Product management is one of the most exciting (and rewarding) tech careers out there. As a product manager, you’ll be responsible for guiding high-level strategies as you figure out the features customers want, and how to bring them to life. Expect to learn every aspect of the business by partnering with the marketing, design, and engineering teams. And through it all, executives will lean on you to maintain a running timeline for new launches and solve roadblocks.
Sound like a lot of hard work? It pays. If you land a title in this growing field, you can expect to make well into the six figures as your career progresses.
But of course, it all starts with nailing the interview. To help you impress your future employer, here are 10 questions that a successful project management candidate should be able to answer. We’ll follow those with some pro tips to keep in mind as you plan out your responses. Finally, check out the skills you should highlight to give yourself every opportunity of signing an offer letter.
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10 questions to expect during the interview
Most product manager interviews will include at least a few of these questions (or close variations).
- How do you figure out what customers want?
- What steps would you take to research a new feature?
- Describe a time when you struggled to get buy-in from different departments, and how you dealt with that.
- Tell me how you would change one existing product.
- What’s your favorite method of communicating with the rest of the team?
- How do you prioritize your time and resources when you have conflicting deadlines?
- What are some components of a great user interface?
- How do you know when a product is successful?
- Describe our product in 2-3 sentences.
- Who are our competitors, and how do you think we’re different?
Preparing for your interview
Here are some extra tips to guide your responses.
- Remember to showcase all your relevant experience (even if it’s not exactly product management.) Were you in the marketing department before switching over to product management? Did you do an internship in the hiring company’s industry? Highlight related experience that might help you in the role, even if you weren’t roadmapping projects.
- Do your research. Product manager positions sometimes lean toward more technical, analytical, or behavioral needs. Research the company and the job posting to get a feel for how many people work there, and what skills they’re really looking for. Do they have a ton of software engineers? Get ready to show how well you partner across departments and build consensus on the technical side. No UX team to speak of? You might be doing a lot more interface designing.
- Ask what their priorities are for the role. The job posting probably listed out all the technical skills they’re looking for, and what you’ll be doing day-to-day. But that doesn’t always capture the “soft skills” - even though those intangibles might be important to the company’s hiring decision. In your interview, ask how different departments collaborate, and which communication styles work best within the company. You’ll have a better understanding of what they’re looking for (which means you can show them you’re the perfect fit).
Skills to highlight in your interview
You can’t always predict the exact questions you’ll be asked, but just about every company hiring a product manager is looking for these abilities. When you talk about your previous experience, make sure you showcase these key skills:
- Clear communication
- Creative problem solving
- Strong research strategies
- Collaboration and outreach across departments
- Time management and organization
Learn all of these skills (and build a portfolio to match) in our Product Management Flex course. You’ll even have a mentor and team of career coaches helping you land the next interview or level up for a big promotion.
Anything we missed? Share your product management interview stories (and the questions that caught you off guard) by tweeting @Thinkful.
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