I’ve had fair success getting to the third round of PM interviews after working as an APM for about two years (total work experience).
I’ve been turned down a couple opportunities lately because I don’t have enough experience. Do those that hire PMs believe this to be the case? If so, why not reject me earlier? Perhaps I come out as inexperienced during the interview?
I’m interested in deepening my knowledge of fundamental PM traits that I might be overlooking in general.
Is it true or just an excuse to say, “We’re moving forward with more experienced candidates”?
Experience isn’t only how long you’ve worked; it’s also the knowledge you’ve gained throughout that time. The interview absolutely reveals this. Simply keep applying. It’s a game of numbers, and you’ll win.
It might just be the case that as the interview process went on, the fact that you have less experience than the competitors stood out. Each gate becomes increasingly more challenging to pass through.
Remember that not all experience is equal and that it is not always determined by the amount of years spent sitting in a chair. Maybe other candidates were able to articulate their “experience” more effectively than you were able to because they had more “experience” to offer in terms of previous responsibilities, successes, or specific skills that would be useful in the position.
It is, especially when you see the same job still posted a month after they told you that they move on!
It is possible that “We’re moving forward with more experienced candidates” is both the truth and an excuse.
On one hand, it could be the truth if the company has specific experience requirements for the position and the candidates they have interviewed so far do not meet those requirements. In this case, the company may genuinely be looking for candidates with more experience in the field.
On the other hand, it could also be an excuse if the company is using it as a way to reject a candidate without providing more specific feedback. Sometimes, hiring managers may use this kind of language as a polite way of saying that the candidate was not a good fit for the position, but they don’t want to provide any further explanation.
It’s important to remember that there are many factors that go into a hiring decision, and it’s not always clear why a candidate was not selected. If you’re a candidate who has been rejected with this feedback, it’s worth asking for more specific feedback on what you can improve upon in your future job search.
So this happened with me recently. After interviewing with 6 people in the company. I was told today they went with someone with more experience. Something different is that they might have openings early next year and they would like to be able to reach out to me. Also, they told me to add them on LinkedIn and they would be happy to connect me with anyone in their network. Which is super sweet but damn I wanted that job.
It can work both ways, but it’s important to remember that “experience” doesn’t just mean experience as a project manager. Many companies will favour individuals with industry experience or even product knowledge pertaining to that company’s product.
The reality is that there are factors that will be out of your control when interviewing, so do retros on your interviews and keep on improving your craft!
@BinaCampos, Very true. I’ve gotten offers due to my previous non tech experience. Domain knowledge sometimes is a leg up.
From a pure logical reasoning standpoint - it’s almost certainly an excuse. They would’ve never interviewed you in the first place if “experience” was the determinant.
I’m sorry to hear that you didn’t get the job, but it’s great that the company has expressed interest in staying in touch with you and potentially considering you for future positions. It’s not uncommon for companies to have specific experience requirements for certain positions, but that doesn’t mean you’re not a great fit for other roles in the company.
It’s definitely worth adding the company’s employees on LinkedIn and staying in touch with them. Networking is a great way to build relationships and explore potential job opportunities. If you do decide to reach out to the company in the future, make sure to remind them of your previous interview and express your continued interest in working for the company.
In the meantime, keep searching for other job opportunities and continue to build your skills and experience. The right opportunity will come along eventually.
I’m a relatively new PM in a rapidly growing product. I can feel sympathy with hiring managers who do this as I too fall within that bucket unfortunately.
@JonathanTessa, as a new product manager in a rapidly growing product, it’s understandable that you may not have as much experience as some of the other candidates the company may have been considering. However, it’s important to remember that experience isn’t the only factor that matters in a hiring decision.
As a product manager, your ability to learn quickly, adapt to changing circumstances, and work collaboratively with others are all highly valuable skills that can make you a great asset to a company. In addition, your enthusiasm for the company’s mission and product can be a major asset in a fast-moving and dynamic environment.
If you’re feeling discouraged by this experience, try to focus on what you can do to continue to grow as a product manager and build your skills and experience. Seek out opportunities to learn from others in your industry, attend conferences or meetups, and look for ways to get involved in new and interesting projects.
Most importantly, don’t give up on your job search. Keep applying for new opportunities and keep refining your skills and experience. The right opportunity will come along eventually, and you’ll be ready to seize it when it does.
@EvaRichardson, agreed. Experience is not equal to years of experience in this context. Experience is a nice way of saying “people who are better qualified based on the conversations we’ve had.”
Thank you all for your wonderful comments, insights, explanations. They have been really very helpful. Thanks once again to one and all.
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