Dont Spend More Time Than You Need To
The take-home Product Manager case study can be especially time-consuming and you might spend all your time working on these assignments if you dont have support. Remember that job hunting is a numbers game and allocate your time and effort accordingly.
Need more time to prepare for your next case study interview? Take your prep to the next level with this video by Product Gym co-founder Cody Chang:
What Questions Should I Expect When Interviewing With Engineering Managers
Notice how the engineering manager isnt necessarily looking for a technical subject matter expert. Rather, the engineering manager is looking for a business partner who will enable her engineering team to grow.
Therefore, you should expect to highlight the points below in the engineering manager interview round:
- Your ability to prioritize and focus
- Your ability to ship
- Your ability to put out fires
- Your ability to shield the team
- Your ability to motivate and grow the team
Youll want to have tangible, specific examples of your previous experiences so that you can demonstrate the capabilities above.
Luckily, if you have been regularly performing retrospectives on your past work, youll already have a wealth of experiences to draw on.
Why do I say that you should be prepared with narratives?
I say that because its nearly impossible to practice every single kind of question that an engineering manager might ask.
Below is a non-exhaustive set of example questions that come up in the engineering manager interview round:
Put Your Product Manager Case Study Skills To The Test
Put your case study skills to the test with our free online training course. Access to instructor-led whiteboarding sessions with real FAANG interview questions to take your prep to the next level.
Dont forget to call us for free career coaching to learn more about how Product Gym can help you land the Product Manager job of your dreams!
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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.
Learn The Question Types
The questions you’ll be asked in PM interviews can be boiled down into five broad question types. Below you’ll find a break-down of these five question types, showing their frequency of use at the four leading tech companies.
Note: the below numbers come from a previous analysis we conducted using interview data from Glassdoor.com.
If you’re not familiar with these question types, don’t worry, we have plenty of examples later in this article that should help to make things more clear. But first, you may know of some other product manager interview questions that you don’t see in the image above. For example, estimation, algorithm, or metric change questions.
We actually consider these other questions to be sub-types of the five question types mentioned above. Here’s a detailed break-down:
Using the information above, you should be able to identify the question types that are most relevant for your situation. This will help you to be more strategic with your preparation.
Now, you’re going to have 2 main options for how to proceed:
If you want to do general preparation for PM interviews , then you can continue on to step 3 below to begin practicing with some example questions.
And, if you’re not sure exactly what you want to do, then continue on to step 3 below. It never hurts to start thinking about some practice questions!
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Land The Job With Exponent’s Interview Prep Courses
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.
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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How To Win The First Round Product Manager Interview
Have you lined up an interview with your dream company only to develop major jitters before the first-round screening call? In the typical Product Manager interview process, there are 4 rounds: the first-round Product Manager interview with a recruiter, the second-round meeting with the Hiring Manager , the third-round onsite interview with company stakeholders, and finally the fourth and final interview where youll need to close an offer.
This blog post is for Product Managers in that recruiting and hiring cycle, either working with recruitment agencies or working with product management recruiters. Long story short, this is for anyone looking to hone the interview skills needed for Product Management.
The Key To Landing A Product Management Role
Fang knows the ins and outs of the PM interview not only from working in the role herself but also from her experience on the other side of the table as an employer. Before joining our team at CMU Silicon Valley, she spent 18 years working in the software industry, serving in global or senior product manager roles at top companies including Yahoo, LinkedIn, BlueKai . At each of these companies, she also served on their hiring committees.
“In addition to my regular duties, I interviewed candidates for product management roles on a daily basis for more than eight years,” Fang explains. “After conducting thousands of interviews, I learned a lot about what companies are looking for in product managers and how candidates can make a great first impression.”
Fang has observed that companies approach hiring talent just like they approach innovating their next software product: by using data and formulaic patterns to test the resiliency and performance of the applicant pool. At a recent PM Club meeting, she shared her unique insight, presenting her advice within four major themes:
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Example Microsoft Product Design Questions:
- How can Microsoft compete with Chromebooks in the education space?
- Design Spotify for children.
- Whatâs your favorite product, why do you like it, and how would you improve it?
- Design a smart water bottle.
- What would you build to improve user retention on Microsoft Teams?
- Design a better navigation system for cyclists.
- Design a version of Outlook for smartwatches.
Product Manager Behavioral Interview Questions
As you can imagine, product manager interviews consist of many behavioral questions, as is the case for many different roles.
Behavioral interview questions are interview questions that are meant to assess your past behavior and performance in your previous jobs. They are also focused on determining if a candidate can fit in with the company culture.
When it comes to product management interviews, you will be asked many “tell me about a time” interview questions.
Here are some of the best examples of behavioral interview questions you can expect:
- Tell me about a time you made a mistake.
- Tell me about a time you handled a difficult stakeholder.
- Tell me about a time when you solved a complex problem and how you went about it.
- What was your biggest failure as a product manager?
- Tell me about a decision you made based on your instincts.
- Tell me about a time when you had a conflict with someone. How did you resolve it, and what did you learn?
- Tell me about a time you solved pain points for customers.
- Tell me about a time you convinced someone to change their minds.
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How To Win The Google Product Manager Interview
There isn’t a single person we know that wouldn’t want to work for Google. I mean its Google! Most people don’t even get a chance to interview with them and now you do. How do you even begin to prepare for one of the most important interviews you will ever have in your lifetime?
