We recently sat down with fmr Amazon Sr. Product Manager, and current Wyze Labs Director of Product, Mark Tan, to discuss his experience in finding and interviewing for product management jobs. It’s a great chat for anyone interested in exploring a career in product management.
Product management jobs happen by accident for many people who find themselves in this career. Mark Tan shared his experience and advice on how to do it on purpose on his episode of Product Talk.
On how he found his first product management job.
Tan knew where he wanted to wind up and put in the effort to find himself a job in that field.
“I found that job through networking. So, I did my grad school in California. And I was very excited about the tech scene around that area. So I made sure that I reached out to different companies almost every week. And then I stumbled across Quixey in the middle of downtown Mountain View. And then I just sort of talked to the Director of Product there. Trie to learn more about what they do. And then, in the end, I was extended an offer to be to become part of the team.”
On preparing for Product Management Job Interviews
Doing your homework before going into an interview for product management jobs can be super helpful.
“I was trying to read as much as I can. I tried to search the web for many different resources, read articles, look at Glassdoor reviews and tried to consolidate that. The questions and sections that were relevant to product management. So I did that for over the course of three to four months trying to figure out where I fit.”
On what the hiring process is like with a major company like Amazon.
For those who set their goals high, are looking for a new job, and want to work with the biggest companies around, Tan revealed a bit of what it was like to get hired at Amazon.
“So I was entered into the system by the hiring manager, and not the recruiter or myself. And then I was scheduled on a second loop. I was scheduled on a second phone screen with another product from that group. And then I had a 45-minute conversation. He asked me tough questions about product, what I did before. And then after that, they scheduled me an on-site within a month. Then, with an on-site, I was put in front of about six people from different backgrounds. Half of them were on product, some were marketing. And then finally, the director at Amazon. So, I went through that full-day on-site. And then I heard the news within the day, actually.”
On what he’s learned about interviewing for PM jobs.
Tan had some great wisdom to share on preparing for PM job interviews.
“So one thing that I realized about interviewing is, there’s a lot of subjectivity around it. Make sure that you focus on the results. Make sure that you add more context before jumping straight into the day to day tasks.
It’s helpful to have products in mind that you like and dislike. Just try to break that apart and see ‘what can you do to actually make it better? And what do you love about the product?’ So, answering these questions ahead of time will help you prepare for future interviews. These are common questions that are asked by many different companies.”
About the speaker
About the host
Mark has deep experience (1) bringing new B2B products to market, (2) leading early-stage sales and business development, and (3) conducting user research. He has conducted 1,200+ user interviews over the past 10+ years building and selling new products (software and hardware). Mark runs MondayKarma.com, a blog to help WashU students learn how to land their first job from alumni that have already landed theirs.