What Interview Questions To Ask
I wrote a whole post sharing my favorite PM interview questions, so definitely go read that, but heres a sampling:
Collaboration: Tell me about a time you disagreed with an engineer on your team and how you resolved it.
Execution: Pick a project youre proud of that took 3-9 months. Walk me through it from beginning to end. Ill ask questions along the way.
Strategy: Pick a product you worked on in the past yeartalk me through your strategy for it.
Customer insights: Tell me about a time you did user research on a product/feature and that research had a big impact on the product.
Impact: Whats the most important or impactful product you shipped? What made it so important or impactful? Would it have been as impactful without you, and why?
Product sense: How would you improve feature x in our product?
This full post includes what to look for in the answers, red flags, and a ton more great interview questions to inspire you. Seriously, go check it out.
And dont forget to keep your questions consistent, with predefined good and bad answers, to avoid bias.
Companies should rely on a structured interview that standardizes the process among candidates, eliminating much subjectivity. These interviews pose the same set of questions in the same order to all candidates, allowing clearer comparisons between them.
Iris Bohnet, Harvard Business Review
Strategies & Examples For Execution Questions
The goal of execution questions in the product manager interview is to reveal to the interviewer how the candidate identifies and prioritizes opportunities for the products. These questions are asked to find out how the candidate uses their resources, develops roadmaps and KPIs, and how they can use data to build better experiences.
How Would You Work With Your Team To Come Up With The Best Solution For A Specific Customer Problem
The answer should demonstrate that they have an understanding of how their team functions and will be able to communicate effectively. They also need to show confidence in themselves as well as showing empathy for others on their team.
If we were still at an early stage, I would make sure our marketing game plan is solid so that we can reach out and get feedback from potential customers about what features might interest them most before developing anything more than initial mock-ups or prototypes. If its not too late in the process, this could save us loads of time and money by getting valuable input upfront instead of relying solely on internal assumptions which may turn out to be wrong.
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Product Strategy Knowledge Questions
You will likely hear a few of these questions on interviews for intermediate-to-senior product management positions. By asking these questions, interviewers intend to learn about how you approach product management processes, and how deep is your expertise.
- How do you manage marketing strategies in each stage of the product life-cycle?
- What PM metrics do you use to measure a products success?
- Do you have experience devising a products vision? What the product successful?
- How did you manage the roadmap for one of your previous products?
- How do you make sure that every team member is on the same page regarding the product roadmap?
- What is your preferred prioritization framework?
- Can you tell me about a time that you used market research data to iterate a product, or create a new product or new feature?
- What are your processes to access customers needs and requirements?
- Can you tell me about an instance that you developed a prototype or an MVP that failed?
- Can you walk me through an instance where you or your team had to adjust the product messaging to boost demand and revenue?
- What type of questions are you constantly asking yourself as a product manager?
A few of these questions give you the opportunity to outline your product management processes. Aim to be straightforward as you explain your practices and previous achievements. Using examples and results is a great way to strengthen your answers.
Model The Business And User Engagement
Another way to get more information than what general research would yield is to build a model of the product.
- How does it make money?
- Is it the flagship product?
- How do customers engage with it?
Doing this will reveal gaps in your understanding of the product, which provides you with pertinent questions to ask.
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Questions To Highlight Your Background
These five questions require an honest disposition: you could sound like you are trying too hard to impose your favorite topic of conversation. Try a subtle approach like the questions below.
What Are Your Technical Skills As A Product Manager
In general, product management interviews will not focus on the technical questions characteristic of software development or engineering interviews. Unless you are specifically interviewing as a technical product manager, AI product manager, or other highly skilled tech position, you are unlikely to be given overly technical questions, especially in early interview rounds.
However, your interviewer may still want to gauge your technical knowledge specifically in terms of software and methodologies, and in your overall ability to communicate with engineers in product development. Companies like Google prefer product managers with strong coding skills, so prepare some information on the technologies and languages of which you have strong knowledge. If your interviewer is not from the tech team, be ready to speak about your technical skills in a more easily understandable way. For example, Throughout my studies and past professional experience, I have gleaned a variety of valuable technical skills ranging from data analysis utilizing SQL, to fluency in several coding languages including . I feel that these skills enhance my abilities as a product manager, complementing the jobs necessary skill set very well.
If you are applying in a specialized area like AI or machine learning, you should be ready to explain the key concepts involved in this technology and your expertise in this area.
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What Is The Biggest Challenge Facing The Business Right Now What Worries You
Who to Ask: Managers from various departments, the founders, and CEO.
What Youll Learn: First youll learn if theyre realistic and willing to be honest .
What is their attitude towards challenges? A positive attitude sounds like Well, this is something we need to fix. Were working on it, and well figure it out. A toxic attitude sounds more like fear, dread, or hopelessness.
Its interesting to see how aligned folks are on this one. If everyone is thinking about completely different things: red flag.
Get some insight into the problems youll be thinking about in the months ahead. Do they interest you?
In Your Latest Release You Shipped A Bug That Negatively Affected 01% Of Your Users And They Have Shared Their Negative Feedback About The Product Experience With You How Will You Communicate To Them So That They Are Appeased Until The Next Few Days When There Is A Hot
The best answer here demonstrates an understanding of the need for communication to be proactive. A good response shows self-awareness as well as being able to articulate what drives them forward or motivates their work ethic.
A product manager should always be able to communicate with the customer and demonstrate a willingness to listen.