We have determined the following findings based on the feedback of over 70 Google Product Managers and Product Manager candidates that have interviewed for a Product Manager role at Google. For your benefit, we have broken down our findings into 3 sections.
Estimation & Quantitative Questions
- How many planes take off from your local airport every day
- How many tennis balls can you fit in a bus?
- How much does it cost to run gmail for a day?
Answering estimation questions
The trick to answering these question is not to get the exact answer. Interviewers are looking for a logical series of assumptions. It helps to start small and extrapolate up. Work out how much a single person uses their email before multiplying it up to the total market size.
An example for estimating the number of flights per day for an airport might look like:
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Product And Case Study Questions
These are designed to showcase your technical skills, product sense and problem solving ability. How you interact with the interviewer showcases how you communicate and work with others.
Some questions will require you to use completely new information. Applying a framework to this type of question will allow you to showcase your skills without getting bogged down in the unknown. Whilst different types of questions call for a different kind of answer, some principles remain constant.
How To Ace Your Product Management Interview
Notejoy1. Who I am & my role2. Give me a brief description of your education and work history3. Detailed question drilling into the specifics of a past role
- Quantitative analysis of existing product metrics
- Roadmap planning
- Post launch user focus groups
- Post launch user surveys
4. If a role change, why are you now interested in becoming a product manager?5. What excites you about joining LinkedIn? Feature suggestion?6. Can you describe LinkedIn’s business model?7. Tell me about an app that you think is well-designed and why
- Needing to pull out their phone to even come up with a well-designed app name
- Picking a high frequency popular app that they use often but doesnt have compelling design characteristics
8. Case QuestionMetrics
- Number of clicks on stories
- Number of social gesture clicks: likes, comments, shares
- Number of page scrolls
- Overall increase of time on site
- Leverage profile data signals to improve relevance
- Leverage users on-site behavior to improve relevance
- Leverage a users connections graph to improve relevance
Performing the Test
- Specifically measure the metrics we discussed at the beginning
- A/B test the new experience vs. the existing experience
- To ensure the new experience is better, ensure statistical significance of the A/B test results
9. Any questions for me about the role or LinkedIn?Additional Resources
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Your Behavioral Interviewer Will Be Looking For:
- Did you show that your personal story lines up with the companyâs?
- Did your chosen story show the scenario the interviewer asked for?
- Did your story show that youâve learned and grown from adversity?
- Did you come across as a humble team player?
- Why Microsoft? How does this role relate to your past experiences?
- Why Program Management?
- Tell me about a time when you motivated a teammate that wasnât getting their work done.
- Have you ever convinced an executive to change their mind? How did you do it?
- Tell me about a time you failed.
Ask The Hiring Company For Feedback
This step is critical to dealing with rejection. Ask the hiring company or interviewer to provide feedback on the interview, including areas of strength and weakness. Let them know that any feedback they can provide will help you perform on your next PM interview.
Here are some tips to follow:
- Ask for honest feedback: You dont want to hear the filtered version. You want honest feedback that you can use to improve your interviewing skills. Let the person know that its okay to be direct and to the point.
- Ask via email: When possible, request feedback via email as doing so over the phone will put the person on the spot. Email allows the person to provide feedback as their schedule allows. And for many, its easier to share unfiltered feedback via email.
- Talk about the future: Make it clear that the feedback you receive will be used to help you refine your interviewing skills. Additionally, share your thoughts on potentially applying to the company again in the future.
Note: some companies have a policy against sharing information with job applicants. Even if the company says they cant share why you werent hired, send an email to thank them for their time. State that youre disappointed that you wont get to work together, but that youll keep them in mind in the future.
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Top 50 Product Manager Interview Questions
Ready to learn the most common product manager interview questions and answers to land the job? You’ve come to the right place!
The role of product management is inherently multidisciplinary, with PMs sitting at the center of many related activities. For this reason, product managers are often called “mini-CEOs.”
Given the scope of the role, product management interviews consist of many different types of questions, many of them being open-ended or complex.
Hiring managers at major tech companies want PMs that are intelligent, adaptable, quick on their feet, highly motivated, and capable of working with cross-functional teams.
Many PM interview questions will be focused on evaluating these and many other traits. While it’s next to impossible to predict exactly what questions you’ll be asked, you can get the gist from studying PM interview questions asked in the past.
To help you prepare, we’ve compiled this list of the top 50 product manager interview questions and answers.
Become A Product Manager
Speak to a Learning Advisor to learn more about how our bootcamps and courses can help you become a Product Manager.
In order to ace a Product Manager interview, you need to be prepared for a range of interview questions. Although the hiring process will be different from one company to the next, you can expect that Hiring Managers will be looking to understand who you are as a candidate, your experience as a Product Manager, and what you can bring to their team.
You want to make sure that you are the right fit for the role, so there are a few steps you can take to get ready for your Product Manager interview process. First, youll want to research the company and have a thorough understanding of its product/service. Employers may ask how you would improve their products. Next, you should review the results of your past work. Consider your accomplishments as a Product Manager and make notes about how many people used your product, the revenue you generated, the impact of your product, and make sure to include other metrics of success. You will be asked about your past experience, and employers will be eager to learn about the impact of your work.
To help you with your interview preparation, we have compiled a list of questions you may encounter in Product Manager interviews, as well as some questions and answers to help you stand out as a product management candidate.
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