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The Ultimate List of 20 Product Manager Interview Questions

Essential questions to assess the skills, experience, and fit of a product manager candidate.

June 24, 2024

By Team tawgl

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Hiring the right product manager can significantly impact a company's success. Product managers play a pivotal role in setting strategy, defining product features, and driving product roadmaps.

Here are the top 15 questions to ask a product manager in an interview, divided into four key categories: 

General Background Questions

  1. What Interests You About This Role?
    This question helps gauge a candidate’s motivation and their passion for product management and your company. Look for answers that show a clear understanding of the role and its responsibilities. A strong candidate will articulate specific aspects of the job that excite them and align with their career aspirations.
  1. What Are You Looking for in a New Position?
    Understanding their career goals ensures they align with what the role offers and if they seek growth, stability, or new challenges. Candidates should express what they hope to achieve in their next role, whether it’s gaining more responsibility, working with cutting-edge technology, or joining a company with a strong mission.
  1. What Are Your Career Goals?
    Long-term aspirations help determine if they plan to grow with your company and fit into your team’s future. Look for candidates who have flexibility in their vision and see your company as a place where they can achieve their goals while contributing to the company’s success.

Skills and Experience Questions

  1. How Would You Explain Product Management to a Stranger?
    This question gauges their understanding of the role and their ability to simplify complex concepts. A candidate’s response should reflect a solid grasp of the fundamental responsibilities of a product manager and their ability to communicate these effectively to someone unfamiliar with the field.
  1. What Type of Customer Research Do You Conduct and How Often?
    Understanding their approach to customer-centric product development shows their methods for gathering and using customer feedback. A strong candidate will discuss various research methods, such as surveys, user interviews, and usability testing, and provide examples of how this research has informed their product decisions. Expect details on specific tools and techniques they’ve used, such as A/B testing, NPS surveys, or ethnographic studies, and how frequently these are conducted (e.g., quarterly, biannually).
  1. How Do You Develop Product Strategy?
    Exploring their strategic thinking process reveals their ability to effectively plan and execute product strategies. Look for a structured approach that includes market analysis, competitive research, and alignment with company goals. Candidates should use terms like "market segmentation," "SWOT analysis," "value proposition," and "KPIs" to demonstrate their strategic acumen. Expect them to reference specific frameworks or models they use, such as Porter’s Five Forces, the Ansoff Matrix, or the Business Model Canvas.
  1. How Do You Plan Releases?
    This question helps us understand their release management process and their approach to scheduling and prioritizing product launches. A well-rounded answer will include details on coordinating with cross-functional teams, managing timelines, and ensuring quality and alignment with the overall product roadmap. Look for specific examples of tools and methodologies they’ve used, such as Agile sprints, Gantt charts, or Kanban boards, and how they handle stakeholder communication and risk management.
  1. When do you say that the product you manage has failed?
    This question explores their criteria for evaluating product performance and their willingness to make tough decisions. Understanding how a product manager defines and recognizes failure is crucial, as this can indicate their ability to manage risks, pivot strategies, and ultimately drive the product toward success. Look for answers that reflect a nuanced understanding of these various dimensions. Their response should show an ability to critically assess both quantitative metrics and qualitative factors and a readiness to make difficult decisions based on thorough analysis.
  1. What is the Tech Stack? What Programs Are Used for Applications, Data, Utilities, and DevOps? How Much Does a PM Have to Know in Order to Integrate Well?
    Understanding the tech stack is crucial for a product manager to effectively collaborate with engineering and development teams. The tech stack typically includes the programming languages, frameworks, libraries, and tools used to develop and deploy a product.
  1. What Does Product Discovery Look Like?
    Product discovery is the process of identifying and validating ideas for new products or features. It involves understanding the customer’s needs, exploring potential solutions, and ensuring that the product concept aligns with the company's strategic goals.
    In a typical product discovery process, the steps might include:
  1. How Often Does a Product Manager Get Involved in a Go-To-Market Strategy?
    A product manager is typically involved in the go-to-market (GTM) strategy throughout the product lifecycle, especially during the planning and execution phases leading up to a product launch. The extent and frequency of involvement can vary depending on the organization and the specific product, but key activities include:
  1. How Do Ideas Get on the Roadmap?
    Ideas can come from various sources, including customers, internal stakeholders, market research, and competitive analysis. The process of getting ideas onto the roadmap typically involves several key steps:

Situational and Behavioral Questions

  1. Tell Me About a Time You Had Trouble Building Consensus.
    This question assesses their conflict resolution and persuasion skills, showcasing their ability to navigate team dynamics and align stakeholders. Look for specific examples where they successfully managed differing opinions and achieved agreement, demonstrating their leadership and communication skills. Expect details on the size and composition of the team, the nature of the disagreement, and the strategies they employed to build consensus, such as compromise, negotiation, or mediation.
  1. How Would You Prioritize These Four Things?
    This evaluates a candidate's prioritization and decision-making skills in a realistic, high-pressure scenario. Typically, the four things to prioritize should be specific tasks or objectives that a product manager commonly encounters. Here are some examples of what these four things could be:
    For example, four things can be:

By providing these specific scenarios, you can better understand how the candidate weighs different factors, such as customer satisfaction, technical stability, strategic growth, and user experience improvements, when making decisions.

  1. Tell Me About a Time When You Had to Learn Something New Quickly.
    Gauging their adaptability and learning ability demonstrates their capability to handle new challenges effectively. Candidates should share instances where they quickly acquired new knowledge or skills and successfully applied them to achieve a positive outcome.
  1. Describe a Time When You Managed a Cross-Functional Team.
    This question assesses their teamwork and leadership skills, highlighting their experience with collaboration and managing diverse teams. Strong candidates will discuss specific projects where they coordinated with different departments, navigated challenges, and led the team to success. Look for examples of how they facilitated communication, managed dependencies, and resolved conflicts among team members from various disciplines, such as engineering, marketing, and design.
  1. How Do You Handle Feedback on Your Work?
    Understanding their receptiveness to feedback reveals their ability to grow from constructive criticism. Look for candidates who appreciate feedback, actively seek it, and use it to improve their performance and the products they manage. Expect examples of specific feedback they’ve received, how they addressed it, and the positive changes that resulted from their actions.

Leadership and Problem-Solving Questions

  1. What’s Your Leadership Style?
    Understanding their approach to leadership reveals their methods for motivating and managing teams effectively. Look for descriptions of their leadership philosophy, examples of how they inspire and support their teams, and their strategies for fostering a positive and productive work environment.
  1. Describe a Time When You Used Data to Make a Decision.
    This question assesses their data-driven decision-making skills, highlighting their ability to use data for informed decisions. Candidates should provide examples where they analyzed data, drew insights, and made strategic decisions that positively impacted the product or business. Expect them to reference specific metrics and tools used, such as user analytics platforms (e.g., Google Analytics, Mixpanel), and the outcomes of their data-driven decisions. 
  1. Tell Me About a Time When Something Went Wrong at Work and You Took Control.
    Evaluating their crisis management skills demonstrates their ability to handle unexpected challenges effectively. Look for specific instances where they identified problems, implemented solutions, and guided their team through difficult situations to a successful resolution.
  1. What Will You Do in the First 90 Days?
    This practical question uncovers a candidate’s immediate priorities and approach to their new role, showing their planning skills and strategic thinking. Candidates should outline their initial steps to understand the product, team, and processes, and how they plan to contribute early on. Expect a detailed plan that includes specific goals, key milestones, and strategies for building relationships with team members and stakeholders.


Hiring the right product manager involves asking insightful questions to reveal their skills, experience, and fit for your team. Use these top 20 questions to ensure you cover essential aspects of the role and find a candidate who can drive your product forward. By focusing on general background, skills and experience, situational and behavioral scenarios, and leadership and problem-solving abilities, you can make an informed hiring decision that benefits your company.

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