9 compelling questions to ask PM candidates

11 Revealing Product Manager Interview Questions
  • What does a product manager do? …
  • Why do you want this job, and how does it fit your overall career trajectory? …
  • How would you figure it out…? …
  • How do you determine what customers want and need? …
  • Tell me about a time you had trouble building consensus and how you overcame it.

6 Best Questions to Ask During a Product Manager Interview

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 OK 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 want 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?
  • 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 PM role which requires a higher tech skill set. In general, technical questions in PM 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 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?
  • Why Be Ready to Ask Questions at a Product Management Interview

    Obviously, you should be ready for anything at a Product Management interview. Questionnaires, challenging questions, group scenarios… But time is finite and you can only work so much on each exercise. It is important to justify your time: you will be extremely busy memorizing your resume and absorbing as much as possible from the company website.

    These are the reasons why asking questions at a Product Management interview makes sense:

  • You show respect for your interviewer. This is a very basic point. If your questions are relevant, you are showing that you listened and cared enough about your conversation to seek to learn more from your recruiter.
  • You can highlight what is important for you. From a strategic point of view, your questions reveal as much as your answers. They frame those elements you care about and are hopefully sought by your future company.
  • It gives you a chance to discuss something you forgot. It is possible that you missed a couple of really good points that you were meant to say during the interview. Not to worry: asking questions gives you a chance to resurface a theme you feel particularly strong about.
  • It helps you focus. Thinking about what you are going to ask will help you pay attention to the exchange with the interviewer; rather than remaining a passive listener.
  • It fits your future role. Product Managers are supposed to be good at asking the right questions. This is what guides Product Discovery and Development.
  • It helps you make a decision. Unknown information about conditions, such as location, schedules, salaries, perks… will generate uncertainty. Better to diplomatically clarify them with your questions.
  • You become more memorable. A candidate who sits down and answers questions as expected. A candidate who listens, picks interesting points up and asks questions. Who do you think will be remembered more easily?
  • It helps you relax. Turning a one-sided interview into an insightful conversation about the position and the company will help you feel more comfortable.
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