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AMA: Veeva Systems Former Director of Product Marketing, Abdul Rastagar
on How To Ace Your Next Product Marketing Job Interview
June 11 @ 10:00am PST

View AMA Answers

Product Marketing With Abdul Rastagar, GTM Lead at Benchling
Top Questions
For PMM interviews, what are helpful resources you'd recommend and types of questions to prepare for from both hiring managers and cross-functional partners?
GTM Lead at Benchling
Product marketers are bound to get the “describe a successful product launch you’ve done” question (or some other iteration of it). Be prepared to answer with outcomes rather than going through a checklist of activities. What were you trying to achieve and how did you measure progress? I think S...more
I'm landing 1st interviews but not 2nd. How do I stand out to employers during COVID?
GTM Lead at Benchling
 It's a legit question though I need more context to give you specific feedback. When you say 1st interviews, I assume you mean with the recruiter rather than the hiring manager. Sounds like your resume is good enough to entice them, but there's something going on in your interview answers that's...more
I usually come across an interview round wherein I am handed the task of preparing a mock GTM plan for a product. I find it pretty vague as expectations vary widely and I am usually confused about what all to include and how to represent. What is the best way to do this task in a very precise and concise way? Is there any example?
GTM Lead at Benchling
Usually, they're testing to see if you understand how to launch a product but you are right, different hiring managers look for different things.  My recommendation is that rather than listing a long list of activities to try to catch every single item, you focus on the ones that you believe w...more
What is your favorite product marketing interview question and the best answer you've heard?
GTM Lead at Benchling
I am going to provide a highly opinionated answer. Please forgive the strong tone, but I hope it will be more helpful for you than a generic response:  For any question I ask, I want a short, succinct, and direct answer that tells me within the first 3-5 sentences what outcomes you achieved. If...more
How can I improve my interviewing skills for a product marketing role?
I had my first interview in a long time recently and fumbled my way through it. How can I get better for next time?
GTM Lead at Benchling
At the end of the day, there is only one way - lots of practice. Everyone has failed an interview at least once. I know I have on multiple occasions. But as the late basketball legend Kobe Bryant said, he never once hesitated to take a game-winning shot with time expiring because he had already p...more
How do make sure the resume appeals to the hiring manager for a product marketing role?
Should I just use one general resume or are there different versions of it?
GTM Lead at Benchling
Every resume you submit needs to be uniquely tailored to the job for which you are applying. Two product marketing roles at two competitor companies will still have different keywords in the job description. Your resume should be crafted specifically for each job.  A good hiring manager will sp...more
Interview Question: How should I answer when someone says how do you measure your own ROI in your current role as a product marketer?
GTM Lead at Benchling
I started out my career as a medicinal chemist doing research on breast cancer. There was only one success metric for me - did the novel compound I synthesized kill the cancer cells without killing healthy ones? Success was incredibly complex to achieve but quite straightforward to measure.  Co...more
Do you generally recommend that candidates go 'above and beyond' in preparing for interviews by, for example, putting together 30-60-90 day plans or a report on the company/product and strengths/weaknesses/opportunities to give the interviewer a glimpse into how they think? In which situations do you recommend this approach or not?
GTM Lead at Benchling
Personally, I don't consider those two examples as being "above and beyond" - I consider them as a baseline for any marketing candidate. Ironically, I recently spoke with a former colleague about this very topic and he was in full agreement.  If you want to prove to the prospective employer th...more
Tips on how to switch jobs from a traditional marketing role in to product marketing in software, when you have no experience in the tech industry and have not been a product marketer before?
GTM Lead at Benchling
I'm going to be honest, you have a double barrier to entry. Many companies require both product marketing AND tech marketing experience before they will consider you for a product marketing role. And considering how many other qualified candidates there are right now having been laid off due to C...more
If you're trying to make a pivot into product marketing, what advice do you have for highlighting transferrable skills and addressing gaps?
