5 Useful Product Manager Interview Tips


While resumes and cover letters are great starting-off points when getting a job, an employer also gets know whether you are a good fit for the company by actually meeting with you. This is what interviews are for. This is not the time to be humble or unprepared. This is your chance to put your best foot forward, and in the competitive field of becoming a product manager, you need to stand out from the crowd.

Practice makes perfect, and while it is always possible that the interviewer is going to throw a curveball in your direction, there is still a lot you can do to be ready for practically anything. Your goal is to get a job offer, and by highlighting important skills and relevant experience, that goal is within reach. In case you need a push in the right direction, here are some practical product manager interview tips for you to utilize.

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Product Manager Interview Tips

Prepare for Analytical Questions: It is common in these types of interviews for the hiring manager to present a business scenario and expect you to say how you would handle it. You will need to walk the interviewer through the process you would implement. If the example you are given is a potential problem that could come up, then you would need to say how you would stay cool under pressure, how you would reach a decision and how you would weigh the pros and cons of each possible course of action.

Demonstrate Leadership: Product managers need to be capable of leading a team to success. While anyone can say that they are a leader, you need to be able to back that claim up with evidence. Discuss a time when you led a team to complete a project. Mention any challenges you had to overcome and how you ultimately succeeded. This can also be a chance for you to talk about how you work with people as your peers. Do you take input from people on the team? Did someone give a suggestion you implemented and you gave that person credit? These are characteristics of a great leader and traits that need to be emphasized.

Be Ready to Discuss a Failure: While your primary focus during the interview should be on all the good work you have done over the years, you should also be ready for the interviewer to ask you about a mistake or failure you made in the past. This might not be the thing you want to talk about during an interview, but it is important for the hiring manager to see that you are capable of learning from mistakes and growing as a product manager. Instead of concentrating too much on what exactly happened, focus on what you learned and how you improved in the future.

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Do Not Give Excuses: This falls under the category of discussing past mistakes. As you are describing these scenarios, you never want to pass the blame. You never want to say that a launch failed because the higher-ups did not allow you to conduct more market research or that the team designing the product failed in some way. The reason for this is that at the end of the day, it does not matter. When something goes wrong, there is little benefit to discussing hypotheticals, and harping on others’ possible mistakes can give a negative impression of your managerial style. The best you can do is talk about what you learned and how you did better moving forward.

Be Ready to Talk About Your Business Philosophy: As a product manager, you will be helping shape the business’s progress. No matter what company you are trying to get a job with, you should have a general sense of how you prefer doing business and how you define success. Do you feel more pride in making a significant technology advancement, or do you believe that the opinion of the general public ultimately decides what is important? There is technically no right or wrong answer to this question as long as you can clearly explain why you feel a certain way.

There can be numerous managers trying to get the same job, so even a single mistake during the interview is enough to lose the position. By following these product manager interview tips, you will be much more likely to avoid common pitfalls and get a job offer.