Product Management Second Round Interview Questions

Second round calls are usually with the director of product management, who are the hiring managers and likely your boss.

Here are the areas to focus on:

  • Control the conversation and break the cadence of question and answer. The hardest part about this interview portion is controlling the pace of conversation. Remember, these are hiring managers – but that doesn’t mean they manage the hiring. It just means that they make the final decision on whether or not to hire. They are NOT professional recruiters and its likely that they do not have a bank of questions to ask. There will be awkward pauses, times where one of your ramble, and just general miscommunication. The idea here is to control that miscommunication. Don’t make it into an interrogation. If you feel that they are just asking you a question and you are giving an answer, and then the next question is asked, another answer etc, you’re failing the interview. You need to turn it into a conversation – comment on different parts of the answer, and pose the same questions back to them. KEEP THEM ENGAGED

 

  • Find out what they are doing because you need to know that information for later interviews. What that means is that when you ask them questions about their products, and when you are controlling the conversation, you’re the one giving the interview. It means that you have committed a level of competency and you’re checking whether or not it is a good fit for you. You’re checking whether or not they know their shit. And that communicates confidence and competency when they hear that. You have to understand that they need you. If you made I to the second round, they’re evaluating whether or not to bring you on because you have a set of skills. This is not an interrogation. The best questions that you can ask are questions about successes and wins as well as difficulties and change.

 

  • Many of the first and second round calls start with “Tell me about yourself” or “Walk me through your background.” – Here you want to focus on the below points. The examples you give MUST be focused on YOUR RESPONSIBILITIES as a Product Manager. Think about specific examples where you were in a somewhat agile testing environment, or when you were dealing with a designer. It might not have to be a UX designer, but a designer of a specific system or an engineer. These are specific personas that exist in all sorts of organization, not just in software companies.

 

  • When was a time you owned the product end-to-end? Variations of this question include:
    • What’s a day in the life of {YOU} as a Product Manager?
    • Walk me through your product development life-cycle

The answers to these questions are QUESTIONS THEMSELVES. Start your answer by saying that “It depends on the product” or “It depends on how you define what the product is”. Answering this way shows that you have the breadth and depth of dealing with multiple products and features. THEN give examples in your background where you addressed product development in your background.

When you’re giving the specific examples- let’s say three products that you owned, either peripherally or that you were directly involved with. Dive deeper into each specific one and the examples that you think has the most relevance to the product development life-cycle.

How much of the product development life-cycle can you cover? The key stakeholders, the key pain points, any testing that you did and then release. The level of detail you give on each will depend on the product manager that interviews you because a lot of these Product Managers come from a different background, much like many of you. So if they are a customer account manager or a customer success background, they probably are gonna ask you more details about how you prioritize customer pain points. But if they have an engineering background they probably are gonna ask you to walk them to a time when the engineering deadline was pushed back. What did you do with that difficult engineer?

Please schedule a call today or RSVP for our next event to see how Product Gym can help you land your next Product Manager job.

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