1 How do you identify a well-designed product?
For me, a well-designed product is simple and user-centric. With a subtle design interface, it should stand out with innovation and inclusivity.
2 How would you describe our product to someone?
For an effective product description, it is important to communicate relevant information about the product with a user-centric approach.
I would identify the target audience and share the innovation, context and background of the product.
I would also emphasize on the product’s vision and explain to the user how the product can benefit them.
3 How would you prioritize product development when you have two important things to do but can only do one?
I would divide the tasks in the first level and second-level priority keeping in mind the urgency, time it will consume and Return of Investment (ROI).
I would also adopt a systematic process for assigning time and resources for product development at hand so that the backlog can be cleared at the earliest.
4 What is your favorite product by XYZ? How would you make it better?
XYZ could be any famous company with multiple products. Interviewers ask this question to assess your product awareness.
The best way to answer this question is to start with a brief introduction followed by a detailed description on these 3 fronts:
Use– talk about how the product is useful in resolving key pain points
• Efficiency – discuss how the product enables easy problem-solving for the user
• Innovation – The features that make the product simple and unique.
5 Who are our competitors? What is better or lacking in our product in comparison?
Interviewers ask about their competitors and flaws in their own products to evaluate your understanding of the company.
To answer this question, research well before appearing for the interview and identify market competition.
Evaluate the differences between the organization and competitors and assess who is doing what better.
Use their products first hand to get an insight into their strengths and weaknesses from a user’s perspective.
6 How do you define a good user interface?
A good user interface is simple, intuitive and consistent. It effectively communicates important information and reduces user errors.
7 Which product do you use the most and what do you like/dislike about it?
This is a subjective question through which the interviewer aims at assessing:
• If you can understand the connection between user satisfaction and product.
• If you are aware of the products in the market.
• If you can answer questions in an organized manner and back it with facts and research
Pick a product you know well. You can share unique insights if you connect well with the product.
8.What do you understand by a Product Manager?
Product managers possess product expertise and take decisions based on innovation, strategy and market conditions.
They are a part of product development from the conception of the idea through a product’s launch and even beyond.
Product managers know the why, when and what of the product and lead cross-functional team activities for its development.
9.How do you decide what and what not to build?
I follow a 5-step process to understand what needs to be built:
Identification of market trends and demand for the product, available resources and if it is feasible.
Brainstorming with the team to plan out product design, development, and process of execution.
Measuring scalability to figure out the availability and quantity of resources for product development.
Preparation for the execution by collecting resources and resolving challenges
Execution to bring the plan to action.
10. What aspects of product management do you find the most and least exciting?
The most exciting thing about being a product manager is that I get to build products from ideas and impact a large number of people.
The least exciting thing for me would be when innovation is on a standstill and I have to work in maintenance mode only as that would limit development and innovation.
11. How would you redesign our product?
To redesign the product, I would build a strategic roadmap
• I would start with understanding what the product lacks and needs improvement. To determine that, I would communicate with customers, engineers, and other stakeholders.
• The next step would be to retain and build features that are unique and make the product easy to use. The idea is to make the product innovative and reduce variety so that it does its core function effectively.
• I would also try to make it cost-effective in order to multiply sales & revenues without hampering the user’s satisfaction.
12. What is a major potential challenge our company could face in the upcoming year?
Research well before appearing for the interview and have an in-depth analysis of the company’s past failures, strengths, and weaknesses.
SWOT analysis of the company will help identify potential challenges to the organization.
13. How can a product failure be prevented?
The key to success of the product is innovation. Refurbishing ideas and using stale concepts is a recipe for product failure. My first step would be to make sure that the product stands out with its features.
I would launch the product to a sample audience before the official launch to gather people’s perspectives about the product. In case of frequent negative feedback, I would identify the pain points and resolve them.
Even though marketing plays a key role, overhyping a product often leads to its failure. I would promote marketing of the product post its release once the reputation of the product has been established.
Pricing the product right is another way as higher prices push potential buyers towards cheaper alternatives that are affordable and relevant.
Resolving bad user experience, poor design, inefficient implementation, lack of quality control, etc. would also help damage control.
