August 30, 2023
Are you looking for a product manager to join your team and help you create and deliver value to your customers and stakeholders? If so, you may be wondering how to interview product managers effectively and find the best candidates for the role. Product managers are one of the most important roles in any company, as they are responsible for defining the vision, strategy, roadmap, and features of a product or service, working with cross-functional teams to execute them.
However, interviewing product managers can be challenging, as they require a variety of skills and competencies that are not easy to assess. You need to prepare and conduct a product manager interview carefully and strategically, to evaluate the candidate’s abilities and potential, as well as their fit with the role, the team, and the company culture. In this article, we will provide you with some tips and best practices on how to interview product managers effectively. We will cover the following topics:
By the end of this article, you will have a better understanding of how to interview product managers effectively and confidently. So, let’s get started!
Before you start interviewing candidates, you need to prepare for a product manager interview properly. Here are some steps that you can follow to prepare for a product manager interview:
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During the in-person interview, you need to ask some essential questions that can help you assess the candidate’s skills and competencies in different aspects of product management. Here are some examples of essential questions that you can ask product managers, and why they are important:
The importance of this question is that it allows you to evaluate the candidate’s product vision and strategy, as well as their ability to define and validate customer needs and business goals, prioritize and scope features, measure and communicate impact, etc. You can also learn about the candidate’s product experience, achievements, and challenges, as well as their passion and enthusiasm for the product.
This question is important because it allows you to evaluate the candidate’s user research and customer empathy skills, as well as their ability to use various methods to collect and analyze user feedback and data, synthesize insights, create user personas, user stories, user journeys, etc.
For the second point, this will help us to detect the candidate’s data analysis and decision-making skills, define and track key metrics, test hypotheses and validate assumptions, communicate data insights and recommendations to different audiences, etc.
This question evaluates the candidate’s communication and collaboration skills, as well as their ability to use various tools and techniques to communicate and collaborate with cross-functional teams, facilitate meetings and workshops, resolve conflicts and manage expectations, give and receive feedback, lead and influence others, etc.
This question is important because it allows you to evaluate the candidate’s problem-solving and creativity skills, as well as their ability to approach a new product or feature idea, validate it, design a prototype or mockup, present it to users or stakeholders, iterate based on feedback or data, etc.
This question allows you to evaluate the candidate’s resilience and learning skills, as well as their ability to handle a situation where their product fails to meet customer expectations or business goals, identify and address the root cause of the failure, communicate the failure and its implications to users or stakeholders, learn from the failure and prevent it from happening again, etc.
Looking for more general questions to ask during your interviews? Discover our curated list of best interview questions to identify top talent.
Finally, here are some dos and don’ts for interviewing product managers that can help you improve the quality and outcome of your interview process:
For example, you can ask “Why did you choose this approach?” or “How did you measure the impact of this feature?” or “What challenges did you face and how did you overcome them?” Asking open-ended and probing questions can help you understand the candidate’s thought process, logic, creativity, and problem-solving skills better.
You can also give constructive feedback on their responses and behavior, such as pointing out their strengths, praising their achievements and efforts, suggesting areas for improvement or learning, etc.
For example, you can ask them to design a new product or feature for a specific user segment or market, to improve an existing product or feature based on user feedback or data, to solve a complex problem or a business challenge using a structured approach, etc. Testing the candidate’s problem-solving and creativity skills can help you assess their potential and fit for the role.
For example, we should not ask questions that are too general or broad, such as “What are your strengths and weaknesses?” or “What are your hobbies?” or “What are your favorite products?” Also don’t ask questions that are too specific or technical, such as “What is the difference between agile and waterfall methodologies?” or “How do you use SQL to query a database?” or “How do you implement a RESTful API?” Asking vague or irrelevant questions can waste your time and the candidate’s time, as well as confuse or frustrate them.
These are some dos and don’ts for interviewing product managers. Of course, there are many more dos and don’ts that you can follow when interviewing product managers depending on your situation and preference. However, these are some of the most common and important ones that can help you improve the quality and outcome of your interview process.
Looking to enhance your hiring process? Don’t miss out on our guide on how to improve candidate experience.
We hope that this article has helped you gain a better understanding of how to interview product managers effectively and confidently. Product managers are vital for creating and delivering value to customers and stakeholders. Interviewing product managers requires careful planning and execution to assess their skills and fit. Following some tips and best practices can help improve the quality and outcome of the interview process. Therefore, we encourage you to apply the tips and strategies shared in this article for your next product manager interview.
If you're in need of skilled Product Managers, JB Hired is your solution. With our extensive experience in placing Product Managers and the largest global database at our disposal, we're well-equipped to support companies of all types in their hiring endeavors. Explore the possibilities by booking a free consultation through the form below.