We’ve hosted several talks on how to crack the product manager interview, but how do you get to that phase in the first place? There are tactics that go beyond the traditional application process, that can fast-track you to an actual face-to-face interview. So, what’s the formula to get your foot in the door?
Product Manager at OkCupid shared inside tips on the process that landed him an interview 8 out of 10 times.
Former Product Manager at OkCupid
Matthew Du Pont has spent his career so far consulting at BCG, product managing at OkCupid and two other startups, and founding a VC-backed company. He has turned down a product management offer from Google and has a personal ~80% first interview to offer conversion rate since 2009. As a job search coach, he helps people improve their career, and documents best practices for job hunting at unusuallydifficult.com.
Get Product Manager Interviews
This talk was aimed at job seekers and focused on how to get a higher number of first-round interviews for product management roles and how to succeed in those interviews. Matthew answered questions, such as, how to get informational interviews with people who you’re not socially connected with and how to turn those informational interviews into invitations to apply to a company.
He also gave insight on how to ask the right questions to get meaningful information about a company, instead of polite replies and provided a system for organizing your job search.
- What the application process is like: Companies that exist → Fraction you want to apply to → You apply → Interviews → Offers → You accept.
- Applying online doesn’t usually work because work recruitment companies/websites have made it so easy to apply that for every job there can be hundreds of applications. This leads to the fact that they don’t look at all the applications in detail.
- “It’s not the hiring manager’s job to give everyone a fair shake. It’s their job to find exactly one great candidate for their company who will accept an offer.”
- It’s important though also incredibly difficult to have at least one year of product management experience. When you do have it, you are really wanted.
- Branding – how do you stand out?
- What jobs have you worked at?
- What uncommon skills do you have?
- What did you grow up doing?
- What are your hobbies?
- What did you major in?
- Figure out why they would want to talk to you with less experience, and a set of stories you have depending on who you might talk to and what their title is.
- Process for informational interviews:
- See job description.
- Find a set of people that work/have worked for the company and set up informational interviews with them.
- Impress the people enough so that they’d recommend you for the company, and learn more about the company.
- Write a personalized job application.
- Apply through a personal connection.
- You should never cold-apply, you should be invited to apply.
- 4 Tools to help find people’s contact information.
Have any comments? Tweet us @ProductSchool
The Product Book has arrived! Learn how to become a great Product Manager. On sale for a limited time. Get your copy here http://amzn.to/2uJqg9A
We teach Product Management in 14 cities worldwide, including Silicon Valley, New York, Los Angeles and London. To learn more about our upcoming courses and how to apply click over to our course page.