Editor’s note: this list has been updated for 2021
The 10 Most Important Product Manager Interview Questions
The types of questions you can expect to be asked in a Product Management interview are pretty vast and varied. But in general, you’ll probably be asked some of the following:
- 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?
Questions will vary depending on the role, the company, and the industry, and the types of questions you’ll be asked will change as you move through the interview process.
That’s a lot of preparing to do! So here we’ve laid out every single type of question you could possibly be asking in a Product Management interview…
What do Companies Look For in a New Product Manager?
Before we dive into questions, it’s important to get inside your interviewer’s head. What are they looking for?
Aside from intellect, smarts, the power to adapt, think and act on their feet? They want a person who is motivated to do the job, can work with different teams and has the ability to prioritize features that they already know users are looking for. A Product Manager has to be resilient, strategic and insightful. Which means the hiring company will ask a multitude of questions to figure out if you are 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!
Every Product Management Interview Question You’ll Ever Be Asked
Questions about product are possibly the most common in PM 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. Being able to demonstrate your previous experience or Product Management education will be invaluable here.
- 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 10x of what it is now?
- How would you increase adoption of Google’s Fiber to the Home product?
- 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 price for X product?
- 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 PM role which requires a higher tech skill set. In general, technical questions in PM 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 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?
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 OK 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 want 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?
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 PM 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 PM 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 gives a company a chance to gauge how you behave day to day. 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
- Tell me about how you interact with customers/users?
- Talk about how you overcame 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 kind of leader. (Crazy, right?!) So even entry-level PM roles will come with questions about leadership. But don’t worry, they won’t be too high-level or philosophical until you reach seniority. They’ll be more similar to behavioural 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?
General / Personal / Basic Questions
PM 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 is 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
In 2021, 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. Even if you’ve hated remote working, try not to use this as an excuse to vent! If asked, be honest about the challenges it presented you, 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 do you approach team building when that team has never met in person?
Interview Questions at Top Tech Companies
Are you looking to learn how the interview process works at a specific tech company? Check these specific resources we made for you:
- Google Product Manager Interview Questions
- Facebook Product Manager Interview Tips
- How to Get a Product Manager Job at Spotify
Additional Product Manager Interview Resources
- Master The Product Manager Interview Playlist: We’ve collected together our best talks on acing the Product Management interview, from a look behind the scenes of recruitment, to how to break into the industry. Check out the entire playlist here, or enjoy this sample from Google’s Product Manager…
- Proven Examples of Product Manager Interview Questions to Ask: We curated and listed all the questions an interviewer could ask you! But what about the questions YOU should ask during a Product Manager interview? Here we have listed 20 questions to ask at the end of the Product Management interview.
- The Interview Response Technique: If you are looking for a very useful preparation technique that can be deployed to emphasize your achievements in context, we recommend you to check the 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
- The Product Manager Interview: 167 Actual Questions and Answers: This is the second edition of Lewis C. Lin’s book – previously titled The Product Manager Interview 164 Actual Questions and Answers – 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 PM.
- Hired — How to Get a Great Product Job: Tailored guide-to-go for PM 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 collection of stories of Product Management transition will show you how it’s done.
- Decode and Conquer — Answers to Product Management Interviews: The author gives an industry insider’s perspective on how to conquer the most difficult PM interview questions. Covering frameworks for tackling product design and metrics questions, the biggest mistakes, and answers to the top product manager interview questions.