Hiring a new product manager (PM) is one of the most important decisions that any company can make. If you’re looking for a way to find the perfect candidate, then this list will provide 66 interview questions that are sure to get them talking about their skills and experience.
We have compiled the list from our network of hiring managers the most commonly used questions they ask when interviewing product manager candidates. and will help weed out candidates who might not be qualified for your business.
Key Question To Ask a Product Manager
These interview questions will also give you a chance to find out what the product managers’ thoughts are on your company and how they might help. It’s important that you understand what is going through the interviewee’s mind, so these questions should provide insight into how well-suited this candidate would be for your business.
1. What do you believe are the qualities of a great product manager?
This question is a great starting point for the interview. It sets the tone and can be used to figure out if this person is qualified or not when it comes to interpersonal skills, customer focus, understanding of product cycles, and leadership qualities.
Qualities of a product manager may include
- Know how to communicate with people effectively.
- Understands customer needs and wants.
- Is not ego-driven when it comes down to what is best for the company instead of themselves.
2. What are your thoughts on how technology has changed business over time?
Technology has transformed businesses in so many ways-from introducing new products via eCommerce platforms like Amazon to changing wholesale patterns with upstart companies like Uber delivering groceries by drone. The interviewer should want someone who recognizes how these changes have impacted their industry and what they might look like going forward as well as planning accordingly now that they are here.
3. What aspects of product management do you enjoy the most? What do you dislike the most?
This question might seem a bit personal, but it is important because the interviewer wants to know what motivates their candidate. The more they can relate to this person and understand their motivations, the easier time that they will have working together with them in future projects.
4. What are some of your favorite products?
This question gives an insight into how someone thinks about design-are they focused on form or function?
5. How would you measure success for product management at our company?
Understanding how different companies define success is key when interviewing potential candidates. This way both parties know if there might be any miscommunication going forward as well as making sure expectations are aligned so no one feels disappointed down the line.
6. What software development method did you use at your last? What did you like or dislike about it? What methodology do you prefer the most?
This is an important question to ask as it will give insight into how candidate prefers to work and what they are used to working with.
7. What do you think about the idea of a “minimum viable product” where we would just release something simple, get feedback from users, then iterate?
Product managers should be able to envision potential problems in advance and this question allows them to share their thoughts on the subject matter before any problems arise.
8. What qualities do you think to make a good product?
This question will allow the interviewer to see what qualities are important for this candidate, which may not be relevant depending on the position they’re applying for.
9. In your opinion, how does an effective strategy differ from a successful one? What is needed for both of these things to occur?
The answer that comes back determines whether or not there’s chemistry between applicant and company. This needs to happen because without it – success can’t exist as strongly due lack of synergy among team members. It is also vital that people who are in the position of product manager work collaboratively with each other and understand how their role aligns with that of a marketer.
Product managers are often responsible for managing deadlines, timelines, budgets, etc., so it’s important to assess whether or not an applicant has strong organizational skills from this question alone.
10. Can you give me examples of difficult situations that have arisen while working as a product manager?
This is one of the best interview questions because it shows what they’re made out of – can they think on their feet? Do they know when to make a tough decision under pressure? This question will reveal all.
11. What makes you want to improve something instead of just letting things be if there isn’t anything wrong with them currently?
This question to ask potential product managers is an important one as it shows how they think and what drives them. It also helps in determining whether or not this applicant will be able to improve a company’s processes, even if there isn’t anything wrong with the current state of affairs.
12. What are some general goals you have for your career?
Another interview question that is often overlooked but should nonetheless always be included on any list of questions to ask at an interview – because applicants typically do want to know where their hard work might take them down the line. At least from asking this question alone, employers can determine whether or not someone has short-term versus long-term ambitions within their field of expertise which could lead towards successful team collaboration later on.
13. Would you rather be known for shipping great products or having an amazing company culture?
This question will give insight into how much importance they place on work-life balance vs the product itself. Do not ask if they want to create a “happy” workplace because that sounds like more personal preference than desire in relation to professional life goals.
