Every Product Manager Interview Question You Need to Know was originally published on Exponent.
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Hiring managers at major tech companies want PMs who are adaptable, quick on their feet, highly motivated, and capable of working with cross-functional teams.
The interview process for this position is intended to better understand your overall working style.
We’ve compiled a list of the top product manager interview questions and answers to help you prepare.
Top Product Manager Interview Questions
You can most likely expect these types of questions in your PM interview at startups and big tech companies.
- What’s your favorite product and why? Watch Google PM answer.
- Tell me about a time you had to make a decision to make short-term sacrifices for long-term gains. Watch Amazon PM answer.
- Tell me about a time you handled a difficult stakeholder. View community answers.
- Design a product for drivers during rush hour. Watch Google PM answer.
- How would you improve Instagram Stories? Watch Microsoft PM answer.
- Tell me about a time you made a mistake. Watch interview strategy.
- Tell me about a time you solved a complex problem. Watch Amazon Program Manager answer.
- Tell me about a time you had a disagreement with a coworker? How did you solve the problem? Watch Amazon TPM answer.
- How would you handle negative user feedback for your product? View community answers.
- What are the top 3 tech trends that will change the next decade? View community answers.
- BONUS: Measure the success of a dating app.
- BONUS: Why do you want to work as a product manager?
- BONUS: Why do you want to work at Google, Amazon, Apple, etc?
Sample Question 1
Interviewer: What’s your favorite product and why?
Sample Answer: “My favorite product is the Chrome web browser.
Google Chrome is one of the most popular web browsers for computers and phones. There are many different types of users, from older people who don’t know much about technology to tech-savvy millennials. I’m a power user because I know everything there is to know about the product and use it to its fullest potential! This includes using add-ons, having more than one profile, and more.
Users who browse on the Internet are mainly looking for a web browser that’s quick and efficient to use. Efficiently finding relevant content and a smooth experience are critical to any web browser’s success.
Users were stuck with Safari, Firefox, and Internet Explorer before Chrome arrived. These browsers had basic features, but they weren’t customizable or advanced enough to satisfy users’ needs. They also lacked innovation and didn’t deliver the efficient experiences users wanted.
Google Chrome came into the market and focused on personalization above all else. This, in turn, paid dividends since it also created more efficient and relevant web browser use.
Chrome added three things that created a better experience: Profiles, Quick searching, and a Power home page.
Chrome users could log in to their Gmail accounts to easily start collecting relevant data on their usage behavior. This allows Chrome to create a more personalized experience by recommending sites based on past behaviors.
Another great feature they added was quick searching from the URL bar. Google leveraged its core product, the Google Search engine, to allow Chrome users to search the web directly from the URL box. This lowered the friction to search – one of the core functions of Internet users. Lastly, they added a personalized home page with your most visited sites already on their home page. This saves users time by increasing navigational efficiency.
I think Chrome is fantastic, but if I could improve it, I’d add vertical tab displays. Similar to how Slack has channels listed vertically, adding this feature would improve the multi-tab experience.
Specifically, it would allow for clearer distinguishing between tabs at high volumes rather than squishing the width of each tab where they’re no longer distinguishable.
My favorite product is Google Chrome – Google’s web browser. Before Chrome, web browsers only fulfilled one function: searching the web, but Chrome was able to create a more personalized experience that enhances the web viewing experience. If I could improve it, I’d add vertical tab displays.”
Sample Question 2
Interviewer: “How would you improve Instagram Stories?”
Sample Answer: “To improve Instagram Stories, I would focus on enhancing user engagement and providing more meaningful experiences.
I would start by making the feature easier to use, with an intuitive UI that guides users through their stories creation process. Additionally, I would introduce more creative tools and options to help users customize their content, while also allowing them to leverage existing content from other social media platforms.
Furthermore, I would work with data scientists and designers to analyze user behavior and create tailored stories and experiences for different user groups.
Lastly, I would continue building out the feature with innovative ideas, such as adding VR/AR capabilities or 3D elements to make it even more engaging.”
Google Product Manager Questions
- What’s your favorite product and why?
- Tell me about a time you handled a difficult stakeholder.
- Design a product for drivers in rush hour
- Estimate the number of restaurants in San Francisco.
- How would you handle negative user feedback about YouTube?
- Should Google go into ridesharing?
About the Google PM Interview:
The Google Product Manager interview process typically consists of multiple rounds of technical, behavioral, and case-based interviews.
Technical questions may focus on product management fundamentals, while case-based questions usually require you to analyze a product or situation and articulate how you would approach it.
Behavioral questions are designed to evaluate your problem-solving skills, teamwork capabilities, and passion for the role.
Review the complete Google product manager interview process.
Amazon Product Manager Questions
- Tell me about a time you had to make a decision to make short-term sacrifices for long-term gains.
- Tell me about a time you made a mistake.
- Tell me about a time you disagreed with someone and how you resolved it.
- What product that you led are you most proud of and why?
- Tell me about a time you made a bold and difficult decision.
About the Amazon Product Management Interview:
The Amazon Product Manager interview process includes different levels of interviews, such as an initial phone screening, a technical assessment, and multiple rounds of onsite interviews.
The phone screening typically consists of questions related to product management fundamentals.
The technical assessment is a timed exercise that is designed to evaluate your problem-solving skills.
In the onsite interviews, you will be asked behavioral questions about your experience with product management and case-based questions where you will have to analyze a given product or situation.
View questions and answers to the most frequently asked Amazon PM interview questions.
Meta (Facebook) Product Manager Questions
- How would you improve Instagram Stories?
- Tell me about a time you made a mistake.
- Friend requests are down 10%. What would you do?
- Build a Facebook product for blood donation.
- What goals would you set for Facebook Marketplace as the PM?
- Can you monetize WhatsApp?
About Meta (Facebook) Product Management:
Product management at Meta is an incredibly rewarding job, with its large scale and mission to link millions of users worldwide.
To be successful in this role, Meta’s product managers must have a deep understanding of several technical areas, as well as the ability to evaluate both Facebook and Meta’s global impact on product development, execution, and strategy.
At Facebook, product managers work alongside software engineers, data scientists, and marketers in multifunctional teams.
The roles for PMs are primarily determined by where the product lies within the user’s journey; some may focus on optimizing conversions in Marketplace (down-funnel), while others need to consider user acquisition in emerging markets (top-of-funnel).
Product Design Questions
The most fundamental product manager questions, first and foremost, concern product design.
They’re the backbone of PM interviews. Not only that, but they are usually the most entertaining to answer!
Product design questions typically focus on topics like:
– user experience,
– interface design,
– customer journey mapping,
– and A/B testing.
Questions about product metrics and key performance indicators (KPIs) will likely be included as well.
- What’s your favorite product and why? Watch a Google PM answer.
- Design a Fitness App for Facebook. Watch an expert answer.
- Design a product for drivers driving during rush hour.
- How would you build a Facebook product for blood donation? Watch an expert answer.
- Design a fire alarm for the deaf.
- Design a shopping app to improve the in-store grocery shopping experience.
- Design a better doctor search and visit experience. Watch an expert answer to this interview question here.
Product design questions assess a candidate’s:
– knowledge of user-centric design principles,
– understanding of industry-wide trends,
– product vision, product strategy,
– and passion for product management.
View our PM product design interview rubric.
Practice is the best way to prepare for these questions! Creating a product vision is a process that takes time. It takes time to develop into a skilled product manager who can think independently.
Although this section of the product manager interview is primarily about creativity, don’t think that you can’t improve your creative abilities with practice!
Some of the most commonly asked estimation questions include:
- Estimate the number of restaurants in San Francisco. Watch a sample answer to this estimation question here.
- How many shampoo bottles are sold in the US annually? Watch an expert answer this question.
- Estimate the number of Uber drivers in San Francisco. Watch an expert answer this question.
- Estimate the number of videos watched on YouTube per day.
- Estimate the total dollar amount of online sales for fruits and vegetables per year in NYC.
- How many quarters do you need to reach the height of the Empire State Building? Watch a Product Manager at Google answer this PM interview question here.
- Estimate Google Photos storage for Pixel phones.
- Estimate the total internet bandwidth needed for a campus of 1000 graduate students.
Are estimation questions still popular in PM interviews?
Many Big Tech companies are well-known for their arduous “estimation” product manager interview questions—Fermi Problems are another name for these types of interview questions.
While companies like Google are well-known for their estimation questions and difficult interview process, they are being asked less and less in tech interviews.
The reason? They aren’t always the best way to evaluate product managers and their leadership abilities. They don’t do much to accurately depict the day-to-day work of a product management team.
Nonetheless, you should be prepared to answer them during your product manager interviews, just in case.
As you might expect, product manager interviews include several behavioral questions.
These interview questions focus on how well you’ll work on a product management team rather than your technical knowledge.
Here are some of the most common types of behavioral questions:
- Tell me about a time you made a mistake. Watch a Google PM answer.
- Tell me about a time you raised the bar. Watch an expert answer.
- Tell me about a time you handled a difficult stakeholder.
