Leading And Working With A Team As A Product Manager
Another important part of product management is managing people. Its important to emphasize your ability to manage a team and expectations, as well as your skills at conflict resolution. Come prepared with examples of instances when you effectively led a team through a difficult time.
Have you been in a leadership position before? If so, tell us about it.
How would you handle conflict on your team?
What kind of people do you enjoy working with?
How do you motivate your team to stick to a schedule?
In your opinion, whats the difference between leadership and management?
How Analytical Answers Are Assessed
In most cases, PM candidates will be asked these questions to assess their experience and competence with:
- TikTok usage is down. What do you do? Watch an expert answer this question here.
- You’re a PM at a food delivery app. There’s been a 10% decline in restaurant supply over the past week.
However, as the name suggests, Execution questions are concerned with product execution and the shipping of products. They’ll test your technical know-how and ability to explain technical concepts.
Specifically, they are an attempt to discern whether or not a candidate has the ability to smoothly and efficiently develop and launch products.
Do You Have Any Experience Managing A Team
Again a recruiter may choose to ask this question right in the beginning.
While managing a team is a huge plus, its certainly not a prerequisite.
If the candidate has ample experience in their field, impressive knowledge, and a proven track record, it doesnt matter if they never got the opportunity to supervise a team.
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What Is Your Favorite Product
When it comes to PM interviews, the most common product question is “what is your favorite product?” While this may seem like a simple or relatively easy question, it is still very important for aspiring PMs. Here are some tips to help you ace it:
- Choose something new: Whether it be a product your interviewer may not have heard of or a novel analysis of a product, make sure you’re bringing something new to your answer.
- Choose a product you actually use: Don’t make the mistake of choosing a product you think will impress your interviewer. It’ll be obvious, based on your answer, whether or not a product is really your favorite.
- Display your passion for the product and product management as a whole: This question is the best opportunity to demonstrate your love of product from the perspective of a product manager.
Design A Phone For Deaf People
Business objective considerations:
- Are we targeting partially deaf users, fully deaf users, or both? Mobile phones or a different kind of phone? Adult users or all ages?
Possible user problems:
- Difficulty hearing ringtones and text alerts
- Low resolution or spotty network makes video calling difficult
- Holding the phone with one hand makes it difficult to sign
- Flashing LED lights and a powerful vibration to signal calls and texts
- High-resolution front-facing camera
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How Do You Communicate Decisions Youve Made
Answer: The group communicates decisions the group has made.
This is a good opportunity to check how ego-driven your PM is. I usually avoid working with PMs for whom its important to take credit for decisions in the product it can create an uncomfortable dynamic between the members of the team. Its the PMs job to make sure decisions happen, and to make sure communication happens, it doesnt mean they have to or should be The Decider.
Remote Product Management Questions
In 2021, its quite likely that the company youre applying to has some kind of remote working/flexible hours possibility. You could even be applying for a 100% distributed remote team. Even if youve hated remote working, try not to use this as an excuse to vent! If asked, be honest about the challenges it presented you, but try to maintain a positive attitude.
- Do you have experience in a remote working environment?
- How have you kept communication from breaking down in a remote setting?
- How would you face the challenge of managing a team that works across timezones?
- What challenges have you faced when working remotely? How have you overcome them?
- How do you approach team building when that team has never met in person?
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Additional Tips On The Overall Approach
To recap, the framework for product questions is relatively simple: identify the target user group, describe their user needs, and think about how the product satisfies those needs. Note that interviewers usually constrain some part of the problem – either they’ll give you the product to analyze, the user group to target, a specific need of a specific group, or parameters of a given solution. But such a constraint will rarely invalidate the framework.
There are some more tips that you should keep in mind to make your response even more solid.
Product Strategy Example Questions
Product managers are responsible for driving product strategy. In other words, making decisions on how to approach competition, pricing, time to market, and more. You’ll therefore be asked questions intended to assess your ability to develop a product vision and roadmap.
Example questions: Product strategy
- How would you turn Facebook events around?
- What do you think that, as a business, we should do next?
- How would you monetize Facebook Messenger?
- How would you bootstrap a product that helps people find apartments?
- If you were a VC, would you be more bullish on AR or VR?
- Why do you think Microsoft bought LinkedIn?
- If you were the CEO of LEGO, what new product line would you come up with to increase revenue?
