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Amazon Product Manager

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Interview Preparation Course
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• Congratulations on getting an opportunity to interview with Amazon.
Amazon is just a fantastic company innovating at every step of the
way
and slowly but surely capturing every aspect of our lives.

So GREAT JOB getting the journey with them


started.
• You most probably know that Amazon receives thousands of
applications
everyday, so you definitely have stood out for them to have
contacted
you. Great work, so far.
COPYRIGHTS & DISCLAIMER

• This document and its creators are not affiliated in any way with Uber
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website coursetake.com are not affiliated with or endorsed by Uber. All the
questions and csv files in the book are created from ground up by
Coursetake.
• This document and relevant files transmitted with it are intended solely
for the use of individual or entity to whom they are addressed. No part of
this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any
form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other
electronic or mechanical methods. All rights reserved.
• The information on this document is tried to be as accurate as possible, but
no guarantee of usefulness or fitness for a particular purpose is implied. The
content is provided on an as-is basis. The advice given may not be suitable
for every situation.
Table of Contents
Section 1– The Product Management Role
Section 2 – The Product Management Role at Amazon
Section 3 – Interview Process at Amazon
Section 4 – Amazon Company Information
Section 5 - Questions
Section 6 – Questions to Ask
Section 7 – Preparation Plans and Tips
Section 8 – Conclusion
INTRODUCTION
• This class is purely about preparing for an Amazon Product
Management
Interview
• My aim is to take you through a systematic process one-step at a time
to help you ace this interview.
• My approach will be to first teach you a lesson and then give you
homework for
You to complete
• This class consists of worksheets and slides, along with the video lectures,
that you can download.
• I’ve seen that the most successful candidates are the ones who NOT ONLY follow
the lessons, but do the homework at the end of it.

This course will combine theory and practice to help


you succeed.
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Agenda – The Course Consists of 8 Sections
1. The Product Management Role – We’ll start by understanding the
role of a Product Manager in general.
2. Amazon Product Manager Role – We’ll then talk about the
role of a Product Manager specifically at Amazon.
3. Interview Process – We’ll talk about the interview process for a PM
at
Amazon
4. Company Information – We’ll then talk about the details about
Amazon as a company and the various products it has.

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5. Questions – We’ll then get into the specific question types that
Amazon
Typically asks its candidates and how to attack each one

1. Behavioral Questions
2. Tradeof Questions
3. Pricing Questions
4. Financial Projections
5. Strategy Questions
6. Customer Experience Questions
7. Metrics Questions
8. Design Questions
9. Vision Questions
10. Estimation Questions
6. Questions to Ask – Here, we will discuss what questions to ask
during
your interview.
7. Preparation Plan and Tips – We’ll then cover a number of
preparation tips for the interview process and put together a time
table to study.
8. Conclusion – Finally we’ll end by summarizing everything in this
section.
Section 1– The Product
Management Role
9 Things that PMs do

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Role of an Product Manager a.k.a. PM
• A PM is responsible for making sure that a team ships a great
product.
• What does shipping a great product mean?

1. Vision and Strategy: The PM sets the vision, strategy and business model for the
product.
• They do so by understanding the market, competition, customers and current company
capabilities and then define the unique value proposition for the product they are working on
for the appropriate customer niche that they plan to target.

2. Goals and Initiatives: The PM sets specific goals for the product and defines
initiatives to drive those goals. The PM defines specific success criteria/metrics or
Key Performance Indicator (KPI) for the product to achieve those goals and specific
targets that the product should achieve.
3. Product Roadmap: The PM defines and maintains the product roadmap,
that maps out a timeline of these initiatives.

4. Features: For each initiative, the PM defines features/user stories i.e. a


business needs or wants of the customer. These come from customers,
sales, marketing, customer support, internal engineering and other teams
and various other parts of the organization.

5. Prioritization and Release Roadmap: The PM prioritizes various


features and makes decisions on which ones to go after first and which
ones can go into a product backlog. The PM maintains all this in a
“Release Roadmap.”
• PMs prioritizing by taking into account areas such as value add, risk, complexity of
implementation etc.

6. Requirements: For the features that are going out, the PM further refines
each feature into detailed requirements i.e. defines the capability of what
the product should do to meet the business need of the feature. A feature is
essentially a high-level collection of individual requirements.
7. Feature and Requirements Design: The PM works with designers,
user experience, engineering, QA and others to come up with solutions
to those requirements and hence features. The PM also defines the
specific success criteria for each feature in terms of specific metrics.

8. Implementation: The PM works with engineering teams, QA, data


analysts and others to ensure on a day to day basis that those features are
being built and are ready to go out to customers.

9. Release: The PM coordinates all release activities related to launching


those product features and maintains a timeline of the same.
• This includes signing of on the final build, going through a launch checklist of various items,
communicating out to various parts of the organization and to customers and making various
decisions through the process, working with marketing to co-ordinate the “Go To Market” plan
etc. etc.

9. Rinse and Repeat: The PM consistently follows this same process again to
consistently ship great products.
Summary of the PM Process

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Summary of the PM Process

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Just some of the areas a PM has to own
As you can clearly see, based on the
activities that a PM performs that he or
she is clearly the CEO of his or her
product.

The PM drives activities across an organization right from vision all the
way to
Execution and launch

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…with one distinction

• PMs have no direct reports.


• A CEO does.
• This means that PMs have to drive their entire product strategy
through influence and not through direct authority over anyone.
• Leadership through influence is an extremely important trait that
good
PMs have and it will be tested throughout the interview process.

PMs are great leaders as the success of their product is the


direct function
of their ability to influence others to do their best work.

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A PM sits in the middle of the Business, Technology and the
Product

Even though the title says


“Product”, the PM has touch points
to various parts of the
organization.

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Section 2 – The Product
Management Role at Amazon

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Amazon PM

• In this section, we will define the role of a PM as it relates to


Amazon and how the responsibilities differ from the core
responsibilities of a generic PM.

• We’ll also define the skills that a Amazon PM needs in order to


be both successful there, but more importantly for you to prepare
specific interview areas during your interview studying process.

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Amazon PM Job Description
Here is a typical Amazon
Product Manager Role
directly advertised on the
Amazon Careers Website.

Let’s break down some


of the core
responsibilities of this
role.

Note one important thing


about Amazon – Even
though they are looking
for candidates for a
specific team, they will

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recruit you into the
company.

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Amazon PM Core Responsibilities

• Create, build, and implement groundbreaking new customer


experience-related features and benefits that will impact
millions of Amazon customers
• Thing 4/Features, Thing 7/Feature and Requirements Design, Thing
8/Implementation
• Write business requirement and functional specification documents
• Thing 6/Requirements
• Lead and coordinate eforts cross-functionally with business teams,
software development engineers, retail teams, other product
managers, UX designers, and external partners to guarantee a
smooth and efficient product delivery
• Thing 9/Release
• Identify and mitigate bottlenecks, provide escalation
management, balance business needs versus technical
constraints, and maximize business benefit while building the
best customer experience
• Thing 9/Release
• Manage roadmap projects from inception through implementation
• Thing 1/Vision and Strategy, Thing 2/Goals and Initiatives, Thing
3/Product Roadmap, Thing 5/Prioritization and Release Roadmap

As you can, the Amazon PM role is very


similar to the core role of PMs as
defined in the industry.
Amazon Company Culture

• The Amazon culture is well published on their website in the form


of 14
Amazon Principles
• https://www.amazon.jobs/en/principles
• As a PM, its extremely important to internalize these 14 principles
as Amazon takes their culture very seriously. You’ll get tons of
questions on these principles.
• We’ll get into the details into Section 4 in the Questions section,
however, its important early on to understand these 14 principles very
well.
• Let’s look at the culture in detail:

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Amazon Principles
1. Customer Obsession
• Leaders start with the customer and work backwards. They work vigorously to
earn and keep customer trust. Although leaders pay attention to competitors,
they obsess over customers.
2. Ownership
• Leaders are owners. They think long term and don’t sacrifice long-term value
for short-term results. They act on behalf of the entire company, beyond just
their own team. They never say “that’s not my job".
3. Invent and Simplify
• Leaders expect and require innovation and invention from their teams and
always find ways to simplify. They are externally aware, look for new ideas from
everywhere, and are not limited by “not invented here". As we do new things, we
accept that we may be misunderstood for long periods of time.
4. Are Right, A Lot
• Leaders are right a lot. They have strong judgment and good instincts. They
seek diverse perspectives and work to disconfirm their beliefs.
5. Learn and Be Curious
• Leaders are never done learning and always seek to improve themselves. They
are
curious about new possibilities and act to explore them.
6. Hire and Develop The Best
• Leaders raise the performance bar with every hire and promotion. They
recognize exceptional talent, and willingly move them throughout the
organization. Leaders develop leaders and take seriously their role in coaching
others. We work on
behalf of our people to invent mechanisms for development like Career Choice.
7. Insist on the Highest Standards
• Leaders have relentlessly high standards - many people may think these
standards
are unreasonably high. Leaders are continually raising the bar and driving their
teams to deliver high quality products, services and processes. Leaders ensure
that defects do not get sent down the line and that problems are fixed so they
stay fixed.
8. Think Big
• Thinking small is a self-fulfilling prophecy. Leaders create and communicate a
bold direction that inspires results. They think diferently and look around
corners for ways to serve customers.
9. Bias for Action
• Speed matters in business. Many decisions and actions are reversible and do
not need extensive study. We value calculated risk taking.
10. Frugality
• Accomplish more with less. Constraints breed resourcefulness, self-sufficiency
and invention. There are no extra points for growing headcount, budget size
or fixed expense.
11. Earn Trust
• Leaders listen attentively, speak candidly, and treat others respectfully. They are
vocally self-critical, even when doing so is awkward or embarrassing. Leaders do
not believe their or their team’s body odor smells of perfume. They
benchmark themselves and their teams against the best.
12. Dive Deep
• Leaders operate at all levels, stay connected to the details, audit frequently, and
are skeptical when metrics and anecdote difer. No task is beneath them.
13. Have Backbone; Disagree and Commit
• Leaders are obligated to respectfully challenge decisions when they disagree,
even when doing so is uncomfortable or exhausting. Leaders have conviction
and are tenacious. They do not compromise for the sake of social cohesion. Once
a decision is determined, they commit wholly.
14. Deliver Results
• Leaders focus on the key inputs for their business and deliver them with the
right quality and in a timely fashion. Despite setbacks, they rise to the occasion
and never settle.
What do you need to have to be a good Amazon PM?

Amazon PM = PM Job Description +


Amazon
Cultural Fit
The Questions (Section 4) will cover how to showcase both these skills
during your entire interview process.

But, this means that a good Amazon PM needs to showcase all the skills
of
What do you need to have to be a good Amazon PM?
a good PM (Section 1) and he or she …
What do you need to have to be a good Amazon PM?
Needs to be obsessive about the 8. Needs to think big.
customer. 9. Needs to take action.
2. Needs to take full ownership for 10. Needs to be frugal.
his
or her 11.Needs to earn trust of others and
products. lead
through
3. Needs to innovate and simplify. influence.
4. Needs to have strong 12. Needs to dive deep.
judgement and good
instincts. 13. Needs to have backbone,
disagree
5. Needs to learn consistently and and commit.
be
curious. 14. Needs to consistently deliver
results.
6. Needs to hire and develop the
Some additional information on Amazon PMs

• Amazon prefers MBAs for its PM positions.


• But they also have Technical Program Managers and Program Managers (Non
Tech) to drive the day to day execution with the various teams.
• PMs don’t need to come from a technical background unlike some
other companies.
• Amazon is a very data driven company, so PMs need to have
strong
analytical skills.
• Amazon prefers documents instead of presentations, so PMs write
something known as a “Business Case” memo for their ideas –
normally 6 pages + appendices. This forces the author to be precise.
• Meetings start with everyone reading the document and asking questions.
Some additional information on Amazon PMs
• The document is refined with various meetings.
Next…

• So with this lecture, hopefully you’ve got a good sense of what it


takes to be a good PM at Amazon and also what the Amazon
culture expects out of its PMs.
• Its important to keep these in mind as tons of questions will be
centered
around the cultural aspects of Amazon.
• For example: If a question asks “Tell me about a time when you had
to lead with influence”, the interview will spend a lot of time with
you digging deep into your answers to see if you as a PM candidate
just did the high level stuf or you dove deep into the details on your
ownership.
• This is testing the “Dive Deep” principle at Amazon.
Next…
• But before we get there, lets talk about the interview process at
Amazon.
Section 3 – Interview Process at
Amazon
Interview Process

3 Phone Screens + Onsite Interview to the


Amazon
Campus

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First (Optional) Phone Screen – Recruiter Phone Screen

• The first phone screen is with a recruiter who will walk you
through the role, judge your general interest for the position and
ask you some general questions on your background.
• Sometimes Amazon recruiters will look at your resume and directly connect you
with the hiring manager as the first phone screen.

• They also judge which team would be a good fit for you based on
your background, interests etc.

• Their goal is to see whether it makes sense to pass you onto to the
hiring manager for the next screen.

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Second Phone Screen – 30-45 minutes
• Goal of this screen is to test how you match up against the 14
principles
that we discussed.

• The recruiter won’t go deeper into your skills here, but basically ask you 2-3
general questions on the 14 principles.
• The interviewer will try to cover 2-3 principles.
• E.g. “Tell me a time when you did X”
Third Phone Screen – 30-45 minutes
• The third phone screen will either be
similar to the first screen or they might
go deeper into some other question
types:
• E.g. of other types that may be asked.
But typically these are common.
1. Case Based Questions
2. Pricing Questions
3. Strategy Questions
4. Vision Questions
5. Tradeof Questions
6. Estimation Questions

• DO NOT expect any technical questions


or design questions during this screen.
• Unless you are interviewing with an
extremely technical group within the
company.
Onsite Interview
• Once you get through these phone screens, Amazon will fly you
over to their offices to conduct a thorough interview process.
• Expect to go through 5 rounds of 45 minutes to an hour where
you will be asked any of the question types in Section 4.
• One of the interviewers will be with the hiring manager. He or
she will
meet you again (after having spoken to you on the phone.)
• One of the interviewers will be with the “Bar Raiser”.
• The bar raiser is a neutral person that does NOT belong to any team.
• His or her role is to determine whether you will be above 50% of the
candidates at your level. In short, are you raising the bar?
• The bar raiser’s interview is typically the toughest interview. So
expect to be challenged during this interview.
• The bad news is that even if all interviewer’s say YES to you, the bar raiser
has the ability to say NO. He or she has veto power.
• Additionally, the hiring manager has veto power as well.
That’s it…
• You should know pretty soon the decision of the hiring team -
within a
week or so after your interview.

• Next lets focus our attention on the actual interview


questions and get
you ready for the interview.

• See you in the next section.


Section 4 – Amazon Company
Information
Studying Amazon

• If you have ever interviewed before, you should know that


questions
regarding the company are common throughout the process.
• You want to show throughout the process that you have done
your research about the company, know where the
company is going and why you’re excited about the same.
• This module will give you a list of areas that you need to prepare
for, specifically about Amazon.

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When studying information
about a company, its
important for us to have a
framework in place.

Here is a good framework


to use when studying
Amazon.

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a. Amazon’s Vision and Mission

• Amazon’s vision statement is “To • Amazon’s mission statement is as


be Earth’s most customer-
centric company, where follows: “We strive to offer our
customers can find and customers the lowest possible
discover anything they might prices, the best available
want to buy online.” This
vision statement underscores the selection, and the utmost
organization’s main aim of convenience.” This mission
becoming the best e-commerce statement promises an attractive
company in the world. The
following components or e- commerce service to satisfy
characteristics are emphasized in customers’ needs. The following
Amazon’s vision statement: components or features are
• Global reach identifiable in Amazon’s mission
• Customer prioritization statement:
• Widest selection of products • Lowest prices
• Best selection
• Utmost convenience

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* Note that there are no “Take
Profits” here. It’s a closed loop.

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b. Amazon’s Culture and Values

We have already covered in this great detail earlier in this class. You
can either refer to that section of read more about Amazon’s
principles of leadership here.

https://www.amazon.jobs/principles
c. Products and Services
These are some of
Amazon’s key businesses:

https://www.amazon.jobs/
en/business_categories
Next
d. Customers
• This section should be answered specific to the
group/product/category that you are
considering.
• Few examples:
• Age bracket
• Household Income (HHI)
• Male/Female Ratio
• Average Spend per Year
• Amazon has tons of diferent customers, each diferent for the
diferent products it ofers.
http://www.businessinsider.com/amazon-prime-demographics-chart-
2015-
1
• Amazon customers consist of upper & middle class social groups who
have inclination towards using E-commerce portals and are
comfortable with online shopping.
e. Competitors
Competitive Advantage
• http://www.fool.com/investing/general/2015/05/18/amazons-
sustainable-
competitive-advantage.aspx
Other Competitive Advantages (Strengths)
1. Strong background and deep pockets – Built on its early successes
with books, Amazon now has product categories that include electronics,
toys, games, home and kitchen, white goods, brown goods and much
more. Amazon has evolved as a global E-commerce giant in the last 2
decades.
2. Customer centric: Company’s robust CRM has created customer centric
processes in order to carefully record data on customer’s buying behavior.
This enables them to ofer individual items, related items or bundle them as
an ofer, based upon preferences demonstrated through purchases or items
visited. Also, the company claims that 55% of their customers are repeat
buyers resulting in low cost of acquisition of new buyers.
3. Cost leadership: In order to diferentiate itself, company has created
several strategic alliances with other companies to ofer superior customer
service. The most important strategic tie ups are with logistics provides
who control costs. Because of playing on economies of scale, Amazon is
able to lower the inventory replenishment time.
4. Efficient delivery network: With its strategic partners & due to its
Amazon fulfilment centers, Amazon has created a deep & structured
network in order to make the product available even at remote
locations. It also has free of cost delivery charges in certain
geographies.
5. GLOCAL strategy: By using the strategy of “Go global & act local”,
Amazon is able to fight with domestic E-commerce companies
through absorbing & by forming / partnering with supply chain
companies. The branding too is done as per local taste. For example-
In India, Amazon is currently using the “Aur Dikhao” campaign to
encourage users to browse more of their products.
6. Acquisitions: Acquiring companies like Zappos.com, Junglee.com,
IMBD.com, woot.com etc. has proven to be a successful and
revenue generating for Amazon.
Weaknesses
1. Shrinking margins: Due to extensive delivery network & price wars
Amazons margins are shrinking, which is resulting in even
losses.
2. Tax Avoidance issue: Amazon has attracted negative publicity on
account of Tax Avoidance in countries like U.S & UK. Most of its
revenue is generated from these well established markets.
3. High Debt: In many developing nations Amazon is still struggling to
make the business profitable thereby afecting the overall
profitability of the group resulting into High debt.
4. Product flops – Amazon launched the fire phone in the US which
was a big flop. At the same time, Kindle fire did not pick up as
strongly as Kindle did. Thus, there were several product flops which
caused a dent in Amazon’s deep pockets.
f. Management Team

Key man behind Amazon is Jef Bezos.


I recommend you read a brief bio on him - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jef_Bezos
g. Metrics/Financials (as of 2016)
Statistic Value
# of Active Users 244 MM
# of Amazon Prime Customers 54 MM Users
Average Monthly Active Users (MAU) for Amazon 30 MM MAU
App

More Statistics on Amazon

http://expandedramblings.com/index.php/amazon-
statistics/
h.
1. Backward Integration: Amazon can come up with its in-house
brands in diferent product categories. They can also diferentiate
their ofering. This will help them make profits in highly competitive
E-commerce market.
2. Global Expansion: Expansion mainly in Asian & developing
economies will help Amazon because those are the markets with
low competition in E-commerce industries & are not saturated like
developed economies.
3. Acquisitions: By acquiring E-commerce companies it can decrease
the competition level & also can use the specialized capacity of the
other company.
4. Opening physical stores outside U.S: By doing this Amazon can
help the customers to engage with the brand, resulting in increase
in repeat purchases & increase in loyal customer base.
i.

1. Low entry barriers of the industry: Low entry barriers afect the
current player’s business as more & more company means tough
competition, price wars, shrinking margins & losses resulting into
questioning the sustainability of the players.
2. Government regulations: Not having clarity on the issues related
to FDI in multi brand retail, has been a big hurdle in the success of
the E- commerce players in many developing nations.
3. Local competition – India has SnapDeal and Flipkart who are
local E commerce retailers and are taking away majority of the
market. Similarly, there are many local players who take bites
from the market share thereby making it hard for a big player like
Amazon to make profits.
More Detail

• http://www.smartinsights.com/digital-marketing-strategy/online-
business-
revenue-models/amazon-case-study/
Section 5 - Questions

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Questions

• Now we’re going to get into the meat of the course. We’re
going to cover a number of diferent question types that PMs get
during their interview process at Amazon.
• We have covered a total of 10 Question Types in this
course.
• Here is how the format of each section will go:
Format of Each Section

Template on how Questions Sample


to answer each question.
and Sample Answers
Questions to Practic
Please do not move forward with any
section till you practice a few
questions and start getting confident.

Take Action.
Order of Question Types
• Note that the 10 question types
that have been presented here are in What
order of their importance to
Amazon.
• This means:
• Design questions are not asked much at
Amazon as compared to Behavioral
question types.
• If you don’t get time, you can ignore
the bottom 2-3 categories. Cares About!
Strengths, Motivation and Fit

• If you have to remember one thing for any interview in your life,
just
remember this.
• There are only 3 interview questions for any interview that you are part of.

Strengths – Can you do the job?


Motivation – Will you love this job?
Fit – Can we tolerate working with you?
• Any question type that is asked if some variation of these three
types of questions.
3 Interview Answers
So with that being said as an
interviewee you have to prove
that you have answers to these
3 questions:

• My strengths are a
match for this job.
• My motivations are a
match for this job.
• I am a good fit for
this organization.
Organization = Problems
• Organizations are full of problems. Sometimes managers know them
and
sometimes they do not.
• Whatev the case, you need to position yourself as a solution to
er those
proble
ms.
• But that goes beyond the technical know how of the job, it comes
down
to your strengths, motivations and fit.
• Through the process, right from when the recruiter gets in touch
with you
Organization = Problems
for the first time, reinforce these 3 key points to ensure that you are
the
solution to their problems.
Examples
• Tell me about yourself. Type—Strengths
• What do you know about this company’s products? Type—
Motivation
• Tell me about a time when you had to deal with conflict? Type—
Fit or Strengths (based on the Job)
• Give me an example of a time when you behaved with integrity?
Type—
Fit
• Why <Company X>? Type—Motivation
• What process do you use to prioritize a backlog? Type—Strengths
Tips When Answering Questions

• Ask clarifying questions before you


start.
• Be decisive
• Have conviction
• Always say ”I’d love to give you 3
reasons for the same. 1…. 2.... 3....”
• Explain reasoning
Framework to Ask Questions – 5W and 1H
Let’s get into the questions
• So with that background in place, lets get started with the
individual
question types…
Question Type 1 - Behavioral Questions

These questions test your ability to showcase how you would and
have reacted in various situations – both good and bad.
Behavioral Questions
The main types of questions 1. "Tell me
that are asked in any interview 2. "Goals" Questions
about yourself”
process come under the
category – Behavioral Questions
Questions.

These questions are extremely


popular today and specifically at 4. “Strengths
3. ”Why"
Amazon, so its important that you and Weaknesses: Questions
Questions?
prepare well.

There are 6 main question


types that we will cover. 5. "Tell me
Almost every behavioral 6. ”Culture"
about a time"
question you get will fall Questions
questions.
under these 6 types.
If there is one thing that you have to remember….
Remember this: If you forget
ICJC everything that you
have learnt here. Just
remember this key –
ICJC
Industry I
Company C What this means is that
when asked a question,
Job/Role J you can talk about the
Culture/Values
Industry
C Company
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6
If there is one thing that you have to remember….
Jo ole
b/ Culture/Valu
R es

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6
1. "Tell me about yourself” Questions
• This is probably the first question you will get in any interview that
you
have.
• The famous words from almost any interviewer when starting an interview.

Why don’t we start by you telling


me a little
about yourself.

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1. "Tell me about yourself” Questions
• This is probably the first question you will get in any
interview that you have, whether it’s a recruiter, hiring
manager or someone else.

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Your Story
• This question is one of the best questions for you to be able to “Tell
your
Story”.
• … and thats exactly what it should be.
• The answer to this question is not to repeat your resume, but to
really
showcase your strengths, motivation and fit for the the company
and job.
• Lets see next a framework to answer this question.
Framework to Answer – With Work Experience

Pick 3-5 main requirements from the


Job Description.

Highlight your last 3 jobs where


you did similar work using the
same verbiage in the job
description.

End your story by highlighting “Why


are you looking for a job” and
Framework to Answer – With Work Experience
additionally "Why this company and
or role?"
For Each Job – Use This Framework
1. I’m currently <Role A> for <Company B>.
2. As part of this role, I do <Work C> (Using verbiage from the job
description).
3. I’d love to highlight <Results D>.
4. Repeat 2-3 times
1. Prior to that I was <Role E> for <Company F>.
2. As part of this role, I did <Work G> (Using verbiage from the job description).
3. I’d love to highlight <Results H>.
5. Additionally I have <Education I>.
6. I’m leaving my current role because of <Reason J>.
7. And I’m excited about this opportunity with Amazon for the following
reasons:
1. <Reason K>
2. <Reason L>
For Each Job – Use This Framework
3. <Reason M>
Framework to Answer – With NO Work Experience

Pick 3-5 main requirements


from the Job Description.

Highlight 3 projects where


you did similar work using the
same verbiage in the job
description.
Framework to Answer – With NO Work Experience
End your story by
highlighting additionally
“Why this company/job?”
For Each Project – Use This Framework
1. I’m currently student at <University A> majoring in <Degree B>.
2. As part of studies, I have done <Project C> (Using verbiage from the
job description).
3. I’d love to highlight <Results D>.
4. Repeat 2-3 times
1. Additionally, I have done <Project E>.
2. I’d love to highlight <Results F>.
5. I’m excited about this opportunity with Amazon for the
following reasons:
1. <Reason K>
2. <Reason L>
3. <Reason M>
At a high level…you have to highlight your story

1. This is my 2. This is why I'm


background looking

3. This is why I
will be a good fit for the role/company
Example “Tell me About Yourself” answer

I’m currently the Chief Operating Officer of Unikrn, an eSports and


Gaming technology company based in Seattle, WA. As part of my role,
my core responsibility is to work with the management team on the
overall strategic plan for Unikrn, including specific goals for the
company. But more importantly, drive the individual teams across the
company to achieve Unikrn’s objectives. My most notable achievement
as part of this job to was to take the company from 5 employees to 40
and to a $7MM Series A round. I believe I’ve put the company onto a
growth path for massive scale in the future.
Prior to that I was a Senior Manager of Product and Strategy at
Groupon, where I led a autonomous product and engineering to launch
Groupon’s consumer commerce marketplace on its web platform. This
project added 2MM active users to Groupon’s web platform in Q3 of
2015, a growth of 25% from the previous quarter.

Additionally, I’ve spent 6 years at Microsoft as an Engineering


Manager leading teams between 5 and 40 in the Office, Windows and
Dynamics groups. My most notable achievement was the launch of
the online app store for Windows 8. This enabled Microsoft for the
first time to compete efectively with Apple by creating its own app
platform.

Also, I have a Masters in Computer Science from Clemson University and


an MBA from The University of Chicago, Booth School of Business in
Entrepreneurship, Finance and Strategy.

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I’ve started exploring opportunities recently due to significant change
in the direction of my company. The co-founders have decided to move
the company to Australia, something that I can’t do personally at this
point of time. Hence, I’m very excited to interview with your firm.

I normally look for 3 criterion when looking for new companies:

1. Companies that ofer products and services that solve a true need for
its customers.
2. A role that gives me an opportunity to drive product and
engineering teams to achieve company goals.
3. A culture that encourages entrepreneurship and an action
oriented attitude.

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Tips

• Don’t focus on the negatives. Make sure to spin any negative


into a
positive.

• For example:
• Never complain about your current role.
• Never focus on money.
• Never focus on being bored and not learning.

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Practice and Take Action

• Its your turn now.


• Please practice this question multiple times as it will be your “ice
breaker”
question in any interview.
• PLUS it will showcase your confidence and communication
skills as you
kick things of in an interview.
• Here are some questions to ponder over:
1. Tell me about yourself.
2. Tell me a little more about what you’ve been doing over the past few years.
3. What brings you here to this opportunity?
4. Why are you leaving your current job?

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2. “Why” Questions?

• These are questions that ask you questions around “Why this
job?”, ”Why
this role?” etc. etc.
• Anything that starts with a “Why”?
• These questions will definitely will be asked by the recruiter in your
first phone screen and also by the hiring manager when you speak to
him or her.
• These are great ways to understand your motivation and just like the
”Tell me about yourself” questions are great ice breakers and
ways to start conversations of.

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Framework to Answer

• Probably one of the oldest rules in the book – The Rule of 3.


• Give exactly 3 points when answering these questions.
• Next look at a framework to specifically answer this
question.
Framework to Answer - Why Company?
Framework to Answer - Why Company?
Summarize the answer to the question, then give 3 reasons:

1. Talk about the Company 2. Talk about the Job/Role/Position

3. Talk about the Culture/Values


Framework to Answer - Why Company?
C J C
Again, a reminder of why I asked you before to study the
company, its culture, values etc.
Framework to Answer - Why Role?

Summarize the answer to the question, then give 3 reasons:

1. Talk about what you love about the job and what you
bring to it.
Framework to Answer - Why Role?

J J J
Framework to Answer - Why Industry?
Framework to Answer - Why Industry?
Summarize the answer to the question, then give 3 reasons:

1. Talk about your interests and passion.


Framework to Answer - Why Industry?
3 Typical Examples
• The next 3 examples are typical examples that we’ve seen in
and out in
almost every interview we’ve been part of.

• So I highly recommend practicing these 2 examples before you go


into
your interview.
• “Why” Amazon?
• “Why” Product Management?
• “Why” eCommerce or Gaming or <any other group you are interviewing with>
Example – Why
Example: Why do you want to join us at Amazon?

• There are 3 main reasons why I’d like to join Amazon:

1. Amazon over the past few years has been on a strong path of
innovation, specifically in the cloud space. The company has come
up with interesting services on the cloud such as Kindle Direct
Publishing and Fulfillment by Amazon that have taken the world by
storm. I want to work for an innovative company that is poised to
change the world through its innovative products and services. I
strongly believe that winning companies are those that constantly
innovate and are ahead of the market. Amazon is one such compny.
Company
Example Why

2. Secondly, I’m excited about what I bring to the company.


Job
My
experience and passion has been in conceptualizing and bringing
products to market and I have done that over my 10 year career in
my previous roles. I’m excited about bringing this experience and
passion to Amazon and help successfully launch many innovate
products afecting millions of customers.

3. Thirdly, culture is very important to me. I thrive well in


entrepreneurial cultures. The Amazon principles of leadership
“Taking Ownership” and “Taking Action” appeal to my style of
Example Why
operating on a day to day basis and I believe I’ll be able to perform
at my peak there.

Culture
Example: Why ”Product
Example: Why do you want to be a Product Manager?

• There are 3 specific reasons why the role of a Product Manager is appealing
to me:

1. Product Managers sit between the business, engineering and the


Product. The ability to be the CEO of my own product that I can drive
both strategically and operationally towards hitting company goals is what
I’m passionate and good at. In my last job, as part of launching Groupon’s
marketplace to the Indian market, I had to strategically think about our
value proposition, our target customer demographic, competitors, pricing
strategy. I had to work with various groups internally (sales, marketing,
engineering) and externally (partners, customers) to be able to deliver on
company goals.
Job
Job
2. Good Product Managers are analytical - I’m a firm believer in
data driven decision making. I believe good Product Manager’s
keep their biases out of the equation and use data to make
decisions whether qualitative or quantitative.

3. Finally, Product Managers lead through influence – My


personal leadership style is all about leading via influence,
irrespective of whether I have reports or not. Great Product Managers
are relationship builders and achieve company goals by bringing
teams together to do so. This
is one of my key strengths that makes me a good fit to this role.

Job
Example “Why Technology
Example: Why are you interested in the

• There are 3 main reasons why I’d love to join the technology industry:

1. My Personal Interests and Passion – As I was going through my


undergraduate year in college, I started meeting with a few alumni Product
Managers at Amazon from my university and started developing a keen
interest for the Product Management. I loved the challenge of owning a
Product end to end leading teams to execute on our collective vision. I
started loving the aspects of delivering projects with a clear focused
deadline and goals. More importantly the tech industry, given its nature
lets me test out product features faster with customers directly, the
feedback of which can be incorporated into the product as soon as possible.

My Interests
2. Secondly, my long term goals play an important part in my decision. In
the long run, I see myself starting my own technology company. I believe
the best CEOs are very Product driven. They can think strategically about
the market dynamics, but more importantly, can deliver a value
proposition towards the
needs and wants of the
customer. My Goals
3. Finally, the tech industry is at the forefront of innovation in every
industry. Technology is working today on problems for the future. That’s
what excites me
about this
industry. Opportunity
So its this combination of my personal passion, my long term goals and the
opportunity that this industry brings that attracts me to this industry.
Practice and Take Action

• This is the list of questions you should be ready for in your


interview:

• Why this company?


• Why do you want to work here?
• Why this job/role?
• Why not go to <Company X>?
• Why <Industry X>?
• I don’t think <Industry X> is for you.

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3. “Goals” Questions
• This is the next set of questions that you should prepare for. There
are
really two questions here that you should prepare for.

1. What are your short term goals?


2. What are your long term goals?

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Framework to Answer – Long Term Goals

Summarize your Long Term Goal. Then summarize 3 reasons

1. I want to be
part of the right company.

copyright ©
Framework to Answer – Long Term Goals
2. I want to be part of the right next job/role.

3. I want to be around people with the right values/culture.

C J C

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Framework to Answer – Short Term Goals
Framework to Answer – Short Term Goals
Talk about your long term goal (yes that’s correct)

1. Talk about your short term goal – This Job.

2. Talk about the company. 3. Talk about values/culture.


Framework to Answer – Short Term Goals
J C C
Example “What are your long term

• In the long run i.e. over the next 10 years, I see myself becoming
the General Manager of a Business Unit at Amazon, where I can run
various cross functional teams and manage P&L to be able to
successfully execute on company goals.

• In order to get there:


1. I want to work for a company that encourages my long term plan and
provides a growth part for me.
2. Secondly, I believe the role of Product Manager is the great next step for
me. I believe the best CEOs are Product people who can think critically
about customers, their needs and wants.
3. Thirdly, leadership is an important aspect of getting there and a company such
as Amazon and its leadership principles put me a strong growth path to getting
there.
Example “What are your short term

• I’d like to start by outlining my long term goal. I see myself becoming
the General Manager of a Business Unit at Amazon, where I can run
various cross functional teams and manage P&L to be able to
successfully execute on company goals.

• In order to get there:


1. My short term goal is find a position that puts me on the path towards the long
run. In my case, the Product Manager. I aspire to grow in that role, prove
myself and then to expand that out to becoming a Senior Product Manager
managing an entire product instead of only a few features.
2. Additionally, I’d want to do this at a company such as Amazon that encourages
growth this kind of growth.
3. Thirdly, leadership is an important aspect of getting there and a company such
as Amazon and its leadership principles put me a strong growth path to getting
there.

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4. “Strengths and Weaknesses” Questions
• The next type of question is the “Strengths and Weaknesses”
questions.
• Another extremely important type of question that is definitely
going to be asked to you through the entire process.
• So its best to be well prepared.
• Similar to before, the goal here is to use the ”Rule of 3”. Give
exactly 3
strengths and 3 weaknesses.
• Additionally, for your weaknesses you will need to also add the
following:
“What have you been doing to overcome your weakness”.
• Lets look at details…
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Strengths – Framework to Answer
• Focus on the core strengths of a PM – the ones we discussed in Section
1.
You want to be able to highlight these skills.
• Bonus points if you highlight 3 strengths directly from the job
description like we covered in Section 2.

Strength Strength
1: State Strength
your
2: State
coreyour
3:
PMState
Skill,
coreyour
then
PM Skill,
core
givePM
then
example.
Skill,
givethen
example.
give example.
Example “Give me Your top
• Absolutely. I believe I have 3 top strengths and they are as follows:

1. I’m extremely analytical. As an example, this one time using


insights on our customers, I was able to significantly influence a
change in our product direction. I make tons of my decisions based
on the data which enables me to keep any biases out of the
equation.

2. I believe I have strong leadership skills. The ability to influence


others and bring the best out from them is a core strength of mine. I
didn’t have any direct reports in my last job, but was successfully
able to pitch the idea of our next product to the company CEO and
rile together a group of engineers to execute on the same.
3. Finally, I’m relentless and see things through. In my first job as
a Software Engineer at Amazon, there were tons of bugs in one of
our older projects that management had given up on due to the
volume of bugs. This was an opportunity for me to step in and spend
extra hours to fix those bugs and get the product launched. The
launch earned tons of kudos for both me and our department in
general and was considered a huge success for the company.

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Weaknesses – Framework to Answer

• Be honest here and don’t give something vague like “I work too
hard”.
• Pick a genuine weakness.
• Be professional and talk about work related weaknesses, as
compared to something personal.
• Finally, make sure you mention what you are doing to overcome this
weakness.

Weakness 3:
1: State your weakness, what are you doing to overcome it, and if there have been any improve
2:

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Example: What’s Your Biggest Weakness?
In my last performance review, my boss wrote that “John has a straightforward and
direct approach. For those not familiar with John, they will be taken aback by John’s
bluntness and find it ofensive.”

The reason I am blunt is that I get impatient with others. I am eager for my team to do a
job and do it well. Over the last 3 years, I’ve worked on becoming more patient by:

1. Meditating. It helps be more calm and contemplative.


2. Be more compassionate. I have begun to accept that not everyone can operate by my
standards.
3. Take time for breaks. Whether it’s exercise or grabbing a beer with co-workers, it helps
me
break me away from the must-get-it-done routine.

Recently, my peers & direct reports have noticed a change in my behavior. One person
told me, “John you’re more laid back now. Small things don’t seem to bother you as much.
You’ve been more patient with others, and your working relationships have improved.”

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Strengths and Weaknesses
• Sometimes employers will ask you questions related to both your
Strengths
and Weaknesses. The key is to answer both.
• For example: You could be asked – “What would your coworkers
have to say about you?”.
• The key to this question is to recognize that the interviewer is trying to see
whether you are critical about yourself, but at the same time you recognize
your strengths.
Sample Strengths
analytical scrappy creative
energetic organized decisive
Thinking outside the box Risk taking Calm under pressure
thorough See things through Understand people’s feelings
flexible initiative Detail-oriented
Good planner quantitative multitasking
leadership Good to taking feedback persistent
persuasive Data-driven independent
Self-critical Good mentor; caring Not afraid of challenges
prioritization Enjoy learning new skills Add humor and fun to the team
Sample Weaknesses
Not detail oriented Overly confident Lack of confidence
Too negative Makes too many assumptions unrealistic
unassertive impatient indecisive
stubborn Intimidating to others procrastinator
Take feedback personally Difficulty admitting failure Hesitant asking for help
Too direct/blunt overanalyzing argumentative
Easily distracted Can be very vague Bad at multitasking
Micromanages people Short attention span shy
Practice and Take Action
• Strengths
• What are some of your strong points?
• Tell me your strengths.
• What would be reasons we would promote you at your job?
• Why should we hire you?
• What's your style of leadership?
• Weaknesses
• What are some of your weaknesses.
• If you are not here in this company 1 year from now, what do you think would be
the
reasons?
• Strengths and Weaknesses
• If I ask your ex boss/coworker about you, what would they say?
4. “Tell me about a time” Questions

• Example: “Tell me about a time when you successfully shipped a


feature”.
• This is probably the most important set of questions in the
Behavioral category of questions.
• Amazon asks tons of these and they will NOT stop after your first
answer. They will consistently dig deeper looking for deeper answers
to the answer to ensure that you are a culture fit – (Remember the 14
principles in Section 2 ).
• Before we get into the heart of the types of questions and how to
prepare for this, lets look at a framework to answer this question type.
Framework to Answer

Talk about the goals that you intended to achieve and (optionally) the metric and target to measure succe

Specify the dramatic situation you came into.


Talk about actionsTalk
youabout
took in
the
the
results
situation
that were achieved.

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5 Main Categories
• Normally these questions fall into the following categories:
Category Example
Leadership and Influence Tell me about a time when
you made a decision that
wasn’t popular.
Challenges Tell me about a time when you
weren’t able to reach a deadline.
Mistakes/Failures Tell me about a time when you
failed.
Successes Tell me about a time when
you solved a problem in a
creative way.
Teamwork Tell me about a time when you
had to do something you
didn’t want to do.
What do the Categories Mean?
1. Leadership and Influence – is all about influencing other people to
bring the best work out of them with our without direct responsibility
over them, so an interviewer will want to understand what tactics
you use to build teams, persuade or influence others.

2. Challenges – The interviewer is looking not just for challenges


that you faced in your job or in your personal life, but how did you
deal with them. The interviewer is looking for how you solve
problems.

3. Mistakes and Failures – For one the interviewer is looking for


your humbleness in admitting that you failed or made a mistake.
Secondly she or he is looking for how you handled the situation
appropriately.

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When Talking About Mistakes

Please avoid anything that will represent a red flag to


the company.

• Don’t go overboard.
• For example: Giving an example of when you lied or cheated is going NOT going
to help here.
What do the Categories Mean?

4. Successes – This is another opportunity to sell yourself. Use this


opportunity to talk about a project in your past where you made
the most impact but at the same time, its relevancy for the role.

5. Teamwork – Teamwork questions are used to assess your


interpersonal skills, particularly in times when you are working
with your immediate peers. Communication, specially in areas of
diverse cultural and “working style” settings will be useful to
highlight.

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Example – Leadership and
Tell me about a time when you were leading a team that faced
a significant challenge, and how you led your team to
overcome that challenge.

“We had a final class project during business school where we needed
to deconstruct a business case scenario and make a formal
presentation. I was elected team leader to make sure things stayed on
track and to take the lead in the presentation. Everyone got along fine
at first – we were making good progress on understanding the key
issues the business faced
– but as we neared the deadline, we couldn’t agree on what the
solutions were for those key issues. People simply disagreed, and
given that everyone was tired and stressed, it led to a lot of fighting
and tempers really flared.”
Situation and Goals
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“The problem was that the team had essentially two opposing views of the
solution. I tried to wait it out a bit, but it seemed like we were getting
nowhere, so eventually I took the lead and simply said, “Look, you guys
appointed me as your team lead, so this is what I propose.” Then, I laid out
a compromise solution that actually had parts of each side’s thoughts. Next, I
pointedly asked each person, one at a time, if they were okay with this
solution, and if they weren’t, what their concerns were. By doing this, I really
isolated the problems and made sure to get buy-in.

Miraculously, we were able to finish the project on time and we got a great
grade. What I took from this experience was two-fold: one, that as a leader
your job is to make sure the team delivers on key deadlines and deliverables,
and two, that both individual and group buy-in are necessary to move forward
and reduce friction.”
Actions and Results
Example –
Situation, Goals and Action
How did you deal with a difficult
boss?

“My manager in my last job, where I worked for 2 years, was tough. Really
tough. I struggled the first few months I worked with him – in retrospect, I
realized that had no idea what he wanted from me.

So finally, I decided I couldn’t take it any more, so I scheduled a lunch with


him to address the issue. At lunch, I basically said that I was having a
challenging time working under him. Then I gave him 3 examples of where I’d
spent an enormous amount of time working on a specific assignment, only to
have him change what he wanted at the last minute. I then talked about how,
Example –
I could’ve done 5 other things for him and helped the company if I hadn’t
wasted that time.”
“He was a little taken aback, but because I was so specific about the
opportunities to use time that would have been freed up had he been
more direct and consistent, he really took to it. After that, I think he
respected me a whole lot more. He really listened, and became more
thoughtful about his early decisions so he didn’t change directions 180
degrees at the last minute. I took away from that experience the need
to be facts-based when having sensitive conversations, and to show
how resolving a conflict can benefit both parties by really trying to see
priorities and concerns from someone else’s perspective.”

Results

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Example –

What was your greatest failure and what lessons did you learn
from it?

“I tried to start an organization on campus my freshman year, but in


the end it failed. The main goal of the organization was to help new
students from China coming in to the United States settle in well.”

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Example –
Situation and Goals

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“It was far from a waste of time, however – I learned so much about
what it takes to start something and keep it going. I realized that I
didn’t plan thoroughly enough and that I tried to go too fast.“

Follow Up – What did you learn from it?

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8
“With that experience under my belt, I successfully started a consulting
club on campus my junior year to get together with like-minded
students regularly to study cases and talk about business trends. My
team and I grew the club to 300 members in the first year through
effective advertising. We have a great funding model, and we continue
to go above and beyond the mission we set out to accomplish.”

Action and Results

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Example –
What do you think is your biggest
success? Situation and Goals
“My biggest success professionally has been taking my company from Pre Revenue
to
$5MM a year over a period of 2 years.

When I started the company, unlike many startups, I decided to put together a clear
cut business plan and associated with that a strategic plan on how I was going to get
there over the period of 2 years. I broke down the bigger plan into smaller pieces
and set quarterly and monthly goals. Then I started executing on the plan,
consistently built my team over time and one step at a time achieved the goals I
initially set out.

This experience taught me the power of planning and discipline when it came to
achieving goals. My consistent discipline is the big reason that I was able to achieve
my
company goals"
Example –
Actions and Results
Example –

How would you deal with difficult coworkers?

“I was a writer for the sports coverage desk of the campus newspaper.
There were just 4 of us, including one section leader, and we spent all
of our time together going to events – watching them, discussing
them, and then writing our stories. There was one guy who was just
tough to be around. Every time I proposed a story, he tossed out a
sarcastic comment in response. And he always pointed out little things
about my story that were vague or wordy. It was hard to work with
him. I noticed that over time due to this behavior we were unable to
hit some of our deadlines.”

Situation and Goals


Example – Actions and Results
Teamwork
“I finally sat down with him one day when everyone else had left the office. I was
really direct with him about how what he was doing affected me. He was really
defensive, but then I started to give examples of his bothersome behavior. “

I also showed him that I appreciated his eye for detail, but shared how constructive
criticism would sound to me (it was different to his approach, that’s for sure!) I think
what really got across was my general message of, ‘Look, we both want to write
great articles and give people good recaps of games and stories about the teams.
I’m happy if you
criticize my writing to help me make it better, but in the future, why don’t we sit
together and try to help improve each other’s stuff as opposed to trying to
embarrass the other person in front of a group?’

I learned a lot – specifically that sometimes things can get personal, but I needn’t
react defensively. Rather than focusing on feelings, I need to show where goals
overlap and propose actual steps we can take to fix the problem together. Overtime,
our relationship improved and I started receiving more constructive feedback on my
writing. Over the next couple months, we started receiving praise for our writings
and we hadn’t missed a single deadline”

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How to Prepare? Prepare 15 Main Stories and Spin Them

• For each of the 5 categories we discussed above, prepare 3 stories


using
our framework.
Category Job 1 Job 2 Personal

Leadership and
Influence
Teamwork

Successes

Challenges

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Mistakes/Failures

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Additionally, Highlight and Create Stories for the 14 Amazon
Principles
• Remember the 14 Amazon principles. Now is the time to showcase
those
principles in your interview.
• This is your time to highlight those here in your cheat sheet.

