Live Interview Prep
Last updated July 8, 2020

Our engaging and incredibly insightful discussion explored how students can continue preparing for the ever-changing job market by boosting their skills through continued professional development. Students learned how to best approach interview prep, project-based learning, and the importance of engaging with networks and resources available through their educational institutions.


Tali: [00:00:55] We can always see, see those questions as well.

Michele: [00:01:02] okay, great. This is so exciting. I'm so happy to do this. Yay. And I wonder, so we won't see how many, Oh, I can see that there's the participants.

I see that they're coming in and attendees.Some of them have signed in already. Awesome. Exactly. Hi, everybody. You can, you can say hi in the chat, I think. Right? Can they do that right?

super cool. I know. Isn't it neat. I love it. It makes things so easy and sometimes so complicated. Both sides of it.well, yeah.

Tali: [00:01:43] So for the folks that for, for the people that are, are already in as, as attendees, nice to meet you guys, I'm Tali. I'll just be taking a look at the chat window. And I think, Michelle and Rebecca will start talking at the beginning and then we'll get to any questions at the end, butI'll put a note in there.

Feel free to add questions into the chat.

Michele: [00:02:04] And, I think we're going to go ahead and we'll start the conversation about five after if you guys are okay with that to give folks the opportunity to sign in. Maybe some of them are having some challenges and plus like, and check my email in case someone emails me and says, Hey, I can't get into the, to the event.

So. I'll have that open on another screen in case we run into that. And then I can send Tali a message. So, got some more people coming in. Awesome. yeah. So, what else. And

Tali: [00:02:34] Michelle, just to, to note to the people, the two docs that you put in, as folks see it, I think the first one is a sign in sheet.

So for people that come in, click on that first link, which is the virtual mic sign in and just add in your name, last name and email. It, is pretty quick. It's in the, in the chat window. SoMichelle knows who's here.

Michele: [00:02:57] And I think sometimes if students sign in after correct me, if I'm wrong, if they signed in, after we put something in the chat, they may not see it.

Is that right? So we may have to put it back in there again at some point, which is fine. Yeah. I can, I can pop it in.As well, yeah. Later on. So it won't get lost. Right. You don't see the links.Okay. I will add it in again. Awesome. Thank you, Tali. It's so helpful when you guys respond and tell us what's what you can't see.

so we'll add it. If you don't, we'll do, we'll pop it in at five 10, again, Tali to catch all the folks. And I'll, I'll chime in and mention that at five 10, when we officially start, for now, I'll kind of just, introduce myself a little bit for some of you we've got 18 and counting. So this is exciting for those of you who don't know.

My name is Michelle Hagar. I am the director of the career services and professional development center at San Francisco state university within the lam family college of business. And, for those of you who are in attendance, this is our second at virtual MICCs, and I'm super excited about today's event and our conversation that we're going to have.

I'm going to go ahead and allow our two speakers to go ahead and introduce themselves. I've been working with them closely leading up to this event and, Tali has been instrumental in helping me set this up. So. Huge, thanks to Tali and huge thanks to Rebecca. so, some of the premise behind this is, I wanted to create an opportunity for students to have a conversation.

Around what it looks like to be career ready and explore topics with someone who's kind of gone through the gauntlet, if you will, so that they can kind of share their experiences, their do's and their don'ts and what kinds of things we can expect along the pathway of career development. And that's part of this conversation today.

So, so with that, I think it's almost time, maybe we, we can start with introductions. Do you want to do that? Awesome. So Tali take it.

Tali: [00:05:00] That sounds great. Thanks so much, Michelle. And, I think I am, I'm really excited for this conversation today, between Michelle and Rebecca. I'm the co founder of puck, where we help people find jobs.

And I'm really excited to be able to host a conversation between like a career expert, like Michelle, who is guiding all of you and someone, Rebecca, who I've worked with, and, and have a ton of respect for, and has had a great career. So, before Puck I ran the product team at Lyft, where I was for, nearly four years most recently. And so, and, and before that actually worked at Groupon, With Rebecca. And that's a, that's how we know each other. And so have been in the technology sector, since, since college, which was a while ago on my end, but I'm really excited. and I know that 2020 is a formidable year, to be, to coming out of university.