14 How do you know when to cut corners to get a product out the door?
I would cut corners and launch a product if:
The product has been long overdue and the team has spent more than the estimated time.
• The prototype is ready to be launched and I need market feedback for further product development.
• The product is situation centric and would reap lesser results if launched at a later stage.
However, I would ensure that the product is ready to perform and meet customer expectations before giving a go-ahead on product launch so that the company reputation is not affected.
15 How do you communicate a product development strategy?
A product development strategy discusses market demand, business situation, competitors, technological capabilities, domain, and design expertise
An effective product development conveys:
Emerging market and technologies that can accommodate customers.
• How it plans to meet business goals and generate revenues
• Economic factors that affect the customer’s budget
• Evolving customer behavior.
16.As a product manager, how do you juggle between B2B and B2C market segments?
The fundamentals of product development are the same in both markets. Any product with multiple value propositions must define the business model and benefit the customers through effective problem-solving.
The difference is that B2B products focus on enabling simple and profitable business activities for stakeholders. B2C products, on the other hand, provide a good user experience to the target audience.
Given that both market segments work on similar aspects but have different objectives, I would build different roadmaps and strategies to juggle between B2B and B2C markets
17. What is PLM and how does it aid product managers?
PLM is Product lifecycle management and includes managing the entire lifecycle of a product- from the inception of the idea to final execution.
The primary goal of PLM is to enable the flow of information, people and processes concerned with the product’s lifecycle.
PLM helps product managers by reducing marketing time, improving quality, sustaining operational serviceability and making products eco-friendly.
18. What is the difference between PLM and ERP?
PLM is concerned with design and innovation whereas ERP aids the manufacturing of quality products.
• PLM takes care of concept, design, production, and distribution. ERP enables manufacturing, resource Planning, HR, Purchasing, accounting, inventory and order management.
19. Based on what metrics would you measure a product’s success?
I would measure a product’s success on 6 parameters:
Product Awareness (number of people that know about the product)
Product Breadth (Number of people using the product)
Frequency of Use (How frequently does the user return)
Product Depth (analyzing features of the product being used)
20. How do you decide on the price of a product?
To determine the price of a product, I would choose an effective pricing strategy to make it cost-effective.
I would assess the market and target audience followed by a research on the pricing structure of competitors.
3 important inclusions here would be:
Variable costs- Cost of goods sold, Production, Packaging, marketing costs and shipping
Fixed Costs- unavoidable expenses like rent, electricity, salaries of employees, etc.
Profit margin- The profit company aims to make per unit.
21. As a product manager, how would you enable effective communication with the engineering team?
As a product manager, I would make sure that I put across the vision of the product clearly along with a detailed market scenario and limitations.
For effective communication, I would:
Make data-driven decisions to avoid disagreement on the product.
Communicate challenges at hand and let the engineering team do the problem-solving.
Ensure clear and frequent communication with the engineering team
Help in resolving product-related issues to make it easier for the engineering team.
22. How would you explain technical challenges to market-oriented teams?
In order to explain the technical challenges to market-oriented teams like sales and marketing, I would
Discuss insights about the user segment, demand for product, Innovation and business goals.
Share data with concerned teams and define demands, resources, and limitations.
Keep all stakeholders in the loop for all development and include their suggestions for effective decision making.
23. On what parameters do you base the performance of a product in the market from a product manager’s perspective?
A product’s market success can be measured on 4 parameters:
Product Usage- monthly users and users per feature
Product Quality- escalation and negative feedbacks, product testing to validate the quality of the product and draw a roadmap for ongoing improvement.
Product Development- On-time delivery, resource availability and estimated time to complete development.
Business performance- Customer experience, revenues, bookings, profits, and costs.
24.What are some indicators of a product that is designed well?
Answers to such questions speak about your understanding and clarity in the role of KPI’s in the life cycle of a product. This would make your interviewer aware of your approach to the product, the current demand, current competitor positions, and features, etc. Here are some indicators of a good product:
“It just works” – The user doesn’t have to constantly think about how to use functionality within the app. It just works intuitively.
