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Product Management

1. Making a Resume

The first step to PM recruitment is to have a solid resume. This resume is similar to a normal resume, with a few key differences.

Projects

Projects are super important for PM roles. These projects include any leadership / management experience you have had before.
Similar to other tech roles, auto-screeners will look for product/program/project management experience in your resume, regardless of the actual details of the experience. Whether it is a class project, a DALI lab project, a personal project where you worked on product, or a past internship, it is critical that you list this as relevant experience in your application. You would be surprised how many candidates, who would probably make great PMs, get screened out of the process because they don’t explicitly describe how they worked in a “product” role on their resume, despite doing so. If you’ve worked on a startup or personal project in an entrepreneurial capacity, you’ve likely engaged in some type of product development, so say it!

2. Applying

Whenever possible, try to reach out to a current employee to get a referral. Different companies have different processes for handling referrals. Check out referral guidelines
.

3. Interviewing

Like many other job applications, your PM interview process will likely begin with an HR/recruiting manager round where a recruiter will ask you some demographic questions, verify your details, and confirm that you are applying for a role that is relevant to your education and experience level. Not much to say about this round - if you accidentally applied to a role that will be a poor fit (grad school position, senior experience, etc) you will find out on this call.
After the HR round, there are two main kinds of PM interviews
Behavioral
Your first interview will most likely be a behavioral interview where they ask you a couple questions to see how you organize/prioritize your work while leading others.
Think of times you've:
Lead teams.
Solved problems.
Had to communicate effectively.
Had unsuccessful projects! (think about why they were unsuccessful)
In some behavioral interviews, interviewers may provide a mock situation and ask how you would handle the situation. In these cases, you may not have to draw upon previous experience as much. Instead, focus on the situation presented to you. Feel free to ask clarifying questions and guide the interviewers through your thought process.
Technical
Technology
The technology section of the PM interview varies drastically between companies. Depending on how much they value your technology knowledge they may ask for you to do a typical coding interview, a coding challenge online, or not code at all!
Study CS10: CS10 is the extent of coding knowledge you will need for this section.
Don't be Scared: Guess what, they don't need you to be a professional coder because you're not applying to that! They will definitely not ask you a question you would typically find in an Algorithms class, such as run-time complexity.
Understand technical concepts: Instead of asking a coding question, interviewers may ask you to explain more general technical concepts, like “What is the cloud?” or “How does Instagram work?”. Brush up on broader technical and system design concepts and make sure that you not only understand these concepts but can also explain them in a simple and clear manner.
Analytical
Estimation
Most PM interviews use the estimation question to analyze your analytical thinking. Estimation questions usually ask you to estimate a large number, like the size of a market.
Memorize a few key metrics: Although the point of these questions isn’t to test your memorization capabilities, it is important to know a few key metrics to use as a basis for estimation. For example, knowing the population of the US and a rough percentage of individuals who are over 65 years of age can help ground your answer if your question asks about the number of retirement homes in the US.
Ask clarifying questions: As with most PM interview questions, ask a few questions before diving into your answer to make sure you and your interviewer are on the same page. If the interviewer asks about the number of retirement homes, do they mean in the world or only in the US?
State your assumptions: Since interviewers don’t expect you to have every single metric memorized, it is important to state your assumptions. If you are assuming that the US has 3 million people, make sure to write it down and let your interviewer know.
Show your work: Don’t be afraid to show your work! Tell your interviewers why you made the assumption that half of the senior population would be interested in retirement homes or what two numbers you’re multiplying and why.
Focus on the process, not the answer: With any math question, it’s easy to focus on the final answer. However, in these questions, the interviewer is more interested in how you broke down the problem and made the assumptions you made. While practicing, it is important to check that your answer is roughly in the same ballpark as the actual answer (make sure your answer is not off by multiple orders of magnitude), but don’t stress if you didn’t get the exact answer.
Product sense
User Experience
The PM interview almost always has a UX section. My boss at HubSpot used to always say "PM and UX have an 80% overlap"
This is UX, not UI: No need to learn Figma! Think ENGS 12 or the first half of COSC25! They want to see skills like problem definition, ideation, user interview, user testing etc...
What is a product you like and why? This is a classic UX question that is frequently asked in PM interviews. Come prepared with this question and have a go-to product you talk about!
You are making X product, what are your steps: In this question, they want to hear you talk about the design process. PM requires a lot of user and market research, along with user interviews/ testing.
Framework: You may have heard of the CIRCLES framework for answering product questions. While not absolutely required, it is important to have your own framework when answering questions to make sure you’re hitting all the key points in the product development cycle and to ground yourself. For example, you may start off with clarifying questions and clarifying the goal of the product, discuss your users pain points, brainstorm solutions, prioritize features, and then discuss your future roadmap.
Strategy
Markets
Know some tech-trends: Read up on some of the latest tech trends/ verticals. Although a lot of companies do not ask for you to have coding experience, most technology companies want to see that you have an interest in technology, especially applied to the market.
Be Comfortable with Data: A lot of the projects PM's work on are related to data. Sometimes your interviewer will give you a chart to analyze. At my PM internship, I commonly used tools like Amplitude to get data to analyze.
Know VERY BASIC Consulting Frameworks: You don't need to regurgitate Case in Point. However, learn some of the basic frameworks like the profit-loss model, or a Market Sizing analysis.

Resources

Exponent Product Manager Interview Course
Exponent’s product management tutorials are incredibly helpful when preparing for PM interviews. There are paid videos you can purchase, but the free lessons are sufficient enough to prepare for most cases you’ll encounter during the interview process. Exponent also has a with step-by-step PM interview cases, interviews with current PM interviewers, and other great technical (engineering) and non-technical (design) videos.
Cracking the PM Interview Book ()
From the makers of Cracking the Coding Interview, the product manager version is a pretty in-depth dive into the different questions and frameworks you’ll encounter in the interview process. The book dives pretty deep into each of these potential interview questions, so these sections are worth reviewing if you are confident you will encounter a certain type of case.
Note: Please do not share outside of HackDartmouth! If the link is broken, email: .
Lewis C. Lin’s Books (, , etc.)
Lewis C. Lin has authored several books around product manager interviews. These books are great for covering the wide range of interview questions and for extra practice. For each practice question, Lin provides a sample answer. Practice answering the question yourself before checking the sample answer or use these sets of questions for mock interviews with friends.
Company-specific Resources
If you get far enough along in the interview process, the company you are interviewing with will likely provide you example materials of “what to expect” in your interview. For example, in preparation of an interviewee’s on-site, Microsoft sends out a series of articles and videos (like
) that directly instruct the candidate on what to expect.
These are often the resources you want to review last in order to get the clearest sense of what your specific company will be looking for in an interview.
Inspired: How to Create Tech Products Customers Love (Silicon Valley Product Group) ()
If you are interested in learning more about what a PM role involves and how to be a good PM, this book is a great way to get start! It is also an easy read.
Need help with interviewing? Would like to find someone to pair with for interview prep?
Join . It is a Slack channel where you can ask for help on your resume, interview prep, resources, etc.

⭐ Contributors

Varsha Iyer '21 (DALI Lab, Product Manager @ Microsoft)
Sam Crombie ‘23 (Product Manager @ Microsoft)
Catherine Zhao ‘20 (APM @ Google)

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