In the world of product management, experience and knowledge always wins. Furthermore, hiring the right product manager for your product team can be a challenging task. You need to ask the right product manager interview questions and interviewees need to provide targeted answers.
As a former product manager and current partner of Product Manager HQ (28,000+ product manager members), I've helped thousands of people successfully get through the interview process.
Therefore, whether you’re onboarding or looking for a position in managing a product, this guide will help you out.
We’ll go over the top questions and answers for a product management interview, as well as the thought process behind each one.
Let’s check it all out.
11 Product Manager Interview Questions
In recent times, businesses have begun to see the shortcomings of improper product management.
According to a survey conducted by 280 Group, 21% of products fall short of the needs of the customers they’re created for.
Therefore, it’s more important than ever to make sure you hire the right product people. And the first step to hiring the right product team is to hire the right product manager.
Here are some of the most crucial product manager interview questions you should be asking and the ideal answers for them.
Candidate-Based Interview Questions
1. What motivated you to become a product manager?
Recruiters know that this is a great way to get to know a little about your candidate’s background.
Understanding what’s driving your employee allows you to develop compensation strategies that boost their morale.
It’s also an excellent way to get to know your staff better.
Developing a personal, human relationship with your team makes for a better work environment.
Add that personal touch to your interview.
Tackle this question by mentioning a little bit about your experience in the field and the factors that led you to choosing this career.
Also, don’t be afraid to open up.
Your recruiter wants to know you. Don’t be shy: share your story.
2. What technical skills do you have that can contribute to your ability to perform the roles of a product manager?
In this competitive industry, theory can only get you so far.
Experience plays an even bigger role in a company’s success.
Granted, that doesn’t mean that you should shy away from hiring someone who doesn’t have the desired experience.
After all, an employee’s potential to grow is an asset that you want to wield to your business’s benefit.
However, technical skills are also something that you should be aware of when onboarding.
Whether it’s data collection, A/B testing, analytics, coding, or some sort of technical proficiency, that is useful to know.
That way, your teams can be well-balanced.
Talk about your technical skills.
Be sure to discuss a skill that has brought value to an organization in the past.
If you can, include results that attest to the value of your skill, as well as, the benefits that it may bring to the hiring company.
Product Design and Development Questions
3. What tells you that a product is designed well?
Product design is subjective.
Even if the best product managers worked on the same product, there would be discrepancies in the product’s final image.
The same goes for a company’s stakeholders.
To some, some aspects of a product’s image are insignificant.
A good product manager should understand the elements that need to be prioritized and work on them.
Here’s one way to answer the question.
When asked this question, candidates ought to structure their response to the importance of aligning the product with a business’s priorities.
In other words, show the interviewer that you are sensitive to the specific requirements of a business’s product.
By doing that, you hint that the strategies you implement will be tailored to what the business wants.
4. What improvements can you bring to our product?
Personalized strategies are everything to a company.
While it’s essential to have experience in product management, businesses care about what you can do for them.
As a recruiter, this is the type of question you need to ask to gauge your client’s interest in your company.
Only someone who took the time to research your business and get a comprehensive understanding of your products would be able to answer correctly.
Ideally, you’d like to onboard a professional who values their work.
Here’s a simple tip on giving the right response.
Candidates, be sure to give a holistic overview of the company’s product. To do this, you should address both its shortcomings and where it shines.
You always want to be upbeat and positive in your responses. Show the recruiter that their product isn’t all bad.
Be specific with your review. It shows the client that you know what you’re talking about.
5. What phases during product management do you think are overrated?
Product management is a rigorous job.
Professionals who work in the field understand that.
It often involves meticulous planning and careful analysis – and none of it should be skipped.
Doing so may jeopardize the effectiveness of your product in its ability to impact your target audience.
Therefore, this question is a trap.
Candidates who devalue phases of product management are the kinds that you want to avoid.
Every part is crucial to the success of the product. For that reason, you should value the quality of output as opposed to the speed the manager works at.
Here’s the best way to answer this tricky question.
If a recruiter poses this question to you during onboarding, keep your guard up. They’re testing how much you value the profession you work in.
There is only one correct answer to this question: there is no overrated phase in product management.
6. How do you manage a product launch?
This is the type of open-ended question that helps to reveal how qualified the candidate is for the position.
As a recruiter, you should keep your ears open for comments about the importance of teamwork, time management, and scheduling.
