10 Advanced Tips to Ace Your PM Behavioral Interviews
Avoid these common mistakes when interviewing at top tech companies
Level up your product and creator skills in just 5 min a week. Join 50,000+ readers:
Today, I want to share 10 advanced tips to ace your PM behavioral interviews.
After interviewing 100s of candidates at top tech companies, I believe that:
The behavioral interview often makes the difference between offer and rejection.
So let’s dive into my tips and how you can use them to avoid some common mistakes.
This post is sponsored by…Safara
Safara is a hotel booking app where you can earn 10% cash back on every booking at 1M curated hotels.
Creator Economy readers can get an additional $100 off their next hotel booking (on top of 10% cash back) by using the link below.
1. Create a company doc
Mistake #1: Not researching the company.
The more you research, the more you can show interest in the job.
Start a doc and write down the company’s:
Use the company website, earnings transcripts, and other sources to find this information. An underrated source is to…
2. Watch videos of company leaders
Mistake #2: Not knowing how leaders talk about the company.
Understanding how company leaders talk is a great hack for your interview.
Watch videos featuring company leaders to understand how they describe the mission, strategy, values, and more.
You’ll also feel less intimidated if you end up talking to one of them in the interview loop. Here’s an example from Roblox:
3. Prepare the most common questions
Mistake #3: Having to make up stories on the spot.
There’s no excuse for not preparing answers to common behavioral questions:
Achievement: Tell me about an accomplishment that you’re proud of.
Conflict: Tell me about a conflict that you had to resolve.
Drive: Tell me about when you had to get something done without resources.
Failure: Tell me about when you failed and what you learned from it.
Weakness: Tell me about something you had to work on to be more effective.
You can use the STAR framework (situation → task → action → result) to prep your answers. For each story, focus on 3 specific actions and a clear quantifiable result.
Still, many candidates misuse this framework because they don’t…
4. Bring the pain to life in each story
Mistake #4: Choosing stories that are too easy.
I once had a senior PM candidate share a greatest accomplishment story where he ran a small A/B test and shipped it. This story is too easy.
Instead, you want to pick stories that bring the pain to life. Examples include:
Setting a product vision and seeing through its ups and downs over the years.
Scaling a new product from 0 to millions of users with a small team.
Focusing on the customer to resolve a major conflict between two orgs.
A great way to bring the pain to life is to include quotes from hard conversations. For example, a conflict story could include this situation:
“When I met the safety PM, I could tell that he wasn’t happy. He opened by saying: “Of all the features that you could cut, I can’t believe that you’re cutting a safety feature!”
Quotes like this help the interviewer feel your struggle. Follow up with specific steps that you took to resolve the conflict to close the deal.
5. Match your stories to the company’s values
Mistake #5: Not highlighting how you excel in 1-2 company values.
Every company has a set of values that they use to evaluate candidates. When your interviewers do a debrief about you, you want them to all point to 1-2 values where you exceeded their expectations.
Pick values that match your track record and what you believe in.
For example, one of Roblox’s core values is “Respect the community.” When I interviewed with the company, I weaved how I built products with the community into all of my stories. This turned out to be key for my application.
6. Make the recruiter your ally
Mistake #6: Not partnering with the recruiter throughout the process.
Recruiters have more influence than you think. Make them your ally by asking questions like:
What are the company’s core values?
What are the top 3 traits that the hiring manager is looking for?
Can you share more about interviewers and what they’re screening?
What feedback can I proactively address from the most recent round?
Show genuine interest in every conversation with your recruiter. Building a great relationship with them is key to navigating the interview process.