The Product Manager Interview Process at Large Tech Companies

This is a guest post from our PMHQ Advisor, Fernando Delgado. Context I worked at Google for 5+ years, where I interviewed over 150 PM candidates. I then worked at Yahoo for 3 years, where I interviewed over 100 PM candidates. At Yahoo, I was a member of the hiring committee for 2 years and co-founded the APM program. So the observations below mainly apply to those 2 companies and the...

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Product Q&A with Justin Watt

Justin Watt About: While attending university for psychology, Justin ventured into project & product management where he took part in internal products creation for Shaw and IBM. He worked on projects with MetaLab on the side starting in 2012 and officially joined the team in 2015 where his formal title is Project Manager, which at MetaLab includes product management as a focus. He’s worked on and launched products for Fortune 10...

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Product Q&A with Jess Lee

Jess Lee About: Jess Lee is an investing partner at Sequoia Capital and is the venture capital firm’s first female partner in the U.S. in 44 years of operation. Previously, she was the CEO of Polyvore – a journey she likes to call “unusual.” When she was at Google, she became obsessed with using Polyvore and sent in detailed user feedback through e-mail to the original co-founder. This resulted in her...

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Product Q&A with Christina Wodtke

Christina Wodtke About: Christina Wodtke trains companies to move from insight to execution as principal of her firm, Wodtke Consulting, and teaches the next generation of entrepreneurs at California College of the Arts and Stanford Continuing Education. Christina has led redesigns and initial product offerings for such companies as LinkedIn, MySpace, Zynga, Yahoo!, Hot Studio, and eGreetings. She has founded two consulting startups, a product startup, and Boxes and Arrows,...

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Product Q&A with Brandon Chu

About: Brandon is a Sr. Product Manager at Shopify, where he currently splits his time leading conversational commerce products (selling through messaging) and building the product management discipline itself (i.e. the hiring, on-boarding, and decision-making frameworks the company’s product managers use).  Previously, Brandon was a product director at FreshBooks, a Series B startup in Toronto, where he led a product group responsible for all payment, partnership, and mobile products. His...

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Product Q&A with Wyatt Jenkins

Wyatt Jenkins is a product and business leader with a passion for building products that customers love. Before diving headfirst into the product world, Wyatt was a professional DJ and founding member of Beatport.com, a hub for electronic music for DJs, producers, and their fans. After leaving Beatport, Wyatt went on to serve as the VP of Product at Shutterstock and led over 20+ cross-functional product teams throughout the company....

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Product Manager Interview: Prioritization Question

Every new feature or product your team works on is an opportunity cost for the company. As a product manager, it is absolutely critical that you fully understand your customer needs and establish a prioritization process to identify what your team should be working on next. Without proper prioritization, your team could waste many months of time and cash building the wrong thing. During the product manager interview, you will often get a question...

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Product Q&A with Hunter Walk

Hunter Walk is a Co-founder and Partner at Homebrew, a seed-stage venture fund investing in mission-driven founders seeking to enable the bottoms up economy – helping businesses, developers, and individuals drive economic growth and innovation through simpler, cheaper, and more direct access to technology, information, and customers. Before venture, Hunter was a Director of Product at Google, where he led consumer product management at YouTube, starting when it was acquired...

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Are We Product Managers or Problem Managers?

This is a guest post that was originally published by Jen Ruffner on Medium. Problems should be the foundation of product development We’ve all been to those planning meetings where the conversation starts to go on a tangent and the team starts suggesting ideas that don’t actually solve the problem that you started talked about. I like to call them headless ideas. And as the person leading the meeting, you...

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Product Q&A with Howie Liu

Howie Liu About: Howie Liu is the co-founder and CEO of collaboration platform Airtable, which is used by over 30,000 organizations including Airbnb, LinkedIn, Condé Nast, Facebook, Tesla, and others. Airtable has raised $10M from investors including CRV, Caffeinated Capital, Freestyle Capital, Founder Collective, Data Collective, CrunchFund, Group, Ashton Kutcher, Kevin Mahaffey (CTO of Lookout), Joshua Reeves (CEO of Gusto), Ilya Sukhar (CEO of Parse), and Eric Wu (CEO of Opendoor)....

