Senior PM guide to product manager interviews

Exponent Team

Before You Apply

54 top product manager interview questions, q1: favorite product, q2: improve instagram stories, q3: short-term sacrifices, q4: increase airbnb bookings, junior vs. senior pm candidates, pm interview framework, pm interview faqs.

Getting ready for an upcoming product manager interview and want to know which questions to prep for?

Below, we share the most commonly asked product manager interview questions and how to answer them. We'll dive deep into sample answers and the best ways to prepare for your upcoming interviews—all in a time crunch

We wrote this PM interview guide with the help of 22  senior PM and APM hiring managers and coaches from Google, Meta, Amazon, Stripe, TikTok, Snapchat, Razorpay, Paypal, and Apple.

Stephen Cognetta (Google PM) explains the most common product management interview questions you should expect to answer.

Landing a product job requires more than just applying! 

Spend time understanding the companies you want to work for, practice top questions alone and with peers, and build a story bank for your big day.

  • Create an excellent PM resume:  Companies like Google receive over  three million applications yearly . 80-90% of candidates never pass the resume screen. Ask friends, mentors, or our tech resume coaches to review your resume. Use our  PM resume template  if you need help getting started.
  • Prepare for interviews:  The product management interview process will test your product sense, product design, product strategy, analytical and estimation skills, and behavioral fit with the company. Review the most frequently asked questions and answers (below). 
  • Review the company:  Each company has a unique mission, products, and approach to PM interviews. Spend time understanding how they envision their place in the world. How could you help them achieve that vision? 
  • Practice:  Even the most knowledgeable candidates can feel nervous during the interview. You can practice with Exponent's free  peer-to-peer PM mock interview  portal. Every day, PM candidates role-play in 1:1 mock interviews and give feedback.
  • Interview:  All the preparation and hard work you've done has led up to this moment! It's time to turn on your camera and nail those PM interviews!

To create this list, we analyzed over 1,700  recently asked product manager interview questions  reported by real candidates.

In PM interviews, expect a mix of these types of questions:

  • Product Design (35%)
  • Behavioral (20%)
  • Product Strategy (15%)
  • Analytical (10%)
  • Estimation (5%)
  • Technical (5%)
  • Craft & Execution (Google Only)

Product Design Questions

  • What's your favorite product and why?  Watch a Google PM answer .
  • How would you improve our product?
  • Design a product for drivers during rush hour.  Watch a Google PM answer . 
  • How would you improve Instagram Stories?  Watch a Microsoft PM answer .
  • How would you improve Spotify as a podcast application?
  • How would you improve Walmart's e-commerce platform?
  • Design a refrigerator for a busy office.
  • How would you improve Google Flights?
  • Design a meditation app.
  • Design a gardening product for Facebook.

Product design is one-third of the PM interview process, making it a key opportunity to showcase your product thinking skills like:

  • User empathy and user-centered design
  • Feature prioritization
  • Product modification for success in new markets or use cases

To answer, walk the interviewer through your design process.

How to Answer Product Design Questions Framework

  • How do you pinpoint user pain points?
  • How do you pinpoint effective solutions?
  • How do you prioritize features?
  • What metrics do you use to measure success, and how do you iterate based on feedback?

For moonshot questions, try to abstract the problem and find a simple solution for the user.

Behavioral Questions

  • Tell me about a time you handled a difficult stakeholder. View answers .
  • Tell me about a time you made a mistake. View answers .
  • Tell me about a time one of your products failed.
  • Tell me about your proudest accomplishment.
  • Why do you want to work here?
  • What makes you a good teammate?
  • Tell me about a time you had a disagreement with a coworker? How did you solve the problem?
  • How would you handle negative user feedback for your product?
  • What tech trends will change in the next decade?
  • Why do you want to work as a product manager?

Behavioral questions make up about 20% of PM interviews. They may appear in multiple interview rounds.

In addition to core product management skills, you should be prepared to answer questions about who you are and how you work with teams .

To prepare for behavioral PM questions, create a story bank of experiences you can adapt to various questions.

This aids confidence and prevents rambling.

problem solving interview questions for product manager

Understand the company's values .

Tech company cultures are grounded in values.

For instance, Google's values include building belonging and advancing sustainability.

As you build your story bank, consider how your decisions align with different company values.

If the company doesn't have a page on its website with its values, check its annual reports, social media, online reviews, and blog for insights

Create a story bank.

Choose 5-10 impactful experiences from your work.

They should be recent, detailed, diverse, and exciting.

When you answer behavioral questions, talk about how your peers, like other product managers, learned and worked alongside you.

Emphasize who the decision makers were in the project. Was it you? Was it a product owner?

Mention your cross-functional partners like engineers and designers. How did you communicate with them and make the project successful?

Product Strategy Questions

  • Should Google go into the ridesharing market?
  • Should Samsung build a video game console? Watch Microsoft PM answer .
  • How would you increase the number of users on YouTube?
  • How would you react to a competing product to Gmail?
  • How would you increase the adoption of Microsoft Edge?
  • How would you monetize Facebook Dating?
  • What would you prioritize for the upcoming quarter for WeChat?
  • What product would you prioritize building next for Google Cloud?
  • What's the biggest threat to YouTube?

Strategy interviews typically range from 40 minutes to an hour .

Most of a PM's job involves making strategic product decisions in a constantly evolving landscape.

The best PMs at tech companies know their company's market position and long-term goals. You should know how to conduct competitive and market analyses and create a product roadmap.

As experts in their product's unique opportunities and threats in the marketplace, it is up to the product manager to define and execute the product strategy.

problem solving interview questions for product manager

A good answer builds up to a strategy you can summarize in a few sentences. It includes understanding the landscape and synthesizing your exploration into new insights.

Save a few minutes at the end to discuss:

  • Things you would change given more information,
  • Risk mitigation strategies,
  • Your long-term vision.

Doing all that in 40 minutes may be intimidating, but interviewers care more about your  process  than your final answer.

Metrics Questions

  • Tell me about when you used data to diagnose and solve a problem.
  • What metrics would you focus on as the PM for Netflix?
  • What metrics would you focus on as the PM for Spotify?
  • What metrics would you focus on as the PM for Alibaba?
  • How would you measure the success of Lyft?
  • How would you measure the success of Medium?
  • How would you measure the success of Substack?
  • Define a meaningful social interaction metric for Facebook.
  • Devise an A/B test to improve Google Maps.
  • What should Airbnb's north star metric be?

An analytical PM interview typically includes two metrics questions, each lasting about 20-25 minutes .

Can you reason with metrics? Can you think critically about user feedback and bugs?

These questions ask you to identify metrics for a feature, product, or company.

You might be asked to define a single north star metric , a set of KPIs, or how to measure success after a product launch.

These questions test your product management analytical skills, such as

  • breaking down problems,
  • setting goals,
  • thinking about data,
  • and using logical reasoning.

For these questions, have a clear structure and solid justifications for your decisions. Your answers may include bits of competitive analysis or personal anecdotes, too.

problem solving interview questions for product manager

Estimation Questions

  • Estimate the number of Uber drivers in San Francisco. Watch a Google PM answer .
  • How many shampoo bottles are sold in the US annually?
  • Estimate the number of videos watched on YouTube per day.
  • Estimate the total dollar amount of online sales for fruits and vegetables per year in New York City.
  • How many quarters do you need to reach the height of the Empire State Building?
  • Estimate Google Photos storage for Pixel phones.
  • Estimate the total Internet bandwidth needed for a campus of 1000 graduate students.

While companies like Google are well-known for their estimation questions, they are asked less often in tech interviews . The reason? They aren't always the best way to evaluate product managers and their leadership abilities. They don't do much to accurately depict the day-to-day work of a product management team.

Nonetheless, you should be prepared to answer them during your product manager interviews, just in case. They're a good proxy for your communication skills as you navigate nebulous problems.

problem solving interview questions for product manager

Execution Questions

  • Fake news is increasing on social media. How would you reduce its proliferation?
  • YouTube comments are up, but watch time is down. What do you do?
  • Friend requests are down 10% on Facebook. What would you do?
  • As a PM for Instagram Stories, what metrics would you consider when deciding to increase the expiration time of Stories?
  • If you were the PM of eBay, what goals would you set?
  • DAUs have gone down on our application. How would you find the root cause?
  • Should Uber Eats be a different app from regular Uber?
  • What metrics would you set for Instagram Lite?

Execution questions test your ability to make sense of a situation, set goals, and make decisions.

Companies like Meta and Google differ in their interview approach.

Meta asks execution questions focusing on root cause analysis and decision-making, such as evaluating metrics for Instagram Stories.

Google, however, assesses execution skills through broader hypothetical questions during Cross-Functional Collaboration rounds, with questions like "When do you consider a design review completed?".

problem solving interview questions for product manager

Technical Questions

Technical questions are not common in PM interviews unless the position is explicitly technical — such as the role of Technical Product Manager at Amazon.

Regardless, having a technical background can help you better understand the feasibility of new product ideas or the strategic implications of new technology.

Your recruiter should let you know if you will face a technical round, but if you’re unsure, ask.

If you do know you’ll be asked technical questions, there are three common types to be aware of:

  • System Design : “Design the architecture for Instagram’s Home Feed”
  • Communicating Technical Concepts : “Explain DNS to a 12-year-old.”
  • Explaining Technical Decisions : “Tell me about a previous project where your team had to choose between two technologies with trade-offs. Why did you choose what you did?”

Next, let's walk through answers to some of the most common product manager questions.

" What's your favorite product? " is a standard product design interview question.

You should prepare to answer it in every PM interview you have. Your interviewer will likely press you for clarity on your favorite product.

A fundamental tenet of product management is determining why a product is popular with certain users and what that means for the company's product vision.

In this example , the APM candidate's favorite product is Marco Polo .

Marco Polo is a mobile app that allows users to send private videos to friends and stay connected.

First, the candidate distinguishes Marco Polo from other social media platforms—it offers one-on-one interactions, authenticity, and convenience.

These unique features make it a great product.

The potential customer segments for this app include college students, young adults, working professionals, and parents.

Due to COVID-19, many of these groups are experiencing Zoom and video fatigue and have limited budgets.

To increase engagement in the app, the candidate suggests integrating Gottman cards . These conversation-building cards are typically used by couples and groups to inspire conversation.

In the app, these cards could be tailored to users' interests to help facilitate meaningful conversations.

This feature addresses video-call fatigue by making conversations less awkward. It wouldn't cost users anything. Personalized cards address multiple user segments.

Personalizing these cards to a user's interests can also overcome criticisms of forced or unnatural interactions only designed to boost usage.

More Answers

Interview tips.

  • Don't be afraid of popular products . Popular products, like Google Chrome, are popular for a reason. If something popular is genuinely your favorite, don't shy away. Come up with a new, compelling reason why it's your favorite product.
  • Talk about improvements . How would you make this product better if you were the product manager? This shows empathy for the user experience and not settling for the way things are.
  • Mention differentiation . This product is your favorite, but what about its competitors? How does it stack up to other similar products in the space?
  • Find something you're genuinely passionate about to use in your answer . Your interviewer wants to see you light up when you discuss this product, not an answer you rehearsed.
  • Have an arguable thesis about your favorite product . Why is your opinion about this product different or unique? This helps you focus on more specific answers about popular products we all use.
  • Inject your personality . This is your time to show what excites you about product management and well-made products. You can bring this passion and excitement to your new job.

In this example , a Meta PM answers the question, "How would you improve Instagram stories?"

First, the candidate identifies the pain points of Instagram's primary target audience, Gen Z.

Their main pain point is difficulty connecting with close friends, which has led to lower usage and stickiness. Ultimately, this indicates potential lost revenue for Meta.

Some ideas to address these pain points are personalized content, better integration with other social apps, and an improved mobile experience.

One potential solution is a new feature that allows users to collaborate or create Instagram Stories during special events like holidays or birthdays.

Collaborative Instagram Stories could lead to more creation, viewing, and sharing. These are all valuable metrics for increasing app engagement and stickiness.

Some KPIs and metrics to focus on include:

  • Behavior among user segments
  • The number of users viewing stories
  • Overall engagement (comments, reactions, and shares)
  • Pick a defined user segment: First, identify user segments and their pain points. Then brainstorm ideas and create a product vision that prioritizes features for those users.
  • Think outside the box: Stay informed of current events and the competitive landscape. Consider the shock value to avoid putting off users.
  • Paint a picture: Describe a user interacting with the product to illustrate your vision. Describe the average day as a user. What are their pain points?
  • Always mention tradeoffs: Highlight tradeoffs to demonstrate a deeper understanding of the product.
  • KPIs and metrics: Talk about key performance indicators (KPIs) and what success looks like.

" Tell me about a time you had to decide to make short-term sacrifices for long-term gains " is a behavioral question.

Behavioral questions give insight into handling difficult situations and prioritizing tasks as a PM.

Behavioral questions help interviewers answer questions like:

  • Are you able to think strategically under pressure?
  • What methodology do you use to make decisions?
  • How do your decisions affect other team members?
  • Detail the process . Set the stage for your interviewer. What position did you hold, what problem were you facing, and what options did you have to fix it.
  • Use KPIs . Mention how clear KPIs helped you decide which option to choose. Knowing how to act on data, even in times of uncertainty, is invaluable.
  • Deliver multiple solutions . Show your interviewer that you deliberated on multiple outcomes and that options were weighted methodically.
  • Understand the complexity and impact of the decision to be made. Then, communicate the situation and decision with the relevant parties in your example.
  • Prioritize long-lasting and trusting relationships with clients over short-term revenue gain. Use the STAR framework to structure answers to behavioral interview questions.

" How would you increase Airbnb's bookings? " is a product strategy question.

Product strategy questions test your ability to think strategically about a business and its target market.

Sample Answer

Watch a Google PM answer the mock interview question, " How would you increase Airbnb bookings? "

This candidate focused on providing unique and authentic travel experiences on Airbnb, which helps keep Airbnb at the top of users' minds.

They identify problems or pain points only Airbnb can solve with its unique experiences.

Airbnb's guests can generally be segmented into high- and low-intent travelers and further segmented by business and leisure travel.

High-intent leisure travelers are ready to book right now. Discounts, promotions, and stronger CTAs are easy wins for high-intent travelers already on the site.

Next, consider expanding the target market to more high-intent travelers. Airbnb should maintain its core values of authenticity and uniqueness if it expands to new customers.

For low-intent travelers, Airbnb could become more of a research website. It could feature information about different vacations, deliver inspiration for trips, and be top of mind for anyone planning a trip. Then, Airbnb is well-positioned to capture that business when those travelers are ready to book.

Next, the listings page could get a redesign. It could feature stories from hosts more prominently. Social media and user-generated content could appeal to low-intent travelers as they browse listings.

The Wishlist experience could be more exciting and personalized. Wishlisted homes could inspire more immersive exploring in a city or place.

To test all these new ideas, start with small experiments. A newsletter to inactive users could highlight unique experiences on Airbnb.

Data from early tests will reveal which parts of the browsing experience should get prioritized.

  • Paint a picture: Take your interviewer on a journey through your answer. Illustrate the daily pain points of different user segments using this product. For products like Airbnb, that means describing different types of holiday and business travelers. Explain why they need accommodation.
  • Invite feedback: In strategy questions, there are no correct answers. Continually ask for feedback from your interviewer to hear their perspective. For a product as universal as Airbnb, your interviewer likely has feedback about which types of users they want to focus on during the limited scope of an interview.
  • Focus on the approach: How you answer the question is more important than getting it right. Spend time explaining your thought process.

What are the differences between junior and senior product managers?

Senior PMs are usually in a higher leadership position in a team. They may negotiate compensation and promotions and address internal conflicts.

In your first PM role(s), you’ll conduct market research and competitive analysis, work on product strategy, and collaborate with cross-functional teams.

An experienced product manager may negotiate compensation and promotions and address internal conflicts.

Junior PMs tend to focus on outputs, while Senior PMs focus on outcomes.

Senior PMs are more active in defining the desired outcome of a product or feature. They tend to work hands-on with users to identify areas for improvement.

Experience Level

Seniority comes from accumulated experience, not necessarily in a specific industry.

A senior engineer may already have the skills to become a Senior Technical Product Manager. There is no one-size-fits-all ideal candidate. There are also plenty of examples of non-technical product managers .

There's no formula for how much experience you need to become a Senior PM.

A PM with ten years of experience at a healthcare company may not be the best candidate if the role requires specific SaaS growth experience.

Influencing Outcomes

As a Junior PM, you must guide your team towards a common goal. You’ll likely have to do this without having the authority to give them orders.

You should build personal connections, empathize with your team's problems, and make decisions based on concrete data. When you’re more experienced, these parts of the role will feel like second nature.

As a senior PM, you’ll guide your team based on your findings. You’ll assign data analysts, junior PMs, and engineers to deliver on your clear product vision.

Every great answer in the PM interview will follow the same general format, regardless of the question.

Use a simple framework to keep your ideas organized during PM interviews.

problem solving interview questions for product manager

  • Listen : Actively listen and take notes as your interviewer talks.
  • Clarify : Ask questions to better understand the problem.
  • Pause : Stop and think before blurting out an answer.
  • Structure : Tell your interviewer how you'll structure your answers.
  • Explain: Give your answer and explain your reasoning at each step.
  • Check-in : Ask your interviewer if they want to hear more details.
  • Summarize: Reiterate your main points and takeaways.

Step 1: Listen and Take Notes

Listen attentively to the question, take notes, and make eye contact with the interviewer. Ask clarifying questions to understand the details and expectations of the question.

  • Actively listen when the interviewer asks questions or outlines the parameters and constraints of the problem.
  • Spend some time getting to know your interviewer.

Pivot smoothly if something goes wrong by checking in, shifting your answer, or gracefully skipping over missing information. Summarize your answer in 30 seconds.

Step 2: Ask Clarifying Questions

Always ask your interviewer clarifying questions, even if the question appears simple or straightforward.

This way, you can determine the most important things to focus on.

Some clarifying questions you can ask your interviewer are:

  • Is this product targeting a specific set of users or customers?
  • Which platforms are our target users using?
  • Is this product being released on a global or domestic scale?

If you can't think of anything, you can always ask, "So, you're asking me to...?" Is that correct?"

Step 3: Stop and Think

Take a few moments to collect your thoughts before answering. Slow down and demonstrate that you can listen to directions and process information effectively.

You would be surprised what an extra 10–20 seconds of reflection can do for the quality of your interview answer.

They'd prefer you to take your time to organize your thoughts so that your answer is coherent and easy to follow .

As a PM, you'll need to act quickly.

Step 4: Structure Your Answers

Provide a structure to your answer. Present this structure to your interviewer or hiring manager before diving in.

This is especially true if there's no right or wrong answer to a question.

This is also an excellent chance to sketch this structure on the whiteboard if one is available.

Many PM questions can fit into a simple three-point structure.

For instance, you can begin your answer by saying something like:

“Alright, I’m going to explore three possible products that fit your question and cover the tradeoffs of each. These three products are X, Y, and Z."

Other questions may require a more complex structure. Either way, giving your interviewer a structure beforehand allows them to get a good read on your answer so they can redirect you if necessary.

Step 5: Explain with Confidence

If you have one, use the whiteboard as much as possible. Every good PM has a whiteboard, right?

Lastly, sit up straight and display confidence while answering. Don't forget to make eye contact, too.

Step 6: Check in with Your Interviewer

Given the complexity of PM interview questions, it's not uncommon for interviewees to veer off-track.

That's why it is always a good idea to check in with the interviewer and pivot wherever necessary.

One mistake some new interviewees make is trying to prepare answers ahead of time.

Generally speaking, there are three common scenarios when it comes to necessary pivots:

  • The interviewer presents concerned body language . If an interviewer changes posture or makes gestures, it can indicate that you're off track. Check-in with the interviewer by asking if it's okay to move on to the next part: "I’ll now move on to the next portion of my answer. Is that okay?”
  • You realize your answer is wrong . Instead of getting nervous, the solution is to smoothly pivot by finding a way to redirect the answer. One way to do this is to say something like, " Let me rephrase that " or "Let me clarify my answer."
  • You forget your point . It's okay to ask for more time by saying, " Can I have a moment to think through the rest of my answer? " This shows that you take the interview seriously and want to answer best.

Step 7. Review and Summarize

Provide a brief summary of your answer.

This doesn't need to be in-depth. Give a 30-second overview of your answer .

Structure this brief summary the same way you did your original answer.

Tip: Go Slowly

Pretend that your interviewer is a complete stranger. Break down complex topics into easily digestible pieces.

Don't explain what a smartphone is or why people use apps. But don't be afraid to explain your product philosophy and how you can make a product team great.

While you're answering questions, talk about things like:

  • What successful products have you launched as a PM, and the knowledge you gained?
  • How do you talk to users and conduct user research?
  • How would you implement and plan for new features in a product's roadmap?
  • How do you define a successful product launch?
  • What metrics do you use to determine if a product is working well?
  • How do you work with other PMs on your teams?

Pitfalls to Avoid

Your PM interview is emotional. Your head is probably buzzing with excitement and nervousness.

Think about these common pitfalls:

  • Not finding KPIs . The interviewers want to see that you’re ahead of the curve . Identify the KPIs that revolve around the business. If you don’t know how the company measures success, how will you know what's best for the product? While a subscription business focuses on user retention, an e-commerce business might look for repeat purchases.
  • Not using the product . Use the company’s product before the interview. Ask your interviewer for a free trial or beta access if it's behind a paywall. You may be asked how the user interface or experience can be improved. If you haven't checked out the product, you'll not only be stumped in the interview but also leave a negative impression on your interviewers.

These are the most common questions about the product manager interview process.

How do I prepare for a PM interview?

  • Step 1 : Research the company you're applying to. Learn the PM interview loop for that company. Check out our PM company guides for deeper insights into how companies like Adobe, Intel, Amazon, Stripe, Google, and more structure their interviews.
  • Step 2 : Choose one type of interview question for that role (product sense, behavioral, analytical, strategy, execution, technical, etc).
  • Step 3 : Review the most common interview questions. Create stories from your resume to prepare for your interview. Practice using the STAR method to answer each question. The STAR method = Situation (What was the situation?) T = Task (What goal were you working toward?) A = Action (What action did you take?) R = Result (What was the result of your action?).
  • Step 4 : Compare your answers to the most popular answers to interview questions from people who landed the job.
  • Step 5 : Move between interview question categories and repeat.

What makes a good PM interview?

Ultimately, your PM interview comes down to three things:

  • Product vision and sense : How well can you envision future products to solve user pain points and needs?
  • Communication : Can you communicate your product ideas and vision to a product team and engineering team to execute?
  • Culture fit : Do you align with the company's vision and the ethos of its workers?

Is product management a technical role?

Depending on the company, your product management role may be technical. Companies like Google encourage a solid technical and coding background to succeed in product management positions.

However, many companies don't require a technical background to lead technical teams.

Browse product manager interview questions

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The Ultimate List of Product Manager Interview Questions

Author: Product School

Updated: January 24, 2024 - 11 min read

For most people, interviews are nerve-wracking. There's so much at stake and often hard competition to beat. Fortunately, you can up your chances of success (and calm your nerves) with a little preparation. In this post, we'll explore the most common Product Manager interview questions as well as some more specific questions you may be asked, depending on the role you apply for.

But before we dive into questions, take a moment to get inside your interviewer’s head. What are they looking for?

What do companies look for in a new Product Manager?

Aside from intellect, grit, and the power to adapt, hiring managers are looking for Product Managers who are motivated to do the job, can work with different teams, and have the ability to prioritize features that count.

In short, a Product Manager (PM) has to be resilient, strategic, and insightful – no easy feat! No wonder the hiring company will ask a multitude of questions to figure out if you're the one.

Here is the ultimate list of questions you can expect to be asked in a Product Management interview. Get ready to nail the interview !

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The 10 most common Product Manager interview questions

While you can't anticipate all the questions you'll be asked in a Product Management interview, there are some that, like a cat demanding attention during a Zoom call, are almost certain to show up.

As Benjamin Franklin once said,

“ By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail. ”

While we can't guarantee you'll land the job, by preparing to answer these common interview questions, you'll give yourself the best chance of acing your next Product Management interview. So without further ado, let's check out the most common questions you're likely to be asked at a Product Management interview:

What do you see as a Product Manager’s main role within product development?

How do you stay user-focused?

What main changes would you make to [our product]?

How do you see your career developing in the next 5 years?

Tell us about a time you used data to influence an important stakeholder .

Tell us about a time you faced failure and how you bounced back.

How would you improve your favorite product?

What’s your approach to prioritizing tasks ?

Why do you want to work at [our company]?

Why do you want to be/what do you love about being a Product Manager?

The SAR Method for Product Interview Questions

Learn how to answer any interview question confidently using the SAR method.

The SAR Method for Product Management Interview Questions

Of course, the exact questions you're asked will vary depending on the role, the company, the industry, and your stage in the interview process. However, you'll probably be asked at least some of them.

But those are just some of the most common questions. And given the fact that interview processes are becoming longer and longer, you'll definitely be asked more than ten questions. It's time to dive deeper. Read on to find out every single type of question you could possibly be asking in a Product Management interview…

Every Product Management interview question you’ll ever be asked

Product questions.

Questions about product are possibly the most common in Product Management interviews, which shouldn’t come as a surprise! Even if you’re not overly technical, the best way to prepare is to thoroughly read through the description of the role you’re applying for, and try to find some resources (dev blogs, press releases etc) on the products you’ll be working with. It's essential that you're able to demonstrate your previous experience or Product Management education .

Let's take a look at some of the most common product questions you could be asked:

How would you prioritize resources when you have two important things to do but can’t do them both?

Describe a scenario which required you to say no to an idea or project.

How do you decide what and what not to build?

What is a product you currently use every day? Why and how would you improve it?

There is a data point that indicates that there are more Uber drop-offs at the airport than pick-ups from the airport. Why is this the case and what would you do within the product to change that?

How would you improve the functionality of the product?

How would you increase adoption of X feature?

What is the key to a good user interface?

While we make X product for the general public, we also have a B2B division. What is your experience with juggling both markets?

How do you know if a product is well-designed?

How would you redesign our product?

What is one improvement you would implement for our product in the next 6 months?

What is a major challenge our company will face in the next 12-24 months?

How would you describe our product to someone?

Suggest a new feature for Amazon. What metrics would you use to measure its success?

What has made X product successful?

What do you dislike about our product?

How do you know when to cut corners to get a product out the door?

How do you think we came up with the product pricing ?

Who are our competitors?

Tell me about a company that has great customer service, what they do, and why do they do it well?

Technical questions

Very, very, rarely will you be asked any overly technical questions in a Product Manager interview. Unless you’re applying to be a Technical Product Manager, or you’re a few rounds in for a specific Product Manager role which requires a higher tech skill set, technical questions will be surface-level. In general, technical questions in Product Management interviews are designed to see how well you’d work with engineers, and to test your familiarity with the tech the company is working with.

Our engineering teams are pretty used to employing X methodologies. What is your opinion of them? Have you used them in the past?

What is the importance of engineers and technical teams as stakeholders? How do you integrate them into the overall product vision ?

Can you provide an example where a technical solution that you or your team designed became a commercial product?

How do you ensure that market-oriented teams fully understand technical challenges?

When are Bayesian methods more appropriate than Artificial Intelligence techniques for predictive analytics?

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Analytical questions

A Product Manager has to come ready with an analytical mind in order to succeed. Some companies may ask you questions designed to reveal how you think, and how you’d approach a problem. The key when being asked these questions is not to rush yourself. It’s okay to pause for a few moments to think. It’s better than panicking and rushing through a terrible answer that you regret halfway through!

How many people are currently online in Europe?

