design principles for a mobile app. 

imageThe Product Manager is a mid-management to senior-management role, depending on the product or range of products assigned to the individual. Companies look for candidates who are resilient, insightful, and who can think strategically. A product manager has to be self-motivated, she must have the ability to work with and motivate different teams. The product manager is the bridge between the customer and her technical team. She has to understand market trends and she must have the skill and knowledge to leverage technology to provide what customers want. This is a crucial role for the company, and your interviewer will ask a wide range of questions to figure out if you are right for the job.

three stages of a tech interview

Most companies follow a basic template with minor variations. You will be informed about the process either verbally or in writing.

  • Stage 1: After reading your resume, the company sets up a phone call. This stage is designed to gauge your knowledge about the position and the company, and to get a general idea of your enthusiasm / energy levels.
  • Stage 2: You might get a remote interview/assignment. Some companies will want to test a few skills with a preliminary test before having you actually come in. It may be conducted over the phone, via Skype, or homework-type assignment.
  • Stage 3: This is the actual technical interview – it is an in-person interview, usually combined with technical design or coding challenges to be completed on a whiteboard, in front of the interviewer.

Here are a few examples of how some popular tech companies organize their interview stages:

  • Google: initial phone or Google Hangout interview (30-60 min); onsite interview (~4 hours made up of 4 separate interviews)
  • Facebook: Initial phone (30 – 50 min); onsite interview (1 full day)
  • Uber: initial phone screen (30-60 min); in-person interview (1 full day made up of 6 back-to-back interviews)
  • Uber: a three-part aptitude test (reasoning, quantitative aptitude, verbal ability), 2 rounds of interviews with HR and the tech team. More details here.
  • Wipro: online test; technical round; HR round. More details here.

A Product Manager’s job requires multiple skills – you will have to demonstrate deep knowledge of design principles and coding. In addition, a product manager has to be able to follow market trends; she must be able to work with her team to respond to these trends with appropriate and responsive product features. When companies hire product managers, in addition to technical skills they will assess candidates on leadership, communication, behavioural skills, and knowledge of marketing and market trends.

Here are a few questions that you might be asked at your interview. These questions are listed under the different skills that the hirer will be trying to assess.

product questions

  • Pick a product that you like/dislike. Why? What would you change about the product?
  • How do you know if a product is well designed?
  • How would you re-design our product?
  • What is one improvement you would implement for our product in the next six months?
  • How would you describe our product in 60 seconds?
  • What is the key to a good user interface?

product management

  • imageDescribe the product management role in 60 seconds.
  • What aspects of product management do you find most exciting?
  • What aspects of product management do you find least interesting?
  • Tell me about a time you had to build and motivate a team.
  • How would you size the market for your product? What metrics would you use to measure the product success? What would you go back and change in your product

technical design questions

  • How do you ensure that market-oriented teams understand technical challenges?
  • Can you provide an example where a technical solution you and your team designed became a commercial product?
  • Tell me about a feature you designed. How did you come up with the idea? What metrics will you use to track the success of a feature?
  • What is the best way to improve user experience (UX) without changing the interface?
  • How should one properly design push notifications? Why are they so important?
  • What is on boarding and why is it so important for mobile design?

metrics & analytics

  • Describe a customer feedback recommendation that you implemented.
  • How would you measure effectiveness of your UI?
  • Talk about a time when you used data to make a product decision.
  • If you want to build the world’s most popular mobile messaging product and you need to estimate how much network bandwidth would be used in a year. How would you go about doing this?

behavioral questions

  • Talk about how you have overcome product failures / challenges.
  • How do you interact with customers / users?
  • Tell me about a mistake you made and how you handled it
  • Tell me about one challenging issue you took on.

leadership & communication

  • One idea to encourage innovation in your team?
  • What is the difference between leadership and management?
  • What would you do to get your team to stick to a schedule?
  • What kind of people do you like working with? Don’t like working with?
  • How would you describe your leadership style?
  • Is consensus always a good thing?

general questions

  • Why should we hire you?
  • What do you do in your spare time?
  • Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
  • One of the best ideas you have had? One of the worst?
  • How do you say no to people? An example from your professional life.
  • What do you need from your manager to be successful in this job?

This list is covers a lot of possible questions but it is not exhaustive. Below is a list of websites that you can check for more questions. All of these questions (and answers) are crowd sourced. We advise you to cross-check answers with your own research about the company, the market, and competing products.

other references: