A well-trained product manager can increase company profits by 34.2% . Therefore, the demand for product managers is higher than ever. With the increasing demand, employers have also become more strict about the selection criteria. Acing interviews for the job of a product manager is quite challenging.
Interviewers will throw multiple questions at you, and nothing less than brilliant answers will impress them. Are you expecting technical questions and have mugged up all the important concepts related to product management? It’s high time you should become aware of the real catch.
While you can expect a few questions related to the field, no employer asks overly technical questions. Instead, they will focus on a wide range of behavioural questions. Employers are willing to know whether you can operate in high-pressure environments or deal with stakeholders’ expectations.
Dive deep into this article to develop a fair idea about certain behavioural questions and answers you can expect at a product management interview.
How Will You Motivate Product Development Teams?
First, focus on determining why a product development team might lack motivation. Most product development teams can be motivated by clearly discussing the issues they might be dealing with. A lack of motivation might also arise because of the absence of the right technologies. Motivating a product development team begins with finding the right way to solve specific issues.
How Will You Deal with Low-Performing Employees?
A product manager can directly confront a low-performing employee. However, the employees should find it a safe space to talk about issues that might be contributing to their lack of performance.
How Would You Interact with Users?
Interacting with users is crucial for developing ideas and collecting feedback. You will have to communicate with groups or individuals through forums, interviews, surveys, analytics, and more. You can also team up with the customer service team to receive first-hand feedback and bridge communication gaps with users.
Talk About a Time When You Were Running Behind Schedule While Launching a Product
A product manager is responsible for ensuring that the development team is running on schedule. However, there might be unavoidable setbacks, and the team might not be able to meet the deadline. If something similar happened to you as a product manager, you could reveal it to the interviewers. But you should also mention what led to the delay and how you will solve similar issues in the future.
Describe a Scenario That Made You Say No to a Project or Idea
Product managers are responsible for directing products from ideation to launch. Therefore, you will remain involved with different decisions and brainstorming sessions. The key to answering this question is proving that you can be encouraging even while saying no.
How Do You Plan to Solve Conflicts with a Team Member?
When you are responsible for managing a team, you won’t be unfamiliar with conflicts with team members. While answering this question, you will have to prove that you can keep personal equations aside in case of conflicts. You can speak about a situation where you solved conflicts with your team members and prevented them from turning into an ugly catfight.
Talk About a Time When You Failed as a Product Manager
Remember that talking about your failures won’t paint a negative picture in front of interviewers. Talk about your failures but also share insights on lessons you obtained from them.
Where Do You See Yourself in 5 Years?
The purpose of this question is for the interviewer to understand your career objectives. It will throw light on your plans to stick with the organisation and for how long. Your answer needs to be logical and realistic.
Try communicating that you will be content with the position. Align your career objectives with that of the organisation to impress the interviewer.
Talk About a Time When You Successfully Changed Someone’s Mind
As a product manager, you might often need to deal with stubborn stakeholders. Your interviewer wants to know if you can use logic to prove to someone why they might be wrong and why thinking a certain way would be beneficial.
Why Should We Hire You?
The answer to this question is for the interviewer to assess your confidence. They will be able to connect the dots between your skills, qualifications, and experience in deciding why you are suitable for the job.
The Right Approach to Answering Behavioural Questions
The behavioural questions that you receive in a product management interview require you to follow the STAR technique while answering. The technique lets you draw from real experiences and use a clearly-defined path for answering questions. The format for answering behavioural questions directly is as follows:
- Situation: Using real-world experiences and relating them to the question that was asked.
- Task: Talk about your specific role in the situation and describe your responsibilities.
- Action: Describe what you did to address the issue with step-by-step methods.
- Result: The outcome that you received
You must be as honest as possible while answering the behavioural questions in a product management interview. While sticking to the STAR technique is a safe choice, it’s not mandatory for you to follow. Don’t panic, and be yourself to ace the interview.
However, there’s one thing that you would require and that’s professional training. At Emeritus India, we have developed our product management certification courses in such a way, that all potential candidates will get an in-depth idea of the nuances associated with product management training.
What is the first step to preparing for answering behavioural questions in a product management interview?
The first step to preparing for answering behavioural questions in a product management interview is collecting a list of questions that you can expect. Apart from certain introductory behavioural questions, you can also expect leadership, problem-solving, and success-failure questions.
How can you align product management behavioural interview questions to career experiences?
Think about at least two career experiences that can help you answer the questions. Always be prepared to share more than two experiences so that interviewers don’t get frustrated with hearing about the same thing repeatedly.
How is the STAR method of answering interview questions beneficial?
The STAR method ensures that you can focus on the impact of your answer. Focusing on the ultimate achievement helps interviewees gauge how they would be beneficial to the organisation.
How do you smartly answer the weakness question at a product manager interview?
Several candidates believe that employers ask the weakness question to eliminate them. However, it helps interviewers analyse the self-awareness of candidates. You can answer the weakness question by focusing on your areas of improvement.
How to prove your uniqueness in a product management interview?
The easiest way to prove your uniqueness is to highlight the skills you possess. While you can talk about your technical skills, you should also focus a little on your soft skills, like the ability to manage teams.