Product managers help to provide to fruition new features and products that influence millions of users every day. They act as the overall managers of their products, showing leadership skills across design, engineering, and business teams.
A lot of companies are looking for product managers every day.
So, if you have recently secured a product manager interview, congratulations! With a lot of excellent product talent out there, it's an honor to have passed through the first screening process.
But it is not over yet, as you will need to perform very well and impress your interviewers more than the next applicants for you to land the job.
Below is a quick summary on how best to prepare for a Product Manager Interview
Skills Required to Work as a Product Manager
Below is a quick summary on how best to prepare for a Product Manager Interview
A good product manager is known by his/her soft skills, but an effective and excellent product manager is described by both soft and hard skills. A product manager can’t perform consistently with only soft skills.
That is why we have taken out time to explain in details the key soft and hard skills required to become an effective and excellent product manager.
Five Soft Skills That Will Help You Become a Stronger Product Manager
A Product Manager Should have A Way With Words
A product manager's day is occupied with communication jobs, like presentations, Slack discussions, meeting notes, training handouts.
You will need plenty of time to write. As a product manager, you are a depositary, maintaining all product ideas.
That implies you should, in addition, be a propagator of all designs. It is the job of a product manager to keep internal and external team members up to date on current issues. It's also the job of a product manager to give clear and detail command and control to design, improving, and engineering teams.
Information not properly presented can lead to misaligned improper expectations and failing to meet up with deadlines.
When it comes to teaching team members about different product ideas, a product manager needs excellent writing skills.
The profound line is that words are essential, therefore, a product manager needs to know how to make use of them effectively to aid his/her plan.
A Product Manager Must Know How To Sell (to engineers)
As a product manager, you have to sell your knowledge to people who can induce your vision to life like the engineers.
To do this properly, you must have a broad understanding of how engineers think. This implies you have to be technically savvy enough to be satisfied deliberating the technical features of your product.
And you must have a way of efficaciously transfer your product in a way that induces engineers on board.
Successfully impacting your ideas to engineers needs a combination of evangelism, inspirational storytelling, enthusiastic, and genuine empathy.
Engineers have their problem solving, displaying that you recognize where they are coming from shows you are an excellent product manager.
A Product Manager Must Take Time to Talk to Customers
Discussing with users is one of the most rewarding aspects of a product manager task. It is also one of the most potent methods to accomplish product success.
After all, one of the critical drivers of growth is customer loyalty.
As a good product manager, you are the voice of the client in your company. You have to have a close conception of their needs so you can effectively speak for an answer that meets those needs.
The shortest way to a compelling customer idea in a direct dialog is spending time to know more about your customers.
Begin by asking questions about how your products affect their lives differently. Ask questions such as:
What is it about this product that comes across your mind?
How does our product make things easier for you?
What problem has our product solved for you?
What other problems would you want our product to help you solve?
When clients make out time to discuss or share their experience, do well to write them down. Reply to their posts, and put them to work to show how valuable your customers are to the company.
Product Managers Should Be Able to Influence and Support Others
If you want to be successful as a product manager, you must support and influence serious people skills; technical and business skills are necessary; however, you will find it challenging to bring your vision to life without the same like minds.
Product management is not all about delegating duties; it involves encouraging and investing in others by knowing their weaknesses and strengths. And also consists of having sufficient motivation to get buy-in and ensure everyone works together to achieve a common goal.
Product Managers Must Know When to Delegate
Just like the saying, "Do what you know how to do best, and appoint the rest to others. It's spruce advice that only bright people follow. Product managers not only need to delegate tasks but also responsibilities.
If you give out assignments, but you still want your team to get approval for all decisions, you are not giving out the opportunities to empower your team and lesser your workload.
Every product manager needs the soft skills listed above to be successful. You need passionate knowledge and empathy to enable you to read the meaning and manage situations correctly and skillfully.
Most Important Hard Skills Required by a Product Manager:
At all-time, a product manager needs to make decisions on two things - your resources and your team's time.
You need to correctly develop a product roadmap that will result in success and profitability. Product managers must possess the ability to do many things at the same time.
They must possess skills related to design, technology, data, business to mention a few. The question now is, how can one person possess so many talents? Rome was not built in a day. So also, it isn't easy to build a career in product management.
The good thing is that you can always start from somewhere.
Customer Experience Design
The idea of a user experience design helps to foresee a unique and user friendly product that meets expectations of a customer.
