Are you preparing for your upcoming product manager interview, but you don't know which questions to expect? Don't worry—June has prepared the ultimate article to help you ace your interview!
You'll learn what's expected from you as a product manager and you'll find out the most commonly asked questions that you'll potentially have to answer. So, keep reading our easy-to-follow article to prepare for your interview and ace it hassle-free!
Why Giving the Right Product Manager Answers Matters
If you enter a product manager interview unprepared, you’ll only increase the chances of being turned down. No matter your level of expertise and years in the industry as a product manager, you won't be able to read the interviewer's mind and make the conversation flow your way.
As a product manager, you need to be ready to keep a diverse discussion going to provide your interviewer with a lot of information about you and help them get a sense of you. Knowing what to expect at the interview and providing the correct answers will keep the conversation from going in the wrong direction and avoid the uncomfortable silence when you don't know what to say next.
Many people give up preparing for the interview, thinking there are no specific questions they can prepare for and that the answers they give are completely up to them. While both of these statements are true in one way, there's a significant number of relevant questions that every interviewer will ask you, as well as the right answers you need to give as a product manager.
What Is Expected from You as a Product Manager at an Interview?
The only thing as important as giving the correct answers in your interview is knowing what your interviewer is looking for in a product manager. Everyone wants to employ intelligent, adaptable, friendly, and quick-thinking people. But what else does a product manager need to be other than motivated and able to do his job?
A product manager needs to be strategic, insightful, resourceful, and able to work under pressure. Your goal will be to come up with strategies that will, with the help of your team, turn the vision of your product into a reality, which is not a small feat. As a product manager, you will be in charge of customer acquisition, user retention, feature releases, etc. June’s analytics reports can help you reach your products goals and make you into a first-class product manager hassle-free.
Incorporating the STAR Framework
Applying for such an essential position as a product manager is no small feat, so it's no wonder why people get nervous. If you're feeling the jitters, don't worry–you can use the STAR (situation, task, action, and result) methodology to coordinate your thoughts and nail the interview.
STAR is a framework that's not only efficient but also easy to use as it requires you to follow only four steps, including:
- Situation–Reference an impactful situation that grabs your interviewers' attention.
- Task–Talk about the task you had to complete and mention the challenge you had to overcome.
- Action–Describe the action you took to solve the problem and mention the teamwork and leadership it took to solve it.Result–Mention the outcome of your action (e.g., reference how much money your company has earned or how much time you've saved them).
Whether you're applying for a product manager position or any other job, the chances are that you'll likely be asked some general questions. These questions will help your interviewers know more about you, why you applied for the product manager position, your background, etc.
Although they might seem casual, general questions usually set the interview's tone, and answering them right will help you make a great first impression.
Some of the general product manager interview questions you might be asked:
- Yourself (e.g., your work experience, hobbies, etc.)
- How have you heard about the role of the product manager
- What interests you about this role
- What you expect about the new position
- Why you left your previous job
- What did you like or dislike about your last job
- Why do you want to work in the role of a product manager
- Your career goals and long-term plans
Product Management Questions
Once you're done answering general questions, you'll have to give answers to a more specific set of questions. These product management questions will allow you to give your interviewer a better picture of your thought process and understanding of the position. They'll also let you boast about the success of your past products and how you made the visions of your previous company come to life.
It would be best to answer these questions both from a problem-solving and technical standpoint, explaining to your interviewer what you know about the product/scenario, how you would solve it, and what you would use in the process. The most extensive advice we can give you here is to use your previous experience as your most significant advantage as it's the most efficient way to prove your worth.
The potential product manager interview questions you might hear at your interview are:
- What are some products of your own?
- What does the role of a product manager represent to you?
- What kind of customer research do you conduct?
- How do you usually develop strategies for your products?
- How do you build your roadmaps?
- How do you plan releases?
- How do you help your team come up with ideas?
- Tell us something about managing a feature from scrap to launch.
- Tell us something about the products you've successfully managed.
- Tell us what it takes to manage a successful product.
- Have you ever failed to manage a product, and why do you think it happened?