And so, you know, I think that, There's there's like all challenges, there's opportunities so excited to hear everyone's questions. Michelle and Rebecca will be having this conversation and then I'll pop in at the end just to moderate the questions to Rebecca from the audience, but nice to meet everyone.

And, and Rebecca, maybe you can introduce yourself as well.

Rebecca: [00:06:17] Totally. thank you guys for having me. so, I'm Rebecca,I'm, one of the founders on the product, new product experimentation team atFacebook, which is basically a team that's trying to build new startups from inside of Facebook, outside of the existing products that Facebook has.

My team is working on building products to try to foster healthier conversation on the internet right now. The first one of those products in be the only one we're working on right now, a product called forecast actually launched a couple of weeks ago. So we're just in the very, very early stages of testing it.

Before Facebook, I was leading part of the revenue product team at Twitter. And before that I was working at, some startups and like Tali said, we met at Groupon. Outside of work, I live in San Francisco. I have an almost two year old son. I can't believe he's so big. And I'm a completely crazy cat lady.

I have two behemoth cats named after the cats in Game of Thrones. you know, keeping it real, in San Francisco.

Michele: [00:07:23] Awesome. Okay. great. Well, you kind of jumped into our first sort of question. Before I go into the questions. I just want to remind all of the folks that have joined us recently. we're going to be posting a link in the chat. This is a virtual site in sheet. So if you can make sure that you take a minute to complete it, that would be wonderful.

That way we kind of keep track of who joined us in case we needed to reach out to you specifically about this event. So, Tali, just put it in the chat. So feel free to hop over there and. And fill it out. We would really, really appreciate it. So, so let's jump into some of the questions. Oh, and again, just to refresh for some of you who just joined us, sort of the format of today's presentation is going to center around a conversation between Rebecca and I.

And we're going to explore some career development type questions. Rebecca is going to share her story a little bit and her experiences, and then Tali is going to help us out in the end by helping to moderate the questions for us. So that's kind of our process today. We'll spend about half an hour talking together and then we'll have a good 15, maybe 20 minutes to chat at the end.

If you have questions throughout the conversation. Feel free to pop it into the chat and if it, it kind of flows well into our conversation, we'll bring it up. If not, we'll hold it to the end, when we have a chance to ask questions. Okay. Awesome. Okay. So Rebecca, you kind of just dived in a little bit about yourself when you first started kind of doing an introduction.

So I guess I wanted to start with the first question. If you can tell me about a time when you didn't get a job you really wanted, what did sort of you do? What did you do? Because you kind of took a minute to share a lot to share. What you've done leading up to where you've gotten. So there had to be times when you bide for a position and you didn't get it, what did you do?

Rebecca: [00:09:14] absolutely. I, I have a slightly longer story about this.I have throughout my career, I have applied to Google three times and been rejected from Google three times. the first time was in college and I, It was,I had decided I was gonna move out to San Francisco. I knew nothing about tech.

I had a friend who, had gotten a job at Google and he was like, you would be a good product manager at Google. You should, you should apply. And I had no idea what a product manager was. if you're not familiar with product manager, which is what I am now is somebody who, works with engineers and designers.

I'm usually at a tech company, although, other industries have product, functions as well to basically figure out and define and build a new product features. and I knew none of that at the time.but I was like, yeah, sure me I'll apply. and I got into the interview and I. Idid terribly, because I just knew, I, I didn't know what I was doing.

Michele: [00:10:17] yeah,

Rebecca: [00:10:18] fast forward. about a year later, I was, I was out in SanFrancisco. I was working in a startup. I knew a little bit more, and a recruiter reached out to me for the same position. And so I, I applied again and I got an interview. and this time I really, really, really prepared. and I looked at, questions that people ask product managers, and I did, sort of, mock interviews with friends.

and I got into the interview and. I just completely whiffed it. I was so nervous that I just froze up and I just, I just, I just couldn't get out the answers that, that, that I wanted. and so I didn't get the job. Fast forward a couple of years, this, this was just, a couple of years ago. another recruiter reached out to me for a bigger role.

I had a friend who went over to, lead the Google apps business and he was recruiting me to be the lead of Gmail. And I was like, this is, this is awesome. This is such an amazing opportunity. and I was at the time, seven months pregnant. I went into, I was wearing my, my best maternity clothes and I just felt like I did great.