When designing a product, a product manager must personally set standard for user composition and recognize user needs.
A product manager must introduce a data-driven culture in his/her company. Data will help you understand many phases of your product's performance and also formalize intuition you may nurture in this regard.
A Consistent understanding of data will enable you, monitor:
System of measurement around product consumption by customers.
Your inner mind as a product manager.
Misses and hits
Stages where end-users pull off at the time of usage.
Knowledge of the technical phase of your product will help you to use technology to proffer solutions to any problem that may come your way.
While using technology to provide solutions to issues as a product manager, you also need to create technical skills along the way.
If the product manager is an engineer, remind yourself that you are now a product manager, and too much use of your technical background in your professional team may not turn out good.
10 Things to do before your Product Manager Interview
Research your interviewers
Product managers finally report to internal stakeholders, which implies you will need strong alignments with the people above you, your peers, and those that you manage-and your interview is an opportunity to charm and convince them.
Aside from technical skills, the team will be ready to extend an offer if they like you. Knowing this, it is necessary to do some background check up on who will be interviewing you.
Don't be afraid to ask the coordinator of your interview the names of your interviewers, if you weren't told ahead of time.
Do external research
Many organizations are looking for candidates who are passionate about the space they are in; therefore, make sure you know a lot about the company's broader market coverage.
Also, do thorough researches on recent company news – from your latest research to PR scandals, the ability to speak to current happenings indicates you are interested in that particular company, not just in securing a job offer.
Find out who you will be working with
Product manager as a multi-tasks or cross-functional type of position, you will be working with a lot of people than those who interview you – so it is worth having an idea of who they are before the interview.
Plus, to enable you to have an idea about the types of backgrounds the organization looks for, having a broad knowledge of the various types of people and tasks will let you have a better sense of organizational culture before experiencing it firsthand.
Internalize Organization values
Many organization makes their internal values clear on their website or in recruiting manuals and conversations, therefore do all you can to find out what they are and know them before your interview.
To be sure, you don't need to obtain values you don't agree with, but knowing the company values can assist in preparing for what might be asked, and also serve as hint at the requirement on which you will be judged or evaluated.
Acquaint yourself with the company's product(s)
Familiarizing yourself with the company's products will put you ahead of other interview candidates.
Have a good understanding of the company's products, especially the product(s) you might be working on. If the product is consumable, undergo as much of the experience as without buying the products.
If the product is SaaS, for instance, (products not available to the public) try to request for screenshots or demo or do little research online to find reviews and other views about the product.
Focus on technical skills
Many organizations prefer analytical or computer science backgrounds in their product managers, therefore know this as you prepare.
When putting together your case studies, do well to think about examples that display your technical, plus to people, skills.
Get acquainted with the corporate structure
Each organization is structured a little differently, and this somehow relates to product managers, who always interfere with every business unit.
Having a broad knowledge of the company's structure and key stakeholders will not only help you if you later secure the job, but it will also help you interact with different stakeholders and your knowledge of their priorities.
Prepare for personal case studies
It's virtually difficult to prepare an answer or respond to every interview question, so the next best plan is to arrange case studies of work you've achieved in the past, which can be used as answers to a variety of "tell me about a time when you" questions.
In all, have a few of these case studies related to product instincts, teamwork and leadership, and stakeholder partnership.
Compile past mistakes
Interviewers of all kinds love asking about previous mistakes, as it is a way to check how well you learn from errors.
This question can be a tripping point if you are not well- ready, plus candidates always end up digging themselves into holes attempting to come up with a quality answer, therefore think through few mistakes, how you corrected them, and what you achieved.
Think about your favorite products.
Besides getting you in the product mood, making use of your favorite products before an interview will help you think more particularly about what makes products great or not.
These ideas can be applied to several questions, whether your interviewer questions for more general product thoughts or you are giving your opinion on what the organization already does from a product foresight.
What Is The Interview Like?
The interview process is lengthy and needs multiple interviews with multiple interviewers, so be ready for that.
There may be a few gap weeks in between steps where you won't get a reply from anyone, and this is to be known.
But if more than a month passes by, you should be able to accept it as a sign that you have been denied for this specific opportunity.
In provisions of the interviews themselves, whether they happen via video call or onsite, are not as full of different brain-teasing questions as they once were.
However, brainteaser questions can't predict how well a candidate would do on the job, so I feel it is no longer necessary.
