I have interviewed candidates for product management jobs in my group and my impression on the candidate is almost made by the answer to “Tell me about your current product”. Candidates just don’t seem to have a good structured way of explaining their products. I have had one guy who went into technical configuration details without even explaining who he was selling the product to.
Here’s a detailed list of what one should be able to explain about a product/ solution.
1. Understanding situations that people / businesses are in. Situation leads to Problems. Problems indicate Implications. Implications imply Needs.
2. Understanding people/ businesses that have common/similar needs. This is your “Market”. (Hint: the entire Oil Industry ISNT your market)
3. Understanding the “Market” in terms of similarity & priority of needs and their willingness to pay for a solution. These are your “Market segments”.
4. Identifying solutions that are tailored to individual Market segments.
5. Within a Market segment, understanding who your customers will be. Customers can be those who are (already having a solution)/ (waiting for a solution) / (don’t know that a solution exists) / (not in a geographical location where solution is available) / (cannot use the solution in their current environment) / (cannot afford the solution)/ … (Each of these types will present an opportunity to improve your solution. Do you talk a lot to these people?)
6. Understanding competition within a segment. How are customers currently approaching/ satisfying their needs? Get to know about these “business models”
7. Knowing about your product features (of course, you are the one who defined it. But know how to categorize them)
8. Understanding technical specs of the product.
9. Understanding pricing components and opportunity sizing.
10. Knowing your channels to customers.
11. Understanding product usage. Dig through product complaints, support data
Answers to the above more or less prepare you well for a PM interview. It will also probably help you get your thoughts together and figure out what you were missing.