10 Most Common Product Manager Interview Questions
Trying to nail down those tricky product manager interview questions? Check out this list of the 10 most common ones and get some tips on how to answer them.
PM interview questions can vary greatly. However, there are some common themes among the questions that are asked. As an aspiring product manager, it is essential to be prepared for these types of questions so that you can ace your interview and land the job.
1. Tell me about a time when you had to manage a complex project.
Interviewers want to gauge how you handle challenging projects and if you have the skills necessary to be successful in a product management role. Describe a project you have managed and highlight any achievements or successes. Here are two examples:
“To make sure project “X” was properly accounted for, I identified the key players who could lend their input to its successful completion. Then, by outlining all major milestones required and breaking down each step between them going backwards in time, nothing fell through the cracks!
I proactively identified potential risks to the project's timeline and accounted for them in our schedule. I was also sure to double-check my role, responsibilities, and expectations - so that nothing slipped through the cracks. Though we finished on time, hindsight allowed me to spot areas of improvement; a few adjustments - such as ‘Z’ – could have kept us from experiencing minor scheduling issues altogether! Nonetheless it is only after concluding projects like this that you can identify what worked well versus where there are learnings points moving forward…knowledge which will be invaluable next time around.”
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2. What is your experience with the agile methodology?
Product managers need to be familiar with agile methodology, so you will likely be asked about your experience and knowledge of the process. Be sure to explain your experience with the methodology and how it has benefited you in past projects.
“I have had the opportunity to work with agile methodology, and am deeply familiar with this process. The focus on track metrics, coupled with continual testing and learning, has resulted in impressive results within my email campaign. Despite pushing hard to increase metrics, I also managed to maintain a high revenue per recipient rate throughout the lifespan of the campaign. Above all else though, what I enjoy most about agile methodology is that it helps foster a culture of trust, respect and transparency throughout an organization.”
3. Tell me about a time when you had to manage stakeholders with different objectives.
Product managers must be able to manage stakeholders with different objectives and priorities. This question helps the interviewer understand how you handle situations with competing interests. Explain how you managed the situation and ensured everyone's needs were met.
“Finding the perfect balance between stakeholder needs and a productive work environment is essential in any project. I start conversations with stakeholders to understand their level of involvement, while also finding ways to effectively share information without sacrificing productivity or efficiency on my team's end. By refining this delicate equilibrium, successful projects are created that exceed expectations set by all involved parties!”
4. Describe a time when you had to deal with an ambiguous problem.
Product managers often face ambiguous problems that must be solved. This question helps the interviewer understand how you approach and solve such issues.
"An ambiguous problem was when I had to develop a product strategy for an unproven market. I researched the competitive landscape and identified gaps in the market that could be addressed with our product. This allowed us to create a successful strategy to enter the market."
5. Tell me about a time you failed and what you learned from it.
Interviewers want to know that you can learn from your mistakes. Describe when you faced failure and how you grew due to it.
"Once, I failed to deliver a project on time. I learned the importance of setting realistic deadlines and breaking projects into smaller, manageable tasks. This experience taught me to be more organized and efficient when managing projects."
6. Why are you interested in this company?
"I am interested in this company because of its innovative product development and customer service approach. I am also interested in the company's focus on sustainability, which aligns with my values. Working with such a dynamic team also appeals to me."
7. What would be your 90-day plan if we gave you this job?
Interviewers want to ensure you have thought through your action plan if they give you the job. Show that you are prepared and have a vision for success.
"It starts with a thorough understanding of the product and its users. I would work with the development team to create a roadmap for future releases and discuss strategies that could be implemented to improve the customer experience. My 90-day plan also includes establishing metrics to track the product's performance and exploring potential growth opportunities.”
8. Walk me through your thought process for launching a new product.
Product managers need to be able to think through all the steps of launching a new product. Showcase your ability to plan for success by walking the interviewer through your thought process.
"My thought process for launching a new product would involve understanding the needs of our target user base and ensuring that the product meets their expectations. I would also create an initial marketing plan for the launch, which includes setting goals and crafting content that resonates with users. Additionally, I would work with engineering teams to ensure that the product is ready to release and that any bugs are addressed before launch."
9. How would you prioritize and manage competing requests?
Product managers often manage competing requests and prioritize which ones to focus on. Show the interviewer that you can make tough decisions to manage projects properly.
"When facing competing requests, I prioritize based on the impact of each request. I also consider any deadlines set and any dependencies between projects. As a product manager, I communicate with stakeholders and balance their needs with our resources."
10. How have you gone about building consensus on a team?
Product managers need to be able to build consensus among their teams to move the project forward. Share with the interviewer how you have developed your skills in this area.
"I have built consensus on a team by setting clear objectives and expectations. I also listen to every team member's input and ideas for improvement. Finally, I bring everyone together and encourage collaboration to develop an effective solution."
Many great resources, such as "Cracking the PM Interview" or "The Product Manager Interview," which you can find easily on Amazon, can help you prepare for your upcoming product manager interview.
It is true that successfully answering these interview questions can be a daunting task. However, these become much easier when you are answering from your own experiences and heart instead of making something up. That is why it is so valuable to gain knowledge and experience by going out there and doing something.
Not sure how to get started? Here at Co.Lab, we can help you with your journey. We offer a variety of bootcamps that can equip you with the skills you need to become an effective product manager. Come check out all of our resources and join us on Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn so that you can stay up-to-date with what we have going on!