I felt like I hit all of my answers and I was just doing great. and after the interview or after the interview, my, the, the hiring manager called me up and he was like, you know, you were the runner up. we decided to go with someone else. and I would love to say, I just shook it off because, you know, you face a lot of rejection to get to any position. But it was really, really tough.

I took it really, really hard, I think because, you know, this time I felt like I did great. and so what are, what are the sort of lessons I think I could take away from that? I think in the first, in the first interview, the lesson is prepare. I mean, like. Do a little research about the role and the position.

and I think that matters if you're early in your career, but I think it matters just as much at every, every phase you have to be prepared. I think for the second interview, you know, I think, even if you're. The most prepared you could be in the world. You're always going to have times when it doesn't go the way that you want either because you're nervous, which is normal.

Everyone gets nervous or just because you're having a bad day, you had a weird lunch. You're just not feeling the vibe with the interviewer that that happens. I think on the third interview, I think this is a lesson that. To be honest, it's something I practice. but as is really hard for me, which is you just gotta roll with the punches.

You know, I think, early in my career, I heard I heard, some advice, which is, you know, if you're not getting rejected on a daily basis, you're probably not shooting high enough. You're not challenging yourself. and I really try to live that. I, and, and I think it's hard. It's not to say. You know, you shouldn't feel the disappointment, supporting when you don't get it.

But, but you know, that's okay. That shows you care. and the important thing is you just have to keep trying.

Michele: [00:13:15] Yeah, you said so many things I wanted to touch on, but, just to touch on the last point, I mean, I've been in the same boat where I've had opportunities that I was super excited about. Oddly enough, I applied at Google as well.

but, I I'm telling ya, I wasn't a Googler. I didn't fit the bill, which is fine. but I, I really appreciated the fact that you. You shared that we have to roll with the punches and that it is really hard to do. But the silver lining to that is that when we, when we go through an interview process and we do everything we can to prepare for it and we feel even then we've aced it at the end to be told, Oh, well, you know, you were the runner up thinks it's still like.

But why didn't I get it? And, and sometimes you get answers sometimes they're like, well, these are some of the reasons why, but I would say 95% of the time, they don't tell you why you didn't get it. Yep. So that requires a lot of self reflection and I think a self care to be able to say, it's okay, I didn't get it.

And also to recognize that maybe it wasn't the right role. Right. There's that.

Rebecca: [00:14:33] I think that's exactly right. And I think that, you know, it's worth it. I think whenever you do an interview, I think it's worth it todo a little bit of self critique of your performance afterwards.

Michele: [00:14:48] Yeah,

Rebecca: [00:14:50] Exactly, exactly. The one thing I do. And I, I think I probably do this a little bit too much for myself is I, I get out of the interview and I'm like, okay, what went right? And what, where did I stumble? but I, but I think that that's, that's, that's a healthy thing in moderation.You should think about it.

Michele: [00:15:06] You know what, sorry, I just want to say something. I think something else that I've also forgotten to do myself, but have decided to make it a point to do now and to share with students. And I don't know if you've done it yourself, but along those same lines, the self-reflection happens immediately after the interview.

So as soon as you get out of there, pull yourself over, sit somewhere, get a pen and write everything down after that interview because. 30 minutes later, everything that you said, everything you were feeling, all of the questions that came up, all of the things that you said, you will forget. And it's such a valuable thing for us to do because it's like a, what do they call it?

And it's like a memory dump, and then you can go back and visit it.

Rebecca: [00:15:49] Right. I think that's right.

I think it's also the time when it's the most actionable, you know, when you're giving the decision, it's very rarely going to be the minute that the interview ends, you know? And by the time you get into the decision, it's much easier at that point to say like, Oh, I must've not gotten it because of this, this or this.

And. It's it's much harder to really have clarity on, on how things went. And, and so I think, you know, and this is, this is sort of the, after the interview happens, you should reflect right after, and then you should try as much as possible to put that away. Exactly exactly when the decision comes except except it.

And sometimes you don't get the job for reasons that don't relate to you.

Sometimes you don't get the job because you were good, but somebody just had skills that, that, that they wanted more. And, I think it is important to try not to take it personally, which is really hard.

Michele: [00:16:40] Yeah. And, we're, we're kind of actually jumping into the next question, which is sort of, how do you prepare for interviews?