- Tell me about a time when you solved a complex problem and how you went about it.
- What was your biggest failure as a product manager?
- Tell me about a decision you made based on your instincts.
- Tell me about a time when you had a conflict with someone. How did you resolve it, and what did you learn?
- Tell me about a time you solved pain points for customers. Watch an expert answer this question.
- Tell me about a time you convinced someone to change their mind.
What are behavioral interview questions?
Behavioral interview questions in tech interviews are typically framed around topics like problem-solving, analytical thinking, teamwork, communication skills, resilience, and adaptability.
Interviewers may ask questions about scenarios where the candidate had to think quickly under pressure or demonstrate creativity when faced with obstacles.
Candidates should also be prepared to answer questions illustrating their commitment to professional development and collaboration with teammates.
Behavioral interview questions are part of the interview process that assesses your past behavior and performance in your previous jobs.
These questions also focus on determining if a candidate can fit in with the company culture. Do you have good communication skills that can help team members succeed?
Many “tell me about a time” interview questions will be asked during these rounds.
These are more concerned with your ability to work with a team and solve problems rather than your technical knowledge or skills. These skills are critical in the field of product management!
Product Strategy Questions
Like product design interview questions, strategy questions are another critical component of the product manager interview.
Google is famous for its strategy interview rounds.
- Should Google go into the ridesharing market? Watch a Capsule Pharmacy PM answer.
- How would you increase the number of bookings on AirBnb?
- If you were the CEO of Microsoft, how would you increase usage for Internet Explorer? Watch a Microsoft PM answer.
- You are a PM for Gmail. How would you react to a competing product?
- Amazon is launching free storage for photos. If you’re a Google PM for Photos, what would you do?
- How would you monetize Facebook Dating?
This interview section examines a PM’s ability to track the competitive landscape. It includes considering and making decisions about high-level product direction.
These questions are very business-focused.
You may be asked to explain your thoughts on the following topics:
– competitive analysis,
– market analysis,
– product roadmaps.
Great PM candidates have a strategic understanding of the products their company makes and sells.
Generally speaking, Analytical and Execution product manager interview questions are grouped together. But there are subtle differences between the two.
- Determine Success for Instagram Reels. Watch a Juul PM answer.
- Measure LinkedIn Events Success. Watch a LinkedIn PM answer.
- If you were the PM for Lyft, what dashboard would you build to track the app’s health? Watch an expert answer.
- Should Google incorporate “Ad quality” into YouTube videos?
- What metrics would you focus on as the PM for YouTube?
- Devise A/B tests to improve user frustration with Google Maps.
- What should Airbnb’s key north star metrics be?
- How would you set a goal for FB reactions and measure it?
These questions concern reasoning with metrics and critical thinking about more abstract product problems.
You’ll demonstrate your technical knowledge by listening to user feedback and fixing bugs.
In most cases, PM candidates will be asked these types of questions to assess their experience and competence:
- and A/B Testing.
Execution product manager interview questions relate to Analytical interview questions.
Some examples of execution interview questions include:
- TikTok usage is down. What do you do? Watch a Dropbox PM answer.
- Friend requests are down 10%, what would you do? Watch a FB PM answer.
- Should Uber Eats be a different app from Uber Rides? Watch a sample answer to this PM interview question here.
- You are the PM of Lyft, there is a sudden increase of users canceling the rides. How would you analyze this issue and what steps you would take to correct this? Watch an expert answer this question here.
- TikTok usage is down. What do you do? Watch an expert answer this question here.
- You’re a PM at a food delivery app. There’s been a 10% decline in restaurant supply over the past week.
However, as the name suggests, Execution questions are concerned with product execution and the shipping of products. They’ll test your technical know-how and ability to explain technical concepts.
Specifically, they are an attempt to discern whether or not a candidate has the ability to smoothly and efficiently develop and launch products.
These kinds of interview questions have a large scope.
More than anything, your job in these interviews is to get the interviewer on the same page as you.
Explain product management concepts that you may take for granted and make it easy to follow your thought process.
You can expect each of them to assess your:
- attention to detail,
- your knowledge of the tech industry,
- the shipping of products,
- and general technical knowledge.
You might not be asked any technical PM interview questions. They are becoming increasingly rare these days.
This isn’t to say you shouldn’t be prepared to respond to them if the occasion arises!
- How would you handle negative user feedback about YouTube, and how might you address it with the engineering team?
- What are the top 3 technology trends that will change the landscapes in the next decade?
- How would you explain cloud computing to your grandmother?
- How does Google Maps compute ETA?
- What happens when you navigate to a website?
