How To Interview A Product Manager: A Complete Guide

Our comprehensive interview guide covers everything from technical knowledge to soft skills required for a Product Manager.

Reviewed by:
Faye Ameen
Update:
March 21, 2024
0 min read time
Nawal Malik
Copywriter

Hiring the right product manager can make a world of difference in your company's success. The right candidate should possess technical knowledge, strong analytical skills, and soft skills such as effective communication and time management. 

In this article, we'll provide a comprehensive guide to help you hire the right product manager for your business. Additionally, an interview questions generator can further help you select the right questions to ask!

Suggested: Qureos’ hiring guide can help you select the right candidate!

What Technical Questions should you ask a Product Manager in an Interview?

Technical questions are crucial in determining a candidate's technical knowledge and expertise in product management. 

Here are three examples of technical questions you can ask in a product manager interview:

  • Can you walk us through your product development process?

An ideal response to this question might include a detailed explanation of the candidate's product development process, including steps such as ideation, research, prototyping, testing, and launching. The candidate should also be able to explain how they incorporate customer feedback into their process.

  • How do you use data to inform your product decisions?

An excellent response to this question would include a description of how the candidate collects and analyses data, what metrics they consider, and how they use that data to make informed product decisions. In addition, the candidate must be able to describe how they balance quantitative and qualitative data.

  • How do you prioritize features for your product roadmap?

An ideal response might include a discussion of how the candidate considers factors such as customer needs, business goals, and market trends when prioritizing features for their product roadmap. The candidate should also be able to explain how they communicate those priorities to their team and stakeholders.

Other questions to ask in this section might include:

  • Can you describe a time when you had to pivot a product strategy?
  • How do you incorporate user feedback into the product development process?
  • How do you work with cross-functional teams such as engineering, design, and marketing?

Suggested: Learn how to improve candidate experience!

What Technical Skills should a Product Manager have?

Technical skills are crucial to a product manager's success, and they must demonstrate their understanding of product development principles and their application in real-world scenarios during the interview. The interviewers assess the candidate's technical knowledge of product management principles, including user research, product design, development methodologies (like Agile and Waterfall), and product analytics. They also evaluate the candidate's analytical and problem-solving abilities to analyze data, identify issues, and devise practical solutions. Additionally, the candidate's proficiency in product design, user experience, and product analytics tools is examined, as it showcases their ability to monitor user behavior and track essential metrics effectively.

Suggested: Qureos can help you generate job descriptions for free! 

What Behavioral Questions should you ask a Product Manager?

Behavioral questions can help you gauge a candidate's past experiences and how they handle certain situations. Here are three examples of behavioral questions you can ask in a product manager interview:

  • Can you describe a time when you had to make a difficult product decision?

An ideal response to this question might include a description of a difficult product decision the candidate had to make, the factors they considered, and the process they followed to make that decision. The candidate should also be able to explain the outcome of that decision.

  • How do you collaborate with cross-functional teams to bring a product to market?

An ideal response might include a discussion of how the candidate works with cross-functional teams such as design, engineering, and marketing to bring a product to market. The candidate should be able to explain how they communicate with those teams and how they manage competing priorities.

  • How do you handle feedback from customers and stakeholders?

An ideal response might include a discussion of how the candidate solicits feedback from customers and stakeholders, how they prioritize that feedback, and how they incorporate it into the product development process. 

The candidate should also be able to explain how they communicate the product roadmap to stakeholders and how they manage expectations.

Other questions to ask in this section might include:

  • How do you handle conflicts within your team?
  • Can you describe a time when you had to pivot a product strategy?
  • How do you balance short-term and long-term goals for your product?

Suggested: Get the right tips to foster a thriving team environment!

What Behavioural Skills should a Product Manager have?

A successful product manager must possess strong communication and collaboration skills to effectively work with cross-functional teams, designers, developers, and business stakeholders. These skills are vital for building strong relationships and achieving project goals. Additionally, product managers need the ability to work under pressure and solve problems swiftly. They must stay calm in challenging situations and think critically to make decisions under tight deadlines. Furthermore, adaptability is crucial for product managers as the product development landscape evolves rapidly. An ideal candidate should demonstrate an eagerness to learn, a willingness to experiment with new approaches, and the ability to adapt to new trends and technologies in the field.

