Saturday, September 25, 2010

40 Questions that you can ask while interviewing Product Managers

The below questions are compiled and adapted from http://www.kennethnorton.com/essays/productmanager.html
  1. Why did you decide to move from engineering to product management?
  2. What is the biggest advantage of having a technical background?
  3. What is the biggest disadvantage?
  4. What was the biggest lesson you learned when you moved from engineering to product management?
  5. What do you wish you'd known when you were an engineer?
  6. How do you earn the respect of the engineering team?
  7. Tell me about a great product you've encountered recently. Why do you like it? [By the way, it drives me crazy when candidates name one of my products in an interview. I had a hard time hiring anybody at Yahoo! who told me the coolest product they'd come across recently was Yahoo! Good grief.]
  8. What's made [insert product here] successful? [I usually pick a popular product, like the iPod or eBay, that's won over consumers handily in a crowded market.]
  9. What do you dislike about my product? How would you improve it?
  10. What problems are we going to encounter in a year? Two years? Ten years?
  11. How do you know a product is well designed?
  12. What's one of the best ideas you've ever had?
  13. What is one of the worst?
  14. How do you know when to cut corners to get a product out the door?
  15. What lessons have you learned about user interface design?
  16. How do you decide what not to build?
  17. What was your biggest product mistake?
  18. What aspects of product management do you find the least interesting and why?
  19. Do you consider yourself creative?
  20. Is consensus always a good thing?
  21. What's the difference between management and leadership?
  22. What kinds of people do you like to work with?
  23. What types of people have you found it difficult to work with?
  24. Tell me about a time when a team didn't gel. Why do you think that happened, and what have you learned?
  25. How do you get a team to commit to a schedule?
  26. What would somebody do to lose your confidence?
  27. Do you manage people from different functions differently? If so, how?
  28. What have you learned about saying no?
  29. Who has the ultimate accountability for shipping a product?
  30. Have you ever been in a situation where your team has let you down and you've had to take the blame?
  31. How has your tolerance for mistakes changed over the years?
  32. Which do you like first, the good news or the bad news?
  33. What's your approach to hiring?
  34. How have you learned to work with sales?
  35. What is the best way to interface with customers?
  36. What makes marketing tick?
  37. How do you know when design is on the right track?
  38. How should a product manager support business development?
  39. What have you learned about managing up?
  40. What's the best way to work with the executives?


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