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The best questions to impress heads of product

August 01, 2018

The best questions to impress heads of product

It is obviously important that, in a Product Manager interview, you impress the interviewer. However, it can be sometimes hard to do that when the interviewer is an experienced professional that has encountered just about everything in the Product Management industry.  It’s even harder to impress your interviewer when the interviewer is a Head of Product. Heads of Products are Product Management professionals that are tasked with managing and leading all projects relating to the product, such as meeting all unmet needs of consumers and determining what improvements could and should be made.  


They are obviously going to be hard to impress, so what could you, someone that needs or wants a Product Management job and has a couple or no years of experience in Product Management, do to leave a positive noteworthy impression on the Head of Product?  You could answer all their questions correctly, but 1) that would be extremely difficult for even the most experienced professional to do and 2) an interview, especially a later-stage interview that involves a Head of Product or various stakeholders interviewing you, is not an exam to test your ability to do the job. In order to answer that question and find a solution, we have to first explain the true motive for the company posting that job hiring that you applied and interviewed for.


A company is hiring because they have a problem or unmet need that isn’t solved or met. Your role, as an applicant and prospectively the company’s newest Product Manager hire, is to comprehend those problems and unmet needs and solve them. A company hiring for Product Managers is more concerned if an applicant can comprehend the problem and solve it rather than if an applicant is qualified for the position. Considering that in hypercompetitive places like New York, just about everyone applying for the best Product Manager positions are qualified and can do the day-to-day tasks with ease. However, what separates the hires and the ones that don’t get hired is that the hires have either an available solution or looks to be ready to prepare one or displays a solid concern or interest in the company. In a Product Manager interview, the focus is always on the company hiring, not the applicant!


How do you then display this concern or interest, especially to a Head of Product?  Ask smart, detailed questions that show that you have done research on the company, is interested in working for the company, and wants to help out or lead a solution project. We here at Product Gym have supplied such questions that are thoughtful and detailed that are bound to impress Heads of Products at various companies. Not all of these questions will be applicable to every company; however, most questions will apply to the hiring company’s current situation.

 

  • When do we say internal, which stakeholder are we talking about? Who and where are all the stakeholders in the company?
  • What are some of the current tools built by your team?
  • What are some of the 3rd party tools used by customer service?
  • Why are you hiring for this role? What's the initiative?
  • How does the digital and email marketing cohorts work? What’s the dynamic with marketing? How much data and communication is happening between those cohorts and the Product Management team?
  • What kind of data points are we working with?
  • What is the content marketing strategy?
  • How are we targeting new consumers?
  • What does the company’s idea boards look like? How is it different from a service like Pinterest?
  • Is this project’s goal to launch a new product or improve an existing one?
  • What was the thought process behind rebranding the product?
  • Is the product a mobile or desktop app?  Is there plans to launch a version compatible with both mobile and desktop?
  • Which product are you seeing the highest conversion rate with its consumers?
  • What analytics are your team using?
  • Whats the user acquisition strategy? What has the been the most effective strategy?  What is the churn rate of the product?
  • Are there plans for a web to mobile transition?
  • What's the current bottleneck for the product? Is it a need to improve or automate the process or is it a need to prioritize improving features or coming up with new features and/or strategies?
  • What is the reason(s) for users to undownload our app?
  • What are our target user base’s demographic groups?  
  • Have your company considered an a la carte model?
  • Can I see the product’s data in the first 90 days of launching to the public?
  • What data sources are you using to pull all this data you analyze?
  • What is the company’s SEO initiatives?
  • What are the return rates for a user? Does a user post a review multiple times?
  • Have we thought of a referral program?
  • How do you get people to write reviews?
  • How is the company’s various team dynamics?
  • Is there an API? What about a tech stack?
  • What product will this role be for?
  • Talk to me about the chatbot initiatives for your product?
  • What do you charge for your product?  If it’s free, how do you earn funding?
  • I imagine there’s an internal dashboard for customers to view KPIs, right?
  • What are some of the challenges you guys are having in attracting new users/consumers?  What can be improved about the accessibility of the product?
  • How long has the position been open for?
  • How do you create brand awareness and separate your product from your rivals?
  • How big is the Product Manager team?
  • Who are the stakeholders involved?
  • This role sounds like more of a project manager role. What kind of interaction does the Product Manager have with clients? Does the Product Manager groom the backlog?
  • Is there any travel involved?
  • Can you walk me through a typical product life cycle?
  • How has the new change in leadership affected the product vision?
  • What sort of customization do you give clients?
  • How many different APIs and databases do you guys tap into to make a decision that quick? Did you guys develop a proprietary scoring algorithm?
  • Whats next on the product roadmap?
  • Are there partnerships in play with other companies?  What field are those companies in, and how do they help?

 

Please schedule a call or attend one of our events to learn most about the transferable skills you need to build regardless of which company you start your Product Manager career at.





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