If Product Hunt is your safe haven and your eyes light up every time you talk to others about new products, applications, IT services, and other innovations, then project or product management is most likely the perfect job for you.
However, there’s often a spectre standing between you and the realisation of your career aspirations – the job interview. Although job interviews always seem scary, especially if you’ve just graduated and are slowly entering the job market, they really don’t have to be a horror experience. I always look at a job interview as a great opportunity to showcase all my talents, experiences, and ideas.
The interview for a project or product management job is a little different from the others because it tests both leadership and technical skills. A project or product manager must possess excellent communication and leadership skills, but also the technical knowledge needed to actively participate in product development, plan new features and collaborate with developers and designers. So, I’ve some useful tips to help you prepare for such an interview and present yourself in the best light.
Do your “homework” before the interview
To know what’s expected of you in a potential new role, you need to study the company you’re applying for. Does the company work mainly with foreign or domestic clients? What markets does the company cover? What kind of projects has it worked on so far? How extensive are these projects and to which industry do they belong? In addition to customer projects, are there also internal products that the company develops itself?
If you don’t have the answers to all these questions, an interview is the right place to find out all the details you want to know. By preparing yourself, you’ll not only find out what’s roughly expected of you, but you’ll also show interest in the company’s activities and know in which direction you can formulate your answers.
I also recommend you find out how many employees the company has, how many types of teams there are, what the profile of the employees is, and what kind of culture the company wants to build. It wouldn’t be a bad idea to try to find out the average salary for the role of project or product manager, because such information will align your expectations with the company’s capabilities.
Show your motivation
The role of project or product management isn’t easy. Although it’s the best feeling ever to see happy users using the product your team has developed, there are various dynamics and pressures that we can only overcome if we’re extremely motivated.
Therefore, it’s important to explain in the job interview why you want to work in project or product management, why you want to work in the chosen company and how you see your future in this field.
At the end of the interview, you’ll always have the opportunity to ask questions. It’s very important to take advantage of this opportunity – show interest in working for this company, ask questions you don’t have the answers to yet, and find out as much as possible about your potential future job.
Support your previous experience and acquired skills with concrete examples
In the interview, the most important thing is to argue your answers clearly and support them with relevant examples from your previous experience. If you don’t have any work experience, try to refer to projects you’ve done during your studies or as part of a student job.
Don’t be afraid to talk about failures, mistakes, and failed projects. It’s from such experiences that we learn the most. Before the actual interview, try to remember a few such situations that you can use as examples.
The case study is your chance to stand out
As part of the selection process, you’ll usually be given a case study to demonstrate your project or product management skills.
This is your best opportunity to put in the effort, be creative, and exceed expectations. Case studies are often vague, so you can turn them into a very innovative idea.
When solving a case study, it’s important to stay realistic, but also think outside the box and show innovation.
Besides all these tips, by far the most important thing is to show your authenticity and true character during an interview. If the interview goes well, you’ll be working with these people every day, so it’s important that you’re the most natural and authentic version of yourself from the beginning.
Do you have any other questions? Contact me at email@example.com.