How to Answer the “Why Product Management” Interview Question

why product management interview question

If you’ve ever found yourself sitting in front of a hiring board, you’ve probably been hit with the “why product management” interview question. What is it that made you choose to become a Product Manager?

Well, if you’re just starting your transition into this role, answering “why product management” can be tricky. Unsurprisingly, even after people have conducted their research, many don’t deliver a satisfying answer. And that ends up affecting the outcome of their interview. 

Today, we’re going to show you a proven strategy of not only being able to deliver great answers, but also figuring out the best response for your situation.

What Are Employers Looking for in a Product Manager?

Before we tackle the “why product management” interview question, it’s crucial to get into your interviewer’s mindset. So, what exactly are they on the lookout for?

The go-to response is typically someone who possesses intelligence, wits, and the ability to adapt, think, and act quickly.

However, more importantly, many employers are seeking someone who is enthusiastic about the position, can collaborate with many teams, and can prioritize improvements that they already know people desire. So, any answer you formulate should incorporate these qualities.

When an interviewer asks you why you’re making the switch, they may also be trying to bait out a genuine response from you to get a better grasp of your overall thinking. They want to know if you see this position as a temporary stepping stone or if it fits in with your long-term goals. If your answer gives the interviewer the impression that this is a six month gig for you, you’ll probably have your resume pushed to the bottom of the stack.

Common Responses to “Why Product Management?”

The “why product management” interview question will generally be one of the first ones out of the gate. This is especially true if you’re a first time Product Manager trying to break into the role. 

You can communicate your interest in product a myriad of ways:

  • You’ve had some working experience with product.
  • You’ve worked alongside engineers.
  • You’ve heard it’s one of the fastest growing positions.

However, these answers don’t really answer why you truly want to switch career paths. Afterall, changing careers is a big undertaking.

Another common mistake that many potential PMs make is that they answer with generic keywords. You might hear “I want to transition into product management because I’m interested in:

  • Working cross-functionally,
  • Developing product vision,
  • Creating product personas,
  • Building product road maps,
  • Communicating with stakeholders.”

Avoid keyword-stuffing your interview responses. While these answers contain the “right” buzzwords, there’s nothing within them that can help set you apart. 

 

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How to Formulate the Best Response to “Why Product Management”

At Product Gym, we love results-based strategies. Our quick tip today will give you the material you need to craft a unique and sincere answer to “Why Product Management” for yourself.

Step 1:

Go on Linkedin. For the next 21 business days, use the search bar to find Product Managers. Then send them a message.

Step 2: 

Each day, ping around 30 Product Managers. You don’t want to come off salesy, so make it clear that you’re not looking for help or tips in getting an interview. 

Simply state that you just want to know one thing: why did they transition into product management? That’s it. You don’t need to ask for a follow up call, or anything else to take up their valuable time.

Keep in mind that it’s highly unlikely that all 30 people are going to respond to you. Most likely five people from a batch would respond to you in the next three weeks.

Step 3:

Once you have seen about 10 to 15 responses, you’ll have a very clear idea as to why other other Product Managers have decided to break into this field. From there, you can combine a few of these responses. Tailor them to your own personal experiences: what have peopl said that resonated with your own reasons? 

This method may also help solidify your decision to make he career change. If no Product Managers have reasons for the transition that aligns with your own, perhaps you should ask yourself “why product management?” before the interviewer does. How confident are you in that product management is right for you?

Boost Your Career Opportunities

The goal of delivering a great answer to the “why product management” interview question is to incorporate yourself and your story into the response.

Need more advice on how to prepare for the most common interview questions? If you need to hone your interview skills, we’re here to help.

Our career coaches are offering free coaching sessions. In a 30-minute call, we can guide you by analyzing your current situation, defining your product management career goals, addressing any current bottlenecks and roadblocks, and developing your action plan moving forward.

Contact us today to schedule your free consultation.

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