How many windows are in New York City?

How many iPads are sold in the USA every year?

How much money is spent in the USA per year on gas?

How would you go about finding out the number of red cars in China?

If you wanted to build the world’s most popular mobile messaging product, and you need to estimate how much network bandwidth would be used in a year, how would you go about doing this?

____ metrics are down. How would you go about determining the root cause ?

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Product Management questions

Product Management is different at every company, and every person approaches their craft differently. Gauging your understanding of the role helps the company to determine your culture fit for the Product Team. If you walk in with a ‘CEO of the Product‘ mentality, and they’re looking for someone more humble and collaborative, you run the risk of being turned away. So just be yourself and be honest. If you’re the right Product Manager for the team, they’ll see that straight away!

What aspects of Product Management do you find the most exciting?

Tell me about a time when you had to build or motivate a team .

What do you think a day-to-day would be like for a Product Manager?

How do you think Product Managers interact with engineers?

How would you explain Product Management to a 5-year-old?

What aspects of Product Management do you find the least interesting?

Tell me about your role on your team, who else you work with, and how you work with them.

Behavioral questions

Seeing a list of skills is all well and good, but an interview also gives a company a chance to gauge how you behave in different situations. They want to know that you work well in high-pressure environments, that you’re able to influence without authority , and manage stakeholder expectations . If you’re asked about a situation you haven’t yet faced, instead of saying “I haven’t done that yet,” talk about how you would face it in future.

Tell me about a challenging issue or challenge you took on.

How do you interact with customers/users?

Tell me how you've overcome product failures/challenges or poor feedback.

Tell me about a time you had to influence someone.

Tell me about a mistake you made and how you handled it.

One executive says that Feature A is more important and another executive says Feature B is more important. How do you choose which one to implement?

Tell me about a time you used data to make a decision.

Leadership and communication questions

Even at a junior level, a Product Manager is a leader. So even entry-level Product Management roles will come with questions about leadership . But don’t worry, they won’t be too high-level or philosophical until you apply for a senior role. They’ll be more similar to behavioral questions, and they’re just trying to see how you interact and communicate with the people on your teams.

What’s the best way to work with executives?

Is consensus always a good thing?

What is the best way to work with customers and users?

What kinds of people do you like to work with?

What kind of people do you have a hard time working with?

What would you do to get a team to stick to a schedule?

What’s the difference between leadership and management?

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General / personal / basic questions

Product Manager interviews are still just regular job interviews at heart, and sometimes the simplest questions are the most important. So don’t neglect to prepare your answers for the more run-of-the-mill questions.

Why should we hire you?

What do you do in your spare time?

Where do you see yourself in five years?

What's the most difficult decision you’ve ever had to make?

What do you need from your manager to be successful?

How do you say no to people?

What is one of the best ideas you’ve ever had?

What is one of the worst ideas you’ve ever had?

Remote Product Management questions

These days, it’s quite likely that the company you’re applying to has some kind of remote working/flexible hours possibility. You could even be applying for a 100% distributed remote team. If remote work is a challenge for you, be honest about it, but try to maintain a positive attitude.

Do you have experience in a remote working environment?

How have you kept communication from breaking down in a remote setting?

How would you face the challenge of managing a team that works across timezones?

What challenges have you faced when working remotely? How have you overcome them?

How would you build a high-performance async product team ?

Additional Product Manager interview resources

Break Into Product Video Playlist : We’ve collected together our best webinars on breaking into Product Management. Check out the entire playlist here , or enjoy this sample from Google Product Manager, Prashant Nair.

Proven examples of Product Manager interview questions to ask: We've curated and listed all the questions an interviewer could ask you. But what about the questions YOU should ask during a Product Manager interview? Don't miss these 20 questions to ask at the end of the Product Management interview.

Interview response technique: SAR method.

Technical Product Manager interview questions: Let’s be real! You cannot be a Product Manager at Google or Apple if you lack understanding of some specific technical topics. Check out the essential Technical Product Manager interview questions here.

Books for Product Manager interview prep

Hired — How to Get a Great Product Job: This is a tailored guide to land Product Manager positions in top tech companies. As this book will show you, some of the most successful product transitions originated from people in music production or finance, with full-time jobs or with no prior experience.

The Product Manager Interview: 167 Actual Questions and Answers: This is the second edition of Lewis C. Lin’s book, a great resource for both budding and seasoned Product Managers. Lin’s book will not only provide you with good pointers for interview preparation but also help you in day-to-day life as a Product Manager.

Decode and Conquer — Answers to Product Management Interviews: An industry insider’s perspective on how to conquer the most difficult Product Manager interview questions. Covering frameworks for tackling product design and metrics questions, the biggest mistakes, and answers to the top Product Manager interview questions.

To complement your learning, check out our reading list: The Most-Read Books by Product Managers

Updated: January 24, 2024

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Interview Tips

5 Steps to Crush Your First Product Manager Interview

Tips from Product Leaders and hiring managers on how to prepare for your first Product Manager interview. Learn how to research the role and give standout answers.

Behind The 10 Most Common Product Management Interview Questions

Behind The 10 Most Common Product Management Interview Questions

It’s not enough to simply expect the most common product management interview questions…

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What Are Product Management Case Study Interviews?

Companies case study interviews for Product Management roles to assess a candidate’s analytical, creative, and problem-solving skills. Get ready for your upcoming case study interview and land your dream job.

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The Complete List of Product Manager Interview Questions: 20+ Essential Queries

10 min read

In this ultimate list of product manager interview questions, we have tried to simplify the process of hiring great product managers.

Product management encompasses the entire SaaS lifecycle from ideation to launch and everything that follows. Because of the multifaceted nature of this role, it can be hard to figure out what you should look for in a new product management hire.

  • Product managers need to have good problem-solving, communication, and leadership skills.
  • Product managers must also be passionate, comfortable with failure, empathic, and have an innate product sense.
  • Looking for the right answers can give you a deeper understanding of how well applicants understand the product management role and whether or not they’re the ideal fit for the position.
  • There’s a big difference in the impact of a good product manager versus a great project manager.

What to look for in product managers?

While this isn’t an exhaustive list, here are seven things to look for in a product manager :

  • Problem-solving ability. Because of the fast-paced nature of tech companies, the ability to solve problems quickly and think on your feet is a crucial skill for product managers to have.
  • Communication skills. Product managers often work in cross-functional teams and bridge the gap between multiple departments. As such, they need to have superb communication skills.
  • Empathy. Product managers need to put themselves in the shoes of company executives, other team members, and of course end users so a strong affinity for empathy will go a long way.
  • Leadership. Despite not being classed as a C-level position, product managers are often leading multidisciplinary initiatives that start with your developers and end with the sales team so confident leadership is a must.
  • Passion. Prospective product managers need to be incredibly passionate about furthering their careers, impacting the company, and honing technical skills to ensure they don’t burn out when the going gets tough.
  • Comfortable with failure. A successful product launch is always the goal but fluctuations in team performance ensure that occasional failures will occur. Product managers need to be able to accept these failures, learn from them, and then move on while ensuring things go better next time.
  • Product sense. While there’s no need to grill candidates with overly technical questions at your next product manager interview, favoring applicants with an innate product sense is only logical.

List of questions to ask during product management interviews

Without further ado, let’s look at some product manager interview questions that you can use to find the ideal candidate. There might not always be a clear right or wrong answer, but the responses to these interview questions will usually offer up enough insights to make your final decision.

Behavioral interview questions

The best product manager interview questions to start with are those that center around the behavioral traits of the applicant. This will give you a peek into their mindset, instincts, and management style which will play a key role in their contribution to the company.

Here are the behavioral questions you should ask:

  • What do you enjoy most about product management?
  • Can you talk to me about how your background has prepared you for this position?
  • Can you tell me about a mistake you made and how you handled it?
  • What qualities do you look for in a strong product team?
  • One executive says that Feature A is more important and another says Feature B is more important. How do you choose which one to implement?

Leadership and communication skills questions

Because cross-department leadership is such a core aspect of product management, dedicating an entire set of questions around leadership and communication is more than worthwhile. The candidate’s answers to these questions will give you a sense of how they plan , prioritize, and coordinate their work.

Here are the leadership and communication interview questions you should ask:

  • How do you prioritize tasks?
  • How would you manage a team that works across time zones and remotely?
  • How do you explain technical concepts to non-technical teams?
  • How do you communicate opportunities to the engineering team?
  • What is the best way to work with cross-functional teams?

Product management skills and experience questions

Depending on whether the role you’re trying to fill is entry, senior, or executive level the amount of experience applicants will have is bound to vary. That said, probing into any existing product management skills and prior experience is a necessary step that every hiring manager must take.

Here are the product management skills and experience questions you should ask:

  • How do you perform customer research?
  • What is product vision?
  • How to set a product strategy?
  • Describe your process to improve a declining metric.
  • What software have you used in your previous roles?
  • How have you overcome product failures/challenges or poor user feedback?

Product questions

No product is perfect and a big part of a product manager’s job is figuring out what’s wrong and then charting a plan for how to fix it. Figuring out if an applicant is qualified to carry out evaluative research and ensure inclusive design is an absolute must.

Here are the product questions you should ask:

  • What changes would you make to our product and why?
  • What do you consider when creating product roadmaps?
  • How do you decide what and what not to build? Explain your prioritization framework.
  • What is the key to a good user interface and inclusive design?
  • What changes would you suggest for our main product to better meet the needs of the company’s customers?

Technical knowledge questions

No matter how impressive an applicant’s planning skills and product comprehension are, none of that will matter if they don’t have the technical knowledge needed to execute their proposed strategies. Below are a few examples of technical questions that will verify if they can actually walk the walk.

Here are the technical knowledge questions you should ask:

  • Our engineering teams are pretty used to employing X methodologies. What is your opinion of them? Have you used them in the past?
  • How would you face a technical challenge you have never encountered before? Describe your methodology step by step.
  • When are Bayesian methods more appropriate than “Artificial Intelligence” techniques for predictive analytics?
  • What are your favored tools to manage X process (workflow, people management, wireframing)? Why?

What answers to look for to measure product manager candidates’ product sense

Just hearing how applicants explain product management will offer up plenty of insight into how well they understand the field and whether or not they’re the right candidate for the position. The language they use will also tell you how in tune they are with the target market which is crucial for language/market fit .

Prioritizing features

When candidates are asked about how they prioritize which features to release first, they should always answer both with their preferred approach and a detailed explanation of the specific benefits that led them to that preference.

If their answer is vague or unclear, ask them to give you one or two examples of how this specific approach has worked for them in the past. You should also consider how adaptable their prioritization framework is and whether or not it’s flexible enough to account for unexpected speed bumps.

Feature success

Hearing how an applicant measures new feature success will quickly tell you if they’re on the same page when it comes to which aspects of the customer experience are most important. Pay attention to how they gauge the impact a feature has and which metrics they use to inform their conclusions.

If a new feature fails to gain traction at launch, ask them how they’d diagnose the problem and increase feature usage moving forward. Remember, most competent product managers will try using UI patterns to drive feature discovery but great product managers will rely on user feedback to identify the root issue.

Product iterations

The willingness to collect customer feedback on a regular basis and then iterate based on those insights is a cornerstone of product management. Whether it’s usability testing, customer interviews, or more advanced customer feedback collection methods it’s important to keep iterating.

Ask candidates to tell you about a successful project that resulted from user-centric iteration and what impact that had on the overarching product KPIs. Any applicant that mentions the importance of segmentation during iterative testing deserves bonus points.

How to use product manager interview questions to hire great product managers

Selecting the perfect product management candidate for your company is nothing short of a Herculean task. There are countless nuances to consider — but the difference between a good product manager and a great product manager can be night and day.

Here are a few differences between good and great product managers:

  • Good PMs offer consistent results while great PMs constantly improve the trajectory of key performance indicators.
  • Good PMs conduct market research while great PMs become industry experts.
  • Good PMs look at which product features customers are using, while great PMs help users discover new features.
  • Good PMs do what they’re told while great PMs do whatever it takes to make a product successful.
  • Good PMs stick to the script while great PMs aren’t afraid to break a hard and fast rule.
  • Good PMs talk to all departments while great PMs bridge the gap between senior management and development or marketing teams.
  • Good PMs collect quantitative data while great PMs incorporate qualitative data to avoid biased or poor feedback.
  • Good PMs learn about a company’s product while a great PM uses all of the company’s products.
  • Good PMs conduct user research while great PMs get a hands-on understanding of the product line.
  • Good PMs imitate larger companies while great PMs conduct competitive analysis to stay ahead.
  • Good PMs try to keep the product roadmap on track while great PMs work to speed things up.
  • Good PMs listen to user input while great PMs figure out why customers feel that way.
  • Good PMs use software to reduce their workload while great PMs use machine learning to get more done in less time.

As you can see, hiring an experienced product manager who is truly great at what they do is paramount. This is especially true when a major challenge comes their way that requires an effective solution to keep the product roadmap on track.

How to identify great product managers

The only way to separate the good from the great before hiring them is to ask questions that shine a light on their approach to product management. Here are a few questions that you can ask to figure out which applicant is a senior product manager in the making:

  • How do you measure your impact on a product or company?
  • How do you learn about the industry and target audience of a product?
  • How do you determine which features alleviate key pain points?
  • How would you overcome internal factors to ensure cross-department communication?
  • How do you familiarize yourself with the product you’re managing?
  • Do you prefer qualitative or quantitative feedback?

Best ways to answer any product manager interview question

A common question that you might get in product manager interviews is “How many windows are in New York City?” This might seem completely irrelevant but what the product management team is trying to determine is whether or not the applicant is capable of guesstimation.

There are two ways to answer this question:

  • Calculative. Consider the variables like the population of New York City and how many windows each person is most likely to have.
  • Preparatory. Conduct research before the interview to find out that there are nearly 13 million residential windows in New York City and a total of 15 million if you include business windows.

The first approach is the type of response this question was designed for. However, showing up armed with a definitive answer to the question can show the recruiter that you’ll be a data-driven product manager should you land the role.

Which stage certain questions show up will also vary from company to company. For instance, Google breaks the PM hiring process down into three stages:

  • Recruiter call. A brief call to gauge an applicant’s motivations, personality, experience, and capacity for communication.
  • Phone interview. A 50-minute call with one of Google’s product managers to measure a candidate’s product sense.
  • On-site interviews. Five separate 50-minute interviews with a 10-minute Q&A at the end of each round.

Best answer examples to common product manager interview questions

Below are sample answers to common questions you might get as a product management applicant!

Product pricing sample answer

Q: How would you explain our product to a potential customer interested in a similar solution that costs $20 less? How would you explain our product to someone interested in something similar, only $20 cheaper?

A: “Our solution may cost $20 more but the additional features you’ll get easily generate $60 worth of additional value each month.”

Product launch sample answer

Q: What strategies do you use to ensure a successful product launch?

A: “I structure a product launch based on the input I get from the product development and marketing leads to ensure the roadmap coincides with key deliverables. I utilize weekly meetings to ensure everyone is still on schedule to meet their team’s respective milestones.”

Product design sample answer

Q: Define a well-designed product.

A: “A product should be ready to use out of the box and intuitively designed. It should also use language, colors, and elements that are aligned with the target customer’s use case.”

What to avoid saying during product manager interviews

There are also a few things you should avoid saying during your interview such as:

  • “I’m really nervous.”
  • “What does the company do?”
  • “It’s all on my resume.”
  • “Perfectionism is my greatest weakness.”
  • “I don’t have any questions for you.”

In addition, never speak negatively about your previous employer.

Tip: Minimize your usage of “um” and “like” or, ideally, eliminate them entirely.

As you can see, asking the right product manager interview questions will bring you one step closer to finding the ideal candidate to fill the role. If you use the questions outlined in this guide, apply our interview tips, and listen to every answer then you’ll have better odds of making the right hiring decision.

If you’re ready to equip your product managers with the best adoption and growth platform on the market, then it’s time to get your free Userpilot demo today!

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The 50 Most Common Product Manager Interview Questions (With Sample Answers)

Get ready for your product manager interview with this comprehensive list of the 50 most common questions and sample answers.

Posted June 7, 2023

problem solving interview questions for product manager

If you're looking to become a product manager, you'll inevitably come across the challenge of interviewing for the role. Perhaps you already have some experience as a product manager and want to take your career to the next level, or maybe you're just starting out and want to know what the process entails. Either way, to land your dream job, you must prepare yourself for the interview process.

Introduction to Product Manager Interviews

Product manager interviews are one of the most challenging experiences you'll face in your career. The role of a product manager requires a blend of business acumen, technical knowledge, and marketing prowess. Interviews for product manager roles involve a series of questions aimed at assessing your knowledge, experience, thought process, and abilities.

Understanding the Role of a Product Manager

Product managers are responsible for overseeing all aspects of a product's life cycle, from ideation, development, and launch to ongoing updates, iterations, and enhancements. They work closely with cross-functional teams, including engineering, design, marketing, sales, and customer support, to ensure the product meets customers' needs and exceeds their expectations.

Preparing for a Product Manager Interview

Preparing for a product manager interview involves a combination of self-reflection, research, and practice. You need to understand your strengths, weaknesses, and areas for improvement. You also need to research the company, its product offerings, its competitors, and the industry trends. Finally, you need to practice answering common interview questions and develop a strategy for effectively communicating your value proposition.

Common Interview Formats for Product Manager Roles

Interviews for product manager roles can take various formats, depending on the company and the interviewer's preferences. Some interviews may be structured as behavioral interviews, where you're asked to describe past experiences and your approach to problem-solving. Others may involve case studies, where you're presented with a hypothetical product scenario and asked to develop a strategy for addressing it. Still, others may focus on your technical knowledge, with questions about software development tools, data analysis techniques, or user experience design principles.

Behavioral Questions in Product Manager Interviews

Behavioral interview questions aim to understand how you've approached challenges in the past and how you'd approach them in the future. Examples of behavioral questions for product manager roles include:

  • Can you tell us about a time when you had to pivot your product's strategy? How did you approach the situation?
  • Describe a time when you had to influence a stakeholder who disagreed with your product roadmap. How did you persuade them?
  • Can you walk us through how you prioritize your product's features and enhancements?

Technical Questions in Product Manager Interviews

Technical interview questions aim to assess your understanding of software development concepts, data management techniques, and other technical aspects of product management. Examples of technical questions for product manager roles include:

  • What is Agile development, and how does it differ from Waterfall development?
  • What data analysis techniques do you use to inform your product decisions?
  • Can you explain what a RESTful API is, and how it's used in software development?

Strategic Questions in Product Manager Interviews

Strategic interview questions aim to assess how you approach long-term planning, business analysis, and market insights in your product management practice. Examples of strategic questions for product manager roles include:

  • How do you validate market demand for a new product idea?
  • What are the key metrics you use to measure your product's success?
  • How do you incorporate customer feedback into your product roadmap?

Leadership Questions in Product Manager Interviews

Leadership interview questions aim to assess your ability to inspire and motivate cross-functional teams to achieve common goals. Examples of leadership questions for product manager roles include:

  • How do you address conflicts within your team and mediate differences?
  • Can you provide an example of a time when you recognized an underperforming team member and helped them improve their performance?
  • What is your approach to delegating tasks and responsibilities to your team?

Communication and Collaboration Questions in Product Manager Interviews

Communication and collaboration interview questions aim to assess your ability to communicate effectively with cross-functional team members, stakeholders, and customers. Examples of communication and collaboration questions for product manager roles include:

  • Can you describe a time when your project faced a bottleneck, and how did you address the situation?
  • How do you balance competing demands and priorities from stakeholders and cross-functional team members?
  • Can you walk us through how you communicate updates and status of your product to executive leadership?

Creative Thinking and Problem-Solving Questions in Product Manager Interviews

Creative thinking and problem-solving interview questions aim to assess your ability to approach complex problems with innovative solutions. Examples of creative thinking and problem-solving questions for product manager roles include:

  • Can you describe a time when you identified a gap in the market and developed a new product to address the need?
  • What techniques do you use to come up with new product ideas?
  • Can you provide an example of a time when you had to develop a product strategy with limited resources?

Tips for Answering Product Manager Interview Questions with Confidence

Answering product manager interview questions with confidence requires practice, preparation, and clarity. Here are some tips to help you excel:

  • Listen carefully to the question and ensure you understand what the interviewer is asking.
  • Take a moment to organize your thoughts before answering, so you provide a clear and concise response.
  • Provide relevant examples from your past experiences to demonstrate your thought process and abilities.
  • Avoid using generic or vague responses and provide specific insights into your approach.
  • Be honest about your limitations and areas for improvement, but also emphasize your strengths and unique value proposition.

Sample Answers to Common Product Manager Interview Questions

Providing sample answers to common product manager interview questions can help you see how to apply these best practices in real-life interview scenarios. Here are some examples:

Do’s and Don’ts for Acing Your Product Manager Interview

To ace your product manager interview, there are some do's and don'ts to keep in mind:

  • Do your research on the company, the product, and the industry to show your enthusiasm and dedication.
  • Don't oversell yourself or exaggerate your skills. Be honest and transparent about your experience and abilities.
  • Do prepare for common interview questions and practice your responses with a friend or mentor.
  • Don't ramble or provide vague or generic responses. Be clear, concise, and specific in your answers.
  • Do demonstrate your ability to work collaboratively with cross-functional team members and stakeholders.
  • Don't criticize the company or its product, even if you have suggestions for improvement.

What to Expect After Your Interview

After your product manager interview, you should expect to hear back from the company within a few days to a week. The company may provide feedback on your interview performance and indicate whether they will proceed with your candidacy. If you're selected for the next stage of the interview process, you may be invited to meet with more team members or participate in a follow-up exercise, such as a case study or presentation.

Conclusion: Preparing for Success as a Product Manager

Interviewing for a product manager role can be a daunting process, but with preparation, practice, and confidence, you can excel and land your dream job. By understanding the common interview questions, preparing relevant examples from your past experiences, and showcasing your skills and abilities effectively, you'll increase your chances of success. Remember to stay authentic, transparent, and enthusiastic, and you'll be on your way to becoming a successful product manager.

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How to Prepare for Reddit Product Management Behavioral Interviews

Are you preparing for a Reddit product management behavioral interview? Look no further! Our comprehensive guide covers everything you need to know to ace your interview, from common behavioral questions to tips on how to structure your answers.

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Crack Every Product Interview with these Product Manager Interview Questions

  • August 22, 2023
  • product management

Are you prepared to seize the spotlight in your Product Manager interview?

Navigating the challenging landscape of Product Manager interviews requires more than just technical knowledge. It demands a holistic understanding of the role’s intricacies. Companies are not only seeking intelligence and adaptability but also individuals who can excel as collaborative leaders, prioritize user needs, and drive product success. A thriving Product Manager embodies resilience, strategic thinking, and keen insights, qualities that these interviews aim to uncover.

This blog delves into the list of the Product Manager interview questions that could shape your interview experience, spanning across various categories. From insights into your ambitions and your problem-solving strategies to questions that delve into your leadership capabilities, these questions capture the multifaceted nature of Product Management. Gain insights into a diverse types of questions, comprehending market opportunities, refining your prioritization framework, and handling real-world scenarios. This knowledge will help you ace the interview and fortify your position as an adept navigator in this dynamic field.

Key Takeaways:

  • Excelling in Product Manager interviews requires more than just technical knowledge.
  • This blog covers an array of interview questions across different categories, from ambitions and problem-solving to leadership and communication. 
  • By mastering the questions in this guide, you not only excel in interviews but also position yourself as a competent navigator.

What Do Companies Look for in a New Product Manager?

Before delving into the interview questions, it’s crucial to understand your interviewer’s perspective. What exactly are they seeking?

Beyond mere intelligence, adaptability, and quick thinking, they are searching for a candidate who possesses the drive to excel in the role, collaborate seamlessly with diverse teams, and skillfully prioritize features that cater to user needs. A successful Product Manager (PM) embodies resilience, strategic thinking, and keen insights. Consequently, the hiring process involves an array of questions aimed at identifying the ideal candidate.

Prepare yourself to face the comprehensive compilation of questions that you’re likely to encounter during a Product Management interview. Get ready to ace the interview!

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6 Key Product Manager Interview Questions

If you are aspiring to excel in a Product Manager role , the path often leads through a series of interviews designed to assess your skills, mindset, and strategic thinking. There are a diverse range of questions any candidate can expect to be asked in a Product Management interview. While some may catch you off guard, a certain category is consistently prominent. Listed below are the Product Manager interview questions you would most likely to be asked in a Product Management interview.

1. What is something that your are trying to get better at?

2. Teach me something new in one minute? 

3. What is a risk that you regret not taking?

4. List down your top 10 accomplishments.

5. Apart from luck, how do you attribute your success?

6. What are the top 3 tech trends that will change the next decade?

By answering these questions thoughtfully you foster your readiness to shape products that resonate with user needs and market dynamics.

7 Questions related to Product Management Experience and Skills

Hiring managers are always on the lookout for experience and skills of the candidate during interviews. The questions related to experience and skills listed below are generally the questions asked in order to take a glimpse into your strategic thinking, adaptability, and capacity to lead cross-functional teams to success. These Product Manager interview questions serve as a lens through which your ability to strategize, adapt, and collaborate effectively in the complex domain of Product Management is assessed.

1. What did you ship most recently?

2. Take me through your biggest product flop. What happened and what did you do about it?

3. Tell me about a time that you delivered something impactful.

4. Walk me through your story from college till right now.

5. Tell me about a product that you love.

6. What do you know about yourself that differentiates you from other people?

7. Describe yourself to me, three years from now.

By dissecting these questions and formulating well-crafted responses, you’ll be better equipped to highlight your prowess and secure your foothold as an adept Product Manager.

Technical Product Manager Interview Questions

Technical questions are a rarity in Product Manager interviews, especially if the role doesn’t demand deep technical expertise. Unless you’re pursuing a Technical Product Manager role or at an advanced stage of a role-specific interview, technical inquiries remain basic. Typically, these questions assess your collaborative prowess with engineers and gauge your grasp of the company’s technology, rather than delving into intricate technical details.

1. How would you explain a database to a three-year-old?

2. How would you explain product management to a person without technical knowledge?

3. How would you improve Google Maps?

4. Devise A/B tests to improve user frustration with Google Maps.

5. How would you monetize WhatsApp?

6. In the context of product management, how would you describe “low-hanging fruit”?

7. Why is Gmail search slower than Google search?

8. Design a Facebook product to encourage volunteering.

As you navigate these questions, remember that their aim is not to test your technical prowess, but rather to ascertain your ability to bridge the gap between technical and non-technical stakeholders, ultimately driving successful product outcomes.

Analytical Questions for Product Manager Interview

Thriving as a Product Manager demands a foundation of analytical thinking. Within interviews, some companies deploy questions tailored to unveil your problem-solving approach and thought process. The crucial strategy when encountering these queries lies in granting yourself moments for contemplation instead of hastening your response. A composed pause beats the pitfalls of hurried, regrettable answers. Remember, these questions are windows into your mindset, providing insights into your ability to methodically navigate challenges rather than yielding to the pressure of instant responses.

1. Tell me about a time you handled a difficult stakeholder

2. How do you choose a task to focus on from different executive stakeholders?

3. What are signs that it’s time to cut corners to get the product launched, and what would you cut?

4. Design a product for drivers during rush hour.

Remember, these questions peer into your cognitive processes, highlighting your capacity to navigate challenges systematically and deftly, fortifying your candidacy as a meticulous problem solver in the realm of Product Management.

