Top 23 Product Manager Interview Questions (+ Example Answers Included)

By Mike Simpson

Every person on the planet feels the impact of product managers. The work of these professionals genuinely affects the day-to-day existence of the masses. They personally shape the products that enter the world. That means their opinions alter everyone’s reality, in a way.

How awesome is that?

Product managers have to be ridiculously capable in a ton of areas. Creativity? That’s essential. Time management and organization? Equally as critical. Innovation? A core part of the job.

For many, being a product manager is incredibly appealing. Not only does it combine the technical with the creative, but it is also a job that many can do from home. After the coronavirus forced millions into their homes and cost roughly 1 in 10 workers their job, that’s a perk that more and more professionals can’t ignore.

If you want to land one of these coveted roles, then you need to take the product manager interview questions seriously. No amount of experience outweighs good preparation when it comes time to meet with a hiring manager. So, if you really want to excel, let’s see what it takes to make that happen.

How to Answer Product Manager Interview Questions

Alright, we know that you’re here for example product manager interview questions and answers, and we promise we’re getting to that. But that’s really not the best place to start, anyway. Instead, let’s talk about strategy.

Having a solid interview strategy makes a difference. It gives you a process to fall back on, making it easier to answer even an unexpected question.

Let’s face facts; there’s always a chance a hiring manager will catch you off guard. In fact, some try to do it on purpose, asking outlandish questions that no one in their right mind would ever predict.

So, how do you develop that winning approach? By embracing proper research and technique.

Research lets you learn details that can help you stand out. While the hiring manager is probably going to ask you open interview questions, they are actually trying to find out if you have skill X or trait Y. They aren’t just going to ask you that directly because “yes” and “no” questions aren’t effective for getting to know what candidates genuinely bring to the table.

Start by reviewing the product manager job description.

If you keep seeing the same skills or traits repeated throughout the posting, those are obviously important to the company. They are there for a reason after all. You need to show the hiring manager in your interview that you possess these skills!

At that point, you have a solid foundation. If you want to take it to the next level, do a little more digging. Head to the company’s website and review its mission and values statements. These act as guiding tenets for the organization, reflecting its broader priorities. If you can speak to those as well during your interview, you’re going to stand out.

Okay, now you know what to talk about. But how do you take that information and use it to craft a fantastic answer? If you’re up against behavioral interview questions, then we have the right technique for you.

Start off by using the STAR method. That lets you take a humdrum answer and turn it into an intriguing story. It’s a technique that’s all about capturing and keeping the listener’s attention, and that’s important during an interview.

Then, take that to the next level with the Tailoring Method. When it comes to making your answers relevant, it’s the ideal technique. It’s all about customization, ensuring you speak to that hiring manager’s and company’s specific needs.

Together, those approaches are stunningly powerful. They’ll turn you into an engagement powerhouse and, during an interview, that can make all of the difference.

Top 3 Product Manager Interview Questions

Now that you have a winning strategy, it’s time to take the next step. By reviewing some product manager interview questions and answers, you can harness what you’ve learned and see how to put it into practice. That way, you can formulate your own amazing responses, using a tried-and-true approach that has the potential to impress.

Here are the top three product manager interview questions you might encounter and examples for how to tackle them.

1. How do you control and avoid scope creep?

Two of the scariest words in the project world are “scope creep.” When the feature set keeps growing, and stakeholders move the target over and over, any product development project is more likely to fail. Budgets will spiral out of control, or the requirements become so complex they simply won’t fit together. It’s a nightmare in the making.

Many hiring managers want to make sure that candidates have strategies for keeping scope creep at bay, so you should be ready to showcase how you make that happen.

EXAMPLE ANSWER:

“If a request is out of scope and would have a significant impact on the timeline or budget, I let the person asking for the feature addition that it doesn’t fall into scope. I outline the overall impact the new request could have, including timeline delays, budget implications, and risk increases. Often, scope creep puts projects in jeopardy, and I would make that clear in a professional manner. Then, I would provide additional information about how they can have their request assessed in the future, potentially allowing it to be added to a future project.”

MIKE'S TIP: If you have a specific example of a time when you had to battle against scope creep, share it! You are allowed to talk about more than technique and strategy, even if the hiring manager doesn’t explicitly start a question with “Tell me about a time” or something similar. Examples are always the go-to approach, so squeeze them in whenever possible.

2. What aspect of working as a product manager is the most exciting, in your opinion?

This question may seem innocuous, but it isn’t. It lets the hiring manager learn some important details, including how passionate you are about your role and what about the job motivates you.

There isn’t technically a right or wrong answer, so you can speak a bit from the heart. Just make sure you keep your response relevant and, if possible, highlight your enjoyment of specific skills to make your answer particularly meaningful.

EXAMPLE ANSWER:

“The most exciting part of being a product manager is supporting the creation of something that will improve the lives of customers. When that happens, you know your diligence paid off, that your market research was on target, and that the quality of the product and customer experience remained a priority throughout. There’s no greater reward then releasing something amazing into the world, and creating that kind of positive change is a big part of why I enjoy working as a product manager.”

3. If you have two desirable features, but the budget and timeline only support one, how do you choose which to pursue?

At times, you can’t fit every desired feature into a product. When that happens, product managers have to make a tough choice, and the hiring manager wants to know you are up to that task.

Ultimately, answering this question is more about your decision-making approach than anything else. If you have a relevant example of a time when you’ve had to do this in the past, make sure to discuss it. If not, then talk about how you approach problems of that nature, giving the hiring manager a glimpse into how you think.

EXAMPLE ANSWER:

“If I have to select only one of two features, my first step is to consider the customer. If one is more desirable in their eyes, then that’s a good case for making it a priority. However, I also factor in whether one feature would differentiate the product from the competition, as that could result in greater market success. Finally, I do take the cost and time required for each option into account. If one requires substantially less time or funding, then that’s worth considering. Cumulatively, those points typically allow me to make a sound choice that will serve the customer well and meet the needs of the company.”

20 More Product Manager Interview Questions

Here are 20 more product manager interview questions many candidates encounter:

      1. How would you define a great customer experience?
      2. If you had full control over the project, what would you do to improve our product?
      3. How can you tell if a product is well designed?
      4. Can you tell me about a product that you use daily? How would you improve it?
      5. Tell me about a time when you had to say no to a team member’s idea.
      6. What aspect of product management is the most frustrating?
      7. If it were up to you, how would you price our products?
      8. When choosing team members, do you favor technical expertise or soft skills?
      9. Tell me about a time when you had to motivate a frustrated team.
      10. How would you rate your project management skills? Would your past team members say the same?
      11. What approach do you use to ensure that stakeholders who aren’t as savvy about the technical aspects of the product remain thoroughly informed?
      12. Tell me about a time when you relied heavily on data to make a decision
      13. Describe the difference between management and leadership.
      14. If it’s clear that a project is falling behind, what do you do to get it back on target?
      15. How do you develop a product launch strategy?
      16. Do you have any technical skills that you believe set you apart from others in the field?
      17. Tell me about the hardest decision you’ve had to make when developing a product.
      18. Discuss a time where a product project you were working on experienced a failure. What did you do to recover or learn from the experience?
      19. When a next-generation product is preparing to launch, how do you position the legacy version?
      20. What are your go-to approaches for market research?

5 Good Questions to Ask at the End of a Product Manager Interview

In a job interview it’s always a good idea to turn the tables now and then. The hiring manager will typically give you a chance to ask some of your own questions. By doing so, you can assert your interest in the role and find out if the job is actually a great fit for you. Don’t squander the opportunity.

If you aren’t entirely sure what you should ask, here are five amazing questions that are worth having at the ready:

      1. What is the greatest challenge the company is facing right now? How can this role help resolve it?
      2. Can you tell me about the most common challenge product managers face here? Do you have any tips to help me overcome them?
      3. What does a typical day as a product manager here look like?
      4. Is there something that your best product managers have in common? What about your least successful ones?
      5. What is the most common negative feedback customers product about the company’s products? Are any efforts being made to resolve them?

Putting It All Together

Ultimately, product manager interviews can be challenging. By making the most of the tips above, you can stand out from the crowd. Take a deep breath, and remember, you’ve got everything you need to take your next interview by storm. Just prepare and keep your chin up. If you do, you are well on your way to interview success.

And as always, good luck!

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About The Author

Mike Simpson

Co-Founder and CEO of TheInterviewGuys.com. Mike is a job interview and career expert and the head writer at TheInterviewGuys.com. 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.