“People with active minds are what we seek, preference is for people who take a variety of opinions on a situation.”
A statement made by a reputable business seeking to hire a product manager.
Product managers design feature requirements that satisfy customer needs and set the strategy and plan for a product. Therefore, product managers need a range of strategic and tactical abilities.
A few personality traits are also present in top product managers. They are devoted, curious, and enthusiastic. You need leaders to rally people behind a common goal.
The conduction of a job interview is to ascertain whether a candidate is a good match for the position. Of course, there is a general screening procedure to see if an applicant possesses the abilities, background, and character to succeed.
One of product team leaders’ most challenging and crucial duties is hiring product managers.
There isn’t a perfect model for a PM candidate; therefore, finding the most excellent fit amid a sea of unicorns requires asking the appropriate questions during the product manager interview.
It can be nerve-racking and difficult to apply for a product manager position, but fortunately, you can see whether you’re a good fit for the job with just one interview.
There is a misunderstanding that interviews for product manager positions are challenging, and I think the contrary is true. They only require persistence and experience. Through these methods, you will learn how to think and act like a product manager.
I am aware of how annoying the inquiry “So, why do you want this job?” can be.
Never mind; we’re stuck with responding to it.
We hope we can provide the tools you need to be hired and advance in your profession.
Consider this article your “table of contents” for preparing for a PM interview.
Let’s start by examining the qualities of an excellent product manager. Then, by providing you with great advice and potential interview questions, we’ll prepare you for your crucial interview.
Are you ready?
Great Product Manager Traits:
Product management is one of the “jack of all trades, master of none” types of people’s ideal jobs. Because every team has a unique culture and set of product issues, this role’s scope and daily responsibilities can vary significantly among industries, businesses, and groups.
What makes an excellent product manager? What does it take to develop someone who can inspire a team to create unique products?
Read to know!
You must have empathy for the emotions of those around you. Your group and your clients are in this.
Customers and stakeholders are the first to be considered since you need to understand their problems, the causes, and how best to address them.
To understand a customer’s wants for a product in a particular sector is to have product taste.
What product attributes will a buyer adore or satisfy their fundamental needs with?
If the PM joins from another industry, they might not be familiar with the precise requirements of the clients. But they ought to have the knowledge and resources to grasp the client’s needs swiftly.
Being a competent team player requires complete faith in your group. When you trust your team, you can stop feeling that you are the only one in charge and stop micromanaging.
It’s normal to have doubts about the skills of the team members you work with. Still, in this situation, you need to look for other solutions, such as training, connections to more senior team members, or even firing some members.
Lack of trust always results in poor performance from both individuals and teams.
A product manager is like a miniature CEO. He must comprehend the current product plan and the overarching business strategy. He must understand the product’s vision, how it will provide value for customers, and how it differs from its rivals.
You’d be surprised at how the rest of the team would support the product manager’s plan if they understood it and could communicate it to create a successful product.
He must create a long-term roadmap and foresee how the product, industry, and competition will change if he wants it to succeed in the long run.
Are you tired of feeling lost when it comes to creating and managing a roadmap? Well, have no fear! Chisel is here to help make the process smooth and easy. No more confusion or frustration, Chisel has got your back.
Product managers likely have one of the most challenging positions to exhibit leadership. They must inspire their colleagues to support a vision without much formal authority.
They can convince and influence others, but they may not have the same control over people or teams as a traditional manager.
Therefore, product managers must inspire and lead by example, encouraging, directing, and maintaining the attention of their teams.
The section you’ve been waiting for, “Tips for your product manager position interview,” is here.
Study the Product Manager Interview Procedure.
The product manager interview procedure will vary greatly depending on the organization, the particular function, your degree of seniority, etc. There are several components. Nevertheless, it is somewhat universal.
The product manager interview process usually takes 4 to 8 weeks, from submitting your application to receiving an offer.
It varies and could take up to three months, but most top organizations will complete the entire procedure in four to eight weeks.
Recognize the Work of a Product Manager.
A product manager must have a long-term perspective and make sure that the items produced by their business are creative, marketable, and successful. They must also be able to recognize market needs and choose the most effective way to meet them.
Unfortunately, many businesses give internships instead of hiring product managers straight out of college to evaluate their abilities.
- Inquire About the Interactions Between the Product Team and Other Departments.
- What kind of relationship does the product currently have with engineering, marketing, sales, customer success, etc.?
- What has the past brought?
- What kinds of difficulties have surfaced?
- How does communication between these teams often work?
- Are our team leaders in regular contact with one another?
Such inquiries show that you know that the product team serves as the organization’s information hub.
You can brainstorm and offer some ideas and potential solutions on the spot by inquiring about the relationship between the product team and other teams.
Conduct Your Research.
You should be familiar with the business, its rivals, the market, its clients, and what you think will be their main issues over the next two to three years.
Even if you’re not strictly correct, it demonstrates that you’ve done your study, care about the role, and should use critical thinking while analyzing the situation.
Identify who will be interviewing you and do some research on the business. If it’s a start-up, learn about the founders’ backgrounds to understand the company’s culture and mission.