Behavioral Interview Questions for Product Managers

Beyond a mere list of skills, interviews provide a canvas for companies to observe your behavioral dynamics across diverse scenarios. They seek assurance of your composure in high-pressure settings, your adeptness at influencing despite lacking formal authority, and your capability to navigate stakeholder expectations. If confronted with an unfamiliar situation, refrain from stating “I haven’t encountered that.” Instead, articulate how you’d approach it in the future, showcasing your proactive mindset and problem-solving acumen. Interviews aren’t solely about past experiences; they’re windows into your adaptability and foresight, underpinning your suitability for the role. Here lie the behavioral Product Manager interview questions that may grace an interview:

1. Tell me about a time you had a disagreement with a coworker? How did you solve the problem?

2. Tell me about a time you had to influence a key decision-maker.

3. Product managers will often have to manage personnel issues or conflicts. Can you describe a time where you had to deal with a personnel issue?

4. If a engineering team memberʼs bandwidth doesnʼt allow for competing priorities, how do you determine what to focus on?

5. Tell me about a time you convinced someone to change their mind.

6. Have you ever been in a situation where your team has let you down and youʼve had to take the blame?

By addressing these questions promptly and thoughtfully, you unravel your capacity to navigate real-world scenarios in a Product Manager role.

Leadership and Communication Questions

Even in junior positions, Product Managers exhibit leadership qualities. This holds true for entry-level roles, where leadership-related inquiries surface. Rest assured, these questions won’t delve into abstract concepts until you attain seniority. Instead, they often mirror behavioral questions, aiming to assess your interpersonal dynamics and communication within your product teams .

1. How do you gain credibility from the development/engineering teams as a new product manager?

2. Name your favorite software tools to manage team members. Explain how you use these software management tools.

3. How do you align the technical team with the product vision and overarching goals of the company?

4. How would you explain cloud computing to your grandmother?

By addressing these questions thoughtfully, you demonstrate your holistic prowess as a Product Manager, equipped to navigate challenges with finesse and bring forth successful product strategies .

Product Manager Analytics Interview Questions

Product Analytics questions illuminate your ability to navigate and extract valuable information from user feedback and market dynamics. These questions delve into your aptitude for translating data into actionable strategies, highlighting your prowess in shaping products that align with user needs and market opportunities. Here are the Product Analytics questions that might expect:

1. Break down the process you use to gather user feedback.

2. Explain how you interacted with your users in a previous company.

3. How do you define market opportunity in a business plan?

By effectively addressing these questions, you underscore your ability to guide products towards success through informed decision-making.

Product Roadmap Interview Questions

Crafting a successful product roadmap is the cornerstone of effective Product Management. These questions delve into your strategic prowess and ability to navigate the intricate process of roadmap creation. The questions listed below might be asked to take a glimpse into how you approach metrics, problem-solving, and balancing the intricacies of product development timelines.

1. What do you consider when creating product roadmaps?

2. What’s your process for reviewing metrics?

3. Describe your process to improve a declining metric.

4. Whatʼs more important: getting a product done on time or getting a product done as planned? 

By thoughtfully addressing these questions, you underscore your ability to be a steward of product roadmap, ensuring that products evolve in sync with user needs and market demands.

Product Strategy Interview Questions

Navigating the intricate landscape of product strategy is a hallmark of adept Product Managers. The questions in this section delve into your ability to prioritize, gauge user satisfaction, make tough decisions, and communicate effectively in alignment with strategic goals. These inquiries provide insight into your strategic acumen and your capacity to steer products toward successful trajectories.

1. How do you prioritize tasks?

2. How do you know if your users are satisfied with your product?

3. If a team member’s bandwidth doesn’t allow for competing priorities, how do you determine what to focus on?

4. How do you say no to feature requests or suggestions?

By thoughtfully addressing these questions, you underscore your ability to be a dynamic navigator of product strategy, guiding products to thrive in a competitive landscape while catering to user needs.

Product Prioritization Interview Questions

Effective product prioritization is the cornerstone of successful Product Management . These questions delve into your strategic thinking and decision-making process when faced with a myriad of tasks and features. They provide insight into your prioritization framework and your ability to weigh pros and cons, aligning product efforts with business objectives.

1. Talk me through your preferred prioritization framework. Discuss the pros and cons of using it.

By thoughtfully addressing this question, you highlight your aptitude to chart a path that aligns product efforts with overarching business objectives, ultimately contributing to the success of your product endeavors.

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Problem-Solving and Decision Making Questions

Navigating complex problem-solving scenarios and making effective decisions are critical aspects of Product Management. These questions delve into your ability to address competitive challenges, make tough choices, and handle difficult situations. They provide insights into your problem-solving acumen, strategic thinking, and resilience when confronted with dilemmas.

1. How would you react to a competing product?

2. What are signs that it’s time to cut corners to get the product launched, and what would you cut?

3. What was the hardest decision you had to make as a product manager? How did you handle it?

By thoughtfully addressing these Product Manager interview questions, you showcase your role as a strategic navigator, steering products through intricate waters and making pivotal decisions that contribute to their ultimate triumph.

Frequently Asked Questions

Navigating Product Manager interviews requires a comprehensive understanding of the role's demands, extending beyond technical expertise. Excelling as a Product Manager involves strategic thinking, leadership, problem-solving, and more. 

Companies seek candidates with not only intelligence and adaptability, but also the ability to excel as collaborative leaders, prioritize user needs, and drive product success.

This guide provides an extensive list of questions categorized into various aspects of Product Management, such as skills, experience, technical expertise, leadership, problem-solving, and more. By addressing these questions thoughtfully, you gain insights and strategies to navigate interviews successfully.

Behavioral questions assess your ability to handle diverse scenarios and demonstrate your adaptability, problem-solving, and leadership qualities.

Analytical questions are designed to unveil your problem-solving approach and thought process. Demonstrating a methodical approach and the ability to navigate challenges thoughtfully showcases your analytical thinking, which is a valuable trait for a Product Manager.

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13 Most-Asked Product Manager Interview Questions (+ answers)

two product managers practising interview questions

Product manager interviews at top companies such as Google, Amazon, etc. are tough. But with the right preparation, you can dramatically increase your chances of landing an offer.

Below are 13 product manager interview questions you're very likely to be asked (we know because we analyzed over 1000 Glassdoor interview reports and we've worked with thousands of PM candidates.)

We've provided a high quality answer outline for each question. Work through these and you’ll be well on your way to acing your PM interviews!

(Note: If you want a very long list of PM questions, skip to section 14 )

  • Design X product for Y user
  • What metrics would you use to measure for X product?
  • How would you improve X product?
  • Tell me about a time you failed
  • X metric changed unexpectedly. What do you do?
  • What's your favorite product and why?
  • Why do you want to work at this company?
  • How do you deal with conflict?
  • Tell me about yourself
  • How would you prioritize between A, B and C?
  • What are your strengths and weaknesses?
  • Tell me about a time you overcame a challenge
  • Explain X technical concept

Click here to practice 1-on-1 with FAANG ex-interviewers

Question 1: design x product for y user.

This question and its infinite variants (e.g. “design a fridge for blind people”) made up 13% of all the interview questions we studied. Google PM candidates, for example, face this question extremely frequently.

Interviewers use this question to assess your customer empathy, creativity, and ability to use a structured approach to managing products.

We recommend that you structure your approach to design questions by using the BUS framework . Check out the abbreviated sample answer below to see how it works.

Sample answer: Design a computer keyboard

Business objective

First, clarify the question and confirm its scope:

  • What's the business objective and target user?
  • Are we designing a mouse to go with it?

Let's assume that the interviewer wants you to design a keyboard for casual gamers, and that the business objective is to maximize revenues.

User problems

Brainstorm typical problems casual gamers face when using standard computer keyboards:

  • Keys are slow to respond, collect dust underneath over time, aren’t easy to replace
  • Keys that are repetitively used wear out
  • Keyboard is uncomfortable to use for long periods of time

Most gamers' primary objective is probably to win at the game they play. As a result, it makes sense to prioritize solving problems which will help users improve their performance, like problem one.

Here are some solutions which could help solve this problem:

   a. Build keys that don't need to be pressed as hard / deep to register input

   b. Build keys which register user input quicker using alternative technologies 

   c. Build keys that can easily be removed to clean the keyboard

You'll want to prioritize your solutions using a simple framework that allows you to compare effort and impact.

Your prioritization framework might lead you to conclude that solution a) is low effort and high impact. Make sure you link back to the business objective you outlined at the start of the interview and confirm how this solution meets that objective.

There are always trade offs when choosing solutions: in this case, t he keys could become overly sensitive, increasing user errors. Show you're aware of trade offs and be ready to discuss how you might mitigate for them.

Want to see more detail on how to answer this question? For the complete answer and an explanation of the framework, take a look at our guide to product design questions .

MOCK INTERVIEW: If you want to watch someone answer this question, this video is good: Design a movie product for Facebook 

Question 2: What metrics would you use to measure for X product?

This analytics/metrics question accounted for 7% of all the interview questions we studied. Interviewers want to assess whether you know how to use a set of hero and secondary metrics to assess if products are successful and to decide what your team should work on next.

We recommend using the GAME framework to approach metrics questions like these. Let's take a look at an abbreviated sample answer.

Sample answer: What metrics would you use to determine success for the Facebook newsfeed?

You could begin by saying, "My understanding is that there are multiple use cases for the Newsfeed such as engaging users and generating ad revenue. To stay healthy, Facebook needs strong user engagement, so I would pick this as our primary business goal."

Consider what it means for a user to be “engaged.” List every relevant action (e.g. creating a post, viewing a post, commenting, liking, sharing, etc.). Next, you need to prioritize your list of actions: “There are a number of user actions which reflect engagement, but I think the three most important ones are likely to be posting, commenting, and sharing.”

Imagine that in the previous step, after discussing with your interviewer, you prioritized the “comment” and “share” actions. In order to measure engagement based on these actions, here are some metrics that would make sense to track:

  • "Comment" metrics: Comments per 1k sessions, comments per 1k posts seen, etc.
  • "Share" metrics: Shares per 1k sessions, shares per 1k posts seen, etc.


You could summarize by saying something like, “So, in order to increase Newsfeed engagement, I would first look at comments and shares per thousand sessions. These metrics would give us an idea of meaningful engagement for the average user…”

For the complete answer and a more detailed explanation of the GAME framework, take a look at our guide to product metric questions .

Question 3: How would you improve X product?

Another product design question, this one assesses how well you can analyze an existing product’s features and change them to better meet user needs.

Below is an abbreviated sample answer to this question, using the BUS framework, same as question 1 above.

Sample answer: How would you improve Facebook?

First, clarify the target user and the specific product. Assume here that the interviewer wants you to improve Facebook's Ads Manager, and that the business objective is to grow the conversion rate from registered to active users amongst small businesses.

Brainstorm typical problems small businesses face using Facebook Ads:

  • Users might not have run ads before and are unsure where to start
  • Users might be overwhelmed by all the customization options offered by the Ads Manager and not have enough time to learn it all

It makes sense to prioritize solving problems that will let users launch an ad and see results as quickly as possible. Therefore, focus on problem two. 

Here are some solutions which could help solve problem two:

  • Create a custom onboarding experience to guide small business users through creating a first simple ad
  • Create a simpler and separate version of the Ads Manager with less granular controls but that's much easier to use

Assume you’ve discussed with the interviewer and chosen option b.

Finally, summarize your results with the interviewer and discuss trade-offs.

For the complete answer and an explanation of the BUS framework, take a look at our guide to product improvement questions .

MOCK INTERVIEW: Watch this ex-Google PM give a very strong answer to the question " How would you improve Google Chrome? "

Question 4: Tell me about a time you failed

A hard-hitting behavioral question (especially beloved by Amazon interviewers), this question requires you to dive into your past experience to prove your ability to take calculated risks and learn from past mistakes.

When answering behavioral questions, you should focus on your most relevant achievements and communicate them in a compelling, structured way. An easy way to achieve this is to use a step-by-step method to tell your stories, such as the STAR method or the SPSIL method used below (which we prefer).

Let's take a look at a strong example.

Sample answer: Tell me about a time you failed

“In my last position, I was the product manager for a key feature of a new product we were about to launch. My team was ahead of schedule, so I told our chief product officer that we would finish a week before the deadline. She rearranged launch dates accordingly.

However, as we continued work on the launch, it quickly became clear that the final details would take longer than anticipated, and we would not be meeting the earlier deadline.

I took it upon myself to speed up the process. First, I added some of my team’s workload to my plate in order to accomplish everything faster. I worked overtime to take care of the loose ends, then booked a new meeting with the chief product officer to explain. 

Ultimately, we were able to complete our preparations a couple days before the original launch date, though not a full week ahead like I'd anticipated. Thankfully, since it was only the earlier deadline I failed to meet, the product was still able to be launched on the original launch date one week later.

The failure to meet that deadline reminded me to make decisions based on data and observation, not excitement. Since this mistake, I’ve been meticulous about deadlines, only setting or changing them after I’ve discussed it with the team and considered the repercussions. I haven’t missed a deadline since.”

For more tips on how to answer this question, plus five different example answers, see 5 ways to answer "Tell me about a time you failed" .

VIDEO: You can see another sample answer to this question in this Careervidz clip.

Question 5: X metric changed unexpectedly—how do you react?

With this question, interviewers at FAANG and other top companies want to test your data analysis skills as well as your ability to communicate issues and act under pressure .

Below is an abbreviated sample answer to this question, using a three-step method.

Sample answer: YouTube traffic went down 5% —how would you report this issue to the executive team?

Define the metric change

Here are some questions that immediately come to mind to help clarify the question: How do you define “traffic,” what segments and device types is it affecting, and when did it start?

Explore possible root causes

Assume the interviewer tells you that the average time spent watching per session is down 5% month-over-month worldwide on mobile only. Now, brainstorm potential factors. Assume the interviewer has asked to focus on internal factors only. 

Internal factors:

  • Data accuracy (e.g. confirm reporting tools are working as expected)
  • Context (e.g. it could be an expected seasonal drop)
  • Access to the product (e.g. possibility of a major outage)
  • Product changes / quality (e.g. possibility of code that introduced a bug)

Assume the interviewer has confirmed that the reporting is working as expected, there is no seasonal drop, and there has been no major outage. Consider product changes: Did they release any significant feature changes?

The interviewer says that the user interface for the video player was recently changed on mobile, which involved making the “Send video to device” button two times larger, and reducing the “Full screen” button by half its original size. 

Discuss and conclude

At that point, you could form a hypothesis and say something like, “Have you noticed a change in the frequency at which the ‘Send video to device’ and ‘Full screen’ buttons are being used on mobile? Maybe mobile users are having a harder time tapping the ‘Full screen’ button now that it’s smaller, and are tapping the ‘Send video to device’ button by accident because it’s too big?”

For the complete answer and an explanation of the framework used, take a look at our guide to product metric questions .

MOCK INTERVIEW: If you want to watch someone answer a similar question, check out this video - root cause analysis of cart metrics, with Razorpay PM.

Question 6: What is your favorite product and why?

With this question, interviewers are assessing your understanding of product design, your ability to deliver constructive criticism, and your knowledge of a specific product. They may ask about your favorite product in general or your favorite among their own line of products.

It doesn't really matter which product you choose. The important thing is providing good arguments for the product in a structured way.

Below is an abbreviated sample answer using the BUS framework.

Sample answer: What is your favorite product and why?

"My favorite product right now is Instagram. I tend to use Instagram mostly as an end user, not an advertiser, so let me explain more about the product from that user perspective. Here’s one of the problems it addresses:

It is tough to find one easy place to share casual photos, promote artwork, or build a small business where there are many users who are likely to find and share your content.

Instagram solves this problem by giving users the option of exactly what accounts to follow, so there’s a really high chance a user’s feed is full of content they’re going to enjoy as soon as the app launches on their phone. This is a better solution than some alternatives which require you to scroll through videos at random until the algorithm catches on to what you like (such as TikTok).

The core design of the app therefore makes the barrier to engage with Instagram content really low compared to other alternatives. A trade-off here is that the focus on visual content inhibits users’ ability to post long-form or written content.”

For the full answer and an explanation of the framework to use in your own answers, take a look at our guide to the favorite product interview question . It's also worth watching this video example of a great answer to the favorite product question, from an ex-Google PM.

Question 7: Why do you want to work at this company?

You're almost certain to be asked this question at least once during your PM interviews. It's frequently used in phone screening rounds and as an icebreaker in final interview rounds.  It tests how well you've researched the company you’re interviewing for, and whether you have the right reasons for wanting to work there.

Below is a brief sample answer to this question, targeted to Google.

Sample answer: Why do you want to work at Google?

"I want to work at Google for three reasons. First, I'm excited to join Google because of its deep technical culture. I actually did a PhD in Computer Science before becoming a product manager, and I know that by joining the company I'll be working with colleagues who are as excited as I am about advanced technology. Second, I'm attracted to Google because of its spirit of innovation, exemplified by the famous 20% policy—whether or not that policy is still a hard and fast rule at the company today. Being creative and pursuing novel opportunities is what inspired me to organize a PM committee and internal innovation events in my previous position, which ended up reducing turnover in my team by 15%. It sounds like Google is a place that encourages special projects like these. Finally, I studied with Nancy Smith and Aaron Fox, who were part of the same PhD program and now work at Google. Both of them are enjoying their time here and encouraged me to apply to join the team."

For instructions on crafting your own perfect answer to this crucial question, follow the steps in  our guide to the "why do you want to work here" interview question .

VIDEO: Check out this fairly short video which has some great points about how to approach the question.

Question 8: How do you deal with conflict?

This is another revealing behavioral interview question, which interviewers use to test your interpersonal skills and ability to work in cross-functional teams.

Collaborating with different specialties and personality types is key in product management, and interviewers want to know you’ll handle the kinds of tricky situations that are bound to arise.

Below is a shortened sample answer to a common version of this question .

Sample answer: Tell me about a past conflict you faced

"In my past job, I was on a product team composed of coworkers from various functional areas of our company. I frequently jumped in with ideas and volunteered to lend a hand in many tasks.

I noticed that one of my coworkers was cutting me off when I presented ideas. When I volunteered to help with a task in his functional area, he neglected to give me the information and resources I needed in order to contribute. This behavior continued, causing a conflict that slowed down our progress on important tasks.

I met with my coworker. I politely expressed how his behavior was affecting work and asked if I had overstepped boundaries. He explained that my initial eagerness had taken up too much time in the meetings, giving him and others less of an opportunity to contribute. When I helped in his functional area, it slowed him down to have to explain the processes to me.

I then presented a plan to avoid further conflict: I would be more attentive to the time I spent speaking in meetings and would only volunteer for tasks when I was confident I was well equipped to contribute. In exchange, I requested that he approach me in case further issues arise, instead of closing me off from discussions or projects. 

Impact / Lessons

We each adjusted our behavior and avoided further conflict. We were able to catch up on the delays we were beginning to incur with our communication issues, finishing the project on time and meeting our initial goals.”

For the full answer and a repeatable answer framework, study our guide to behavioral interview questions in tech interviews .

Or see our guide: 5 ways to answer "Tell me about a time you had a conflict"

MOCK INTERVIEW: Watch a strong answer to the question "How would you deal with a conflict with a co-worker' "

Question 9: Tell me about yourself

This is another common icebreaker question, used both in initial phone screens and in the final onsite or virtual onsite interview rounds. It often forms the interviewer’s first impression of you as a candidate and sets the stage for the rest of the interview.

When preparing your answer, take care to align your past experience with the role you’re interviewing for, and be sure that it takes no longer than 1-3 minutes to recite.

In the video below, watch former PM interviewers from Google, Meta, and Amazon answer "Tell me about yourself" and see feedback on their answers to show you the benefits of their different approaches.

Alternatively, for a written illustration of what makes a good answer to this question, see below.

Sample answer: Tell me about yourself

“I’m currently finishing out my third year as a senior product manager at X company.

To work up to this position, I started out as a rotational product manager at Y company. We had three rotations as a part of their program, and the one that really hooked me was with their Data team. I loved the combination of creativity and design mixed with the analysis and technical needs of the data platforms that I ultimately got to launch once I was hired on as a full time product manager.

I stayed on that team for another year, until I applied for my current position, looking for more opportunities for growth. There, I was able to work on our product recommendation and CV forecasting solutions, ultimately improving our product CTR by 10%.

Now, I’m hoping to tackle new challenges by making the transition to this role on Z team, to work on platforms that serve millions of users while giving a great product experience.”

Question 10: How would your prioritize tasks A, B, and C?

Prioritization questions like this one test how well candidates can identify customer needs when it comes to picking the most important features and/or building out a product roadmap.

Even if you don't get asked a prioritization question, you'll often need to prioritize between solutions or problems in design or strategy questions, so you need to be ready to use a prioritization framework, even if you won't always have time to go into a lot of detail.

The abbreviated answer below shows how to use the RICE prioritization framework. To save space, we've just prioritized two tasks, but you can see a full version of the answer in our  guide to prioritization and trade-off questions .

Sample answer: How would your prioritize tasks A and B?

Define the business objective

Imagine that the interviewer has given you this hypothetical situation: you’re the PM for a brand new photo-editing mobile app, with the following projects.

  • Project A: update the in-app messaging system
  • Project B: add a cropping tool to the editing suite

Apply a framework to the question. Here, we’ll use the RICE framework : [(Reach x Impact x Confidence) / Effort].

Rice framework: Reach

First, we’ll determine the Reach for these two projects. For project A, the in-app messaging update, imagine that the interviewer said that an average of 250 users have sent messages each month over the last quarter. As project B is adding a cropping tool to the free category of the full editing suite, you can assume the majority of users will use it, so you could round the Reach number to 600.

Rice framework: Impact

Next, evaluate Impact. For project A (messaging update), imagine the interviewer has informed you that users who send messages appear to do so sporadically. As users who do make use of the messaging system don’t engage with it heavily, you could say the impact is low, with an Impact score of 0.5. Project C involves adding a simple cropping tool to the editing features that are available to all users. You could choose the “high” Impact score of 2.

Rice framework: Confidence

For Confidence, Our Reach values for both Project A and Project B are data-based; However, we are largely estimating Impact. You could give both projects an 80% Confidence score.

Rice framework: Effort

Finally, for Effort, imagine there’s already a framework in place for the messaging update, so the timeline of Project A won’t take longer than one person-month. For Project C (cropping tool), imagine that the interviewer has told us that the team’s previous time investment for adding new editing features was three person-months.

Evaluate and conclude.

When you take the four previous values and run them through the RICE formula for each project, here are the results:

Project A: (250 x 0.5 x .80) / 1 = 100

Project C: (600 x 2 x .80) / 3 = 320

According to the RICE scores, you would prioritize the cropping tool.

For the full answer, including trade-offs and other factors, as well as an explanation of the RICE framework, consult our guide to prioritization and trade-off questions .

MOCK INTERVIEW: See a candidate take on a prioritization question in this mock interview video.

Question 11: What are your strengths and weaknesses?

This is a classic getting-to-know-you question that interviewers use to assess your self-awareness and what you will bring to the team.

Below is an example of how you could answer this question. When considering your own response, be sure to choose an honest answer. Everybody has weaknesses. This question is a chance to show that you are self-aware enough to be conscious of yours, and that you've taken steps to address them.

However, you don't want to highlight a weakness that could really hamper your ability to thrive as a product manager. Examples of weaknesses you should NOT admit to would be "I have poor communication skills", "I find it really hard to create a product roadmap" or "I struggle prioritizing tasks and managing my workload"!

Sample answer: What are your strengths and weaknesses?

“One strength is that I have excellent interpersonal and communication skills. It’s something I’ve had to perfect over years of client-facing jobs, as far back as being a clothing store cashier in my teens. When I started my past position, my manager quickly put me at the head of a project team of 15, and we were able to complete the project a week ahead of time, with no issues.

A weakness is that I have a short attention span. It’s something that I have struggled with in my studies in particular, but since then have adopted habits and timing methods that help me manage it. I take frequent short breaks as I work, which allow me to focus on long-term projects, rather than spacing out and getting frustrated.”

MOCK INTERVIEW: This is a good example of how to answer the 'What's your biggest weakness? " side of the question.

Question 12: Tell me about a time when you overcame a challenge

Interviewers use questions like this to find out how well you can act in the face of adverse circumstances. Product management at big tech companies is a challenging job, so they want to be sure that you can go the distance.

Below is an abbreviated example of an answer to this question. It's written from the perspective of a non-experienced candidate, but the logic behind it works for anyone.

Sample answer: Tell me about a time when you overcame a challenge

“When I was in college I was a barista at a 30-year-old, local coffee shop called Sunny’s. It was a small business with less than ten employees, located in a neighborhood with new shops and restaurants opening at a rapid pace. 

The shop was losing customers, and the owner had a hard time turning it around.

I decided to find an easy way to understand the market and find some of the root causes of the problem we were experiencing. I informally surveyed customers and scoped out other shops around the area.

I noticed a few common themes at these other popular shops: 1) They offered soy and almond as alternatives to dairy milk, and 2) they printed the WiFi password on receipts.

I mentioned these themes to the owner. First, we bought a few cartons of alternative milk test if this made a difference to Sunny’s customers. Second, printing the password on receipts was too cumbersome of a change, so instead we posted it around the cafe.

After these changes, sales returned to normal within a couple months. Seeing this, the owner started more regularly surveying customers and executing competitive analysis, which has helped to make Sunny’s one of the top coffee shops in the neighborhood to this day.”

For the full sample answer and the repeatable answer framework that you can use in your own interviews, study our guide to answering behavioral interview questions .

MOCK INTERVIEW: This video gives a strong example answer for another version of this question " Tell me about a time you handled a difficult situation ".

Question 13: Explain a technical concept to a non-technical person

Finally, interviewers sometimes ask technical explainer questions like this one in order to assess how well you understand relevant technical concepts to the position you’re applying for, as well as if you can communicate with teams of engineers.

Obviously, if you're applying for a technical PM position then you can expect plenty of technical questions related to your role, but at some companies non-technical PMs should be ready to show they can talk comfortably about technical topics.

Below is a shortened sample answer to the question, “explain how the internet works.”

Sample answer: Explain how the internet works

To reduce the scope of the explanation, you can start with, “The internet is composed of many complex elements. I could talk about network connections, blockchain technology, specific web services, etc. But the most fundamental feature of the Internet is probably that websites can be accessed by typing a URL in a browser, so this is what I suggest we focus on.”

Explain step by step

Take some time to write out your thoughts, then walk the interviewer through the steps:

  • The Client browser uses the URL (e.g. to find the website’s IP address, which is either stored in local memory or found with a DNS lookup. Here’s a metaphor to help explain: a DNS resolver is like a big phone book matching URLs and IP addresses. If you wanted to call “John Smith” on the phone, first you would need to find his number in the phone book.
  • Next, the browser uses the IP address and queries the Internet for the website’s data. This is like if you dialed John Smith’s number, then the phone company would make a connection between your phone lines.
  • Then the website’s Server sends appropriate data (e.g. an index.html file) back across the Internet. To continue the metaphor, when John Smith answers and says hello, his voice is translated into an electronic signal that’s passed through the phone lines.
  • Finally, the website’s data reaches the browser, which then displays a visual interpretation of that data. This is like your phone’s speaker turning the electronic signal into John Smith’s voice again.

Conclude and discuss

After going over the above, you could conclude by saying, “So, typing a URL into the address bar of a browser works a lot like making a phone call. Information is transferred back and forth between two connection points, and the transferred information needs to be interpreted by the receiver.”

For a framework you can use for this type of question, as well as the full sample answer, take a look at our guide to answering technical questions in PM interviews .

14. 106 more product manager interview questions from FAANG interviews

Now that you’ve seen the top 13 product manager interview questions, it’s time to prepare for every type of question you may be asked.