- Imagine youre a PM at a startup that works with big data from the NHL whats the first product you would ship?
- How would you sell live plants at Amazon?
- If you were the CEO of Facebook, what are the top three things you would do?
- Imagine youre the CEO of Apple what product would you eliminate from the lineup?
- Facebook is expanding into travel to compete with AirBnB should they build a standalone app or integrate new travel features in the core Facebook experience?
- How would you solve homelessness in downtown San Francisco?
Here’s our guide to answering product strategy questions. Right, let’s get on to the next strategy sub-category.
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Design A Car For Blind People
Business objective considerations:
- Is it a fully self-driving car, or something like a taxi service for the blind? Will seeing users also be driving the car? Are there any legal requirements around blind drivers?
Possible user problems:
- Driver cannot use any visual-based interface for the self-driving system
- Driver will not be able to visually track speed and lane changes
- Seeing users will not need or know how to operate the voice system
- Voice-controlled self-driving interface that gives audio cues for speed and lane changes
- Emergency features that self-call 911 and report location in grave cases
- Auto-parking capabilities
How Do You Set Goals For Your Team And How Do You Track These Goals
As Product Managers do not directly manage a team, they need to set project-specific long-term, mid-term, and short term goals. These goals can be divided into tasks for various teams involved at different stages of a product.
Product Managers are a connecting point between the development, design, marketing, sales team, and upper management. They need to work closely with the development team and also bring all these stakeholders on the same page.
They have to take important decisions about prioritizing the various tasks and goals and assign them to appropriate departments and team members. Using a collaboration tool can help in creating a well-defined product roadmap that is shared among all the stakeholders. These tools also make it easier for the Product Manager to create product-specific tasks for each team, and to track the progress of these teams.
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How Do You Know When Youve Gotten A Design Right
Answering this question gives the candidate an opportunity to demonstrate how they analyze and measure user experienceswhether newly launched or on an ongoing basis. Not having an answer to this question is likely a bad sign, as it points to the practice of launching product experiences and never checking in on how theyre being used.
Additionally, this allows the candidate to mention the tools and softwares they use to measure and monitor their designs. This is a good place for you to dig deeper into what kinds of metrics they typically look for and leads you into the next question.
Dont Be Afraid To Close The Deal
Once the interview is over, the likelihood is both you and the interviewer have a good idea of where one another stand. As you stand up post interview and engage in a final handshake, be upfront. Confidence here can go a long way. If you believe you nailed the interview, be bold:Im going to be straight with you – I think that went really well and I think Id be a great asset here. Where do I stand as of now?. Alternatively, if you dont think it went wellyou probably have your answer already.
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How Would You Figure It Out
Product managers need data and metrics to make good decisions and gain the support of stakeholders. This often requires doing some research to develop the right facts and figures to make their case. Asking a candidate how they would find a fact they dont already know will indicate whether they can enter a query into Google and do the up-front thinking on the right questions to ask and explain how they got there.
Interview Coaching At Exponent
As you can expect, we know better than anyone how intimidating and stressful upcoming product design and product management interviews can be. So, along with all the previously mentioned tips, we recommend consulting with one of our product design interview coaches. We also have many Interview Prep Courses focused on Product Management, Software Engineering, Data Science, Product Marketing Management, and Technical Program Management. Currently, a Product Design Interview course is being developed. Be sure to sign up for our mailing list to be notified as soon as our early-access is ready.
What are the benefits that come with Exponent interview coaching you may be asking? Well, when you book a session with one of our coaches you can:
- Get the insider scoop on the interview process.
- Receive constructive feedback on your interview performance and your standing as an applicant.
- Gain a personalized coach and coaching process that will help seal more job offers.
With Exponent, our community has access to several tech-industry insiders and career experts specializing in product management, product design, software engineering, program management, and data science fields. Join our community today and they can help you nail all your interviews and get that dream offer. A definitive list of our coaches can be found here. So what’s the hold-up? Sign up with Exponent today!
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Product Management Skills Interviewers Look For
Interviewers try to observe how youre able to break down any given problem statement, and strategically plan your way forward. You can get better at this by reading about the frameworks under each category of questions and practising your answers accordingly.
To stand out, you must highlight some of the following skill-sets in your introduction to the interviewer:
- Business Intelligence Your ability to have a clear focus on the vision and key business objective
- Research skills Talk about your work in market research or customer data analysis to derive insights and translate them into product decisions.