Research the company and learn about the working environment, regular work hours, and expected salaries.
Recognize the Many Types of Questions.
There are five main groups of questions that you will answer in PM interviews. The frequency of use of these five questions at the four top tech companies is below.
Read the questions, answers, and criticism carefully. This stage demonstrates how other PMs use different tactics to respond to inquiries, whereas all effective responses adhere to a consistent pattern and structure.
In the following part, we will go into greater detail regarding this. Don’t worry, then!
Display Your Expertise and Skills.
Product managers are in charge of a company’s products, from the initial concept to the finished product. Make sure you’re prepared for the interview and possess the following abilities:
- Interacting with your group and relevant parties.
- Management of time.
Your excitement for your business and what you offer is a crucial aspect of a product manager interview. List your qualifications for the role in terms of skills and experience. Answer inquiries about the business, its technological offerings, and the dynamics of that particular team.
Inquire About the Product Team in General.
The interviewer will likely give you a brief rundown of the product organization during the product manager interview, emphasizing how the open position fits into the team. With questions like these after the interview, you can get even more background information.
- Can you explain the evolution of the product organization?
- What direction is it going in terms of size, hiring objectives, and many more?
- What are some of the difficulties or shortfalls the product team has faced?
You can see how you’ll fit into the existing dynamics by asking questions like these.
Give a Rapid, Quick Response.
Avoid becoming bogged down in minute details. Instead, arrive at a preliminary solution that is roughly accurate, iterate to make it better as necessary, or abandon the effort and start again if necessary.
In this “breadth-first” investigation, delve further when directed. In a 45-minute interview period, which typically includes a 5-minute warm-up at the start and a 5-minute “turnaround time” at the end, your interviewer may be attempting to cover 3-5 entirely different topics.
Thus, the interview only lasts for 35 minutes, which may be seven minutes for each question.
How Do You Improve?
Describe to the interviewer how you plan to improve. Everyone has areas where they are weak; what can you do to strengthen the command of your chosen vocation?
There is no correct response to this, as long as your response is one you’re willing to elaborate on. If you remark that you enjoy reading books, blogs, or podcasts, be prepared to share a lesson you’ve recently applied.
Questions You Might Want To Prepare Yourself For:
Many people have a “let’s just see how it goes” mentality while going into an interview.
Most hiring managers want to learn three things about you:
- Your professional character, personality, and personal history.
- Your practical knowledge of product management.
- The benefits you would provide if they employed you as a product manager for their company.
In a product management interview, you may have to answer a relatively wide range of topics.
However, you’ll typically be questioned about some of the things listed below:
How Does This Position Fit Your Overall Career Goals, and Why Do You Desire It?
This query reveals if they view this employment as a temporary stepping stone or as something they’ll want to stay in for a while because it fits with their long-term goals.
It demonstrates humility and motivation if they can pinpoint the professional shortcomings that this position will cover. Watch out for both of these essential characteristics.
What Characteristics Define a Great Product?
When looking for product managers, recruiters frequently use this question. It is because your response will reveal the general perspective on product design and development.
They learn more about the potential design elements and adjustments you might use in their products.
How Do You Make Sure Teams Focused on the Market Comprehend Technological Difficulties in Their Entirety?
In a product manager interview, overly technical questions are extremely, extremely rare to be asked. Unless you’re looking for a technical product manager position or you’ve already passed a few rounds for a particular PM position that calls for a higher-tech skill set.
Technical questions in PM interviews intend to gauge your ability to collaborate with engineers and your familiarity with the organization’s technology.
What Modifications to Our Product Would You Suggest? What Would You Construct?
Another straightforward question that recruiters like to ask potential product manager candidates is this one.
Similar to the last question, this one aims to provide the interviewer with a clear understanding of how your potential impact on the business as a product manager will feel.
In this instance, the recruiter wants to know your initial impressions of the product that will work best for the company.
What Features of Product Management Excite You the Most?
Every organization has a unique approach to product management, and every individual has their style. The employer can assess your understanding of the role and whether you would fit in with the PM team’s culture.
You run the danger of being turned away if you enter with a “CEO of the Product” mentality when they seek someone more collaborative and humble. So be genuine to yourself.
They’ll immediately recognize if you’re the best PM for the team.
In Five Years, Where Do You See Yourself?
I won’t lie; this is a question that gets asked frequently.
At their core, PM interviews are still just conventional job interviews, and perhaps the most straightforward inquiries are the most significant. Therefore, don’t forget to prepare your responses to the more detailed questions.
In all honesty, we have no idea what will happen tomorrow, and they ask you what your plans are for the coming five years!
Putting jokes aside, remember to craft a response that will land you the job immediately.
Putting It All Together:
It may be a lot of fun to prepare for a PM interview, which can help you frequently build skills you’ll need at work. The great news is you can learn many essential PM abilities if you’re lacking in a particular area because most excellent PMs are developed, not born.
Another guidance is to remember that “You make the first impression your last!”
With the help of this guide, we have no doubt that you will ace your interview.