For example: do they prefer working with startups where there might not be significant pay but lots of opportunity for growth, advancement, and potentially equity?
14. What is your greatest professional accomplishment to date? A: Have you ever had an idea that made it all the way from inception to execution successfully? If so, what was it and how long did it take for this success rate to happen?
A person’s response can show their level of ambition as well as where their strengths lie.
The best product managers have lots of ideas flowing through them constantly-it could be just one good idea out of 100 but people with these skills tend to think about work differently than others do because their focus is on making themselves better at doing something rather than thinking about whether or not the idea will be successful.
15. What are you looking to build here? Why?
This question is meant to get a sense of how motivated an applicant is. If they are looking for something that has no clear answer, it’s not the right place for them. It also asks about their interests and ambitions in relation to the company culture and values because this will help you understand if there would be any overlap or fit with what you’re building at your organization.
16. What makes a great product manager? What specific qualities do you think make for a successful PM?
This question helps determine whether or not the candidate has taken time to reflect on what separates good from bad product managers. A strong application would include examples that illustrate when he or she felt like they were effective as a Product Manager in terms of meeting company objectives, creating opportunities for team members to grow within the organization, etc.
One major factor may be communication skills- being able to clearly articulate goals and then keep stakeholders informed along the way.
17. What do you think are some of the most difficult aspects of being a product manager?
The company is trying to find out how someone deals with stress and challenges on a daily basis when it comes to managing products. They will likely want them to identify all the types of situations that can happen which might make things stressful for this role (types of meetings, deadlines) as well as any coping mechanisms he/she has developed over time in order not get overwhelmed by these experiences).
18. What are some of your past experiences with product management?
If there are any questions about their past projects, this is a great question to find out (they may want to mention what their role was in said project(s) at different stages: planning, execution, postmortem analysis). This will help determine how qualified they are for the position being applied for.
19. What are the three most important aspects of a successful product?
The candidate should discuss what they believe to be three of the most important aspects that make up a successful product and why their answer is correct. Aspects such as design, functionality, usability may all come into play in this discussion with reasons given for each one being chosen over another. The final point will need to be explained as something that ties all other points together or makes them complete without it – functionality would not exist if good UX was missing.
- Happiness- customers must love using our products which can only happen if we have a great user experience;
- Successfully meeting customer needs- how do you know someone wants/needs when there could potentially be so many? Product managers must have a strong understanding of the customer in order to meet their needs;
- Competitive advantage- only through product innovation and design will we be able to create products that are better than our competitors.
The candidate should explore what they believe is a core competency for someone who wants to become a successful product manager. This may include software, communication skills, project management, or something else entirely depending on what type of company you work for but there’s no question this skill set would help anyone advance in their career field.
20. Tell me three adjectives that describe your management style.
This question is designed to see how well-suited the applicant might be for different aspects of managing, such as coaching or leading others, inspiring others through written communications, etc., which are all critical skills needed by a successful PM (product manager).
21. What books have you read in the past six months that had an impact on how you think or live?
The best product managers constantly learn and grow by reading, watching TED talks, attending workshops – anything they can do to expand their knowledge base.
22. What was your favorite subject as a child, and why?
This helps determine whether someone has any experience with managing teams of people because it’s important for PMs to be able to delegate assignments effectively.
23. What does your typical day look like?
This question will allow you to understand the work/life balance of the candidate which can be crucial if this is an important topic for you as well. This might also help give insight into what type of company culture would appeal most (e.g., some companies will offer more flexibility while others won’t).
Product Roadmap Interview Questions
This section of the interview is to get an idea of how your potential candidate plans on executing their ideas. Look for:
- A logical progression in each item they hope to achieve
- An understanding that work will need to be done before goals are reached and why this takes time
- The ability, or at least a goal, of what steps may have been taken so far in order to move closer toward success
They should also understand how long things typically take when going through product management cycles (from ideation and development). There are often upfront costs with no guarantee of payoff later if there isn’t enough planning coming from the applicant.