And I think it's a good segue in that. part of preparing for interviews is not just preparing for the stuff that happens before it and during it, but it's also preparing for the stuff that happens after it. And so, keeping that in mind, let's just backtrack for just a moment in terms of preparing for interviews.

You mentioned just a few minutes ago that your first interview, you didn't prepare at all. You kind of went in, you know, with blinders on and you just kind of took it on, which I think. all of us cancan say we've all done. and, and I think that's important to do, to be honest with you. I think sometimes going into an interview and not preparing is an incredible life lesson, because look at what happened in the second interview, right?

Rebecca, you went in prepared, but even then you still got nervous. And so. So actually one of our questions from one of our, sorry, I'm going to jump over.

I see one of our panelists had asked how do you prepare for a panel interview questioned, especially with certain questions related to that role. So I don't know, I have my thoughts on that, but I'm kind of wondering if you might be able to respond to that.

Rebecca. I know that, I don't know if you've, have you ever participated in a group interview before?

Rebecca: [00:17:58] I don't know that I've ever had an interview where there's other candidates in the room. I've done a lot of interviews where it's a panel of interviewers who are, you know, you have a whole day in one after another people come in.

And then at the end of the day, you're completely spent and you have to go sleep. Yes, absolutely.

But in terms of, in terms of preparation, I think there's a couple of components of it. I think one is doing your research and I think that falls into. Both the category of understanding what, what the job is about and understanding what the company is about.

I don't think it's reasonable. I don't think most companies, expect you to be an expert in their strategy. But you should at least know what's going on with them. You should at least know if they were in the news yesterday. What were people saying? and what their products do. Exactly.

I think it's also important to do research for the particular role and the, and the types of interviews.

I think, one thing that sometimes people don't realize is that it's totally reasonable to ask, the recruiter or the hiring manager, whoever you've been communicating with to set up the interview, what the interview is going to entail. and even who's going to be interviewing you and sometimes, you know, companies won't give that to you because they're, more private about their process.

But I think it's a totally reasonable question to ask and that can then help you. Prepare.

Michele: [00:19:25] Absolutely. And, to piggyback off of that, if the company is not able to do that because of the research you've done on the role, you might be able to do research on the team. You know, if you go online and you can learn about who's leading that conversation or who's managing that role.

So you could do a quick search of like company staff, if you can, that's something you could do. and the other thing that, I would also kind of want to mention to that question is. I mean, looking at the job description in your inexperience, in your experience, looking at the job description is a great place to develop interview questions.

I dunno. What do you think?

Rebecca: [00:20:01] Definitely. Well, and I think, I think there's two components of that. I think one, the job description can help you sort of get a sense of the role. I think at this point, especially for roles in, in tech, if you go online and you search product manager, interview questions, you can find a really, really good bank of questions.

I think that, sort of reading through and understanding the types of questions is one thing. I actually think it's really different to, to live them and practice them. And one thing I really, really recommend to people is that they do practice interviews, and it doesn't even need to be practiced interviews with, with  experts in the field, even doing practice interviews.

My husband's actually looking for a job right now. And we, as, as when we, when we drive around, we, we just do, I quiz him, and he'll just go through his interview answers on sort of, you know, the, the types of questions that, that would get asked.

I think even doing that type of stuff with, with friends who are thinking about being in. About going into the same field.

Michele: [00:21:03] Yeah. I like what you said about the practice. And I also liked what you said about understanding sort of the purpose behind interview questions, depending on the interview.

You kind of hinted at that. If you're going to be a product manager, Right in tech, there's going to be specific types of questions that they're going to ask you, at the same, at the same rate, there's going to be questions that whether it's a product manager or it's, you know, an it person they're going to ask you.

Ultimately the same question, but in a different format, because they're trying to get at what we would consider behavioral interview type questions. Right. and so kind of looking at the why behind why they're asking you that is, is it's it sounds like that's what you're saying, right?

Rebecca: [00:21:51] Totally. Totally.

I think that's, I think that's really, really important. I think that also a big component of it, is, and this, I think relates to my story of not getting a job a bunch of times is every time you interview it's practice with the next interview.

Michele: [00:22:08] Absolutely.

Rebecca: [00:22:09] And so it's an, it's a chance to get your sound sound bites in order, you know, as you're thinking about, Michelle, like you're saying, I think there's a lot of times you're getting the same sorts of questions is, and they're getting it the same.