My most recent experience is doing partner marketing at Toast, which was on the same team as product marketing, doing partner product launches, running our partner program, doing sales enablement, and planning/executing campaigns. I have experience in content marketing at Tripadvisor (where I helped grow product adoption of a new product), and project management experience at the WiMAX Forum (where I empowered member companies like Hitachi, Siemens, GE, and more to bring WiMAX technologies to market as part of their product offerings).
GTM Lead at Benchling
To be completely honest, based on your description, you sound like you have a very close skill set and a lot of the right experience already. I would probably want to speak with you further to understand your depth of involvement and practical abilities. The one piece of advice I will give is th...more
How do you showcase or describe to interviewers your work in messaging and positioning, without actually showing documented work?
Also, how to actually show its success, as this is something that may take awhile before seeing a growth trend and can you directly actually attribute a particular success metric on messaging?
GTM Lead at Benchling
Love this question!  Obviously, always protect your employer’s confidential information. However, if you have done your work correctly, your messaging will inform all of the material and content you’ve developed. It would be reflected on your website, on your datasheets, on other public-facing ...more
As a hiring manager, what do the best product marketing candidates have in common?
GTM Lead at Benchling
The ‘product marketing skills’ question has been answered really well by a lot of others on Sharebird already so I will focus my answer specifically to the interview itself:  I always look for candidates who have a strategic mindset and who can articulate what success in their current role look...more
What is the most common mistake you see from product marketers during their job interview?
GTM Lead at Benchling
A lot of product marketers will simply rehash their functional activities during their interview. They’ll talk about how they conducted messaging, built personas, created sales enablement. Maybe they get more strategic and talk about a product launch but will still spend more time on the mundane ...more
What would you rec highlighting in prod mar portfolio? Writing samples? Case studies? What would make a candidate stand out to you? Thx!
GTM Lead at Benchling
Case studies and writing samples signal to me that you can do the job you are asked to do but they rarely make a candidate stand out (unless the content is really bad!) I do think long-form writing samples have their place - they should show that you can communicate well and that you can possess ...more
For individuals who have an account management background looking to pivot into product marketing, do you have tips on how one should navigate technical questions during the interview knowing that one has not had hands-on experience in their current / past roles?
GTM Lead at Benchling
I think account managers have an inherent advantage over product marketing candidates during the interview - they know the customer really well. In many cases, product marketers, who are supposed to be the voice of the customer, never even interact with them. So use that to your advantage to conv...more
What would be the best approach for applying for Product marketing internships for MBA grads this summer?
GTM Lead at Benchling
Network! I got my first foot in the door in the world of marketing through networking my rear end off. As a student, I attended one marketing event after another. The one that put me on my current career track is one I almost didn’t attend! I drove through two hours of mind-numbing Los Angeles ru...more
I am hiring junior product marketers. Hiring someone with experience is easier often as they have something relevant to talk about. I am hiring a junior / near fresher. So, no product marketing experience is expected. What things do I look out for? What questions do I ask? Any assignment that you can suggest?
Recruitment
GTM Lead at Benchling
The best product marketer who ever worked for me was a junior guy with no previous PMM experience. He really impressed me with his digital knowledge and customer focus. And he was eager to learn! I hired him despite reservations from some others because I knew he could bring in a digital-first pe...more
How does one gauge autonomy in a product marketing interview?
GTM Lead at Benchling
If I understand the question correctly, you want to know if the candidate is an independent self-starter or requires more in-depth guidance and direction. Is that correct? I would ask him/her what they consider to be a successful start to their new role and what their 30-60-90 day plan is to hel...more
What are some of the most common red flags you've come across either on a candidate's resume or initial interview that you'd advise future product marketing managers to avoid?
GTM Lead at Benchling
There seems to be a common thread among talented marketers who don’t do well in their interviews - responses sound generic, answers are often way too long and provide too much background information, and there is little to no focus on outcomes.  For product marketers, outcomes are the number on...more