At this stage, as I wind things down at My Day To-Do and explore my options to go back to working for someone, I came across a role for a big company I really liked. I applied and to my surprise, after passing a few interviews I found myself in the final interview with the top manager and this happened….
p.s. this was my first proper job application and interview in the last 4 years
“Not a good Culture Fit” that was the reason to not hire me in a product management role after a few rounds and the final interview. Never heard this one before but, I understand my mistakes now. I guess one of those was I tried their app before the interview and as a software engineer it was too hard for me to ignore the flaws that I saw.
It looked like their test team just went to sleep before releasing. Not only was it showing error messages that don’t make sense to the user but it was unstable and crashed after a few minutes of use. So before the interview, I prepared a document on my Google Drive with,
- all the problems that I found
- how to fix them
- individual sub-tasks to fixing those
- the teams the tasks could be delegated to
- steps towards improving the app store rating
Now, I shared that file on Google Docs with the TOP manager during my final interview and I really should’t have. I regret doing that! Also, at some point the manager and I had this conversation,
Manager: “look functionality X is working on my device”
Me: “have a look at my device, it isn’t working”.
Manager: “You must not be signed-in”
Me: “Yes I am, have a look, there’s my username”
Do you see my mistake now? I really shouldn’t have been so upfront about this. I am, 100% SURE that my tone wasn’t rude but basically before even joining the company, I was telling the manager that your team isn’t doing a good job. Anyway, I had simply shared my experience of using their product and with the best of intentions I mentioned a solution to fix the problems I found. I mean there’s no point in finding out “who was responsible” to have shipped that bad code, that’s done so now it’s best to move on and fix those issues. For a big company like that, having a terrible app store rating may not mean a lot but I was thinking like a startup. In the startup world, we are generally insignificant, users are TOP PRIORITY and we need good app store ratings to stand out.
I assume, the developers there would have given the manager instructions for a certain user journey for that app where it works when you follow it. I on the other hand, tested it as an end-user by downloading the public version, I must have deviated from the established path. While there was nothing wrong with what I was saying, I probably shouldn’t have done so at the interview. Again, coming from the startup world, I need to realise that things work differently in large companies.
As a good developer or tester if you ask me, I’d still say the same thing. The version of their app that I tested, after downloading it from the app store was just bad! Really bad!!! Ahh, I can’t get over just how bad it was, it’s like they have no regard for their users whatsoever. I think their push into the app world is a bit recent, so they may still have a slightly old fashioned mindset where user experience is not the highest priority. It was hard for me to ignore that given I know their recent struggles. I can’t believe, such a buggy, unstable version would pass through their QA or test team. My goal was to simply highlight the problems I found when I took their product for a spin, so hopefully they can take steps towards fixing those things.
p.s. I didn’t want to make the blogpost too long but things like, what users want, mapping user journeys in a product, understanding competitors and establishing a state of the art etc, were all part of my interview discussion.
“In the end, it doesn’t even matter”
All said and done, it is what it is, I just had the one chance to make the TOP manager like me and I didn’t succeed. It was just my misunderstanding that taking the initiative and spending my own time doing competitor research would put me in a favourable light? In fact it did the opposite. I just ended up showing myself as someone too aggressive which I am clearly not (as anyone who’s worked with me will tell you) and the TOP manager didn’t like me. The final interview was just supposed to be a formality, so it’s like I went out of my way to make sure I don’t get the job! End of story!!!!
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