So intents about you and your know, every time you get a chance to answer those, you get another try todo better next time. Which I think is certainly something I have experienced where, you know, I've gone into an interview. This is, this will date me, but I interviewed many years ago for a chat client company called IMO.

And I went into the interview and, the interview asked me about how I would think about, the relationship between the app and the phone where the app lives. And I was like, I have no idea. I didn't say this. I said, I gave a bit very memorably, bad answer. but, but in my headI thought I have no idea.

And I've never considered that as a type of question that somebody could ask. but the next time I got a question like that. You know, I had actually thought I had had a chance to say all of the nonsense things and figure out what the, what a better right answer was. And so the next time I got that answer, that question, you know, I did better.

Michele: [00:23:23] Awesome.

Actually, that's a good reminder of a question I want to ask you. I want to dive a little bit deeper into interview questions before we jump into the next question. It's must be a question in terms of what are some of the big differences between. If you can remember between the time you interviewed let's use the Google experience.

Cause this is fun. When you interviewed for the first time, you didn't prep versus when you felt like you rocked the answer. What were, what were, if you had to identify one or two or three really big differences in your answers, what would it be like? How did you, cause I have a anyway, go ahead and answer that question.


Rebecca: [00:24:06] You know, I think, I would say a couple of things. I think, I think one is in figuring out ahead of time, how to structure the answer.

That's one thing, especially when you're going in somewhere. Especially when somebody asks you a question and you don't know the answer, you're not sure.

I think you can be really easy and this is certainly something that I have done to adjust our talking. You're like if I just keep saying things eventually the right answer will come out and they will notice that I'm not, I'm just saying nonsense. and I think that a big difference between, you know, sort of maybe earlier interview experiences or bad interview experiences and ones where I felt like I've done better is taking a moment to think through the structure of my answer.

And where I'm trying to get.

I think the other related component of that is, I one time heard some advice that has really stuck with me. I really try todo this. Tell the end of the story first. If you start telling the beginning of the story, it becomes hard for people to follow or figure out where you're going. And if you say, okay, this is where I'm trying to get, this is my structure for getting there. You give people a frame of reference for thinking through where you're going.

Michele: [00:25:27] Yeah. You know, it's, I really am very happy to hear you say that because sometimes I talk about creating structure around your answers and I usually teach that structure in terms of the star response. Have you ever heard of the STAR interview response? So, Oh, we're going to learn something new today.

We learn something new from each other. I love it. it's a, it's a strategy that I teach students that I think would be helpful in terms of creating a structure around a response, because it prevents you from going off into a tangent, which can really prove to be very annoying to an interviewer

so, the star is a, situation, task, action and result. But, when you're approaching and so if you get asked an interview question, you essentially create the response around what you said, starting the story.

So, which is the situation, for example, you know, you could say something along the lines of. I was tasked with X, Y, and Z. And, because I'm really skilled in these things. I was able to do it. So let me tell you how I did it.

Rebecca: [00:26:26] Exactly.

Michele: [00:26:27] Right. That's kind of what you're talking about.

Rebecca: [00:26:30] That I exactly. I think that, I have learned something new today. Also

Well, and that's, I think that's a big part of, interview prep as well, especially when you're talking about your own experiences. It's so easy when you live the experiences to forget that other people don't have context on them and to just start talking.

And I think that part of the practice and the feedback loop of practices, hearing how people react, where they get confused. And so then you can sort of structure that.

Michele: [00:27:02] Yeah. awesome. okay. So, that's the interview process, I guess the other question that I wanted to talk to you about is, the, the big question of how did you get to where you are?

I think one of the biggest sort of challenges that students face, whether they're coming into the profession with some experience in a different industry, or they're coming in with no experience and a lot of academic experience, what kinds of, sort of professional development or career readiness would you sort of recommend students interested in the industry and or position that say, you know, Like, maybe they're interested in project management, for example, what, what would you say would be avenues or ways to develop professionally if they can't get that job to get that experience?