Instead, work sample tests and ask structured interview questions. Companies like Google's interviewer will undoubtedly ask you what type of soup correspond with your personality more. However, that does not portray they will go easy on you, plus you should still target to prepare as much as possible.
Expect Discussions Around These Topics
In preparing for a Product Manager interview, expect discussions around the following topics:
- Product design – Thinking deeply/creatively about products – like how to design an app or how to monetize a website. Give analysis on features and feedback.
- Product strategy – understands the company's competitive landscape and talks about the vision of the company, the internet, the mobile market, and technology in general. Talk about long term product roadmaps and tricks to increase market share.
- Trends – a broad knowledge of the technical trends which are putting together momentum will be an essential tool in your interview armory.
List of Product Manager Interview Questions
Here is a definitive list of questions you can wait to be asked in a Product Manager interview. Get set to nail the interview at ease.
- Technical Questions For Product Manager Interview:
- How can you ensure that market-oriented partners fully understand technical issues?
- Can you give an example where a technical solution your team or you developed became a global product?
- When are Bayesian methods more relevant than "Artificial Intelligence" techniques for guess analytics?
- What is the relevance of technical teams and engineers as stakeholders? How do you bring them together into the overall product vision?
- Our engineering partners are used to employing Y methodologies. What is your say about them? Have you used them in the past?
- Product Management Questions For Product Manager Interview:
- What parts of product management do you find the most exciting?
- Tell me about a time when you had to motivate or build a team.
- What do you imagine a day to day would be like for a product manager?
- How do you imagine product managers relate to engineers?
- How would you describe product management to a 5 – year – old?
- What parts of product management do you see the least interesting?
- Tell me about your task on your team, who else you work with, and how you work with them.
- Product Questions For Product Manager Interview:
- How would you choose resources when you have two important things to attend to but can't do them at the same time?
- Explain a situation that required you to say no to a product or idea.
- How do you determine what and what not to build?
- What is a product you usually make use of every day, why and how would you reform it?
- There is a data point that specifies that there are more Uber drop-offs at the airport than pick-ups from the airport. Why is this the predicament, and what would you do on the product to change that?
- How would you reform the functionality 10x of what is available now?
- How do you know if a product is adequately designed?
- In what ways would you redesign our product?
- How would you explain our product to someone?
- What has made the Y product successful?
- What is it that you don't like about our product?
- Who are our major competitors?
- Suggest a new feature for Amazon. What metrics would you use to examine its success?
- Analytical Questions For Product Manager Interview:
- How many persons are online in Europe currently?
- How many iPads are been sold in the USA every year?
- How much money does the USA spend on Gas yearly?
- Which process will you use in finding out the numbers of red cars in China?
- ______ metrics are down. How would you go about detecting the root cause?
- Behavioral Questions For Product Manager Interview:
- Tell me about a challenging problem you took on.
- Tell me about how you relate to users/customers.
- Explain how you overcame product challenges/failures or poor feedback.
- Have you ever influences someone? How did you do it?
- Explain how you have used data to make a decision.
- One stakeholder says that feature A is more relevant, and another stakeholder says Feature B is more relevant. How do you choose which one to implement?
- Tell me about an error you have committed and how you corrected it.
- Leadership and Communication Questions For Product Manager Interview:
- Is consensus often a good thing?
- What is the best way to work with stakeholders?
- What is the best way to work with users and customers?
- What types of people do you like to work with?
- What type of people do you find it difficult to work it?
- How would you convince a team to stick to a schedule?
- Explain the difference between management and leadership.
- General/personal/basic Questions For Product Manager Interview:
- Tell us why we should hire you?
- What do you do in your leisure time?
- What do you want from your manager to be successful?
- What is the hardest decision you have ever had to make?
- Where do you intend to be in the next5 years?
Conclusively, preparing for a product manager interview is like preparing for any competition or exam.
For instance, athletes discuss getting into the zone, and you also need to enter into the zone. You should be able to achieve this by following all we have written above.
This may be difficult if you are starting new and don't have much experience with the product manager role.
However, as mentioned above, doing a little research about the company will help.
The ability of a product manager to sell ideas to prospective clients to buy into his/her idea, and how to weird influence on a product and choice is what is most Paramount.
Therefore, in preparing for a product manager interview, this should be a major focus, in addition to communication skills, knowledge of product, company, trends amongst others mentioned above.