Dear Product Manager, some job interview questions for you

Ope Adeoye 5 minute read

In the past 6 years, I have had to source for product managers to join the team. At the beginning, it was all a really new experience to me. But as you know, Google is your friend. After scouring the internet for a few days for questions used by other companies, I have found lots of pointers and then created a smaller list of those that I cycle around and which I have found extremely useful.

Quite a few of them have no specific right answer, its just a way to get into the head of the subject and see how creatively their mind floats around.

Here's my compilation: Note: they are mostly a mishmash of samples from other sources.

  1. What do you understand about product lifecycles

  2. If you were to launch a product that is supposed to significantly change traditional consumer behavior, mention 3 things that will guide your product design and strategy

  3. If you were to design and sell a product to compete against the ipad, describe the strategy you’d employ to take market share away from Apple

  4. If you had a unique product that you sell to 400L physics students of a particular school, and you have one competitor with whom you share the market 50:50, what would you do to increase your revenue over a 6-12 month period?

  5. How do you see the electronic payment industry in Nigeria in 3 years? What would you like to see it evolve into?

  6. Why do you want this job?

  7. What’s your greatest achievement to date?

  8. How would handle a senior business stakeholder that demands more than you can deliver within a certain timeframe?

  9. You, and your team, were involved in a successful launch of a new product that exceeded business expectations during its first phase - what would you do?

  10. What is more important to you: being liked or being respected? Why?

  11. How do you handle a situation in which 2 separate team members (that don’t report to you) can’t seem to agree on something and their indecision is slowing down your product launch/performance

  12. Do you believe in processes? Under what circumstances do you think it’s acceptable to break an agreed process?

  13. How do you keep up with new and emerging technologies and how do you access and get to understand their usefulness to your product range

  14. Tell me about a project you have run or a product you have managed through its life cycle?

  15. What would you do if you went to a high level business meeting with directors the CEO and other senior stakeholders… viewed a power point presentation on a new (on-line) product. The presentation concluded by announcing that we aim to launch this new product in two months’ time?

  16. Your product is just about to hit code freeze, but the Sales team has gotten feedback that one of the company’s most important customers won’t buy it unless you add Feature X. Talk through your process for understanding your options

  17. You’re reviewing product functional requirements with the engineering team, and your engineers tell you that developing Feature Y is “not possible”. How do you respond?

  18. You’ve discovered a bug in a product that has been deployed to an enterprise customer. QA tells you the bug is an edge case – it will affect at most 1% of users, probably fewer – but for those it does impact, it will be an extremely negative user experience. Take 10 minutes to compose an email response

  19. One of the Sales VPs is bugging you for an updated roadmap before he goes out to talk with a VIP customer. You have a draft, but it hasn’t been internally approved or prioritized yet. How do you help the Sales VP

  20. Your company uses a customer feedback tool where users can submit product enhancement ideas and vote on them. There is a specific feature that is by far the most popular idea among your users – but it doesn’t align with your long-term product strategy. How do you respond to the users?

  21. You and the design team have collaborated on the workflow for a new feature, but your boss is convinced it should work another way. You feel very confident in your version, and very strongly that her suggestion is a terrible one. How do you move forward?

  22. You’ve inherited a mature product and discovered that a lot of time is spent dealing with customer issues reactively. What kind of process would you put in place to be more proactive about making sure the stuff that needs to get fixed, gets fixed?