Product manager

A good product manager or product owner carriers the idea of the company product forward. A PM owns the roadmap and works on lining ideas, challenges and problems. PMs balance the questions: customer purported needs, UX explorations and tech teams potential solutions. They provide a personal view but draw mostly from others. They spec and draw and speak the tech language.

Apart from specific company fit, my questions to candidates are about the 3 responsibilities of a Product Manager:

  • Understand the business and the product opportunities to improve it

    • What do you know about our company? What are we doing here, what's our potential?
    • Where is the industry going? 
    • What's impact to you? List the 5 most important ways in which a product improves. How would you define success in your job? Tell me about your biggest impact in a product management role you've had. How did you measure that?
    • In 60 seconds, make an accurate picture of X? Do you know what MECE is?
    • What do you hate about our product/ another product? Why? How would you make it better?
    • What features would you kill in our product/ product X? Prioritize them for killing until there is no product left. Where would you draw the line of what gets killed and not? Why's that?
  • Manage the product project. Adequately balance scope, time, cost and quality.

    • What's the impact of our business model in designing a Product? What are the critical challenges? Do you have the skills and experience when dealing with similar problems? Explain.
    • Do you have experience in working with a team like ours? What do you think about X as a technology?
    • What is an effective project management? What are the variables to optimize?
    • How do you organize yourself? How do you communicate with people? How do you detail an issue?
    • Talk to me about Agile, Kanban, Scrum, X. Which do you like the most?
  • The "one more thing"
    • Fo you think our product is beautiful? What's magic about it?
    • Tell me about the most incredible experience you've created
    • How do you systematically create those?

And that's all! Now, people aren't required to nail all of the questions? I wouldn't nail all of them, for sure. Between Values and these Technical questions, a good interview will take you perhaps some 2 hours. Some fare better in some questions, some in others. Cross check the most obvious answers with their past managers. Some questions don't have a right answer. What matters is that you get a good feeling about who you're about to hire!


[1] Deconstructing hiring through values