Product Manager Interview Guide

Over the past few years, we’ve had a chance to interact with thousands of product managers and aspiring product managers in our community. Every time we speak to our members, we ask them questions such as:

“What are some of your favorite questions that you’ve gotten in your product manager interviews”

“What are some of your favorite questions to ask when hiring product managers?”

Using the answers that we’ve received, we’ve carefully curated and compiled the most popular product manager interview questions that are brought up over and over again so that we can help level the playing field for your interviews.

This is a living page that is continuously updated with questions (we’ll provide a few answers for some of these going forward) so check back frequently!

General

Behavioral

  • Tell me about yourself.
  • Why do you want to work at this company?
  • What intrinsically motivates you?
  • How have you had an impact at your previous company?
  • What was your biggest mistake as a product manager?
  • Tell me about the most challenging problem you’ve faced as a product manager.
  • Tell me about a time where you had to make a controversial decision.
  • Tell me about a time where you made a gut decision without the use of data.
  • Tell me about a time where you had to motivate your team.
  • If I spoke to your previous co-workers, what would they say are the best and worst parts about you?
  • What is your “superpower” as a product manager?
  • What are the qualities of people you enjoy working with the most?

Product Management

  • What do you believe are the qualities of a great product manager?
  • What aspects of product management do you enjoy the most? What do you dislike the most?
  • What software development method did you use at your last company? What did you like or dislike about it? What methodology do you prefer the most?
  • What are you looking to build here? Why?

Roadmap

  • Talk me through how you managed the roadmap for your previous product.
  • How do you communicate your roadmap to other teams? How about to management?
  • One of your highest paying customers demands a feature from you that wasn’t originally slotted onto the product roadmap and will de-rail your original plan. What do you do?
  • You are the Product Manager for Facebook Groups. How do you decide what the 1 year roadmap looks like? What about the 5 year roadmap?

Prioritization

  • Talk me through your preferred prioritization framework. What were the pros and cons of using it?
  • You are the Product Manager for Google Docs. How do you decide which features to prioritize?

Customer / Users

  • How did you interact with your users in a previous company?
  • What was your process for gathering feedback from users? How did you use this feedback to shape your roadmap?
  • How do you know if your users are satisfied with your product?

Communication

  • You just started as a new Product Manager on a mature product that is about to release a major update. You have been tasked with writing the press release for the update. Given you are a new Product Manager, what steps do you take to ensure you write the best possible press release?
  • Your latest release shipped a bug that drastically affected 0.1% of your userbase and those users have been sending in angry feedback about their product experience. How do you structure your communication to them to help appease them until you have time to ship a hotfix within the next few days?

Cross-Functional Teamwork

  • Can you talk through how you worked with a design team in a previous company to ship a product / feature?
  • Can you talk through how you worked with an engineering team in a previous company to ship a product / feature?
  • Tell me about a time where an engineer disagreed with you. How did you work through the issue?
  • Tell me about a time where a designer disagreed with you. How did you work through the issue?
  • Talk me through a time where you had to work with several different teams to coordinate a product launch.
  • Your engineering team has proposed a technical design that you don’t agree with. How do you go about figuring the best path forward?
  • Talk me through a time where you had to say no to senior management.
  • Do you manage teams in different functions differently? How do you do it?
Product Design

Process

  • How do you know when a design is complete?
  • Talk me through a time when you had to cut a feature that would make your product more usable. How did you prioritize this and how did you convey this to your design team?
  • How do you decide what not to build?
  • How would you define great product design?

Case Studies

See our detailed framework breakdown posts (Product Design Question, Favorite Product Question, Create a New Product Question) for tips on how to answer these types of questions.

  • What is your favorite product and why?
  • What do you like most about our company’s product?
  • What do you dislike the most about our company’s product? How would you improve it accordingly?
  • How would you design an ATM machine for a blind person?
  • How would you design sunglasses for a baby?
  • How would you re-design the umbrella?
  • How would you improve Facebook Groups?
  • How would you improve the restaurant list feature on Yelp?
  • Let’s take a look at Linkedin’s home page on mobile. How would you improve it?
  • If you were to build the next big feature for Quora (you can substitute any company here), what would it be?
  • You are a Product Manager at Facebook and senior management wants you to build a birthday app. How do you design it?
  • You are a Product Manager for Facebook Videos. How do you decide whether to design videos to be auto-play (when centered on the page), vs. click-to-play?
Analytical

Guesstimation

We’ve seen far less of these appear in interviews so we’ll only provide a few sample questions for this topic.

  • How many windows are there in New York City?
  • How much money does a Safeway in San Francisco make every day?
  • How many coffees does an average Starbucks serve every day?
  • How many bottles of shampoo are produced in the U.S. every year?
  • How many Instagram posts are created from U.S. based users every month?
  • How many firefighters are employed in the U.S.?

Product Metrics

  • Talk me through a time where a deeper analysis of your product’s metrics led to a completely different feature decision.
  • Talk me through a time where you came up with an experiment around a product metric and tested it.
  • Talk through a product metric that you were responsible for improving and the steps you took to do so.
  • Define statistical significance.
  • How long would you run a split test before declaring a winner?
  • Pick one of our company’s products. You are now responsible for building a dashboard that will show all relevant metrics to our team on a daily basis. What do you track?
  • Let’s pretend that you are a Facebook Product Manager and you just launched Facebook Groups. How do you determine if the launch was a success?
  • You are a Product Manager of a peer-to-peer rental marketplace. When you check your dashboard this morning, you noticed that hourly company revenue has dropped by 30% as compared to the previous 14 day moving average. What do you do to diagnose and address the issue?
  • You are a Product Manager at Snapchat and you notice that DAU has dropped by 20%. What do you do?
  • You are a Product Manager working on an e-commerce company’s checkout flow. What would be the top metrics that you would track and why?
  • You are a Product Manager for Facebook Search. How do you measure success of the product?
  • You are a Product Manager for the Facebook Timeline and Reactions are slotted into the roadmap. How do you decide which reactions to design and launch? How would you measure success of the launch?

Pricing

  • How would you price a newly launched product?
  • You are the product manager for the Netflix Core product and the CEO wants you to figure out if it makes sense to lower the monthly subscription price. What would be your plan to figure out whether or not to lower the pricing?
  • Imagine you are a new product manager for Amazon Prime and you are thinking through how to price the product. The two current options have a $35 minimum spend with one option for $8 to deliver within 1 hour and the second option for free delivery within 2 hours. How do you analyze the current pricing and determine if pricing changes are necessary?

Strategy

  • Why do you think Facebook Messenger is a stand-alone application?
  • Why do you think Amazon acquire Whole Foods?
  • Pick an industry that will look completely different in 10-20 years. How would you make sure our company would be able to adapt to that industry?
Technical
  • Talk me through how you would write an algorithm to recommend Facebook friends to add.
  • Talk me through how you would write an algorithm to recommend Linkedin contacts to add.
  • Talk me through how you would write an algorithm to recommend Medium articles to a user.
  • You are a Product Manager working on a mobile photo application. Your CEO asks you to decide whether the app should display high resolution or medium resolution photos. How do you investigate this?
  • Walk me through how you would rank Tweets on someone’s Twitter feed when they log back in.
  • Explain machine learning to a 6 year old.
  • Explain recursion to your great grandfather (who has no background in it).
  • What happens when you type a URL into your browser and press enter?
  • You are the Product Manager for a consumer livestreaming app and there is a performance problem with all livestreams lagging in a particular geography. How do you diagnose this issue?
  • Facebook recently discovered that mobile app users in 3rd world countries with significantly lower bandwidth have a terrible user experience. How would you reduce bandwidth consumption across Facebook’s mobile app?

 

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