Questions to ask a Product Manager candidate
Product Managers are generally responsible for developing a product roadmap and executing a product’s strategy. Doing so requires both intense collaboration with design and engineering teams and working closely with senior leaders to continuously improve the product in ways that help achieve the primary goals of the business.
Core skills for Product Managers
Teamwork / Collaboration
Conducting interviews that effectively assess Product Manager skills
While it might seem difficult to figure out whether a candidate will succeed as a Product Manager in your company, a well-developed set of product manager interview questions that tap into the core skills required to perform in a Product Manager role will go a long way in helping you decide.
But where do you start? How do you develop a set of great product management interview questions?
The best interview questions come directly from a job analysis. A job analysis is an evidence-based method that focuses on assessing key features of a particular role. These features describe both the job itself (i.e., tasks, responsibilities, and performance objectives), and the characteristics required of someone to perform successfully in the job (e.g., knowledge, skills, and abilities). A job analysis forms the basis of many HR practices such as compensation, performance management, and - you guessed it - how to interview and hire candidates.
At Hireguide, we’ve done the job analysis work for you. We’ve used the method to identify a core set of skills associated with the Product Manager role, and we’ve developed and validated a list of behavioral and situational questions with answer guides that tap directly into those core skills.
And that’s not all. We’ve compiled these questions and created a Product Manager interview template for you that integrates other interview best practices. Skills-based interviews will not only help you make higher quality and evidence-based hiring decisions, but research also shows they enhance fairness and reduce bias in your hiring process.
How to interview a Product Manager with Hireguide's Product Manager interview guide
Sample Product Manager interview question 1
Tell me about how you have worked with cross-functional teams in the past to successfully bring a product idea to life. How did you collaborate with teams, and why was it successful?
- Emphasizes the importance of synergy between key teams (design & engineering)
- Proactively holds roadmap sessions to align stakeholders and track progress
- Actively listens to others to solicit and incorporate ideas/feedback
- Communicates the business case behind the idea to reinforce alignment in thinking
- Explains how collaboration contributed to the project’s success
Sample Product Manager interview question 2
Imagine you are unable to incorporate a product feature that was suggested by senior leadership because it would impede the user experience. How would you communicate this to gain support for your position?
- Emphasizes the importance of prioritizing user needs in driving product decisions with key stakeholders
- Shares evidence for how the feature would impede the user experience
- Suggests alternative features or approaches that achieve similar goals but do not impede users
- Solicits new ideas or feedback from others on alternative approaches
- Focuses on finding a creative solution or alternative versus just communicating the outcome
Sample Product Manager interview question 3
Tell me about a time you or your team had to make a tough prioritization decision when working on a product roadmap. What did you end up prioritizing, and why?
- Describes the competing priorities and how they relate to business objectives
- Shows they can use logical frameworks to analyze options (impact, cost, urgency etc.)
- Discusses how to compare user needs versus business needs
- Considers how their roadmap relates to roadmaps of partners/other teams
- Shares any learnings or key take-aways from their experience