Updated: November 23, 2023 - 11 min read
For most people, interviews are nerve-wracking. There's so much at stake and often hard competition to beat. Fortunately, you can up your chances of success (and calm your nerves) with a little preparation. In this post, we'll explore the most common Product Manager interview questions as well as some more specific questions you may be asked, depending on the role you apply for.
But before we dive into questions, take a moment to get inside your interviewer’s head. What are they looking for?
What do companies look for in a new Product Manager?
Aside from intellect, grit, and the power to adapt, hiring managers are looking for Product Managers who are motivated to do the job, can work with different teams, and have the ability to prioritize features that count.
In short, a Product Manager (PM) has to be resilient, strategic, and insightful – no easy feat! No wonder the hiring company will ask a multitude of questions to figure out if you're the one.
Here is the ultimate list of questions you can expect to be asked in a Product Management interview. Get ready to nail the interview!
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The 10 most common Product Manager interview questions
While you can't anticipate all the questions you'll be asked in a Product Management interview, there are some that, like a cat demanding attention during a Zoom call, are almost certain to show up.
As Benjamin Franklin once said,
“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”
While we can't guarantee you'll land the job, by preparing to answer these common interview questions, you'll give yourself the best chance of acing your next Product Management interview. So without further ado, let's check out the most common questions you're likely to be asked at a Product Management interview:
What do you see as a Product Manager’s main role within product development?
How do you stay user-focused?
What main changes would you make to [our product]?
How do you see your career developing in the next 5 years?
Tell us about a time you used data to influence an important stakeholder.
Tell us about a time you faced failure and how you bounced back.
How would you improve your favorite product?
What’s your approach to prioritizing tasks?
Why do you want to work at [our company]?
Why do you want to be/what do you love about being a Product Manager?
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Of course, the exact questions you're asked will vary depending on the role, the company, the industry, and your stage in the interview process. However, you'll probably be asked at least some of them.
But those are just some of the most common questions. And given the fact that interview processes are becoming longer and longer, you'll definitely be asked more than ten questions. It's time to dive deeper. Read on to find out every single type of question you could possibly be asking in a Product Management interview…
Every Product Management interview question you’ll ever be asked
Questions about product are possibly the most common in Product Management interviews, which shouldn’t come as a surprise! Even if you’re not overly technical, the best way to prepare is to thoroughly read through the description of the role you’re applying for, and try to find some resources (dev blogs, press releases etc) on the products you’ll be working with. It's essential that you're able to demonstrate your previous experience or Product Management education.
Let's take a look at some of the most common product questions you could be asked:
How would you prioritize resources when you have two important things to do but can’t do them both?
Describe a scenario which required you to say no to an idea or project.
How do you decide what and what not to build?
What is a product you currently use every day? Why and how would you improve it?
There is a data point that indicates that there are more Uber drop-offs at the airport than pick-ups from the airport. Why is this the case and what would you do within the product to change that?
How would you improve the functionality of the product?
How would you increase adoption of X feature?
What is the key to a good user interface?
While we make X product for the general public, we also have a B2B division. What is your experience with juggling both markets?
How do you know if a product is well-designed?
How would you redesign our product?
What is one improvement you would implement for our product in the next 6 months?
What is a major challenge our company will face in the next 12-24 months?
How would you describe our product to someone?
Suggest a new feature for Amazon. What metrics would you use to measure its success?
What has made X product successful?
What do you dislike about our product?
How do you know when to cut corners to get a product out the door?
How do you think we came up with the product pricing?
Who are our competitors?
Tell me about a company that has great customer service, what they do, and why do they do it well?
Very, very, rarely will you be asked any overly technical questions in a Product Manager interview. Unless you’re applying to be a Technical Product Manager, or you’re a few rounds in for a specific Product Manager role which requires a higher tech skill set, technical questions will be surface-level. In general, technical questions in Product Management interviews are designed to see how well you’d work with engineers, and to test your familiarity with the tech the company is working with.
Our engineering teams are pretty used to employing X methodologies. What is your opinion of them? Have you used them in the past?
What is the importance of engineers and technical teams as stakeholders? How do you integrate them into the overall product vision?
Can you provide an example where a technical solution that you or your team designed became a commercial product?
How do you ensure that market-oriented teams fully understand technical challenges?
When are Bayesian methods more appropriate than Artificial Intelligence techniques for predictive analytics?
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A Product Manager has to come ready with an analytical mind in order to succeed. Some companies may ask you questions designed to reveal how you think, and how you’d approach a problem. The key when being asked these questions is not to rush yourself. It’s okay to pause for a few moments to think. It’s better than panicking and rushing through a terrible answer that you regret halfway through!
