How to Secure More Product Management Interviews, Part 1
What many people do is try to apply to one position at a time and they try to customize their cover letter and resume.
This is not the right strategy because when you’re trying to do that, you’re spending too much time on one application that recruiters may or may not even read — unless that you have a background that actually matches one-to-one with the job description, the company, and the industry. If not it’s likely that your resume and your application won’t even make it to the first page of their recruiting software.
What you want to do is try and apply to as many positions as possible when you’re doing this. Numbers will increase your chances of getting a callback or an interview with the recruiters that you are reaching out to.
It strictly a numbers game and this is how you’re going to be able to apply to 50–100 positions in under an hour.
The key here is to avoid breaking momentum. When you apply for one position at a time you’re losing momentum. Three and a half hours later, you only applied to maybe one or two positions and it becomes a demoralizing challenge.
Take a business development and a sales approach
- Open an Excel sheet
- Label the worksheet by the location or the date that you applied to the positions you’re about to list
- FIRST COLUMN: Put ‘STATUS’. This is where you will track it as Applied, Rejected, Interviewing, Followed Up.
- SECOND COLUMN: Put ‘POSITION’. This is where you will copy the position that the job posting is asking for, whether its Product Manager, Senior Product Manager, Product Owner — B2B, etc. This will help when you get on the phone and you can quickly reference what position you applied to. Especially if they have multiple Product positions open
- THIRD COLUMN — Put ‘LINK”. This is the direct link to where you will apply. Make sure you find the actual site copy the job position link paste it onto where the Excel sheet is and once you get 50 or 30 then you want to apply to all the positions at the same time
Source out all of the positions directly from the company website even when you use LinkedIn, Glassdoor and all those other job boards, unless the companies use those job boards exclusively to manage their recruiting. You’ll know this when you try to go to their site, click on Careers or ‘We’re Hiring” and it takes you back to the job board posting.
ALWAYS apply directly on the company website. Why?
- Recruiters are incentivized to look at their own internal recruiting software first before they go to sites like AngelList, Indeed, Monster, BuiltinNYC, and anywhere else that they posted. They pay money to each syndication of their job posting to these aggregators. They manage cost by saving on the referral fee if you came through those job boards
- Another reason is that when a position is already filled, the first thing they do is remove the posting from own internal website. They’re not going to be bothered to take down this position from all these other aggregated sites because it’s added work. So you’ll end up spending a lot of time applying for positions that don’t exist.
- You want to be able to communicate that you found their position directly on their website because you are interested in it. You weren’t just randomly job hunting and you have a genuine interest in this position.
Questions that you need to have answered beforehand:
- What is an app or product that you like using? Why?
- What is an app or product that you don’t like using? Why?
- How would you improve the app or product that you like?
- How would you improve the app or product that you don’t like?
- In less than 150 words tell me something interesting about yourself
Save these questions in Notepad so the formatting doesn’t change and you can copy and paste directly from notepad to the text boxes that ask you these questions
Focus on Quick-Wins
When you’re applying you want to focus on quick wins. This means applying for positions that don’t require extensive copying and pasting or already lets you link directly to your LinkedIn account which has your resume. This includes companies that use job portals like Jobvite, Greenhouse, BambooHR, LinkedIn direct, Indeed direct etc. As you’re applying to these positions, you’re going to find that many of these positions use the same types of software. You’re going to also find that software such as Taleo and ICMIS is extremely cumbersome. Don’t break your momentum when you get to those positions. Apply for them one at a time in the end or simply just copy and paste from a template that you’ve created for these specific softwares.
Track Your Application Success and Gamify It
Lastly, know that this is the best experience that you never want to have again. This is a tedious process so you must find a mental mode that allows you the motivation to move forward with this. Whether you want to set a target when you’re watching TV or in the bathroom or perhaps during work or otherwise, this is arguably the most important part of the process that you need to be consistent with.