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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?
7 Answers
Lauren Barraco
Lauren Barraco
Inscribe VP, MarketingDecember 14

First and foremost: practice, practice, practice. 

But at the end of the day, the key to product marketing is storytelling, right? You should think of your career in the same way. Run through your resume and build a storyboard to help you articulate why you made each move and what you were trying to accomplish at the time. Treat yourself as the protagonist in this story - what challenges were you facing, what situations did you overcome, what activities led to you becoming the hero? You know the answers to these questions better than anyone else... So, start running through it - maybe you left your last company after less than a year - why did you leave? Was there an opportunity to learn something new in another area or aspect of your career that you hadn't done yet? Once you build your career story, then start practicing - tell your story to a friend, roommate, significant other and have them ask you questions throughout. This can help you prepare for potential questions you may have along the way. 

Also as a best practice, I always have a running log of my key wins in each role I've had... There is so much that happens in the course of a few months or years that you tend to forget how much you've done and how much you've grown. Keep this list along with some work samples that you can use when asked. 

1797 Views
Jenna Crane
Jenna Crane
Klaviyo Head of Product MarketingNovember 17

Prep and practice! 

Prep your answers beforehand, have them on hand for reference if you need them. 

Practice by getting in more reps. Talking about yourself and your experience gets easier every time, and you get more insight into the types of questions that come up (so you can improve your prep). 

951 Views
Kevin Garcia
Kevin Garcia
Anthropic Product Marketing LeaderMay 4

First of all, you're not alone! I've definitely fumbled my way through several interviews. Rather than offering really general advice, I'd like to get specific. When I think about interviews, I think of two ways you can impress a hiring manager:

  1. Substance - You show that you're qualified for the role and would add value to the team/business
  2. Style - You show that you're a great communicator and are someone that the team wants to work with

I think there is A LOT of high-level advice for both that exists on the internet, so I'm going to focus on tactical things that you can do the week before your interview.

Substance

  1. Read their website, their docs, their latest funding announcement, and their last blog post
  2. Write down your top 3 best product marketing experiences onto sticky notes that only include: what you launched, what audience you were going after, and what impact it had in the business (specific numbers)
  3. Write down your biggest lesson you've learned from messing up onto a sticky note that only includes: what went wrong, the impact, and a specific action you took to fix it/prevent it from happening again
  4. Record yourself on your phone describing the last product you worked on. Watch the video 24-hours later and decide what needs to improve.
  5. Record yourself on your phone describing the product the company sells. Watch the video 24-hours later and decide what needs to improve.
  6. Write down 3 questions that you NEED to know the answer to if you were an investor that was curious about their strategy or product (e.g. "Does the company intend to stay focused on developers or do you intend to eventually sell to non-technical teams?).

1, 4, and 5 help you learn what you don't know and feel confident in the interview. 2 and 3 help you be thoughtful and structured when retelling your experiences. And 6 is crucial. I don't hire PMMs that aren't curious/passionate about the space we're in. Asking substantive questions is a HUGE signal that you're a great thinker.

Style

  1. Record yourself on your phone giving a 30-second opener about yourself that includes: highlights from your career, why you're interested in their company, and one thing that you read about them that stands out to you. Watch the video 24-hours later and decide what needs to improve.
  2. Practice talking about your last product as if you were talking to: a coworker, a stranger at a conference, a stranger at a music festival.
  3. If you tend to be shy/quiet in interviews, watch standup comedy and take notes about how they respond to their audience and keep the conversation going. 
  4. If you tend to be talkative/intense in interviews, watch TED talks and take notes about how they balance passion with objectivity/calmness.
  5. Write down your top 3 favorite co-workers ever onto sticky notes that only include: their title, how they worked with you, and what they did that made you want to work with them.

1 and 2 are all about getting comfortable talking about yourself so you can cater to your interviewer on the fly. 3 and 4 are all about remembering the qualities that help you feel more like yourself in the interview. 5 is all about gratitude. Hiring managers are building teams. They want to work with someone who can build meaningful relationships with others. PMMs that are proud of the people they've worked with give me great signals about cross-functional collaboration and long-term success.

1952 Views
Christine Sotelo-Dag
Christine Sotelo-Dag
ThoughtSpot Senior Director of Product MarketingApril 19

Practice! Have a friend, partner or even just record yourself if you don't have anyone to practice with. Get used to answering clearly and concisely, even if it means speaking less. Clarity will always trump volume. 

There are a lot of resources out there that help individuals build confidence, maybe check those out as well - often times our fumbling is our own self-doubt taking over. 

Don't be too hard on yourself! 

680 Views
Kevin Zentmeyer
Kevin Zentmeyer
Square Head of Product Marketing, Square Point of SaleApril 26

One tactical way to get better at interviews is practice using the following method:

1) Search Glassdoor for product marketing interview questions.

2) Google "product marketing interview questions.

3) Copy paste all of them into one document.

4) Scan the document for any questions that you could answer in your sleep and delete them.

5) De-duplicated the remaining questions.

6) Write answers for each of those questions.

7) For repetitions, you can either re-read your answers to these questions or delete your answers and write fresh ones to take yourself through the thought process with a fresh pass at it.

This method takes a long time, but getting better at most things requires a significant time investment in deliberate practice. So if you want to get better, this will help.

18107 Views
Ajit Ghuman
Ajit Ghuman
Twilio Director of Product Management - Pricing & Packaging, CXPJune 4

It happens to all of us.

As with any type of job interview, practice helps. Additionally, before you sit down to practice you should be using your PMM skills. 

Jot down on paper your answers to these questions.

  • Who is the buyer/company?
  • What is their decision criteria?
  • What is their key pain point?
  • How can you uniquely solve their problem?
  • What is your story/experience, why should they trust you?
  • What are your proof points/success had before in similar environments?

As a Product Marketer, the expectation is that you can position yourself in the market of job seekers and communicate your differentiators succintly. 

Outside of core PMM skills, a large part of the job is soft skills. 

When you practice, ask your practice buddy to comment on how well you listened to the questions, how you built rapport with them, and how persuaded overall they felt after the interview.

1044 Views
Abdul Rastagar
Abdul Rastagar
GTM Leader | Marketing Author | Career CoachJune 11

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 practiced it thousands of times on his own. When it was time to win the game, everyone else was nervous while it was just yet another shot attempt for him.

We can learn a lot from that mindset. Practice with colleagues or with old bosses, find someone on LinkedIn to help you. I do these practice interviews regularly with other marketers so feel free to reach out. The more you practice, the better you get.

1964 Views
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