Cracking the PM Interview by Gayle Mcdowell and Jackie Bavaro: Book Review

(Last Updated On: November 10, 2022)

In the process of making your preparations for your Interview with a Product Manager, it’s recommended to search for the best sources to help you get the job. There are plenty of them, and both paid and free ones are available. One of them is “Cracking an Interview for a Product Manager: Tips to Get a job as a Product Manager in the Technology field, ” by Gayle Laakmann McDowell and Jackie Bavaro.

A widely recommended book for PM interviewers We dive into the pages of this book today to determine whether it’s worth reading for aspiring to become PMs, experienced PMs looking to enter the tech world, and those who prefer a shift into a PM-related career.

What’s the Cracking of the PM Interview?

To cut the long story shorter, Cracking the PM Interview is a comprehensive guidebook that can help you land a PM job in a big or startup tech firm. According to its synopsis, the book will provide readers with:

  • The role of the Product Manager is different across companies.
  • What experience is required to break into Product Management
  • How do you make the current experience translate
  • The creation of a Product Manager Resume and covering letter

As the title implies, it will instruct those who read it on how to be successful in the Interview by providing specific examples of answers to the estimation question, behavioral questions, product-related questions, case studies technical, and much more.

Additionally, the pages contain complete information provided by successful Product Managers from prominent firms. They provide industry-specific guidance and also shed light on how recruitment is handled for big tech companies.

The content is expected to be precise practical, actionable, and attainable using real-world examples from the author and his coworkers.

Cracking the PM Interview Chapters

Below, we’ve broken down the chapters you will read in the book along with their outline to give you an understanding of the information in the book.

The Product Manager Role

This is the introduction chapter that will provide you with information about the role of a PM and its responsibilities. The myths surrounding the role of Product Management are also addressed, along with the distinction between Product Managers and Project Managers.


The Companies section is about the different roles of a Product manager are distinct from one company to the next. The chapter discusses the diverse tasks of a PM at Google, Microsoft, Amazon, Facebook, and more.

Getting the Right Experience

Graduates who are new or looking to move into Product Management might find this section helpful since it speaks about education, career fairs, and the process of transitioning from different roles toward Product Management.

Career Advancement

This is where insider knowledge and knowledge from the field are available. This publication section is primarily question-and-answer material from experienced Product Managers who work at Google, Airbnb, Microsoft, and many others.

Behind the Interview Scenes

Find out what the interview process looks like for big tech firms like Google, Microsoft, Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Yahoo, Twitter, and Dropbox.


Learn how to create an excellent product manager resume with this section. This chapter covers guidelines, what you should include, characteristics of a professional PM resume, and a Before and After.

Cover Letters

The cover letter template inside this book. Learn about the aspects that go into an effective cover letter.

Company Research

The authors recommend doing some research on the company you’re applying to. Learn about the company’s product strategy, culture, and strategy. To better understand yourself, learn more about the job you will be performing as a PM within the business. The authors offer questions that you can ask during your Interview with the PM to find out more about the person your potential boss could be.

Define Yourself

These authors call this chapter “The The Pitch.” Learn how to pitch efficiently during your Interview with the Product Manager interview.

Chapters on PM Interview Questions

The following section lists designed PM interview questions classified into estimates, behavioral products, case, and Coding questions. Each category is divided into a chapter on its own. Readers will be able to explore different strategies and frameworks, tricks, sample questions, and much more.


The final chapter will be the appendix, where you’ll be able to read about subjects related to managing products, including:

  • Top PMs at 1% against. the top 10% of PMs
  • Be a Great Product Leader
  • The Inputs to a Great Product Roadmap
  • How to Hire a Product Manager

About the Authors

Gayle Laakmann McDowell and Jackie Bavaro co-authored the book with Jackie Bavaro. Both have previous experience in product and technology management.

Gayle Laakmann McDowell is the CEO of CareerCup, the company that assists candidates in preparing for jobs in technology. She was previously an Engineer in Software engineering for Google, Microsoft, and Apple. She is also an author, speaker, and consultant.

On the other hand, Jackie Bavaro was an ex-PM of Google and the former Director of Product in Asana. Besides writing books about the PM field, She also shares her knowledge with the PM community via her various online platforms.

Why It’s Good

The PM Interview has become well-known to those who are preparing for their following Interview for the position of Product Manager. The book has been praised with excellent reviews and praise on both Amazon and Goodreads. Based on feedback provided by PMs who are experienced and aspiring who purchased the book, The book is a great resource for getting through the PM Interview is an excellent source due to:

It Introduces the Product Manager Role Accurately

The book contains the majority of the information you need to know about what PMs are and the role that a PM plays in the workplace. It gives accurate information about the business and the profession.

Successful Product Managers Give Valuable Advice in the Book

Apart from the authors being seasoned tech professionals who share their experience, information, and suggestions from other product managers who have been successful in prestigious tech firms.

It’s a complete guide to help you navigate through the PM Interview Process.