Keep in mind that some question types are asked more frequently than others. After analyzing over 1,000 questions, we came up with the percentages below.

FAANG PM interview question categories

14.1 Behavioral interview questions (33% of questions)

Tech companies use behavioral interview questions to assess candidates based on their past experiences, their motivations for applying, and their understanding of what makes a good PM.

Example questions: Behavioral

  • Tell me about a time you had an innovative idea that had a positive impact
  • Why product management?
  • Tell me about your most significant accomplishment. Why was it significant?
  • Tell me about a time you demonstrated leadership
  • Tell me about a time you worked backwards from a customer problem — how did you solve it?
  • Describe a project that you wish you had done better and how you would do it differently today
  • Tell me about a time you applied judgment to a decision when data was not available
  • Tell me about a product you led from idea to launch
  • Describe the last time you had to make a challenging decision when prioritizing

Remember, you'll probably be asked more behavioral questions than any other type, so it's worth preparing thoroughly. Here's our guide to answering behavioral questions . This guide primarily focuses on Meta interview questions but can apply to any company.

14.2 Product sense & design interview questions (28%)

There are three types of product sense questions: Product design questions, Product improvement questions and Favorite product questions.

Each of these sub-types assess your creativity, customer empathy, and your ability to use a structured approach to design products in different ways. Prior to the interview, be sure to familiarize yourself with the company’s products to best answer this type of question.

Product design

  • Design an app for a theme park
  • Design an alarm clock for the blind
  • Design a pen for an astronaut
  • Design an umbrella for kids
  • Design a phone for deaf people
  • Design a washer and dryer
  • Design Google radio
  • Design an antiques marketplace
  • Design a dictionary lookup for scrabble
  • Design an app for a community of Celiac's disease patients
  • Design a grocery app
  • Design an app for the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV)
  • Design a bike-based delivery service
  • Design an elevator
  • Design a new computer keyboard

Product improvement

  • How would you improve Google Pay?
  • How would you improve Facebook groups?
  • How would you improve throughput at an airport?
  • How would you improve AirBnb?
  • How would you improve Dropbox?
  • How would you improve Netflix?
  • How would you improve Reddit?
  • How would you improve LinkedIn's user profile page?
  • How would you improve engagement in Trello?
  • How would you improve Google Home?
  • How would you improve Google Image search?
  • How would you improve the NYC transit system?

Favorite product

  • What is your favorite product and why?

Consult our guides to answering product design , product improvement , and favorite product interview questions to best prepare yourself for this category.

14.3 Strategy interview questions (23%)

There are two types of strategy questions: Product strategy, estimation, and prioritization questions. 

Product strategy questions test your ability to develop a product vision and roadmap, while estimation questions require you to assess market sizes, revenue potential, the number of customers, etc., and prioritization questions assess if you can do it all in a logical order.

For each of these subcategories, it's not so much about getting to a specific answer; what’s more important is how you think through the problem, making assumptions and calculations.

Example questions: Strategy

Product strategy

  • How would you turn Facebook events around?
  • How would you monetize Facebook Messenger?
  • You're the CEO of Uber - what's your 10-year plan?
  • How would you bootstrap a product that helps people find apartments?
  • If you were a VC, would you be more bullish on AR or VR?
  • Why do you think Microsoft bought LinkedIn?
  • If you were the CEO of LEGO, what new product line would you come up with to increase revenue?
  • Imagine you’re a PM at a startup that works with big data from the NHL — what’s the first product you would ship?
  • How would you sell live plants at Amazon?
  • If you were the CEO of Facebook, what are the top three things you would do?
  • Imagine you’re the CEO of Apple — what product would you eliminate from the lineup?
  • How much revenue does YouTube make per day?
  • What is the market size for driverless cars in 2025?
  • What is the market size for toilet paper in the US?
  • What is the storage space required to host all images on Google Street View?
  • What is the required internet bandwidth for an average college campus?
  • How much time do people spend at stop lights each year?
  • How many restaurant reviews are written on Google Reviews every month?
  • How many kindergarten teachers are there in the US?
  • How many millennials own homes in the US?
  • How much ad revenue does GMail make every year?
  • How many computers does Google own?
  • How many dentists are there in New York?
  • How many bicycles do you need to start a bike sharing service in New York?
  • How many passengers are in the air on a plane at any given time in the US?
  • What is the weight of the Empire State building?


  • How do you prioritize features?
  • How would you prioritize WhatsApp chat features?
  • How do you deal with trade-offs between opposing metrics, such as higher AoV but lower conversion rate?
  • Evaluate the trade-offs between enlarging posts on the Newsfeed versus showing more ads?
  • As the PM of Facebook Pages, what features would you prioritize?
  • How would you evaluate the trade-offs between boosting ad revenue and decreasing retention?

Consult our guides to answering product strategy and estimation interview questions to best prepare yourself for this category.

14.4 Analysis interview questions (12%)

There are two types of analysis questions, both based on metrics: Metric definition questions and Metric change questions. 

Metric definition questions focus on your ability to define metrics that provide clarity on the health of a product or feature, and  metric change questions test whether you know what to do when a key product metric (e.g. traffic, revenue, engagement, etc.) is going up or down without a clear cause.

Example questions: Analysis

Metric definition

  • Define YouTube success metrics
  • What metrics did you use to measure the successful launch of your product?
  • What metrics would you use to measure the success of Facebook’s “Save Item” feature?
  • How would you measure the success of the new YouTube Player UI?
  • What analysis would you use to understand if we should increase the price of an Amazon Prime Membership?
  • How would you determine the negative value of an abusive posting?
  • Imagine you are the PM of the Facebook Newsfeed — how would you measure retention?
  • How would you set goals for Instagram Reels?
  • Tell me what metrics you would look at as a product manager for Instagram ads
  • What are the things that Netflix should measure and analyze on a daily basis?
  • How would you measure the success of Apple's WWDC event?

Metric change

  • Engagement drops 10%. What do you do?
  • There's been a 15% drop in usage of Facebook Groups — how do you fix it?
  • You have just localized an ecommerce site in Spain and now see that traffic has reduced — what could be the reasons?
  • You are looking at YouTube’s Daily Active User data worldwide and notice a 10% jump compared to yesterday in Indonesia — what happened?
  • Users are no longer signing up for our email list — what would you do?
  • Reddit traffic went down 5% — how would you report this issue to the executive team?
  • The usage of Facebook Event’s “Yes I’m going” dropped 30% overnight — what data would you look at to try to isolate the issue?
  • You are the PM of Facebook 3rd Party Login, and you see your numbers are declining 2% week-on-week — what do you do?

Consult our guide to answering product metric interview questions to best prepare yourself for this category.

14.5 Technical interview questions (4%)

There are two types of technical questions: Technical explanation questions and Algorithm questions. Note that not all companies ask technical questions, or may only ask technical explanation questions. If you are unsure of what to expect, check in with your recruiter. 

Technical explanation questions assess the extent of your technical knowledge, and your ability to communicate that knowledge, while algorithm questions test your problem solving skills and ability to solve engineering problems with pseudocode (typically not production-level code).

Example questions: Technical

Technical explanation

  • How does Google Calendar work?
  • Explain recursion to your grandmother
  • What technologies would you use to build a live stream video service?
  • Explain the concept of "protocol" to a 4-year-old child
  • What is the difference between C++ and Java?
  • Explain what happens when executing mergesort
  • When are Bayesian methods more appropriate than "Artificial Intelligence" techniques for predictive analytics?
  • How would you most efficiently store large images in a database?
  • Explain the concept of big O notation
  • How would you get authentication to work across domains?
  • Design a method that removes every other node from a linked list
  • Write a program to randomly shuffle an array of numbers
  • How would you output a tree in column sequence from left to right?
  • Invert the words of a sentence in a string
  • Write a function that returns how many digits are in a number
  • Take in an unsorted array with duplicates and return it with no duplicates
  • Write a function that determines if an array of "chars" is a palindrome
  • How can you find and then remove the second to last element in an infinite list?

Consult our guide to answering technical interview questions to best prepare yourself for this category.

15. How to prepare for product management interviews

With a lot to cover, it’s best to take a systematic approach to make the most of your practice time. 

Below you’ll find links to free resources and three introductory steps that you can take to prepare your answers to typical PM interview questions.

You may also be able to find a specific interview guide for the company you're targeting in the list below:

  • Google product manager interview guide
  • Google APM interview guide
  • Facebook / Meta product manager interview guide
  • Facebook / Meta RPM interview guide
  • Amazon product manager interview guide
  • Microsoft product manager interview guide
  • LinkedIn product manager interview guide
  • Uber product manager interview guide
  • Stripe product manager interview guide
  • Lyft product manager interview guide
  • Apple product manager interview guide
  • TikTok product manager interview guide
  • Coinbase product manager interview guide
  • Airbnb product manager interview guide
  • DoorDash product manager interview guide

15.1 Learn a consistent method for answering each type of question

In this article, we’ve provided a huge list of example questions that you can use to prepare for the main question types used in product manager interviews.

For each type of question, we've linked our guides which cover the basic steps for solving them as well as giving a detailed answer for one of the questions. We'd recommend that you begin by memorizing the method for solving a question type. 

After learning the basic method for a question type, you should try answering several sample questions on your own. This will help you to understand the structure of a good answer. 

Once you've learned the method for one question type, and after you've practiced with a few examples, then you should move onto the next type of question. Repeat this process until you've covered each question type that's used at your target company.

15.2 Practice by yourself or with peers

In our experience, practicing by yourself is a great way to prepare for PM interviews. You can start practicing alone, asking and answering questions out loud, to help you get a feel for the different types of PM interview questions. It will help you perfect your step-by-step approach for each question type. And it also gives you time to correct your early mistakes.

You can find free practice questions on articles like this one or on YouTube .

If you have friends or peers who can do mock interviews with you, that's a great option too. This can be especially helpful if your friend has experience with PM interviews, or is at least familiar with the process .

15.3 Practice with experienced PM interviewers

Finally, you should also try to practice product manager mock interviews with expert ex-interviewers, as they’ll be able to give you much more accurate feedback than friends and peers. If you know a Product Manager who can help you, that's fantastic! But for most of us, it's tough to find the right connections to make this happen. And it might also be difficult to practice multiple hours with that person unless you know them really well.

Here's the good news. We've already made the connections for you. We’ve created a coaching service where you can practice 1-on-1 with ex-interviewers from Google, Amazon, Uber, and other leading tech companies. Learn more and start scheduling sessions today .

Keep reading:

For more interview prep, check out the rest of our product manager interview articles .

If you're going for a very senior PM role or one that could be described as a product leader or product owner, you might want to check out our guide to product owner interview questions.

If you want to develop your product management skills, better tackle problems at work, or work out your next career step, consider booking a 1-to-1 product management coaching session with one of our expert PMs.

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11 Revealing Product Manager Interview Questions

Hiring product managers is one of the most challenging and essential tasks for product team leaders. Unfortunately, there’s no perfect template for an ideal PM candidate; it’s about finding the best fit among a sea of unicorns by asking the right product manager interview questions.

The diversity of backgrounds in product manager applicants increases the level of difficulty in making a good hire. Moreover, product manager roles and job descriptions also vary wildly from one organization to the next. The combination of both of those elements makes an effective product manager a challenging position to fill. For example, sometimes you need a technical whiz, or someone with marketing chops, while other opportunities demand deep experience in a particular industry.

Since a cookie-cutter approach won’t fly, hiring managers need a solid handle on their specific PM role requirements. They must then determine if a candidate will be a good fit from a few brief interactions.

Get it right, and you’ve added an invaluable asset to your product team that lifts the product to new levels. However, if you get it wrong, then schedules slip, prioritization falters, and your reputation is at risk.

So how do you make sure you’re hiring the right person? It’s all about asking the right questions.

Why the Product Manager Interview Questions Matter

Many people approach an interview with a “let’s just see how it goes” attitude. They think they can get a sense of the person and their fit for the role regardless of which direction the conversation may go.

Entering an interview unprepared is just as bad for the interviewer as the interviewee. You may luck into a deep and diverse discussion that provides a great sense of the candidate, but you may also have many uncomfortable minutes of silence when you struggle to come up with the next question.

And there’s no assurance the dialogue will cover all the pertinent points unless the interviewer makes a concerted effort to get there. That’s why every interview should include the most relevant topics to ensure everything’s covered.

While the specifics of the role and the candidate’s background may dictate which of these to include and which to skip, here’s a set of basic categories of questions you’ll likely want to touch on:

  • Strategic thinking
  • Marketing savvy
  • Business acumen
  • Technical chops
  • Research mindset
  • Communication styles
  • Conflict resolution
  • Creative problem solving
  • Management style (if applicable)
  • Product management experience

Download Developing a Product Team Checklist ➜

Don’t worry that this will lead to a disjointed interview. Multitasking and context switching is essential to the job. If the interviewee can’t hop from one area to another easily in an interview, they’re likely to struggle with that on the job. Now, let’s review the eleven product manager interview questions to reveal whether a candidate is a good fit for your position.

There’s no shortage of possible questions to ask a product management candidate. But to make sure you hit on the main points every interview should cover, these eleven product manager interview questions are the best for you to reveal your candidate’s values and intentions:

1. What does a product manager do?

Come in hot out of the gate and get them to share their understanding of the role. Since there is so much variety from one organization to the next, many people have different expectations for a product manager. This question helps ensure they’re applying for a job they want and won’t be overwhelmed/frustrated/disappointed when they start working in your available position.

2. Why do you want this job, and how does it fit your overall career trajectory?

Lifers are pretty much extinct these days, so everyone is always plotting a long-term career path toward their ultimate job. This question gives you a sense of whether they’re thinking of this position as a short-term stepping stone or someplace they’ll want to stay for a while because it complements their long-range plans. If they can identify the professional gaps this role will fill, it shows humility and drive. Keep an eye out for both of these critical traits. If they want your job in six months or don’t have a compelling rationale for wanting the job, their resume can go to the bottom of the pile.

3. How would you figure it out…?

Product managers need data and metrics to make good decisions and gain the support of stakeholders. This often requires doing some research to develop the right facts and figures to make their case. Asking a candidate how they would find a fact they don’t already know will indicate whether they can enter a query into Google and do the up-front thinking on the right questions to ask and explain how they got there.

4. How do you determine what customers want and need?

Read the Customer Interview Tool Box ➜

5. Tell me about a time you had trouble building consensus and how you overcame it.

Achieving stakeholder alignment , getting engineers on the same page, and overcoming objections are pretty standard fare for a product manager that isn’t just along for the ride. Requesting a specific example gets them to speak with specificity versus vague platitudes about this vital topic.

6. How would you prioritize these four things?

Prioritization is a top-line responsibility for product managers, so they get a feel for how they attack it or if they have a framework they prefer. You want to give more than just two items, but not so many, that this takes up the entire interview. To provide a little context and be prepared for some follow-up questions (if they don’t ask any, that might be a significant concern right off the bat).

For example, how would you prioritize adding a new feature your No. 1 customer requested versus fixing a UX problem that generates lots of support calls? Adding an enhancement your top salesperson swears will close many deals and add functionality that your main competitor already has?

7. “Sell me this pen.”

This famous scene from The Wolf of Wall Street puts people on the spot to create a compelling case for why someone should buy a pretty pedestrian object. While you don’t need to choose a writing instrument, pick a thing the interviewee already understands to see how compelling their messaging is and whether they’re quick on their feet.

8. What’s your biggest failure as a product manager, and why did it happen?

This question has two benefits. First, it gets them to look back and provide critical thinking about why something went awry, which is helpful in a post-mortem situation . But what they select as their failure also tells you a little about them and how broad and developed their sense of ownership is.

9. What’s one of your favorite products, and what’s something you’d change about it?

This question tells you about what they value. Asking your interviewee what they would change identifies where their initial instinct takes them. Is it usability? Appearance? Technical? Endurance? This question flips it on its head and asks them to think critically and find a flaw in something they love. It’s a particularly relevant exercise because we often fall in love with our products but need to keep finding ways to improve them.

10. How do you communicate your product strategy?

This question explores which methods and tools the candidate utilizes to get the job done. It also checks to see whether they’re employing consensus-building tactics or merely broadcast their vision. Are they using data to back things up ? Are they meeting one-on-one with key stakeholders or holding a large public forum? Are they using a roadmap to provide a planned timeline or just skipping to the endgame?

This question is essential, especially since reportedly, 56% of product managers are unhappy or feel average about their process for communicating product strategy. Thus, this is the time to gauge their comfort level around one of the key components of their role.

11. What will you do in the first 90 days if we hire you?

Read the Career Guide for Product Managers ➜

Product Manager Interview Questions Takeaways

Interviews are one of the final steps in determining whether a candidate is right for the opportunity. This may not be the last step in the hiring process. However, you should have enough insight to evaluate them and compare them to the other candidates.

While no two interviews are identical, using a consistent roster of questions with every candidate accomplishes two essential things. First, it guarantees all the bases are covered every time. Track those questions and their answers in a document to review and share after the interview. Second, it provides a standard comparison between candidates. If every interview is unique, it’s hard to judge the applicants against each other objectively and not be skewed by whether or not it was a great conversation.

Once you’ve made the offer and they’ve accepted, it’s time to begin onboarding and work on your management strategy .

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How to Approach the Problem-Solving Questions in a Product Manager Job Interview

You will be asked a problem question in every product manager job interview. The job interviewer wants to understand how you problem solve. Sometimes, your approach to the question might be more telling than whether you have the right or best answer.

These are some best practices you should consider for your next product manager job interview .

What are the most common product manager job interview questions?

In a product manager job interview, you might be asked bizarre or unsettling questions. The goal is to see if you can get out of your comfort zone. Some common questions include:

  • How would you design an alarm clock for people who can’t see?
  • How would you build a GPS or navigation app for someone who is blind?
  • What is your favorite app? How would you improve it?

Generally, these questions aim to understand how you think, strategize, prioritize and might consider the design .

What is the strategy to answer product manager job interview questions?

Like other technical job interviews , it is essential to be methodical. Don’t rush into the problem and start throwing out potential solutions, especially if you haven’t thought them through.

The features or solutions you suggest should not be incremental features or too design-focused. You want to demonstrate impact with your answers. The solution should move the needle considerably for the product and its users.

A simple solution framework for product manager job interview questions is:

1. Lay out your approach.

Explain in detail what you are going to do before you do it. You might want to say something like:

First, I want to talk through the problem to make sure I understand it correctly. Then, we can discuss the business objective in detail. Next, I will define the target user and brainstorm possible solutions to their likely problems. Finally, I will walk through the solutions for each problem and my recommendations for priotization.

2. Focus on the problem.

You should clarify the problem so that you can start from the first principles. Determine whether you can break the problem into smaller, simpler problems to solve.

3. Don’t make assumptions.

The problem might seem very obvious, but you shouldn’t make assumptions. Ask the job interviewer questions and explain what you are thinking. Give the job interviewer the opportunity to clarify or debunk any assumptions.

4. Define the business and product objective.

A product manager’s primary responsibility is to identify customer needs and business objectives a product or feature can solve. You need to zero in on the objectives so that you can ensure you are solving the right problems.

5. Define the target groups.

Once you have broken down the problem into simpler problems and defined the business objective, focus on the target groups for your solution. You might have multiple target groups, so you might want to prioritize the group with the largest population.

6. Explain the use case of the product.

Clarify how the users will use or interact with your product. A clear definition of the use cases should provide a helpful foundation for your solutions.

Start by explaining in detail how the current product addresses your user’s pain points and the available use cases, and assess whether there are any weaknesses in the current approach.

Next, you should suggest features to address the weak spots. Explain how you will prioritize the work, including the order in which some of these features might be implemented and how you will do so.

7. Assess the first and second-order impacts.

After you suggest features, highlight the metrics that you will analyze. Explain why those metrics demonstrate the impact you expect to make. Don’t forget any second-order impacts of your feature set.

This article was written by Nishit Raj for HackerNoon and was lightly edited and published with permission.

Product Manager Interview Questions

The most important interview questions for Product Managers, and how to answer them

Getting Started as a Product Manager

  • What is a Product Manager
  • How to Become
  • Certifications
  • Tools & Software
  • LinkedIn Guide
  • Interview Questions
  • Work-Life Balance
  • Professional Goals
  • Resume Examples
  • Cover Letter Examples

Interviewing as a Product Manager

Types of questions to expect in a product manager interview, behavioral questions, technical and analytical questions, case study and scenario-based questions, leadership and team management questions, preparing for a product manager interview, strategies for preparing for a product manager interview.

  • Deep Dive into the Company's Product Ecosystem: Go beyond surface-level understanding and explore the nuances of the company's products. Analyze user feedback, reviews, and product updates to gauge the product's evolution and areas for improvement.
  • Master the Art of Storytelling: Prepare to share compelling stories about your past experiences. Focus on situations where you've made significant impacts, solved complex problems, or led a team through a challenging product development cycle.
  • Understand the Business Model: Be ready to discuss how the company's products fit into the broader market and generate revenue. Understanding the business model will allow you to suggest informed product decisions that align with company goals.
  • Get Comfortable with Data: Product decisions are often data-driven. Brush up on your ability to interpret and discuss data, and be prepared to explain how you've used data to inform product decisions in the past.
  • Review the Product Lifecycle: Be prepared to discuss each stage of the product lifecycle and how you've managed or would manage products at different phases—from ideation to development to launch and beyond.
  • Prepare for Technical and Design Questions: Depending on the company, you may be asked to discuss technical or design challenges. Review the basics of system design, UX/UI principles, and any specific technologies relevant to the company's products.
  • Align Your Skill Set with the Job Description: Tailor your preparation to the specific requirements listed in the job description. Highlight your experiences and skills that directly correlate with what they're looking for in a candidate.
  • Engage in Active Listening: During the interview, practice active listening. This will help you give thoughtful, relevant answers and ask insightful follow-up questions, demonstrating your genuine interest in the conversation.

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problem solving interview questions for product manager

Product Manager Interview Questions and Answers

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Product Manager Job Title Guide

problem solving interview questions for product manager

Related Interview Guides

Driving agile processes, fostering team collaboration for efficient product delivery

Driving AI innovation, transforming ideas into impactful AI products and solutions

Leading product strategy, driving innovation and shaping market trends

Driving tech innovation, bridging gaps between user needs and IT product solutions

Driving product success by prioritizing features, aligning team goals with business strategy

Bridging technology and business, driving product innovation with technical expertise

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Product Manager Interview Guide - Questions & Tips

Looking to prepare for Product Manager interviews but don’t know where to start? Don’t worry, you’ve come to the right place!

This article summarizes all you need to know about Product Manager Interviews – from recruitment criteria, interview process, interview question types, to instant performance-hacking interview tips. Of all these parts, I deep-dived into interview question types by explaining the logic behind each type and showing you detailed steps to tackle them. Let’s dive in!

Table of Contents

What do recruiters look for in Product Manager interviews?

As Product Managers are responsible for creating new products or features that fulfill both customers’ needs and key business objectives, at the minimum, recruiters look for candidates who exhibit intuition for customer needs, and can combine it with data insights to make informed product decisions.

In addition to these basic skills, other criteria include: exceptional problem-solving skills, prioritization skills, leadership skills, strategic decision-making skills, and design thinking. Of course, you’re also expected to understand the organization you’re applying to and their products. 

problem solving interview questions for product manager

Before going into Product Manager interviews, you should have a clear understanding of what Product Managers do, and what separates the average from the exceptional, which I cover below. I’ve also linked to two insightful articles going more in-depth into the roles and qualities of great Product Managers.

No.1: What do Product Managers do?

A Product Manager (PM) creates new products or features by first identifying customers’ needs and key business objectives. Based on these criteria, they design a vision of success for the product or feature, then assemble a team to realize this vision. While Product Managers oversee many steps of the process, from research, design, testing, to go-to market strategies, their key function is to decide what to build and in what order.

So what does it take to become a great Product Manager?

No.2: What makes a great Product Manager?

At the minimum, every Product Managers should be able to (1) draw customer insights through customer research (customer knowledge), (2) make data-driven decisions (data proficiency), and (3) create clear product requirements that match the capabilities of their team members (product requirements). Great product managers exhibit exceptional problem-solving skills, prioritization skills, leadership skills, strategic decision-making skills, and design thinking, in addition to these foundational skills.

problem solving interview questions for product manager

Source: What makes for a good product manager

Product Manager interview process

At large tech companies (Google, Facebook, Amazon), the Product Manager interview process typically lasts 2 weeks. Most companies require four interview rounds: Phone screening (15 minutes), video interviews (45 minutes each), take-home assignment (3-6 hours to complete), and on-site interviews (45 minutes each). You should expect additional coding interviews at some companies.

Round 1: Phone screening (15 minutes)

The purpose of this round is to filter out candidates who do not meet the minimum requirements of the job. Often, an HR team member will contact you for a 15-minute call, and ask questions pertaining to your background/ resume. The screener may also discuss job requirements and inquire about your expectations for the job. The phone screening will unfold more in a conversational manner than an interview manner.

Round 2: Video interviews (45 minutes each)

If you’re deemed a right fit, you’ll go through one or more rounds of video interviews that last around 45 minutes each, usually with your potential manager. The interviewer will often assess your skills and experiences against specific job requirements in this round. Questions for PMs will usually fall into the following categories: behavioural, technical, analytical, product sense, and strategy. 

Round 3: Take-home assignments (3-6 hours to complete)

If you successfully pass your video interviews, you’ll be given take-home assignments, consisting of 3-4 questions, which you’ll typically submit before the on-site interviews. A typical take-home assignment presents several product problems, sometimes with associating data packs for highly data-oriented roles. There are three main types of problem-solving questions in take-home assignments: behavioural questions, product design/improvement questions (case-based), and analytical questions. 

Round 4: On-site interviews (45 minutes each)

Finally, you’ll go through on-site interviews – the most decisive part of the interview process. This is basically an interactive version of the take-home assignments, containing case-based problem-solving questions that evaluate your analytical problem-solving abilities.

Afterall, what Product Managers do is essentially persistent problem-solving. Below, I broke down the different problem-solving question types frequently asked in Product Manager interviews. We’ll look at the logic behind each question and how you can approach them. Let’s dive in!

Product Manager interview question types & examples (with answers)

Now that you are clear about Product Manager interviews’ expectations and process, let’s look at the different types of frequently asked questions in on-site interviews. Broadly, there are two main categories of interview questions – problem-solving questions and behavioural questions.

Below, I further broke down the problem-solving questions category into two types (type 1, type 2, type 3). This is because each type tests different skills, has different logic, and hence different approaches. For each type of question, we will look at what different skills are tested, some example questions, and how to tackle each question type. What is the share of each question type?

Type 1: Product design and/or improvement questions

1.1. Purpose:

This question type tests your creative problem solving ability, analytical thinking, and communication skills. When asking these questions, interviewers mainly assess your problem-solving process, or how you approach the problem. This is similar to case interviews, the type of interview used by management consulting firms.

Oftentimes, you will not be given questions in familiar areas, such as “Design a new food-ordering app”. Companies often choose areas out of your comfort zone to observe how you react to new product problems, and how creative you are with the solutions.

1.2. Sample questions:

For example, here are a few product design questions often asked at Google and Facebook, according to Glassdoor:

  • Design a navigation product for blind people
  • Design an app for the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV)
  • Design a pen for an astronaut
  • Design a phone for deaf people
  • Design a dictionary lookup for scrabble
  • Design an app for a community of Celiac’s disease patients
  • Design a bike-based delivery service
  • Design an elevator
  • Design an alarm clock
  • Design a new computer keyboard
  • Design Google radio
  • Design Google search 
  • How would you improve Facebook?
  • How would you improve Google Pay?
  • How would you improve coffee machines used in offices?
  • How would you improve throughput at an airport?
  • Pick your favorite app. How would you improve it?