- Technical skills Explain your knowledge about web-app/mobile-app ecosystems, APIs, UI/UX design etc.
- Interpersonal skills Mention your strengths or challenges youve overcome while managing all key stakeholders for your product
- Creativity Highlight any creative solutions you proposed that helped optimally achieve substantial business impact.
- Showcase your ability to describe your products core value most simply.
Now that you have clarity on the skill sets that matter in product management, lets take a look at how to demonstrate each of them while answering product manager question categories!
Whats Your Biggest Failure As A Product Manager And Why Did It Happen
This question has two benefits. First, it gets them to look back and provide critical thinking about why something went awry, which is helpful in a post-mortem situation. But what they select as their failure also tells you a little about them and how broad and developed their sense of ownership is.
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Q What Are The Qualities That Make A Product Great
Product management is the process of planning, developing, and distributing a product. And product managers play a vital role in the product management process. Hence, they need to be well-versed in the whole process from ideation to the development of a final product. Interviewers ask this question to check your understanding of KPIs and product management strategies. Therefore, while answering the question, include points like demand and product features.
Why The Product Manager Interview Questions Matter
Many people approach an interview with a lets just see how it goes attitude. They think they can get a sense of the person and their fit for the role regardless of which direction the conversation may go.
Entering an interview unprepared is just as bad for the interviewer as the interviewee. You may luck into a deep and diverse discussion that provides a great sense of the candidate, but you may also have many uncomfortable minutes of silence when you struggle to come up with the next question.
And theres no assurance the dialogue will cover all the pertinent points unless the interviewer makes a concerted effort to get there. Thats why every interview should include the most relevant topics to ensure everythings covered.
While the specifics of the role and the candidates background may dictate which of these to include and which to skip, heres a set of basic categories of questions youll likely want to touch on:
- Strategic thinking
- Product management experience
- Other relevant experience
Dont worry that this will lead to a disjointed interview. Multitasking and context switching is essential to the job. If the interviewee cant hop from one area to another easily in an interview, theyre likely to struggle with that on the job. Now, lets review the eleven product manager interview questions to reveal whether a candidate is a good fit for your position.
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How Familiar Are You With Apis
Today, APIs are a part of almost every application and product. A fair knowledge about APIs can help the project managers define better workflows for projects and increase the potential for success.
The interviewer expects you to be a part of API conversations across your team. Show your knowledge and awareness on how to use APIs effectively. You may not be an expert but even basic API knowledge should suffice. With this knowledge, you can oversee the APIs being delivered within your projects and what impact they have. It will also give you an understanding of how and when the APIs are deprecated and need to be replaced by the next generation of API solutions.
Common Personal Product Manager Interview Questions: Personal
During the interview, employers are assessing how well a candidate would fit in with their company. The purpose behind these personal questions is for an employer to get to know a candidate better and learn about their work habits, passions, and interests.
This question type is an opportunity to show your passion for the company youre applying for while also giving some insight into who you are as a person and why youve chosen the PM career path.
Personal questions that interviewers may ask a Product Manager include:
Question: Think back to a product idea of yours that didnt come out as intended. Where did you go wrong, and what would you do differently?
Answer: As a Product Manager, you need to be a critical thinker. You have to know how to monitor performance and pivot on a dime, how to test and evaluate your design ideas, and how to conduct a thorough and unbiased post-mortem.
This question is an opportunity to show that you are capable of handling criticism and taking a clear-eyed critical look at your own work. Its also a chance to show that you take ownership of your mistakes and dont shift the blame to others. But you still want to make sure the project you choose to discuss wasnt a total disaster.
Instead, provide an example of when you realized through some form of analytic reflection that your initial concept wouldnt work and you made changes on the fly to fix it.
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Questions About Experience And Background
Your interviewer or interviewing committee may also ask you about your experiences and background to help them understand your credentials. Questions they ask can include:
Tell us about your education level and experiences.
Have you ever completed product design training?
Do you consider yourself a lifelong learner and if so, why?
How long have you been working in the product design industry?
Do you enjoy working individually or collaboratively?
Have you ever held a design leadership role?
What skills do you believe you have earned from your educational and professional experiences?
Do you have any product design certifications?
How many professional experiences have you engaged in regarding product design?
When did you complete your education and how long have you worked in each of your previous positions?