The more organized and systematic the plan put forward is, the higher the probability that the candidate is the right fit for the job.
Management involves being well organized.
A poor product manager projects a bad image towards the rest of the team, organization, and even the public at large.
Communicating your ideas
When confronted with this line of questioning, be sure to give an organized response that is broken into segments.
Your language needs to exude that you’re an organized person.
7. How would you roll out our new products without compromising the sales and interest of our clients in our legacy products?
As a recruiter, this question will be crucial in identifying how your candidate thinks.
What is of utmost importance here is how the interviewee demonstrates not only their soft skills, but also their technical skills.
A solid potential employee displays a thorough understanding of your target consumers and their respective purchasing practices.
Based on an analysis of the data that stems from those patterns, they will develop a strategy that works in the best interests of your business.
Consequently, you should value someone who treats your products with a high degree of intimacy, yet still proposes solutions based on facts.
Convey effective planning and executive
Similarly, in answering this question, it’s essential to show yourself as someone sensitive to the business’s products, yet strategic enough to position them in certain markets.
Customer-Based Product Manager Interview Questions
8. How would you persuade a customer to purchase our product over one from our competitors?
Branding is everything.
Your business has goals, a vision, and milestones that need to be achieved.
A considerable part of that involves sales.
A product manager’s duty is to produce something that can get you the kind of sales you need.
The product that they create needs to be a reflection of the values that your company stands for.
Bearing that in mind, this is the type of question that tells you how familiar the candidate is with your business’s values.
Someone who did some reading into your products and your company would understand how your values intertwine with your products.
After all, a product carries more than just a price.
If one of your business’s goals is to promote yourself as an exclusive brand that a customer should feel the need to join, a product manager needs to know that.
The question also provides insights into how the candidate expresses themselves.
Here’s what makes a great answer.
Candidates who answer this question successfully combine branding with product strategy.
To be precise, they mention designing products that mirror the general feel of the business, as well as, the image that they aim to portray.
9. What metrics would you use to measure product success?
It’s important to gauge the candidate’s understanding of product success.
One of the best ways to find out whether they understand product success is to find out how they would measure it.
Many people tend to focus on product-based metrics. However, the right answer would focus solely on the customers and their response to the product.
The question also provides insight into what data the candidate will use to ensure product success.
It would be best to provide the following metrics in response.
Typically, any product’s success should be and can be measured based on these six parameters.
- Product Awareness
- Product Breadth (how many people use it)
- Frequency of Use
- Product Depth (what features are used)
- Customer Satisfaction
You can use different names for these metrics or different methods. However, the general idea of measuring a product’s success should be based on these metrics and parameters.
Company-Based Product Manager Interview Questions
10. Why did you apply to be a product manager at our company?
This question is a given.
Recruiters all ask the same question. It’s become a staple at all job interviews.
With good reason.
Recruiters want to test how much you know about their company.
It’s another way of letting them know just how interested you are in their business and its development.
Put their business in a good light.
One of the best ways to answer this question is to frame it around a compliment.
In other words, mention something positive about the business that attracted you to them.
That will get you on the recruiter’s good side.
The key is to remain transparent in your communication and ooze confidence.
11. Based on the information you have, what would be your first course of action as a product manager?
People can train themselves for most interview questions. However, some questions require the help of prior experience and knowledge.
When you ask this question, you get an idea about how thrilled the candidate is to join your company. They would have done some research before the interview.
Additionally, their answer would show their analytical skills and problem-solving skills. If they manage to list down a detailed course of action towards betterment, there’s a good chance that they’re right for the role.
Closing the interview strong is essential.
This question alone should motivate any potential product manager to research the company they’re applying to. It’s best to learn about their products and processes, if possible.
Based on what information you get, you should use your product knowledge and expertise to suggest improvements.
If you manage to provide examples of similar product strategies that have worked to back your suggestions, you’ll most likely land the job.
Prep Your Product Manager Interview Questions Today
There’s no better time than the present.
That’s why you should take advantage of your time now to get ahead on landing your next big collaboration.
Whether you’re a recruiter or a product specialist on the hunt for a job, this guide will help you get ready in advance.
Don’t let an opportunity pass you by because you’re not prepared.
The time to get on top of your product manager interview questions and line yourself up for a fantastic partnership is now.
Don’t let it slip you by.