Lewis Lin is the founder and CEO of Impact Interview. He has over 10 years of experience in the career management industry. Lewis first began in 1999, when he started JobReviews.com, a career and workplace community. It featured company, salary, and interview reviews. He sold the company to Job.com in 2001. Lewis also has over 11 years of experience in Product Management and Business Development, having worked at Google, Microsoft and Citi. Prior to founding Impact Interview; he was Microsoft’s Director of Product Management and Marketing. With an MBA from Kellogg School of Management, Lewis is an avid writer and launched his latest book “Rise Above the Noise: How to Stand Out at the Marketing Interview” last month.
Tell us a bit about yourself – your background, education and organizations/initiatives you are involved with?
I’m the CEO of Impact Interview, an interview coaching firm. I’ve been fortunate to be featured on FOX, ABC News, San Francisco Chronicle, The Atlantic, The Telegraph, and Business Insider. CNN also named me as “top 10 job tweeters you should be following.”
Before Impact Interview, I was Microsoft’s Director of Product Management. Prior to Microsoft, I worked at Google, leading new AdWords product launches.
I have a B.S. in computer science from Stanford University and an M.B.A. from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management. I also serve on the advisory board for University of Washington’s software product management program.
What motivated you to leave your lucrative job to become an entrepreneur?
I’ve always had passion for ideas and a strong desire to start my own business.
What is Impact Interview and what makes it different from those of your competitors?
Impact Interview is an interview coaching firm. We help job seekers prepare for their upcoming interviews. Unlike our competitors, we focus on $100k+ jobs, especially candidates targeting senior and executive roles.
Tell us about your books – Decode & Conquer – Answers to Product Management Interviews and Rise above the Noise – How to stand out at the Marketing Interview?
Decode and Conquer is the world’s first book focused exclusively on product management (PM) interview preparation. Whether you’re interviewing for Google, Amazon, or Facebook, you’ll encounter product design, strategy, and analytical questions like these:
- Design a new iPad app for Google Spreadsheet.
- Brainstorm as many algorithms as possible for recommending Twitter followers.
- You’re the CEO of the Yellow Cab taxi service. How do you respond to Uber?
- You’re part of the Google Search web spam team. How would you detect duplicate websites?
- The billboard industry is under monetized. How can Google create a new product or offering to address this?
Decode and Conquer provides an industry insider’s perspective on how to conquer the most common and difficult PM interview questions. The book provides sample answers for these questions along with frameworks and tips so that you can answer these questions on your own.
Rise Above the Noise is similar, but focused on marketing interview preparation. Some of the most respected marketing brands, Kraft, Starbucks, and Google, use marketing case questions to assess candidates’ aptitude. During the interview, a candidate might encounter the following:
- What promotional strategies would you use for a Honey Nut Cheerios campaign?
- Develop a social good campaign for Teavana.
- Should Hidden Valley increase the price of its ranch dressing?
- Kit Kat sales declined year-over-year. Why is that, and what would you do to address it?
- Tell me about a terrible product that’s marketed well.
Rise Above the Noise provides insights on how to answer these common and difficult marketing interview questions. In addition to sample answers, the book provides what interviewers are looking for, why they’re looking for it, and how to deliver it. It also talks about the biggest mistakes candidates make at the interview and how to avoid them.
What led you to write these books?
My coaching clients. They told me, “Lewis is there a big repository of PM interview questions with sample answers?” For the longest time, I said “No, there isn’t it.” I heard the request so often that I finally decided to write the book and deliver what my clients asked for.
And lastly, how do you keep yourself inspired and motivated? What’s next for you?
It’s easy to keep inspired and motivated. They are so many interesting problems in the world that need to be solved, and it’s fun thinking about how to solve them in new and interesting ways.
For my next project, I’m writing another book. I can’t talk about it publicly, but I can’t wait to release it.
Thanks Lewis. Good luck with your new book!