You must lead with those in your


interview.

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• That way you’re consistently focusing on the language of the
company.
• Additionally if within your 15 stories you don’t cover all the principles,
add a few more stories to complete the list.

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Final Cheat Sheet for Stories
Category Job 1 Job 2 Persona
l
Leadership
and Influence
Teamwork

Successes

Challenges

Mistakes/Failures

Additional Story that


covers 14 principles

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5
Final Cheat Sheet for Stories
Additional Story
that covers 14
principles

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Practice and Take Action – Leadership and Influence

1. Describe a decision you made that wasn’t popular. How did you
handle
implementing it.
2. Describe a time when you had to motivate employees as coworkers.
3. Tell me about a time when you showed initiative.
4. Tell me about a time when you showed initiative.
5. Tell me about a time when you had to give a presentation to
people who disagreed with you.
6. Tell me about a time when you had to make an unpopular decision.
7. Tell me about a time when you had to sell another person or team on
your idea.
8. Tell me about a time when you’ve built a team.

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Practice and Take Action – Challenges

1. Tell me about a time when you faced a challenge and overcame it.
2. Tell me about a time when you weren’t able to reach a deadline.
3. Describe a major change that occurred in a job that you held. How
did you adapt to this change.
4. Tell me about a time when you had to deal with changing priorities.
How did you handle it.
5. Tell me about a time when you had to make a decision quickly or
with insufficient data.
6. Tell me about a time when you used a lot of data in a short period of
time.
7. Tell me about a time when you handled a risky situation.
Practice and Take Action – Mistakes and Failures

1. Tell me about a time when you made a mistake.


2. Tell me about a time when you failed.
3. Tell me about a time you improperly analyzed a situation.
4. Tell me about a time when you were disappointed with
yourself.
5. Tell me about a time when you were unable to judge all your
responsibilities.
Practice and Take Action – Success

1. Tell me about something you’re proud of accomplishing.


2. Tell me about a time when you reached a goal that was important.
3. Tell me about a specific insight you gained from something
outside of work.
4. Tell me about a time when you went above and beyond the call of
duty.
5. Describe a time when you resolved a situation before it became
serious.
6. Tell me about a time when you had to show innovation.
7. Tell me about a time when you solved a problem in a creative way.
Practice and Take Action - Teamwork
1. Tell me about a time when you had to work across teams to
accomplish
something.
2. Tell me about a time when you had a disagreement at work.
3. Tell me about a time when you mentored or aided a coworker.
4. Tell me about a time when you had to do something you didn’t want
to
do.
5. Tell me about a time when you had to compromise.
6. Tell me about a time when you had to resolve a conflict.
Practice and Take Action - Teamwork
7. Tell me about a time when you had a challenging interaction with
a coworker.
Practice and Take Action – PM Specific
Tell me a time when you:

1. Created the product roadmap, vision and strategy


2. Led a team
3. Dealt with a difficult team member
4. Executed a plan that grew top line results
5. Took initiative when not asked to do so
6. Made an important decision under time pressure
7. Analyzed a large data set
8. Gained consensus
9. Adjusted your project plan to accommodate unforeseen issues
10.Juggled multiple projects at once
11.Managed the complete product lifecycle
6. Cultural Questions

• Remember our “Strengths, Motivation and Fit” framework initially.


This type
of question focuses on your fit to the company.

• The hiring team wants to know whether they can tolerate working with you
and if you’ll be a good fit to the team, their values and how they operate
everyday.

Most of these should already be covered in the


previous section, however, make sure that there are
aspects of the culture that you are not missing.
Example – What do you Like to do for fun?

In my free time, I love to read books. I’m currently reading a book


called
“Play Bigger”.

The book discusses how some of the fastest growing companies are
category creators. They taught customers a new way of doing things.
The book outlines something known as “Category Creation Strategy”
by learning and summarizing from the best category creators of this
world – the likes of Facebook, Uber among others.

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How to Prepare?
Remember our “Company” worksheet,
where I asked you list out everything
related to the company. Now its time
to bring all that together.

Pick areas of the culture/values section


from that sheet and practice 1 example
for each.
You don’t need to use the entire SGAR framework. Simply state
your answer and justify why?
How to Prepare? Prepare 1 Example for Each Area of the
Culture

Category Example

Culture Area 1

Culture Area 2

Values 1

Values 2

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Practice and Take Action

1. How books do you read?


2. What do you like to do outside work?
3. What do you do for fun?
4. What are some of your hobbies?
5. Tell me a joke.
Question Type 2 – Tradeoff Questions

These questions test your ability to influence/negotiate as a


leader. You will be asked to pick a side and give your reasons for
the same.
Framework to Answer

Give 2-3
Ask Clarifying Reasons as to why you picked that side.
Pick a Side
Questions
Example: Display Advertisements

Amazon recently launched Display Advertisements on its web page,


and it was a highly controversial decision within Amazon. Pick either the
pro or con side of the argument and explain your position of including
ads on the site.
Launching Amazon display advertisements is a good decision, and here’s why:

1. Helps customer experience

Advertisements can help minimize negative customer experiences or enhance a positive


customer experience. Let’s say a customer was intent on buying a product, but Amazon is
out of stock. The customer was going to navigate anyway. Amazon might as well direct
the consumer to a competitor that does have the product, enhancing the customer
experience. Alternatively, advertising can highlight special offers, enhancing the Amazon
shopping experience.

2. Provides additional revenue

Advertisers are willing to pay Amazon to achieve their business goals. For instance,
manufacturers might want to increase awareness, increase upsell, or shift share away
from competitive products. And competitors might want to convert Amazon customers
who can’t find what they need on Amazon. In either case, Amazon can generate revenue
(from either friend or foe) which they can use to further invest in the Amazon customer
experience.
Launching Amazon display advertisements is a bad decision, and here’s why:

1. Distracts customers from purchasing products

Ads can clutter the customer experience. For example, it may be harder for the
customer to find what they want. In the short-term, it could lead to increased bounce
rates, more abandoned shopping carts, and overall reduced conversions. In the long-
term, it could lead to reduced repeat visits as customers search for shopping
alternatives with a less time-intensive process.

2. Create a negative brand perception

Over time, customers could notice that Amazon repeatedly refers customers to
Google- like search results. Rather than come to Amazon as their first shopping
destination, they may choose to go to Google first, giving a competitor an
opportunity to establish their reputation as the first place to find & research
products they need.
Practice Questions
1. The US government recently submitted a bill to tax all online sales.
Pick a
pro or con side of the argument, and explain your position.
Question Type 3 - Pricing Questions

These questions test your ability to price one or more of Amazon’s


products.
Framework to Answer

1. Understand
2. Choose a
the Product and Competitive Products
Pricing strategy

3. Evaluate 4. Recommend
Supply and Demand
a Price and give 2-3 reasons why
How would you price the Kindle Fire HD?
1. Understand the Product

First, I’d begin with the product, discuss


similar products, and how they are priced.

The Kindle Fire HD is a 7” tablet with HD display.


It’s main competitors are the iPad mini, Samsung
Galaxy Tab, and Google’s Nexus 7. The iPad retails
for $329 while the Galaxy Tab and Nexus 7 both
go for $199.
The Galaxy Tab and iPad mini both have a
lower resolution screen than the Kindle Fire
HD.

I’d also like to understand how much it costs


to manufacture. Each unit costs $174 to
make.
How Would you Price the Kindle Fire HD?
2. Choose a Pricing Strategy

There are three different ways we can thinking about pricing:


1. Customer’s willingness to pay
2. Competitive pricing
3. Cost-based pricing

At the high end, we can look at the customer’s willingness to pay for the product.
That is, what is the value to the customer. If they didn’t have the product, what would
they do instead, and how much would they pay for it.

At the low end, we can look at the Kindle Fire’s unit cost and charge a markup. We
know that it costs $174 to produce, and we can mark it up by an absolute or relative
percentage.

At the medium end, we can look at market prices and price within those ranges.
3. Supply and Demand

For the last part, we should evaluate supply and demand. Limited
supply and high demand might merit a higher price point while the
inverse might merit the reverse.

We could test different price points and build a supply curve to


evaluate the optimal price.
4. Recommendation and Reasons

I know you’re looking for an actual price. In the absence of more time and
data, I would price the Kindle Fire HD at $179, and here’s why:

1. Competitive pricing. Other Android tablets are priced at $199. Kindle


needs to be priced competitively, especially given the # of choices
available and not so obvious differentiation.
2. Upsell opportunities. At $179, Amazon gets a slim $5 profit. However,
Amazon can gain additional profit from upselling eBooks, music, and
video. We can model those revenues as a follow-up question, if you’d
like.
3. Strategic. Amazon has made money in books, games, CD, and DVDs. All
of that is migrating to digital form. Amazon needs to not only lead this
trend, but also win this category to prevent competition from taking their
digital content sales.
Practice Questions
1. How would you price the next Kindle?
Question Type 4 – Financial Projections

These questions test your ability to be able to project out


financially any decisions made by changes in product.
Framework to Answer

Decide on the Make appropriate


Decide what you Calculations assumptions and
want to Project for Projections do the calculations

If you are Recommend a side


comparing (if needed)
scenarios, then do
a before and after.
Example: Financial Projections for Pricing Change
Assume you are the new Product Manager in our Amazon Prime
business and are in charge of Pricing.

The VP would like to lower the price from $79.99 per year to $69.99
per
year.

Making your own assumptions, develop the financial projections of


this decision.
1. Decide on what projections make sense

In order to measure the impact of this decision, I will measure the total
impact on the bottom line. For the same of simplicity, I will restrict that to
EBITDA i.e. Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization.

2. Decide on the calculations for EBITA

Gross Profit = Revenue – Cost of Goods


Sold Gross Margin = Gross Profit /
Revenue EBITDA – Gross Profit –
Operational Expenses
EBITDA Margin = Operational Expenses / Revenue
3. Make appropriate assumptions and do the calculations +
4. If you are comparing scenarios, then do a before and after

By lowering price, we will increase customer demand. It’s also possible


that the new Prime customers will purchase more. However, increased
demand will reduce membership revenues from existing Prime
customers and increase shipping costs for existing non-Prime
customers.
Let’s assume there are 5 MM Prime customers.

Existing Prime customers


With a $10 discount, that reduces annual revenues by $50 MM
New Prime customers
We need to estimate how many additional Prime customers will occur
from the price cut and the cost increases. Finally, let’s consider
additional revenue from the membership, along with incremental sales.

Let’s say any additional 20% join Prime due to the price cut. That’s an
additional 1MM Prime customers. The incremental membership
revenue is roughly $70MM. Average shipping costs per customer is
around $40 per year. Let’s say that moving these customers into Prime
increases shipping costs by $20 per year per new Prime customer.
That’s an additional $20MM cost.
Financial Projections for Pricing Change
Lastly, we can anticipate more frequent purchases due to free 2-day shipping. Let’s say there’s an
additional $40 worth of purchases per new Prime customer per year. Amazon’s gross margins are
25%, so that’s an extra $10 per year per new Prime customer.

