Google is one of the best global employers and any professional would look forward to be part of the team. The company’s success is attributed to the creation of unique products that have had a profound impact on users across the globe. Getting a chance to be part of Google’s product management team is a dream come true and for many product managers, it’s the epitome of career success. Google seeks pragmatic, insightful, objective and creative product managers. These are qualities you have to demonstrate in an interview to increase your chances of getting hired.
To gain employment with Google, you need to have an in-depth understanding of their product management best practices and carefully align your responses in line with what they’re looking for. One of the fundamental processes in an interview is testing candidates on their knowledge of product design. Poor responses to design questions is the reason why many candidates fail product management interviews.
So, how do you excel at this most critical stage of the interview? Thankfully, the CIRCLES Method is a key framework or memory aid that enables you to respond appropriately to product design questions. When applied, you can provide thoughtful, comprehensive and structured responses to questions without forgetting a step. The CIRCLES Method makes it easier to piece together key steps involved in any product design framework. Let’s have a closer look at what this framework involves.
C- Comprehend Situation
This means having a clear definition of the product scope including the objectives. Some of the key issues to be addressed here include the aim of the product, who is it designed for, why customers need the product and how does the product work. The interviewer needs to feel you clearly understand the life cycle of product design right from inception. You have to demonstrate the value of having the product.
I- Identify the Customer
There can be no product without an end-user. Every effort that goes into product design and development is often based on the needs and expectations of the end-users. Have a list of potential customer segments that will benefit from a product. To save time during an interview, choose one customer persona and use them as an example to illustrate your idea.
R- Report the Customer’s Needs
Providing sufficient details about the needs of the customer. This involves outlining user requirements the product is expected to cater for. A case study detailing a user story would best demonstrate how your idea will come to fruition and provide a solution.
C- Cut, Through Prioritization
Prioritize and discuss specific cases you feel will have the greatest impact on the interview. Because of time constraints, set your priorities and determine what to attend to first. For instance if you’re faced with time, money or labor constraints, where would your priorities begin for the project to succeed? This step helps showcase your ability to prioritize and assess tradeoffs and make strategic decisions.
L- List Solutions
A product has to provide solutions to its users. This is your opportunity to elaborate the fruits of your product design by outlining various benefits that customers will enjoy when using your product. It is disastrous to have a product design strategy that lacks a solution.
E- Evaluate Tradeoffs
Always have your tradeoffs defined and analyzed accordingly based on various criteria. Criteria in this case includes implementation challenges, level of customer satisfaction and revenue margins. Having this information at the back of your mind helps you to be organized, be objective and safeguard you from contradicting yourself.
S- Summarize Your Recommendation
This is the final step but is not mandatory depending on how comprehensively you’ve tacked the previous steps when responding to product design questions. Share the product or feature you’re thinking to bring on board, briefly recap on the product’s benefits and explain why it is your preferred solution.
The reason many professionals struggle with product design questions is because of lack of a framework to act as a guide. Thankfully, the CIRCLE Method will be extremely helpful in boosting your chances to get your dream product management job with Google.