10 Essential Product Manager Interview Questions and Answers
Interviewing for a role as a product manager in a new company can be a little scary. And if it’s your first interview as a product manager, anxiety is probably eating away at you just thinking about the possible questions they could ask, and how best to answer them.
We’ve got you, don’t worry. We have come up with a list of ten essential product manager interview questions and answers to help you prepare to ace that interview.
1. What are the differences between a product manager and a project manager?
A project manager is in charge of the day to day activities of the processes that revolve around all the projects an organisation is running. This includes; assigning duties and responsibilities to every member of staff, and ensuring that everyone meets their KPIs, being in charge of every meeting regarding the project and ensuring that there is a budget that is strictly adhered to.
A product manager focuses on a product, or more, depending on the company, not the entire project/projects run by the company. Their job is to outline all the steps from when the product idea is conceived to when the product reaches its final consumer. They are in charge of making sure that the process is a successful one and that the product does well in the market.
2. What technology trends are you most excited about and how can they help increase your productivity?
As a professional, you have to be on top of the latest trends in your field, and you have to know how they will impact your work. If you don’t know any, check out new technology trends in the fields of augmented reality, analytics, AI, virtual reality, blockchain and audio interaction in all systems. You want to know how these new trends will affect the market and the people that make up the market as they become more popular.
You also want to find out about process automation, and predictive analysis. In fact, you can offer them as a case study for a lesson on how these trends stay on top, and the kind of solutions they are bringing to the market.
3. Have you ever failed in the course of your work, and what did you learn from it?
It might seem like the right answer, but don’t say you have never failed. Failure isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as it is another learning curve, and if you are bold and daring, you might have made a few mistakes.
This question is not set as a trap for you, but rather to know how you handle failure or mistakes. Your response should revolve around what you learned from your mistakes- be technical about it as much as possible, and tell them how you have implemented those lessons you learnt to get better results next time.
4. So far, what’s your most successful product as a product manager?
If you are team faux humility, you might want to leave that under the bed before the interview, just in case this kind of question comes up. If you are wondering if they want you to show off, the answer is yes. Not necessarily about the product itself as that’s not what they are interested in. They are more interested in hearing how you measure success.
To prove yourself as a great product manager, you want to give them qualitative and quantitative measures of success. Tell them the user count of the product and the revenues it generated. Tell them the time period in which this revenue was made, and what value the product had to its users.
Overall, they want to hear you talk about your achievements in a professional manner that points out business results.
5. Has your team ever disappointed you? How did you handle that?
This question is to test your leadership skills and how you handle communications around a mistake made by your team.
A professional product manager knows that there is no “I” in ‘team’ and that they carry the responsibility for any mistake made by the team. They want to know how to take responsibility and what you did with the lessons learned from such a mistake, the actions you took, etc. Also, they want to hear a professional approach to how you searched for the root cause of the mistake made by the team, and how you fixed it.
If you can give them an example of something that really happened, and walk them through how you handled the situation, you will earn more points. Remember that they are not going to hold making a mistake against you, what they want to know is what you learnt from the mistake and how you applied the lessons in future dealings.
6. How would you describe a competitive analysis?
Competitive analysis has a technical and business aspect, and they want to hear you talk about both aspects from a position of knowledge.
For the business aspect of the answer, talk about SWOT analysis and how it can be used within the company to build well-standing positioning statements for both the engineering teams and sales team.
The more technical part of your answer should cover comparisons between the competitors’ product. Talk about how you would go about getting the information about the competitors’ product. Will you purchase it? Or download it to get a feel of it and find out about the gaps? Remember to be professional about this, don’t slander your competitors’ products.
Things like this are what they want to hear.
7. In line with this profession, what is a low hanging fruit?
A low hanging fruit means a quick win. In line with project management, low hanging fruit could be a product that the company’s target market really needs or a new feature to an existing product that the target audience badly needs. These things have the potential to increase revenue by exponential counts.
Discuss how you will be able to find out about changes in the market to be able to take advantage of such low hanging fruits.
8. What do you consider your product management superpowers to be?
Imagine that there are twenty other people with the same skill set as you applying for the same position, what will you do to stand out?
These questions give you the opportunity to stand out and shine. Don’t give basic answers, think outside the box!
Everyone has that special spice they bring with them, dig deep to know what yours is and use it as your leveraging point.
So, what is your superpower?
9. What things are you trying to improve on to make you a better product manager?
It is fine to be amazing at your job, but even experts have one thing or another to learn. Answer this question as truthfully as you can.
It is not a sign of weakness to admit to needing to improve on your skills or to admit to not being very good in an area.
10. How would you improve our product?
We saved the best for the last.
Every company will want to know what you can do for them. This is why you must always do your research before you go for any interview. Know all there is to know about the company and their product and think about ways to improve their products. It doesn’t matter if all your ideas work, they just want to know that you actually have something to offer them and that you can back your CV up.
Remember that the key to success in every interview is confidence. Wear confidence like a very expensive suit and bag that job! We are rooting for you.
We have a number of opportunities for you to explore in your field here. You’re welcome!
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