Thursday, June 23, 2022

How To Ace A Product Manager Interview

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Tell Me About Your Favorite Product And Why You Like It

How to Ace Your Product Management Interview by League Senior PM

This is your chance to discuss a well-designed product in the context of your product management style and approach. You can talk about a product you worked on at your current or previous employer, or you can discuss a product scenario from your portfolio. Or, you may decide to use a well-recognized product that you admire but havent personally worked on perhaps Apples iPhone. For example, I admire Apples iPhone due to its ease of use, wide variety of features, and the companys constant dedication to refinement and innovation. Such product features, and iterative product management dedication, keep a products user base happy and engaged with the brand. Remember, youre not speaking as a user here, but instead as an expert who understands users, so be sure to discuss how excellent product management impacts the big picture as well as that specific product launch.

At a product management boot camp, you will explore specific examples of successful product management. This educational experience will help you answer questions like this one, so be sure to retain your notes from your course to help prepare for interview questions both initially and longer term.

How To Ace Your Product Manager Interview A Guide Based On What Ive Learnt From 50 Interviews

The product manager interview is one of the most difficult out there.

The interview process varies by company but is often long and arduous stretching over three or more interviews.

Over the last three months Ive been a candidate at a range of companies from large multinational technology companies to small startups. In previous roles, Ive been on the other side of the table interviewing product managers from junior to senior roles. Ive managed to distil the commonalities from over 50 interviews into a useful guide.

Other Behavioral Questions To Expect

There are many variations of behavioral interview questions you can expect to come up in an interview, and PM Exercises introduction to behavioral questions is the perfect place to start when youre preparing. Weve also compiled a brief list of other behavioral interview questions you could expect during your product manager interview like:

  • Tell me a time when you influenced engineering to build a particular feature.
  • Tell me about a time where you had a conflict with a team member?
  • Explain a complex topic to me
  • Tell me about a time where you failed as a product manager
  • Tell me about a time you used data to help people make a decision
  • Tell me about a time you were running behind schedule to launch a product
  • What is your weakness?
  • What are your strengths?

Also Check: What Should Females Wear To A Job Interview

What Is A Product Management Case Study Interview

A case study interview, also known as a case interview, is a tool used by many companies to assess a candidates analytical, creative, and problem-solving skills. Similar to coding interviews for engineers, they allow the interviewers to simulate a situation that allows your skills to be put into practice.

Quite simply, youll be given a situation, and asked to make suggestions or come up with a hypothetical solution or improvement.

In product management, this can be about any number of things. The realm of product managers is vast, and covers many different aspects of product development. As product managers sit at the intersection of business, technology, and design, you could be asked case questions under these umbrellas.

This means that you could be given a case question based on product design, monetization, market research, user segmentation, trends, data, technical development, go-to-market, prioritizationpretty much anything product managers are into!

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Product Manager Interview Questions: What You Need to Know

Exponent has helped tens of thousands of job seekers land product management roles with expert courses and resources.

ð¬ Study up on example PM interview questions

ð Read through our company-specific Product Management interview guides

ð¯ââï¸ Practice your behavioral and product sense skills with our interview practice tool.

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Practice Mock Interviewing The Right Way

All too often,mock interviewsbecome a crutch that aspiring Product Managers rely on as they prepare to interview for the job of their dreams. You know whats more useful than practicing how to interview with your peers in a no-pressure environment? Practicing the real thing.

Mock interviews are at their most helpful when you use them in your beginning stages of preparation, when youre getting familiar wth questions and formulating how to structure your answers for the first time. You should make sure that your mock interviews cover the following:

  • Tackle the right questions? Dont spend time working on easy questions that you feel most comfortable with: use mock interviews as a safe environment to sort out the questions youre expecting that still indimidate you.
  • Make sure that you take the time to vet and improve your answers. How can you make your examples more relevant and your stories more engaging?
  • Choose your interview partner wisely. Youll want a mock interview partner who is as invested and ambitious as you. Make sure your mock interview partner has experience interviewing, and that theyre not afraid to give you honest feedback.

Can You Tell Me About A Time You Failed As A Product Manager How Did You Handle It

This is one of the most common job interview questions for almost any position. It is always a challenge for job-seekers because you want to show humility and take responsibility without emphasizing your failures. After all, you want to encourage the company to hire you. It is best to choose an example that is a one-time mistake rather than something that may point to an ongoing challenge, such as carelessness or lack of commitment.

