above, but it is so important that I want to emphasize it again. In an actual product manager interview, interviewers might ask questions that will require interviewees to brainstorm and come up with ideas to resolve problems. 2 common mistake I did and I still do sometimes are,

  • Answer without entirely understanding the question
  • Jump into solutions quickly

--

--

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Jonathan

Jonathan

186 Followers

Learning new things about Kubernetes every day. Hopefully, the learning notes could help people on the same journey!