Product manager interview questions make everyone uneasy.
That goes for both the interviewer and the candidate.
Product manager recruiters understand how crucial this role is in the success of any new product that a business launches.
And the interviewee knows it.
Convincing the hirer that they’re skilled in product management isn’t the only challenge they face. They also have to prove that they’re the right match for the business’s specific project.
As a former product manager and current partner of Product Manager HQ (28,000+ product manager members) we've helped thousands go through the interview process successfully.
Whether you’re onboarding or looking for a position in managing a product, this guide will help you.
We’ll go over the top questions and answers for a product management interview as well as the thought process behind each one.
But first, let’s take a look at the importance of a product manager as well as some of the responsibilities that their portfolio covers.
What is a Product Manager?
A product manager is a professional profile that leads the product team and oversees the entire product development phase.
It is their duty to define how a product should be created as well as the services that it brings to a particular audience.
In doing so, they assume the overall responsibility of the product roadmap and product launch.
Within an organization, they must also remain in constant communication with the development team, giving them instructions on how the final product output.
In summary, a product manager position encompasses the following responsibilities:
- Determining a product strategy
- Defining the elements that make up a great product
- Setting the trajectory for product creation
- Collaborating with the development team
- Transmitting the product development process to stakeholders and the board of directors
- Leading the product development team
Though similar, this role differs from that of a product marketing manager.
The latter deals with the promotion and positioning of a product within a market space after it has been released.
The former deals only with its creation.
Why Product Managers Are Important
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 customers for whom they were created.
This goes for traditional and digital products alike.
In an effort to meet the demands of customers and satisfy their needs, businesses realized the importance of the role.
The need for someone to oversee a product’s creation before it hits the market gave rise to the position of a product manager.
Now, let’s dive right into some of the most significant questions and answers during the interview process for a product manager.
If, by chance, you're recruiter, this will give you a sense of the types of responses that only the best candidates would give you.
If you’re vying for a product marketing post, this post will teach you how to answer the tough questions to make yourself more than just a product manager resume. Ultimately, it will help you land you the job you’re looking for.
9 Product Manager Interview Questions
1. What tells you that a product is designed well?
Product design is subjective.
Even the best product managers worked on the same product, there will be discrepancies in the product’s final image.
The same goes for a company’s stakeholders.
To some, certain elements of a product’s image are insignificant.
A good product manager should understand the elements that need to be prioritized and work on them.
How To Answer
When posed this question, candidates ought to structure their response around 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, in effect, you hint that the strategies you implement will be tailored to what the business wants.
2. What improvements can you bring to our product?
Personalized strategies are everything to a company.
While it’s important 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 in order 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 invested time to get to know you. People who care.
Giving the right response
Interviewees, be sure to give a holistic overview of the company’s product. By this, you should address both its shortcomings as well as 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 in whatever improvements you propose. It shows the client that you know what you’re about.
3. 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 huge 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.
At the end of the day, 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.
This question also gives you insight into how the candidate expresses themselves.
What makes a great answer
Candidates who answer this question successfully marry branding with product strategy.
To be precise, they make mention of designing products that mirror the general feel of the business as well as the image that they aim to portray.
4. 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, none of which 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 at which the manager works.
Answering this tricky question
If a recruiter poses this question to you during onboarding, be on guard. They’re testing how much you value the profession in which you work.
There is only one correct answer to this question: there is no overrated phase in product management.
5. 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.
Talking about your technical skills
When asked this question, be sure to give an example of a skill you have 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.
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 brought down 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.
Here, what is of utmost importance is how the interviewee demonstrates not only their soft skills but also their technical skills.
A solid potential employee displays a solid 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 interest of your business.
Consequently, you should value someone who treats your products with a high degree of intimacy yet still proposes solutions based on the facts.
Convey effective planning and executive
Similarly, in answering this question, it’s important to show yourself as someone who is sensitive to the business’s products yet strategic enough to position them in certain markets.
8. What motivated you to become a product manager?
Recruiters know that this is a sure way to get to know a little about your candidate’s personal background.
Understanding the driving force behind your employee allows you to develop compensation
strategies that boost their morale.
It’s also a good way to get to know your staff better.
Developing a personal, human relationship with your team makes for a better work environment.
Adding that personal touch to your interview
If you get asked this question in an interview, touch a little bit on your experience in the field and the factors that led to you choosing this career.
Also, don’t be afraid to open up.
Your recruiter wants to know you. Don’t be shy: share your story.
9. 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.
Putting 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, make mention of 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 clear in your communication and ooze confidence.
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 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.