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Product Q&A with Zack Onisko

Zack Onisko About: Zack Onisko is the CEO of Dribbble which is one of the leading communities for designers with millions of visitors per month with zero marketing. Zack has over 15 years of experience as a data-driven, analytical thinking product growth and marketing strategist with a strong product management and interface design background. He was previously the VP of Growth at Hired.com. He was the former Chief Growth Officer...

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How Handshakes Predict How Fast You Ship

This is a guest post that was originally published by Madhu Punjabi on Medium. A mathematical insight into how products get shipped. I love the white board. I mean, I really love the white board. As a Product Manager, I love the part of my job that allows me to dream of a better future (with our product in it, of course) and then watch it all come true. I always...

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Product Q&A with Alexandra Cavoulacos

For those who are unaware, AMA stands for ‘Ask Me Anything’ where you’ll have the chance to ask our featured guest any question you’d like. Our product guest of honor is: Alexandra Cavoulacos About: Alexandra Cavoulacos is the Co-Founder of The Muse, the most beloved and trusted career destination, where she leads the Product and Operations teams. Alex was named one of Forbes 30 Under 30 in Media, INC’s 15 Women...

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Product Q&A with Spenser Skates

Spenser Skates About: Spenser is the co-founder and CEO of Amplitude, a product analytics software that helps businesses understand their users’ behavior so they can build better products. Founded in 2012 and backed by Battery Ventures and Benchmark Capital, Amplitude is the analytics solution of choice for companies who want to leverage user data to build better products. Amplitude works with leading product and growth teams including Microsoft, Venmo, Square, and...

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What We Learned by Testing our Minimum Viable Product on Medium

This is a guest post that was originally published on the Cubeit blog. Paul Graham says — “Make something people want.” Sound advice, but it leaves would-be-entrepreneurs with a serious problem. How do you know what people want? Before you go ahead and put the deposit down on that island you are going to buy with all the cash from your IPO, you need to know if what you are building will...

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Product Q&A with Romy Macasieb

Romy Macasieb About: Romy Macasieb is the VP of Product Management at Walker & Brands reporting directly to Tristan Walker, Founder & CEO. He manages the FORM & Bevel brands while also leading the digital product & creative teams for the organization. Prior to Walker & Brands, Romy was the Head of Product and sole PM for a startup called ThisLife which was eventually acquired by Shutterfly with the plans...

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19 Lessons I Learned During My First Year as a Product Manager

This is a guest post that was originally published by Manas Saloi on LinkedIn. 2015 was a big year for me professionally. I transitioned from coding to product management. While I’m constantly learning and have a long way to go, I want to share a list of 19 things that I’ve learned last year: 1) Get your priorities straight. The first 30 days at your new job are critical in setting expectations with...

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Top 5 Steps to Ramping Up as a New Product Manager

Like any other job, product management can oftentimes be a very overwhelming experience for any individual joining a new company. When I first transitioned into my first product role, I was completely lost and found myself scrambling to different meetings without proper context of what was going on. As I’ve watched and helped new product managers ramp up in our company, I’ve found that it’s important to take the following...

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30 Questions to Determine if the Product Manager Job is Right For You

This is a guest post that was originally published by Stephanie Oh on StephOhSays. Are you considering a career in Product Management, but feeling lost as to how you’re supposed to gauge whether or not the role would be a good fit for you? Several people have asked me for advice on the topic, so before you jump into taking a pricey Product Management course — and for everyone who may not have a...

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Product Q&A with Josh Elman

Josh Elman About: Josh Elman is a Partner at Greylock Partners who invests in entrepreneurs building social networks and platforms, mobile apps, new media, and connected devices. He joined the team in 2011 and invests in entrepreneurs building new consumer products and services. Josh specializes in designing, building, and scaling consumer products, having been part of multiple companies that have grown to more than 100 million users. Before joining Greylock, Josh...