24. Talk me through how you managed the roadmap for your previous product.
The process of creating a product roadmap is one that can be quite difficult because there are so many things to take into account. This question will help you determine the applicant’s ability to work with people on all levels, their creativity, and how well they understand customer needs
25. Where do you see this company in three years?
This question helps gauge an applicant’s level of ambition as well as where their priorities lie. It also asks them about past progress they’ve made on reaching similar goals such as what was accomplished by your previous employer(s) or personal projects; it makes clear why those accomplishments were important and assess whether the applicant would have any difficulty meeting these goals under new circumstances
26. How do you communicate your roadmap to other teams? To management teams?
This question helps determine whether the applicant is willing to communicate with people on all levels of an organization. A good product manager should be able to articulate business goals and how they plan to achieve them across many different areas including marketing, engineering, customer service, finance.
The best way for a person to answer this question would be by discussing their past projects where they’ve had success in communicating with team members outside of his or her area
27. You are the Product Manager for Groups. How do you decide what the 1-year roadmap looks like? What about the 5-year roadmap?
This question is about determining the applicant’s awareness of how short and long-term goals are set. The best way an applicant could answer this question is by discussing their past projects where they’ve had to deal with these levels of planning.
28. What is the most challenging aspect of managing large product launches?
This question looks for the applicant’s understanding of a key issue that can arise when launching new products. The best way to answer this would be by discussing past experiences and how they overcame these challenges.
29. How do you manage your time between all the different departments in order to meet deadlines?
The job description requires someone who has experience working cross-departmentally to get things done on time, so it’s important for them to understand their ability to juggle many responsibilities at once. They should tell about what previous projects they had where they needed an effective system like this and how well he or she executed it as a result of his or her skillset.
Customer or User Management Interview Questions
Every company today has to manage customer feedback, know their customers, and implement that information into the work they do. These next set of interview questions are about customer or user management-related projects.
30. How do you manage customer or user feedback when developing new products?
This question can be asked to determine the candidate’s understanding of how product managers keep in touch with different stakeholders. This is an important skill because it ensures that a company stays on track and meets its deadlines. Candidates should have examples of how they’ve done this successfully before, such as by analyzing research data from surveys or focus groups.
31. What would your approach be for building a successful app?
The questions are aimed at determining whether or not someone has experience launching apps like these already. They will want them to tell about their past experiences, what resources were needed (people, money) and any tools they used during this process so far). If he/she doesn’t have much experience, they may want to ask more questions about what their approach would be if given the opportunity.
32. What was your process for gathering feedback from users?
This is a question that will help the interviewer determine whether or not they know how to go about this task. For example, if he/she says “I just ask them” (which isn’t good), then it’s safe to say that person probably doesn’t have much experience with product development and should be avoided for hiring purposes).
33. How do you know if your users are satisfied with your product?
This is an important question to ask during the interview. If they cannot provide a good answer, it’s safe to say that person doesn’t have much experience and should be avoided for hiring purposes).
This also allows you to see if they understand the different aspects of a user’s satisfaction with their product (i.e., features, usability, design).
34. What is your process for analyzing customer feedback and insights?
This will help you see whether or not the person knows how to go about this task. For example, if he/she says “I just ask them” (which isn’t good), then it’s safe to say that person probably doesn’t have much experience in this area and should be avoided for hiring purposes).
35. How do you prioritize research findings?
Another question where you can determine whether or not they know what they’re talking about. If they don’t have an answer, then it is possible that the company would spend too much time on something that may not be that important to the customer.
36. What are some of your best practices for conducting user research?
This question is helpful as well because you can see if they do a good job at explaining how and what their process entails, or if they don’t really have any idea on how it works.
