*Updated: September 2017*
One commonly asked question during product manager interviews is:
“What’s your favorite product and why?”
At first glance, it seems like a harmless question and oftentimes feels like the interviewer is just trying to make casual small talk.
However, don’t take this question too lightly; an interviewer may genuinely be curious about the types of products you enjoy using, but may also be using this question to understand how you think about products and get a sense of your standards for amazing products.
When approaching this question, you don’t need to follow a specific structure but we recommend using this answer framework:
1) What is the product and what does it do?
First off, try your best not to pick the most generic app / product out there. From an interviewer’s perspective, there is nothing exciting about hearing iPhone or Uber for the 100th time.
If you are using a more obscure product, mention what it is and spend a few seconds going into what the app does and how it solves some sort of problem for you.
2) Who are its competitors and what makes this product better?
You want to spend a bit of time talking about your favorite product’s competitors because it shows that you’ve done your research into alternatives (understanding the competitive landscape is something you’ll definitely have to do as a PM).
You’d be surprised how many candidates can’t list a single competitor to a product like Yelp!
Additionally, outlining the competitive landscape allows your interviewer to understand how you think about the pros and cons of certain features as well as provide an opinion on why your favorite product is the best out of all the options.
3) How did you first hear about this product and what keeps you continually using it?
Now that you’ve had a chance to speak about what the product does and review the competitors, it’s time to move towards the acquisition funnel.
A big part of product management is understanding how to acquire new users and how to retain them.
Take this opportunity to discuss how this product first got your attention (word of mouth? ads? viral campaign?), how you think the product generally gets most of its users, and how it has kept you engaged.
Feel free to go into interesting features or loops in the product that keep you coming back.
4) Product Features / Product Strategy
We’re almost done! Remember, through this process, don’t just blindly keep rambling if your interviewer looks bored or if he/she looks like they want to talk about something else. If your interviewer is still engaged, this last part of your answer is a great way to segway into the next part of the conversation.
If you’ve done your research and believe that your favorite product is missing a core feature (that you’ve hopefully spent a ton of time vetting and thinking about prior to the interview), this is an opportunity to mention to your interviewer that despite how amazing this product is, you still think there are some product features you would add and ask if they’d be interested in hearing more.
Definitely treat this part of the answer like the product design question and go into how you even came up with this feature idea in the first place.
Alternatively, you can also take this part of the answer in a different direction and mention that you’ve taken some time to think about this product’s strategy for the short and long term. Either way, your interviewer will love the drive you’ve taken and will most likely want to hear more.
This way, you can launch the interview into the direction that you’ve already spent a lot of time thinking about which will only impress your interviewer.
By doing your research and following this process, you’ll be in good shape for answering these types of favorite product questions and easily distinguish yourself as a top product manager candidate.
Interested in learning how to dominate these types of product manager interview questions and land the product manager job? You might want to check out our popular course: One Week PM.
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