 1.3. How to tackle:

For this question type, interviewers will most likely want to see a structured and coherent answer. Because you’ll likely be given difficult questions, a well-structured, clearly-communicated answer shows your ability to think analytically, solve challenging problems, and deliver solutions under time-pressure.

Whenever you need to structure an answer, I recommend using frameworks. A word of warning: always customize frameworks to the specific question asked, and never mention the framework’s name (framework-vomiting) in actual interviews. Otherwise, you’ll come out as extra rigid and bookish.

Specific to the product design/improvement question type, you should follow the 3-step BUS framework, which stands for Business Objective, User Problems, and Solution. The approach here is to start with the business objective in mind, analyze user problems, then recommend solutions. 

problem solving interview questions for product manager

Step 1: (B) Business objective:

Whether you’re designing a new product or improving a product feature, the first step is to clearly understand what the business is trying to achieve, or knowing the overall business objectives. Designing a new product with clear business goals in mind ensures that it will satisfy these goals.

For example, suppose the interviewer asks you to redesign an app for deaf people, what clarification questions relating to business objectives should you ask? Here are three:

  • Why does redesigning this app matter to the business? Is the current state of the app affecting revenue, or cost? 
  • How do we know that’s a problem? (low conversion/retention/engagements, etc?)
  • What are the business expectations for product redesign? (increase engagement/ downloads/retention, ect?)
  • Do we already have a target user in mind or is that something we should explore/discuss?

Step 2: (U) User problems:

The second step when designing/ improving a product is to identify possible user problems. And I’m talking about the big, fundamental problems, not the symptomatic ones. For example, if you’re asked “How do you improve Gmail”, a big problem to look at should be storage, not the fonts or sidebar colors.

It’s also not very effective to list out user problems in an unstructured fashion. Instead, you should approach them with the following steps:

  • #1. Select a user type: identify the different types of user for your product and select one that is causing the business problem. You can find these answers by doing user interviews, ethnographic studies, diary studies, quantitative metrics, etc.
  • #2. Identify user problems: after selecting your user type, list out some problems you believe this type of user is facing. You can confirm your beliefs using the methods mentioned above. It’s important to understand what really constitutes these problems by being aware of surface-level problems.
  • #3. Prioritize user problems: finally, you should prioritize user problems using some kind of metric, for example, how painful the problem is to your selected group of users.

Step 3: (S) Solution: 

Keep in mind that if at this point the B or U of your framework is wrong, your solution is almost guaranteed to fail. If you don’t fully understand what problem you’re solving, you will most likely make something nobody wants!

After having a clear picture of what you’re trying to solve and achieve, you can generate solutions by following these three steps:

  • List solutions: draw a table with two columns, one listing the problems you’ve identified and one listing out potential solutions for each problem. 
  • Prioritize solutions: a common way to prioritize solutions is to grade each of them on two criteria: (1) how much value they would deliver for the user, (2) and how easy they are to implement. After deciding on solutions, you should also talk about tradeoffs – the forgone benefits of other solutions that you did not choose. 

Type 2: Analytical questions (market sizing and/or guesstimate questions)

2.1. Purpose:

  The purpose of this question type is to test your analytical thinking skills. As a Product Manager, you’ll constantly make decisions based on reports, numbers, data, surveys, especially at the beginning research process, which requires analytical skills.

Companies test this by giving you estimation problems ( market-sizing and/or guesstimation ) to see if you can break them down into smaller parts and solve each of them, in a structured fashion.

2.2. Sample questions:

Before moving on, I highly recommend you to check out this video where I explain everything you need to know about estimation questions. With that said, here are some examples of market-sizing and guesstimation questions:

Example market-sizing questions:

  • How many pick-up trucks are sold in the USA each year?
  • What is the total annual sales of the global laptop market?
  • What is the size of the second-hand car market in Japan?
  • How much revenue does your favorite restaurant make each month?
  • If you open a lemonade stand, how much money can you get from it?

Example guesstimate questions:

  • How many tennis balls can fit inside a Boeing 747?
  • How many trees are there in Manhattan’s Central Park?
  • How many bottles of champagne are there in France right now?
  • How many weddings are being performed in New York at the moment?
  • How many liters of white paint does it take to paint the White House?

2.3. How to tackle: 

There are 4 steps to answer market-sizing and guesstimate questions, which I briefly summarize below. Alternatively, check out the comprehensive guide here.

Step 1: Clarify all unclear terms in the question to make sure you’re on the same page with the interviewer on every detail of the question

Step 2: Break the number down into 3-5 small, easy-to-estimate pieces

Step 3: Estimate each piece using math and background knowledge

Step 4: Consolidate the pieces to arrive at the final result

These steps will only make sense under the context of a problem, so I’ll walk you through each step using the following example. Let’s assume you’re asked this question:

What is the smartphone market size in Germany?

The first step is to clarify the ambiguous points. In the given example, at least four points need to be clarified.

  • What is a smartphone?
  • What is the unit of measurement?
  • What is the timeframe to measure the market size?
  • At which point in time is the market size measured? 

For the sake of demonstration, suppose we receive these clarifications:

  • A smartphone is a phone exclusively using a touchscreen, i.e without a physical keyboard.
  • The unit of measurement is the number of smartphones sold to end consumers.
  • The timeframe used is annual.
  • The question concerns the German market size at present.

The second step is to break the problem down into pieces small enough to estimate reasonably. Each small piece has to be easier to estimate than the big piece – if you can’t estimate the small pieces, you’re not breaking down enough, or you’re doing it wrong.

In the example question, we can break down the “number of smartphones sold to end consumers” into four determinants:

  • The size of the German population
  • The percentage of mobile phone owners within the German population.
  • The percentage of smartphone owners within German mobile phone owners.
  • The average lifespan of smartphones in Germany.

The growth of the market will not be included because Germany’s population is stable and the smartphone market there is already saturated.

The third step is to solve each piece independently.

Here are some quick guesstimates for the German smartphone market:

  • Germany’s population is 80 million
  • The percentage of mobile phone owners is 80% (assuming German life expectancy is 80, the population is evenly distributed across age groups and they own mobile phones from age 15)
  • The percentage of smartphone owners is 95% (assuming only 5% own mobile phone owners choose a “keyboard phone” since Germany is a developed country)
  • The average lifespan of smartphones in Germany is 2.5 years (so the average consumer “uses” 0.4 phones every year)

In the fourth step, we will use calculations to consolidate the pieces into one final answer. Quick mental math is essential for this step – if your math is too slow, you will bore the interviewer to death. I wrote a separate article to help you with just that.

Here are the calculations for the example:

  • Germany’s population: 80 million
  • The number of mobile phone owners: 80 million x 80% = 64 million
  • The number of smartphone owners: 64 million x 95% = 60 million
  • Total annual unit sales of smartphone in Germany: 60 million x 0.4 = 24 million

In reality, 22.9 million smartphones were sold in Germany in 2020.

Getting this close is good, but in a real case interview, don’t try too hard to get the right number. I repeat: the only thing that matters is a structured approach.

Type 3: Product strategy and roadmap questions

3.1. Purpose:

  A  product roadmap encapsulates the product strategy. It showcases how the organization will implement plans. Hence, product roadmap & strategy questions ask you to (1) set product vision for key user problems and (2) roadmap to deliver it. These questions assess your ability to think through the wide range of aspects good PMs need to take into account when making product decisions. This includes competition, pricing, marketing, time to market, etc. Interviewers will expect you to take a structured approach to these aspects and be creative.

3.2. Sample questions:

  • Imagine you’re a PM of Flipkart, can you build a 6-month or a 12-month roadmap for this product with your vision given what you know about payments products?
  • Google has invented a technology that makes air travel 4x cheaper and 4x faster. What do you do with it?
  • You are the CEO of company X. What new products would you launch and why?
  • How would you increase the number of users on Youtube?
  • If you were CEO of Microsoft, how would you increase usage for Internet Explorer?
  • How would you prevent cyberbullying on Reddit?
  • Why is Android strategic for Google?
  • Tell me about a competitive move by a company in the past six months and what you think about it
  • Should Samsung enter the gaming console market?
  • Why is Google well-positioned for emerging markets?
  • Should Google go into the ridesharing market?

3.3. How to tackle

Strategy questions basically ask you to do two things: (1) develop a vision for your product with good justifications and (2) describe the steps to realize that vision. This is equivalent to answering two questions: (1) “What is your product vision and why?” and (2) “How are you going to implement that vision?”.

Sometimes, the answer to the first question is given and your job is to figure out the second, but sometimes you need to answer both. Here’s how you can approach each question:

  • For the first question, the key is to base your vision on the most pressing user problems, i.e. you need to prioritize key user problems. Two factors to logically think about prioritization are “how much impact is this going to have on my user” vs “what are the difficulties in implementing a solution” .
  • For the second question, the key is to not worry too much about the implementation timeline. Instead, focus on visualizing every step of your product implementation plan in a structured manner. I recommend drawing an issue tree as you explain your roadmap to the interviewer. Issue trees are great visualization tools, and will make your solutions sound instantly structured.

For example: A restaurant business wishing to increase its profitability may look into the following ideas:

problem solving interview questions for product manager

Type 4: Behavioural questions

4.1. Purpose:

In Product Manager interviews, behavioural questions are meant to assess whether a candidate exhibits the required traits to perform well in the role of a Product Manager. Additionally, they will also evaluate a candidate’s fit with the company culture and values (such as leadership ability or achieving mindset).

4.2. Sample questions:

Examples of behavioural Product Manager interview questions are:

  • Tell me about a time when you used data to influence/persuade people.
  • In layman terms, describe your day to day activities as a Product Manager.
  • How would you keep Developers working on a product motivated and turning out quality work?
  • You are a PM and you are about to enter the product launch meeting with all stakeholders. How would you prepare for that meeting?
  • Tell me a time when you influenced engineering to build a particular feature.
  • Describe a complex topic like I’m a high school student. Assume I don’t know anything about it.
  • Tell me about a time you failed as a product manager.
  • What product would you build if I were to write a blank check for an idea you have?
  • Tell me about a time you had a disagreement with a team member.
  • How do you know when to cut corners to get a product out the door?
  • What is the toughest problem that you have solved as a Product Manager?
  • How did you turn an adversary into a confidant?

4.3. Three tips to tackle:

When it comes to behavioural Product Manager questions, the key is to implicitly exhibit the well sought-after product manager traits I outlined above. Broadly, there are three instant tips you can apply:

  • Prepare stories, not questions: Many candidates make the mistake of preparing on a per-question basis, i.e listing out the possible questions and the corresponding answers/stories. A much better approach would be to prepare 3-4 detailed, all-round, refined stories exhibiting all the required attributes, then fine-tune the stories according to the interviewer’s questions.
  • Implicitly show your product manager traits: To prepare your stories, compare your past experiences with common product manager traits, along with personal values you’re most proud of. Then, select the stories best reflecting those traits and values. You want to show that your values and experiences perfectly match what recruiters look for.
  • Use the STAR method: STAR stands for Situation, Task, Action, Result. By structuring your answer based on these four criteria, your answers will sound more structured, logical, and easy for listeners to follow.

Five Product Manager interview instant tips

Below are the five tips you can apply to instantly improve performance in Product Manager interviews. These are the tips drawn from the “how to tackle” section for each question type above, and can be applied to any problem-solving questions you’ll encounter. Let’s dive in!

Tip 1: Ask for time-out to outline your answers 

Whenever you’re asked a product design question or a guesstimate question, avoid answering right away. Instead, ask for a timeout to think through and/or draft your approach to the question. After that, walk the interviewer through the details of your approach. In candidate-led consulting case interviews, we call this “case-opening”. Learn the formula to perfectly open any case here.

Throughout the interview, interviewers might also ask questions to which good answers require careful thinking. In these situations, it’s always a good idea to ask for time-out to ensure your answers are always structured and logical, which signals good communication skills.

Tip 2: Number your items and keep them MECE

When tackling problem-solving questions, you’ll likely encounter two steps (as detailed above): problem listing and solution-listing. For list answers like these, two useful tips you can apply right away is to (1) number each item and (2) keep all items MECE .

First, numbering each item not only makes your answers sound instantly structured, but also makes the items easier to keep track of. Second, keeping all items MECE means ensuring that none of your listed items overlaps, and all of them combined creates a whole. By keeping your items MECE , you avoid repetition and missing items.

MECE is one of those defining concepts of the consulting world , and has applications everywhere. If you’re not familiar with this concept, I highly recommend checking out this comprehensive article , or this video for better visualizations.  

Tip 3: Ask clarification questions

For all problem-solving question types, always make sure to thoroughly understand the problem you’re about to solve. Do so by asking clarification questions before moving on. Often, the best practice is to ask three questions:

1. What’s the objective? 2. What’s the timeline required? 3. Any quantified or well-described goals?

You can scroll back to the “how-to-tackle” section of question type 1 and type 2 for clarification question examples for each type. But to demonstrate my point, let’s suppose we are presented with a problem: “Dave lost his car key”. In tackling this problem, be sure you’re crystal clear about the following points:

1. Objective: Dave in fact just needs to be able to use the car. 2. Timeline: this is an urgent need. Dave is happy only if we can help him within the next hour. 3. Specificity: help the client put his car into normal operation like before he lost the key.

Tip 4: Pause frequently to summarize

Another useful tip is to pause frequently, summarize what you’ve done, where you are, and how you’re going to proceed in solving the given problem.

Problem-solving during interviews can often be stressful, especially in cases where you must process large amounts of information. It’s not uncommon for even the brightest candidate to derail from the objective or forget what they’ve just calculated.

Pausing frequently to summarize gives you a sense of direction and authority while making it easier for the interviewer to follow your case progress. It also makes you sound organized and systematic – a definitive trait of good communicators– and interviewers will love it!

Tip 5: Prepare a script in advance

Finally, it is best to prepare a personal script in advance, especially the part right after the interviewer gave you a problem-solving question. This is the time to deliver a perfect 3-minute case opening that leaves a good impression throughout the interview.

Here’s an example of a good personal script for the product design problem. Use the script after you’ve received the question:

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9 Product Manager Interview Questions Every Candidate Should Know

problem solving interview questions for product manager

If you’re seeking a job as a product manager , brace yourself. Product manager interview questions are rarely softballs, in part because the position is so fundamental to an organization’s success.

Product managers can come from a variety of backgrounds and have diverse skill sets, which means companies looking to fill that role may face challenges in sifting through lots of candidates. Product manager job descriptions can vary greatly from company to company too — some hiring managers may be looking for a PM with marketing experience, while others need a tech genius. 

9 Popular Product Manager Interview Questions

  • What is product management to you?
  • What aspects of product management do you enjoy the most and least?
  • What are your strengths?
  • For a product you owned, how did you prioritize what you worked on?
  • Tell me about a time you disagreed with an engineer. How was the situation resolved?
  • Tell me about a product you use often and how you might improve it.
  • How do you approach solving a complex problem that nobody solved before?
  • Tell me about a product feature that didn’t pan out. What would you do differently now?
  • What do you value in a great workplace?

“A great product manager can transform a team and create exceptional experiences for customers. The converse is also unfortunately true,” Christina Riechers, product lead for payment products at Square , said. 

That’s why product leaders spend time digging into the details of candidates’ past experiences and querying the outcomes of past products they’ve owned.

To give you a sense of what product manager interview questions you can expect to encounter, we asked hiring managers, chief product officers and product VPs to share their favorite interview questions and tips for leaving a lasting impression.

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Product Manager Interview Questions

1. what is product management .

One of the questions Alex Haar, chief product officer and co-founder of supply chain data firm Parsyl , likes to open with is “What is product management?”

Because a PM’s responsibilities vary widely — depending on a company’s size, product portfolio, customer base and development phase — a candidate’s response is really a proxy for how well they will fit within a specific role. Are they more of a “zero-to-one” conceptual thinker, Haar wonders, or are they better equipped for solving problems later in the product life cycle when a company is determining product-market fit or preparing to scale its offerings?

2. What Aspects of Product Management Do You Enjoy the Most and the Least?

A common follow-up, “What aspects of product management do you enjoy the most and the least?” digs deeper into an applicant’s qualifications, Haar said. The candidate’s response shows how well they are aligned with the company’s organizational structure and mission. A good fit at his startup may not be a good fit at a larger firm where product manager roles are more specialized.

“At a startup like ours, product managers wear a lot of hats,” Haar said. “That includes both high-level decisions from product managers who have been around talking to customers and [involved with] prioritization and strategy, but also making sure we’re actually shipping products and getting that value out to our customers. How do you balance those two? And the answers that I like to hear center around creating value for customers.”

3. What Are Your Strengths? 

When a candidate performs well in phase one, Haar said, they proceed to a meeting with cross-functional teams to assess their working style and alignment with the company’s culture. This is generally followed by a third interview in which applicants are asked to perform exercises with engineers and designers on a whiteboard. What is their problem-solving approach? Can they draw and test assumptions?

During the process, candidates are likely to have an opportunity to share their strengths. At some companies, this might be put as bluntly as, “You’ve got X years of core product experience. What might you suggest as your key strengths?”

In a candidate’s response, Riechers wants to see evidence of where they excel, but also “what are [they] uniquely going to add at Square to make not only [their] team but the entire organization better?” 

4. How Did You Prioritize What to Work on for a Product You Owned? 

Riechers is hardly alone in viewing workflow prioritization as a crucial skill set for PMs to demonstrate; it’s a point echoed by several sources who say backlogs can quickly become graveyards for good ideas.

There is no “right way” to answer Riecher’s standard question on the subject, which is this: “For a product you owned, how did you prioritize what you worked on?” Rather, a thoughtful response will show a candidate is aware of useful prioritization tools, such as the Three Feature Buckets framework, and applies a “data-driven mindset to produce results.”

5. Tell Me About a Disagreement You Had with an Engineering Partner.

Where things get a bit trickier is when fielding questions about experiences with former colleagues. One of Riecher’s most pointed questions asks candidates to “tell [her] about a disagreement that you had with your engineering partner.”

At Square, as at nearly all software companies, product managers work closely with engineering managers and designers, and entanglements over features and releases are likely to occur. It’s how a PM handles differences of opinion that matters. 

“Does the candidate listen, and take the time to understand what is behind the concern?” she asked. “Do they acknowledge any frustration that is behind the disagreement? Do they understand the technical side of the work enough to recognize trade-offs? Do they take the time to work through the disagreement with their counterpart?”

Regardless of whose perspective prevails, Riechers points out, insistence on resolution is important: “Do they either agree, or ‘disagree and commit?’”

More on Product Management Scrum Made Zero Sense for My Young Startup. So I Designed an Alternative.

6. Tell Me About a Product You Use and How You Might Improve It. 

A favorite interview prompt at Parsyl is: “Tell me about a product you use often and how you might improve it.” It’s a useful query, Haar said, because it allows candidates to apply a diagnostic approach to products with which they are intimately familiar, whether that’s a parking app with a clunky payment system, or music streaming service with a minor bug.

7. Give Me an Example of How You Solve Problems.

Udi Milo, VP of product growth at Tinder , assesses a candidate’s aptitude for problem solving in a more open-ended format: “How do you approach solving a complex problem that nobody solved before? Let’s discuss some examples and dive into details together.”

Another way this type of question might be couched is as a measure of a candidate’s responsiveness to a customer’s needs. “Pick a product that you owned and are proud of. Who was the customer? ”

“This should be a ‘gimme’ question for a good PM,” Riechers said. “Who was the customer? What was their pain point? How were you going to address that pain point?”

The key, in all cases, is to be ready to illustrate your thinking with a clear methodology and concrete examples.

8. Tell Me About a Product Feature that Didn’t Work Out. What Would You Do Differently Now? 

If you’re an ambitious product manager, it’s almost inevitable you will launch some duds. That’s why Riechers asks candidates to “tell [her] about a product feature that didn’t pan out. What would you do differently now?”

Here’s Milo’s riff on the theme: “How do you handle situations where things are not going smoothly? Let’s dive into some examples and discuss.”

Self-awareness is at the heart of a good response. “We all make mistakes,” Riechers said. “How did they deal with them? Did they take responsibility for poor outcomes? How do they treat their teams? Do they have a bias toward action? What did they learn that makes them a better PM now than before the failure?”

Haar, who has a similar question in his repertoire, said assigning blame is never the right approach. “A bad answer to that question is, ‘my work was great, but this other person screwed it up.’ I mean, for lots of reasons, not the least of which is a lack of self-awareness, that’s not really an acceptable answer. But more importantly, as a product manager, you’re often leading without authority, and that’s why those relationships are so important.”

9. What Do You Value in a Workplace? 

Nicholas Stanford, a product manager at Grammarly , stresses the importance of understanding a company’s history before the interview. “It’s always a great sign that you’re a conscientious person who has been thoughtful about your interest in the role,” he said. “One aspect of this might be putting some effort into understanding the company’s vision — demonstrating that you ‘get’ what the company is trying to do. It’s also a good idea to have some strong opinions ready about the company’s current product so you can show you’ve considered what’s good (or not) about it and also where the product can go in the future.”

For Milo, this learning process is a two-way street. Two of his standard questions are: “What do you need to know about Tinder to make a call on coming to work with us?” and “What do you value in a great workplace?”

But these questions also reveal whether the candidate did their homework. Do they understand enough about Tinder to be able to explain why they are interested in the role? Can they see themselves at the company for the long term? As Milo put it, “Spending effort toward getting a job at a company that one doesn’t understand or has taken the time to learn about is not a great sign.”

“We are looking for people who have shown collaborative, high-impact work with agile thinking and an adaptive positive attitude,” Milo said. “Folks with these skills will be able to adjust quickly to these new work environments, and help the team innovate on new ways to be successful together.”

More on Product Management If Your Startup Wants to Launch a Great Product, Launch It Before It’s Ready

How to Answer Product Manager Interview Questions

Having a strong backbone never hurts as a product manager. As a rule of thumb, according to Milo, “candidates should avoid answering a question inauthentically, meaning telling the interviewer what they want to hear.” Instead they should “push back with questions and clarifying comments. A strong performer is perfectly fine in saying they don’t fully understand the task at hand. It is a sign of humbleness and curiosity more than anything else.”

Honesty and a comfort expressing strong opinions also plays well at Grammarly, Stanford explained.

“Candidates shouldn’t worry about pointing out what can be improved. It’s likely that the interviewer shares the same opinion and wants those same improvements. Lastly — but perhaps most important — we want to find candidates who are always putting themselves in the shoes of the user and asking themselves important questions about a user’s perspective.”

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23 Product Manager Interview Questions (With Answers)

July 18, 2023 by Hannah Morgan

Product managers wear many different hats within a company. And that means the interview questions they get will vary quite a bit!

Two people shaking hands after practicing product manager interview questions

This list of product management interview questions will help you get prepared and make a great impression.

1. What does a product manager do?

While it seems silly, interviewers ask this product manager interview question to ensure you fully understand the position and everything it entails. Product managers have complex jobs, and they want to know that you’re ready for the challenge.

Organizational needs can also differ from one employer to the next. A question like this allows the hiring manager to gauge what you bring and understand your past experiences.

The best way to answer this question is to discuss the position and your experience in this field. Review the job description and focus on the relevant skills you have. Highlight your qualifications and connect the dots to show you’re the right person for this job.

2. How would you improve our product?

Interviewers love to use this question to put you on the spot. It’s similar to the cliche “Sell me this pen” question you see in movies. Believe it or not, this question unveils a great deal about your potential.

Hiring managers want to learn about your thought processes and see you in action. A big part of this job is to create and improve products that meet the customers’ needs while serving the business objective. Asking you to suggest improvements to an existing product is a way for employers to see how you’d perform if given the opportunity.

It also shows whether or not you did your research. Always research the company and its products before your interview. Learn everything you can about what the company does and what types of products it develops.

Another reason they ask this question is to see your problem-solving logic in action. How you answer the question shows your understanding of the improvement-making process and that you understand how to evaluate situations. 

Use that knowledge to ask questions and suggest practical improvements. Focus on asking about the larger market needs and customer expectations so you can make recommendations that align with the market and the business. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel, but you should think of compelling improvements to prove you’re ready to sink into this job.

3. What’s your process for figuring out what customers want?

Part of being a product manager is having your ear on the ground of what customers want and need from a product. This position is the bridge that connects consumers to the company.

This product management interview question is designed to gain more insight into your approach to learning about customers. Interviewers want to know how you connect with real people and what processes you use to gather relevant information that benefits the company.

Ideally, you should discuss multiple methods you’ve employed. It’s best to bring up numerous approaches to show that you have well-rounded strategies that help you ascertain as much information as possible.

Provide real-world examples of how your methods helped you and your former employers succeed.

4. What sort of career trajectory do you see for yourself over the next 5 years?

This question is becoming more popular for interviews in any position. The days of having for-life employees are over, and companies understand that most candidates have a long-term career path they want to take.

This question aims to understand how this role fits your larger plans.

No company wants to bring on a product manager who views the job as a temporary stepping stone. They want people who can grow with the company and will stick around for longer than a few years.

Keep that in mind when answering. Avoid saying anything that implies you want to advance your career beyond this position in only a few short years. The best approach is to say that you want to gain experience, learn, and hone your skills as you continue to serve the company.

5. What is the toughest decision you’ve had to make as a product manager?

Product managers must be confident decision-makers. This job isn’t easy, and you sometimes have to make more complex decisions than a simple yes or no. Sometimes, your decisions will affect many people or change the entire direction of a product launch, resulting in big ramifications for the company.

When you answer this question, recognize the importance of analysis. You want to show the hiring manager that you understand the weight of decision-making in this position and don’t take it lightly. Emphasize your ability to research, analyze, and commit to the right decision for the company.

If you can provide real-world examples, do so. Show how your decision-making benefitted previous employers.

6. Why do you want to work here?

Here’s a question that can throw you for a loop. It’s a popular question interviewers ask, regardless of the position. What’s its goal? To understand your motivations and ensure that you’ve done your homework.

Companies want to hire people who understand the organization’s mission and want to actively contribute to its success.

When answering, you should bring facts about the organization you learned during your research. What initially attracted you to this position? What do you hope to accomplish?

Talk about the company and why you believe this is the job for you.

7. How do you prioritize your work?

Being a product manager involves wearing many hats. This position is not about sitting in an office all day and doing the same thing for eight hours. Every day is different, and you’re constantly juggling several tasks.

Interviewers ask about your task prioritization to learn about your approach. They want you to understand how to manage your time and get everything done without sacrificing quality.

Sometimes, you must put some tasks on the back burner while prioritizing something more pressing. How do you decide to do that?

Your answer to this product management interview question should be well-detailed and thought-out. Discuss your approach to time management and emphasize your ability to distinguish high-priority tasks. Talk about how you choose what to focus on and why you use your methods.

8. Tell me about a time when you failed as a product manager and what you learned.

This question uncovers several details about your potential to fill this role successfully.

First, it allows you to own up to your mistakes. That’s a big deal in a position like this. Interviewers want to see that you’re not afraid to admit your faults and talk about missteps.

Secondly, the question shows off your critical thinking. When you discuss a failure, you’re analyzing the situation and figuring out where things went wrong. That’s a valuable trait to have in this line of work.

Choose a moment from your past that taught you valuable lessons. It’s best to avoid monumental mistakes that cost your former employer dearly. Instead, choose moments that helped you grow as a product manager.

Discuss the failure, what led to that experience, and what you learned. Lean into the lessons from that experience and how it helped you become a more successful product manager.

9. What’s your approach to building rapport with a development team when you’re new to a company?

If you’re offered the job, you’ll enter an established work environment with brand-new colleagues and a new team to lead. How do you plan on navigating the inherent challenges of that situation?

