There’s no doubt that the product manager interview process for everyone has changed over the last year. Gone are the days of lunch meet-and-greets and office tours. Although Zoom may have taken the place of those in-person meetings, the product manager job interview process itself remains intact at a fundamental level.
To help navigate the journey of finding a new product manager job, we’ve compiled this list of the most popular product manager interview questions of 2021. With over 100 questions to practice with, you’ll be prepared and ready to rock your interviews.
What to Expect from a Product Manager Job Interview Process
Product manager interviews (and the processes for those interviews) can look different at different companies but, at its core, you’ll find yourself following the same steps. Let’s start from the top.
Taking the Leap: The first step in a product manager interview process is arguably the most important. Deciding WHERE to apply is not only how to kick off the interview process, it’s how you determine what the next chapter in your career is going to be. As for me, I look for a company whose mission and values align with my own and a company whose product I’d be excited to work on. Find what you feel is right for you.
Phone Screen: Once you’ve chosen where to apply and sent out your resume, you can expect an email with either (basically) “thanks, but not at this time” or a request for a phone screen, likely from a recruiter or HR rep. This is where you’ll discuss your background, what you’re looking for as a next step, and why you were attracted to that particular product manager role. The purpose here is to filter out candidates who can be identified as not a good fit right away.
Product Manager Interview with Hiring Manager: In what now feels like “the olden days” (am I becoming my grandparents?), the next step would be some sort of on-site interview with the hiring manager and several others. In a COVID world, this step will be a video interview. Some companies will split the hiring manager and other team members into two or more days/steps, but a lot try to get it done in a single day in order to save time in the overall product manager interview process. This is the step where you’ll showcase your product manager skills and strengths. You’ll answer product manager interview questions and discuss what value you can add to the company.
Take-Home Assignment: Not all companies incorporate a take-home assignment but if they, this is the place in the product manager interview process where it would likely take place. As someone who has interviewed frequently, I’ve encountered only two companies with a take-home assignment. What the hiring team is looking for in a take-home assignment is your ability to strategize, create a plan, and the process you use to identify and solve problems.
Final Interview: If you’ve been given a take-home assignment, you’ll likely have a follow-up interview to walk through it. The interviewer (likely the hiring manager) will discuss the assignment with you and give you an opportunity to explain your process in more detail.
You made it!: If you’ve made it through and the team sees you as the right person for the job, you’ll get a call from either HR or the hiring manager. This is the part of the product manager interview process where you’ll discuss numbers and benefits, what your specific title will be, and negotiate. Congratulations!
What do companies look for in a new Product Manager?
Whether you’re looking for a junior product manager or the Chief Product Officer, the qualities of a good product manager remain the same: customer obsessed, empathetic, strategic thinker, collaborative, analytical, a great communicator, and insightful. The product manager is the glue that holds the organization all together. As a product manager, you touch sales, customer success, development, customers themselves, user experience, leadership, pricing, and even depending on the size and structure of the organization. A company hiring a product manager at any level will be looking for a mixture of these skills.
The Ultimate List (100+) of Product Manager Interview Questions
We’ve compiled over 100 product manager interview questions to give you an idea of what you can expect in a product manager interview. These questions will help the interviewer understand your skills as a product manager, the processes you use to solve problems and strategize, how you work with a team, and your technical knowledge.
General Product Manager Interview Questions
- Describe a situation in which you had to arrive at a compromise or help others to compromise. What was your role? What steps did you take? What was the result?
- Describe a time you wish you had handled a difficult situation differently with a colleague.
- Tell me about the first job you’ve ever had. What did you do to learn and acclimate yourself to the environment/role?
- Describe a time that a project failed and what you did to recover?
- Tell me about a time of change over which you had no control and how you adapted?
- Tell me about a time your responsibilities got a little overwhelming and you couldn’t complete everything on your list.
- When you set a goal for yourself, what steps do you take to get over the finish line?
- Describe how you have balanced a situation that required you to do a number of things at the same time.
- Give me an example of a business decision you made that you ultimately regretted. What did you learn from it?
- Tell me about a particular work-related setback you have faced and what you did to turn things around?
- What is a piece of negative feedback that you’ve received and how did you react?
- Give me an example of a time when you were told ‘no’ by a manager and how did you react?
- What is one way you impacted a previous company as a product manager?
- What has been a mistake you’ve made as a product manager?
- How would you explain the role of a product manager to a stranger?
- What do you love most about being a product manager?
- What don’t you love about being a product manager?
- What do you believe are the best qualities of a product manager?
- What is something you’re actively working on to improve your skills as a product manager?
- Walk me through a successful product launch and the steps you took to get there. Is there anything you’d have done differently?
- Talk to me about how you manage a feature from conception to launch.
- How do you define an excellent user experience?
- How did you manage the roadmap for one of your previous products?
- What do you do when you and a member of leadership disagree about the roadmap?
- Imagine a member of leadership comes to you and tells you to add a new feature to your roadmap. What do you do?
- How do you make sure that every team member is aligned regarding the product roadmap?
- What information do you use to inform your roadmap?
- How do you prioritize customers’ varying needs?
- Give me an example of a time when you had to make a decision on prioritizing two equally important features. How did you determine which to do first?
- What was the hardest decision you had to make regarding priority/roadmap?
- Have you ever had to cut a feature, even if it would make your product more usable, for priority reasons? How did you approach the subject with stakeholders?
- How do you know when to cut corners to get a product or feature shipped? How do you decide what gets cut?
