Table of Contents

16 Product Manager Interview Questions You Need to Think About

Product Manager interview questions are typically spread out over four rounds of interviews. The first two rounds are where you will encounter behavioral and introduction questions. Typically, the first round is conducted by a recruiter and the second round is conducted by the product team. The third and fourth round interviews involve a case study and are more focused on determining your cultural fit in the company.

The first two rounds are your chance to prove yourself as a valuable candidate for the Product Manager position. Most of your Product Manager interview preparation will be for the first two rounds. Here, we’ll be going over 16 of the most frequently asked Product Manager interview questions specific to the first and second round calls. For a comprehensive look at the interview process from beginning to end, take a look at our complete Product Manager interview guide to be fully prepared. While you may not get these product manager questions word by word, it’s good to know that you will receive some variation. So, take some time for  to avoid stepping into interviews unprepared!

8 First Round Product Manager Interview Questions

The 8 product management interview questions you are most likely to hear in round one are:

  1. Tell me about yourself. Walk me through your background and experience.
  2. Why are you interested in [company]?
  3. Why are you interested in leaving your current company?
  4. Have you ever worked in an Agile environment? / Do you currently work in an Agile environment?
  5. How do you determine if your product is successful?
  6. How do you define your product roadmap?
  7. What are you looking for in your next role?
  8. What makes a good Product Manager?

How to Answer First Round Interview Questions

Preparing for the first round screening call mostly involves organizing your professional background in a concise and thorough pitch. You will most likely talk with a Recruiter or a Hiring Manager. The pass criteria for this interview is how much experience you have that is relevant to the role.

How to Talk About Yourself, Your Background, and Your Experience

Most often an interview starts with one phrase: Tell me about yourself. It seems like a harmless icebreaker but it is actually your first opportunity to impress the interviewer. What they really want to know is who you are as a Product Manager. The examples you give when introducing yourself, your background, and your experience should highlight your responsibilities as a Product Manager. Aim to use language that is relevant to the industry you’re moving into, as well as product management lingo.

There are a few different approaches you can take when answering this question. First, you can reflect on your start in the industry and your experience in previous Product Manager roles. Your second option is to talk about a project you are currently working on and the team you are working with.

 

How to Prepare For the Question “Why Are You Interested in This Company?”

This is your chance to show the recruiter that you actually did your research on the company before applying for the Product Manager position. The best way to prepare for this company is to go on to the company’s LinkedIn page or their website and find some recent news articles about that company that interest you. This is a great way to familiarize yourself with what is currently happening in the company.

Although you are probably applying to multiple jobs a day, you want to make the company you are interviewing with feel like they are the only company you are interested in. They want to hire someone who is passionate about the work they are doing.

How to Talk About Leaving Your Current Company

It is very important to never talk badly about your current company. No matter how bad your situation may be, it is a major turn-off for hiring managers when a candidate talks down on their current employer. Instead, you want to respond to this question by acknowledging how much you have learned at your current company.

Your reason for leaving should be tailored to the company you are applying for. When you research the company, find something new and exciting that is happening in that company such as a new product they are launching or their recent expansion. Respond to this question with your excitement to get involved. Your response can also be about personal growth. Maybe you currently work for a large company and are looking to move into a smaller company for a new experience. If you are switching industries, talk about where your new interest came from.

How to Answer Agile Interview Questions

Expect to encounter questions about your experience with Agile in both the first and second round videos. Check out the video above for a full breakdown on both.

In an Agile environment, products are developed through short cycles of work called sprints. This allows teams to focus on flexibility and adapt as they gain more understanding of the product and the user. Many companies have implemented the Agile methodology because of how efficient it is. You will want to talk about your experience in this type of environment and how it works for you as a Product Manager.   

How to Answer the Interview Question “How Do You Determine if Your Product is Successful?”

This question is truly asking about key performance indicators (KPIs). They want to hear about how you manage KPIs and which KPIs you view as most important for tracking the success of a product. This is also your chance to talk about your customer empathy. A product is only successful if it is solving the problem of the customer.

How to Define Your Product Roadmap

Your product roadmap outlines your vision as a Product Manager and guides the goals of the team. When you are asked to define your product roadmap, hiring managers are hoping to get a glimpse of how you prioritize your work. You want to demonstrate that you can work well under pressure, as well as how you prioritize.

How to Answer the Question “What Are You Looking For in Your Next Role?”

Your main goal with this product manager interview question is to express to the Hiring Manager that you are excited about the position, you plan to stay committed to the company, and you meet the requirements of the job description. If this Product Manager position is just a stepping stone for you on your journey to owning your own business, don’t share that information in your interview. Companies hiring for a permanent position want to hire someone they can rely on for the long haul.

When constructing your answer, start with your skills that show you are a suitable candidate for the role. Next, talk about what motivated you to apply for this role in particular. Use this as an opportunity to make the company feel that you are only interested in this role, not just applying to every Product Manager position on the internet. Then, mention some of your long-term goals and how this position will help you achieve them.

How to Answer the Question “What Makes a Good Product Manager?”

For this question, it’s best to rely on the knowledge and lessons learned from veteran Product Managers. Let’s see what Jason Glassman, Product Gym Instructor and VP of Customer Success and Growth at 1o Inc. has to say:

The role of a Product Manager differs from one company to another. Without a clearly defined role, it can be difficult to highlight exactly what makes a good Product Manager. Regardless of the company, every Product Manager needs to be a good communicator and work well with people across teams. To answer this question, try talking to veteran Product Managers and getting their thoughts. You’ll likely get a wide assortment of responses, but you can use that context to form an answer that works for you.

8 Second Round Product Manager Interview Questions

While a second round doesn’t require preparation as intense as the first round, you will still need to know what to expect. Here are 8 product management interview questions you are most likely to hear in round two:

  1. How do you make your team more Agile?
  2. What is your product development lifecycle?
  3. How do you prioritize your backlog?
  4. How do you make product decisions?
  5. Where do you get new Ideas for features?
  6. If {company} wanted to implement {some feature}, walk me through your thought process.
  7. How closely do you work with design?
  8. Tell me about a difficult time you worked with a {designer, engineer, senior leader, etc}.

How to Prepare for Product Manager Interview Questions for Second Round

The second interview dives deeper into the specifics of your process as a Product Manager. You will most likely be speaking to members of the product team. Many of our members tell us that they don’t have enough experience with different kinds of stakeholders. Therefore, they struggle to answer interview questions that require them to speak about those. To make it through this interview you will need to impress the company with your systems for managing stakeholders, working in an agile environment, and interacting with customers.

How to Answer Questions About How You Prioritize Your Backlog

In your interview, the product team will ask you how you prioritize your product backlog. When joining a new team we recommend that you take a week or two to learn the systems and processes currently in place for prioritizing the product backlog. Implementing new systems on day one of the job tends to frustrate people — which is not what you want to do in the Product Manager role. Explain to the interviewer why you choose to do this and how you feel it benefits the team. Include plans to improve the process as needed while keeping the parts that everyone seems to like about the current system.

How to Answer Questions About Your Product Management Process

You may hear these questions asked more than once throughout your interview process because they make it easy for the interviewer to gage your product management experience level. Use a previous project that you worked on as an example when answering interview questions about your product management process.

What Is Your Product Development Lifecycle?

When describing your product development lifecycle in an interview, be sure to cover the key stakeholders, the key pain points, and any testing that you did. Depending on who is interviewing you they may want you to dive deeper into one part or another. Walk them through each product development lifecycle phase:

  • Discover
  • Research
  • Design and Prototype testing
  • Engineering
  • Iteration

How Do You Make Product Decisions?

Whoever is conducting you Product Manager interview is not expecting you to give one perfect answer to this question, but there are characteristics of acceptable answers that they are listening for. Structure your answer with these eight steps:

  1. Define the problem you were trying to solve
  2. Talk about your research
  3. Write down any ideas you have
  4. Define relevant metrics
  5. Prioritize the features
  6. Spec out the features
  7. Testing
  8. Launch product and continue to get customer feedback

Where Do You Get New Ideas for Features?

New feature ideas develop from customer feedback. Continue using your past products as examples. Talk about your process for obtaining customer feedback and what ideas you came up with to improve the product based on said feedback.

How to Answer Questions About Cross-Functional Teams

It is very common to get asked about your experience as a Product Manager working with other teams, particularly design and engineering. These are not intended to be technical questions. They are not asking about your processes, they are asking about your soft-skills when working with cross-functional teams.

Highlight your ability to empathize with the engineering team. You want to express to the interviewer that you understand the needs of the engineering team and that you appreciate the work that they do. When talking about the design team, you want to highlight your ability to effectively communicate ideas and priorities.

When in Doubt, Work With an Interview Coach

If you’re struggling to convert Product Manager interviews into job offers, interview coaches like the ones at Product Gym can help you develop a strategic approach to acing every round.

Interview coaches provide a range of services to help you navigate the gruelling Product Manager interview process as an aspiring or first-time Product Manager. Some of these services are tangible and easy to unpack, like reviewing your case study presentations before you submit them and providing pieces of strategic advice when it comes to these tricky first and second-round interview questions and salary negotiation.

But product management interview coaches can also help you in more hard-to-describe ways. For example, an interview coach might help you recognize red flags in the interview and navigate which companies you do and don’t want to pursue based on culture fit. They can also help you build your confidence, crush imposter syndrome, and develop a growth mindset. Our goal is to help our members land a Product Manager job they love, and succeed in their day-to-day as a PM. All in all, an interview coach will help ensure you make the absolute best impression possible on your interviewer.

Still Have Questions?

Preparing for your Product Manager interviews can be daunting, but we’ve got your back. Schedule a free coaching call today with a Product Gym career coach for advice and interview help tailored to your specific situation and background. We’d love to help you land more interviews and prepare for each of them.

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin