Meeting of a product management team, we can see glasses on a table, and people in shirts writing something on the papers in front of them. We can not see faces of the managers.Product managers have one of the most rewarding and most difficult jobs. You will need to demonstrate a variety of skills in an interview, and answer a tough set of screening, behavioral and technical questions.

On the top of that, you will have to convince the interviewers that you have a good understanding for their industry, their product range, the market trends, and the overall market conditions. Let’s have a look at the questions they will use to try to find that out.

1. Why do you want to become a product manager?

Focus on your enthusiasm for the products the company produces, your skills, abilities, and experience that makes from you a good candidate for the job, or on particular ideas you have to help them improve their products.

2. What characterize a good product manager?

Ability to understand the market, to think and see one step ahead, to understand the needs of the customers and how to transform them to a particular product design and marketing plan, the technical skills required for the job, etc.

3. Tell us something about your experience.

Focus on your latest projects, what you have designed, and how it helped your former employers/clients. Show us the value your work has brought to the people who paid for the work. Try to speak only about the things that are relevant for the job.

4. Why did you decide to apply for a job in our company, and not somewhere else?

Tell them how much you like their product range, the professionalism of the company, or simply the working environment. To compliment them for something they do is a great answer to this particular question. Alternatively you can refer to a professional recommendation, or any other reason why you picked them.

5. When managing the product, how do you manage the expectations of internal groups, just like sales and services?

Focus on the close interaction with the departments. Tell them that you always try to get feedback from all departments.

6. When do you think is the right time to release the product?

Some people believe that the product should never be released until perfect, until all beta tests have been completed, and everything works as it should. But the competition does not sleep, they also work and design new products, and they can sometimes act faster and secure the first place on the market. Therefore it is important to think carefully about the industry, and just then construct an answer to this question.

7. Tell us something bout the life cycle of the product you managed.

They are testing your theoretical knowledge with the question. You should know the life cycle and if you don’t, just check Wikipedia.

Panel interview, three young interviewers, two women and one man, and one job candidate, a man. All of them look happy with the way the interview goes so far. 8. The demand for the product has exceeded your production capacity in the initial phase. What would you do?

Good product manager would never let the customers waiting, unless they had doubts about the quality of the product and thought the demand would drop soon. You can say that you would outsource the production or do something else to keep the dice rolling.

9. Imagine that your mobile phone is a brand new product in the market – a first phone with a digital camera (funny imagination right now, isn’t it?). You have limited budget for advertising the product, let’s say one million dollars. What steps would you take to successfully launch this product within the budget?


Behavioral questions

Apart from these screening and technical questions, the interviewers will also ask you several behavioral questions, to understand how you act in various work related situations. To such questions belong:

  • Describe a time when you struggled to communicate something to your boss, colleague, or to a customer. How did you manage to get your message over?
  • Describe a difficult decision you had to make in your professional career. How did making this decision affect you?
  • Describe a time when you experienced a conflict of your personal and professional interests. How did you get over it?
  • Describe the biggest failure of your professional career.
  • Describe a conflict you had with your colleague. Describe a situation when you went above and beyond with your service (for the customer, for the colleague).
  • ….


If you would like to see brilliant answers to the behavioral questions, check our Interview Success Package. Alternatively you can have a look at some job interview tips.