Have you ever used a personal project as an example during an interview?

I’m new as a product manager and had a few contract roles where I was brought in to help launch a product, but then didn’t stick around to see what happened with it. This basically means I have a lot of experience with gathering requirements, writing user stories, UAT, etc. But don’t have a lot of results to show for it. I struggle with finding metrics and examples of iteration during interviews. I’m wondering if anyone has ever done any short personal projects to use as examples or if there is anything else I can do to fix this hole in my experience?


Flip the script my dude

Use what you got to your advantage. Instead of being the one to whatever PM, lean into the zero to one. You build stuff from the ground up, here’s some examples, and this is why your organization needs someone that can get stuff done with no direction.


Definitely used a project for my degree in an interview and talked about personal blog posts I’ve written.


I’m working on a case study at the moment. Just going through it has been a fantastic experience and I intend to talk about it during interviews.

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I think it’s possible, but you really need to be super polished about it. I have interviewed two PM’s who had product experience, but chose to use personal projects as examples and both times I was totally confused as to why they chose to use those as examples and everyone else in the loop thought it was really weird too. I think like everything else in PM, it’s all about how you tell the story. For someone without a ton of PM experience, I would want to get the impression that your really motivated of I hear about a personal project.

Yes, use Show Prowess! When I hire PM’s I can’t go off of real past work because of two reasons: First, I cannot tell how much of the work the candidate did vs. what their team did; Second, most of the time the information about the project is proprietary or confidential.

I usually have candidates do a small project that is unrelated to my business that has them research a problem, define a solution, estimate build time and costs, and establish KPI’s for the project. Show Prowess allows you to do all that ahead of time with the project of your choosing and to be reviewed by peers and experts.

Sans that, be honest. I don’t fault candidates that have not had the opportunity to work on products from cradle to grave. I would evaluate you for what you are strong in, and identify where you need help and what the position needs.

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I like Prowess and have been working on a new project. It takes some time to build something so I am in the middle and some interviews have come up. That’s why I was wondering if I could repackage my prior experience in something tangible.

Thanks for the insights, everyone. I appreciate it.

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