Suggested: Learn the growing importance of emotional intelligence(EQ) in today's workplace!

What Soft-Skills questions should you ask a Product Manager?

Soft skills are essential in a product manager role, as they help the candidate manage time, prioritize tasks, and build relationships with customers and stakeholders. 

Here are three examples of soft skills questions you can ask in a product manager interview:

  • How do you prioritize your tasks when working on multiple products?

An ideal response to this question would include a discussion of how the candidate prioritizes tasks using tools such as to-do lists, calendars, and project management software. In addition, the candidate should be able to demonstrate how they balance short-term and long-term goals for each product.

  • Can you describe a time when you had to manage competing priorities in a product project?

An ideal response might include a discussion of how the candidate communicates with stakeholders to understand their needs and expectations, how they prioritize those needs, and how they manage competing priorities within the project team.

  • How do you ensure that you are meeting the needs of your customers while staying within budget and time constraints?

An ideal response might include a discussion of how the candidate communicates with customers to understand their needs, how they incorporate that feedback into the product development process, and how they manage budget and time constraints to deliver a high-quality product.

Other questions to ask in this section might include:

  • How do you handle a missed deadline or a project that is over budget?
  • Can you describe a time when you had to deal with a difficult customer?
  • How do you measure customer satisfaction with your product?

Suggested: Learn effective employee retention strategies!

What Soft-Skills should a Product Manager have?

A product designer must have essential soft skills to thrive in their role, which include time management, organizational abilities, and effective communication. During the interview process, these skills are assessed through specific questions aimed at evaluating the candidate's ability to prioritize tasks, balance competing priorities, and build strong relationships with clients and stakeholders. Strong time management and organizational skills are vital as product designers often handle multiple projects simultaneously, requiring them to prioritize tasks effectively and meet deadlines. Additionally, successful product designers need to balance the needs of clients, stakeholders, and internal teams, making decisions that align with business goals. They must also exhibit strong customer service and relationship-building skills, as they often serve as the primary point of contact for clients and stakeholders, necessitating effective communication and the ability to build trust with clients.

Read more: Learn the right practices of a structured offboarding process!

Red Flags to look out for when Interviewing a Product Manager

  • Lack of familiarity with product management terminology and concepts: Inadequate understanding may hinder effective communication and collaboration with cross-functional teams.
  • Inability to explain technical details in simple terms: Difficulty in conveying technical concepts to non-technical stakeholders may hinder effective collaboration.
  • Over-reliance on outdated product development strategies: An inability to adapt to new trends and tools may hinder the candidate's ability to stay relevant and competitive.
  • Lack of experience working on successful product development campaigns: Inability to provide specific examples of successful campaigns may indicate a lack of relevant experience.
  • Failure to demonstrate the ability to collaborate with other teams: Inability to work effectively with cross-functional teams can hinder successful product management.
  • Resistance to change and innovation: An unwillingness to embrace new approaches may limit the candidate's ability to drive innovation in product development.
  • Inability to manage time and prioritize tasks effectively: Poor time management skills may affect the candidate's ability to handle multiple projects.
  • Failure to communicate effectively with clients and stakeholders: Lack of successful customer service and relationship-building may hinder the candidate's ability to build strong partnerships.
  • Lack of attention to detail and quality assurance: Inadequate focus on quality may affect the candidate's ability to deliver high-standard projects.

Final Thoughts

Hiring the right product manager can be a challenging process, but by asking the right questions and evaluating the candidate's technical knowledge, behavioral skills, and soft skills, you can make an informed decision that will benefit your company in the long run. 

It's essential to look out for red flags such as lack of technical knowledge, failure to collaborate with other teams, and resistance to change and innovation. By prioritizing skills such as communication, problem-solving, time management, and customer service, you can find a candidate who will excel in a product manager role and help drive your company's success.

We hope this guide helps you make informed hiring decisions! 

Read more: Learn how to screen a candidate the right way!

Hire Top Talent with AI
From a pool of 350,000+ top candidate