- What is the biggest lesson that you've learned from launching a product?
The best way to prepare for these sorts of questions is to read role descriptions of product managers online. Glassdoor, LinkedIn, and Indeed are some of the most common websites where you can find product manager ads. Reading these descriptions will help you see what most companies are looking for in the role they're hiring, and it'll allow you to get a better overall picture of the position.
To become a product manager, you need to have an analytical mindset. To test this during the interview, many companies will try to ask you questions that will help them understand how you think and how you analyze problems. Some of these analytical product manager interview questions might include:
- How many people are currently living in the US?
- How many MacBooks are sold every year?
- How much do American residents spend on gas annually?
- How many windows are there in Berlin?
- How would you find out how many Toyota drivers are there in Japan?
- How would you estimate how much network bandwidth would be used in a year if you were to build a new dating app?
Product managers are people who mainly work with other people. For some interviewers, finding out whether you're communicative and able to work under pressure is perhaps more important than knowing your past achievements. They will use behavioral product manager interview questions, which will help paint them a better picture of how you behave day-to-day in a company.
Behavioral interview questions for a product manager that you'll potentially have to answer are:
- How do you interact with customers or users of a product?
- How do you get over poor feedback or unsuccessful products?
- How do you choose which team member to listen to if two parties give different outputs?
- How do you use data to make decisions?
- Why are team members vital to you?
- How do you deal with unmotivated team members?
Pro tip: You might get asked a behavioral question about a situation that you haven't been in yet (e.g., either due to your previous company size or general experience). In these cases, you shouldn't just say that you haven't faced such a situation yet, but explain how you would face it in the future instead.
Your Time To Ask Questions
Regardless of the position, most interviews end with the interviewers asking the interviewee to ask them some questions in turn. This allows you to get more information on the company, its ethics, history, etc. More importantly, by asking the interviewers the right questions, you will demonstrate insightful thinking and curiosity.
To end the interview on the best note possible, you should ask some of the following questions:
- How do you manage your releases?
- How often do you release new features?
- What kind of customer research do you conduct?
- What relationship does executive leadership have with product management?
- What is the best thing about a product manager position in your company?
- Can you explain your onboarding process briefly?
- Why should I work for you?
Most Commonly Asked Product Manager Questions
Now that we went through most of the potential product manager interview questions you might be asked at your product manager interview, I'll show you how to answer some of the most common ones, such as:
- What Are Your Favorite Software Tools for Managing Team Members?
- What’s Your Preferred Way of Analyzing Data and Getting Insights?
- In Your Opinion, What Makes a Product Great?
What’s Your Preferred Way of Analyzing Data and Getting Insights?
Being analytical and able to get solid insights are some of the key qualities interviewers look for in product managers. To prove you have these qualities, I’d suggest you talk about user retention as it’s a key metric for measuring the growth of digital and SaaS products.
For this answer, you can use one of many June’s reporting templates as they allow you to get the crucial insights from your product hassle-free.
Once you provide your interviewers with a detailed explanation of your insights, you can then explain what these details allow you to achieve, such as transforming users into power users or keeping customers happy over time through retention tactics.
What Are Your Favorite Software Tools for Managing Team Members?
Apart from being a strong leader, being a great product manager means that you're keeping up with the trends of the industry and being up to date. The chances are that interviewers will ask you about the software you prefer using to coordinate and manage your team members.To prepare to answer this question, you first need to be acquainted with popular management apps such as Asana, Slack, Trello, etc. Then, you should describe your favorite app and then talk about its most useful features and how they help you complete your work.
In Your Opinion, What Makes a Product Great?
To answer this question correctly, you should be as precise as possible and talk about all the universal elements that characterize great products (e.g., simple, intuitive, efficient). To top it off, you should give off a few examples and link them with the characteristics you mentioned.
What To Do Once Your Nail Your Product Manager Interview?
Now that we've gone over all of the most commonly asked product manager interview questions and answers, it's up to you to practice and batten down for your product manager interview. Remember not to overthink and that everyone makes mistakes. So, relax, be natural, and you should ace your interview like a pro!
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