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Cracking the PM Interview: How to Land a Product Manager Job in Technology Paperback – Illustrated, Dec 2 2013
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Cracking the PM Interview is a comprehensive book about landing a product management role in a startup or bigger tech company. Learn how the ambiguously-named "PM" (product manager / program manager) role varies across companies, what experience you need, how to make your existing experience translate, what a great PM resume and cover letter look like, and finally, how to master the PM interview questions (estimation questions, behavioral questions, case questions, product questions, technical questions, and the super important "pitch").
The Product Manager Role
What is a PM?
Functions of a PM
Top Myths about Product Management
Project Managers and Program Managers
How the PM Role Varies
Getting the Right Experience
Making the Most of Career Fairs
Do you need an MBA?
Why Technical Experience Matters
Transitioning from Engineer to Product Manager
Transitioning from Designer to Product Manager
Transitioning from Other Roles
What Makes a Good Side Project?
Tips and Tricks for Career Advancement
Q & A: Fernando Delgado, Sr. Director, Product Management at Yahoo
Q & A: Ashley Carroll, Senior Director of Product Management, DocuSign
Q & A: Brandon Bray, Principal Group Program Manager, Microsoft
Q & A: Thomas Arend, International Product Lead, Airbnb
Q & A: Johanna Wright, VP at Google
Q & A: Lisa Kostova Ogata, VP of Product at Bright.com
Behind the Interview Scenes Google
The 15 Second Rule
Attributes of a Good PM Resume
What to Include
Real Resumes: Before & After
Elements of a Good PM Cover Letter
The Cover Letter Template
A Great Cover Letter
"Tell Me About Yourself" (The Pitch)
"Why do you want to work here?"
"Why should we hire you?"
"Why are you leaving your current job?"
"What do you like to do in your spare time?"
"Where do you see yourself in five years?"
"What are your strengths and weaknesses?"
Sample Strengths and Weaknesses
Why These Questions Are Asked
Types of Behavioral Questions
Numbers Cheat Sheet
Tips and Tricks
About the Product Question
Type 1: Designing a Product
Type 2: Improving a Product
Type 3: Favorite Product
Tips and Tricks
The Case Question: Consultants vs. PMs
What Interviewers Look For
Who Needs To Code
What You Need To Know
How You Are Evaluated
How To Approach
Developing an Algorithm
Additional Questions & Solutions
Top 1% PMs vs. Top 10% PMs
Be a Great Product Leader
The Inputs to a Great Product Roadmap
How to Hire a Product Manager
--Ken Norton, Partner at Google Ventures (former PM at Google)^"If you were looking for a comprehensive, well-researched book about how to get a job in product management, look no further than Cracking the PM Interview. Gayle and Jackie break down the entire process of landing your dream PM job, while bridging a wide range of perspectives that aspiring PMs may bring to the table. This is a no-brainer resource to leverage during your job search."
--Jason Shah, former Product Manager at Yammer/Microsoft & instructor of How to Get a Job in Product Management^"Impressed by Jackie and Gayle's thorough interview walkthrough, from defining your skills, to resumes and all the way to product questions. A definite handbook for hopeful product managers."
--Ritu Jain, Organizer of PM Fast Track Community & CEO of LearningJar
About the Author
Gayle McDowell is the founder / CEO of CareerCup.com and the author of two books: Cracking the Coding Interview, Amazon.com's #1 best-selling interview book, and The Google Resume. She has worked for Google, Microsoft, and Apple and served on Google's hiring committee. She holds a BSE and MSE in Computer Science from the University of Pennsylvania and an MBA from the Wharton School.
Jackie Bavaro is a product manager at Asana, a leading startup that builds productivity software used by companies like Dropbox, Airbnb, Uber, Foursquare, and Pinterest. Previously, she worked as a Product Manager at Google, where she joined as part of the elite Associate Product Manager program, and as a Program Manager at Microsoft. She holds a BA in Computer Science and a BA in Economics from Cornell University.
- Publisher : CareerCup; First Edition (Dec 2 2013)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 364 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0984782818
- ISBN-13 : 978-0984782819
- Item weight : 490 g
- Dimensions : 15.24 x 2.08 x 22.86 cm
- Best Sellers Rank: #49,569 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- #78 in Job Hunting (Books)
- Customer Reviews:
About the authors
Top reviews from Canada
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The authors, Gayle Laakmann McDowell and Jackie Bavaro, skillfully walk you through preparing yourself for a PM career, landing the job and excelling at it.
Here are some of the topics the book goes through:
- What is product management?
- Does project management vary at different companies? (The book looks at the usual big names in tech, as well as some up and coming startups)
- What does a good product manager resume look like?
- How do you transition from a different background to a project manager role?
- How do you prepare for a project manager interview? (This is where the meat of the book is. The authors go into detail about different types of questions and overall strategies)
- How do you succeed once you do get that job as a project manager?
Having worked and interviewed at some of the companies mentioned in the book, I found the advice to be highly relevant, extremely well-crafted and super useful.
This book is a must buy if you are considering interviewing for a PM role.
Seller/Shipping: Item reached on time albeit with a couple dents/nicks. Nothing too bad, but I had to tape mine up just to get over the OCD.
PLUS! you get excellent resume tips...
Top reviews from other countries
It generally gives a good indication of the interview process for US based companies, although it mainly focuses on Google, with a few indications on Amazon and very small bits for Microsoft, Yahoo, Facebook.
The general principles on the product manager role are very valid, they make you think not only how to prepare yourself for an interview but also what you should aim for in a PM role beyond the interview phase. Also, for cases like Google or Amazon if you don't know the interview process well and the type of questions you'd be asked you won't get far, and the book is surely useful for that. However when it comes to estimation questions or product design questions the answers provided are imho far too unrealistically precise and structured than answers from a candidate during an interview. I get they're willing to open your mind into a way of tackling similar questions but I personally found them beyond reasonable and therefore patronising, unless you have access to Google search when interviewing at Google (which you don't).
Overall the book translates perfectly the culture at US tech giants, all they seem to care about is their own culture and whether you can adapt your past experiences and skills to their culture. No value whatsoever to your own professional experience or achievements per se which has personally put me off applying to PM roles for such firms.
All in all I'd recommend the book, but don't make it your personal bible. And be warned that everything there refers to a world where only US exists, examples, metrics, mindset, everything screams stars and stripes.
I'm not actively looking for a job, but as I progressed internally in the company I work at, I've never had a proper Product Manager interview, so I was curious to see what one is like to be able to determine whether or not I would likely be successful or not. After all, considering I progressed internally, am I even doing the correct day to day stuff that a PM should be?
So I used this book to see the kinds of questions that recruiters and companies ask during the Product Management Interview process.
This book was a great insight and made me realise the following:
- Product Management interviews aren't usually just a sit down face to face. You'll end up doing something like a whiteboard challenge to show you understand the product development lifecycle all the way from ideation to delivery.
- If you want to work at most of the big tech companies, you'll need to have some coding experience as you'll be expected to show understanding in the interview. I am by no means an engineer, more a strategy/community based PM, so this book has opened my eyes to what I should and shouldn't be aiming for as I progress through my Product Management career.
Overall, this book is a must have whether you are looking for a new PM role or not.