Made it past a first round PM interview and received this assessment as stage two. Am I crazy or is this ridiculous?

Product Manager Written Assessment


We are excited that you are interested in joining our team! We are a close-knit group that loves to help our customers accomplish their goals and help change people’s lives.

Please go through the assessment below and the questions, we are only looking for a high-level snapshot. This assessment should not take longer than half a day.

Thank you and we are looking forward to seeing your responses!

#1 Can you design and integrate a wallet into XYZ which enables its user and customers to pay monthly bills?

#2 Suggest a new payment platform which can seamlessly integrate into the XYZ’s CRM –can you build a simple high-level platform?

#3 Can you suggest web-accessibility features for disabled to integrate into the XYZ platform and how would you design it

#4 Can you explore the XYZ platform and list the features which you a) Dislike b) Needs improvement c) An absolute No; Design few mocks with your suggestions.

#5 Can you list the metrics you would like to look at as a Product Manager to continuously improve the XYZ platform –Suggest the Business Intelligence metrics, tools and the data points that should be considered.

#6 As a product manager if you would like to define user roles / change privacy settings for the XYZ App in a B-B-C setting (which is the current business model) how would you do that. Please share flow charts, mocks etc. to illustrate.

#7 What is your favorite SAAS company? Can you create a mockup of an ideal SAAS platform MVP?

I was introduced to this company and their product just this week. I really only know what I learned from browsing the marketing materials and watching a video from the founder. (I replaced their platform’s name with XYZ)

I figured #1 was just trying to trick you with wording. Rather than dive in and start making recommendations, you’re supposed kickback questions and ensure there is a business justification, existing demand from customers and well-defined goals (or to see if you use some kind of framework, like CIRCLES etc.). After reading some of the other questions, not sure that assumption was correct. If you are literally asking if I can learn your platform and design that feature in under 4 hours, then no. No, I cannot.

Then #2. What? How could I possibly know what would “seamlessly integrate” into your system? Been PM long enough to know that nothing is seamless. The only people who use the word “seamless” are the ones trying to sell you, their solution. Even if I did know XYZ’s integration requirements, it would take me at least a “half a day” to start researching the top payment platforms out there and what their integration options are. And the second half…can I build it? Me? Are you expecting me to deliver code? No. No, I cannot build it.

#3,4,5 are totally fair and much closer to what I am used to from these things. If it were just these 3, no problem.

#6 Not sure how I could possibly distill this into a high-level snapshot that is still meaningful in anyway. I have zero knowledge of your existing system so no way of knowing how this would fit into or change existing workflows. So, you want me to deliver wireframes of a standalone “user role management” app? How trivial. Is this re-invention of the wheel even necessary? You think you’re going to come up with a revolutionary way to turn a regular user into a moderator that will lead your drive to $1 Billion dollar valuation? Every CMS on earth has a decent user management page. I have, in the past, literally gone to Ghost’s user management system, changed a few key labels using the web inspector, took a screenshot and then wrote the requirements. There’s your wireframe.

#7 Starts out ok and then back to the bullshit with… “Can you create a mockup of an ideal SAAS platform MVP?” WTF is an “ideal SAAS platform” you mean one that is potentially profitable and wouldn’t have too many competitors? Yes, I’m sitting on a stack of potentially lucrative SAAS business plans. Let me just peel one off, throw together some mockups and hand that valuable IP over to you in under 4 hours. Want me to draw up a VC pitch deck while I’m at it?

That’s not even mentioning the grammar errors scatter throughout.

Sorry for the rant. I just started typing, blacked out and when I came to, there was a wall of bitter text.


This is pretty awful, and I cringed as I read through. While there are many issues, I would like to drive home one key point about PM take-home with the hope that any of you who read this message never make this mistake again as you hire folks in the future:

Please for the love of God DO NOT ever give a case whose subject if your own product or company. To me, it is pretty close to the ethical line of getting the work done for free. I have been hiring PMs for the last 10 years and have always used a take-home but have never used one where the subject is my company’s product. I craft a take-home that closely resembles the issues I want my PMs to handle but setup in a different industry mostly with a fictitious product.

This has worked beautifully for me. Given that it’s not my product or even a real product. it allows the applicants to have fun with the case and really let their creativity shine through.


@DhirajMehta The other problem that comes along is heavy bias. The hiring managers I have been meeting have preconceived ideas of success so the moment you go off track you are "wrong”.


