Issue #37: A more effective way to land interviews for PM roles, giving feedback for people pleasers, and 5 things
Sent out 100 applications but struggling to get invited for an interview? This week's newsletter is for you!
Hola friends! 👋
This week’s thoughts and feelings include:
How to be more effective with your job search and get invited for interviews
(FAKs or Folks.Ask.Kax) Any tips for people pleaser managers who struggle to give constructive feedback to their team?
5 things to help you this week
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This week is going to be an exciting week for me! I’m taking my Spanish language proficiency exam on Friday! The first and a pretty important step to getting my Spanish citizenship.
Wish me luck! I’m so excited and nervous at the same time.
1️⃣ Effective Job Search
In January 2015, I decided I would work in Europe.
I’m from the Philippines so that meant that European companies would need to:
Sponsor my visa
Pay for my relocation
Wait 6 months before I can onboard (6 months)
To make it even harder, I only had 2 years of Product Management experience then. On the surface, I was definitely not someone a hiring manager could get excited about and happily spend all of that time and money on to relocate.
But I was determined. And by July 2015, I moved to Barcelona — having picked one of the 3 offers I had on the table.
Now that I’m a hiring manager myself — having hired for my team and having been part of various hiring committees, I can understand the hiring system and why:
Some candidates don’t get called in for interview — even if they, technically, fit the requirements of the role
And while luck and timing can play a role in any decision, proactively having an assertive strategy and mindset can massively influence the results of any hiring.
I’m not going to lie, searching for a new role can be tough.
Especially when you’ve already sent out 100 applications and you rarely hear anything back.
Let me share what can happen behind the scenes when hiring managers open new roles:
We go through our network - Before even publishing the new role, we first go through our mental rollodex of people we’ve ever met or have caught our attention, picking out names who we think could be a fit for the position. We would reach out to our network and ask them for any recommendations.
If these people are interested, they would get booked for an interview immediately. And if things work out, get hired. All these even before the role gets published on Linkedin.
It’s a matter confidence. It’s a much easier to take a leap of faith on people you already know or on talents vouched for by people whose judgement you trust.
CVs are filtered - Once roles are published publicly, it can immediately attract hundreds of applicants on the first day. (Think of that job you’ve been eyeing for a while now, see how many applicants they have on Linkedin alone. Share in the comments below!)
Hiring managers will not go through every single one of those. It’s physically impossible.
A recruiting tool will do first filtering. And from the hundreds of applications, it will be pruned down to less than half. Let’s say 150. And it’s still a lot.
Wading through CVs and selecting for interviews is a prioritization game - Assuming that none of the the profiles we’ve reached out to personally are a fit; then it’s time to go to the ones who’ve applied.
However, we still won’t invite all 150 people for interviews.
PMs typically go through 4-5 rounds of interviews. So that means 4-5 people need to set aside an hour per candidate, at least once a week and evaluate their fit. It’s a logistical nightmare.
So we need to prioritize.
Hiring managers will probably take a look at the first 20. And make some cuts:
CV too long and format is hard to read - ❌
CV doesn’t speak the language of Product people - ❌
CV a bit generic but has potential - 🟡
CV demonstrates impressive results, well written, and shows personality - ✅ book them for interview asap!
Interviews will likely be done in batches - 150 CVs down to 10. Will all candidates be interviewed? It depends. 10 people to interview is still a lot. And the hiring manager needed to fill the position yesterday.
Maybe the interviews will start at the top of the list.
But as soon as the hiring manager have at least 3 to 5 strong candidates to choose from, one of them will be extended an offer.
So what can you do to increase your chances of being called in for an interview?
Having a an assertive strategy and mindset would be needed to make sure that your profile not only lands on the hiring manager’s hands but also inspire them to book you for an interview.
Have a clear unique value proposition. - Be clear on why you think you’re fit for the role. How have you made your team and companies successful before? Why do people love working with you? What are the things that you’re obsessively passionate about or are eerily good at? How are any of these things relevant for the role you’re applying for?
Surface a compelling story that you think really reflects how much the hiring manager would benefit from having you join their team. And then believe it! If there’s even a shadow of a doubt in you that you’re a fit for the role - this is the energy you’re bringing to your applications.
Be visible. Be memorable. - Now is the time to make sure the world knows about your shiny value proposition and your story. Now is not the time to be low key or subtle.
Get to know the people working in the industry you’re seeking to be part of. Tell your network that you’re keen to be introduced to more people. Heck, tell them you’re looking for a role in a certain company because you’d be a great addition to them.
