Suggestions on Campus Recruitment to select APM candidates

Our company has been invited by a reputed college for campus recruitment.

We have to select 10 candidates out of a 100.

We are two interviewers with a five-hour time constraint.

Is there a way we can effectively use funneling to successfully attain our headcount without interviewing every single applicant?


Hiring ten people in ten hours with no overlap increases the likelihood that you’ll end up with two good hires and eight utterly dumb ones. Will they be full-time employees or interns? Will you be in charge of them? Every single one of the highly renowned MIT/Ivy League graduates I’ve hired found it difficult to adjust to even the most fundamental things, like working a 40-hour workweek. Finding someone with verifiable full-time work experience is preferable as managing someone in their first position can be extremely challenging.

Create a task that they must do in advance in either case. You must choose something that draws on their skill set. Just long enough to avoid scaring off qualified applicants while avoiding wasting time on those who aren’t even interested in the position and are only there for some free interview practice.

The interview period is helpful for evaluating interpersonal abilities, who comes across as sharp/intelligent/able to think on their feet, who seems to be a strong communicator in person, who becomes a puddle when asked basic questions, etc. Be sure to ask them if they have any questions for you as well. Every fantastic applicant I’ve ever hired had excellent inquiries. If they don’t, it’s a big sign that they didn’t take your business seriously enough.


Thanks @TinaGreist. That makes a lot of sense.


More interviewing bandwidth is required. For proper interview loops, include the rest of the team.

Moreover, you might not obtain 10 candidates. I’ve discovered that out of 100 entry-level applications, I only make 1-3 offers.


I’ve seen at least 50 candidates who I thought were qualified, but I’ve been unable to recruit any of them. And yet, here’s someone promising to hire 10 out of 100 applicants. Whoa, what a big hiring funnel.

In the past, I’ve seen how the employment of one dreadful PM can ruin an entire team, including the product organisation as a whole. I can only understand this hiring method if these positions are not particularly important and you are merely looking for someone to pretend to lift weights for other people.

Sorry if I sound presumptuous, but this just doesn’t make sense.


Why are you planning to hire 10/100 individuals in the first place? I won’t reiterate what others have said about hiring 10 people in 10 hours. Are you really so sure you’ll discover 10 or more qualified candidates?


I’m thinking exactly the same thing @FergusXavier. Any Associate Product Manager position receives between 300 and 350 applications. throughout the entire city. Then, you choose one candidate. But in this case, do you want 10 qualified individuals from a single university?

I was seeking junior product analysts, and I easily had 150 (very subpar) applicants.


Thank you for your insights and experiences. 10 candidates is the upper limit. I can select just two as well.


I’m thinking about the onboarding process and training. Hopefully its well balanced with seniors.


10 effective hours is not enough to hire 10 APMs.

My suggestion would be to initially screen and eliminate the candidates that don’t fit your job description by even 40%.

Let’s say you are down to 50 candidates.

Give an assignment to them - Something that can be completed in 2-5 hrs not more than that.

May be 30 out of 50 might submit the assignment.

Select top 20 of 30 assignments ( Make sure the assignments you select forward is over a certain grade, if u get only 12 min standard assignments, then select only those 12 candidates for interview)

Make sure every candidate is interviewed by both of you separately, so that you can decrease the bias and increase quality. For candidates who fit your JD and has done well in assignment have a shorter interview. Let’s say 15-20 min interview. For candidates that barely meets expectations have a longer interview so that you can take a better decision.

You may end up with finding may be less than 10 right candidates or more. Hopefully more.

Good luck


Agree with @Pankaj-Jain and also suggest using the short interview time to ask some kind of Eigenquestion Overview · Eigenquestions: The Art of Framing Problems.
Love them as a quick way to get a sense of how people decompose and think through problems.


Yes, this makes sense too. Thanks for the article.

I especially liked the short/long interview process as suggested by @Pankaj-Jain.