- How would you diagnose a connection issue with Instagram?
- Why is Gmail search slower than Google search?
Do I need to be a technical product manager?
The reason these questions don’t show up often is that the role of PM has shifted. Product managers use their time to conduct user research and develop product strategies.
Much of the heavy lifting and software development is passed to engineering teams. However, some product teams may ask that you bring technical skills to the table.
The reason these questions don’t show up often is that the role of PM has shifted. Product managers use their time to conduct user research and develop product strategies.
Google, for example, is known for requiring more technical experience than many other companies.
Technical PM questions are not the same as coding questions.
Technical PM questions assess a candidate’s:
- critical thinking skills,
- analytical thinking,
- experience with various software tools,
- ability to define product features,
- general comfort operating under technical constraints.
There are many different technical questions you could be asked during your PM interviews. Usually, they are very open-ended or abstract.
Typically, they will be based on product design questions. The interviewer will ask you to dive deeper into the technical aspect of the design.
How to Answer Product Manager Interview Questions
Every great answer in the PM interview will follow the same general format, regardless of the question.
This is an important step to take before answering a product management interview question. Make sure to actively listen when the interviewer asks you a question or lays out the parameters and constraints.
Make a note of the key points as they go.
If you already know how to answer a question, this part of the interview process may seem redundant. Slowing down and demonstrating that you can listen to directions and process information effectively is also beneficial.
Spend some time getting to know your interviewer.
Don’t make the mistake of diving headfirst into the question.
Before proceeding, make sure to ask questions. Even if the question appears simple or straightforward, you should always ask your interviewer clarifying questions.
This way, you can determine the most important aspects of the question or what your interviewer expects from your response.
For instance, some questions you can ask your interviewer are:
- Is this product targeting a specific set of users or customers?
- Which platforms are our target users using?
- Is this product being released on a global or domestic scale?
If you can’t think of anything, you can always ask, “So, you’re asking me to ?” Is that correct?”
Stop and Think
You may be tempted, especially given the pressure that comes with in-person interviews, to immediately dive right into your answer.
However, when it comes to PM interview questions, it is best to take a few moments to collect your thoughts beforehand.
You would be surprised what an extra 10-20 seconds of reflection can do for the quality of your interview answer. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that your interviewer expects anything less either.
They’d prefer you take your time to organize your thoughts so that your answer is coherent and easy to follow.
As a product manager, you’ll need to act quickly. But not so quickly that you wouldn’t have a few seconds to collect your thoughts!
Structure Your Answers
The next step is to provide a structure to your answer. You should always present this structure to your interviewer or hiring manager before diving in.
This is especially true if there is no right or wrong answer to a question!
This is the perfect chance to sketch this structure on the whiteboard if one is available to you.
Many PM questions can fit into a simple three-point structure.
For instance, you can begin your answer by saying something like: “Alright, I’m going to explore three possible products that fit your question and cover the tradeoffs of each. These three products are _____, _____, and _____.”
Other questions may require a more complex structure. Either way, giving your interviewer a structure beforehand allows them to get a good read on your answer so that they can redirect you if necessary.
Explain Your Answer
Now, you’re ready to answer the question. Be sure to explain your thought process throughout.
It is also a good idea to use the whiteboard as much as possible, so long as you have one at your disposal. Every good product manager has a whiteboard, right?
Lastly, be sure to sit up straight and display confidence while providing your answer. Don’t forget to make eye contact as you do so!
Given the complexity of PM interview questions, it is not uncommon for interviewees to veer off-track.
That’s why it is always a good idea to check in with the interviewer and pivot wherever necessary.
One mistake some new interviewees make is trying to prepare answers ahead of time.
Generally speaking, there are three common scenarios when it comes to necessary pivots. These are:
- The interviewer presents concerned body language. Usually, if a candidate isn’t on the right track, the interviewer will display some concerned or anxious body language. After all, they are only human. They may change their posture or make some sort of gesture. This may not always be the case, but these moments may be clues. Either way, it’s always best to check in at these moments. You wouldn’t need to say much more than: “I’ll now move on to the next portion of my answer. Is that okay?”
- You realize your answer is wrong. Another frequent occurrence is the realization that your answer is incorrect or flawed while you’re answering. This could feel very nerve-wracking or embarrassing, but don’t worry, this happens all the time during PM interviews! The solution here is not to double down on your answer. Instead, find a way to smoothly pivot. For example, you can say something like: “Actually, after discussing this point and thinking of my experience as a product manager, I recognize that there are several flaws with my answer. I’d like to change my answer towards….”
