- Ref:: Lenny's Newsletter
- Title:: How to interview product managers
- Author:: Lenny Rachitsky
- Year of publication:: 2022
- Category:: Blog
Notes from reading
PM interview process
Recruiter phone screen [30 minutes, optional]: Make sure the candidate meets the minimum requirements for the role and is likely to be a fit for the organization. Focus on their expectations for the role, basic skill questions, personality fit (e.g. not an asshole), and their interview timelines. About 50% of candidates should make it through this step.
Hiring manager phone screen [30 minutes]: Make sure there is a strong chance that the candidate is a fit for the role. Focus on getting to know the person as a human, the role, and a couple skills or attributes that you believe to be most important to this role (more on this below). About 40% to 50% of candidates should make it through this step.
A full-day interview [4-5 hours]: The day is made up of two parts:
- A project (done at home before arriving, in the office, or live), sharing what they came up with, with a group of potential colleagues
- Three to six 1:1 interviews with potential colleagues, each testing for a key PM skill
Post-interview panel discussion [30-60 minutes]: Each interviewer blind votes Strong No, No, Yes, or Strong Yes. Share your vote, discuss, and then the hiring manager makes a decision.
Reference checks: Ping their references (and backchannel) to make sure you aren’t missing anything.
Make an offer: Put together a compelling offer, share it with them, and try like hell to get them to accept.
Jobs of a PM
What interview questions to ask
here’s a sampling:
- Collaboration: Tell me about a time you disagreed with an engineer on your team and how you resolved it.
- Execution: Pick a project you’re proud of that took 3-9 months. Walk me through it from beginning to end. I’ll ask questions along the way. [Give this ~7-10 minutes]
- Strategy: Pick a product you worked on in the past year—talk me through your strategy for it.
- Customer insights: Tell me about a time you did user research on a product/feature and that research had a big impact on the product.
- Impact: What’s the most important or impactful product you shipped? What made it so important or impactful? Would it have been as impactful without you, and why?
- Product sense: How would you improve feature x in our product?