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Q: I’m interviewing for a PM role. What should I do to prepare?
I’ve interviewed hundreds of PMs over the years. As an interviewer, you want to believe that no matter how long the candidate has spent preparing, you can see through it all to their true PM nature. But that’s just not true. Preparing gives you a big leg up, even if you spend just a few hours. A little prep helps you nail common questions, build frameworks for confronting unexpected questions, and gets your mind into the interviewing game (which is very different from doing the job itself).
Broadly, there are three parts to the preparation process:
Below I’ll share a bunch of advice, and point you to my favorite resources, to help you through your preparation process.
If there’s anything else you’ve found helpful in your own interview prep process, I’d love to hear it 👇
Disclaimer: This guide will help you prepare for an interview, but it won’t help you do the actual job. Be careful about becoming so good at interviewing that you get into a role you aren’t ready for and end up having a bad time.
Start by doing your homework on the product, the company, and its interview process.
Use the product. Form an opinion about what could be improved, what you’d prioritize if you were in charge, and where the product might go in the future.
Research the company. What’s its mission and vision? What has it launched recently? Who does it compete with? Where do you think it’s going next? Try to find someone at the company to get insight from.
Review common interview questions. Skim questions on Glassdoor, Exponent, and PMExercises. Identify the typical question structure, and the skill sets the company seems to care most about, e.g.:
Nothing will better help you prepare for an interview than actually doing interviews. Instead of reading about interviewing, start practicing with real people. I put this section above “Study” because too many people spend their time studying and not doing.
Find PMs who can do mock interviews with you. If you can’t find enough willing friends, check out peer groups from Exponent, PMExercises, IGotAnOffer, and Lewis C. Lin’s Interview Community.