Product manager interview questions vary depending on the position and the product. But, like the ol’ classic, “tell me about yourself”, you can count on your interviewer asking you The Favorite Product question: “What is your favorite product, and why?” Heck, they may even ask you how you would improve your favorite product.
Get this question right, and you’ve aced a good part of your interview. Sounds like a lot of weight for a seemingly casual question, right? An insightful, articulate answer will set you apart as an astute Product Manager who’s up to the task.
How do you answer this question successfully? Here’s what our instructors and interview coaches recommend.
What Are Interviewers Looking for When They Ask This Question?
You may be asked “what is your favorite product” more than once throughout the Product Manager interview process, depending on who is interviewing at each phase. The reason is, this seemingly generic question actually helps the team decide how well you will fit in with the team. At its core, this is a culture fit question. Recruiters and interviewers are looking for 3 things when they ask the favorite product question.
3 Key Ways to Answer the Favorite Product Question
When you describe your favorite product you want to do these three things:
1. Tell Them Something About You
Although Instagram or Twitter may truly be your favorite app, that is not the best answer to give during your interview. It is a basic app that the majority of people are using daily. Your favorite product should tell the interviewer something about you. Make it unique and personal.
2. Teach Them Something New
Try to highlight a less-common product most people have never heard of. Introduce a new product to the interviewer. Something interesting that will benefit them in some way, whether at work or home.
3. Show Them How Well You Communicate
By telling the interviewer what your favorite product is and why you are exhibiting your ability to communicate with the product team. The way you answer this question will help them decide if you are someone they feel they can work with daily.
How to Answer the Favorite Product Interview Question
Figuring out what you’re going to say ahead of time is helpful for your confidence, but at the end of the day, an overly structured answer isn’t a great way to make you or the interviewer comfortable. Use this outline to prep what you want to say, but don’t overthink it. Remember: it’s a conversation.
On the flip side, many candidates immediately launch into listing all the features of their product and go on and on until the interviewer shows disinterest. This waters down the impact your answer could have. As mentioned before, it’s a failed opportunity to display your communication skills. So, don’t just blurt out the first product that comes to mind, or the app you were using just before you stepped into the interview room. Instead, prepare your answer ahead of time.
As with many Product Manager interview questions, the favorite product question is less about getting the right answer, and more about showing you have a firm understanding of the topic and proving your competence. The best way to do this is by following a process that allows you to put your most suitable responses first and stops you from rambling.
7 Best Favorite Product Examples
Going for a popular product could make your answer seem cliché and bland. The interviewer has likely heard a million different takes on the pros and cons of products like Uber or Instagram. What should you pick? Here are 7 types of products that can really make you shine in an interview. Reference one of these products will help you better connect with the person that’s interviewing you which is the ultimate goal.
Whatever you choose, make sure to pick a product you genuinely love. Personally connecting with a product allows you to gain unique insights into its features and usability. Your enthusiasm and passion will also help you give a more compelling answer.
1. Learning App
Apps like Duolingo or Skillshare are great examples of learning apps you can highlight as your favorite product in a Product Manager interview. You can learn almost anything these days on an app, from foreign languages to playing instruments. Talking about an app that you use to develop a new skill or hobby tells the product team a little bit about who you are outside of the office. It also shows that you’re someone who is always looking to develop and grow.
3. Productivity App
There are several apps that have the shared goal of helping users be more productive, from the simple Google Calendar to the award-winning Things 3. Introducing the interviewer to a new productivity app will not only benefit them but will also show them that you are organized and focused: two great qualities of a Product Manager.
You can step up your game even further by referencing a freelance website such as Fiverr or Upwork. Talk about your experience hiring a virtual assistant through one of these apps and how it has improved your life and freed up your calendar, giving you more time with your family and doing things you enjoy doing. The goal is to interest your interviewer on a personal level where they might veer from the Product Manager interview script to learn more about the product you are pitching.
3. Trade Platform
Trading is a hot topic right now. So, mentioning a trading platform — such as E-Trade — can be a great conversation starter that will intrigue the product team. Everyone is interested in learning more about the stock market and how they can potentially benefit from it.
If stocks are something you are knowledgeable of, give them a stock tip! You can even talk about what type of companies you invest in to give them an idea of how you would fit in with the team.
4. Mental Health App
Mental health apps such as Headspace and other meditation apps have been gaining popularity recently. In our society, people are more anxious than ever before. Stress is a topic that everyone can relate to. Showing that you are calm, decisive, and focused makes you more appealing for the Product Manager position.