Rebecca: [00:27:49] Totally. one thing, I think I would, I very, very much recommend, especially for folks in school is try to do projects. even if you're not doing a formal internship, or you don't have, you don't have a job, in the industry that you want, time to start to do projects in that industry, can be a great way to, I think, both, give you portfolio pieces to talk about.

which I think, especially for folks coming out of school can be very, very important without a lot of work experience.

it also gives you an actual real sense. I think there's a tremendous difference between, learning how to code in school, or doing, graphic design in a class and actually working in those jobs, and having a chance to do a project and put something out there, and see even just how your friends feel about it.

I think is, A really, really, good way to sort of get that experience.

Michele: [00:28:44] Yeah. So kind of just engaging in self, sort of either finding opportunities to do those types of activities or do those types of work with someone who might need somebody to volunteer and do it. and then also just doing things on their own.

So coming up with projects of their own.Obviously outside of the class to, to continue to develop those skills. and actually that's interesting that you bring that up. And I initially it was going to have this question answered your Q&A, but it kind of falls right into it. One of our students asks, do employers respect online class learning as upskilling.

So more specifically she's saying, the question or asks mentioned that they're sort of exploring and learning Tableau and SQL, for example, through online Udemy classes. So how, how do you think that. Say, for example, people in your, in your employer, how do they sort of receive those types of self, learning as opposed to actually taking an academic course?

Rebecca: [00:29:44] I think those things are great. I think that, one of the things that I personally really like about tech is, by and large, I think it's more driven by output than it is by having a particular credential. and I think that means that it opens up the avenues through which you can learn the skills that you need to learn, to do the job.

so I think that online, online learning can be great. I think that really the important thing, and this goes back to doing projects is being able to demonstrate that you got something out of that learning.I think in a lot of ways, the sort of, experience. The projects or the experience, even things like writing about those areas, can demonstrate that even more than, just the credential itself.

Michele: [00:30:32] Exactly. Exactly. Yeah. I definitely think that. And I think it's also kind of, it's also really important about how you talk about that experience, right. I think, it's an experience that we have to really sort of be proud of because I never learned, for example, I never learned in a formal class how to use Photoshop or Adobe InDesign.

I never learned how in a formal class, how to use Excel. I learned in sort of self-taught all of those skills and those were things that I made sure to say in interviews. to show sort of a drive, a willingness to learn new things, a willingness to step outside of my comfort zone. And I think if we phrase those things in that way, in your, in your experience, would you say that, you know, employers are more open to that kind of learning and that kind of driving an employee?

Rebecca: [00:31:28] Definitely 100%. and I think that it's, it is very, very much in how you talk about it and how you demonstrate it. I think, you know, if, if you're saying I, I took a class and I learned Tableau versus I useTableau and I built this dashboard, and. You know, even if that's the thing that you did in the class, you know, you didn't do anything.

And you know, the final project in the class. I think that, that, that demonstrates to an employer, Hey, it's not just that you sat there is that you actually got something out of it. And now I can have a sense of what that is.

Michele: [00:32:01] Exactly.

Tali: [00:32:02] Thanks so much. I'm just going to pop in for a second here. I see a few questions coming in on chat, Michelle. I know you had one favorite question that you wanted to ask Rebecca.

So maybe you could ask your favorite question and then I'll, I'll give her some of the audience ones.

Michele: [00:32:17] Perfect. Tali, actually that was the direction I was going in. So. Awesome. yeah. So one last question, Rebecca, a lot of the conversation has centered around advice based on your previous experiences. So the last question that I kind of want to ask is, if you could go back in time and give your college self, so graduating, maybe recent graduates, self advice, what is the one thing you would say to yourself, or, yeah. What would you say to yourself?

Rebecca: [00:32:46] You know, I, So when I was in school, I was really, really focused on my classes and really focused on my grades. And I got good grades and proud of that.

Michele: [00:32:54] but it should be, but,

Rebecca: [00:32:57] In college, I did one internship. I worked for a finance company and I decided it wasn't for me. And then I never looked into any other industry. And I just said, okay, well now I'm going to pick between going to grad school and going to law school.

I think in retrospect, that was really, really silly. And there was this whole world of, of tech and business more broadly that I just never even really considered. and so what I would say, and this is sort of, I think I run it advice to give to people in school is, you know, definitely care about.

Your classes, that's great. But make sure that you're also taking advantage of the other things that you have, being part of college, taking advantage of, different types of learning that can point you toward the direction of where you might want to go next. and that's something I wish that I did an, I, had to learn that afterwards, on the job.

Michele: [00:33:54] So like taking advantage of the resources that, you know, sorta your university offers you while you're in classes maybe, or even after, you know, what are the resources that your university offers to even alumni? What, how can you position yourself in, in communicating with them? That's great advice. I love it.

Yeah. And that's why it's my favorite question because I get such awesome answers every time. So. Cool. Thank you,Rebecca. I'm going to hand it over to Tali and she's going to help us out with the questions.

And so, now's the time to ask questions specifically to Rebecca, even Tali, if you want, you know, her background. So don't be shy. Ask questions. We're here to answer them.

Tali: [00:34:33] Thanks so much Michelle. So Rebecca, one of the topics in the chat that, that seems very popular is about certificates. And, and I think you just spoke really articulately on like some of the choices that people have to make. So I think you'll, you know, be really helpful on this one.

I think people are interested, on do certificates, the credential of a certificate make a resume stronger?

And then the followup question is. For in product management, which is your field, how would you think about a certificate as a hiring manager or as you were thinking about your choices?

Rebecca: [00:35:10] I think, and I, and I touched on this before.

I think, certificates are like classes that you would take, right? Like classes that you would take at school. and I think that those can be great, especially when you're very, very early in your career in demonstrating and just checking the box of, okay, this person, you know, knows that knows the basics of what is required in this field.

I think what is more important than certificates? So certificates. Good. I think what's more important than certificates though, is demonstrating that you got something out of the learning. and that's why, again, I think that things like projects and I don't think projects has to be something that is a really big deal.

It doesn't have to be an app that you publish to the app store. but I think thinking about what you got out of the certificate that you achieved. that you can talk about in the, in the interview process, that's the thing that's more important. And so say you got a certificate in, in data science.

you know, I care less that you got the certificate than I do about your ability to talk about the project that you did, to analyze, you know, data about fish migration patterns, whatever, whatever it is through stories from high school. but I, but, but, but, but that's the thing I want to get across.

I think. The certificate is, is less important than, then the experience that you got out of it. and that's the thing that you should be highlighting both in your resume. And also, as we're talking to employers.

Tali: [00:36:43] That's great.

Super helpful. I think there was a follow on kind of related question about, about what you just talked about.

I think folks are interested in guidance on projects. So maybe you could give some examples about how you would think about when is a project valuable and worth doing, and how would they should consider projects in their, in their, use of time or building their resume?

Rebecca: [00:37:08] Totally.

I think that, there's two dimensions of that in terms of valuable and worth doing.

I think one is, is this project helping you develop a skill, or demonstrate a skill that you already have, that is, you know, necessary for the jobs that you're getting. and necessarily, I think it's something that you can, you can see, for example, in the hiring requirements.So if the hiring requirements say.

You know, needs to know how to use data. I think one way to think about whether a project is a good thing to do, is it going to help you demonstrate that you know how to use data? I think the other thing I would say in terms of valuable is I think in my experience, and this is not, this is one woman statements.

The times where I've had projects that have been the most, meaningful have been the times where. The subject matter is something that is meaningful to me. so, I, I was, before, before Facebook, I was, on that advertising team at Twitter. I really cared about ads. One projectI did, and this was, this is an example of how small a project can be.

Is I just started keeping track in a file of ads that I really, really liked. and then at the end of the year, I wrote up a little summary of my favorite ads and trends that I saw in advertising and I published it and you can, you can go and find it. And it's like, it's, it's not, it's not, you can see it.

It's very, it's, it's two pages and a bunch of YouTube videos.

but that's the type of thing. That one, it, it helped me, get a deeper understanding of trends in advertising. It also helped me demonstrate that understanding and it was driven just by. Kind of liking some ads that I saw.

Tali: [00:38:54] Yeah. I like that. That's great. speaking about things that, you know

yourself, I think one of the questions that candidates have, or that the attendees have is what skills do you think are essential to become a product manager? And do you have any recommendations on how to get those skills?

Rebecca: [00:39:13] Totally. so, let's see.

I think that, The, the main skill that you have to have in order to be a product manager, is you have to.

Be able to think at multiple levels of abstraction. so, and this is, I'll tell you what that means. I think being a product manager involves talking with lots and lots of different people. It involves talking with your engineers who are actually building the product and engage with the  individual features that are part of your product.

