My Secret To Preparations: Prepare
You need to prepare for answers, use sleep to consolidate the information into your memory. Then build on top of those answers the next day. Its an iterative process, just like building a product.
Start as soon as youre in the job market and give yourself 45 days to put this together.
Here is what you need to do:
- Day 1: Research on the company
- Day 2: Prepare your personal pitch
- Day 3: Prepare behavioural questions
- Day 4: Prepare leadership principles
- Day 5: Practice with five people
Lets dive deeper to see what you need to do during each of the days.
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:
Day 4 Prepare For Leadership Principles
Product Management is a role where you need to lead a team without direct authority. To influence others without direct authority, you need to demonstrate the following principles:
- Givemore than you take
- Treatotherswell and with respect
- Give away the glory
- See the world from others perspective
- Be clear with goals and priorities
- Assumeeveryone is there to help
Everyone leader should have their principle, and you should come up with your variation based on the above.
For example, one of my leadership principles is: Give away the glory and serve those who serve others.
Then provide an example of how youve demonstrated the leadershipprinciple in your day to day role:
As a PM, Ill have to empower my team so they can deliver the best work they can. Product demos are an excellent example of letting the team show case their work to broader teams. I often play the role of the facilitator/moderator Ill step in and take on pointy questions but let the team answer the questions where they take the glory.
Coming up with your leadership principles demonstrates youre driven by principles in your leadership decisionsand not impulses.
Here is an example of some of my leadership principles to get you started. Feel free to delete my answers and fill in your own.
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Best Interview Preparation Books
There are a few interview bibles out there that everyone recommends, and youd do well to read:
My advice would be: read them after you have a good sense of your local job market, know that they are biased towards US/Silicon Valley product manager jobs, and some are a few years old by now. Decode and Conquer was published in 2013, Cracking the PM interview updated in 2015, and only Lewis C. Lins last book with 164 Q& As was published in 2017.
BUT before you spend the moneycheck out the free stuff:
Finally, read what PMs have to say about how they interview and what they look for in places like First Round Review and Medium. Theres a ton of stuff out there.
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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An Overview Of Interview Structure Sample Questions And Company Culture
|Kenton Kivestu, ex-Google, ex-BCG, Founder at RocketBlocks|
Microsoft’s renaissance is in full swing.
With Satya Nadella, the third CEO of Microsoft who was hand-picked by Bill Gates, at the helm the company has flourished. Morale is up, the company vision and product line is increasingly focused and market is taking notice – its stock nearly doubled since Satya took the reigns.
As a result, it’s no surprise that product management roles at Microsoft are a hot commodity.
In this deep dive, we’ll cover what to expect in the Microsoft product management interviews and how to prepare:
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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New To The Pm Interview
If you’re new, you might feel more comfortable shadowing someone who’s doing a mock interview. The PM interview community is very friendly, so ask if you can listen and observe.Some folks want privacy, so that’s okay too. In that case, simply get a copy of . It’ll introduce you to question types & provide frameworks on how to answer each one. And reading the sample answers will give you the over-the-shoulder glance of how an interview response might unfold. You can read those sample answers anywhere, anytime. No permission necessary.
How Do You Monitor Performance And Success
Product questions like this one should be looked at as an opportunity both to show the process you use for evaluating the success of your products, as well as a chance to brag about the success of some of your past products. Talk about how you define relevant KPIs for each product and project you work on, then carefully monitor them whether youre evaluating based on the number of users, revenue, funnel, customer lifetime value, or testing results. In your interviews, you should also mention the analytics tools, user research strategies, and other tactics you employ to build an understanding of how your products are being received and used. Emphasize your attention to detail and adaptability in adjusting on the fly to boost lagging performance, as well as your dedication to data-driven decision-making.
Here are some more product management-related interview questions:
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How Would You Explain Product Management To A Stranger
Product Managers make strategic, creative, and data-driven product decisions, conducting user research and market analysis to help lead a product team to create unique and attractive products that meet customers needs and ultimately help a company meet its business goals. In addition to supplying a simply worded explanation of what product management is, its also worth treating this similar to strategy questions and include a bit more of your philosophy on the value that a product management team can bring by carefully steering products from the ideation and product design phase through launch.
Leadership And Communication Questions
Even at a junior level, a Product Manager is a kind of leader. So even entry-level PM roles will come with questions about leadership. But dont worry, they wont be too high-level or philosophical until you reach seniority. Theyll be more similar to behavioural questions, and theyre just trying to see how you interact and communicate with the people on your teams.
- Whats the best way to work with executives?
- Is consensus always a good thing?
- What is the best way to work with customers and users?
- What kinds of people do you like to work with?
- What kind of people do you have a hard time working with?
- What would you do to get a team to stick to a schedule?
- Whats the difference between leadership and management?
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Product Manager Product Design Interview Questions
First and foremost, the most fundamental product manager interview questions concern product design. They’re the bread and butter of PM interviews.
Not only that, they tend to be the most fun to answer!
Product design questions assess a candidate’s:
- product vision, product strategy,
- passion for product management,
The best way to prepare for these questions is with practice!
Although these questions are centered primarily around creativity, don’t make the mistake of thinking you can’t develop your creative abilities with practice!
Not only that, during the interviews themselves, you can use the SCAMPER method for creative thinking to help you answer product design questions.
Here are some of the most commonly asked product design questions in recent interviews:
- What’s your favorite product and why? To learn how to answer this question, check out the Answering the Favorite Product Question section of our PM Interview course.
- How would you improve Instagram stories?
- Design a product for drivers driving during rush hour.
- How would you build a Facebook product for blood donation? Watch answer.
- Design a fire alarm for the deaf.
- Design a shopping app to improve the in-store grocery shopping experience.
