Product Manager Interview Questions (With Example Answers)
By Indeed Editorial Team
Updated September 7, 2022 | Published December 12, 2019
Updated September 7, 2022
Published December 12, 2019
The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.
Related: Becoming a Product Manager
Are you interested in a career as a product manager but are not sure how to start preparing for it? We have you covered!
Product managers can experience the excitement of guiding the development of new products from conception to customer. Because of this, the career has quickly become a highly sought-after position, especially by MBA graduates. In this article, we explain the role of product manager and explore common interview questions for a product management position.
What is a product manager?
Product managers are responsible for deciding what product to create, developing effective delivery systems to launch the new product, and then monitoring customer feedback to continually improve the product and customer experience. Put simply, they function as a facilitator, ensuring the product is properly fostered throughout the life of the project.
Digital product management is a relatively new position that encompasses many areas of expertise. Depending on the company, product managers can be responsible for coming up with products, aiding in production to ensure proper execution, and monitoring customer response. Though it’s important for PMs to excel in all of these areas, companies don’t always require that they perform all three roles.
Product manager interview questions
Before entering a product manager interview, take some time to prepare thoughtful answers and anecdotes in each category. Be sure to research the company and familiarize yourself with its mission statement. More than a “right” or “wrong” answer, they’re likely looking for a response that aligns with their company values.
Additionally, all interview questions are meant to test a candidate’s soft skills or personality traits. Be sure to present yourself confidently by making eye contact, staying positive and showcasing your ability to effectively communicate. More than just speaking with proper syntax and grammar, this means actively listening and providing answers that prove you are engaged in the conversation.
Here are some of the most popular interview questions for this position, broken up into four major categories:
Technical questions for product managers
Leading and working with a team as a product manager
Take this opportunity to highlight your strengths and draw attention to what makes you unique. Personalizing your answers with specific hobbies or goals will increase the chances that you’ll stand out among the other candidates.
Why should we hire you?
Where do you see yourself in five years?
How do you spend your free time?
Tell us about a time when you overcame failure.
How do you approach telling someone “no?”
Companies want to know that you’ve done your homework, so preparation is key in the interviewing process. Your interviewer is looking for a candidate who is excited to join their team, someone that has given thoughtful consideration to their product as well as the position.
The more prepared you are, the better you look, so consider compiling some notes. A prepared interviewee typically signifies a self-motivated, dedicated professional, traits typically found in valuable team members.
Who would you say are our top competitors?
Why do you want to work for this company?
How would you sell our product to someone that wanted something similar, but cheaper?
What would you improve about our product?
How would you redesign our product?
Technical questions for product managers
Your interviewer will likely ask a string of questions to test your prowess and technical knowledge, so come prepared with anecdotes that highlight your experience and skill as a product manager. This is your opportunity to tell them exactly why you would make an invaluable member of their team, and having instances to reference serves to bolster your claims.
Some of the more important aspects of product management are adhering to timelines and working with a team. If asked about launching a product, make sure that your answer calls attention to these details, and always avoid generalities.
Tell us about a product you love, and why. How would you improve it?
Tell us about a time that you had to work on a difficult project.
Do you have any technical skills that set you apart?
What’s your least favorite part of product management?
What strategies do you use when managing a new product launch?
What do you think makes good product design?
How do you know when to cut corners to launch a product?
Leading and working with a team as a product manager
Another important part of product management is managing people. It’s important to emphasize your ability to manage a team and expectations, as well as your skills at conflict resolution. Come prepared with examples of instances when you effectively led a team through a difficult time.
Have you been in a leadership position before? If so, tell us about it.
How would you handle conflict on your team?
What kind of people do you enjoy working with?
How do you motivate your team to stick to a schedule?
In your opinion, what’s the difference between leadership and management?
Product manager interview questions with sample answers
Here are some popular product manager interview questions with examples of how to answer:
How would you explain our product to someone interested in something similar, only $20 cheaper?
The interviewer is checking to see if you researched the company and its products, and they want to know that you’re familiar enough to offer thoughtful insight. They are also testing your communication skills. Your answer should include:
An overview of the cost-benefit
Example answer: “The product may be $20 more, but you’re getting $50 worth of additional features. And that’s without putting a monetary value on the time and frustration that this product will save you. This product connects to all of your devices, and customers say that they love being able to control it from anywhere, even on vacation. They have also remarked that they rarely have to reach out to customer support for assistance with a problem.”
We’re preparing to roll out the successor to our best-selling product. How would you propose that we position the legacy product so that it continues to sell?
Interviewers are looking to test your technical and soft skills with this question. Make sure your answer contains:
An understanding of consumer trends
A grasp of the target audience
Example answer: “Budget-conscious users make up around 30% of your customer base, so I would lower the price to make it more accessible to that demographic. The new product launch will appeal to users that value owning the newest, best and most advanced technology.”
How do you manage a product launch? What strategies and processes do you utilize to ensure its success?
Avoid answering this question in generalities. Your interviewer is looking for an answer that mentions:
Collaboration and team effort
Utilization of a timeline
A system for measuring progress
Example answer: “I build a product launch around the input I get from teams involved in the product’s development, such as support, product management and product testing. I also seek out the input of key stakeholders to create a project timeline that includes key dates with deliverables. I think weekly meetings are vital as the launch date approaches to ensure we’re staying on track, but I also do this by continuously designing and marketing the product toward our target audience.”
What is your least favorite aspect of product management?
This question is checking that your values align with the company you’re interviewing with. Make sure you research the organization beforehand and include:
An honest answer—avoid skipping the question with a generic answer like, “I love every part of the job.”
An explanation for your answer that cites concrete details
Alignment with the company’s values and culture
Example answer: “The extensive documentation is something that I’m sure most product managers would prefer to avoid. Of course, it is a vital part of the job and something that I devote attention to, but I really enjoy working with users and developers and hitting deadlines.”
What do you think makes a well-designed product?
This question is subjective, but the company you’re interviewing may have strong feelings about the topic. Again, researching the organization before your interview will ensure you have similar values. Make sure your answer:
Matches the priorities of the company
Offers an explanation
Example answer: “I believe design should be intuitive and simple. The user should be able to use the product directly out of the box without having to fumble with a confusing, technical manual. I also think it is becoming increasingly important for a product to be sustainable and eco-friendly. A good design should avoid excessive packaging or a general waste of resources.”
Related: Top Interview Tips: Common Questions, Body Language & More
In this video, we dissect an entire job interview from start to finish. We analyze everything from common interview questions to etiquette and how to follow up.
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