One of the primary reasons people buy the book is the chapters and questions that prepare a candidate for an interview with a product manager. Most professionals and PMs moving into product management can find the questions valuable and beneficial.

Overall, it’s a fantastic book for people who wish to understand better the process of managing products to dive into it. Experienced PMs can also read through the book to refresh their understanding of the fundamentals. Anyone transitioning to the role of Product Manager also finds this book helpful since it includes a separate section to help the transition.

The details presented, specifically chapters on PM interview preparation, behind the scenes of large companies, and expert industry advice, have proved helpful in light of many reviews from readers.

Essential Takeaways From Crack The PM’s Interview

  • The primary responsibilities that a product manager performs comprise research & Design, Planning the implementation & Tests, and finally, releasing the product.
  • The PM’s more precise tasks will depend on the product.
  • PM can also refer to Program Manager or Project Manager. However, these roles are different duties.
  • Larger firms tend to hire fresh graduates and precisely specify the PM position. However, startups are more likely to hire experienced PMs who assume an atypical role.
  • It’s an excellent opportunity for fresh graduates to learn about the management of products before they step into the field.
  • Although every business differs in its screening procedures, there’s a fundamental process typical to all companies. It begins with at least one screen-based phone interview.
  • The culture of the company is essential.
  • Your resume is limited to fifteen seconds or even less to skim. Your information must be clear and prioritized according to the company’s requirements.
  • Learn more about the company’s product strategy, culture, and strategy. Discover where you can fit.
  • If the writer allows the opportunity to discuss the company.
  • Learn to position yourself.
  • It’s helpful to practice answering questions from the Interview.
  • You should be familiar with programming basics but not an expert.
  • Case questions are frequently asked as interviewers are looking to gauge your ability to organize the problem, you’re business sense, and your leadership capabilities.
  • You must demonstrate your knowledge and skills in answering questions about the product.
  • It’s the method that is important in answering estimation questions. This will show you how to construct an outline to tackle a challenge.
  • Questions about behavior evaluate your content as well as your communication.

Why it’s NOT for You

Many PMs with more experience said the book could be used as a refresher, but the content targets novice PMs or those who aren’t yet in the business but wish to get started in their PM career. The content was more fundamental than experienced PMs are familiar with.

Doing the Interview with the Prime Minister is not without merits. However, it has areas that require improvement. For instance, the book was initially released in 2013. Although some of the basic ideas are still valid, the information is outdated. Many ideas might not be relevant to the current PM job market.

Cracking the PM Interview Book Review Summary

How to pass an interview for the PM Interview is an excellent source if you’re planning for a PM interview or would like to move into the field of product management. But, it has areas that require improvements. While the guide to answering interview questions and the tips for the industry are helpful, the book contains outdated details that might not be useful anymore.

People who wish to prepare for interviews professionally should make use of other sources such as podcasts, blogs communities, blogs, and others.

It could be beneficial to attend a PM preparation course after reading the book to learn more about PM preparation. Participating in a community is beneficial as it allows you to connect and communicate in a group with fellow PMs. It also gives you opportunities to improve your skills, which is strongly suggested within the text.

The landscape of hiring for PMs is constantly changing. Make use of your resources to search for other valuable materials.

Read More: how can google ads help you advance your business goals?

PMExercises Resources

At PMExercises, we’ve created an interview course for Product Managers and 2000+ Product Manager Interview Questions, with samples of the answers we’ve received from our community for PMs.

Once you have signed up and are a part of our community, you can add questions and answers to the database and ask other members to provide feedback.

With our preparation training and databases of interview questions, we also offer a Practice feature, where you can connect with other product managers practicing for interviews to test with.

We are aware of how difficult it can be to prepare for an interview with a PM, and these guides that we regularly update should help you on the path to securing your dream job as a Product Manager.


Is a successful PM Interview worthwhile?

Yes, if you’re planning for a PM interview and are willing to look into other resources to gain knowledge. Although the book is strongly recommended, it might require more information on how hiring is conducted for large tech companies.

What time does it take to finish reading an interview with the Prime Minister?

It depends. The time you spend reading the book depends on how quickly you digest and absorb every chapter. You may also review the chapters you’ve read to understand the concept.

How do I get through my PM test?

There’s no one-size-fits-all solution to the question. To prepare for PMExercises, we suggest you get as much information as possible on managing products, the company you’re applying to, and the job you’re applying to.

Learn and practice answering Product Manager interview questions. It’s recommended to do mock interviews or practice with your coworkers.

Do I need to be reading Crack the Interview before the PM Interview before a job meeting?

It’s a good idea, but you’ll require updated materials. You should consider the PM Exercises Course for Product Managers, which is continuously up-to-date. It is also possible to look over our database of over 2000 PM Interview questions, with samples of the answers provided by the PM Community. PM Exercises also includes a fantastic feature that is called “Practice,” which lets you locate a partner to conduct an interview mock-up with. Complete all these exercises, and then take a look at your copy of the Crack the PM Interview book to boost your confidence before your Interview.

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