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Product Q&A with Jackie Bavaro

Jackie Bavaro About: Before Asana was a publicly available product, Jackie Bavaro was guiding the company’s product decisions behind the scenes as the company’s first product manager. Asana has now grown to become one of the fastest growing-collaboration software tools out there, with more than 25,000 paying customers – from Uber and Snapchat to Malala Fund and the Seattle Children’s Hospital. In the meantime, Jackie has grown with the company...

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Product Manager Interview: Improve a Product

Another common question that is frequently asked during product manager interviews is “How would you improve X product?” While the product design question asks you to design from scratch, this variation is meant for the interviewer to see how well you can understand the current situation of an existing product, propose potential solutions to any problems the product may currently have, and understand your ability to execute on those solutions. As usual,...

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Product Q&A with Jen Granito Ruffner

Product Q&A with Jen Granito Ruffner Jen Granito Ruffner About: Jen Granito Ruffner is a product manager driven by helping people be more productive & extract more value out of social networks. In her past, she’s worked at AOL Instant Messenger, LinkedIn, Zynga, MySpace, & Tagged. She has launched linkedIn’s news, sharing, and events products; Tagged’s (mathematically) viral registration flows, some of Cityville’s largest revenue-generating and engaging features & more....

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The Myths of Product Management

This is a guest post that was originally published by Christina Wodtke on Medium. There have been a bunch of articles lately from designers on product management in the Silicon Valley. It’s making me slightly crazy, so I’m going to write a short and sloppy essay from my perspective. I’ve been a designer, a design manager, a startup CEO, a product manager, and a GM who managed multidisciplinary teams. I’ve got some insights....

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Product Q&A with Marty Cagan

Before founding the Silicon Valley Product Group to pursue his interests in helping others create successful products through his writing, speaking, advising and coaching, Marty Cagan served as an executive responsible for defining and building products for some of the most successful companies in the world, including Hewlett-Packard, Netscape Communications, and eBay. Marty began his career with a decade as a software developer at Hewlett-Packard Laboratories conducting research on software...

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Product Q&A with Kenneth Berger

Kenneth Berger About: Kenneth Berger has spent 10+ years leading tech products through the full product lifecycle. He was the first product manager at Slack, responsible for the core product through its growth from 100k to 1M+ daily users. He co-founded YesGraph (backed by Accel Partners, Founder Collective, NextView Ventures, and others) and built it from a nascent idea to a launched product in active usage by companies like Airbnb...

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2015 Annual Report for Product Managers

This is a guest post that was originally published by Paul Jackson on his blog. The article can now be found here. I’ll try to keep it brief. 2015 was a colossal year for Product Managers and digital Products in general. Drawing on 000s of tweets, posts, and presentations, here’s Pivot’s take on the key themes, events, and players in Product Management over the past 12 months. 2015 was the...

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Product Q&A with Jeff Morris Jr.

Jeff Morris Jr. About: Jeff is the Director of Product Management (Revenue) at Tinder, where he leads revenue products including Tinder Gold, Tinder Plus, a la carte purchases, and advertising. In September, Tinder became the top-grossing iOS app in the world. He is also the founder of Chapter One Ventures, an early-stage seed fund that focuses on subscription products and mobile apps. Prior to Tinder & Chapter One Ventures, Jeff...

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Product Q&A with Yardley Ip

About: Yardley Ip is the General Manager of Trulia Rentals at Group where she oversees product management and marketing for the rentals business. She is on the founding team of Women in Product, a new nonprofit organization focused on connecting women product managers throughout the tech industry. Yardley is also a frequent contributor to The Huffington Post where she blogs about work-life balance and how to succeed in the workplace. Yardley is passionate about...

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Product Q&A with Fernando Delgado

Fernando Delgado About: Fernando Delgado started his PM career at Google as an Associate Product Manager. Over the 5 and a half years he spent there, he had the opportunity to contribute to various features and launches of Web Search (google.com), Google Maps, Voice Search, Android, and Google+ Local. Right after Google, he joined Yahoo as a Senior Director of Product Management in the Mobile organization. He put together and led a...

