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Product Manager Skills

How To Answer PM Interview Questions

  18+   Product managers are highly sought after professionals in the tech industry. They have to have a variety of skills that not everyone has. You could become a product manager with a coding bootcamp online, but this doesn’t mean you will get the first job you apply to.

That’s why you should prepare for the interview by researching common questions, the company’s history, and anything else that could be helpful. Here are some examples of things you should learn to be prepared (with links to articles on Bootcamp Rankings).

Understand the Hiring Criteria

One of the main things you should know when going to an interview is the hiring criteria. What are the qualifications, responsibilities, and skills the company is looking for? That way, you can answer all the questions highlighting the traits that make you a perfect fit for the profile they are looking for. It is as simple as going through the job description and looking for keywords.

For example, companies generally look for a product manager with excellent interpersonal skills because they have to manage other people. Depending on the type of company, they may also need a product manager with experience in software engineering, UX design, or web development.

Prepare to Sell Yourself

Interviews are always the best opportunity to paint the best picture of yourself. That’s why you should take it seriously and prepare the best you can. You can start by researching the company to know their history, products, mission, culture, and anything else you may think could come up in the interview.

Don’t get overconfident and rely solely on your previous experience and skill. If you research what strategies and techniques the company is using in regards to product management, you can prepare some suggestions on how you could help them if they hire you.

You can also visualize yourself in the role and find a better way to pitch your professional profile to the interviewer. And most of all, show your enthusiasm for the possibility of working for them. If you spend the whole interview looking bored and uninterested, they will probably feel like you don’t really want the job.

Common PM Questions

Part of preparing yourself is to research common questions for product management interviews. Some companies are famous for being unorthodox in this area, and they may throw unexpected questions at you. But there are also some common ones that you can look up and have answers prepared beforehand.

You can ask a friend or family member to practice the interview with you and see if the answers reflect what you want. Here are some common product management questions you could be answering in your next interview:

How will you describe our product?

This question helps interviewers determine if you did your homework and research the company. Also, it shows how you will answer when you are put on the spot. You can give a detailed description that shows your knowledge. And if you were working for them, they will expect you to take ownership and talk about it as it were your own. You can mention things like value for money, online reviews, and customer satisfaction with the product.

What was the most challenging decision you had to make as a product manager?

You should prepare an answer that shows how you respond in difficult situations. It is common in this position to make decisions that will reflect on the end result of the product or how the whole team operates. Sometimes they are quite complex and difficult to make

For example, if you are in a web design company, you could have to decide on a design feature that will completely change the UI. You can describe how you approached and analyzed the issue and how you reached the decision you took.

Talk about a time you failed as a product manager?

Failing is part of the learning process, and you shouldn’t be afraid of it. It shows that you have grown as a professional in your area. Interviewers also may ask this question to see if you are mature enough to accept you failed and if you are honest about it. The best way to answer is to focus on what that failure taught you and how you learn never to make it again.

How do you know a product is well designed?

It really depends on each company. However, you could research the quality standard of their products and try to find some common traits between them. Also, include your personal standards on what you think is a well-designed product. It can happen that it doesn’t align with what the company thinks. But, an open-minded attitude for learning will always get you farther.

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In Summary

Product management positions are well-paid, with average salaries of $108,000 per year (from Glassdoor.com). This makes the job hunt very competitive, and if you want to land the job in the first interview, you should go prepared. Have answers ready for most common questions, and make sure to highlight the skills and previous experiences that make you a perfect fit for the role.

If you are looking for more resources, you can check out the Career Karma community, where you can network with other product managers and enter the industry faster.

© 2021 Artur Meyster

With thanks to Gerd Altmann from Pixabay for sharing the Skills image.

Grammarly

Artur Meyster

Artur Meyster is the CTO of Career Karma (YC W19), an online marketplace that matches career switchers with coding bootcamps.

He is also the host of the Breaking Into Startups podcast, which features people with non-traditional backgrounds who broke into tech.