Interview questions I have experienced over the last few months

Hi Everyone,

Over the past few months, I have interviewed with a dozen or so different companies. Some local, some remote, some larger corporations, and some startups. I know many of you are prepping for interviews, so I wanted to share some of my experiences, and I hope this helps. I have been asked or have gone through the following:

  • Case studies (process of starting a new product line, process for analyzing imperfect data and how I would act on it)?
  • Standard: what type of culture am I looking for + salary expectations?
  • How would I describe product management in one sentence?
  • What are examples of outcomes you’ve supported?
  • What methods do you use to understand the customer?
  • Attacks on my resume (why I haven’t stayed at my last few employers for over 2 years)?
  • My philosophies as a manager.
  • My core principles as a PM.
  • How do you make a priority decision?
  • How would I improve a current product that exists?
  • What is agile?
  • What successful products or projects have I launched?
  • How technical am I?
  • Do I have experience in (AI, logistics software, accounting software, etc.)?
  • Do I have experience working with designers?

Thanks for writing these up. I think it’s great to provide real-world examples. I have had a number of interviews over the past year and I’ve found the following in structure:

-Generally 3 rounds

  • 1st round is one screener conversation with the HR person doing the quick 15 min intro/sanity check
  • 2nd is usually your 1-2 30-minute calls with your future manager or someone on the team doing a screen. Walk me through your resume will comprise of half of the call, maybe 2-3 behavioral questions from the list OP gave or some of the ones I listed below, and 5 mins for questions
  • 3rd round is usually a toss-up. Can just be 2nd round repeated 3-5 times in one day with other team members. Could be case-study based. Depends on the company. Case study ones will usually depend on the company - if they want their PM to be more technically inclined, design inclined, business inclined, balanced, etc.

Questions usually revolve around the following for 2nd round and 3rd round, unless case-based. Questions may also vary based on the company you’re interviewing for and how far into your career you are. The answers you should give largely revolve around the type of organization they are and what you think they’re looking for. Try your best to tease out their pain points each round and focus on those. Anyway:

  • If you have product experience that emerges from your resume or the “walk me through your background” portion, they’ll ask you to elaborate on the project, how it got developed, difficult decisions you made, etc.
  • Give me an example of a time you made a data-driven decision
  • How do you approach cross functional teams? or some variant of that. Are you experienced working in cross functional teams?
  • Give me an example of a time you had to deal with a difficult coworker or settle a disagreement
  • How do you get your technical team more involved?
  • What prioritization tools or frameworks do you use?
  • Give me an example of a time you had to choose between two decisions, as your team could only accommodate one choice. How did you make that decision?
  • What’s your view on technical debt?
  • Why this position at this company specifically?
  • Why agile vs. waterfall?
  • How do you come up with new features?
  • Give me an example of a time where a decision didn’t go your way/ give me an example of a time you got an unexpected negative outcome. How did you react?
  • What drew you to product management in the first place?
  • How did you become a product manager?
  • Give me an example of a product you love. How would you improve it?
  • Have you tried any of our products? What do you think?
  • How would your coworkers/manager describe you?
  • What are your biggest strengths? weaknesses?
  • What’s a current trend that interests you? -for example, I was interviewing at a company that was heavy on AI. “What’s a current product or trend that utilizes AI that you find particularly interesting?”

Hope this helps and adds value to your post.


@NathanEndicott, This is awesome! I haven’t gone through enough of the full interview process with enough companies to notice many patterns. Most of the companies I didn’t get past the HR gatekeeper. One in particular I remember for Fed Ex. The recruiter told me I was not moving on because I didn’t have experience with logistics software. This annoyed me, because I have plenty of experience with a variety of different software and workflows. And I don’t think logistics is unique that I wouldn’t be able to understand it.


@PaulineFrancis, Sorry to hear that. I would say you have to spend a crazy amount of time on your resume and that would be an excellent investment of time. Most of my first-round interviews feel like people are just validating my resume and making sure I am what I say I am but have already decided I will go on to the next round. I’m not sure why the recruiter would have wasted your time like that if they wanted someone with a very specific skill and you didn’t have it on your resume.


I want to understand how you go about answering the question about dealing with a difficult coworker. I’ve never faced this in my 3 years of product experience and find that this is a question I struggle with.


@DaveKim, I have a very specific story about how I was butting heads with my VP of Software on getting my work prioritized and how I went about getting more buy in internally. In this case the company followed more waterfall development and shared engineering resources across product teams. Don’t think that’s too common.

