Product manager interview questions you should know
13 May 2020
Product managers should have a wide range of skills and competencies to make them viable for the job. They need strong technical knowledge about the field in question to be able to oversee the production and implementation of the product, and good communication skills are essential.
You’ll be expected to prove your knowledge at an interview with the employer. Knowing the product manager interview questions and what to expect can significantly boost your chances of success.
Expect to be asked about your management skills, your experience of working in the field and your prioritization skills. Both technical and communication skills are important as well as knowing how to work with and coordinate different teams. Motivation, determination, resilience, and resourcefulness are all welcome attributes.
This article created by our team at TMS will examine the product manager interview questions you can expect to encounter.
Why Does It Matter to Know these Product Manager Interview Questions?
You can expect the employer to ask you why you think you are the right person. Your skills, experience, and personality traits will be under scrutiny. Some additional questions tend to appear more often in these interviews.
These interviews can be tough to pass, especially for high-growth companies or those focused on innovation. You might have to display your overall knowledge of the market, your business sense, and your decision-making abilities.
Interview preparation can be the difference between failure and success. Going in with a “wait-and-see” attitude can sometimes help you feel relaxed, but without preparation, the likelihood of success is reduced.
10 Product Manager Interview Questions That You Should Know About
What does a product manager do?
This question can be difficult because there are so many project manager “definitions”. Most companies have a product manager, but the roles are rarely the same.
You will need to display your knowledge of this particular company here and make sure you fit the criteria.
What tells you that a product is designed well?
There is some scope for being subjective in answering this question. Almost every product manager has different methods and the final products are always different.
However, the same priorities usually apply throughout development. When you’re asked this question, make sure you discuss the importance of aligning the product and the business’s priorities.
This shows that you’re well aware that you’ll need to work within the company’s requirements and respect their priorities.
How does one determine what the users need?
Knowing what customers want is one of the crucial aspects of the job. This allows them to make informed critical decisions that will define the product’s features.
This question will unearth how well you understand deep user insights. You’ll also need to prove that you understand the techniques that are used to discover the needs of the users.
Conducting proper research is key, but analytical skills are vital for understanding the gathered data.
How would you describe our product to someone who wanted something similar, only $20 cheaper?
This question aims to determine whether the candidate understands the importance of marketing and research. For example, knowing how the product is better than the rest also means knowing all about the competition and good communication skills are also valuable here.
For example, you could say something like: “You’re getting a $100 worth of features for just $20 more. Other products don’t sync to their smartphones and don’t offer the same control functions. Our users love it, and they don’t need to contact customer support.”
That’s just an example, but it shows how well you need to understand your competition.
Tell me about a time when you had to prioritize tasks.
One of the primary concerns of product managers is prioritizing tasks. This question will tell the interviewer whether you have the right prioritizing skills needed for the job and if you have any experience dealing with a job on this scale. Do you fulfill the demands on you? Are you the right person for the job, who will prioritize tasks correctly?
How would you improve our product?
Something is inviting about knowing the answer to this question. The interviewer needs to know exactly what you will bring to the table.
Plus, it shows that you did the necessary research and know exactly how to proceed with the job. The business will only care what you can do for them, and the skills you name in the CV need to be backed by your actions and abilities.
Be positive about this, and say that the product is already great, but there are possible opportunities for change. Then be specific about your proposals; the more specific you are, the better you demonstrate your knowledge.
How would you figure out…?
This job requires an analytical mind for interpreting and evaluating data. Independent thinking and resourcefulness are required, and that’s what you’ll have to demonstrate for this question.
Good research is beneficial and being able to present the appropriate data can help you convince stakeholders and win their minds.
How do you manage a new product launch?
It is important to display your orientation towards teamwork and be as specific as you can while mentioning how you would accomplish the launch with your team. They’re looking for the following answers:
- With team effort
- Timelines should be mentioned
- Discuss how you would track the progress
Here’s an example:
“My launch plan is developed in coordination with the development teams, support and testing, and product management. I look for advice from stakeholders to schedule a launch date and when the product is to be delivered. As the launch date approaches, I hold weekly meetings with everyone concerned to ensure everything is going to plan. I make sure we are staying on track following the plan.”
Can you describe a scenario where you failed as a product manager? And what did you learn from it?
It’s important to be factual, and you will have to discuss something specific and tangible, something that is material to the results of the product or service. For example, how you failed to identify the right customers for the product, or how you launched the service or product too early for the current state of the market.
Or, that you failed to differentiate in a market that’s so saturated and vast. Perhaps the pricing model was wrong, or you priced the product incorrectly. Maybe you failed to provide a good onboarding system where you lost customers, or maybe there was no marketing team to get the word out or to improve your sales.
Think about this for a moment, however, be prepared for this question, so you do have something to mention. It is very important to know and speak about what you learned from it, and how you are a better product manager as a result.
How would you convince a customer to buy our product instead of a competitor’s?
You will need to demonstrate your marketing skills for this question. You must show that you understand the importance of branding.
Make sure you also understand the importance of goals, vision, milestones and the marketing department. Remember that everything revolves around sales.
When discussing branding, try to convey that a product should be the reflection of a company’s values. You’ll need to know what the company’s values are, and how the product fits those values.
Product pricing is not the only factor. The product should be valuable to the customer and encourage loyalty, so branding is crucial, and you should be able to specifically discuss its importance.
A solid answer to this question would be that you understand the importance of designing products that feel and show the values of a company, and that they are an extension of those values.
Ending thoughts on these product manager interview questions
Knowing the product manager interview questions can increase your chances of landing the position. The interview is one of the last steps of joining the company. You’ve done well to come this far, now make sure you cross that final line.
Remember that no two interviews are the same, and it is not guaranteed that these questions will always appear in interviews. However, you can expect something similar as these types of questions will reveal whether you are the right person for the job.
Some other tips to increase your chances of acing the interview include: be clear with your answers. Display creative problem-solving skills, research strategies, and willingness to collaborate with other people.
If you enjoyed reading this article on product manager interview questions, you should check out this one about product manager salary.
We also wrote about a few related subjects like best product management books, product owner vs product manager, product launch checklist, product manager skills, chief product officer and product manager vs project manager.