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Does preparing for PM interviews help you become a better PM?

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This might be a controversial post and I really not trying to intentionally pull one. But hear me out. I, like most of ya'all hate hate hate the current PM interview process and the hell amount of effort it takes to impress the interviewers following the madness of FAANG PM interview formats.

BUT...

If I just try to break down some (I'm not saying all) of things like Product sense, guesstimation, execution...I feel they're helpful in thinking like a PM. For someone like me who was once a automation engineer, a developer who had nooo experience in managing team and never was lucky to get that opportunity inside the company for whatever reasons, there was no way I could learn to think like a PM AND Crack a PM role if not for those interview question formats. Yes I did read the cracking few PM books , did try side projects... but I also paid for tryexponent... and that gave a me a framework to think, understand what are PMs judged for in the market, what categories of skills PMs should have and so on...it really gave me something to work with. At the time I started learning about PMgmt I got lost in all the newsletters, books, tweets and LI posts. I really needed structure to condense my learnings and preparing for interviews put things into perspective for me. I'm sure it won't help me becoming the best PM out there but it did really help me think like a PM.

So I'd like to say that for someone who mever got the chance to officially become a PM and wants to get into PM role then going over the interview format isn't a bad idea.

I'm ready to hear your thoughts. Thanks.

Our response

Author: Joe Tannorella
Rocket Role Team

I really dislike the interview prep industry that now exists for Product Management.

It's not grounded in reality most of the time. I've never met a good-quality PM who defaults to using frameworks every time they answer a question. Frankly, it's ridiculous.

There are aspects of the interview prep materials that are useful for sure. It also forces you to take a step back from your role / current problem at hand and zoom out a bit. Most PMs are too detail-oriented.

I built a tool to help folks become a better PM because I was so frustrated with the existing options out there:

  1. Expensive courses are forgotten about weeks after you finish
  2. Books and podcasts aren't personalised to you
  3. No traditional learning holds you accountable in any way - the amount of books I've bought to not actually implement 99% of the advice is insane (likewise Udemy courses bought etc.)
  4. Coaches are great but super expensive and unaffordable for most people

We also asked some experts...

Advice from thousands of podcasts episodes, including:

Introduction


Here's what they had to say:

🎯 Avoid Over-Reliance on Frameworks
While interview prep materials can be useful, they should not be the default approach to every question. Good PMs are able to think beyond frameworks and adapt to different situations. Over-reliance on frameworks can limit your ability to think creatively and solve problems effectively.

Try this: Practice problem-solving without frameworks to develop your critical thinking skills.

Source: The Reality of Product Management Interview Prep – Lenny's podcast

📚 Personalize Your Learning
Books and podcasts are great resources, but they aren't personalized to your specific needs. It's important to find resources that are relevant to your situation and can provide actionable advice that you can implement.

Try this: Seek out resources that are relevant to your specific needs and challenges.

Source: The Importance of Personalized Learning in Product Management – Lenny's podcast

💡 Implement What You Learn
Many people consume a lot of content but fail to implement the advice they learn. This results in a lot of wasted time and effort. It's important to take action on the knowledge you gain to improve your skills and become a better PM.

Try this: After reading a book or completing a course, take action on the advice you've learned.

Source: The Importance of Implementing What You Learn – Lenny's podcast

Closing Summary


While interview prep can provide a structured approach to learning, it's important to avoid over-reliance on frameworks, personalize your learning, and implement the advice you learn to become a more effective PM.

All "ask an expert content" does not represent the views of any expert or individual. All provided links are not affiliated or operated by Rocket Role.

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