37. How do you measure your KPIs?
The answer to this question can help the interviewer understand what their priorities are when it comes to measuring the success of their company as well as which metrics they use most often. They also may want someone who has been able to optimize conversion rates on an e-commerce site before in order to minimize customer churn rate and increase revenue per user acquisition channel.
38. How would you handle a frustrating customer service situation?
How would you handle a frustrating customer service situation, such as an angry client who has been on the phone for 30 minutes or longer? This question will help interviewers determine how the candidate handles pressure and if they can remain calm under difficult circumstances. What is your process to come up with new ideas?
What do you plan to say in order to convince them that we need this product right now (time-sensitive)? The best way to answer this question is by providing specific examples of past projects where they’ve helped launch successful products quickly while solving some other company’s issues at the same time.
What’s Your Communication Style?
A product manager should always be a good listener. The best candidates will have an open style of communication and can demonstrate their interest in researching and understanding more about the company.
The one thing every good PM has? it’s communication skills! Without being an expert communicator, how can you get across your ideas effectively? Here are few questions to ask the candidate.
39. How would you communicate progress made this week/month if I were not available?
A good answer here demonstrates an understanding of delegation skills which is vital for success in this role.
40. In your latest release, you shipped a bug that negatively affected 0.1% of your users and they have shared their negative feedback about the product experience with you. How will you communicate to them so that they are appeased until the next few days when there is a hot-fix ready?
The best answer here demonstrates an understanding of the need for communication to be proactive. A good response shows self-awareness as well as being able to articulate what drives them forward or motivates their work ethic.
A product manager should always be able to communicate with the customer and demonstrate a willingness to listen.
Cross-Functional Teamwork Management Interview Questions
While the majority of product managers work closely with executives, usually within organizational units, this set of interview questions shows if product managers can work in cross-functional teams.
41. How would you work with your team to come up with the best solution for a specific customer problem?
The answer should demonstrate that they have an understanding of how their team functions and will be able to communicate effectively. They also need to show confidence in themselves as well as showing empathy for others on their team.
If we were still at an early stage, I would make sure our marketing game plan is solid so that we can reach out and get feedback from potential customers about what features might interest them most before developing anything more than initial mock-ups or prototypes. If it’s not too late in the process, this could save us loads of time and money by getting valuable input upfront instead of relying solely on internal assumptions which may turn out to be wrong.
42. Tell me about a time where an engineer disagreed with you. How did you work through the issue?
This question of course will elicit varied responses but I would want to know the person’s approach, how they dealt with conflict and whether they were able to articulate a sound rationale for their position.
43. Tell me about a time where a designer disagreed with you. How did you work through the issue?
This question is important because the product manager needs to be able to work effectively with designers. We need someone who can articulate, compromise and collaborate across disciplines and not just within one discipline in particular.
44. What are your thoughts on agile development?
As a PM we would want someone that understands how Agile methodologies operate so they can communicate appropriately with those working in other departments such as engineering or design. They should also have experience implementing these methodologies themselves which will make them even more attractive for our team.
45. Talk me through a time where you had to say no to senior management.
This is a great question to find out how the candidate would handle difficult situations. Product managers may be given a variety of tasks each day, but that doesn’t mean they can accomplish them all in one day. If they exceed their available time or come up with better ideas, it’s important for them to know when and how to say no – this could result in conflict.
Product Design Interview Questions
Here are few questions on Product Design best practices in the interview.
46. What do you think makes an app successful?
That can depend on many factors. It’s best if the candidate shares their opinion on this question so that I know whether or not we share similar values when it comes to design. If they don’t have enough experience as product designers, then ask them why they want to become one and find out more about their goals with this position.
47. How would you handle scaling after launch?
The way that potential candidates answer will tell me a lot about how well-versed they are in dealing with customer feedback. If they have no idea how to scale and just want me to teach them, then that’s a big red flag for me because I need creative thinkers who are willing to take risks on their own ideas.
48. What are your thoughts on the future of designing products?
This is a great question to find out about their personal design philosophy. What’s important for them in terms of innovation, sustainability or function – and how does that translate into their product designs?