Then go be the person they will always remember as the one who achieved x in their previous company and is also unapolegitcally obsessed with cyber security, the inner workings of the dark web, and whether or not Bob Lazar’s story is legit.
Don’t just be the hardworker who can learn fast. Everybody is.
Cut through the queue - The hiring process really is not a process. Instead it’s a system at work. A hiring manager’s main job to be done is to find the right person for the role they’re looking to fill. The faster and easier for them — the better. It doesn’t matter if they find a person through Linkedin or through their mother’s poker buddy’s neighbor who happens to know somebody.
So what are you still doing sending your application through the same channels thousands of people are also using? You’re just putting yourself in the back of the line while 300 people and then some are already way ahead of you.
While applying for roles is not always easy, it can be pretty straightforward.
And by straightforward, I mean — to not just rely on regular CV submission via the job portals.
However all the steps in between can be pretty daunting.
I’ve seen clients struggle with identifying their unique value proposition because they doubt themselves and their value. Only seeing that they need the role and failing to see how the role might need them.
Putting one’s self out there, to be visible, to make sure that the whole world know and recognize one’s strengths and value is an exercise that can be intimidating at best and off-putting at worst. People would struggle with different things, not the least of them, impostor syndrome
What one needs most of the time is an unwavering belief one one’s value proposition. To be unapolegitcally proud about what they’ve achieved, what they can do, and their capability to do more.
It’s September, and budget planning is kicking in. This usually means new roles to be opened are being defined and hiring season is starting.
Are you looking for new roles right now?
Download my guide to finding Product Manager roles if you’re looking for practical steps to level up your job applications.
If you’re struggling with surfacing your value proposition, strengthening your narrative, and finding the confidence to putting yourself out there so that you can land that role you’ve been wanting — I’d love to be able to support you. I have 1:1 coaching slots available. Let’s chat!
2️⃣ (FAKs or Folks.Ask.Kax) Any tips for people pleaser managers who struggle to give constructive feedback to their team?
First off, I’ve been there. 😂 So virtual high-five to you. I understand the struggle.
Let me share with you my strategy to make giving constructive feedback to my team a much less painful experience for me than it used to be:
Reframing of the situation
Or sometimes what I call weaponizing the people pleasing. 🔪
My biggest struggle with giving feedback is that I will make somebody unhappy.
So if what really I cared about was their happiness, would withholding something that can help them be better in their roles or grow in their roles make them happier?
Probably the opposite.
So I try to shift my thinking to the more long-term happiness instead when I find myself hesitating to give feedback.
Giving small feedback on a regular basis vs dropping a huge bomb once twice a year
What triggers my fear of giving constructive feedback sometimes is the enermity of the feedback I have to give (often a result of delaying the inevitable).
Giving feedback early as soon as signs of something being off shows up gives us the opportunity to give feedback on something smaller.
And for the recipient, the gravity of the feedback might also be easier to digest vs it’s a feedback about something that’s been happening over the last 6 months.
It also helps us exercise our feedback giving muscles. Normalizing the act of giving feedback and turning it into a habit vs a big ordeal we have to go through a few times a year.
How people feel and react is outside of our control
Often the root of people pleasing is feeling responsible for other people’s feelings. And thinking that we can control people’s feelings by acting and behaving only in a certain way.
News flash: we can’t take responsibility for other people’s decisions and feelings.
Learning and keeping in mind that how people will feel towards us is a decision only they can make regardless of what we do helps to detach ourselves from the blow back we’re always anticipating.
Besides - it’s a damned if you do, damned if you don’t situation.
If you give feedback, they might get hurt.
If you don’t give feedback, they still might get hurt.
So might as well, right?
For us people pleasers, giving feedback can be a harrowing experience. We don’t want people to be upset with us. That’s true.
But by avoiding giving feedback we might be blocking other people from reaching their true potential and it might hurt them in a bigger way — and that certainly goes against the code of being a people pleaser. 😉
Are you a leader struggling to navigate the complexities of Product Leadership? Are you managing people and their unique personalities, trying to help them successfully deliver against their goals, while making sure that you are also able to create an inspiring and sustainable work environment for your team as much as for yourself?
I’m down to help you! Let’s chat!
3️⃣ Five things to help you this week
I find that People pleasers are often the same people who are also conflict avoiders. If we struggle to give feedback, imagine the struggle when the need to escalate an issue comes along.shares in her newsletter escalation strategies for Conflict Avoiders.
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