To recap on the EBITDA annual impact: Existing Prime customers


-$10MM EBITDA

New Prime customers


+$60MM EBITDA Increase = +$70MM member revenue - $20MM incremental shipping costs +
$10MM incremental gross margin

5. Recommend a solution

Given these numbers to the bottom line, I would


recommend reducing the price.
Practice Questions
1. Should Amazon lower the price of Amazon Prime?
2. Should Amazon decrease payouts to Amazon Associates?
Question Type 5 - Case Based Questions

These questions test your ability to approach different strategic


product related situations
e.g. New Market Entry, New Product, New Business, How to Grow,
Strategy, Turnaround, Company Position Assessment

These questions also test your ability to strategize about


opportunities. Imagine yourself as the CEO of a company. What you
would do in certain cases?
Framework to Answer

Market +
Large market
Growing
market Good
margins
How to Enter?
Start from
Scratch
If Yes,
Acquisition
How?
Enterin
g
Joint
No
How to Enter?
Venture
Start from Scratch, Acquisition or Joint Venture
Segment, Segment, Segment
ALWAYS, ALWAYS SEGMENT

• Segment revenues (by product, channel, customer type, region)


(total revenues, revenues per unit)
• Segment costs (by fixed vs variable, costs within each segment of
value
chain) (total costs, cost per unit)
• Segment customers (by demographics, needs, purchasing patterns,
price point, other)
• Segment competitors (by channel, region, product, customer
segment)
Example: New Market Entry
Start a new category, division, or international market for
Amazon. Which
one did you choose and why?

I would start a dollar store category for Amazon. It’s a good fit
because:
Category Reason
Market 5-7% annual growth.

30-40% vs. Amazon’s 20-28%.


Customer 22% of dollar store customers make $70k+ per year.

Products Dollar store improves product selection, so its consistent with


Amazon’s overall product strategy.
Company Amazon likely has relationships with dollar item manufacturers
already.

Physical products can utilize Amazon’s superior fulfillment


Competition Dollar store value without the driving and the slimy store
experience.
Tips – Product
• Important point of your answer: Leverage Amazon’s
Overall
Strategy
Vision:
• Global reach
• Customer prioritization
• Widest selection of products

Mission:
• Lowest prices
• Best selection
Tips – Product
• Utmost convenience
Tips - Company

• Important point of your answer: Leverage


Amazon’s
Capabilities as a Company

Ideal products leverage Amazon’s strengths including:


1. Brand
2. Marketing & distribution
3. Merchandising platform
4. Fulfillment infrastructure

copyright ©
Tips - Company
5. Customer service

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Practice Questions
1. Should Amazon start selling groceries from neighborhood markets?
2. You’re Jef Bezos. The head of corporate development tells you that Quora
is in play, and both Microsoft and Facebook are bidding for it. Should
Google participate in the discussions?
3. You are the CEO of Yellow Cab taxi service. How do you respond to Uber?
4. If you were Amazon’s CEO, would you be concerned about Microsoft?
5. How does Amazon make money, and what are the biggest threats?
6. Should Amazon launch a Smartphone?
7. Choose a company that you believe provides a world class customer
experience. What do they do well?
8. Amazon launched a new program called Amazon Prime. Why is
Amazon Prime strategically important for the company?
Question Type 6 – Customer Experience Questions

These questions test your passion for great customer experience.


Key Factors

Key factors for a good customer service experience:

• Helpfulness. Is the company’s staf helpful?


• Value for time. Does the company demonstrate that they
value and
attempt to make efficient use of the customer’s time?
• Customer recognition. Does the customer feel
recognized and acknowledged at first contact?
• Promise fulfillment. Does the company keep promises?
• Problem solving. Extent which customers feel that staf try to
resolve problems.
Example: World Class Customer Service
Choose a company that you believe provides a world-class customer
experience. What do they do well?

Answer:
I believe Home Depot has a world-class customer experience. When I
think
why, it comes down to three criteria:

• How knowledgeable is the staf?


• Does the staf go the extra mile to help me out?
Example: World Class Customer Service
• Can I find the product I need?
I’ll go into more detail. I have a home improvement problem, but I don’t know how to
solve it. Without knowing what to solve, I don’t know what to buy at Home Depot.
Because their staf is very knowledgeable, often stafed with former contractors, they
not only point you to the product you need, but also give helpful tips on how to use it.
For customers who are looking for solutions, it’s a blessing that the staf doesn’t just
care about selling products, but solving problems.

The staf typically goes an extra mile to help you out. The other day, I needed to buy a
hex wrench to loosen up my sink disposal. The Home Depot clerk and I weren’t too
sure of which one I should buy. Rather than have me buy a couple wrenches and
return the ones that didn’t work, he said, “Let’s take all these to the sink disposal
section and make sure we find a good fit before you checkout.” It required him to open
up some packaging to do so. I really appreciated his extra efort.

Lastly, I can always find the home improvement product that I need in Home Depot.
I’m always rest assured that my time driving to Home Depot is time well spent.
Example: Poor Customer Service
Choose a company you believe provides a poor customer experience. What do
they do poorly? How would you improve it?

Lowe’s provides a poor customer experience. And here’s why:

• Understaffed. Home improvement purchases are complicated. Customers


need help – whether it’s to identify the right product or picking the right
product from the top shelf. Lowe’s stores are consistently understafed that
customers, on average, spend 3-5 minutes searching for an associate to
assist. Compared to Home Depot, where associates are plentiful and can be
often found in less than 30 seconds – the customer has a more pleasing
customer experience.
• Can’t seem to get the basics right. Lowe’s sales associates are poorly
trained. Many of them seem to be new and lack understanding of Lowe’s
processes. I’ve had two occasions where they did a poor job describing how
sales discounts are being applied.
• Limited product selection. One often has a hard time finding the right
products
in the store; they don’t seem to have the selection that Home Depot has.
To improve the situation, I would recommend the following be addressed:

• Improve sales associate knowledge. This can be accomplished by


either hiring more skilled clerks or better training programs. A recent MSN
Money poll mentioned that knowledgeable staf is what customers say
matters most.
• Hire more associates. Customers don’t like to waste time. Make it easy
for customers to get questions answered. An alternative to hiring associates
could include self-service information kiosks, more product pamphlets,
better signage, and a system to locate and page the nearest sales
associate.
• Increase product selection. Product selection is key. It can be improved
by either carrying more goods in-store, supplement in-store goods with
goods that can be purchased online, or possibly partner with
complementary partners that would give Lowe’s a more complete solution
set for customers.
Practice
1. Amazon cannot get enough Nintendo consoles. What should
Amazon
do when visitors find that it’s out of stock?
Question Type 7 - Metrics Questions

Product Managers as part of their job need to influence KPIs


directly, so its important to understand Product metrics.
Framework to Answer

Background
Goals
Information

Metrics to
A/B Testing
Track Success
Approach
1. Background Information
5 W and an H are questions that are considered basic
information
gathering.

5 W and an H
1. What is the product?
2. Who is it for?
3. Why would they use it?
4. Where is it available?
5. When will it be available?
6. How does it work?
2. Goals
Goals vs. Metrics
• Goals are high level qualitative success criteria for a product
and/or
feature.
• Metrics are specific Key Performance Indicators that will help
you measure success of the goal. These are quantitative.

Goals Metrics
List of Goals Acquisition – Getting people to
your product/service.

What are we trying to Activation – Getting people to


solve for? convert e.g. signup, free to paid
Acquisition Activation etc.

Engagement – Customers are


spending time with your
Engagement Retention product/service.

Retention – Customers keep


coming back.
Monetization Virality
Monetization – Make money with
your
product.
Virality – Invite others to your product.
3. Metrics to Track Success
Goals Sample Metrics
Acquisition # of Visits
# of Lazy Registrations
Activation # of Signups
Engagement Example: # of Likes, # of Posts Shared etc. etc. (Product specific)
Retention 1 day Active Users (Daily Active Users – DAU)
7 day Actives
30 day Actives
Monetization ARPU (Average Revenue per User)
ARRPU (Average Revenue per Paying User)
ARPDAU (Average Revenue per Daily Active
User) LTV
Conversation Rate
Virality % of Signups sending
invites. Ratio of Invites to
Signups
4. A/B Testing Approach

A/B Testing means testing your features for achieving your KPI
targets before you go live to production with the entire feature.

For example: You can test your feature for a metrics

Metric / KPI Lift P Value


# of Signups 25% 0.02

Lift represents the amount of change in that metric.


P value represents the statistical significance of the test. A value of 0.02
means that there is a 98% chance that the test results are valid. A number
below 0.05 i.e. greater than 95% probability is good enough to give you
confidence on this test results.
Example: Amazon New Feature Success Metrics

Amazon is testing a few feature asking a new user to upload their


profile photo during the signup process. What metrics would you use to
evaluate the success of this feature?
1. Background Information

Let me start by understanding


the overall user experience of
this feature and ask a few
questions.

Looks like this is the signup


dialog during the amazon.com
workflow that we’re talking
about.
2. Goals and Constraints

I also want to know what specific we are solving for. Looks like the
core goal for this feature would be to increase overall customer
satisfaction or in general engagement. Is that correct? Yes

Given this is an important feature that touches other overall goals


such as Activation, I’d like to analyze those as well.
3. Metrics

Goals Metrics
Engagement Percentage of photo uploaders to customers signing up.
# of customers who upload photos during the signup process.
Activation Percentage of visitors who complete the entire profile process.
# of users completing the entire profile process.
4. A/B Testing

The next step would be ensure that we A/B test this new feature to
hit a 95% statistical significance on these metrics.

My expectation is that we do not see a change in our Activation metrics


compared to the baseline and a clear increase in the Engagement
metrics for us to judge the success of this feature .
Practice
1. Suggest a new feature on the Amazon website. (Next section).
What
metrics would you use to track success of the same.
2. What feature would you add to Amazon Alexa? (Next section).
What metrics would you use to track success of the same.
Question Type 8 - Design Questions

These questions test your ability to either critique design (good or


bad), create new features for products or improve existing
products.
Question Type 8a – New or Improvement Design Questions
Framework to
Answer

Background Goals and


Informatio Personas
Constraint
n s

copyright ©
Requirements Prioritization Solutions

coursetake.com
When to use?
1. How would you improve product X?
2. What would you add, remove, or change about product X?
3. You’re the PM for product X. What new feature would you
create?
4. What killer feature would create as PM for product X?
5. Create a mobile app for a popular website.

coursetake.com
1. Background Information
5 W and an H are questions that are considered basic
information
gathering.

5 W and an H
1. What is the product?
2. Who is it for?
3. Why would they use it?
4. Where is it available?
5. When will it be available?
6. How does it work?
2. Goals and Constraints Acquisition – Getting people to
your product/service

What are we trying to solve Activation – Getting people to


for? convert e.g. signup, free to paid
Acquisition Activation etc.

Engagement – Customers are


spending time with your
Engagement Retention product/service.

Retention – Customers keep


coming back.
Monetization Virality
Monetization – Make money with
your
product.
Virality – Invite others to your product.
Constraints

Resources

Budget Time

Constraints

coursetake.com
3. Personas
Personas helps us understand
customer motivations
1. Personas is a stand-in for a larger user group
2. Help us understand customer
motivations, expectations, and goals
3. A detailed persona answers the following:
1. Who is this person?
2. What do they need or desire?
3. How do they currently get the job done?
4. How does it make them feel?

Persona terminology
1. Primary persona is the main target.
They’ve been dying for your solution, and
they’d be your early evangelists.
2. Secondary persona is interested, but needs
convincing. They’ve got a solution, but it’s
not ideal.
3. Negative persona is a potential future
user, but you are not consciously going
after their needs.

coursetake.com
4. Requirements/User Stories
• User stories are simple, easy, efective in gathering requirements
• User stories conveys what the end user wants to do in normal every
day language.
• It does not describe how the solution works.
Requirements/User Stories
User story template and examples

As a <role>, I want <goal/desire> so that <benefit>. Examples


• As an administrator, I want to be able to add/delete/change my
boss’s schedule so that I don’t have to use his password.
• As a FB user, I want to see out-of-town friends who send status messages
in my hometown first, so that I can send them a note.

Why do user stories work?


• Concise
• Captures the who, what, why
• More casual
5. Prioritization
User Story Monetization Engagement/C Implementati Overall
ust omer on Difficulty
Story A 3 Satisfaction
3 1 9
Story B 2 2 2 6
Story C 1 1 3 3

User Story Monetization Story sizing Revenue per Priority


Impact point
Story A $500K 8 of effort
$62.5K 1
Story B $100K 3 $33K 2
Story C $20K 2 $10K 3
6. Solutions
• Brainstorm several solution alternatives for the use case you have
chosen.
• Do a real-time pros/cons analysis. It will create the perception that
you are objective, thoughtful, and analytical.
• Out of all the ideas, recommend a solution that you feel best meets
the
use case, the business goal, and constraints.