Here, the interviewer is asking for an example related to product management. One possible answer could be tied to your educational experience, as almost everyone makes mistakes while learning: During my product management studies, I worked on a project which implemented what I thought was a bold, innovative value proposition, but I quickly realized that I had gotten ahead of myself and included messaging that was simply not sustainable based on the projects constraints. This experience helped me learn a valuable lesson in planning and foresight, and I feel that my abilities in this regard have improved exponentially as a result.

You may also use an example in which you thought user research could be completed quicker than it was or a time when you were excited by great initial results but were later let down over the longer term. In all cases, you can point to how you fixed the problem and learned to move forward, avoiding these problems in any future projects. Keep your answer concise, which will allow the interview to proceed.

Read Also: Questions To Ask The Cfo In An Interview

Get Familiar With The Product Manager Interview Process

The interview process for Product Managers will vary significantly depending on the company, the specific role, your level of seniority, etc. However, there are some elements that are pretty typical across the board.

So, in this section we’ve summarized common elements of PM interviews to help you get an overview of what to expect. This is an important first step because it will help you gain a high-level understanding of the steps you need to prepare for, allowing you to be more strategic with how you allocate your prep time.

Remote Product Management Questions

How to ace the product manager interview

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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How Do You Keep The Engineering Team Motivated

The most important thing to target when an engineering team is not motivated is to figure out what the main problem is. The most common problems with an engineering team are fixed solely by clarifying the issue, talking about it, and planning to build the right technologies and products together.

Demonstrate your knowledge by going over the different ways that an engineering team can become unmotivated. If you can address each one properly in the interview and describe how you will solve each specific issue, youll nail the question.

How Would You Tackle A Technical Hiccup

This question somewhat overlaps with the previous one.

Thats because the recruiter actually wants to know how the candidate would handle a stressful technical situation. It could be anything a bug in the code, problem with the design, etc.

Furthermore, theyd want to see if they would use the best practices to overcome the challenge with their team.

While the answers may vary, the best possible way would to sketch out a rough roadmap or the step-by-step process they would take to handle the situation.

Additionally, the candidate should also come up with a decent reiterative solution/framework to prevent that technical error from happening again.

Recommended Reading: Design Interview Preparation

List Of Product Manager Interview Questions From Top Companies

Examples of Product Manager interview questions that some of the top tech companies ask candidates include:

  • Pick a product that you used this morning and tell me why you like it.
  • Pick a product you hate and tell me how you would improve it.
  • Which tech trend are you following at the moment?
  • What is your take on leadership?
  • Tell me about a time you had a difficult problem to solve.
  • Tell me about an unpopular decision you made on the job.
  • Tell me about your greatest innovation.
  • What is something that you learned from a failure?
  • How would you improve X product?
  • How would you design X product for Y people?
  • Tell me about a competitive move by a company in the past six months and what you think about it.
  • Explain the concept of protocol to a four-year-old child using an ice cream store as an analogy.
  • Describe a typical page load time distribution on desktop. What about on mobile?
  • Pick an app or product. How would you improve it?
  • Take any production chain. How would you optimize the production process?
  • How would you motivate users to use an app every single day for a month?

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And Never Stop Applying

Product Marketing Manager Interview Questions

Maybe youve landed multiple interviews and have made it into the final rounds for a company youre excited about. You should focus your energy on just interviewing with them from here on out, right? No! Let us remind you thatinterviewing is a numbers game. This doesnt stop when youre into the final rounds. You want to continue generating more interviews, so that you have more chances to obtain more offers. Continuing to interview with other compnaies gives you leverage in asalary negotiation, and shows the interviewer how in demand your skillset is, making them feel more of an urgency to hire you.

And in order to generate more interviews and offers, you need to keep applying. Keep applying even as you prep.

Also Check: Questions To Ask A Cfo In An Interview

Ask Questions About The Product Team Itself

During a product manager interview, its likely that the interviewer will give you a quick overview of the product organization, highlighting how the open position fits into the team. The end of the interview is a great opportunity to gather even more context with questions like:

  • Can you describe how the product organization has changed over time? Where is it headed in terms of scale, hiring goals, etc.?
  • What are some of the challenges or weaknesses that the product team has experienced?
  • What has the product team done particularly well?
  • Whats the range of experience of the teams members?