To meet your headcount target of hiring 10 out of 100 candidates through effective funneling, you can use the following approach:

  1. Pre-screening and Shortlisting: Before the actual interview process, you can ask the college to pre-screen the candidates based on their academic records, relevant skills, and work experience. You can also ask the college to shortlist the top 30 candidates based on your job requirements.
  2. Initial Interview: You can conduct an initial interview with each of the shortlisted candidates to assess their suitability for the role. This can be a brief 10-15 minute interview, where you can ask basic questions related to their experience, skills, and interest in the job. You can use a standardized questionnaire to ensure consistency in the interview process.
  3. Assessment Test: You can conduct a skills-based assessment test for the candidates who have cleared the initial interview. This can be a technical test or a situational judgment test, depending on the nature of the job. The test can be designed to evaluate the candidate’s problem-solving ability, decision-making skills, and technical knowledge.
  4. Final Interview: Based on the results of the assessment test, you can shortlist the top 15 candidates for the final interview. In this interview, you can delve deeper into their experience, skills, and fit for the job. You can also assess their communication skills, team collaboration ability, and leadership potential.
  5. Selection: Finally, based on the performance in the final interview, you can select the top 10 candidates for the job offer. You can also create a waitlist of candidates in case any of the selected candidates decline the offer.

By using this approach, you can effectively funnel the candidates and save time and effort in the interview process. Additionally, you can ensure that the selected candidates are the most suitable for the job based on their skills, experience, and cultural fit.


That was an amazing step by step approach. I think it was the most efficient approach. I think I’m going to stick to this. Thank you once again @DanCoelho.


I’m going to say something uncommon.

Prepare to train. Instead of asking who has the skills to finish the work, consider who has the aptitude to learn.

Being a PM is not a difficult job. Pull the trigger if you have people who are aware of what product managers do, comprehend customer obsession, possess a great curiosity, and are eager to learn. All of it may be determined in 30 minutes.

So wait at least six to twelve months before expecting them to take on significant or complicated tasks.


There are a few strategies you can use to effectively funnel candidates and make the most of your limited time:

  1. Pre-screen candidates: Before the on-campus recruitment event, consider reviewing resumes and cover letters to identify the top candidates. This will allow you to focus your time on the most promising candidates during the recruitment event.
  2. Use a structured interview process: Develop a list of questions that you will ask all candidates, and use a rating system to objectively evaluate their responses. This will help you make more consistent and fair comparisons between candidates.
  3. Consider using assessment tools: There are a variety of assessment tools available, such as aptitude tests and personality assessments, which can help you identify top candidates. Keep in mind that these tools should be used in combination with other forms of evaluation, such as interviews and references, to get a well-rounded view of a candidate.
  4. Utilize group activities: Consider using group activities or case studies to assess candidates’ problem-solving and teamwork skills. These activities can be efficient ways to evaluate multiple candidates at once.
  5. Involve multiple team members: If possible, consider involving multiple team members in the interview process. This will allow you to get a more diverse range of perspectives and make more informed hiring decisions.

By using a combination of these strategies, you should be able to effectively funnel candidates and make the most of your limited time.


This also is a very strategic approach. I’m very thankful to each one of you for your views and support.


Suggestion 1. Change the parameters. 5 hours and 2 interviewers just isn’t enough time with 100 candidates. Either prescreen the candidate pool to get that down to like 20-30 or add more time / resources.

Suggestion 2. If you can’t do suggestion 1, then do an on-site prescreen, give them a product management related challenge to solve ahead of time, each person gets 3 minutes to present their solution and 2 minutes for Q&A. come up with some sort of weighted scoring matrix for each presentation. Use those in combination with your review of their resumes to select your 10.

Hope this makes sense.

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I’ll preface this with two comments:

  • I would never hire an undergrad student to be a (A)PM
    • Being a PM requires you to be accountable to multiple people and sub-orgs within an org. Most entry level jobs require you to just be accountable to your boss or a client. You need to prove you can do the latter before I’m putting you in a position to do the former.
    • Don’t expect them to be able to answer a lot of standard PM interview questions; they won’t be able to tell you about a time that they used data to get buy in on an idea.
  • All that out of the way… You shouldn’t be making the final hire on campus, you should just be making the connection. Treat this like a job fair.
  1. On campus: meet 100 people, collect resumes, do screening (do you need sponsorship? are you willing to relocate? are you okay with this salary range? Do you have a relevant major/internship experience? Do you know what product managers do? etc.) place some in the ‘no’ pile, others in the ‘maybe’ pile. 50-70% will be ‘no’ right off the bat.
  2. After the 5 hours is up, go through the ‘maybe’ pile. Eliminate half based on their resume.
  3. The next day, call the people who have made the interview process, probably 90% will say yes. At this point, you should be around 30ish candidates.
  4. Go through an actual 60 min interview with each of them. Classify candidates as ‘No’, Soft Yes (they’d need more than the normal amount of coaching, but could do it), or hard Yes (they’d need less than the normal amount of coaching).
  5. Extend offers to the hard yeses. Some will decline. Extend offers to the soft yeses. Do not extend offers to the nos.

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