The Product Supervisor Interview Course of at Massive Tech Firms


This can be a visitor publish from our PMHQ Advisor, Fernando Delgado.


I labored at Google for five+ years, the place I interviewed over 150 PM candidates. I then labored at Yahoo for 3 years, the place I interviewed over 100 PM candidates. At Yahoo, I used to be a member of the hiring committee for two years and co-founded the APM program. So the observations beneath primarily apply to these 2 corporations and the Product Supervisor position.

Whenever you apply for a job at a tech firm, you formally enter their recruiting pipeline. That pipeline has quite a lot of filters that minimize down the of candidates at each step. At a excessive degree, the method might appear to be this:

  1. receives resume
  2. Recruiter calls candidate
  3. 1 or 2 telephone interviews (will be in-person campus interviews for school college students)
  4. 3 to six in-person interviews
  5. Supply is prolonged

Notice: often, there are exceptions to those steps. For example, if a candidate has a suggestion from a competitor with a decent deadline, the corporate might select to skip step 3 altogether.

Step 1: Making use of

As soon as the corporate receives your resume, they work out whether or not your background is a match to the position(s) you utilized to. A part of this occurs algorithmically and a part of it occurs through people.

Algorithmically implies that software program ranks candidates based mostly on sure key phrases that seem (or don’t seem) on their resumes. After this has occurred, recruiters, PMs and/or hiring managers will take a look at prime matches. Most individuals with a strong resume get a telephone interview.

Tip: at any time when doable, apply to an organization through their worker referral program. This will increase your odds of getting a telephone name considerably. Most likely 2x-5x extra at corporations plenty of individuals apply to. In case you don’t know anybody on the firm, see if a buddy of a buddy works there, and get an intro.

It could be a good suggestion to shine up in your expertise or undergo a product supervisor bootcamp to hone your expertise.
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Step 2: Preliminary Telephone Name

Some individuals mistake this primary telephone dialog for an interview. In reality, generally it’s skipped altogether. So it’s at all times a good suggestion to ask your recruiter who the primary telephone name is with – a member of the HR division, or a PM/hiring supervisor.

This step is just not meant to filter out candidates, though it may well occur in excessive circumstances – e.g. if you happen to’re tremendous impolite to the recruiter, or it’s found that you just lied in your resume. Greater than something, this step is aimed toward explaining the remainder of the method to the candidate, in addition to for the corporate to collect intel which can be vital for later steps. For instance, present wage, desired compensation package deal, how senior the candidate actually is, and many others.

Step 3: Comply with-up Telephone Interviews

That is the place the enjoyable begins. You can be requested to do 1 or 2 telephone interviews (perhaps over video chat). Questions for PMs will fall into one of many following classes:

  • Behavioral
  • Technical
  • Analytical
  • Product sense
  • Technique

In case you do exceptionally properly on the primary telephone interview, you may be requested to attend a half or full day of in-person interviews. In case you do poorly, the corporate will cease the method there. In case you do alright, however not like a rockstar, they may schedule a 2nd telephone interview.

Generally, the 2nd individual interviewing you hasn’t spoken to the first interviewer. This implies there’s at all times an opportunity you get repeat questions. Don’t fear about that – it’s not your fault. If the query may be very particular, then be at liberty to say to the interviewer that another person already requested the query, however that you just’re completely satisfied to reply it once more.

Tip: it’s extremely advisable to spend a couple of hours making ready for these interviews. Even the very best PMs I do know must spend a while making ready good anecdotes, discovered, product concepts earlier than they the interview course of.

Step 4: Last Rounds

This step is similar to step 3, besides it occurs in individual, and there are sometimes not less than 4 interviews in a single day.

Most corporations will give you lunch with one in all their PMs. This isn’t meant to be a proper interview, however somewhat a time so that you can chill out and ask as many questions as you may have in regards to the firm. Until you screw up huge time throughout lunch, this dialog will truly not rely in direction of your interview scores.

Some corporations will let you know that you’ve 2-3 interviews earlier than lunch and that you might have an additional 1-2 after lunch. When a candidate is just not doing properly within the first couple of interviews, their afternoon classes get canceled to keep away from losing time. So if you happen to’re on this state of affairs, it’s at all times a very good signal to have the afternoon interviews.

Tip: use the whiteboard at any time when it is sensible. Pull out your smartphone or pill everytime you need to present a selected product to the interviewer.

Step 5: Analysis

By now, you’ve most likely had a complete of 4-6 interviews. Everybody you noticed has submitted detailed interview suggestions. The hiring supervisor and/or hiring committee will check out your entire package deal: your resume, your interview scores, and the detailed suggestions from the interview panel.

As a rule, the choice of whether or not to increase a suggestion to a candidate takes lower than 5 minutes of dialogue. On some events, the method can change into extra difficult – the hiring committee might need to get extra data from one of many interviewers. Generally, the hiring committee feels that an vital space was not totally examined, and they should schedule yet another interview.


At most tech corporations, every member of the interview panel will submit written suggestions to the hiring committee and/or hiring supervisor. This suggestions will often include a numerical rating, a abstract, listing of strengths, and areas for enchancment.

What the scores imply:

4.0: one of many prime individuals I’ve ever interviewed in my profession. I’m ready to battle for this individual with my CEO.

3.5: a really sturdy candidate. We should always undoubtedly rent this individual and I’d actually take pleasure in working with them.

3.0: this individual is an efficient candidate. I imagine we should always rent them, however will be satisfied in any other case.

2.5: good interviewers will sometimes avoid this rating, because it’s a synonym for “I don’t have a powerful opinion a technique or one other, so I principally wasted my and the candidate’s time”.

2.0: this individual is just not totally certified to be a PM. Nonetheless, I will be satisfied in any other case if different individuals noticed strong potential.

1.5 and beneath: I strongly imagine this individual shouldn’t be employed. I’m ready to justify my determination in entrance of the hiring committee.

Since most tech corporations will do a set of 4+ interviews, you’ll get a mean rating from all of the interviews. The common of those interviews should be over 3.0 so as so that you can have a very good probability of getting a suggestion. For example, the next units of scores would possible get a suggestion:

  • 4.0, 3.5, 3.0, 2.0
  • 3.5, 3.5, 3.0, 3.0
  • 4.0, 4.0, 3.5, 1.5

The next scores are in dangerous territory and might go a technique or one other:

  • 4.0, 3.0, 2.0, 1.0
  • 4.0, 4.0, 1.0, 1.0
  • 3.0, 3.0, 3.0, 3.0 – nobody was blown away, so why trouble?

The next units of scores possible received’t produce a suggestion:

  • 4.0, 1.0, 1.0, 1.0
  • 3.0, 3.0, 2.0, 2.0

Needless to say whereas this course of appears democratic, scoring excessive with probably the most senior of us is an efficient final result, even when the interviews with junior of us didn’t go too properly. Senior PMs (i.e. Administrators and above) typically have extra and affect over a hiring committee’s determination.

Concerning the visitor writer: This was a visitor publish contributed by Fernando Delgado, Advisor to Product HQ and former Senior Director of Product Administration at the place he co-founded and led ‘s Affiliate Product Supervisor program. He has interviewed over 300+ product managers in his profession at Google & Yahoo .


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