- You forget your point. Chances are, this is an unlikely scenario, but it does happen, especially given the nerves that come with interviewing. If you forget or lose your point midway through your answer, all you need to do is ask for some more time. Say something like: “Ok, I’ll need just a little more time to think through the second part of my question. Please give me a few moments.”
Review and Summarize
Last but not least, before you ultimately finish your interview question, provide a brief summary of your answer.
This doesn’t need to be anything in-depth. Give a 30-second overview of your answer.
You should structure this brief summary in the same general way you did your answer.
One of the biggest hurdles candidates come up against is going too quickly in their answers.
Studying the answers to product manager interview questions may help you answer correctly in a technical sense. But if your interviewer is unable to follow your logic, they may not call you back!
While you can assume a basic level of technical knowledge when you start a job, it’s not always good practice for an interview.
That’s why in your interview, you should pretend that your interviewer is a complete stranger. Break down complex topics into easily digestible pieces.
Obviously, don’t explain what a smart phone is or why people use apps! But don’t be afraid to explain your product philosophy and how you can make a product team great.
While you’re answering questions, mention things like:
- Successful products you’ve launched as a product manager and the knowledge you gained
- How do you talk to users and conduct user research?
- How would you implement and plan for new features into a product’s roadmap?
- How do you define a successful product launch?
- What metrics do you use to determine if a product is working well?
- How do you work with other product managers on your teams?
Pitfalls and Traps
Your product manager interview is emotional. Your head is probably buzzing with excitement and nervousness.
Every interview and company culture is different. Which is why it can feel daunting walking into an interview not knowing if you’re prepared enough!
Failing To Explain Why You Made the Decisions You Did
When answering problem-solving questions, you need to be able to prove the logic behind your solutions through reasoning.
If you can’t do this, you will simply be stating solutions to problems without any justification.
Giving reasoning to your solution is the perfect way to close-off an answer to a problem-solving question.
Try to instinctively add reasoning to your answers, rather than wait for the interviewers to encourage you to delve deeper and explain further.
Not Finding the Key Performance Indicators
The interviewers want to see that you’re ahead of the curve.
You should aim to demonstrate your understanding of how this tech company measures success.
In other words, identify the key performance indicators (KPIs) that revolve around the business.
If you don’t know how the company measures success, how will you know what is best for the product?
Whilst a subscription business will be focused on user retention, an e-commerce business might be looking for repeat purchases.
Think critically before coming into the interview about the tradeoffs and metrics.
You Haven’t Studied or Used the Product
It sounds simple, but is often forgotten. Use the company’s product!
You should try to get your hands on the company’s products prior to the interview. Ask for a free trial or beta access from your interviewer if its behind a paywall.
Studying the product will help inform how you see the user experience. In a product management interview, you may be asked how the user interface or user experience can be improved.
If you’ve failed to expose yourself to the product, you will not only be stumped in the interview, but also leave a negative impression on your interviewers!
Even if you’ve studied for weeks, not using the company’s product won’t look good!
FAQs about the PM Interview Process
Below are some of the most frequently asked questions about how to prepare for the PM interview.
How do I prepare for a product manager interview?
- Step 1: Research the company you’re applying to and learn the product manager interview loop for that company.
- Step 2: Choose one type of interview questions for that role (product sense, behavioral, analytical, strategy, execution, technical, etc).
- Step 3: Review the most common interview questions. Create stories from your resume to prepare for your interview. Practice using the STAR method to answer each question.
- Step 4: Compare your answers to the most popular answers to interview questions from people who landed the job.
- Step 5: Move between interview question categories and repeat.
What makes a good PM interview?
Ultimately, your product manager interview will come down to three things.
- Product Vision and Sense: How well are you able to envision future products to solve user pain points and needs?
- Communication: Can you communicate your product ideas and vision to a product team and engineering team to execute?
- Culture Fit: Do you align with the company’s vision and the ethos of its workers?
Is Product Manager a Technical Role?
Depending on the company, your product management role may be technical. Companies like Google encourage a strong technical and coding background to succeed in their product management positions. However, many companies don’t require a technical background to lead technical teams.
Is Product Management a Stressful Job?
Depending on your career goals, being a product manager can be stressful and exciting. If you need consistency in your daily routine, being a product manager may not be for you. Product managers thrive in environments where they have to adapt quickly to rapidly changing behaviors and user requests.
Exponent has helped tens of thousands of product managers, technical product managers, program managers, and more land their dream jobs in tech.
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📚 Brush up on your strategy with a list of the best PM books
📖 Read through our company-specific Product Management interview guides
👯♂️ Practice your behavioral and product sense skills with our interview practice tool.
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