Product managers are leaders. They need to build rapport with their teams before they can lead them to success. However, making a bad first impression or not taking steps to get to know your team can lead to disaster, or an unpleasant working environment.

When answering this product management interview question, mention how you develop trust and build rapport. You can mention team-building exercises you like, talk about performance reviews to learn what everyone brings to the table, etc. The key is to use examples of real situations where you’ve been successful in building a strong working relationship with people. 

10. Tell me about one of your favorite products and how you’d improve it.

Here’s a fun question that provides tons of insight to interviewers and hiring managers.

Everyone has products they love, and the people who work to develop them have a hard time looking past their work to find areas of improvement. When you answer this question, you show you can think critically despite your adoration for a particular product.

Your response will also highlight what you value most in a product. For example, recommending changes to usability indicates that you’re all about the customer experience.

Answer honestly and get as detailed as you can. The more comprehensive your response, the better your skills look to interviewers.

11. Tell me about a time when you had to shut down a product and how you approached it.

At some point, pretty much all products come to an end. For many companies, it’s the product manager’s job to make that decision and ensure a smooth transition when a product reaches the end of its life.

This product management interview question is about practicality, decision-making, and operational procedures. Interviewers want to hear about it all and learn how you approach end-of-life processes.

Talk about how you decide to shut down a product or service. Then, discuss how you prepare various departments for the change. Go over customer migration plans, timelines, end-of-life support, and all the key decisions you must make.

Be methodical and go over the steps you take to prove that you can effectively shut down products in a way that doesn’t harm your company.

12. What do you plan on doing in the first 90 days if you’re hired to work here?

Your first 90 days on the job are the most crucial. Interviewers want to learn about what you plan to do if they hire you as a product manager. Why? It shows what you value most and uncovers your work style .

How you answer this question is important! You don’t want to be too heavy-handed or hesitant to do your job. It’s a balancing act.

If you mention that you want to switch things around and push for product changes, it gives the impression that your ego governs your decision-making. Instead, focus on learning about people, processes, and technology, and how you’ll adjust.

The best answers to this question revolve around learning more about the company and its products while getting to know processes and people.

13. Share a time when you used data to get the buy-in from a stakeholder.

Data plays a big part in being a successful product manager. You’ll utilize data and metrics in this role to make critical decisions. Furthermore, you’ll use hard data to prove your decision-making to stakeholders.

With this question, your goal is to prove that you understand how to take advantage of data. Detail how you gather facts and build a strong case. Provide real-world examples whenever possible.

Talk about past experiences that required you to build presentations or create something based on data. Focus on your successful data-driven cases and how they created a positive outcome.

14. What do you think are the most important parts of a competitive analysis?

Competitive analysis is figuring out who your competition is, what they have to offer, and how your product can deliver something better to potential customers. Product managers often perform competitive analysis alongside consumer research to better gauge how their company’s product stands against the competition.

There are two parts of the competitive analysis process that you should discuss in your answer.

The first involves identifying your product’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. This internal information helps your company develop the right positioning statement for various departments.

The second part is a direct feature-to-feature comparison where you identify how your product is similar to the competition’s. It’s about figuring out how to improve to bridge the gap and create a more appealing product for the masses.

15. How does the product management team facilitate sales enablement?

Sales enablement is about supporting sales and marketing teams, helping them succeed and close deals. Product managers should take time to educate the sales department on the product and provide various teams with all the support materials they need.

There are many ways to answer this product management interview question, but the best approach is to discuss what you would do to facilitate sales enablement. That can include steps you’ll take to get newly onboarded sales professionals up to speed, training sessions to teach teams about the product, support materials you would provide, etc.

16. Tell me the main differences between a project manager and a product manager.

Project managers and product managers have skin in the game but do very different things. Interviewers ask this question to ensure that you understand the clear differences between these roles and know your responsibilities.

The best way to answer is to boil everything down to what these two roles do.

A project manager is someone who oversees the day-to-day operations of a project. They keep things running smoothly, ensuring that the project comes to a close on time and within budget.

Meanwhile, a product manager is responsible for the success or failure of the product. They make important decisions, acting as one of the top-tier leaders. Product managers typically work alongside project managers to ensure that the day-to-day activities contribute to the bigger picture.

17. What do you like about being a product manager?

This interview question for product managers is a unique way to learn about your motivations.

Of course, someone who’s naturally passionate about the job they do is more inclined to succeed. If you care about this line of work, your motivations go beyond money. That’s what hiring managers love to hear.

When answering, talk about what you enjoy most about this job and how much it satisfies you. Discuss what facets you can’t wait to do and why you entered this field.

18. How do you define and identify market opportunities?

Knowing how to identify market opportunities can pave the way to great ideas. It’s about knowing how to stand out in a crowded market and finding ways to boost the company’s bottom line.

There are many ways to talk about market opportunities. To impress the interviewer and hiring manager, focus on hard data.

You can refer to the total addressable market that highlights the current and future value of potential opportunities worth pursuing. Another option is to discuss the compound annual growth rate (CAGR). This figure represents how quickly a market opportunity grows and builds a case for why your company should enter it.

19. How do you communicate your product strategy?

Good communication is a critical piece of the puzzle for product managers. It’s not enough to present a vision. While well-built cases can be convincing, the best way to discuss your strategies is with data-centric evidence.

Communicating is a key part of this role; you must show that you’re comfortable discussing your strategies. Stick to a systematic approach and proven communication tactics. That can include large public forums, data-driven presentations, and more.

20. Tell me about a successful product you managed.

Here’s where you get to show off your skills and achievements.

Hiring managers love to hear about success stories. It’s a chance to learn more about your skills and approaches while giving them a taste of what you might bring to the company.

Choose your biggest successes and talk about how you achieved positive results. Discuss your processes, what steps you took to make your vision a reality, and the amazing outcome that came after.

Stick to a specific example that you can walk the interview through using your STAR story .

21. How do you define and track how successful a product is?

Another aspect of being a product manager is defining and measuring success. You must know where your product stands to make decisions that further your company’s success.

There are many ways to define and track success. However, the best approach is to develop a strong set of key performance indicators you can monitor over the short and long term.

Good KPIs you can talk about include sales, revenue, onboarding times, customer retention, number of users, and more. What KPIs you use depends on the type of product you have.

Consider explaining how you choose the right KPIs to monitor and what you do to measure success post-launch.

22. How do you handle personnel issues or conflicts?

While your main job as a product manager revolves around the product or service you launch, you’ll also have to deal with team dynamics. Conflicts and personnel issues can arise in any job. Even teams that operate like well-oiled machines are not immune to drama.

It’s your job to keep the team running smoothly and tap into every person’s skills.

When you answer this product management interview question, talk about how you improve employee performance. Mention doing recurring one-on-one reviews, listening to your team’s needs, and actively helping them reach their full potential. Then, discuss what steps you take to resolve team conflicts.

Draw from a real-world experience and lay out a concrete plan you use to get your team back on track.

23. When do you know it’s time to cut back on certain features in order to meet a deadline?

Sometimes, you can’t include every feature without missing a deadline. That’s the nature of product development and management. As a product manager, you must know when to scale back and prioritize a successful launch.

With this question, interviewers aim to learn more about your processes. They want to know how you recognize issues early on and make those tough decisions to keep things on track.

There are many steps you can take before cutting back features. For example, you can reprioritize the roadmap, reduce the functionality and hold off on other features for post-launch updates, or do a soft launch.

Explain how you consider your options and what you do to make a decision that will benefit the company without negatively impacting a release.            

These common interview questions for product managers cover a lot of surface area and allow hiring managers to get an idea of what you’ll bring to a company. So it’s important to be ready to answer each of them!

Work through this list a few times before your interview, and you’ll be able to stand out from the crowd.

Hannah Morgan Career Sherpa

Hannah Morgan speaks and writes about job search and career strategies. She founded to educate professionals on how to maneuver through today’s job search process. Hannah was nominated as a LinkedIn Top Voice in Job Search and Careers and is a regular contributor to US News & World Report. She has been quoted by media outlets, including  Forbes, USA Today, Money Magazine, Huffington Post, as well as many other publications. She is also author of The Infographic Resume and co-author of Social Networking for Business Success .

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Mastering the Product Manager Interview: A Comprehensive Guide to Behavioral Questions and Their Answers

Strategic preparation is key for a winning product manager interview. Tips inside on questions, examples, and response structure.

Evgeny Bik


The product manager role is notably diverse and demanding, at the intersection of business strategy, technology, and customer needs. It's a cornerstone in tech companies and is gaining recognition for producing future tech CEOs. In fact, given the high-impact nature of this position, product managers play an indispensable role in driving innovation, catalyzing business growth, and facilitating success within an organization .

The significance of the product manager's role begins to manifest in their ability to effectively collaborate with cross-functional teams, strategically juggle multiple tasks, and align various components such as engineering, design, customer success, sales, marketing, operations, finance, and legal, to develop a successful product. Furthermore, a seasoned product manager is expected to excel in key soft and hard skills such as critical and analytical thinking, problem-solving, leadership, strategic thinking, technical expertise, and communication.

Therefore, given the indispensable role that a product manager plays in a company, hiring a candidate who does not merely meet the technical requirements but also embodies the right soft skills and corporate values is crucial. That being the case, companies increasingly turn to a time-tested, data-backed methodology of determining such qualifications: the behavioral interview .

As co-founders of Day One Careers, we have gained extensive experience conducting behavioral interviews at Amazon, Apple, and other renowned Fortune 500 companies. Behavioral interviews are typically utilized to evaluate a candidate's functional and cultural fit.

To our surprise, we discovered 13 key leadership skills that all these prestigious employers look for when assessing a candidate's cultural fit. Our Job Interview Whizz course teaches you how to craft responses for these top 13 global leadership skills and frame them effectively. This is based on our extensive experience running Day One Careers and coaching over 2,000 community members in preparing for their behavioral interviews.

Why Behavioral Interviews are Critical for Product Manager Positions

Why Behavioral Interviews are Critical for Product Manager Positions

Behavioral interviews have emerged as a powerful tool for vetting candidates for the product manager role, given their efficacy in gauging a candidate’s proficiency in key skills and prior experience. Instead of focusing solely on a candidate's technical knowledge, behavioral interview questions are designed to probe past behavior, as it's recognized that such behavior is likely to recur in similar situations in the future. This interview provides insight into how candidates might react under various professional circumstances that a product manager might face.

Moreover, these behavioral questions delve into the candidate’s past work experiences, assessing how they leveraged their skills in actual scenarios. As a result, recruiters better understand the candidate's practical experience and approach to overcoming obstacles, managing cross-functional teams, or communicating complex technical details. They offer a potent method for evaluating soft skills ─ which are crucial in the role of a product manager. Often, these intangible traits separate the 'good' from the 'great' in product management.

Product manager behavioral interview questions give companies a holistic view of a candidate’s aptitude and better the odds of finding the right culture fit for their complex and dynamic operating environment .

Understanding Product Manager Behavioral Interview Questions

Understanding Product Manager Behavioral Interview Questions

Behavioral interviews are a popular method hiring managers use to understand a candidate's past experiences, capabilities, and how they might behave in certain job-related situations. This type of interview is essential in a product manager role where the responsibilities are complex and diverse.

Product manager behavioral interview questions are designed to delve deeper into your skills, experience, and approach to work. The interviewer isn't merely interested in what you've done but how you did it, how you handled certain situations, and what you learned from your experiences .

The Purpose and Structure of Behavioral Interviews

The driving principle behind behavioral interviews is that past behavior best predicts future performance. Interviewers ask about your past experiences to understand how you react under different circumstances. Your answers help the interview team determine if you're a good fit for their company culture and the specific position they're trying to fill.

A typical behavioral interview question is structured to prompt a detailed response. For example, "Tell me about a time when you faced a significant challenge in a project and how you handled it." Here, the interviewer is interested in understanding your problem-solving skills and resilience.

How Behavioral Interview Questions Assess Key Skills and Competencies

Each product manager's behavioral interview question is mapped to specific competencies . For instance, questions about team conflict can assess your leadership and conflict resolution skills. Questions about forming product strategy can examine your strategic thinking ability and business acumen. Questions about past product failures can illustrate your learning agility, resilience, and problem-solving skills.

Simply put, behavioral interviews allow interviewers to understand how candidates might react to various situations in the product management role. Remember, as a product manager, you will work with cross-functional teams, deal with high-pressure deliverables, and make strategic decisions that can significantly impact the company's success .

The STAR Method for Answering Behavioral Interview Questions

The STAR Method is a universally accepted technique to answer behavioral interview questions in a structured way. This method helps to give a detailed explanation and context to your answers. 'STAR' stands for Situation, Task, Action, and Result. Let's break it down:

  • Situation: Describe a specific situation or setting you were in.
  • Task: Explain the task you were assigned or the challenge that was at hand.
  • Action: Elaborate on your actions to address the task or challenge.
  • Result: Discuss the outcomes of your actions, including what you learned from the situation.

Following the STAR method, you can provide concrete examples to demonstrate your skills and abilities, giving the interviewers a clear picture of your potential as a product manager .

Understand the essence of behavioral interviews to ace your product manager interview. Knowing why these interviews are conducted and how to structure your responses can help you make a great impression and increase your chances of securing the role .

Critical Thinking and Analytical Skills

Critical Thinking and Analytical Skills

As a product manager , your ability to analyze data, situations, and user behaviors is of critical significance. These competencies lay the groundwork for many of the responsibilities you’d handle in a project, notably the decision-making process, identifying opportunities and threats, and crafting effective strategies . These qualifications will inform your daily tasks and largely determine the outcome of the products you manage.

Critical thinking, on the one hand, is about being an objective thinker. It involves thinking clearly and rationally , understanding the logical connections between ideas, and deriving a solution from evaluating evidence and arguments. It's also about stepping back and dissecting a problem or situation from different angles, making rational conclusions, and deciding on the best course of action. In the context of a product manager, this means leading with reason in decision-making processes, troubleshooting, and, above all, innovating.

Similarly, analytical skills involve breaking complex problems or scenarios into smaller, more manageable parts and interpreting them to make informed decisions. For product managers, this might translate to analyzing customer data, user behavior, and market trends or breaking down complex technological problems to identify solutions.

Examples of Product Manager Behavioral Interview Questions that Test Critical Thinking and Analytical Skills

Behavioral interview questions are designed to uncover your experience and skills in certain areas. Regarding critical thinking and analytical skills, hiring managers seek your ability to assess complex situations and derive insightful conclusions. They’ll want proof that your thought process is both logical and creative. Some examples of behavioral interview questions that touch on these areas are:

  • Tell me about when you had to analyze complex data and draw insights from it. What was your thought process?
  • Describe a situation where you had to solve a problem with limited information. What approach did you take?

Note that great answers to these questions focus not solely on the outcome but on the journey to the outcome.

Guide to Crafting Effective Answers

The STAR (Situation, Task, Action, Result) method is recommended when answering behavioral interview questions. This approach encourages you to provide a clear and structured response that details a specific example from your past experiences, ideally focusing on scenarios that succeeded.

In the context of critical thinking and analytical skills, your answers will need to depict your process in navigating complex situations, breaking down problems, and using data or insights to fuel decisions or strategies. Be sure to:

  • Describe the situation that needed your critical thinking and analytical abilities in a vivid, concise manner.
  • Explain your role in the situation, detailing the tasks you were responsible for or the issue(s) you needed to address.
  • Articulate your actions, being specific about your thought process, analysis, and any tools or frameworks you used.
  • Finish with the result of your actions. Quantifiable results work best but if not available, your insight on how your actions impacted the situation is sufficient.
  • Throughout your response, emphasize times when you had to solve problems creatively, adapt to new findings, and make sound decisions under uncertain conditions.

Mastering these product manager behavioral interview questions will help illustrate your proficiency in critical thinking and data analysis , helping you paint a picture of your product management prowess.

Leadership and Initiative

Leadership and Initiative

In the dynamic and fluid world of product management , one of the most critical skills a product manager can possess is the ability to lead initiatives and demonstrate leadership . Leadership is about guiding and inspiring teams to achieve shared goals. Conversely, initiative is the willingness to step forward, take charge, and introduce new ideas without being prompted.

As a product manager, you must show that you can comfortably occupy a leadership role , motivate team members, and drive the product's success. Seizing the initiative, identifying challenges, innovating solutions, and enlightening your team about potential opportunities is also necessary.

Behavioral Interview Questions to Evaluate Leadership Qualities

To assess these qualities, your interviewer may pose certain product manager behavioral interview questions. Here are a couple of examples:

1. "Tell me about a time when you took the initiative in an important project. What actions did you take, and what was the outcome?” This question allows you to prove your leadership abilities and initiative by sharing an instance where you took the reins in a significant project and drove its successful completion.

2. "Can you describe a situation where you had to lead a challenging cross-functional team? How did you bring the team together?” With this question, the interviewer tests your ability to lead teams , especially those with diverse expertise and backgrounds, a common scenario in product management. Your answer should highlight your ability to build consensus, streamline communication, and deliver results despite the challenges.

Tips for Showcasing Leadership and Initiative in Answers

When answering behavioral interview questions related to leadership and initiative, here are a few tips to help you craft a compelling response:

1. Emphasize Actions: The interviewer wants to understand the specific actions you took, not just the outcome. Dig into the details about who you worked with, what the project entailed, how you handled conflicts, and what strategies you adopted to bring people together and drive the project forward.

2. Use the STAR Method: The Situation, Task, Action, Result (STAR) method is a structured way of telling a story that will allow you to present the situation, explain your roles and responsibilities, discuss the actions you took, and most importantly, highlight the results of your actions.

3. Show Self-Awareness and Reflection: Don’t shy away from discussing the challenges and failures you experienced. This shows that you are aware of your areas for improvement and are committed to learning and growth.

4. Highlight Key Traits: While discussing the situation, showcase your decision-making and problem-solving abilities , creativity, resilience, grit, and determination.

Mastering your responses to “Leadership and Initiative” behavioral interview questions is essential to landing your dream product management role. Preparation and practice will ensure you present a confident, insightful, and compelling portrayal of your leadership abilities and initiative.



In the dynamic world of product management , flexibility is a paramount asset. Product managers should be agile enough to adjust their strategies, adapt to new technologies and methodologies, and quickly pivot their product roadmap to align with changing market conditions or internal factors. Product managers can be ill-prepared to deal with unanticipated roadblocks or seize unexpected opportunities without much flexibility. In the fiercely competitive tech industry , such adaptability can be the difference between launching a successful product that meets customer needs and falling behind due to rigidity.

Role of Flexibility in Product Management

Flexibility in product management means handling change with agility, managing uncertainty, and adapting to new circumstances or data. Flexibility is key, whether it’s shifting development timelines, altering product features to meet technical needs, or modifying strategic priorities in line with new predictive analytics. It also speaks to a product manager's ability to work with multiple teams, manage multiple questions, adjust their approach based on team members' feedback, or even revise the product vision based on user input. Thus, the ability to exhibit flexibility is a crucial soft skill for product managers and is often a topic in product manager behavioral interviews.

Product Manager Behavioral Interview Questions that Assess Flexibility

Interviewers use behavioral interview questions to gauge a candidate's flexible thinking. The questions may vary depending on the company's culture, product, and situation, yet certain commonalities exist. Often, interviewers might ask you to describe situations where you had to change tactics at the last minute or deal with a sudden shift in project parameters. Examples of such behavioral questions, could be,

  • "Describe when you had to adjust your priorities to meet changing demands. How did you handle it?"
  • "Tell me about a situation where you had to adapt your communication style to work effectively with people different from yourself."

Strategies for Demonstrating Flexibility in Responses

When answering questions about flexibility, it's best to use examples from your career experiences that showcase your adaptability and agility. Using the STAR method (Situation, Task, Action, Result) can provide a structured way to formulate your response. Here are some strategies to consider:

  • Scenario Selection: Choose a scenario where you demonstrated an adaptive mindset. It could be when you adapted your product strategy to cater to unexpected customer needs or when you had to change your course of action due to unforeseen internal factors.
  • Emphasize Actions: Highlight how you adapted your action to address the changes. It could be how you re-prioritized tasks, adapted to working in high-pressure environments, or prepared your product development team to pivot quickly.
  • Highlight the Outcome: Finally, mention what was achieved due to your flexibility. It may be a successful product launch, innovative problem-solving, improved team performance, etc.

Remember, interviewers aren't looking for someone who has never faced obstacles but can navigate the challenges so that the project or product does not suffer. Showcasing your flexibility not only aids in answering behavioral interview questions effectively but reinforces your competency as a potential product manager fit for swift-paced tech companies .

Problem-solving Skills

Problem-solving Skills

In the dynamic landscape of product management , challenges and obstacles are a given. From technical glitches to changes in market trends or customer preferences, hurdles are part of the day-to-day work of a product manager. Therefore, problem-solving skills are essential to a product manager's toolkit. Exceptional product managers focus on identifying problems, breaking them into manageable components, crafting viable solutions, and implementing them effectively. This ability to navigate complexities and deliver solutions drives product success and fuels innovation.

The need for problem-solving skills in product management

Problem-solving skills hold a crucial position in a product manager's competency framework. It helps to navigate challenging situations and accelerate decision-making processes effectively. A product manager with robust problem-solving skills can convert threats into opportunities, leading the product to success. As a result, an absolute necessity in any product management interview is to assess a candidate's problem-solving skills. This assessment would help understand the candidate's ability to manage unforeseen challenges, resource limitations, and changes in project priorities.

Examples of interview questions that test problem-solving abilities

Behavioral interview questions are especially effective in gauging a candidate's problem-solving abilities. By inviting candidates to share past problem-solving experiences, interviewers can understand how a candidate behaves, reacts, and handles issues under different circumstances. Below are two examples of such product manager behavioral interview questions:

  • "Walk me through a complex problem you recently solved. What was the situation, and how did you approach it?"
  • "Give me an example of when you identified the root cause of a problem by breaking down its components. What was the result?"

Helpful tips to highlight problem-solving skills

To effectively address these types of behavioral interview questions, here are a few strategies that can help you highlight your problem-solving skills:

  • Use the STAR method: STAR stands for Situation, Task, Action, and Result. First, describe the Situation and the Task you were faced with. Then, articulate the Actions you took to address the problem. Finally, outline the Results achieved from your actions. This method ensures a structured response while compellingly demonstrating your problem-solving abilities.
  • Provide concrete examples: Avoid hypothetical situations and use real-life examples from your previous experience. This will make your answer more credible and relatable.
  • Showcase your thought process: It's not the solution alone that matters. Interviewers are interested in how you reached that solution. So, detail your thought process on how you identified the problem, broke it down, and arrived at a solution.
  • Emphasize outcomes: Detail the positive outcomes that resulted from your problem-solving efforts, including benefits for your team, your product, or your company.

Strategic Thinking

Strategic Thinking

Successful product managers know that strategic thinking is crucial to their job. This involves visualizing the bigger picture, considering internal and external factors, setting a clear product vision, prioritizing features based on customer needs and company goals, and making necessary trade-offs in your product strategy .

In product management interviews , behavioral interview questions often include queries to evaluate your strategic thinking abilities. As the role of the product manager is pivotal in directing the course of a product, from inception to launch and beyond, this is an area in which companies must observe assurance during the interview.

Examples of such product manager behavioral interview questions might include: "Tell me about a time when you developed a strategic plan for a product. How did you approach it?" or "Give me an example of when you recognized a new business trend before others in your team. How did you use this insight?". These questions assess your ability to think strategically, stay abreast of industry trends, and apply that knowledge to benefit the company's solution or product.

To demonstrate strategic thinking in your answers, consider the following best practices:

  • Refer to real examples: The best way to illustrate strategic thinking is through a real-life example from your previous career experiences. This could be an instance where you identified a market opportunity, adjusted the product roadmap in response to changing market trends, or strategically allocated resources to maximize ROI.
  • Explain the why: Highlight why you made the strategic decisions you made. This helps to demonstrate that you base your decisions on a solid understanding of the business, market, and product landscape . It also shows that you take the time to consider multiple factors before making decisions.
  • Show the impact: Describe the outcome of your strategic decisions. Did it lead to an increase in product adoption? Did it save the company money? Communicating the impact of your strategic decisions helps to show that your choices ultimately added value to the company.
  • Utilize the STAR method: When constructing your answers, use the STAR method to provide a structured response. 'STAR' stands for Situation, Task, Action, and Result, clearly and concisely recounting how your strategic thinking made a difference.

In conclusion, addressing behavioral interview questions on strategic thinking successfully involves preparation with real examples, a clear explanation of your strategy's rationale and impact, and a structured delivery of your response. Master these, and you'll be on your way to nail this aspect of your product manager interview .

Passion for Products

Passion for Products

The Cultivation and Demonstration of Passion for Products

In product management , individuals with a passion for products tend to excel. Successful product managers will be driven by an enthusiasm for developing and improving products that meet customers' needs and desires. Beyond being a job, it's a vocation that drives them from within.

This passion manifests in their keen interest in the latest market trends, familiarity with competitors or analogous products, love of working with cross-functional teams to bring a product to life, and commitment to championing the product within the company.

This deep-seated interest and determination can be infectious, inspiring team members and stakeholders. A product manager's passion can mobilize an engineering team, excite a product development team, and secure buy-in from high-level executives. It is, therefore, one of the critical traits that tech companies look for when interviewing prospective product managers.

Product Manager Behavioral Interview Questions that Assess Passion for Products

During a product manager interview , interviewers want to gauge your enthusiasm for product creation and improvement. Expect to face behavioral interview questions designed to bring out this aspect of your character, such as:

  • Describe a product or project you were really passionate about. How did your passion translate into results?
  • Tell me about a time when your enthusiasm for a product helped motivate your team. What was the outcome?

Such interview questions give a glimpse into how much energy and dedication you would bring to the product and the team.

Crafting Authentic Answers that Reflect This Passion

Remember that authenticity is vital when answering behavioral questions that target your passion for products. The interviewers want to understand what truly matters to you, what excites you, and how that enthusiasm affects your work and the people around you.

Provide a detailed explanation, delving into a few rounds of creativity, development, or marketing phases of a product you have passionately worked on. Discuss your challenges, how your passion drove you to overcome them, and the eventual outcomes.

You could talk about a time when you were so engrossed in resolving a problem or improving a product feature that you delved into customer input and technical aspects and worked closely with the engineering team . How you gained buy-in from the team with your vision and commitment would make for a compelling story.

When crafting your answer, use the STAR method - Situation, Task, Action, and Result. This approach will give you a structured way to display your passion, keeping your answer focused while providing enough detailed context for the interviewers.

Finally, passion doesn't mean a lack of realism or overly optimistic projections. It's about believing in what you're doing and inspiring the same belief in others, clearly acknowledging challenges that must be overcome. You can convey this effectively in your product manager interview with the right balance.

Empathy for Customers

Empathy for Customers

In product management, empathy for customers is a fundamental quality for successful product managers. Understanding customer needs and perspectives is vital in shaping genuinely user-oriented products. Empathy helps product managers to appreciate customers' pain points and align product offerings to solve their problems, ultimately leading to customer satisfaction and product success.

This aspect constitutes a significant part of product manager behavioral interview questions , which seek to reveal how candidates understand, connect, and respond to customer needs and feedback.

Importance of Customer Empathy in Product Management

Empathy for customers is integral in product management as it enables product managers to view product development from the end-user's perspective. This holistic view helps in designing features that are direly needed by customers, thereby promoting product value. Additionally, empathy is central to creating user stories, user personas, and journey maps, which help product managers to visualize as the user and design better products. Moreover, empathy allows product managers to resonate with customer feedback , fostering continuous product improvement.