The product has just the right number of features. It is very normal for a popular product to start putting in more and more features until it starts suffering from ‘featuritis’. Remember that ‘Perfection is achieved not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away’.
Fast response times. The product should always respond in as short a time as possible for any user action. Slow response times can kill an app even if it has killer features.
The product shouldn’t incorporate features just because the competition has them. A feature should be incorporated only if it suits the overall vision and design of the product.
Optimal use of the real estate available for a product. If you take the example of a web app, each page should suitably use the real estate (screen space) that is available to it. Every visual element on the page should be placed in its appropriate position (A place for everything and everything in its place). Care should also be taken to ensure that there is enough white space around the visual elements.
Aesthetically appealing: A pleasant looking UI which is easy on the eye.
25. How will you build a go-to-market strategy for our product?
This is a bookish question that you can undoubtedly expect. The answer can be somewhere along the lines of what is explained below.
A go-to-market strategy is what lays the roadmap to your product launch, gives your brand a refresh, or helps you reach a new audience.
Essentially, a go-to-market strategy should answer the following questions:
What is the best time for your product to hit the market? What exactly are you expecting from the launch?
What problem is your product solving? How is your product different from similar products in the market?
Have you woven your product into a story that you’ll tell your audience to explain your product?
What marketing strategies and channels are you looking to capitalize on? Are you looking at a fixed budget for it?
How does your current and future budget look like?
What are the KPIs of your product?
Once you’re aware of the answers to those questions, you’ll be one step closer to devising the perfect go-to-market strategy for your product.
26. Why do you want to become a Product Manager?
You need to be sure that you have the answer to this question before you walk into that interview room. While we can’t answer this for you, we can help you with some questions you can ask yourself to find the bigger answer:
+ Are you good at managing people?
+ Do you have a “get things done” attitude?
+ Do you like leading teams and are you good at it?
+ Do you enjoy responsibility and can push through resistance?
+ Can you juggle a lot of tasks and not cave under pressure?
+ Do you have knowledge spanning multiple verticals of an organization?
+ Can you inspire and lead people from diverse backgrounds and company departments?
27 Once you have the answers to the above questions, you can lead your response as you want the narration to start from right from the skills and abilities or the experience. Also, you can talk about particular ideas that you may have, any specific insight that you’ve gained after using the company’s products, etc.
28. What do you like about [Insert Company’s Product Name]? What can be improved?
Show them that you did your homework and you know what they do in the company and have an apparent reason why you applied for a job with them. Start with things that you like in their product features, the user experience, or how well their solution is designed to fit the problem.
Interviewers are looking for real-time insights into your communication and prioritization skills. Try to include the following in your answers:
Specific product features
29. How would you go about building a relationship with a key remote department head/department head that is based in another location?
In a world where technology is helping blur geographical boundaries, people are choosing more and more to work remotely. This can sometimes create challenges in relationship building and managing them effectively.
30 However, it doesn’t have to be that difficult. A product manager can begin by asking the remote colleague about their job, and what can be done to provide him with support. The product manager can explore the problems that the department head is facing, and work out solutions to resolve them. The key is regular communication, and without that, it’ll be impossible to build a good relationship with the department head. If possible, they should make arrangements to meet the department heads in person during early on in their career and build a rapport, so they feel more connected to the organization and to the product manager – which will motivate them to put the best foot forward.
31 What are the identifiable differences between a project manager and a product manager?
Before you begin answering this question, you should take a moment and explain how exactly do you differentiate between a ‘product’ and a ‘project’. After all, these two concepts are often confused, while in practice, they are extremely different.
To begin with, a project is a temporary endeavor – it has a beginning and an end date. Product, on the other hand, is permanent, and needs to continuously evolve to meet the changing needs of the users – it has no end date, it’s a lifecycle of iterations and evolution.
With that in place, you can guide the interviewer through the differences between a product manager and a project manager.
Since projects are temporary endeavours, a project manager is required to oversee a fixed scope of requirements. Their job will be to work along with the strategies defined by the product manager or leadership team. Their primary aim is to ensure the successful delivery of a project within the constraints of time, scope, and budget.