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What Are The Two Things Youre Trying To Improve That You Believe Will Make You A Better Product Manager
Product Managers are not born but made. You may have N years of experience, yet there may be some skills that you can improve upon. This question might be another way to know about your weaknesses as a project manager and how you plan to overcome them.
Hence, choose to answer wisely.
Few points you can say are:
- Struggle to say no: It is one of the major problems faced by the workforce. People cant say no and end up taking more work and setting impossible deadlines.
- Too connected to products: When managers are too connected to the products, it is difficult for them to handle criticism and learn to let go if the product is not able to do well in the market.
- Emotional Intelligence: Emotional intelligence is one skill that you can always work upon. Even if you think you are high on EQ, there are so many aspects that you can improve.
Questions About The Product Development Process
As a product manager, youre going to want to understand exactly what your role will be when taking a product from concept to production. Questions about the product development process are so important to ask because, if answered properly, the answer will essentially walk you through your responsibilities.
- What does the current product development process look like?
- Which teams are involved in the product development process, and how heavily?
- At what point does UX or engineering come into play?
- Which parts of the product development process work the best/worst?
- What metrics are measured, and when do they come into play?
These are the best questions to ask in a PM interview if you want to get a good picture of the current product development process, how well it works, how a product moves through different stages, and what you will be expected to deliver and when.
As a product manager, you will be responsible for making the product development process run as smoothly and efficiently as possible. If you ask the right questions and get a clear picture of the current processes, you can be prepared to walk in with some great ideas on your first day!
Or decide that the organization is too inefficient you dont want to walk in feeling like you have to clean up others messes.
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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.
Which Drives More Product Decisions Here: Qualitative Or Quantitative Data
Who to Ask: Primarily product, but getting the opinion from designers and developers to compare is interesting too.
What Youll Learn: How good the business is at user research and data analytics. Whose job is it considered ?
The perfect answer in a perfect world is:
We use both! We have analytics tracking how people use our product, and folks here who can help you with that data. We also do ongoing user research on our existing apps and often test things before launching them.
In my experience, companies use only one or neither. Thats not the end of the world , but find out why and what the product and design teams think is important. Are they invested in improving? Will you get the support you need?
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How Do You Determine What Products To Buy As A Consumer
Interviewers may ask this question to learn how well you can evaluate a product as a designer and a consumer. This process may involve looking at the item from different perspectives. To answer, tell a story about how your design background influences your personal shopping habits.
Example:”Recently, I bought a new microwave. I spent a few days researching and comparing models online, looking at their features. I also read product reviews and company statements about each model. When I had it narrowed down to three models, I went to the home improvement store to view them in person. While there, I used the same principles I use in the design room to determine if a product is of quality, such as sturdy construction, reliability and functionality.”
Think Like An Investor
Anyone putting their money into a venture will always look beyond the front-facing side of a business. They will want to know less about the visible characteristics and open up the books to see how a company really operates. This is similar to the Product Managers ideal mindset.
Putting on an investors hat is a sure way to think up questions about the company, the team you will be working with, and their goals. Ask yourself at the end of your assessment: Do you know enough about the company to decide whether you would invest your money in it or otherwise?
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What Are You Looking To Build Here Why
This question is meant to get a sense of how motivated an applicant is. If they are looking for something that has no clear answer, its not the right place for them. It also asks about their interests and ambitions in relation to the company culture and values because this will help you understand if there would be any overlap or fit with what youre building at your organization.
What Is Your Favorite Product By Xyz How Would You Make It Better
XYZ could be any famous company with multiple products. Interviewers ask this question to assess your product awareness.
The best way to answer this question is to start with a brief introduction followed by a detailed description on these 3 fronts:
Use talk about how the product is useful in resolving key pain pointsEfficiency discuss how the product enables easy problem-solving for the userInnovation The features that make the product simple and unique.
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How To Answer Product Manager Interview Questions
Alright, we know that youre here for example product manager interview questions and answers, and we promise were getting to that. But thats really not the best place to start, anyway. Instead, lets talk about strategy.
Having a solid interview strategy makes a difference. It gives you a process to fall back on, making it easier to answer even an unexpected question.
Lets face facts theres always a chance a hiring manager will catch you off guard. In fact, some try to do it on purpose, asking outlandish questions that no one in their right mind would ever predict.
So, how do you develop that winning approach? By embracing proper research and technique.
Research lets you learn details that can help you stand out. While the hiring manager is probably going to ask you open interview questions, they are actually trying to find out if you have skill X or trait Y. They arent just going to ask you that directly because yes and no questions arent effective for getting to know what candidates genuinely bring to the table.
Start by reviewing the product manager job description.
If you keep seeing the same skills or traits repeated throughout the posting, those are obviously important to the company. They are there for a reason after all. You need to show the hiring manager in your interview that you possess these skills!
List Of Product Manager Interview Questions: Cross Functional Teamwork
We have now come to the final segment of our product manager interview questions. These questions are open-ended. The responses you provide will depend on the kind of experience you have in leadership and managerial roles.
If you are new to product management and are looking to break into your first product role, we recommend taking our Product Manager Certification Course, where you will learn fundamentals of product management, launch your own product, and get on the fast track towards landing your first product job.
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Any Question Related To The Product
Dont just tell the interviewer that youre familiar with the companys product or products. Show them by asking a question directly related to it. This can come in many forms, including:
- Why did you take approach with ?
- Why do you think was such a big hit with users?
- Is being used by a lot of users?
Your goal is to show that youve used the product and have taken time to think about the good and the bad. For example, you can follow up on the question above why do you think was such a big hit with users with your personal experience with the feature.