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Cracking the PM Interview: How to Land a Product Manager Job in Technology

Cracking the PM Interview: How to Land a Product Manager Job in Technology PDF

Author: Gayle Laakmann McDowell

Publisher: December 2, 2013


Publish Date: CareerCup

ISBN-10: 0984782818

Pages: 364

File Type: PDF

Language: English

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Book Preface

Product management is a strange role.

For many roles, getting from point A to point B is pretty obvious. If you want to get a programming job, you learn how to program. So you go to college for computer science or you learn to write code on your own. Ditto for being an accountant, lawyer, doctor, etc.
If you want to be a product manager, what do you do? There are no schools for product management. There’s no formal training. It’s also not a role you typically get promoted into, exactly.
How, then, does one land a product manager job? That’s what this book is here to teach you.
Jackie and I have worked with countless current and aspiring product managers to help them learn how to get the right experience, how to position themselves appropriately, how to prepare for interviews, and how to ace them.
This book translates these many hours of coaching sessions and conversations into written form

Why does this matter?

Product management shouldn’t be this elusive role, accessible only to those who are lucky (and connected) enough to have someone explain what PMing is all about. Greater accessibility is a good thing for candidates and employers alike.
You, the candidate, are better able to position yourself for a job when you know what to expect. It’s not about faking anything; you can actually acquire the experience you need once you know you need it.
When it comes time for interviews, you’ll able to prepare for their questions more effectively. You will learn how to describe your unique experiences and most important accomplishments. You’ll learn how to tackle problem-solving questions. You’ll understand what it means to think about the user. And, finally, you’ll solidify your technical skills.
Employers, in turn, get more qualified candidates. More relaxed and better prepared candidates perform in a way that is more consistent with their skillset.
They know which accomplishments are most interesting and relevant to employers, and they can drive the conversation toward those things. They can demonstrate their problem-solving skills when they know that’s what the question is about. They can learn the bits of knowledge that they need in order to tackle specific questions. This sort of preparation portrays a candidate’s skillset closer to how it would be on the job.
Taking the guesswork and randomness out of interviews is a good thing for everyone.

Who are we?

If you flip to the back of the book, you can read our credentials: Google.
Microsoft. Apple. Startups. Hiring committee. Oodles of interviews and coaching sessions.
Yadda, yadda, yadda.
That’s all very well and good, but that won’t tell you who we really are and how we got here, writing a book on landing a product management job.
I (Gayle) come from a deep engineering background, but I’ve also spent a lot of time working with candidates: interviewing them for dev and PM roles, conducting mock interviews, coaching them on how to strengthen their answers, teaching them concepts that they don’t understand, and discovering what their goals and passions are.
I learned two things through this. First, I learned how much even good candidates could improve their interview performance, with a bit of help.
Second, I learned how little information there was about getting a product management role. Lots of people talked about how to be a good product manager, but few people talked about how to actually break into that field.
Except, of course, for my amazing coauthor, Jackie.
I stumbled across Jackie’s blog on Quora, the question and answer site. After following her for a bit, I was struck by a few things. First, she had worked for several of the top companies, so she was good enough to navigate these interviews herself. Second, her advice was to-the-point, actionable, and good.
Third, she cared. She cared enough to write a blog to help people enter the PM profession.
Making the product management field more accessible is important to both me and Jackie. We believe that everyone benefits from this, and that is why we’ve written this book

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