- Design a better doctor search and visit experience. Watch an expert answer to this interview question here.
Best Places Or Ways To Send Your Resume
Dont apply on company websites without knowing people. Just dont. If this is anything to go by, youll just end up in a huge pile with other randoms.
If youre going in cold, think of it as an exercise for you to learn what works and what doesnt. I did this early on when I had no idea what I was doing, and from a couple of dozen resumes and letters sent, I had a 10% response rate. The rest never ever got back to me or got back to me within 24 hours to say no .
Of those 10% that did go through, none of them worked out after phone screen. All of them promoted internal candidates . Others seem to have been bad apples, and later Glassdoor reviews confirmed as much. So youd have to cast your net really wide for this one to work, which isnt feasible or desirable after a while.
What to do instead:
And dont just pick peoples brains When you ask to pick somebodys brain, you are essentially asking if you can extract value without adding any value.
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Brainstorm 3 Solutions Explain Tradeoffs And Recommend One
Now its time to show your creativity. Think about the problems that your users are facing, as well as your business goal. How can you use the problem and optimize your goal? The is to be as creative as possible.
Some creative ideas for the alarm clock for blind people might include:
- Wrist band that has voice recognition and vibrates to wake up user
- Ear piece that is modified as an alarm clock
- Modification to the bed
- IoT device with Alexa/Google Assistant integration
After you list your creative ideas, then you should explain the tradeoffs of each approach and select one solution as the recommended one.
IMPORTANT: It is super helpful to have some backup creative ideas that work with multiple problems, in case you cannot think of something exciting during the interview. The following ideas might be helpful:
- IoT device
- Machine Learning
Best Advice On How To Write Your Resume
A hiring manager in London once told me that he thought of his role as people/problems he had to hire people to help solve business problems but also make the problems sound exciting so that smart people would want to take him up on the challenge.
The most useful question to ask yourself is, what problem am I solving for the company Im applying to? Read between the lines of the job description, and if the answer isnt there make it your priority to find out.
If it excites you, then your background, and thus words on your resume, should position you as the best possible candidate to solve that problem.
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Describe A Scenario That Required You To Say No To An Idea Or Project
Product Managers guide products from ideation to launch, and that means theyre involved in a great number of decisions and brainstorming sessions. So if youve been in the job for any amount of time, youll likely have a long list of suggestions, concepts, and even projects that youve had to shoot down as being ineffective, unrealistic, or unoriginal. The key in answering this question in an interview, however, is showing that you can be tactful and encouraging even in saying no. Show that you can be flexible and open-minded.
Here are some additional examples of behavioral interview questions:
- Can you describe a scenario as a Product Manager where you failed? What did you learn from it?
- Tell me about a mistake you made and how you handled it.
- Tell me about a time you used data to make a decision.
- Tell me about a time where you made a gut decision without the use of data.
- Describe a scenario that required you to say no to an idea or project.
- Tell me about the most challenging problem youve faced as a Product Manager.
- Tell me about a time where you had to motivate your team.
- Tell me about a time you had conflict with a team member or a manager.
- Tell me about a time when you made a difficult decision with input from many different sources . What was the situation and how did you arrive at your decision?
- Describe the last time you had to make a challenging decision when prioritizing.
Product Manager Execution Interview Questions
As we just mentioned, Execution PM interview questions relate to Analytical interview questions.
However, as the name suggests, Execution interview questions are concerned with product execution and the shipping of products.
Specifically, these interview questions are an attempt to discern whether or not a candidate has the ability to smoothly and efficiently develop and launch products. These kinds of interview questions have a large scope.
But, you can expect each of them to be assessing your:
- attention to detail,
- Should Uber Eats be a different app from Uber Rides? Watch a sample answer to this PM interview question here.
- You are the PM of Lyft, there is a sudden increase of users canceling the rides. How would you analyze this issue and what steps you would take to correct this?
- YouTube comments are up but watch time is down. What do you do?
- You’re a PM at a food delivery app. There’s been a 10% decline in restaurant supply over the past week.
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Provide The Structure For The Answer
In this step we tell the interviewer that In order to solve the problem Id like to setup a business goal, talk about users of the product, their use cases, the problems with the existing solutions and then Ill brainstorm potential solutions. Does this seem ok with you?. If there is a whiteboard, we can also write the following list:
- Improve the user experience
- Increase retention
You can enumerate some of the potential goals and ask the interviewer if he/she has a specific goal in mind. If they dont they you can pick one of the above and justify your choice. Typically, the easiest one to select is user engagement.
The Best Way To Negotiate Your Offer
Ah, the offer the moment when everyone starts talking about your leverage more than at any other point.
- Stock options: If youre in the US, working for a startup, you need to know about how companies are funded and how stock options work. Thats tricky territory not easy to explain in a summary other than to say get clued up about finance because its your money and future were talking about. Regardless of gender, ignorance is not cool. If youre curious about the employer perspective on stock options for employees, I recommend Fred Wilsons MBA Mondays posts from back in 2010, particularly the ones on How Much?, Vesting, Restricted Stock and RSUs and Options.
- For all other negotiations : I found that Josh Doody had some helpful advice for how to think about negotiations:
To get the best result in your salary negotiation, focus on one thing at a time and make that thing the one which is most valuable to you. For most people, thats base salary. Once you maximize base salary, then move on to something like paid vacation or whatever is the next-most-valuable thing on your list.
His newsletters are informative but you can read his book too. I havent signed up to the course as it was overkill for what I needed at the time.
- For women in particular, Anna Marie Clifton wrote a long post about how she negotiated for an additional $15,000 at Yammer. Silence can be a great ally in negotiations, and its useful to learn how to wield it.
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