Typical Behavioral Interview Questions about Empathy for Customers

Interviewers looking to assess your empathy for customers will pose behavioral interview questions that examine your interactions with customers and how those interactions influenced product development processes. Here are some examples of such questions:

  • Can you share an instance where you had to put yourself in the customer's shoes to make crucial product decisions? How did it impact the product?
  • Tell me about a time you had to use customer feedback to make adjustments to your product plan. What changes did you make, and what was the outcome?
  • Describe a situation when you had to overlook your thoughts and preferences to embrace the customer's point of view. How did it affect the final product?
  • Can you recount a time when you had to advocate for the customer during product design discussions? What was the issue, and how did it get resolved?

How to Effectively Communicate Customer Empathy in Answers

To effectively convey empathy for customers in your answers, it is crucial first to understand the question at hand. When answering questions, focus on the user and highlight instances where their needs and wants influenced product decisions. Describe the customer feedback process and how you implemented the insights received. Significantly, demonstrate how your understanding of the customer's perspective led to tangible improvements in the product.

An effective strategy would be deploying the STAR method , illustrating the Situation you faced, the Task at hand, the Action you executed, and the corresponding Result. This method will ensure a clear and coherent recounting of your empathetic approach towards customers.

Remember, empathy is about understanding and sharing other's feelings. Thus, your answers should reflect genuine care and appreciation for customers' needs and their impact on the product design and development process .

Technical Expertise

Technical Expertise

A product manager's technical expertise is vital in the ever-evolving technology landscape . This proficiency qualifies a product manager to liaise effectively with the engineering team, grasp the specialized needs of a product, and invigorate a product's vision grounded in technological efficacy. Indeed, this concrete technical understanding serves as the cornerstone of credible leadership over cross-functional product teams in a tech company .

Necessity of technical expertise in product management

Considering the very technology-driven nature of product management, technical expertise is practically essential. The cross-functional nature of product teams means that product managers often have to communicate technical details to non-technical team members. Likewise, understanding user input on product functionality and translating them to feasible modifications falls squarely within their responsibilities. Without an adept grasp of technical nuances , a product manager is disadvantaged in driving the product roadmap to its envisioned destination.

Interview questions that test technical prowess

In a product manager interview, expect to face technical questions that allow you to showcase your aptitude . These technical questions allow you to demonstrate your ability to accurately interpret overly technical questions and communicate them back in understandable layman's terms. Here are some product manager behavioral interview questions focused on ascertaining technical expertise:

  • Describe a technically complex project you successfully led. How did you leverage your technical knowledge?
  • Tell me about a time you had to quickly learn a new technology or process. How were you able to get up to speed?

How to highlight technical expertise in responses

The key in answering these and similar behavioral interview questions is to emphasize your technical command and its influence on the success of your past projects. Make it a point to describe the relevant technical aspects and how your knowledge in those areas contributed to a positive outcome. For instance, you could discuss how your understanding of predictive analytics or Bayesian methods improved the product’s success metrics or alleviated user pain points.

Also, remember to gauge the technical ability of your interviewer to avoid going into too much detail or offering overly technical explanations that they may not fully grasp. Balancing the technicality of your answers to cater to your audience is a valuable soft skill that product managers need to master, as it reflects empathy and effective communication skills.

Last but not least, use the STAR method to organize your responses in a structured way. This involves explaining the Situation, stating the Task at hand, detailing the Action you took, and revealing the Result of your effort. This method ensures a well-rounded and complete response to behavioral interview questions, effectively underscoring your competence in technical aspects .

Business Savvy

Business Savvy

As a product manager navigating the competitive landscape of tech companies, it is crucial to be business-savvy. This entails understanding the needs and goals of your target market , knowing how internal factors affect the product development process , leveraging predictive analytics and data to drive decision-making, and staying well-informed about industry trends and competitive products. However, business savvy for product managers extends beyond an understanding of 'business in general’. It is the intuitive force guiding their decisions and strategies in such a way that yields maximum value for both customers and the company.

The role of business acumen in product management

Business acumen is the ability to make sound and quick decisions that drive a company's profitability and growth while considering its financial and strategic objectives. A product manager needs to understand the business's long-term strategy and be able to assess the viability, market potential, and profitability of a product. This includes understanding the product's revenue model, costs, and competitive landscape. Integrating business acumen into product management helps the team make decisions that align products with the company's business and financial goals. For instance, the product manager might need to prioritize features or make trade-offs in the product roadmap based on understanding the company's resources and strategic focus.

Behavioral interview questions to assess business savvy

An interviewer might ask several product manager behavioral interview questions to gauge your business acumen. For example:

  • "Can you give me an example of when you made a product decision based on business and market factors? What was the context and outcome?"
  • "Tell me about a time you had to consider financial constraints when planning a product release. How did you balance this with other factors?"

These questions aim to assess how you incorporate business understanding into your daily work and how you respond to challenges that require balancing business feasibility and other factors, such as user needs or technical constraints.

Crafting answers that demonstrate business understanding

How you answer these behavioral interview questions can reveal much about your business acumen. A practical approach is to share detailed examples from your previous experience and career experiences where your business understanding significantly impacted a product decision or strategy. Use the STAR method: describe the Situation, the Task you were responsible for, the Action you took, and the Result of that action. This can provide a structured way for your interviewer to understand how you've leveraged business savvy in real-world situations.

For instance, crafting a response to a question about making a product decision based on business factors could help focus on cases in which you had to evaluate numerous internal factors and weave them into your strategic decisions. These could include financial implications, market positioning, sales strategies, regulatory restrictions, or brand image considerations.

When considering financial constraints when planning a product release, you can talk about a time when you worked with your product development team to identify cost-efficient solutions. In doing so, you could demonstrate how you value resource optimization and prudent financial management without compromising the product's quality or customer expectations .

In answering these questions, you should demonstrate your knowledge, expertise, self-awareness, and emotional intelligence—qualities that characterize a truly business-savvy product manager .

Effective Communication Skills

Effective Communication Skills

As a product manager , one of the critical skills you need is facilitating effective communication. Excellent communication skills are needed to work across cross-functional teams, manage stakeholders, translate technical needs into business language, and clarify a product vision . Communication is the glue that holds the entire product team together. It is through communication that a product manager conveys the product strategy, customer needs and can garner buy-in from every member of the product team together.

Importance of communication skills for product managers

Product managers must often navigate high-pressure environments and juggle multiple questions at once. They must effectively communicate with team members, make complex trade-offs, and continuously align the team with the product roadmap and company vision. With the complexity and broad scope of a product manager's job, effective communication becomes a pivotal tool for success. For example, presenting data in such a way as to persuade critical decision-makers or distilling complex technical specifications into clear user input to the product development team requires excellent communication skills.

Interview questions that test communication skills

Interviewers often use behavioral interview questions when assessing communication skills in a product management interview . Here are examples of questions you could be asked:

  • "Walk me through when you had to distill a complex idea into simple, clear messaging. What was the situation, and how did you approach it?"
  • "Give me an example of when adapting your communication style helped you connect better with an audience. What adjustments did you make?"

Such questions allow the interviewer to evaluate how you handle communication in different scenarios and understand how you have employed your communication skills in your previous career experiences .

Strategies for highlighting effective communication in responses

To effectively answer behavioral interview questions about communication, consider using the STAR method (Situation, Task, Action, Result). This approach allows you to present your answer in a structured way, starting with the situation. You then discuss the task involved, how you dealt with it (action), and the outcome (result). Make sure to focus not just on the success of the result but also on the process, showcasing your collaboration with team members, how you anticipated and addressed potential pain points, and adapted as necessary.

For instance, if the question is about conveying a complex idea to a wide audience, start by describing the scenario where this was required and the complexity of the task. Discuss your thought process and the steps you took to ensure your message was understood. This could include simplifying jargon using relatable analogies or visual aids. End your answer by discussing the impact of your communication on the project, such as improved team understanding and coordination or positive feedback from the audience.

Remember, interviewers are interested in what you say and how you say it. Pay attention to your tone, clarity, and ability to engage the listener. Also, be prepared with examples from your previous experience to illustrate your responses, as most candidates find that this helps provide a detailed explanation and gives color to your answers .

Effective communication is vital in product management, and demonstrating your skills in this area in response to product manager behavioral interview questions can greatly improve your chances of success in your product manager interview .

Prioritization and Time Management Skills

Prioritization and Time Management Skills

Being a successful product manager requires exceptional skills in prioritization and time management . In product management, professionals often face multiple tasks, deadlines, and competing interests. Therefore, determining what jobs demand urgent attention, which requests need to be deferred, and how to manage time effectively is crucial. Possessing these skills not only helps drive productivity but also plays a vital role in achieving strategic goals and delivering a profitable product.

The Need for Prioritization and Good Time Management

Product managers often juggle several projects and tasks at once, and the complexity of their roles tends to escalate with the increasing demands from cross-functional teams, stakeholders, and the market. In high-pressure environments, professionals must choose where to allocate their resources wisely, distinguishing urgent tasks from important ones and prioritizing them accordingly. Moreover, time management is necessary to lead the product development team and ensure timely delivery.

Product Manager Behavioral Interview Questions that Assess These Skills

To ascertain the capabilities of a product manager concerning prioritization and time management, expect to encounter behavioral interview questions like the following:

  • Describe a situation where you had to sacrifice short-term goals for longer-term, more important objectives. How did you determine what was most critical?
  • Tell me about when you had to juggle multiple priorities with tight deadlines. How did you approach prioritizing your tasks?

These interview questions are crafted to provide insights into the candidate's ability to manage time effectively, make decisions under pressure, and prioritize tasks in a structured way according to the company's goals .

Best Practices for Showcasing Prioritization and Time Management in Answers

To give a compelling answer during your product manager interview , here are some ideas and strategies:

  • Describe realistic scenarios: Use examples from your career experiences where you had to juggle multiple responsibilities or make tough decisions about prioritizing tasks.
  • Use the STAR method: Remember to describe the Situation you were in, the Task that needed to be done, the Action you took, and the Result of your action. This structured approach can help you present a detailed explanation without giving too much detail.
  • Showcase your decision-making process: Highlight how you identify critical tasks, evaluate them against company objectives, and manage your time to accomplish them within the deadline. Your previous step-by-step approach can be a good indicator of your current skills .
  • Highlight outcomes: Prioritization and time management are all about delivering results. Be sure to emphasize the positive effects of effective leadership, whether meeting a tight deadline, launching a product successfully, or saving resources.

Demonstrating proficiency in these areas during your product manager interview shows you have what it takes to navigate the complex landscape of product management , make tough calls, and lead a team to success.

Understanding of User Experience (UX)

A successful product manager understands that a product's usefulness is defined by its technical capabilities and how smoothly and intuitively it interacts with its users. This underlines the fundamental role that user experience ( UX ) plays in product management. A product manager must comprehend the users' needs, expectations, and pain points to offer relevant and impactful products that offer a seamless user experience. Because of its undeniable importance in product sense, any product manager interview will certainly delve into the candidate's knowledge and understanding of UX.

Crucial Role of UX Understanding in Product Management

Product managers are the primary advocates for users within the company. They are tasked with interpreting user needs, translating them into product features, and ensuring these demands are adequately met by engineers and design teams. UX knowledge and skills enable product managers to understand user needs and behaviors in-depth. This facilitates the creation of products and experiences that resonate with target demographics, lead to customer satisfaction, and ultimately drive business success.

The significance of UX doesn’t stop at designing easy-to-navigate interfaces or removing bugs; it extends to ensuring the product aligns with the company’s overall product vision and strategy. As a product manager, you must align internal factors, business goals, customer needs, and technical needs with your product development team to create a product roadmap that rightly focuses on user needs. Understanding UX allows product managers to make informed decisions about feature prioritization and justify those decisions to their teams and stakeholders.

Examples of Interview Questions That Test Understanding of UX

In a product manager interview, assessors will likely present you with product manager behavioral interview questions that assess your understanding of UX. Specific questions may have variations, but they seek to evaluate your UX knowledge, ability to empathize with users, and how you incorporate UX into your product strategy. Here are some examples:

  • "Give me an example of when you advocated for the user in a product design conversation. Why was the user perspective important?"
  • "Tell me about a time when focusing on the user experience helped you create a better product. What was the result?"

Hints To Help Illustrate UX Understanding In Responses

When answering behavioral interview questions focused on UX, keep these pointers in mind:

  • The STAR method (Situation, Task, Action, Result) remains a powerful tool for structuring your responses. It allows the interviewer to follow your thought process efficiently and gives you a structured way to showcase your UX understanding.
  • Use real-life examples wherever possible. Describe a project where you had to work closely with UX and the product development team. Discuss how you considered user input, addressed their pain points, and achieved seamless user experience. A detailed explanation lends credence to your claims of understanding UX.
  • Focusing on the user-centric approach is essential. Display self-awareness of your responsibility to the users of your product, how you prioritize features based on user needs, and the strategic trade-offs you have had to make.
  • Try to touch upon your experience with user-centric methodologies and tools, for instance, user stories, user personas, A/B testing, or even predictive analytics.
  • It would be beneficial to talk about how you collaborate with cross-functional teams like the engineering team, sales, marketing, and customer service and how UX feeds into these teams' different work.

Understanding and incorporating UX into the product strategy is a key skill for product managers . Make sure to highlight your utilisations and understanding of UX in such a way that reflects your strengths as a product manager during your behavioral interview.

Mastering product manager behavioral interviews isn't easy, but it becomes manageable with adequate preparation and a strategic approach. It requires an in-depth understanding of the product manager role, comprehensive knowledge of the behavioral interview process, and the ability to model your experiences to reflect the skills employers seek.

Effective Preparation Strategies for Product Manager Behavioral Interviews

To make a strong impression in a product management interview, candidates should align their preparation efforts with the actual demands of the role. Here are some strategies for effective preparation:

  • Practice: Practicing product manager behavioral interview questions is the most effective preparation method. Do a lot of mock interviews to get a feel for the types of questions that can be asked and how best to answer them.
  • Structure Your Answers: Use the STAR method (Situation, Task, Action, Result) to structure your answers, providing a comprehensive view of the situation in a logical, coherent manner. It's a proven model that can help answer behavioral interview questions in a structured way.
  • Build on Your Previous Experience: Prospective product managers should draw on their career experiences to demonstrate technical acumen and soft skills such as leadership, strategic thinking, problem-solving, and innovation. Be sure to highlight examples where you dealt with internal factors, like working with engineering and product development teams, and external factors, like understanding customer needs and priorities.
  • Research the Company: Every company’s product management process varies depending on various factors, including the stage of the company, the market it operates in, and its culture. Detailed research about the company can help you tailor your answers and demonstrate a deep understanding and passion for the company's product vision and strategy.
  • Stay Updated: Stay informed about the latest developments and trends in the field of product management . This could involve learning about Bayesian methods or predictive analytics and applying them to your problem-solving approach. Such knowledge can help you address overly technical questions and multiple questions about your skills and abilities.

Further Resources for Polishing Your Interview Skills

In addition to the above strategies, numerous resources can further polish your interview skills. These include:

  • Online Platforms: Websites like LinkedIn , Glassdoor, and Indeed have interview sections where you can find numerous product manager behavioral interview questions and how different candidates answered them.
  • Books: Material like "Cracking the PM Interview" and " Decode and Conquer " have become staples for anyone looking to succeed in product manager interviews. They provide plenty of practice questions and offer detailed explanations of answers and scoring criteria.
  • Mentorship Programs: Many industry professionals offer mentorship programs to those preparing for product management interviews. These mentors can provide valuable insights and personalized coaching based on their extensive experience.

In conclusion, while product manager interviews can be challenging and require a high degree of focus, the right approach towards preparation combined with dedication and perseverance can help prospective candidates succeed and land their dream roles. Remember, do not sacrifice the chance to improve with each practiced question and every mock interview. Even if it translates to a few rounds of revisions, the trade-offs will lead you to success .

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Top 20 Problem Solving Interview Questions (Example Answers Included)

Mike Simpson 0 Comments

problem solving interview questions for product manager

By Mike Simpson

When candidates prepare for interviews, they usually focus on highlighting their leadership, communication, teamwork, and similar crucial soft skills . However, not everyone gets ready for problem-solving interview questions. And that can be a big mistake.

Problem-solving is relevant to nearly any job on the planet. Yes, it’s more prevalent in certain industries, but it’s helpful almost everywhere.

Regardless of the role you want to land, you may be asked to provide problem-solving examples or describe how you would deal with specific situations. That’s why being ready to showcase your problem-solving skills is so vital.

If you aren’t sure who to tackle problem-solving questions, don’t worry, we have your back. Come with us as we explore this exciting part of the interview process, as well as some problem-solving interview questions and example answers.

What Is Problem-Solving?

When you’re trying to land a position, there’s a good chance you’ll face some problem-solving interview questions. But what exactly is problem-solving? And why is it so important to hiring managers?

Well, the good folks at Merriam-Webster define problem-solving as “the process or act of finding a solution to a problem.” While that may seem like common sense, there’s a critical part to that definition that should catch your eye.

What part is that? The word “process.”

In the end, problem-solving is an activity. It’s your ability to take appropriate steps to find answers, determine how to proceed, or otherwise overcome the challenge.

Being great at it usually means having a range of helpful problem-solving skills and traits. Research, diligence, patience, attention-to-detail , collaboration… they can all play a role. So can analytical thinking , creativity, and open-mindedness.

But why do hiring managers worry about your problem-solving skills? Well, mainly, because every job comes with its fair share of problems.

While problem-solving is relevant to scientific, technical, legal, medical, and a whole slew of other careers. It helps you overcome challenges and deal with the unexpected. It plays a role in troubleshooting and innovation. That’s why it matters to hiring managers.

How to Answer Problem-Solving Interview Questions

Okay, before we get to our examples, let’s take a quick second to talk about strategy. Knowing how to answer problem-solving interview questions is crucial. Why? Because the hiring manager might ask you something that you don’t anticipate.

Problem-solving interview questions are all about seeing how you think. As a result, they can be a bit… unconventional.

These aren’t your run-of-the-mill job interview questions . Instead, they are tricky behavioral interview questions . After all, the goal is to find out how you approach problem-solving, so most are going to feature scenarios, brainteasers, or something similar.

So, having a great strategy means knowing how to deal with behavioral questions. Luckily, there are a couple of tools that can help.

First, when it comes to the classic approach to behavioral interview questions, look no further than the STAR Method . With the STAR method, you learn how to turn your answers into captivating stories. This makes your responses tons more engaging, ensuring you keep the hiring manager’s attention from beginning to end.

Now, should you stop with the STAR Method? Of course not. If you want to take your answers to the next level, spend some time with the Tailoring Method , too.

With the Tailoring Method, it’s all about relevance. So, if you get a chance to choose an example that demonstrates your problem-solving skills, this is really the way to go.

We also wanted to let you know that we created an amazing free cheat sheet that will give you word-for-word answers for some of the toughest interview questions you are going to face in your upcoming interview. After all, hiring managers will often ask you more generalized interview questions!

Click below to get your free PDF now:

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FREE BONUS PDF CHEAT SHEET: Get our " Job Interview Questions & Answers PDF Cheat Sheet " that gives you " word-word sample answers to the most common job interview questions you'll face at your next interview .


Top 3 Problem-Solving-Based Interview Questions

Alright, here is what you’ve been waiting for: the problem-solving questions and sample answers.

While many questions in this category are job-specific, these tend to apply to nearly any job. That means there’s a good chance you’ll come across them at some point in your career, making them a great starting point when you’re practicing for an interview.

So, let’s dive in, shall we? Here’s a look at the top three problem-solving interview questions and example responses.

1. Can you tell me about a time when you had to solve a challenging problem?

In the land of problem-solving questions, this one might be your best-case scenario. It lets you choose your own problem-solving examples to highlight, putting you in complete control.

When you choose an example, go with one that is relevant to what you’ll face in the role. The closer the match, the better the answer is in the eyes of the hiring manager.


“While working as a mobile telecom support specialist for a large organization, we had to transition our MDM service from one vendor to another within 45 days. This personally physically handling 500 devices within the agency. Devices had to be gathered from the headquarters and satellite offices, which were located all across the state, something that was challenging even without the tight deadline. I approached the situation by identifying the location assignment of all personnel within the organization, enabling me to estimate transit times for receiving the devices. Next, I timed out how many devices I could personally update in a day. Together, this allowed me to create a general timeline. After that, I coordinated with each location, both expressing the urgency of adhering to deadlines and scheduling bulk shipping options. While there were occasional bouts of resistance, I worked with location leaders to calm concerns and facilitate action. While performing all of the updates was daunting, my approach to organizing the event made it a success. Ultimately, the entire transition was finished five days before the deadline, exceeding the expectations of many.”

2. Describe a time where you made a mistake. What did you do to fix it?

While this might not look like it’s based on problem-solving on the surface, it actually is. When you make a mistake, it creates a challenge, one you have to work your way through. At a minimum, it’s an opportunity to highlight problem-solving skills, even if you don’t address the topic directly.

When you choose an example, you want to go with a situation where the end was positive. However, the issue still has to be significant, causing something negative to happen in the moment that you, ideally, overcame.

“When I first began in a supervisory role, I had trouble setting down my individual contributor hat. I tried to keep up with my past duties while also taking on the responsibilities of my new role. As a result, I began rushing and introduced an error into the code of the software my team was updating. The error led to a memory leak. We became aware of the issue when the performance was hindered, though we didn’t immediately know the cause. I dove back into the code, reviewing recent changes, and, ultimately, determined the issue was a mistake on my end. When I made that discovery, I took several steps. First, I let my team know that the error was mine and let them know its nature. Second, I worked with my team to correct the issue, resolving the memory leak. Finally, I took this as a lesson about delegation. I began assigning work to my team more effectively, a move that allowed me to excel as a manager and help them thrive as contributors. It was a crucial learning moment, one that I have valued every day since.”

3. If you identify a potential risk in a project, what steps do you take to prevent it?

Yes, this is also a problem-solving question. The difference is, with this one, it’s not about fixing an issue; it’s about stopping it from happening. Still, you use problem-solving skills along the way, so it falls in this question category.

If you can, use an example of a moment when you mitigated risk in the past. If you haven’t had that opportunity, approach it theoretically, discussing the steps you would take to prevent an issue from developing.

“If I identify a potential risk in a project, my first step is to assess the various factors that could lead to a poor outcome. Prevention requires analysis. Ensuring I fully understand what can trigger the undesired event creates the right foundation, allowing me to figure out how to reduce the likelihood of those events occurring. Once I have the right level of understanding, I come up with a mitigation plan. Exactly what this includes varies depending on the nature of the issue, though it usually involves various steps and checks designed to monitor the project as it progresses to spot paths that may make the problem more likely to happen. I find this approach effective as it combines knowledge and ongoing vigilance. That way, if the project begins to head into risky territory, I can correct its trajectory.”

17 More Problem-Solving-Based Interview Questions

In the world of problem-solving questions, some apply to a wide range of jobs, while others are more niche. For example, customer service reps and IT helpdesk professionals both encounter challenges, but not usually the same kind.

As a result, some of the questions in this list may be more relevant to certain careers than others. However, they all give you insights into what this kind of question looks like, making them worth reviewing.

Here are 17 more problem-solving interview questions you might face off against during your job search:

  • How would you describe your problem-solving skills?
  • Can you tell me about a time when you had to use creativity to deal with an obstacle?
  • Describe a time when you discovered an unmet customer need while assisting a customer and found a way to meet it.
  • If you were faced with an upset customer, how would you diffuse the situation?
  • Tell me about a time when you had to troubleshoot a complex issue.
  • Imagine you were overseeing a project and needed a particular item. You have two choices of vendors: one that can deliver on time but would be over budget, and one that’s under budget but would deliver one week later than you need it. How do you figure out which approach to use?
  • Your manager wants to upgrade a tool you regularly use for your job and wants your recommendation. How do you formulate one?
  • A supplier has said that an item you need for a project isn’t going to be delivered as scheduled, something that would cause your project to fall behind schedule. What do you do to try and keep the timeline on target?
  • Can you share an example of a moment where you encountered a unique problem you and your colleagues had never seen before? How did you figure out what to do?
  • Imagine you were scheduled to give a presentation with a colleague, and your colleague called in sick right before it was set to begin. What would you do?
  • If you are given two urgent tasks from different members of the leadership team, both with the same tight deadline, how do you choose which to tackle first?
  • Tell me about a time you and a colleague didn’t see eye-to-eye. How did you decide what to do?
  • Describe your troubleshooting process.
  • Tell me about a time where there was a problem that you weren’t able to solve. What happened?
  • In your opening, what skills or traits make a person an exceptional problem-solver?
  • When you face a problem that requires action, do you usually jump in or take a moment to carefully assess the situation?
  • When you encounter a new problem you’ve never seen before, what is the first step that you take?

Putting It All Together

At this point, you should have a solid idea of how to approach problem-solving interview questions. Use the tips above to your advantage. That way, you can thrive during your next interview.

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  • What Is Your Greatest Weakness?
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problem solving interview questions for product manager

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Co-Founder and CEO of Mike is a job interview and career expert and the head writer at His advice and insights have been shared and featured by publications such as Forbes , Entrepreneur , CNBC and more as well as educational institutions such as the University of Michigan , Penn State , Northeastern and others. Learn more about The Interview Guys on our About Us page .

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problem solving interview questions for product manager

Table of Contents

The critical role of product management in today’s tech landscape, how do i prepare for a product management interview, 30 product management interview questions, certifications to consider in product management, 30 product management interview questions and answers [2024].

30 Product Management Interview Questions and Answers [2024]

The role of product management in today's tech landscape is pivotal and multifaceted, touching upon every phase of a product's lifecycle, from conception to launch and beyond. In this rapid technological evolution and shifting market demands, product managers stand at the crossroads of business strategy, user experience, and technical development. Explore the critical roles of product management in navigating these complexities, ensuring products meet current market needs and anticipate future trends.

Bridging Gaps Between Stakeholders

Product managers are the linchpin between stakeholders, including customers, development teams, marketing, sales, and executive leadership. Their ability to translate business objectives into technical requirements and vice versa is invaluable. This role necessitates a deep understanding of user needs, market dynamics, and the company’s strategic goals, enabling product managers to prioritize features, make trade-offs, and guide products to market success.

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Market Orientation and Strategic Vision

Maintaining a strong market orientation is crucial in today's fast-paced tech environment. Product managers are tasked with continuously analyzing market trends, competitor movements, and technological advancements. This information feeds into the strategic vision for the product, ensuring it remains relevant and competitive. By keeping a finger on the market's pulse, product managers can steer their products toward unmet needs and emerging opportunities, often incorporating innovative technologies before they become mainstream.

Balancing User Needs with Technical Feasibility

A central aspect of product management is balancing user needs with technical feasibility and business viability. Product managers must deeply understand their users’ pain points and desires, often gathering insights through direct feedback, user research, and data analysis. However, they must also work closely with engineering teams to assess what is technically possible within the constraints. This balance ensures that the final product delights users and is reliable, scalable, and maintainable.

Agile and Adaptive Product Development

Agile methodologies are now fundamental in tech development, focusing on adaptability, ongoing enhancement, and swift iteration. In this framework, product managers serve a vital role, functioning as agile team mentors. They assist in organizing tasks, overseeing project backlogs, and guaranteeing that the team stays committed to providing customer value while adjusting to feedback and evolving market conditions.

Fostering a Culture of Innovation

Innovation is the lifeblood of the tech industry. Product managers foster a culture of innovation by encouraging experimentation, risk-taking, and learning from failure. They champion initiatives that push the boundaries of what is possible, driving the development of groundbreaking products that can redefine markets. This involves ideation, creativity and a disciplined approach to validating hypotheses and incorporating feedback into product development cycles.