It also involves talking to the people who are, for example, selling the product, if you're, if your product has, businesses that are using it. And it involves talking to the customers who don't care, whether thing one or thing two, was the thing that your team decided to build. They just care about the product working the way they want it to work.

and so I think that. When you talk about, and there's lots of, lots of, of different skills that go into being a product manager. But when I, when I think about the most important one, I think it's being able to think both about the big picture of the product and why the customer wants it. And also being able to drill down into the narrow component of okay.

How do you, how are we going to actually deliver that and build out a set of features that, that, that add up to that, that larger goal? I think in terms of how you build that skill, I think, again,I don't want to be a broken record on it, but I think that doing projects is one way, and I will talk about other things, but I really do want to say actually, Sending something out, whether it's a blog post, whether it's a little app that you made, whether it's an analysis of data, and having people look at it and say, Hey, like, this is the part that I don't understand that helps give you that skill.

I don't think that's the only way to get that skill. I think that it is also something that comes for example, from collaborating in your classes, in, in groups, or working in a student organization. I think the thing that you have to be thinking about is, you know, if you are in experience in, in, in a situation, that involves talking to multiple different parties and sort of explaining what you're trying to do to multiple different parties who kind of don't necessarily come from the same perspective. That's going to be teaching you that skill.

Tali: [00:41:45] That's great. Well, we're going to have time for just one last question. and I'll, I'll pick one that is, is kind of a continuation on this theme. the next one in line is. How do you make trade offs? So I think this one was particularly between, you know, marketing sales, budgeting, timelines.

What's your experience making the tradeoffs between features you love the most and features that are more promising?

Rebecca: [00:42:10] Oh, it's such a hard question. There's like a, there's like a, there's like a much longer class, which I don't feel, feel qualified to teach on that subject. I think that there, is sort of a, and this is, I'm not the first person to, to sort of think about it in this framework.

But I think one framework that I've found helpful is to think about, tradeoffs on the, important versus urgent, sort of, sort of, framework. So on one dimension you have unimportant to important features. And the other dimension you have urgent versus non-urgent features, and that at least lets you rule out everything that falls into that unimportant.

Right. so now you can only be thinking about things which are important and important could mean. Important to your customer, important to, you know, making money and being able to pay your bills, important to the larger vision that you're trying to get to. And then you end up having a trade off of, how much are you biasing toward things that are urgent versus things that, maybe are not urgent?

You know, that, the business is not going to shut down if you don't do them tomorrow, but in the longterm, things are not going to work out. And that's really hard. I think that there's a lot of judgment that goes into that. And at the end of the day, a lot of intuition that goes into that, I think some people and some products, some products are more amenable to, you know, using data to demonstrate that.

So for example, being able to say, is this thing going to get us more users or not? but the reality is, and this is I think what makes. I think my job really fun. I think product really fun is most times you're not going to have that, that data. And it really is going to be that you have to use your judgment and over time, just like with interviews, your judgment gets better.

Yeah, I love that advice. It's a great way to close. It's like

Michele: [00:44:02] Rebecca's takeaway. Do a lot of interviews. It'll get better.

Rebecca: [00:44:09] They'll get better. What else? Let it roll off. That's that's that's that's my summary. That's a terrific way to close.

Tali: [00:44:19] Well, just for my end, Rebecca. Thank you so much. This was a really fun conversation. Thank you to the audience. I feel like we, it looks like we could have kept going for a couple of days,

But this was great. And Michelle, thank you so much for, for helping to pull this all together.

Michele: [00:44:34] Awesome. Yeah, I echo all of those sentiments and Rebecca. Thank you so much for spending your evening with us, both of you and to all of you who are listening on this, event tonight. couple of things to close this off. I'm going to go ahead and put one more item in the chat.

you'll get an email as well, but this is a survey for today's, today's events. So the link for the survey is in there. You guys can fill that out if you can. if you have any other questions about tonight's conversation, you can email me, you guys have my email address. And ,if you'd like to see if you can get connected to our panelist or even to Tali in the future, cause these are wonderful resources, email me and I will help with the connections and otherwise a huge thank you to everybody.

And I think we will. Say have the rest of your evening and enjoy it all so much.

Tali: [00:45:22] Thank you

Michele: [00:45:22] Thank you everybody. Take care. Bye bye.

Rebecca: [00:45:24] Bye.