Cracking the PM Interview

How To Land A Product Manager Job In Technology

Gayle Laakmann McDowell, Jackie Bavaro

Publisher: CareerCup, 2014, 363 pages

ISBN: 978-0-9847828-1-9

Keywords: Product Management, Human Resources

Last modified: May 16, 2020, 10:55 a.m.

How many pizzas are delivered in Manhattan? How do you design an alarm clock for the blind? What is your favorite piece of software and why? How would you launch a video rental service in India? This book will teach you how to answer these questions and more.

Cracking the PM Interview is a comprehensive book on landing a product management role in startups or bigger tech companies. Learn how the ambiguously-named "PM" (product manager / program manager) role varies between companies, what experiences you need, how to make your existing experience translate, what a great PM resume and cover letter looks like, and then how to master the interview: estimation questions, behavioral questions, estimation questions, product questions, technical questions, and the super-important "pitch".

  1. Introduction
    • Why does this matter?
    • Who are we?
    • What now?
  2. The Product Manager Role
    • What is a PM?
    • Functions of a PM
    • Top Myths about Product Management
    • Project Managers and Program Managers
  3. Companies
    • How the PM Role Varies
    • Google
    • Microsoft
    • Apple
    • Facebook
    • Amazon
    • Yahoo
    • Twitter
    • Startups
  4. Getting the Right Experience
    • New Grads
    • Making the Most of Career Fairs
    • Do you need an MBA?
    • Why Technical Experience Matters
    • Transitioning from Engineer to Product Manager
    • Transitioning from Designer to Product Manager
    • Transitioning from Other Roles
    • What Makes a Good Side Project?
  5. Career Advancement
    • Tips and Tricks for Career Advancement
    • Q & A: Fernando Delgado, Sr. Director, Product Management at Yahoo
    • Q & A: Ashley Carroll, Senior Director of Product Management, DocuSign
    • Q & A: Brandon Bray, Principal Group Program Manager, Microsoft
    • Q & A: Thomas Arend, International Product Lead, Airbnb
    • Q & A: Johanna Wright, VP at Google
    • Q & A: Lisa Kostova Ogata, VP of Product at
  6. Behind the Interview Scenes
    • Google
    • Microsoft
    • Facebook
    • Apple
    • Amazon
    • Yahoo
    • Twitter
    • Dropbox
  7. Resumes
    • The 15 Second Rule
    • The Rules
    • Attributes of a Good PM Resume
    • What to Include
  8. Real Resumes: Before & After
  9. Cover Letters
    • Elements of a Good PM Cover Letter
    • The Cover Letter Template
    • A Great Cover Letter
  10. Company Research
    • The Product
    • The Strategy
    • The Culture
    • The Role
    • The Questions
  11. Define Yourself
    • "Tell Me About Yourself" (The Pitch)
    • "Why do you want to work here?"
    • "Why should we hire you?"
    • "Why are you leaving your current job?"
    • "What do you like to do in your spare time?"
    • "Where do you see yourself in five years?"
    • "What are your strengths and weaknesses?"
    • Sample Strengths and Weaknesses
  12. Behavioral Questions
    • Why These Questions Are Asked
    • Preparation
    • Follow-Up Questions
    • Types of Behavioral Questions
  13. Estimation Questions
    • Approach
    • Numbers Cheat Sheet
    • Tips and Tricks
    • Example Interview
    • Sample Questions
  14. Product Questions
    • About the Product Question
    • Type 1: Designing a Product
    • Type 2: Improving a Product
    • Type 3: Favorite Product
    • Preparation
    • Tips and Tricks
    • Sample Questions
  15. Case Questions
    • The Case Question: Consultants vs. PMs
    • What Interviewers Look For
    • Useful Frameworks
    • Product Metrics
    • Interview Questions
  16. Coding Questions
    • Who Needs To Code
    • What You Need To Know
    • How You Are Evaluated
    • How To Approach
    • Developing an Algorithm
    • Additional Questions & Solutions
  17. Appendix
    • Ian McAllister: Top 1% PMs vs. Top 10% PMs
    • Adam Nash: Be a Great Product Leader
    • Sachin Rekhi: The Inputs to a Great Product Roadmap
    • Ken Norton: How to Hire a Product Manager


Cracking the PM Interview

Reviewed by Roland Buresund

Good ******* (7 out of 10)

Last modified: May 22, 2020, 12:19 a.m.

A good book that explain what a Product Manager does (and variants of it in different Tech companiiies).

It prepares you on the approach taken by some of the current major Tech companies when it comes to interviews for these posiiition.

All in all, a very interesting book.


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