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Product Manager Interview: Create a New Product

As you might imagine, creating a new product is an extremely broad and open-ended topic that can quickly get out of hand. If an interviewer asks you to walk through how you might create a new product, take the following approach to better structure your answer: 1) Identify and validate a problem Feel free to use a whiteboard but the easiest way to come up with some product ideas is to spend...

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Product Q&A with Ellen Chisa

Ellen Chisa About: Ellen Chisa is the VP of Product of Lola. She is also a Product Advisor at Flybridge Capital and an instructor of Product Management and Interface Design at Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering. In her free time she likes to write, read, play pinball, and scuba dive. About Lola: We’re a new kind of travel company that provides on-demand, personal travel through a smartphone app. The...

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Product Manager Interview: The Favorite Product Question

One commonly asked question during product manager interviews is: “What’s your favorite product and why?” At first glance, it seems like a harmless question and oftentimes feels like the interviewer is just trying to make casual small talk. However, don’t take this question too lightly; an interviewer may genuinely be curious about the types of products you enjoy using, but may also be using this question to understand how you think...

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Should You Become a Product Manager?

A lot of our readers have been asking for advice on whether or not product management is the career for them. I thought I’d first lay out a few points about common misconceptions/buzzkills of the PM role as well as qualities I’ve seen in great product managers. Misconceptions/Buzzkills of Product Management: 1) I’ll be the mini-CEO of a product! Let’s get one thing straight. You are not a CEO (at least not...

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Product Q&A with Punit Soni

Punit Soni About: Punit was until recently at Flipkart (India’s largest ecommerce ) as their Chief Product Officer. In this role, he led the product definition and innovation charter for Flipkart consumer products, marketplace, and transaction platform. He was responsible for driving Product Strategy, Design, and Product Marketing functions to build world-class user interface and product solutions. As a senior product leader at Google and Motorola in Mountain View, California, Soni...

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How to Build a Product Roadmap Everyone Understands  

This is a guest post that was originally published by Andrea Saez on ProdPad. Up until recently, no one really knew what product roadmaps were supposed to look like, but we all knew something had to change. At my old companies, we were using JIRA and a release planner to communicate our product plans. They were long, complicated, and detailed – because you know, they’re made for devs – and made for messy...

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Product Q&A with David Cancel

About: David Cancel is the founder and CEO of Drift, a messaging app that helps sales and customer success teams connect with their customers. Prior to Drift, David was the Chief Product Officer at HubSpot where he hired most of the HubSpot engineering team — growing from 20 to 100 engineers after HubSpot’s acquisition of David’s last , Performable. As a five-time founder, there’s been one common thread between all of...

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Product Q&A with Nils Davis

For those who are unaware, AMA stands for ‘Ask Me Anything’ where you’ll have the chance to ask our featured guest any question you’d like. Our product guest of honor is: Nils Davis About: Nils Davis currently works as a Director of Product Management at Innotas, a San Francisco-based with a project and portfolio management product. He has also previously been a Product Management Consultant. He is a long-time product manager...

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Product Q&A with Ken Norton

Ken Norton About: Ken is a product partner at GV where he provides product and engineering support to startups. Prior to joining GV, Ken was a group product manager at Google. In his years as a PM at Google, Ken led product initiatives for Docs, Calendar, and Google Mobile Maps. Ken joined Google in 2006 with the acquisition of JotSpot, where he was vice president of products. Before JotSpot, Ken led...

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How I Got Hooked on Product Management

This is a guest post that was originally published by Evgeny Lazarenko on Medium. “I’m a Product Manager at TradeGecko, an inventory management SaaS-based in Singapore. This post is a recollection of personal experiences which helped me figure out what I want to do in the foreseeable future, namely Product Management. You might relate to some parts of it, especially if you’ve just become a product manager yourself, or currently in...

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Product Q&A with Paul Rosania

Paul Rosania About: Paul is the Product Lead for Core Product at Slack. He was previously a Group Product Manager at where he ran the team responsible for the Home Timeline. On the web: https://www.linkedin.com/in/paulrosania https://paul.rosania.org/ AMA Details: Date: Tuesday, April 26th Time: 11AM PT / 2PM ET Location: #ama channel To join in on the Q&A, check out our Product HQ community!

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