Product Management has become an indispensable role within tech companies today. It is a combination of impactful strategy-building, product development, and leadership that helps product managers ensure that a company's products will be well-received and successful in the current dynamic marketplace.
Given the fast-faced growth and innovation in the tech industry, experienced product managers are heavily in demand. Consequently, the pool of candidates for the role can be huge and competitive.
For candidates to stand out and land a lucrative role in product management, it's important that they get their preparation right — from resume preparation to improving interview skills.
In this article, we'll go through the entire PM interview process, and help you nail your preparation for your upcoming interview.
Product Manager Job Interview
The product manager interview process typically includes several rounds of interviews, and can vary from one company to another. The entire interview process may last from a few days to several weeks, depending on the company you're applying to and their hiring schedule.
Here's how it generally goes:
- Initial Phone Screen: This is typically a brief call with a hiring manager or recruiter to determine if a candidate is a good fit for the role. Based on the success of the phone screen, the recruiter might schedule an in-person or virtual interview.
- Behavioural Interview: This round usually marks the first in-person or virtual interview you'll have. The interviewer will ask the candidate a series of behavioural questions like "can you handle conflicts?" or "can you lead cross-functional teams?", etc to get a better sense of their experience, skills, and qualifications.
- Technical Interview: This round focuses on evaluating the candidate's technical skills and knowledge of product design, pricing strategies, PM methodologies, A/B testing, stakeholder management, and so on. So, you can expect questions like "how do you determine the optimal price for your product?" or "how do you create product roadmaps and make data-driven decisions?"
The technical rounds may also include case study/product design questions; some companies conduct interviews that focus on the candidate's ability to think strategically, solve problems, and navigate product design and development. You can expect situational questions or the interviewer might ask you to walk them through a product design exercise or a case study you've worked on.
- On-site visit or Final Interview: This is the "culture-fit" round of the interview process, which is conducted by senior company leaders. The goal is to assess the candidate's fit with the company culture and to make a final decision about their hiring.
Preparation Tips for Job Management Interviews?
Here's 4 tips to get your interview preparation right:
Thoroughly research the company you are applying to
Researching the company will help you to understand the company's mission, values, products, and target market. Also, it will give you insight into the company's culture, competitors, and help get up to date on recent news or developments.
A good place to start is with the company's website, LinkedIn page, and industry news articles. Beyond that, you can reach out to ex or current employees at the company to get an insider scoop on the company's management, style leadership, growth opportunities, and so on.
Build knowledge on product management concepts and frameworks
Product Management roles often require a distinct combination of skills and qualifications, such as technical knowledge, business prowess, and leadership acumen. They work closely with cross-functional technical and non-technical teams, including engineering, product design, and marketing, to drive product development from concept to launch.
Understandably, product management involves a ton of concepts and methodologies. It is important to brush up on core concepts such as the product development process, User-centred Design (UCD), SWOT analysis, product roadmaps, GTM (Go-to-Market) strategy, Lean Startup methodology, and more.
There are many resources online that can help you out; we recommend books by Eric Ries, Ash Maurya, and Marty Cagan. You can also leverage online courses from Udemy, edX, Coursera.
In addition to this, recall any hands-on experience you have designing and launching products. It will help you showcase your product management abilities in relevant questions interviewers ask you.
Prepare answers to common interview questions
Be prepared for in-depth questions interviewers will ask you about your experiences and skills. Your focus should be on concise and crisp answers, and effectively articulating your prowess as a product manager.
It's best to have your answers ready to commonly asked questions, to feel more comfortable and confident during the interview.
Consider taking the following steps to prepare your answers:
- Take time to reflect on your experiences of leading cross-functional teams, creating pricing strategies, evaluating product/market fit, and so on. Think about specific examples from your accomplishments that showcase your skills for the questions asked.
- Practice answering the questions out loud: you can do so in front of a mirror or have a friend or family member review your communication skills.
- Try to be as specific and concrete as possible, and use solid examples to back your answers.
- Be prepared to talk about challenges and failures, and what you learned from each experience.
Practise mock interviews with professional domain experts
Consider doing mock interviews with domain experts or product managers. This is key to becoming more comfortable with the interview process. Plus, you will receive expert advice, get feedback on your performance, and determine which areas require improvement.
You can also have them record you so you can review your performance later.
Mock interview platforms, such as Prepfully are a great way to go about practising your upcoming PM interview. With experts from over 600 companies and 138 roles, you can find the best partner to do your mock interview(s) with, and increase your chances of landing a PM role.
Schedule your Mock Interview now!
Commonly Asked Product Management Interview Questions
Questions asked during product management interviews can be broadly classified into the following categories:
Behavioral Interview Questions
- How do you balance competing priorities and stakeholder requests for a product?
- Can you describe a situation where you had to make a decision that went against the wishes of a senior leader or key stakeholder?
- How do you handle conflicts with cross-functional teams?
- Can you give an example of a product you have launched and the process you went through?
- How do you measure the success of a product?
Technical Interview Questions
- How do you gather and analyse customer feedback?
- How do you make data-driven decisions for your product?
- How do you keep track of the competitive landscape for your product?
- How do you determine what should be included in an MVP?
- Can you give an example of a successful pivot you made using Lean Startup principles?
- Can you give an example of a successful A/B test you have run?
- How do you identify target customer segments for your product?
- How do you measure the success of a GTM launch?
- Can you give an example of a successful value proposition you have developed for a product?
- How have you incorporated user research and testing into your product development process?
Case Study/Product Design Questions
- Can you walk me through how you would approach launching a new product in this industry?
- Can you design a new feature for an existing product?
- Can you describe a situation where you had to make a trade-off between short-term and long-term goals for a product?
- Can you walk us through how you would go about launching a new product in a crowded market?
- Can you walk us through a difficult product decision you had to make and how you arrived at a solution?
- Can you talk about a time when you had to make a trade-off between product features and development timeline?
- Can you give an example of how you have driven product adoption and usage?
From practising answers to frequently asked questions to understanding the product management role and the company you are applying to, preparing for a PM interview is a continuous process.
So, give it time and prepare thoroughly to get yourself ready for your big day!