Ensuring Sustainability and Ethical Considerations

Today’s consumers and stakeholders increasingly demand that products not only deliver value but also adhere to ethical standards and promote sustainability. Product managers are at the forefront of integrating these considerations into the product design and development process. This includes everything from ensuring data privacy and security to considering the environmental impact of products and promoting ethical AI usage.

Preparing for a product management (PM) interview can be an intense process, given the breadth of skills and knowledge required for the role. Product managers must exhibit a unique blend of business acumen, technical expertise, and user empathy. Therefore, acing a PM interview requires careful preparation in several key areas. Here's a detailed guide to help you prepare for your product management interview.

Understand the Role and Company

  • Research the Company and Product: Start by deeply understanding the company you're interviewing with. Know their products, target market, competitors, and industry trends .
  • Understand the Role: Product management can vary widely between companies. Familiarize yourself with the specific PM role you’re applying for. Look into the job listing and any available information on the team structure, the product life cycle stage, and the product's main challenges.

Brush Up on Product Management Fundamentals

  • Business Acumen: Be prepared to discuss market trends, business models, pricing strategies, and how to measure success. You might be asked to perform a SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) or to propose go-to-market strategies.
  • Technical Proficiency: Depending on the product and company, you may need a certain level of technical understanding. Review the basics of software development, familiarize yourself with the technology stack relevant to the company, and be prepared to discuss how you've worked with engineering teams in the past.
  • User-Centric Design: Demonstrate your ability to empathize with users. Be ready to discuss how you gather user insights, your experience with user testing, and how you prioritize feature development based on user needs.

Practice Common Interview Questions

  • Behavioral Questions: Be ready to share specific anecdotes demonstrating your leadership, teamwork, problem-solving skills, and ability to handle conflict. Use the STAR method (Situation, Task, Action, Result) to structure your responses.
  • Product Case Studies: You may be asked to critique a product or to propose a product solution to a given problem. Practice structuring your answers clearly—identify the user problem, propose a solution, outline the business model, and discuss how you would validate and iterate on your idea.
  • Technical Questions: While not always the case, some interviews may include technical questions. These could range from basic programming or data analysis questions to understanding product metrics and how to use them to make decisions.

Develop Your Own Questions

Prepare thoughtful questions that show your interest in the role, the team, and the company. This is also your opportunity to determine if the company and the role fit your skills and career aspirations.

Practice Your Communication Skills

Product managers need to communicate effectively with different stakeholders. Practice articulating your thoughts clearly and concisely. Mock interviews with friends or mentors can be invaluable in honing your communication skills.

Prepare Your Portfolio

If you have experience in product management or related fields, prepare a portfolio that showcases your best work. Include any relevant products you’ve managed, highlighting your specific contributions and the impact on the business.

Stay Updated on Industry Trends

Product management is a rapidly evolving field. Stay informed about the latest technology trends, product management methodologies, and the industries of the companies you're interviewing with. This will help you provide more insightful answers during your interview.

Day Before the Interview

  • Review Your Notes: Review your preparation notes and any company-specific information.
  • Plan Your Outfit: Choose an outfit that matches the company culture and makes you feel confident.
  • Rest Well: Ensure you get a good night’s sleep to be alert and in your best form during the interview.

Preparing for a product management interview requires a well-rounded approach, focusing on various topics, from technical expertise to strategic thinking and interpersonal skills. Here's a detailed list of 30 product management interview questions and answers to help you prepare. All these answers are generic and can be customized according to your needs.

1. What is your understanding of the role of a product manager?

A product manager acts as the nexus between business, technology, and user experience, guiding the development of a product from conception to launch. They prioritize features, define roadmaps, and ensure the product meets market needs while aligning with the company's strategic goals.

2. How do you define a successful product?

A successful product effectively solves a significant problem for its target audience, achieves its business objectives, and demonstrates strong market fit. Success is often measured by user satisfaction, market share growth, revenue generation, and the product's ability to evolve with customer needs.

3. Can you describe a product you successfully brought to market?

I led the launch of a mobile app designed to streamline small business operations, from inventory management to customer engagement. By closely collaborating with users during the development process, we ensured the app addressed real-world needs, leading to a successful market entry and strong user adoption.

4. What product management tools are you most familiar with?

I am proficient with Jira for agile project management, Figma for design collaboration, Mixpanel for analytics, and Trello for task organization. These tools have been essential in managing development workflows, facilitating team collaboration, and analyzing product performance.

5. How do you stay informed about trends in product management and your industry?

I keep up-to-date with industry developments by subscribing to key newsletters like Product Management Insider and following influential figures on LinkedIn. Additionally, I engage in product management forums and regularly attend webinars and conferences to stay informed about the latest trends and best practices.

6. How do you develop a product strategy?

I develop a product strategy by first understanding the market needs, competitive landscape, and user feedback. Then, I set clear, measurable objectives aligned with the company's vision. This involves identifying key opportunities, defining the target audience, and crafting a unique value proposition. I use data-driven insights to inform the strategy and ensure team alignment.

7. Describe a time when you had to pivot a product strategy.

Once, after launching a feature we believed in, user feedback and low adoption rates indicated it didn't meet user needs as expected. We conducted additional research, which revealed a misalignment with our target audience's priorities. Acknowledging this, we swiftly pivoted our strategy, focusing on enhancing core features that data and feedback showed were more valued by our users. This decision ultimately improved user engagement and satisfaction.

8. How do you prioritize product features?

I prioritize product features by assessing their impact on user satisfaction, potential for revenue growth, and alignment with our strategic goals. I employ a framework like RICE (Reach, Impact, Confidence, Effort) to objectively evaluate each feature's potential value against its required effort. Regularly consulting with stakeholders and revisiting priorities based on new insights ensures our focus remains on delivering maximum value.

9. What metrics would you look at to evaluate a product’s health?

To evaluate a product's health, I consider a mix of user engagement metrics (like DAU/MAU ratio), retention rates, customer satisfaction scores (NPS), and financial metrics such as revenue growth and customer acquisition costs. These metrics provide a comprehensive view of the product's market fit and economic viability.

10. How do you know when to kill a feature or product?

I decide to kill a feature or product when data shows it's not meeting key performance indicators, such as user engagement, satisfaction, or revenue goals, and after exploring all possible improvements. If it also detracts from the core product experience or diverts resources from more impactful areas, discontinuing becomes a strategic move to focus on what truly matters to our users and business.

11. How do you ensure a product meets user needs?

To ensure a product meets user needs, I conduct continuous user research and feedback cycles, utilizing surveys, user interviews, and usability testing. This data informs the development process, ensuring we solve real user problems. Iterative design and development and A/B testing allow us to refine features based on user behavior and feedback, ensuring the final product closely aligns with user needs and expectations.

12. Can you describe a time when you disagreed with a design decision? How was it resolved?

Once, I disagreed with a design decision that prioritized aesthetics over usability. I initiated a meeting with the design team and presented data from user testing that highlighted usability issues. We discussed alternative designs and decided to conduct A/B testing on the original and new designs. The results favored the new design, leading to a decision that balanced aesthetics and usability, resolving the disagreement with a data-driven approach.

13. What’s your approach to creating user personas?

Creating user personas starts with gathering a wide range of data from user interviews, surveys, and analytics. I segment this data to identify common patterns and behaviors among our users, focusing on their goals, challenges, and use cases. This process results in detailed personas representing our user base, guiding our product development, and ensuring we're designing solutions tailored to our users' specific needs and contexts.

14. How would you improve our product?

Without specific product details, a general improvement approach would involve enhancing user experience based on customer feedback and usability testing. I would also analyze user behavior data to identify features that could be optimized or added to increase engagement and satisfaction. Additionally, staying ahead of industry trends and competitor developments can reveal opportunities for innovation and differentiation.

15. Describe the process of working with designers and engineers from an idea to a launch.

The process begins with ideation, where designers, engineers, and I brainstorm and define the product vision. We then move into prototyping, where designers create mockups that are reviewed and iterated based on feedback. Engineers develop a viable product from these designs, during which I facilitate communication between teams, ensuring alignment with the product roadmap. We conduct testing phases, including user testing, to refine the product before launch. Post-launch, we gather feedback for future iterations, maintaining close collaboration throughout to ensure the product evolves in line with user needs and business goals.

16. Explain a complex technical problem you solved.

In a previous project, our team faced a scalability issue with our database during peak usage times, leading to significant performance degradation. By combining database sharding and optimizing our queries, we distributed the load more evenly across the system, reducing latency and improving user experience without a complete overhaul of our infrastructure.

17. How do you work with engineering teams to define technical requirements?

I collaborate closely with engineering teams by first understanding the product vision and user needs. We then engage in brainstorming sessions to outline possible technical solutions. I ensure requirements are clearly defined through user stories and acceptance criteria, fostering open communication and iterative feedback to refine those requirements as needed.

18. What’s your experience with data analytics in product management?

My experience includes using data analytics to inform product decisions, measure feature success, and understand user behavior. I've utilized tools like Google Analytics and Mixpanel to track key performance indicators, conduct cohort analyses, and perform A/B tests, enabling data-driven improvements to user engagement and product features.

19. How do you ensure product decisions are data-driven?

I ensure data-driven product decisions by establishing key metrics for success early in the planning process. Regularly reviewing these metrics, conducting A/B tests, and gathering user feedback helps inform adjustments. I emphasize the importance of data in all decision-making processes, ensuring the team prioritizes initiatives backed by solid evidence.

20. How do you balance technical debt with new feature development?

Balancing technical debt with new feature development involves prioritizing technical debt that directly impacts user experience or impedes future development. I work with the engineering team to understand the implications of technical debt and schedule regular sprints dedicated to addressing it, ensuring it's managed alongside the roadmap for new features.

21. How do you handle conflict within a product team?

I approach conflict with empathy and open communication. I listen actively to all parties to understand their perspectives, then facilitate a constructive discussion focused on finding common ground and aligning on the team's goals. If needed, I propose compromises or solutions that acknowledge each side's concerns, aiming to resolve the conflict in a way that strengthens the team's collaboration and productivity.

22. Describe a time when you had to lead without formal authority.

On a project to improve user onboarding, I lacked formal authority but led by building consensus and fostering collaboration among team members. I organized brainstorming sessions, encouraged open dialogue, and highlighted each member's strengths to motivate the team. By setting clear goals and celebrating milestones, I guided the team toward a successful redesign that significantly improved user retention rates.

23. How do you communicate product vision to your team and stakeholders?

I communicate product vision through a combination of storytelling, data-driven insights, and clear visualizations. I start by outlining the vision's alignment with the company's broader goals, then detail how it addresses user needs and market opportunities. Regular updates, tailored to the audience's interests and concerns, help maintain alignment and enthusiasm for the vision throughout the product development cycle .

24. Can you give an example of a successful cross-functional project you led?

I led a project to integrate a new payment system, requiring close collaboration between engineering, finance, and customer service teams. I facilitated regular meetings to ensure alignment, established clear communication channels and set shared milestones. The project was completed ahead of schedule, resulting in a 20% increase in transaction speed and significantly improved customer satisfaction.

25. How do you manage stakeholder expectations?

I manage stakeholder expectations by maintaining open, transparent communication and setting realistic goals from the outset. I provide regular updates on progress, challenges, and any adjustments to timelines or deliverables. By actively soliciting feedback and demonstrating responsiveness to stakeholder concerns, I ensure that expectations remain aligned with project realities, thereby fostering trust and collaboration.

26. Tell me about a time you failed. What did you learn?

In a previous role, I led a project that missed its launch date due to unforeseen technical challenges. This failure taught me the importance of project management flexibility, regular risk assessments, and more realistic timeline planning. It underscored the value of contingency planning and maintaining open lines of communication with all stakeholders throughout the project lifecycle.

27. Describe a project where you had to make a decision with incomplete information.

I once managed a product feature release under tight deadlines with incomplete market data. I prioritized gathering quick, direct feedback from a small, representative user group while simultaneously conducting competitive analysis. This approach provided actionable insights, allowing us to make informed decisions and successfully launch the feature.

28. How do you stay motivated during challenging projects?

During challenging projects, I stay motivated by focusing on the project's impact, setting small, achievable goals, and celebrating those milestones with the team. Staying connected to the end user's needs and the positive changes the project will bring keeps my motivation high and helps me navigate through tough periods.

29. What’s the most innovative thing you’ve done in a product role?

The most innovative thing I did in a product role was to implement a machine learning model to personalize user experiences in real time. This significantly increased user engagement and retention rates. It was a challenging process that involved cross-functional collaboration and pushing the boundaries of our existing technology stack .

30. How do you balance work and personal life?

I balance work and personal life by setting clear boundaries, prioritizing tasks, and being disciplined about my time. I ensure that I disconnect from work after hours and during weekends, dedicate time to hobbies and exercise, and use productivity tools to manage tasks efficiently during work hours to preserve personal time.

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  • The Executive Certificate Program in General Management is an opportunity for those looking to broaden their managerial skills beyond product management. This program covers essential aspects of general management. This course is ideal for professionals aiming to gain a holistic understanding of managing businesses effectively. From strategic planning to operational excellence, this program will prepare you to confidently take on senior management roles.

Preparing for a product manager interview requires a deep understanding of various aspects of product development, strategic thinking, leadership, and the ability to work under pressure. The product management interview questions and answers in this article are designed to give you a comprehensive overview of what to expect and how to articulate your experiences and skills effectively. To further enhance your knowledge and expertise in product management, consider enrolling in the Professional Certification in Product Management . This certification course is tailored to equip you with the necessary skills, tools, and insights to excel in product management roles across industries.

1. Is the product manager interview hard?

Product manager interviews can be challenging due to the breadth of skills assessed—ranging from technical knowledge and strategic thinking to interpersonal abilities. Companies often include case studies, behavioral questions, and sometimes technical tests to evaluate a candidate's holistic fit for the role. The difficulty also varies based on the company's expectations and the specific requirements of the product management position.

2. What are some common mistakes to avoid during a product management interview?

Common mistakes include not thoroughly researching the company and its products, failing to provide specific examples when answering behavioral questions, and not demonstrating user empathy. Avoid being overly technical or vague in your responses, and ensure you don't neglect soft skills, such as communication and teamwork. Failing to ask insightful questions about the role or company can also be a missed opportunity to show your interest and understanding.

3. How long should I prepare for a product management interview?

The preparation time for a product management interview varies based on your experience and familiarity with the role. However, a good rule of thumb is to start preparing at least 2-4 weeks before your interview. This time allows you to research the company, understand the role, practice common interview questions, refine your understanding of product management principles, and prepare your own questions for the interviewer.

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The Top 10 Product Design Interview Questions (And Answers)

You’ve put in the hours to find a product design opening at a company you like. You’ve polished your portfolio, tweaked your resume, and written a solid cover letter. Over the first hurdle.

You’ve spoken to the recruiter and they’ve invited you to an interview. Over the second hurdle.

Now it’s time to nail your interview prep so you can really shine.

I’ve written this guide to show you 10 of the most common product design interview questions and give you an idea about how you can answer them.

To help you structure your preparation, I’ve divided the questions into four categories: common interview questions, broad product design interview questions, product design process questions, and collaboration questions. 

If you’re just getting started in the field, check out our free 5-day short course in product design.

Use this clickable menu to skip ahead to any section:

Common interview questions

  • Broad product design questions

Questions about processes

Questions about collaboration, 1. why do you want to work at [company name].

This is a fantastic opportunity to show off the research you have done about the company, so take the chance to let your passion and enthusiasm for the role shine through. 

Prepare for this question by finding a few interesting facts about the company, analyzing them on a deeper level, and getting ready to explain your analysis and how they resonate with you. Examples could be a new product they’ve released, or an interesting press interview with their CPO about their product roadmap. 

If you’re not already a user of their product, sign up for it and test it out, noting down your thoughts as you go. (This may not be possible for some products, for example enterprise SaaS software, but you can still watch product walk-throughs on YouTube.)

This is also a chance to show how your specific skills match up to the role in question (and the problem they’re trying to solve with this role). But make sure to cover how you buy into the overall company mission and values.  

2. Tell us about yourself.

Even if it’s not worded exactly like this, it’s very unlikely there won’t be an interview question that doesn’t have broadly the same meaning as this one. Often it’ll be the first question. 

It’s such a common interview question because it’s the easiest way for interviewers to quickly understand your story. They’ll be looking for clues about the kind of person you are, what motivates you professionally, how you see yourself, your goals, and even your communication ability and style. They’ll be assessing how you might fit in the role and the team.

If you’re not a natural at talking about yourself and your achievements, don’t worry—most people aren’t. You do need to be well-prepared for this question. You need to answer it thoroughly, but without seeming overly scripted (this applies to all interview questions).

Make sure to briefly cover:

  • Where you’re from and your educational background.
  • A trimmed down version of your professional history including your current role. There’s no need to go into achievements yet, as that can come off as forced, and you’ll have opportunities to do that later in the interview.
  • What drew you to product design and what you love about the job. Passion goes a long way in interviews, whatever the role is.

3. What are you currently working on?

This question is often one the recruiter on the screening call might ask you, but it could also come up at any of the interview stages. They’re asking this question to see how well-suited and relevant your current role and priorities are to their position. Recruiters will also want to make sure your resume or CV is credible and legitimate.

It might sound easy to answer off the cuff, but don’t fall into that trap. This is a fantastic opportunity to speak articulately and convincingly about how you’re putting your product design skills to use in a serious way, so don’t make it up on the spot. Doing so puts you at risk of giving a vague or waffling answer. 

As a minimum you should cover your highest priority project and its goals, impact, and importance to your company’s strategic goals. Don’t forget to go into the specifics of your responsibilities and tasks, the stakeholders, your successes so far, and your challenges.

If you’re working on multiple projects, pick the two you’re most comfortable talking about and explain them in the same way as above. You can make a judgment call on mentioning other projects, but name-checking them won’t do any harm.    

Before we move onto broad product design interview questions, here are a few other common interview questions that might come up:

  • How would you build up your credibility at this company?
  • What’s your legacy at your current company or last company?
  • What are your strengths and weaknesses?

We don’t have the space to go into details on these, but they’re definitely worth thinking about.

Broad product design interview questions

4. what problem does [company] solve for people.

This question get straight to the heart of two key things the interviewers will want to learn about you:

  • What do you know about their company? This can show them how much research you’ve done and how well you’ve synthesized and understood it.
  • How do you connect the problem that the company is solving to its product design? Good product design is, in many ways, good problem solving. It’s all about deeply understanding the problem(s) your users are facing and then designing and building the right solution for it.

There’s no excuse for not giving a very solid answer to this question.

Do broad and deep research about the company. Look at their marketing material, white papers, and any mission-critical goals they’ve expressed publicly. Get a tight grip on who their customers are (find quotes, testimonials, or even published user research or blogs if you can), the problem they’re solving for them, and wider market trends. 

Dropping in a comparison with a competitor or two might get you bonus points, but keep the main focus on their customer needs and how their product is meeting them. Using specific examples from their product will go a long way here.

5. Describe the project that you had the most trouble with. What would you have done differently? / What’s the hardest project you worked on?

According to candidates on Glassdoor, Google uses this product design interview question to help filter their candidates. And they’re not alone—many companies will have a similar question lined up.

Generally, the interviewers use this question to understand four things:

  • The complexity of projects you’ve worked on
  • How you approached and handled that complexity    
  • How successful you were dealing with that complexity
  • How you’ve learned from the challenges you faced

Spend plenty of time thinking over your work history and picking out some of the most complex projects. Assess them based on how complex they were, how successful you were in finding a solution, and how you grew from the challenges.

Pick one that’s both complex and lets you tell an accurate, compelling story that touches all four of the bullet points above. Don’t feel pressure to tell a perfect story— the product design process is never flawless, and complexity brings another layer of challenges. 

The interviewers aren’t looking for perfection, but rather that you’re not scared of complex projects and will tackle the challenges that come with them in a resilient, collaborative, and emotionally intelligent way. 

6. What are some of the biggest trends in the product design field?

Like many others, this question can take different shapes. You might get asked “What do you think is the most important change happening in product design?” or “Which new tools or ideas are going to change product design the most over the next 5 years?”

No matter the exact wording, the interviewer is trying to see how up to date you are with major trends in the field and your opinions on them.

Ideally, you should already be fairly familiar with the latest trends, but if you haven’t had time to do much reading or listening recently, get prepared to talk about a trend or two that’s related to the role you’re interviewing for.

Lenny’s Podcast is an interesting place to start, as is our blog post The Best Product Design Books To Push You Forward .

Letting your thoughts percolate over a few days might help you come up with new and interesting angles here. 

Prepare an answer that shows off your knowledge, your passion, and your thinking. And remember that relating your answer back to the hiring company’s product design means the answer you’re giving is probably going to help you stand out.

Here are some more product design-related questions that we wouldn’t be surprised to see:

  • What are some of the biggest challenges you face as a product designer?
  • Describe the project you’re most proud of. Why?
  • How would you define yourself as a designer?
  • Walk us through a project you worked on.
  • Walk us through a product design example where you set out to solve a business problem.
  • What are the design tools you use to create and communicate your design ideas?
  • How would you solve this product design problem without a computer?
  • How do you use user research in your product design process?
  • How do you validate your solutions with users?
  • How do you evaluate product usability?

Now let’s take a look at three product design interview questions relating to your process as a designer.

7. Explain your design process.

This is another question that was mentioned on Glassdoor as part of a product design interview at Google. It’s a very broad question, but it’s crucial that you keep your answer tightly focused on your process and don’t veer off in other directions.

Here, the interviewers will be listening out for a response that clearly and concisely outlines your product design process. Of course, different product designers have different processes depending on their experience, the industry they’re working in, the products they’re working on, and more.

But—whatever the differences—there are several factors that should always be part of your process:

  • A deep understanding of the customer based on user research and data ( usability testing , user personas and stories , empathy maps ) 
  • A deep understanding of the business need (and how this dovetails with the user)
  • Human-centered design that balances the need of the user with the business reality 
  • Collaboration and iteration (or collaborative iteration)
  • Clear and measurable goals

Other concepts and methods—some of which could fall under the bullets above—that may be part of your process are things like:

  • Competitor research
  • Stakeholder interviews
  • Content audits
  • Minimum viable product (MVP)
  • Information architecture
  • Mood boards and storyboards
  • Use case scenarios and user flows
  • Customer journeys
  • Wireframes , mocks, and prototypes

As you can see, there is a lot to cover here, so it’s important that you prepare a tight, concise, clear answer to this question. Make sure you cover all the key elements of your process in a logical order, but don’t worry about going into detail on every single thing. 

You might be wondering about whether to include an example project to demonstrate your process. You can make a judgment call on this depending on the feel of the interview, but often it won’t be necessary. 

This is because you’ll get a chance to talk about how you applied your process to a specific product design project in another question (or two), and dropping examples in here could make your answer longer and less concise than it needs to be. 

Your portfolio should also show how you used your process with specific product design examples.  

8. How do you measure the success of your design projects?

This is another fairly common question that has been referenced on Glassdoor—a candidate said they were asked it in a product design job interview at the fintech company Wise. 

And it’s not a surprise that companies are asking product designers this, because a project can’t be called successful in any meaningful way unless there’s data to back it up. 

They want to hear which metrics you use to measure the success of your design projects. Your answer will vary a lot according to your experience and industry of course, but could include things like:

  • Conversion rates
  • Task completion rates and times
  • Eye-tracking
  • Click-tracking heatmaps
  • Benchmarking and usability testing

For this question it can be a good idea to include one of your design projects as an example. You can demonstrate familiarity with the metrics you’ve used by namechecking them and saying you have experience with them, but picking out a couple you measured on a key project will make it easier to tell a captivating story.

It’s also important to tie metrics back to the project’s initial goals, whether they were in the form of OKRs, KPIs, or another framework. 

And it’s crucial—especially if there’s a product manager, business development rep, or any other person likely to have a knowledge of financial operations—to address financial indicators or goals. 

Understanding and being able to explain how product design and financial indicators are connected is the sign of a seniority in the role. Ultimately failed and bad product design hits companies where it hurts—in the pocket.

Here are a few other questions you may be asked about your product design process:

  • Show us how you worked through the technical aspect of a project.
  • What’s your experience creating HCD ( human-centered design )?
  • How do you trigger creativity when you’re stuck?
  • How do you use data to guide your design decisions?

9. How do you work with different departments?

This is another question that can be phrased in a number of ways. You might be asked “how do you approach collaboration?” or “tell us about a time when you collaborated on a product design project.” But the aim is ultimately the same.

The interviewer wants to know how you work with other individuals and teams. 

  • Do you enjoy it? Does it energize you? 
  • How do you give and receive feedback? 
  • How do you deal with the creative conflict that inevitably arises on collaborative design projects?
  • How do you handle challenging colleagues? 
  • How do you speak about your team and other departments? 
  • How do you handle different communication styles? 
  • Are you a natural team player or more of an individual contributor?

This question can be trickier than you’d expect to answer. It’s easy for all of us to think we’re amazing team players and so we can coast through this question—don’t do that.

Instead prepare with one or two specific examples of how you’ve collaborated with other departments on a project. Think about how you build a mutually trusting and respectful relationship. How you overcame challenges. How you brainstormed together and iterated on your designs.

Don’t forget to talk about the shape and structure of what that collaboration looked like. Mention your regular meetings and any workshops and feedback sessions. 

Who was involved? Was it product managers, product owners, developers, marketing, content design, data analysts, or someone from the executive team? 

The interviewers will be looking for product designers who can put their ego to one side and be positive, honest, and encouraging team players. If the role is a senior one or above, they’ll be looking for signs of leadership and a mature approach to conflict management and collaboratively overcoming problems.     

10. If someone above you was pressuring you towards a product design decision you thought didn’t make sense, how would you react?

If you get asked a question along these lines, it’s because the interviewer is trying to get the answers to three questions:

  • How do you manage conflict?
  • How and to what extent do you justify your design decisions?
  • How do you manage up? (And not necessarily just to your line manager.)

It’s likely they’ll be looking for someone who could deal with this situation in a balanced, mature way as opposed to someone who would take it personally and create further conflict.

They’ll also be curious to see if you asked for a second opinion or some support from a trusted colleague or handled it solo. 

And, of course, they want to know how you defended or would defend your design decisions. Did you provide solid, evidence-based justifications? Did you get defensive or were you open to the possibility of being wrong? How did you end the situation?

Show them you’re diplomatic, but not a pushover. Show them you know how to justify your design decisions, but you’re not stubborn or closed to other opinions. Show them that you can resist pressure in a calm, confident way.  

In keeping with the other sections, here are a couple of other questions you might be asked about collaboration in product design:

  • What’s your design process for starting a project?
  • Tell me about when you’ve received critical feedback on your work from colleagues. How did you react?

Final thoughts

Job interviews are daunting for all of us, and some jitters are to be expected whether you’re interviewing for your first product design role or for a principal level position.

It’s also totally fine and expected for you to not have exemplary answers to all of the possible questions you could be asked. Interviewers are used to seeing candidates perform better on some questions than on others.

But being well-prepared with solid answers for some key questions that are likely to come up will let you approach the interview more calmly and confidently. 

The interviewing team will be trying to discover what kind of person you are and how you would fit in both the team and the wider company culture.

So remember to stay positive, enthusiastic, curious, open, and honest —this will go a long way on top of the question preparation and research. 

To dive deeper, check out our guides:

  • Free 5-Day Course in Product Design
  • 50 Best Questions To Ask in an Interview
  • 10 of the Best Free Product Design Courses
  • How to Become A Product Designer


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