- Imagine you are mid-sprint and the CEO comes to you and asks for a new feature/change to be made to an existing feature. What do you do?
- How do you avoid scope creep?
Customer / Users
- What is your process for gathering feedback from product users?
- Have you used any tools or frameworks to gather feedback/survey customers?
- What motivates you to build better solutions to people in our industry?
- Give me an example of a time when you did not meet a client’s expectation and how you rectified the situation?
- Give me an example of a time when you had a frustrated customer and how you diffused the situation?
- How would you describe product management to someone that doesn’t work in technology?
- How do you communicate with different audiences, e.g. executive leadership or a development-focused engineer?
- Describe a time when you were able to successfully persuade someone to see things your way.
- Give me an example of when you failed to convince your manager of something?
- Describe a time when you were the resident technical expert and you had to explain something in a way everyone was able to understand you?
- Tell me about a time when you had to rely on written communication to get your ideas across to your team.
- Tell me about a time you needed to get information from someone that was not responsive.
- Tell me about a successful presentation or demo you gave and why it was well-received.
- Have you ever had to “sell” an idea to your team?
- How do you tell someone no?
- How do you motivate your team?
- How do you involve the development team with the product vision?
- Tell me about a project that required you to influence people that did not report to you.
- Tell me about your role on your current (or a recent) team and how you work together to achieve a common goal.
- What’s your favorite product you’ve ever worked on and why?
Product Leadership Interview Questions
- What was the biggest mistake you have made when delegating work as part of a team project?
- Tell me about a time when you had to help settle a conflict between team members.
- Describe a time when you saw a problem and took the initiative to correct it.
- What have been the greatest challenges you have faced in building/growing a team?
- Describe a time when you were not only responsible for leading a team, but also for taking part in the day-to-day responsibilities and how you were able to balance your time.
- Describe your management style.
Analytical Product Manager Interview Questions
- How do you balance gut feeling with the use of data?
- Have you ever had to make a decision without all the information you needed? How did you handle it?
- How would you go about determining how many cat owners there are in Ohio?
- What is the most important KPI for your product (or a recent one) and why?
- What metrics do you use to measure a product’s success?
- What tools have you used to measure KPIs?
- Give an example of a project or situation that demonstrates your analytical skills. What was your role?
- What is one thing you learned from your last product launch?
- Tell me about a time when you had to analyze information to make a decision/recommendation.
- What is an example of a problem that you have solved in a unique or creative way. What was the outcome?
- How do you develop a product strategy? What frameworks/processes do you use?
- What is an example of an innovative idea you brought to the team?
- Tell me about a project you initiated and the outcome.
- What’s something you’d change about a product that you love?
- How do you go about determining a pricing strategy?
Technical Product Manager Interview Questions
- What level is the importance of including the engineering team as a stakeholder?
- What is a technical solution that you designed with engineers that became a product or feature?
- How do you incorporate quality assurance (QA) practices into the product development process?
- What process/framework do you use to translate strategic/roadmap ideas into technical requirements?
- What development methodology do you have the most experience with? What is your preferred methodology?
- How do you ensure that stakeholders and business teams fully understand technical challenges?
Product Manager Interview Questions: Interpersonal Skills
- What types of people do you work best with?
- Describe a situation where you had to work closely with someone with a different personality than yours.
- Give me an example of a time you faced a conflict while working on a team and how you worked through it.
- Tell me about a time where team members disagreed with your ideas on a project.
- Think about a manager you’ve worked well with. What about the relationship that made it successful?
- Think about a time when you had to work with someone who was difficult to get along with. How did you effectively work together and how did the relationship progress?
- How do you build relationships with business partners and team members?
Amazon Product Manager Interview Questions
- From start to finish, explain what you did to complete a project.
- How can you translate your skills towards Amazon?
- Explain a time where you faced a difficult task and had to choose between two competing results.
- Tell me about the most innovative project you worked on.
- Tell me about a time when you gave a simple solution to a complex problem.
- Give me an example of when you made a decision without all the data necessary to make the decision.
Product Manager Career Development Interview Questions
- When you set a goal for yourself, how do you go about achieving it? How do you measure your progress along the way?
- What obstacles have you encountered in your career progression and how did you overcome them?
- Tell me about a professional goal that you set for yourself that you did not reach and why.
- How does this opportunity fit into your overall career trajectory?
Product Manager Interview Questions: Ask the Interviewer
- What top 3 skills are you looking for in a candidate?
- When was the last time you talked with a customer? How often do you typically talk with customers?
- What was the last feature you launched? How did you measure its success?
- What do you envision a “day in the life” looks like for this particular role?
- What does the product team/org look like here and how long has it been this way?
Conclusion/Final Points/key takeaways
Whew, that’s a lot of questions! You won’t get asked all of them in a single interview, but having a prepared answer will give you the confidence to ensure you’re showcasing your value as a product manager. When you get ready to sit down for a virtual interview, make sure you’re in a quiet space free from background noise and distractions. (Side note: This can be difficult for parents trying to balance childcare. A tactic I have used is literally locking myself in a room since my husband is also working at home and can take over for a while. If you can’t do that, screen time for the win (thanks, Pokemon). Bottom line – just do your best. We’re all working with what we got.)
Once you’ve gone through the product manager interview process, you’ll want to send a quick follow-up email to your interviewers (or, the recruiter if you don’t have everyone’s email addresses). Keep it short and sweet, thanking them for the opportunity to chat.
Best of luck on your hunt!