Tips to Prepare for a Product Interview

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Denny Meier Adaptive Product, adaptive-product

Okay, so you think you’re ready for your next big interview?

You’ve got a shiny new CV prepared, your best clothes are prepped and you’re ready to meet that product team you’ve had your eye on for a while.

It’s a mixture of nervous and excited energy, right?

Any kind of interview is a daunting experience, especially if you’re going for one in a field you have set your sights on, such as Product Management. It’s one of the most competitive industries to go into in 2021, and there is a lot to learn.

You’ve got new terminology to get to grips with, skills you’ll need to show off (or learn), questions you need to ask yourself – and answer! So, the team at Adaptive Product has put together a guide to help you out ahead of your big interview .

Above all, the main thing is to smash the preparation – you can never be too prepared. We’ve jotted down some of the most common things we advise candidates about as we look to get them in front of some of the best people in the game.

1. Brush up your appearance

Now, we’re not talking about getting a haircut or getting your Sunday best out the wardrobe (although, it might help) – we mean your social media appearance. In the world we live in, it should come as no shock that recruiters and employers will do their research before employment. Data from an AdWeek survey shows that 47% of employers will check a candidate’s social media platform after receiving an application, and 27% will go ahead and check after first interview. Overall, it’s estimated that more than 90% of employers use tools such as LinkedIn and Facebook to do a background check.

Maybe think twice about that bleary-eyed photo from the weekend or just improve your privacy settings that little bit more. Avoid any awkward questions, or the possibility of missing a golden opportunity, because of an inappropriate picture from University, or a sarcastic Tweet that could land you in hot water.

2. Do your research

A no-brainer, right?

You want to check over the company’s recent news, get to know the product, it’s features and the potential of it.

Check out the websites, the app and any press coverage (be it good, or bad) that the company has had recently.

You can never be too informed about a company and the hiring managers. Therefore you should definitely do what the recruiter and employer on the other side will do: Check their social media profiles!

3. Practice your interview

It may sound daft or old fashioned, but we often find that the best way to prepare a candidate for an interview is to advise them to stand in front of the mirror and challenge themselves with questions such as:

"What’s the most challenging part as being e.g. a product owner?”

“How do you discuss features away?

“How do you understand the needs of a user?

“How would you notice that there is an issue with your product?”

 4. Demonstrate experience

If you’re speaking to one of our consultants at Adaptive Product, they’ll know a lot about what their client is looking for, what they’re likely to look for in a candidate and what experiences they’ll expect you to have had. So utilise your consultant – ask them what they think!

Have a real good look at the job description – if it says the client is after a candidate with experience in API’s, think about any time you’ve worked on them. Are they looking for someone to lead a team? Oh, but you have no experience of doing so! Instead, think of a time you’ve had to lead someone. Even if it’s a workload, expectations, or team-building. Anything! If you can demonstrate experience or draw some kind of comparison, it’s better than saying nothing.

One of the most successful ways to demonstrate experience is to ask the right questions. You will definitely leave the CPO impressed when asking him about make-or-buy decisions.

Last but not least, it is important to understand your current role. If you are a product owner I bet you got some tasks on your table a state-of-the-art PO wouldn’t have. To make those tasks a subject of discussion will not get you the job I promise.

5. Remember your manners!

When all said and done, the ‘traditional’ interview rules still apply. Get there early, look sharp, shake hands, maintain eye contact, be polite, don’t slouch (sorry, do we sound like a parent?)

Just be sure to do everything to the best of your ability, take pride in who you are and remember why you are there. If you’ve got this far, you’ve got something they are looking for – shine!

Finally, don't panic!

Interviews are stressful, yes, but they can also be enjoyable. If you maybe fluff your lines, or mess up a little bit, it’s okay. Put it down to experience, learn from it and go again. It’s not the end of the world and, after all, you’re going to smash it! Good luck!