How many people are currently online in Europe?
How many windows are in New York City?
How many iPads are sold in the USA every year?
How much money is spent in the USA per year on gas?
How would you go about finding out the number of red cars in China?
If you wanted to build the world’s most popular mobile messaging product, and you need to estimate how much network bandwidth would be used in a year, how would you go about doing this?
____ metrics are down. How would you go about determining the root cause?
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Product Management questions
Product Management is different at every company, and every person approaches their craft differently. Gauging your understanding of the role helps the company to determine your culture fit for the Product Team. If you walk in with a ‘CEO of the Product‘ mentality, and they’re looking for someone more humble and collaborative, you run the risk of being turned away. So just be yourself and be honest. If you’re the right Product Manager for the team, they’ll see that straight away!
What aspects of Product Management do you find the most exciting?
Tell me about a time when you had to build or motivate a team.
What do you think a day-to-day would be like for a Product Manager?
How do you think Product Managers interact with engineers?
How would you explain Product Management to a 5-year-old?
What aspects of Product Management do you find the least interesting?
Tell me about your role on your team, who else you work with, and how you work with them.
Seeing a list of skills is all well and good, but an interview also gives a company a chance to gauge how you behave in different situations. They want to know that you work well in high-pressure environments, that you’re able to influence without authority, and manage stakeholder expectations. If you’re asked about a situation you haven’t yet faced, instead of saying “I haven’t done that yet,” talk about how you would face it in future.
Tell me about a challenging issue or challenge you took on.
How do you interact with customers/users?
Tell me how you've overcome product failures/challenges or poor feedback.
Tell me about a time you had to influence someone.
Tell me about a mistake you made and how you handled it.
One executive says that Feature A is more important and another executive says Feature B is more important. How do you choose which one to implement?
Tell me about a time you used data to make a decision.
Leadership and communication questions
Even at a junior level, a Product Manager is a leader. So even entry-level Product Management roles will come with questions about leadership. But don’t worry, they won’t be too high-level or philosophical until you apply for a senior role. They’ll be more similar to behavioral questions, and they’re just trying to see how you interact and communicate with the people on your teams.
What’s 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?
What’s the difference between leadership and management?
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General / personal / basic questions
Product Manager interviews are still just regular job interviews at heart, and sometimes the simplest questions are the most important. So don’t neglect to prepare your answers for the more run-of-the-mill questions.
Why should we hire you?
What do you do in your spare time?
Where do you see yourself in five years?
What's the most difficult decision you’ve ever had to make?
What do you need from your manager to be successful?
How do you say no to people?
What is one of the best ideas you’ve ever had?
What is one of the worst ideas you’ve ever had?
Remote Product Management questions
These days, it’s quite likely that the company you’re applying to has some kind of remote working/flexible hours possibility. You could even be applying for a 100% distributed remote team. If remote work is a challenge for you, be honest about it, but try to maintain a positive attitude.
Do you have experience in a remote working environment?
How have you kept communication from breaking down in a remote setting?
How would you face the challenge of managing a team that works across timezones?
What challenges have you faced when working remotely? How have you overcome them?
How would you build a high-performance async product team?
Additional Product Manager interview resources
Break Into Product Video Playlist: We’ve collected together our best webinars on breaking into Product Management. Check out the entire playlist here, or enjoy this sample from Google Product Manager, Prashant Nair.
Proven examples of Product Manager interview questions to ask: We've curated and listed all the questions an interviewer could ask you. But what about the questions YOU should ask during a Product Manager interview? Don't miss these 20 questions to ask at the end of the Product Management interview.
Interview response technique: SAR method.
Technical Product Manager interview questions: Let’s be real! You cannot be a Product Manager at Google or Apple if you lack understanding of some specific technical topics. Check out the essential Technical Product Manager interview questions here.
Books for Product Manager interview prep
Hired — How to Get a Great Product Job: This is a tailored guide to land Product Manager positions in top tech companies. As this book will show you, some of the most successful product transitions originated from people in music production or finance, with full-time jobs or with no prior experience.
The Product Manager Interview: 167 Actual Questions and Answers: This is the second edition of Lewis C. Lin’s book, a great resource for both budding and seasoned Product Managers. Lin’s book will not only provide you with good pointers for interview preparation but also help you in day-to-day life as a Product Manager.
Decode and Conquer — Answers to Product Management Interviews: An industry insider’s perspective on how to conquer the most difficult Product Manager interview questions. Covering frameworks for tackling product design and metrics questions, the biggest mistakes, and answers to the top Product Manager interview questions.
To complement your learning, check out our reading list: The Most-Read Books by Product Managers
Updated: November 23, 2023