A product manager, on the other hand, can be thought of as a mini-CEO of the product. They set the vision of the product and lay out a strategized roadmap to bring the best results. Product managers interact with customers to decide what is to be prioritized. The entire lifecycle of a product is managed by the product manager, and that is the reason why their efforts are always ongoing.
32.When an important decision needs to be made and key players have differing opinions, how would you proceed?
Product managers are facilitators with strong leadership skills to turn conflicts into opportunities. The development of any product is generally overseen by different teams across the organization – IT, marketing, sales, HR, and more. With so many cooks, a product manager is the one who has to make sure that the broth isn’t spoiled. So, this is one question you can definitely expect at any product manager interview.
The best way to proceed when different key players are having conflicting opinions can be understood by following these:
Listening: First, a product manager needs to be a good listener. He should be capable of handling a chaotic situation in a way that each voice gets heard. Only when every point is on the table can sense be made out of anything at all.
Agreeing: Now, with everything on the table, you need to find common, agreeable grounds. No matter the conflict, the central goal of every contributor is mostly the same. A product manager needs to decide on an agreement point which will pave the way ahead.
Focusing: Once common ground is set, a product manager is required to focus on the problem at hand, and with all the solutions in front of him, come up with a common solution, that aligns with the ideas of most of the (if not each) people involved.
33. And finally, a B-School favourite Case Question. How many windows are in NYC / How many footballs will it take to cover the CenturyLink Field stadium in Seattle?
There’s no one number answer to that question. But believe us, the answer isn’t that difficult as it appears from the problem and it all lies in understanding the issues first.
The recruiters see the effort, identify how you reason strategically and analytically.
Windows can be divided into three main categories – residential, offices and retail. You can calculate each separately. This would give you an initial number to start with. Nearly 10 million people are living in New York, and each person would have at least have three windows on an average in 2-person apartments. That gives a total of 30 million residential windows and 30 million official windows (using the same three windows average in office scenarios).
34.How would you describe our product to someone who wanted something similar, only $20 cheaper?
This question checks that the candidate has researched your products and knows enough to speak about them with familiarity. It also gives you real-time insight into the candidate’s communication and prioritization skills. What to look for in an answer:
Specific product features
Example: “For only $20 more, you get at least $100 more worth of features with this product. For example, it syncs to your smartphone, computer and other devices to save you a lot of time and hassle. Our users also say that they love the ability to control it when they’re at home or on vacation. Also, they rarely have to contact customer support for help with an issue.”
35 We’re about to roll out the successor to our most well-known product. How would you position the legacy product so that it continues to sell well?
With this question, you get to see the candidate’s thought process and how technical and soft skills are combined. What to look for in an answer:
Knowledge of consumer practices
Understanding of targeted consumers
Example: “I would lower the price so that you’re able to reach the budget-conscious consumers who make up about 30 percent of your base. The new product would appeal more to consumers who prioritize having something more recent and advanced.”
36 How do you manage a new product launch? What tactics, strategies and processes do you use?
You want a candidate who launches a product with teamwork and a schedule in mind. A candidate who replies in generalities is one to approach with caution. What to look for in an answer:
Mention of timeline
How progress is tracked
Example: “I develop a launch plan based on input from teams such as support, testing and product management. I also seek advice from key stakeholders when setting a schedule with dates and deliverables. I hold weekly meetings as the launch date approaches to ensure everything is on track. I also check that we’re staying on track by continuing to design and market the product toward the right audience.”
37 Take a typical day in your life as a product manager. What’s something you would perhaps prefer to skip?
The question checks that your values align with those of your candidate. For example, if your company prioritizes teamwork but the candidate names collaboration as something to skip, that could be an issue. What to look for in an answer:
A true answer, no “there is nothing to skip”
Example: “Having to document extensively is something I think any product manager would like to skip sometimes. It’s a vital process, of course, and something I never do hold back on. Working with customers and developers and meeting deadlines is what I particularly enjoy, so the paperwork side feels slow in comparison.”
38 How do you know when a product is designed well?
Not everyone agrees on what good product design means. Maybe your company prioritizes some factors over others, and your candidate should be on the same page. What to look for in an answer:
Fit with your priorities
Explanation of the why
Example: “A product is well-designed when it’s simple, intuitive and promises what it delivers. Consumers should be able to use it out of the box without thumbing through a hundred pages in a manual. Plus, a well-designed product today should be environmentally friendly. I shouldn’t be able to notice a waste of resources such as excessive packaging.”
39 What would you improve about our product?
This is another question that examines how well the candidate knows your company. You want to bring aboard professionals who took the time to learn about your product(s) and who can think critically about it. What to look for in an answer:
Pros of the execution/example of something that succeeded
Something that didn’t go well
Example: “Yes, you did a creative job of executing your product. I especially enjoyed the video that went viral and the buildup to the product reveal. One thing I would change would be to narrow the focus of the product. It wasn’t clear if it was meant for parents or children.”
40 What technical skill do you have that sets you apart as a product manager?
You likely want a product manager who is especially good at something, whether it is data collection, interactive prototyping, coding, analytics or another area. This question ensures that your teams remain well-balanced. What to look for in an answer:
Example of a useful skill
How it has helped in the past
Results obtained from the skill
Example: “I’m an expert at A/B testing. Because of my knowledge of analytics and statistical significance, I was able to determine that ideas for a previous product launch were likely based on chance. I devised a new test, got it approved by the product manager, and with the variables better controlled for, we got an in-depth understanding of our customers’ pain points. The product launch went on to be one of the company’s most successful.”
41 What is your favorite product and why?
Before answering this question make sure that you are intimately familiar with your favorite product. Your favorite product could be
An App eg. Uber, Instagram, Instacart etc.,
A website eg. Amazon, Target etc.,
A physical product eg. camera, iPhone etc., or
A service product eg. Venmo, Paypal, Netflix etc.
Start by articulating the objective of the product.
What need is the product intended to fulfill?
Who are the intended users of the product?
Define how the product seamlessly accomplishes its objectives, and provides the user with a frictionless and intuitive way to achieve the desired objectives.
Define 1–3 features of the product that absolutely delight the user and provide a great experience.
Compare the product with competitors and alternatives and describe what the products does better, and areas where the product can learn and improve.
42: What is good design? How would you design a great product for a particular cohort group?
- This question can take several forms.
- How would you critique a product design?
- How would you design a bookshelf for kids?
- What in your opinion is a bad design?
The central idea behind this question is whether you can articulate the criteria by which you evaluate good design.
Define the general set of criteria for what makes a good design.
Intuitive feel and ease of use.
Intuitive use of icons, gestures, animations etc.
Clean clutter free design, that allow users to focus on the task without unnecessary distractions, while at the same time providing necessary options.
Intelligent use of flow and navigation, a design flow that anticipates what the user will do next and allows the user to intuitively move laterally between the different features or functionality of your product.
Delighting factor, set of design features that provides the user with a great frictionless, seamless experience that will make the user want to return to your product.
Align the design of the product with the intended audience and use cases. Define the intended audience and intended use cases, as the product design must be optimized for these scenarios.
Environment: Use cases should also consider the environment when the app is used. Examples may include used while driving vs. used while at the supermarket vs. used while at work, vs. used while walking etc.
Type of Interaction: Frequency and type of interaction windows plays an important role in the design. sporadic use eg. weather, intermitted use eg. chat messaging, or deep use eg. e-reading.
Demographics: used by younger demographics that are quick to discover hidden gestures vs. a Gen X audience vs. late boomers.
Describe two competing products and evaluate their design models based on criteria set in Step 1 and Step 2.
Compare an iPhone with an Android device,
Compare a Windows PC with a Mac OS.
Compare Seamless versus Grubhub.
43: How would you make a product better?
This question is meant to test the product mangers creativity, quantitative objectiveness, critical thinking and strategy alignment process. This question can take several forms,
How would you improve Yelp?
How would you decide what new features to add to your product?
How would you increase growth and market share of Product X?
