Why do people get rejected in product interviews [and tips to succeed]? 🀦

June 21, 2023
Product & Growth

Whether you're a budding product manager or an experienced professional looking to land your dream job, understanding the common pitfalls that lead to rejection is key.Β Today, we'll explore the reasons why people get rejected in product interviews and equip you with some awesome tips to help you crack those interviews like a pro! Β So, let's strap on our thinking caps and embark on this exciting journey together. πŸ’ΌπŸ”

 ❎ Rejection Reasons - Technical

Here are a few technical reasons for failing the product interviews while answering questions:

  • The Skill Gap

πŸ”‘ Sometimes, rejection occurs because your skills aren't aligned with the role's requirements. πŸ€·β€β™‚οΈ It's crucial to recognize that there might be areas where you need further development. Don't let rejection discourage youβ€”view it as an opportunity for growth. Keep honing your hard and soft skills, from visual design and communication to collaboration and leadership. You'll get there eventually! πŸ’ͺπŸ“š

  • Forgetting about the Customer

πŸ”‘ Talking about customers is crucial when discussing product design or your previous experience. πŸ€”πŸ‘₯ After all, products exist to solve customer problems! It's surprising how many candidates forget this important aspect and fail to mention customers in their answers. Remember, customer-centricity is key to success! πŸŽ―πŸ‘©β€πŸ’Ό

  • Skipping the β€œWhy?”

πŸ”‘ Products aren't created "just because." πŸ€·β€β™€οΈ When addressing a case or problem, it's vital to explain the "Why?" and consider the target audience. Avoid jumping straight into solutions without understanding the underlying motivations. Take the time to unravel the "Why?" and set a strong foundation for your problem-solving journey. πŸ•΅οΈβ€β™€οΈπŸ€”

  • Rushing to Solutions

πŸ”‘ Interviewers are interested in your thought process and analytical skills. β³πŸ” Avoid rushing through cases and stories; instead, take the time to explain your thinking step by step. Demonstrate your structured and concise approach, and don't hesitate to ask for time when needed. Remember, it's not just about the destination, but the journey too! πŸš€πŸ§ 

Courtesy:Β John Mecke

 ❎ Rejection Reasons - Behavioural

  • Steer Clear of Resume Lies

πŸ”‘ Let's state the obvious: lying on your resume is a big no-no! ❌ While it may seem tempting to embellish your qualifications, honesty is always the best policy. The truth has a way of catching up with us, and it's not worth jeopardizing your reputation and future opportunities. Stay true to yourself and your accomplishments! πŸ“œπŸ€₯

  • Balancing "I" and β€œWe”

πŸ”‘ When answering behavioral questions, it's vital to highlight your individual accomplishments, rather than solely focusing on your team's achievements. πŸ†πŸ‘₯ Interviewers want to know what YOU brought to the table. So, strike a balance by emphasizing your personal contributions while acknowledging the collective efforts. It's time to shine the spotlight on yourself! ✨🌟

  • Failing to Take Ownership

πŸ”‘ As a product manager, it's essential to take responsibility for your actions. ❌ Blaming the team or external factors for your mistakes raises red flags during interviews. Embrace accountability, own up to your errors, and demonstrate your ability to learn from them. Remember, growth comes from acknowledging and rectifying our missteps! πŸ’ͺπŸ“ˆ

Honest Behavioural Interviews

πŸ“Œ Tips to Crack the Product Interview

  • Embrace Case Studies

πŸ“šπŸ”Ž Case studies are a crucial part of product interviews, allowing you to showcase your analytical thinking and problem-solving skills.Β 

For example, when presented with a case about improving user engagement on a social media platform, you can start by understanding the user demographics, identifying pain points, and proposing solutions such as personalized content recommendations or gamification elements. Remember to explain your thought process, consider trade-offs, and provide a clear rationale for your decisions.

  • Master the Double Diamond Approach

πŸ”‘πŸ’Ž The Double Diamond approach is a framework that helps you navigate the product discovery and design process.Β 

For instance, if you're asked to design a mobile app for a grocery delivery service, you can start with the "Discover" phase by conducting user research and understanding their needs. Then move to the "Define" phase to distill insights and define the problem statement, followed by the "Develop" phase to ideate and prototype solutions. Finally, in the "Deliver" phase, test and iterate on your prototype before implementing the final solution.

  • Structure Your Answers

πŸ–‹οΈπŸ“ Providing structured answers helps interviewers follow your thought process and understand your approach clearly. Consider using frameworks like the STAR (Situation, Task, Action, Result) method for behavioral questions.Β 

For example, if asked about a time when you faced a challenging stakeholder, start by describing the situation, your role and task, the action you took to address the challenge, and the positive result or outcome that followed.

  • Understand the Types of Questions

πŸ“šπŸ€” Product interviews often encompass various question types, including strategy, design, technical, analysis, and behavioral questions. Familiarize yourself with each category and practice answering sample questions.Β 

For instance, a strategy question could involve outlining a go-to-market plan for a new software product, while a technical question might require you to explain how APIs work. Prepare thoughtful and concise responses that highlight your knowledge and expertise.

  • Tackle Situational and Guesstimate Questions

πŸ€―πŸ’‘ Situational questions assess your ability to handle real-world scenarios.Β 

For example, if asked how you would prioritize features with limited resources, you could mention prioritization frameworks such as the MoSCoW method (Must-haves, Should-haves, Could-haves, and Won't-haves) and explain your decision-making process based on user impact and business value. Guesstimate questions, such as estimating the number of golf balls that can fit in a school bus, require you to make reasonable assumptions and break down the problem into manageable parts.

  • Let Your Passion Shine:

πŸ”₯πŸ˜„ Displaying enthusiasm and passion for product management can set you apart from other candidates. Share stories or examples that showcase your love for the field.Β 

For instance, you can discuss a personal experience where you identified a product opportunity and took the initiative to bring it to life.

πŸŽ‰πŸ”‘ By implementing these comprehensive tips and utilizing relevant examples, you'll be well-prepared to excel in your product interview. With practice and confidence, you'll be one step closer to landing your dream product management role. Best of luck on your journey! πŸŒŸπŸš€


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