Pros Cons

Solution 1
Solution 2
6. Solutions
Solution 3
Techniques for Brainstorming - Reversal
Reversing the situation helps uncover new possibilities.

Example: Buyers don’t have time to travel to the car dealership.


Reversal: Dealership delivers test drives to the buyer’s home.

Example: Policeman disorganizes traffic.


Reversal: Have traffic directs themselves by using a stop sign.

Example: Customers can’t decide what to order at a restaurant.


Reversal: Restaurant has no menu. Chef chooses what the customer eats based on
what
he bought at the market that day.

Example: Customers don’t like the restaurant’s wine selection.


Techniques for Brainstorming - Reversal
Reversal: Customer provides the wine. Restaurant provides ambiance and service
for a fee.
Techniques for Brainstorming - Attribute
Example: Design for a new laundry hamper
Techniques for Brainstorming - Why?
Ask “Why?” something exists or is done the way it is.

Example: Why not a space elevator?


Example 2: Why should cofee cups have handles?
Techniques for Brainstorming – Provoke
Provoke method moves thinking to a new place where new ideas or solutions may
be
found.

Example: Sales are dropping because product is perceived as old-fashioned.

Ideas
• Change the color of the packaging
• Flood the market with even older-looking products to make it seem more
appealing
• Call it retro
• Sell it to old people
• Sell it to young people as a gift for old people
• Open a museum dedicated to it
Techniques for Brainstorming – Provoke
• Market it as a new product
Techniques for Brainstorming –
SCAMPER is a framework to help develop provocative new solutions.

S Substitute something.
C Combine it with something else.
A Adapt something to it.
M Modify or magnify it.
P Purpose – put it some other use.
E Eliminate an element.
R Reverse or rearrange it.
Example: Amazon Prime New Features

Assume you are the new Product Manager in our Amazon Prime
business
and are in charge of new Feature Development.

What data would you look at to develop new features? What new
features
would they be?
1. Background Information

Before we jump into the question, do you mind if I clarify my understanding of


Amazon Prime – especially the service and the benefits to both the customer
and to Amazon’s overall business.

Thanks. I understand that Amazon Prime is a membership club. Amazon


Prime members get free two-day shipping for every order they place.
They can also stream movies & TV shows for free and borrow books from
the Kindle library.

I'm assuming the biggest benefit for Prime members is the shipping.
Normally, free super saver shipping takes 5-8 days to arrive. Two day shipping
is a huge improvement. And by making it available to all orders must reduce
the indecision on whether to upgrade from free super saver to a one-time
shipping upgrade.
2. Goals and Constraints

Ok, so back to the question. If I were to develop new features, I’d start
with our business goal. What are we trying to achieve?

There could a number of diferent goals, but I’m going to focus on


an acquisition/activation goal as measured by: Increase the # of
Prime customers
3. Personas

Are there any specific personas that I need to focus on when


designing
new features? No.
4. Requirements

We would need to first investigate why regular Amazon customers


won't try Amazon Prime. It could be a number of diferent reasons:

1. Lack of awareness
2. Aware, but not enough interest or a lackluster value prop -
Interested, but not making the efort to try
3. Tried it, but not compelled to stay as a paying customer
Based on your knowledge, what's the #1 reason new customers
Engages
interviewer for don't try Amazon Prime?

Ok, thanks for your data. You've found that 65% of Amazon customers
are
aware of Amazon Prime, but no more than half have actually paid for
it. Furthermore, you've found that the reason those who haven't paid
is because they didn’t find the value prop compelling.
For the purposes of the discussion, let's set assume marketing is not
the reason why there's not enough interest. By putting that out of
scope, that allows us to develop new product features.
When it comes to developing new features, I'd like to see data on
customer's top pain points when it comes to their Amazon shopping
experience. Then we’ll construct new Prime features to address the
top pain point. Of the top of my head, here are what I feel are the
top customer pain points:

1. Can't find the product I need


2. Not a bargain
3. Not timely
4. Too much of a hassle to buy online
5. Prioritization

Of these scenarios, I think the most important use case is "I can't find
the product I need." I think "not timely" is another interesting use
case, since Prime's core value prop focuses on that. Which one would
you like me to focus on?

Ok, I'll go ahead with that “can’t find the product I need” use
case. Give
me a moment to brainstorm some ideas.
6. Solutions

I have a couple features in mind to solve that problem:

1. Personal shopper
2. Free return shipping
3. Product perks club

Personal shopper gives each Prime member customized help when


shopping for products. They can provide customized gift ideas,
research products, and otherwise navigate Amazon’s seemingly
endless database. Customer satisfaction & purchases are likely to go
up – even for existing Prime members. But there will be costs to this
program.
Free return shipping gives person the comfort that if they’re not sure if it’s the right
product, they can buy it first and always return it later. This may lead to new Prime
customers, but it also increases costs for not only new Prime customers but also old
Prime customers.

Product perks club is a special club where customers are given free samples, try new
products, and write reviews. Not only does this introduce Prime member to new
products and makes them feel special. The cost may be covered by manufacturers,
who may want to get their products in front of the Amazon audience.

Of all the feature ideas presented, I feel that product perks club has the best win-win.
Customers & advertisers will like it, and the costs will be largely subsidized by
advertisers. The feature that has the most impact as the free return shipping. The
product perks club and personal concierge feel like nice to have features for most
prospective Prime customers. However, free return shipping could tip a significant
number of new Prime customers to Amazon.
Practice
1. How would you improve the Kindle app?
2. How would you improve Amazon search?
3. How would you improve Amazon’s home page?
4. How would you improve Amazon’s signup process?
5. You are a Product Manager on the Amazon Kindle store. What
killer feature would you build?
6. Design a brand new iPad app for Amazon.
7. How would you improve the current Amazon shopping app?
8. The billboard industry is under monetized. How can Amazon
create a new product or ofering to address this?
Question Type 8b – Critiquing Design
Framework to Answer

Define
Background
Criteria to
Information
judge

Define a Pros
and Cons Conclude
table
When to use?
1. What are your thoughts on product X?
2. Do you think feature X is a good idea?
1. Background Information
5 W and an H are questions that are considered basic
information
gathering.

5 W and an H
1. What is the product/feature?
2. Who is it for?
3. Why would they use it?
4. Where is it available?
5. When will it be available?
6. How does it work?
2. Define Criteria to Judge
1. Innovative
2. Makes a product useful
Pick one of these 10. I’ve highlighted the top 4.
3. Aesthetic
4. Understandable
5. Unobtrusive
6. Honest
7. Long-lasting
8. Thorough down to the last detail
9. Environmentally friendly
10. As little design as possible
3. Define Pros and Cons Table

Pros Cons

Innovative
Makes a product
useful
Understandable
Honest
4. Conclude

Finally make a decision on what your thoughts are about


the product/feature based on the Pros and Cons matrix for
that product/feature.
Example: Poorly Designed Product
Tell me about a product that was designed poorly.
1. Background Information

When I think about a poorly designed product, I think about the


Apple hockey puck mouse.
2. Define Criteria to judge

I’d like to judge this product on the following criteria

1. Understandable
2. Honesty
3. Usefulness
3. Pros and Cons and Conclusion

Criteria Pros Cons


Understandable It doesn’t work well. The round shape made it
hard to orient. Without looking at the mouse,
you cannot tell if you are holding it right side
up, upside down, sideways. The mouse could
several tactical clues to help determine its
orientation
Honesty Shape was The design was excessive. The blue accents
unique on the left and right do not deliver any
additional function. It could be misconstrued
Usefulness for
Thebuttons.
shape was not useful. Holding the mouse
was awkward.
Practice
1. Tell me about product you like and use frequently. Why do you like
it?
2. Tell me about a product that was designed poorly.
3. What do you think about Amazon’s ”Customers who bought this
book also bought” feature on the product pages?
Question Type 9 - Vision Questions

These questions test your ability to portray and solve for a grand
product vision.
Framework to Answer

Be unique Describe
Solve a real
and memorable how it will be solved
problem
Example: Verticals of the Future
Choose one of these verticals. Where do you think it’ll be in ten
years?

1. 3D Printing
2. Education
3. Energy
4. Mobile
5. Security
1.Solve a real problem

I’ll choose education. I love my kids, and I think about how hard it is for
them to learn. The oldest is trying to memorize a Chinese poem.
Yesterday, she cried and cried because she couldn’t do it. She wanted
to give up.

I gave her a tip: memorize the poem in chunks. It worked. It was


easier to memorize bite-sized pieces of information and she
memorized the entire poem within one hour.
2. Be unique and memorable

So, to answer your question, I think in the next 10 years there’s a huge
opportunity to create the AllRecipes.com of learning that is, every single
person from every single teacher around the world can be indexed on a single
website.

3. Describe how it will be solved.

We would develop a PageRank-like formula to determine the most efective


way to teach a concept. It would accelerate the learning process
exponentially. Who knows? Rather than spend 13 years to get through K-12
education, what if we could teach everyone the same material in just 5 years?
Good learning methods make a diference, but the challenge is getting
all
the lessons the plans out of teachers’ brains and into an indexed
system.

There is a new technology that has a lot of promise: the Brain Cap. A
University of Washington researcher invented it. It is a computer that
can detect brain waves for thoughts and actions. Once the brain
waves are recorded, that can be saved or transmitted to another
person.
We could use this technology to constantly monitor and document
teachers’ thoughts and techniques, we could create the world’s
most efective database of lesson plans, cut down on learning
time, and improve efficacy.
Practice
1. What do you think Amazon can do on the iPhone that is truly
groundbreaking?
Question Type 10 - Estimation Questions

These questions test your quantitative ability to make estimates


about product opportunities
Framework to Answer
2. Make an
1. Clarify theEquation. Break it down if needed.
3. Review Edge
Question Cases

4. Make
5. Do the Math 6. Sanity Check
Assumptions
Example: How many iPhones are sold in the US each year?

This is a market sizing question.

1. Clarify the Question

Are you looking for specific distribution channels? No. Feel free to
make assumptions that you may have.
Are you looking for new or used iPhones? New
Any specific versions of iPhones? No

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Sample Market Sizing Equation

# of # of target
people in Purchase
customers
population Frequency
in
population

Quantity Purch ase Period


per
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Market Share Price per unit

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Example: How many iPhones are sold in the US each year?

2. Make an Equation. Break it down if needed.

Total # of iPhones sold in the US =


Total population of the US x
% of people who have a cell phone x
# of times per year they purchase a cell phone x
number of cell phones they purchase each time x
% of new cell phone purchases x
% of market share occupied by iPhones

3. Review edge cases – None for now.


4. Make an Equation. Break it down if needed.

Total population of the US = 315MM


% of people who have a cell phone = 90%
# of times per year they purchase a cell phone = once every 2
years, so ½ a year
number of cell phones they purchase each time = 1
% of new cell phone purchases = 60%
% of market share occupied by iPhones = 40%
5. Do the Math

Calculations
The number of people looking to buy a new phone each year is:
(315 million people in the US) x (90% people have a cell phone) x (1/2 will
be
buying a new phone this year) = 142 million

The number of people that will buy the iPhone each year:
(142 million people that will be buying a new phone this year) x (60% will
get a
smartphone) x (40% of the smartphone buyers will buy an iPhone) =
34 million
6. Sanity Check

Math looks good and my assumptions look solid.