Define the channels and drivers that capture the areas of improvement. Typically the following three channels/drivers are good indicators of gather information to improve a product.
Listening to what the customer has to say about the product.
eg. What are the pain points for the customer, what are the features that the customer absolutely loves, what are some of the features that they wish that the app would have, what are the parts that delight the customer etc.
Product Usage Analytics
Analytics that provide indicators of user interaction with the product
eg. is the user using a particular product feature in the way the product feature was intended to be used ? Do the analytics point to areas of friction within the product, or areas of frequent use ? Can certain navigational paths that are used frequently by the user made more efficient?
Business Strategy Alignment
Understanding the short term and long term strategic objectives of the business is a key driver to areas of improvement and addition of new features to a product.
eg. is the strategic objective to compete with an existing product to attract users from a different platform? is it to increase customer retention or conversion by 10% over the next 6 months etc.
Once you have defined the primary drivers that direct the areas of improvement for the product, the next step involves exercising creativity and coming up with innovative use cases and solutions that align with the drivers.
Creatively come up with ideas that will address the primary drivers in the areas of improvement. This may include refining existing features, adding new offerings, exploring several a-typical use cases, evaluating and prioritizing feature sets, brainstorming etc.
This is the most creative part of the product managers role, but must be directed by the parameters defined in Step 1.
Prune the use cases and solutions, and develop a feature set for the shortlisted solutions.
This part involves critical thinking and also prioritization based on the primary drivers of the product.
Define metrics and product improvement goals over the defined time period, to quantitatively measure the performance and business alignment of the feature set.
This is to ensure that you can measure if the impact of a particular feature set is as intended and aligns with the overall product improvement drivers i.e. customer feedback, user interaction with product, business strategy alignment.
44 How do you prioritize new features within a product?
This question test is meant to test the product manager strategy alignment and critical thinking and can take the following forms,
How do you decided which new feature to add to your product?
What other features would you add to product?
Should a product X have so-and-so features?
Start by first getting a clear understanding of the business strategic vision, and the business OKRs i.e. Objectives and Key Results.
eg. The business OKR might be to increase the subscription revenue within a product by 3% over the next 6 months.
Once you have a clear understanding of the OKRs, brainstorm with the project stakeholders to define initiatives that align with the OKRs.
These initiative might be feature sets, or they might be mini products offerings themselves. eg. Facebook live feature within Facebook, or Facebook marketplace.
Prioritize the project initiatives that align with the OKRs using some defined scoring methodology based on ROI.
To define the ROI scoring methodology first identify and define metrics around the positive impacts of the initiative eg. increased user engagement percentage, compliance requirement, feature most often requested by user, frequency of use etc.
Then identify and define the effort required to implement eg. estimated person-day cost, leveraging existing platforms, reusing open source libraries, partnering with key strategic partners (eg. a payment gateway) etc.
Using this methodology of prioritization you will now have a clear quantitative basis of comparison between the various project initiatives, which will allow you to effectively prioritize the project initiatives i.e. feature set or mini product.
45: How do you measure the success of a new product feature?
This question tests to see if the product manager can quantitatively assess and articulate the metrics that define success of a product feature or a mini-product.
Identify and define the intended goals of the features.
Identify the key OKRs and the goals of the product. Deeply understand the product feature set and also assess the unintended impacts of the feature. Identify if the product consisted of different feature sets, that collectively and separately addressed a particular OKR.
Evaluate if the product met the intended goals.
Identify the product usage metrics eg. frequency of use, level of adoption, level of engagement etc. and then correlate them with the goals and objectives metrics of the product.
eg. did the 20% increase in the level of engagement correlate to the intended 2% conversion ratio? etc.
46. What is your understanding of the relationship between product managers and engineers?
A product manager takes care of end to end execution of products, from ideation to execution. Engineers and technical teams build products.
• Engineering teams provide Product Requirements Document (PRD) and test plans for the product to be built. The product manager carries out market research to identify the audience, competitors and economic challenges.
• Engineers set an architectural vision, technical strategy and define development methodology for the organization. The product manager leads the product from concept to reality and is responsible for the constant fixing and development of the product.