I would imagine you could think of a story revolving around the normal PM grumbles and how you solved it. Maybe a sales person or internal stakeholder tries to go past you straight to the engineering team for a feature request and how you fixed that or added a process in place, maybe an internal stakeholder isn’t clear with requirements or expectations and your team sees quite a bit of scope creep so maybe you set up more opportunities for stakeholder visibility and feedback in a way that doesn’t require you to be so reactive or you set up centralized documentation/roadmap for enhanced visibility on team commitments, maybe another team member is reluctant to pick up work and you had to convince them to despite not being their manager.


An example:

Engineering was complaining about lots of issues that sales and support were raising as P1 but they felt it wasn’t. At the same time the sales organization (CX, Sales) was complaining that their issues weren’t being addressed and going into the black hole of the backlog never to be seen or heard from again. This was primarily a PM issue. Side note: Part of this issue to me is JIRA (I am not a fan)

I was the head of product for the observability business for this company. I drafted a plan to address the 2nd half of the issue because I felt that if we can prioritize correctly, then Sales wouldn’t have to go to Eng, and they would get the response from Product. One of my jobs is protect engineering time so if I could save the cognitive load on engineering by simply re-directing the line of communication thru Product with the right framework, the first problem fixes itself (ie. significantly reduce the number of P1 for truly P1’s while providing context).

That’s what I ended up doing. It took a month of collaboration with the right stakeholders. I presented at all hands, and it was implemented the following month.


I bombed two PM interviews, aced one, and am now working as a tech PM for a top 20 global company.

Off the top of my head my two hardest questions were:

  • Describe how to take a product to market from beginning to end
  • What do you see changing in the industry and what do you think will be big 5 years from now?

Thanks for sharing this! Curious, how did you answer describing product management in one sentence.


I would answer that like this:

Identifying, prioritizing and delivering resourceful solutions to the most important customer problems.


That’s not a good answer. Your answer could be used for…any job at any company. It’s way too vague.

A good answer would include PLC, cross-team collaboration, and storytelling. Actual product management stuff.


It is product management’s job to first understand the goal of the company, then express that goal to its clients.

This is how my previous director described it to me, and since how I have viewed it.


Thanks for this! I’m encountering some of these questions in my interviews as well. Been searching for my next PM role for about 3 months now. Almost all my interviews have been with startups, remote and local.

Some to add on my end:

  • What would you say is your most recent (or biggest) failure?
    • Alternative: Tell me about a mistake you’ve made recently.
  • What does a Product Manager do?
  • What are you looking for in your next role?
  • How do you manage and prioritize tradeoffs?

@AngieGoodwin, this is great to add as well! I know so many of us are in the same boat looking for work, but we shouldn’t see each other as competition. We should instead be working together which will only improve and benefit everyone.


Thanks. I’ve been told previously to avoid giving numbers. It’s always so hard to avoid


@BethanyGrey, Yes, I did try that early on. And say things like “I expect market value and can be open and flexible”. But then you get into this weird limbo dance around that, and I don’t think salary should be taboo. I am probably putting myself at a disadvantage when it comes to negotiation, but I figure if the company likes me enough to make an offer, and I want to work there, we will be able to agree on something.


Thank you so much for this list! I’ve been thinking about preparing for interviews for when I’m ready to move to another opportunity.

Can you go over how you answered the case studies? Particularly the one about imperfect data?

Can you also elaborate a little on the outcomes question as well? I would like to understand what they meant by that question.


@JesusRojas, Not a problem, the case study presented to me was asking about how I would calculate Customer Lifetime Value. The formula is Gross margin * (Retention rate / [1+ Rate of discount – Retention rate]

I presented with 9 months or so worth of user data in an excel sheet. The data given was pretty comprehensive, but I specifically remember the following: when the user made an account, what months they were active, how much revenue was generated from the user each month. There was much more data, but I think these data points were most relevant.

Side note, I was super nervous and completely blanked when answering this question. So I did not do well. I believe the way you answer this question is just use the formula above. So you have to fill in the variables. The hardest I believe is trying to calculate the retention rate. To start, I think I want to look at a specific date range. Lets say Jan-June. For these months, I won’t include any new users that would added during this period. So for me to include the user data, they had to have had an account before Jan. Then, looking at all the users with accounts before january, I want to see the percentage of users that generated revenue each month (Jan-June). I assume there would have been a downward pattern of the percentage of users who generated revenue from the previous month. And this is how you can calculate the retention rate.

Again, I bombed this question due to nerves. But I believe this is how you would come up with a valid solution.


@PaulineFrancis, Wow, this is such a detailed response! Thank you so much!

Do you also have any resources or directions I can move towards in learning this? Analytics is an area that I definitely need to familiarize myself with so the formula you gave is new to me.


@JesusRojas, the formula is not something I have memorized. If you are ever asked to calculate something, you can look up the formula on your own. The important part is being able to use the formula once it is given to you.