Hiring Guide

Product Owner

Specific duties of a Product Owner can vary from business to business — along with factors like company culture, work environment, and team dynamics — it’s vital to tailor any job description and interview content to your company’s needs and expectations.

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Product Owner interview templates

Why you should hire a Product Owner

Product Owners help companies achieve success by managing product backlogs to optimize the value of the product and the business. They are an integral part of a product development team and rely on their deep expertise of customer needs to solve problems by developing customer-centric solutions.

In this hiring guide, we'll provide everything you need to hire a great Product Owner.

Top skills for Product Owners

Maintain and Prioritize Product Backlog

Strategic Thinking
Defining Requirements

Cross-Functional Collaboration

Stakeholder Management

Agile Project Management

Technological Proficiency
Sprint Planning

Product Development

Critical/Analytical Thinking
Data Analysis
Outcome/KPI Ownership

Sample Product Owner job description

Product Owners are generally responsible for representing the voice of the user to the product development team. They focus on delivering the most end value to users by defining the product goals and features, prioritizing the product backlog, and working with cross-functional teams to execute those requirements. Although sometimes Product Owner and Product Manager titles are used interchangeably, Product Managers tend to work more on product strategies and roadmaps to deliver a vision for the company whereas Product Owners are more tactical and translate strategies to actionable objectives to build product requirements. Product Owners also tend to appear more in companies that build scrum teams and use agile project management methodologies.

Sample interview questions for Product Owners

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?

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Hireguide I/O Psych Validated
Haya Bakour, MSc I/O Psychology

What does this question reveal?

Candidate has the ability to work effectively with key product teams (design, engineering)

Answer tips

  • Emphasizes the importance of synergy between key teams (product, design and 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

Question 2

Imagine you're asked to analyze user data to inform the next steps in development. How would you go about analyzing the data and making development decisions?

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Hireguide I/O Psych Validated
Alycia Damp, PhD IRHR

What does this question reveal?

Candidate has the ability to apply user findings to drive development initiatives for product success

Answer tips

  • Gathers data from various reliable user sources (e.g., feedback, user research)
  • Discusses incorporating trend research to improve user experience and design 
  • Explains how they incorporate insights into product-related decisions
  • Reassesses existing priorities by incorporating user feedback/suggestions
  • Acknowledges the importance of continuously conducting research to improve products