Structuring Product Management Interviews

At career.pm, we have developed a model of product management professional development based on 4 "building blocks".

We use this model to help assess our members' level of proficiency among the building blocks (via this self-assessment) and then with the help of a coach create a personalized plan to help them achieve their career goals.

It may not be obvious, but his model is also a very powerful way to think about structuring interviews for your organization's PM positions.

You should start by thinking about skills and knowledge in each building block that are particularly important in your organization and for the product the candidate will be working on. You can then draft questions that help you assess if the candidate is a holistic fit. For example, if you're hiring someone to manage a product that has just launched, you may want to assess their product growth chops. Are there technologies that are critical to drive your SaaS or IoT product? Does a powerful engineering team make keen negotiation skills important?

You can also consider assigning different interviewers to address the different building blocks. A dev lead would be an obvious candidate for testing the candidate's technical knowledge. You might have a senior product person or someone from marketing test the candidate's domain knowledge. You could have each interviewer in the loop probe a different soft skill.

We're now working on a way to characterize job postings based on this model to facilitate matching with optimal candidates. Stay tuned!