Talking about your life stressors and highlighting how the app helps you on a daily basis can help your potential colleagues manage their own mental health. You could introduce them to a new product that improves their daily lives and that will make the interview worthwhile regardless of the employment outcome.
5. App to Meet New People
According to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, people need a sense of belonging. Products that are designed to help you meet new people and make new friends are tending to those needs. Apps such as MeetUp and Vina bring people together who share hobbies or values.
If you’ve had success meeting new people through these types of apps, share your experience in your response to the favorite product interview question. You could even reference a dating app, but be sure to read your audience first and deliver the pitch clearly.
6. Travel App
Almost everyone you meet in the corporate world is looking forward to vacation. Time to relax and unwind with loved ones is something we all want, but work and finances can get in the way. Introduce an app like Hopper or Vrbo in your interview to add value for the product team. Any app that allows you to travel and have fun on a budget is beneficial to everyone.
7. Health Product
Any type of health product, such as a Renpho Scale or Fitbit, is a great product to highlight in your Product Manager interview. Products that are interactive through an app interface that helps you live a healthier life are important for everyone to be aware of. Taking care of yourself is incredibly important, especially now, and teaching others how to easily monitor their health status as well is even better.
How to Prep For “What Is Your Favorite Product and Why?”
Regardless of the type of product you choose to mention in your Product Manager interview, you will want to construct the answer the same way. Introduce the problem, express how the product is the solution, and cover the impact of the product.
Do not suggest a product that you do not use or believe in. Just because we are recommending you highlight one of the seven types of products above does not mean you should choose an example that sounds the best and run with it. One goal when answering the favorite product interview question is to show the interviewer how well you can pitch a product. So, you will need to be authentic and passionate about the product you are promoting.
To make a good answer great, ensure you have insight that you can communicate concisely. Answer the following questions in your interview prep to make sure you have a solid grasp of the product you’ve chosen:
- What is it and what does it do?
- Who are the users of the product?
- What are the users’ needs?
- How does this product solve those needs?
- Who are its competitors?
- What are its shortcomings and how would you make it better?
Come up with clear answers for the above while being as concise as possible. Your interviewer will likely have other candidates to interview, so prepare short yet memorable answers. Be careful not to approach the product as a consumer would: you should explain what you like about the product from a Product Manager’s perspective.
Lastly, don’t tell interviewers what you think they want to hear. Show them that you’re driven by the challenges of product management and design with your own ideas and opinions.
“What Is Your Favorite Product and How Would You Improve It?”
Interviewers will often follow up the favorite question by asking you what you would change about it. You may even encounter this element in one go: “What is your favorite product and how would you improve it?” is a common first and second round product manager interview question.
When an interviewer asks you how you would improve your favorite product, it’s an opportunity to demonstrate two key areas:
1. Your Understanding of Product Design
Solid knowledge of your favorite product from a product design perspective shows your prospective employer that you know what makes an excellent product. What makes this product loved by users like you? What qualities and features fulfill your needs and what is lacking? They want to see if you can discern the answers to questions like these.
2. Competitor Awareness
Your favorite product exists in a wide ecosystem complete with competitors. Your interviewer wants to see if you are knowledgeable about competitor alternatives and if you can identify what sets it apart from the rest.
Prepare Your Answer
Take some time in your interview prep to consider your favorite product from a critical standpoint. Look at the following areas and ask yourself if they could be improved:
Does the product solve what it sets out to solve? Put the user first when considering how your product could be better:
- How does the product solve the user’s problem?
- What qualities or features delight the user?
- Are users attached to the product? If so, why?
Remember that for the sake of this question, you are the user. After all, you’re having a conversation about what you’ve just stated is something you love.
Explore the competition or alternatives to see how your product measures up.
- What are the alternatives and how do they compare to your product?
- What sets your product apart from the competition and why do users prefer it?
Prep for The Most Common Interview Questions
Favorite product question aside, don’t forget to prep for the interview as a whole:
- Get familiar with the Product Manager interview process. From the applications to onsite interviews, know what to expect for both general elements and the company you are applying to.
- Learn the common questions and prepare for them. Like the topic at hand, there are several questions interviewers like to ask to span: Strategy, design, technical aspects, analysis, and user behavior.
- Prepare and practice how you’re going to answer the questions. Mock interviews in realistic interview conditions go a long way in getting you comfortable on the D-Day.
Ace the Interview, Get the Job
Ultimately, this PM interview question is a way for your interviewer to gauge your understanding of product design and user awareness. It is an essential element to getting ahead in the interview process.
Want to learn more from our expert instructors? Check out our free online training for tips on resumes, case studies, acing the PM interview, and more! We’re here to help you get the job of your dreams. You got this!