t won’t be wrong to say that product managers own the products that they visualize, conceptualize, and get their teams to build. They can make their organizations win or lose when it comes to developing a new product or enhancing an existing one. For these reasons, hiring product managers can be an overwhelming challenge.
Moreover, a product manager’s role encompasses everything right from developing the idea, overseeing the development of the product, sales, and customer service.
Since the job profile and the required qualities are spread on a broad spectrum, you may need to ask a multitude of questions to find the right person for your job opening. Since the interview time is limited, here is a list of questions you can ask to gauge the candidate’s expertise.
What is their understanding of the product manager role?
Every organization is different, and so is the way they define their jobs. The product manager role in their current or previous organizations may be different than how you define it. Asking this question right away will help in setting the right expectations.
If the candidate has different views or does not carry the relevant experience that you want, it may make more sense to not go ahead with the discussion.
What are the attributes of a well-designed product?
The answer to this question will help you in evaluating several qualities of the candidate. Your ideologies or opinions don’t necessarily need to match. Organizations have different priorities, and that molds the minds of product managers.
However, the answer will help you in understanding if the candidate is logical. Moreover, it will give you an idea about how that person structures and prioritizes various aspects of the right product.
For instance, you may want to look for these words in the answer – intuitive design, clean and user-friendly layout, and saving resources.
What are your ideas about our product and what improvements will you suggest?
Asking this question has two benefits. Firstly, it will show you how well the candidate knows your organization. It is not too much to expect your candidates to make an effort before the interview.
Secondly, it will give an idea about how well the candidate can analyze and criticize another product. A logical person should be able to identify both the positive and negative features of an existing product. Moreover, they should be able to tell you about possible improvements.
How do you identify customer needs?
Successful product managers are always in sync with their customer needs. Without customer research and knowing the ground reality, the chances of developing a successful product are limited.
They should be able to tell you multiple methods of connecting with the customers and understanding what they want. If they are not able to respond positively, you may consider it a red flag.
Tell me about a time your team members had a difference in their opinions, and what did you do about it?
As a product manager, the person has to deal with multiple teams and get them on the same page. However, the situation is not always cordial. At times, people may have differing opinions, and they may be strong in expressing their views.
In such cases, it may get challenging to proceed with the work. And we all know the value of time for crucial projects. The answer will help you to understand how the candidate resolves such situations objectively and without any prejudice.
Tell me about your biggest letdown as a product manager, and what did you learn from it?
Making mistakes are part and parcel of any job. It is not wrong to err. The key is in learning from those mistakes so that they are not repeated in the future.
As the candidate answers this question, you will know about the sense of ownership the candidate has. Moreover, it will give you a glimpse of how the person analyses self’s victories and failures.
How would you sell your product when there is another cheaper product in the market?
When you ask this question, you present a real-life scenario that can make the life of a product manager more challenging. Marketing and selling the product is a crucial responsibility of the product manager.
For the sake of being more realistic, you can ask the candidate to talk of a real-life example. The answer will allow you to understand how the individual compares different features and can influence a customer to buy their product.
What are your favorite products, and why do you like them?
A successful product manager should be curious and know what’s happening around. This answer will allow you to get an insight into that aspect of their personality.
Moreover, product managers need to stay updated with what’s happening around them. As they respond, you will understand how they analyze product design and the competitor’s products.
What do you believe about cutting corners to launch the product?
Product development is an uncertain process, and things do not always go as planned. Unforeseen situations such as resignations of key personnel or a natural disaster can impact the timelines. Even worse are the scenarios where the budget gets affected.
At such moments, product managers need to examine the situation and make quick decisions to launch it on time. The candidate’s response will gauge how adept the person is at handling unexpected situations at work.
What do you know about shutting down a product or a service?
As product managers, managing the End-of-Life process is also a crucial part of their job. As the organization decides to do away with the legacy or unpopular systems, the product managers need to take care of a few steps.
For instance, analyzing the right reasons for the sunsetting of a product. Planning and communicating the change to the stakeholder is also their responsibility.
With these product manager interview questions and answers, you can find the ideal candidate for your product manager role. Make sure to find a candidate who can not only answer these questions but also has the technical qualifications for the same.