This is a good chance to check your Math and make sure your
assumptions are all correct.
Other Types of Questions/Equations
• Volume
• Example: How many golf balls will fit in a plane?
• # of golf balls = (volume of plane – volume of all items in the plane) / volume of
golf ball

• Time
• Example: How long would it take to empty a hot tub using only a drinking straw?
• Time = (Volume of hot tub / volume of straw) * time to empty and fill a straw

• Weight
• Example: How much does a school bus weigh?
• Total weight = sum of the weights of all parts that make up the bus.
Types of Questions/Equations
• Web Ad Based Products – Google/Facebook/Twitter
• Example: How much does Facebook make in ads every year?
• Amount in Revenue =
• Number of Visits per day x Total # of visits
• Number of Page views per visit x Total # of Page views
• Number of ads shown per page x Total # of Ads
• Click through rate x Total # of clicks
• Cost per click x Total $ per day
• 365 Total $ per year
Numbers to Learn
Data Value
US Population 300 million
Average people per household 3
# of households in the US 100 million
Life expectancy (US) 80 years
Life expectancy (world) 65 – 70 years
World population 7 billion
European population 700 million
Asia population 4 billion
Hours in a year 9000
Minutes in a year 500,000
All numbers from Amazon Learn from section
Lifetime Value
• Sometimes you might get a question on Lifetime Value. If you do,
its
better to be prepared.
• Here is a good blog article and infographic that outlines the
entire calculation for lifetime value.
• https://blog.kissmetrics.com/how-to-calculate-lifetime-value/?wide=1
• I would suggest learning practicing this formula once before you go
into the interview, just in case you are asked.
Practice Questions
1. What’s Gmail revenue per year? Web Ad Based Products
2. How much money does the shampoo industry earn each year in the US?
Market Size
3. How much does the US spend on dog food each year? Market Size
4. How many tennis balls can fit in a two bedroom apartment? Volume
5. How many police officers are there in the US? Market Size
6. How many schools are there in the US? Market Size
7. How long would it take to empty a hot tub using only a drinking straw?
Time
8. How many pairs of eyeglasses are sold every year in the US? Market
Size
9. How many basketballs are purchased every year in the US? Market Size
10. How much does a school bus weigh? Weight
11. How much money do people spend on haircuts every year in the US?
Market
Size
Practice Questions
12. How much money does Facebook make in ads every year? Web Ad
Based Products
13. How many queries does Gmail get per second? Web Ad Based
Products
14. What is the lifetime value for a kindle user? Lifetime Value
Section 6 – Questions to Ask
Questions

• You might think that you’ve done everything to prepare for your
interview. But you have one more step to prepare for: Questions
• Now its your turn to ask your interviewers questions.

DO NOT IGNORE THIS STEP

• This is chance for you to showcase to your interviewer your passion


for the
job and the company.

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Interviewers are Judging You Based on the Questions you
Ask
• You might think that the interview is over when the interviewer asks
– “Do
you have any questions for me?”.
• The truth of the matter is that it is not.
• This is your chance to leave your interviewer with a lasting
impression.
How?
• By asking some really good questions.

• Let’s see a framework next about asking questions.

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Framework to ask Questions
• We will go back at this point of time to our old friend – ICJC
You can do this for
each interviewer you Ask a question about the industry
meet during the
entire process
Ask a question about the company

Ask a question about the job/role

Ask a question about the culture/values


My Favorites List

The following is a list of questions I ask time and time again in


interviews and
it has always worked.

Use this as a set of examples to apply to your own specific job.

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1. Example: Industry
• How do you think the industry has changed over the years and
what do
you think is the outlook for the industry?

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2. Example: Company
• What’s Company X’s future plans?
• What’s next in terms of products/services and/or growth?
3. Example: Job/Role
• What are the top challenges for this role as of today?
• How do you see this role solving those challenges?
4. Example: Company/Values
• How would you describe the company’s culture?
• How do teams operate and make decisions on a day to day basis?
Do not ask These Questions
• There are 3 categories of questions you shouldn’t
ask:
• Red Flag Questions - Anything around salary,
vacation, benefits etc.
• Even though you don’t mean to, this might come across
in the wrong way.

• Obvious Questions – Do not ask questions


that you should know answers to already.
• For example: How do you make money as a company?
• This might show that you just didn’t prepare.

• Critical Questions – Finally anything that criticizes


the company/group/person for making a certain
decision.
• Example: Why didn’t you follow a strategy like Y?
Do not ask These Questions
• You might come across as Mr. Smarty Pants.
Section 7 – Preparation Plans
and Tips

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What Amazon is Looking for in Top Candidates

• Writes well
• Can write concise copy that gets it done.
• Finds the perfect words, not just ones that suffice.

• Forecasts and measures


• Can forecast the benefit of a project using past experience and leverage
comps.
• Measures results and factor appropriately.

• Understands technical tradeoffs and design


• Do not have to have a CS degree, but understands technical complexity
without devs’ cost input.

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• Can appreciate great design and can articulate design diferences.

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Prep plan for an Amazon PM Phone Interview
Item Total Number of
Amazon Company Information 2Hours
hours
Behavioral Questions 10 hours
Tradeof Questions 2 hours
Pricing Questions 2 hours
Financial Projections 2 hours
Strategy Questions 2 hours
Customer Experience Questions 2 hours
Metrics Questions 2 hours
Design Questions 2 hours
Vision Questions 1 hour
Estimation Questions 2 hours
Prepare Questions to Ask 1 hour
Prep plan for an Amazon PM Phone Interview
Total 28 hours
Prep plan for an Amazon PM Onsite Interview
Item Total Number of
Amazon Company Information 5Hours
hours
Behavioral Questions 25 hours
Tradeof Questions 5 hours
Pricing Questions 5 hours
Financial Projections 5 hours
Strategy Questions 5 hours
Customer Experience Questions 2 hours
Metrics Questions 5 hours
Design Questions 2 hours
Vision Questions 5 hour
Estimation Questions 5 hours
Prepare Questions to Ask 1 hour
Prep plan for an Amazon PM Onsite Interview
Total 70 hours
Supplementary Tools
• The following is a list of supplementary tools that I believe are necessary to hold with
you
at every given point of time during the interview.
• These tools will take you to the next level as compared to every candidate out there.

3. Cheat Sheets

1. Resume/CV
2. Online Profile

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Supplementary Tools
4. Portfolio 5. Appearance
6. Confidence

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9.a. Resume

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The Resume is Important

• As much as my personal view is that it is very hard to summarize


what a person can bring to the table on a single page, the resume
unfortunately is the first step in the job search process, so ensuring
that you get it right is extremely important.
Resume Template
• As part of this class, we’ve provided for you a resume template
that you
can use as part of your job search.
• It’s a template that top notch business school’s use to prescribe to
their students.
• I firmly believe it will help you stand apart from the crowd.

Please use the resume template from from this


course.
9.b. Online Profile (s)
Scrub It…
• In this day and age, whether you like it or not, whether you believe
it or
not, your online profile plays a big role in getting you a job or
not.
• And I don’t just mean this for professional social media sites like
LinkedIn, but any presence you have out there will be looked at.
• Employers can get turned on or of by your profile based on what
you
have on it, so.

Please make sure your online profiles are clean


Scrub It…
before you begin your job search.
For Every Social Media Profile…

Use a professional photograph


Additionally…

• For every post and/or image you have out there:


1. Remove any references to sexuality.
2. Remove any references to guns, violence or drugs.
3. Remove any references to profanity.
4. Check your spellings and grammar – make sure everything is correct.

I understand that this might be you and you might be unwilling to


change, however, do note that employers consistently look for this
information, so its worth your time cleaning your profile up before you
begin the search.

It will only help you convert better.


For LinkedIn Especially…

• Please make sure


that you’re entire
profile is complete.
• This means, put every
detail of your resume
out on the profile.
• LinkedIn is
nothing but your
resume online.
Update all Profiles
• This includes Twitter, SnapChat, Facebook, Google+ and
others.
• Please do not think that employers will not look at your other
profiles.

In today’s day and age you are out in the open,


whether you like it or not.
9.c. Worksheets/Cheatsheets

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Cheat Sheets
• As part of this course, you will get a number of different
worksheets that
you will need to fill in as you are doing your preparation.
• I’d highly recommend that you take the time to fill these sheets in as
you start your interview preparation.

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For Phone Interviews Only…
• Another very important tip is to fill in
your interview sheets and keep them
handy when you are doing your phone
interviews.
• Use these as cheat sheets while answering.
• This will ensure that you don’t forget
anything you’ve learnt and also give you
an opportunity to showcase your
confidence during your interview process.

• Note: Please do not keep your


cheat sheets out when on a video
conference or onsite. It’s a sign
of lack of preparation.

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9.d. Portfolio
Get Your Portfolio Ready
• In today’s day and age, its NOT ONLY your work experience that
matters,
but your portfolio is extremely important too.
• A portfolio will help you stand apart from the crowd and
absolutely impress your future employer.
What do I Mean by Portfolio?
Examples:
These are just samples. Whatever your profile is, find work from your past that
Presentations
youthat
canyou have done.
showcase to your employer and impress them.

Blog articles that you have written.

Business Plans that you have created.

Software Development – Code Samples.

Design Work e.g. illustrations, web pages, mobile pages


etc. etc.
Any personal websites or projects you have run.

Product Plans

College Projects
Where do I Place These Documents?
• You can place these documents on your own personal website if
you
have one.
• Your LinkedIn profile also gives you the opportunity to write blog
posts, upload documents etc.
• Specific job profiles will have certain online tools that the
community uses.
Designers use Dribble, Developers use Github.
• So make sure your profile is online, current and accurate on these places.
• Employers will be expecting to see these.
9.e. Appearance
What to Wear?
• I have one rule of thumb when it comes to dressing up for
interviewers –
“Always Overdress than Underdress”.

• When in doubt, better to dress up in Business Formals.


If You’re Male…
• If you’re male, this means a suit and tie – and not something that
looks like a hand-me-down from your older brother.
• You don’t need to spend a fortune on a suit, but it’s worth getting at
least a moderately priced one that fits you well and that implies that
you’re taking the interview seriously.
If You’re Female…
• If you’re female, “business formal” also means “wear a suit”
– do not wear a dress or go in looking like you’re auditioning to be a
pole dancer.

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On Interview Day – What to Bring With you?

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On Interview Day – What to Bring With you?
• Just bring a nice-looking folder with hard copies of your resume
/ CV, a few extra sheets of paper, and a pen or pencil (in case you get
questions where you need to write something down).

• If you have a printable portfolio, make sure to carry that with you or
an
iPad/laptop if you need to show your portfolio to the hiring
team.

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9.f. Confidence
This Should’ve Been the First Chapter of This Class

• Look, I’ve already explained to you before that the entire job search
process is a game of numbers.
• There are absolutely NO EMOTIONS that should be attached to
the process.
• The more you attach emptions to the process, you more you are going
to be worried, or scared or think – “What if I don’t get the job?”, or
“What if I don’t make it”?

All this is just going to decrease your confidence


Confidence is All That Matters

• At the end of the day of my friends, you can study all you want, you
can practice all the questions you want, but if you can’t walk into
that room and talk like you own that room, you are NOT going to get
the job.

• So you’ve got to practice, practice and practice.

And what if you don’t get the job?


• Well, simple – MOVE ON. Open your Trello board, move the card over the
rejected. Open your google calendar and schedule more study sessions,
application sessions and continue the process.
So How Do I Increase my Confidence?

• Firstly, please do all the exercises in this class.


Please do not
skimp on them.Please do them seriously. They are in here because they work.

• Secondly, get your mind right during the interview process –


exercise daily, meditate for a period of time, eat healthy.
• All these little things will help increase your confidence, make you look and feel
confident and good.
So How Do I Increase my Confidence?
• Have fun. This can be a stressful time. Go out, network with others,
have a good time with your friends. Don’t take the entire process so
seriously. Make it part of your daily routine.
Section 8 – Conclusion

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Don’t Expect Anything

• Going into the interview, just remember that Amazon needs you – its
not
the other way around.
• Remember that there are many many opportunities out there.
• Job searching is nothing but a game of numbers.
• The more you apply, the more your chances are to succeed.

• If you want a big picture course on How to Prepare for an Upcoming


Job Interview, I would recommend one of our other classes.

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Conclusion
With that in mind:

Best of Luck

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Contact

support
@coursetake.c
om
Conclusion | Disclaimer

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