Questions like these help you get a sense of how youll fit into existing dynamics. You might be thrilled to find out there are plans to double the product team over the next year to launch several new products. Or, that kind of growth might make you reconsider. Asking about successes and failures should give you a better sense of how the product team is viewed by the organization more broadly.

Tweet This:Get a sense of the current product development process when interviewing for a new product management role.

  • How does the company acknowledge individual and team accomplishments?
  • How does it recognize and measure success?
  • How does the company celebrate big wins?
  • How has the company handled past failures?
  • How transparent is the executive team?

____

Have more product manager interview questions? Share them in the comments below.

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List Of Product Manager Interview Questions: Personal Questions

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:

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The 10 Most Important Product Manager Interview Questions

The types of questions you can expect to be asked in a Product Management interview are pretty vast and varied. But in general, youll probably be asked some of the following:

  • What do you see as a Product Managers main role within product development?
  • How do you stay user-focused?
  • What main changes would you make to ?
  • How do you see your career developing in the next 5 years?
  • Tell us about a time you used data to influence an important stakeholder.
  • Tell us about a time you faced failure and how you bounced back.
  • How would you improve your favorite product?
  • Whats your approach to prioritizing tasks?
  • Why do you want to work at ?
  • Why do you want to be/what do you love about being a Product Manager?
  • Questions will vary depending on the role, the company, and the industry, and the types of questions youll be asked will change as you move through the interview process.

    Thats a lot of preparing to do! So here weve laid out every single type of question you could possibly be asking in a Product Management interview

    What To Expect In The Interviews

    BECOME A PRODUCT MANAGER WITH NO EXPERIENCE: How to ACE your Interview and Land your PM Role!

    Now lets cover the above steps in more detail.

    Step one is getting the interviews. For that, youll need a quality resume and cover letter that are tailored to the role and company to which you’re applying. Don’t underestimate the importance of customizing your application to the specific company that you’re applying to. Leading companies like Google and Amazon heavily emphasize the importance of culture or values fit during their application processes.

    If you have yet to apply, you can optimize your documents using our PM resume and PM cover letter guides. In addition, if you have a friend or connection who’s already working at your target company, then see if they’d be willing to give you an internal referral. Getting a referral can have a really big impact on your chances of getting an initial interview.

    Once youve been invited to interview, youll first speak with a recruiter or HR rep for a phone screen interview. During this initial conversation, you should expect the recruiter to cover typical resume and behavioral questions. For example, theyll likely ask you about your past experiences and how youve handled specific situations . If you pass this phone screen, then the recruiter will advance you to the next round of interviews.

    If all goes well, the onsite interviews are your last step as a candidate, and from there you just have to wait to receive your offer. For extra help, take a look at our list of 15 top PM interview tips.

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    Tip #: Find Your Own Products

    Another common mistake I see when coaching potential PM candidates is they arent always used to thinking about products . Even a simple question such as Whats your favorite product and why? can cause these candidates to stumble. There should be no hesitation in answering this question, as a product manager should constantly be evaluating multiple products and leveraging best practices from those products to help innovate and come up with new ideas.

    The question also gives insight into the thought process of potential PM candidates. Does a candidate like a product just because it is popular and cool? Or is there something else such as the design and UX or compelling features of the product that makes it stand out from its competitors? While this may not exactly be the most difficult question to prepare for, it still merits some thoughtful preparation time, as it could be a make-or-break question for determining whether a candidate has a product mindset and is suitable for the position.

    Research The Corporate Structure

    Each company is structured slightly differently, of course. Understanding the interviewing company is especially important for product managers though, who often work cross-functionally.

    Understanding the companys structure and key stakeholders helps you if you do accept an offer. It may also give you an advantage for questions about interacting with various stakeholders and understanding their priorities.

    Read Also: Top 10 Behavioral Questions

    How To Answer Product Manager Interview Questions

    While you would be in pretty good shape if you review these 50 product manager questions, there is no doubt that you will be asked several interview questions not found on this list.

    Have no fear!

    No matter the question, every great answer in the PM interview will follow the same general format.

    Just follow these seven steps during your interview, and you will be in a great place to ace every question that comes your way.

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