If you’re applying at a tech company, sound interview preparation involves reviewing potential interview questions. Any good job interview will include both behavioral and product-based technical questions.
Rather than providing a template with sample answers where you’d end up sounding like every other interviewee who googled Product Manager Interview Questions and Answers, this guide covers why the specific questions are important. We’ll also guide you on how to nail your messaging throughout the interview process.
Whether it’s your first meeting with a recruiter, or you’re preparing for a final interview with stakeholders, this product manager interview question guide will help you stand out.
What are some of the qualities of a good product manager? A good product manager is:
Both data-driven and intuitive in their decision-making
Empathic to the customer
A strong communicator
Both strategic and visionary
Product Design Questions
1. What is better or lacking in our product compared to a competitor product?
Why it matters: The interviewer is looking to gauge your understanding of their market, your product vision, and ability to find product development opportunities.
How to answer: Prior to the interview, perform a competitive analysis and gain some firsthand experience using both the company’s product and competitors’ products so you can speak directly to the user experience.
2. Design a [new product] for [specific] users.
Why it matters: This type of question targets your ability to innovate and have compassion for a specific group. It also helps assess your approach to problem solving and designing new features.
How to answer: The first step when explaining your product roadmap is to clarify the business objective, such as increasing revenue or targeting a specific niche customer. Then focus on the target customer and their unique problems the product can solve. Finally, generate solutions to the problems and show prioritization of those easiest to implement and most valuable to the customer.
3. What’s your favorite product? What do you like and dislike about it?
Why it matters: The interviewer uses this question to gauge your ability to give an organized, well-researched answer, as well as your understanding of user satisfaction.
How to answer: Select a product you are familiar with and discuss insights only a user would know. You’ll have unique perspectives on the product features that address specific pain points.
4. Explain “low hanging fruit” in product management.
Why it matters: Interviewers want to know you can identify quick win opportunities.
How to answer: Explain how following market changes, identifying a feature opportunity, or a market in need of a solution can create substantial opportunities.
Product Management Role Questions
5. What was your most successful product as a product manager?
Why it matters: Interviewers are looking for you to provide a fundamental example demonstrating your technical skills and the explicit metrics of your biggest success.
How to answer: Describe your last great product in a way that demonstrates your technical knowledge. Include data, both quantitative and qualitative, that details how the product drove real business outcomes. Include any unique contributions you made to the product’s lifecycle and what methodologies were used to keep things on track.
6. How do you determine when it’s time to cut corners and move to product launch?
Why it matters: Hiring teams want to know exactly what you’ll do to get an idle product out the door.
How to answer: Discuss the circumstances which call for it (i.e. a time sensitive project, beyond deadlines, too much time already invested) and how to make sure the product still meets expectations.
7. How do you align the technical team, product vision, and business goals?
Why it matters: A question sometimes reserved for technical product managers, this goes beyond technical project management. Ultimately it helps hiring teams assess a product manager’s ability to manage people. It reveals how a product manager will communicate their product strategy with the engineering team and lead cross-functional teams.
How to answer: Your product strategy needs to integrate key product features with the needs of the market and business goals. Your answer should highlight the sheer number of meetings that are required and how to address pushback that will inevitably arise during development. Discuss how these meetings will address and resolve resistance along the way.
8. Why should we hire you for product management?
Why it matters: Interviewers ask this question to find out if you thoroughly understand the role and are able to align your skill set with the demands of the position.
How to answer: Use phrases and themes from the company’s product management job description that align with your background. Research the company beforehand so you are able to speak to that company’s needs specifically — rather than making sweeping statements about general product management positions. Finish with what sets you apart as the top product manager over other candidates.
General and Behavioral Interview Questions
Beyond technical skills, it’s also important to prepare for the behavioral interview. Find more questions below.
9. Tell me about yourself.
Why it matters: This is a general behavioral question to judge your communication skills and your ability to be succinct, rather than your product know-how.
How to answer: Describe your current working environment, relevant past experiences, why you’re a great fit for this company, and the position you are applying for.
10. Tell me about a time you failed.
Why it matters: A question often asked by Amazon hiring managers, this question assesses your ability to take a risk and to gather insight from your mistakes.
How to answer: Use an example from your own experience. Provide context, elaborate on the problem, and discuss your solution to the problem at the time. You’ll also want to discuss the impact of the problem and lessons you learned now that you’re on the other side of it.
If you need a starting point, check out the Amazon leadership principles — Ownership, Learn and Be Curious — and how you can apply them to your narrative.
11. How do you handle conflict?
Why it matters: Interviewers know that conflict among teams is inevitable. They’ll want to see evidence of your communication, conflict resolution skills, and your honesty and transparency when discussing difficult situations.
How to answer: Your answer should speak to your understanding of when it's the right time to challenge others, how to move forward despite disagreements, and when to enlist the help of other leadership members to resolve complex problems.
12. Why do you want to work for this company?
Why it matters: This question allows the interviewer to gauge how well you did your research before the interview.
How to answer: Make your answer specific to the company and include relevant personal experiences. If you have the opportunity through LinkedIn or another networking platform, speak with a team member from the company to get inside information and drop their name to demonstrate your commitment to researching the company. Choose 2 or 3 specific reasons you want to work for the company. Aim for your answer to be both narrow and brief.
How MVP Match Can Help
MVP Match offers freelance product managers an opportunity to connect with and get hired by companies building next generation products. Join our network to get started.
Not sure product management is right for you? Check out our other articles like how to become a product designer or product owners versus product managers.