49. How would you describe an effective product designer?
Think back to some well-known designers from fashion, furniture, or industrial design – what was it that they were best known for (and why)? This will help us understand what our candidate considers most important when creating successful product designs.
50. What do you think is the role of aesthetics in good design practice?
Aesthetics encompasses so much more than just “making things look pretty”. Aesthetic decisions can affect everything from functionality to usability to how a product is used.
51. How do you feel aesthetics plays into good design?
This question is designed to understand how the candidate sees aesthetics in their design process.
52. What is your favorite color and why?
A question that will help you see what the candidates like, value, or cares about when it comes to aesthetics. What does this say about their design style or preferences for colors on products they create? How do they feel about different shades of a certain color (e.g., pink with hints of red)? Do they prefer more bold primary colors like yellow, blue, and green? Or muted pastel tones such as browns, grays, and lavender?
This can be an interesting window into who someone really is – even if it seems trivial at first glance!
53. What’s your least favorite color and why?
This question can help you understand their feelings in regard to certain colors. It can also provide insight into any design patterns or tendencies they may have that could be a boon for the company (e.g., avoiding the use of reds and oranges on products).
54. How do you feel about order?
Someone who is very neat and orderly will probably want everything set up neatly, which might make them more inclined to adhere to timelines throughout product development cycles. On the other hand, someone with no interest in being organized might not care much about how things are done at all!
55. What’s your favorite word?
This question should get people talking – but it has been known to reveal some interesting insights into personality traits such as creativity and vocabulary skills.
56. What are your thoughts on the role of form following function in good design practice?
Aesthetics and functionality are really important – but what happens if they come into conflict with each other? What’s more important: making something look nice or having it work well for its intended use case?
57. What are some common mistakes in user experience design?
Common mistakes in UX Design include designing for themselves instead of their customers, failing to take advantage of research data, and being too focused on formalized usability testing.
58. How do you know when a design is complete?
The design is complete is when the team is confident that it can execute on all of its requirements.
59. How do you measure success when working with clients?
The product manager should have a process established which outlines how they’ll know if these interactions were successful or not. This will make sure there’s no ambiguity about what constitutes success. It could be anything from tracking customer feedback to seeing an uptick in sales following an event (with evidence). A sign-off by senior management might also act as proof positive since this person would typically see firsthand whether business goals were being met.
60. What are three things you would do if your product failed?
This question is a great way to evaluate how the candidate would react in a negative situation. It’s important that they have well-thought-out contingency plans for every possible scenario – from what could be their own failure, or someone else’s.
Few Closing Questions To Finish Up The Interview Session
61. What is your favorite product and why?
This question can help you to understand how the candidate perceives products and why they have chosen their favorite.
62. What are your three best qualities?
This question is a great way to get insight into the applicant’s character, work ethic, and personality
63. What do you like most about our company’s product?
This question can help you to understand how the candidate perceives our company’s product.
64. What is your favorite part of our company’s culture?
This question can also demonstrate an understanding of what makes this company a desirable employer and employee for potential candidates.
65. How many hours per week do you work outside of your normal working schedule?
This question will help determine whether or not they are able to balance their personal life with professional obligations. What does it take in order for someone else to tell you when something has put stress on you? How would that person know if they weren’t told anything about what was going on at home and work, other than just noticing changes in behavior or appearance?” This question is intended to see how well the applicant is able to communicate what is happening in their life and how they are feeling.
66. What is your greatest accomplishment?
This question will allow the interviewer to see which aspects of work an applicant enjoys most, as well as where they find success or enjoy being challenged. Now that you’re a little older (or further into your career), do you wish that someone sat down with you when you were younger and explained everything about this job for which we’re interviewing today?” This question can be useful because it allows the employer insight on whether the candidate would have accepted an offer if given one years ago versus now; and also helps determine whether there has been any shift in interests over time.
We hope these Product Manager interview questions help you in your search.