@HeatherKurtz, I’ve heard the line of reasoning by hiring managers who set cases like these that they prefer to host a case on their own product/industry since they can speak most closely to it, ask and answer the most pertinent questions on which they were an SME. The problem is that it does kick the ethical line.


IMHO that’s just laziness/lack of creativity on the part of the hiring manager and seems to come from another terrible trope: that to be effective at a PM job one needs to be an industry expert. I have found the exact opposite to be the most effective way to get in fresh new ideas and new perspectives. Of course, I ensure that the candidate has his/her product management fundamentals, creativity and people skills are solid.

Also if I am an SME and I have a person in front of me who is new to a field any judgement on the person’s ideas will be biased by my knowledge. Atleast, I can’t see how can that can lead to a good PM interview outcome.

As I sit here and think, it seems like a way for the hiring manager to stroke his/her ego and feel like they are in control having the other party at a huge knowledge disadvantage.

My interviews on the other hand feel like that we are going on a journey and both I and the candidate are on a level playing field. I get to learn a lot about how the person thinks and then explore my own thinking and get the chance of becoming a better PM than I was before. A win-win scenario and a lot of fun. The difference between doing this with a strong and a weak candidate is so stark that most often I know within the first 5 mins who is gonna make it and who won’t.


@DhirajMehta, That’s so true. The first 5 minutes are enough to give a gut instinct. I am glad I didn’t take those jobs, definitely not worth it. We need more people like you to do the hiring!


I have never seen 6 pm questions (wrt product sense and etc) being asked in first round.

Almost feels like they want to get free work done thru interview process

Look at glass door and other sources to check the process in the company.

Also all those questions warrant over half a days work.


@CarolynMiles, That’s the thing. Even if it was an attempt to get free work…what could I possibly give them of value without any knowledge of their platform in under 4 hours?


@MarioRomero, I’ve withdrawn myself from interview processes for far less BS than what is shown here.

I use maybe one or two of these questions max when interviewing PM candidates in the second round. I would rather see one well thought out response rather than a bunch of rushed and mediocre responses.


They weren’t my top choice going into the week but the one thing they did appear to have was a good culture and vibe. Glassdoor has *5-star reviews and they all look authentic. Trustpilot has 4.9 from customers. Seems like they’ve helped a lot of people. This definitely threw me for a loop.


@CarlosDubois, Glassdoor is complete nonsense. They are heavily censored. Use Blind for large companies and for startups/small companies to try to find and talk to ex-employees.


Fun fact about Trustpilot, for at least products (never used it for company reviews) is they have an option for “publish y/n” if you’re a customer, so customers can essentially choose not to publish 1/2/3-star reviews. So, it could be completely fake!

Look for negative reviews that actually say something negative before you trust the reviews.


It’s a platform that you can totally buy positive reviews. Do not believe in internet reviews (same goes with bigger players like amazon, etc.)


For a company so small (only 8 reviews), IMHO they are either obviously “interviewing for ideas” and/or just have no clue how to interview quality talent, as this kind of bullshit is going to turn off anyone with any experience who has options.


I don’t know how well received it would be, but this looks like a good opportunity to not answer the questions and say: “these questions show why you need a product person in this company, and this is why”, then take the comments in this thread, compile the knowledge and show them why the questions don’t make sense from a product standpoint.

Obviously, I’m being playful here. These questions really raised a red flag.


@ArnieSilvers, I would 100% go with this option. You’d have to be very tactful to pull it off. Best case scenario is they agree and get you in to chat. Worst case scenario is you dodge a bullet


Yikes. Far too much time being being asked of candidates (half a day?!) and made much worse by how badly written it is. You’re asking candidates to spend hours and you can’t even be bothered to write decent, clear questions - or even spellcheck?

Unless you’re desperate for a new job I’d thank them for their time and move on. Not going to be a good company to work for.


@AnaRodriguez, Yes, I think this is an example of companies knowing how desirable PM roles at growth companies are and using that demand to see how many hoops they can get people to jump through.


Big -1 from me. Questions are 100% bullshit.

BTW, how big was this company? Startup strained in resources that expects the PMs to be a one man army?


@SamanthaYuan, LinkedIn says 27 employees. Looks like half of them are in the area of customer success/experience. Don’t see a product person currently which probably means it’s currently being handled by lead of customer experience.