Practical tips to nailing product manager interview

Zen Liu
Agile Insider
Published in
4 min readMar 6

Product Management interviews are hard because of the following reasons

  1. Case-based questions: PM interviews often include case-based questions, where you are asked to solve a hypothetical problem facing a product or company. These questions require you to think critically, make decisions quickly, and clearly articulate your thought process.
  2. Ambiguous scenarios: Many PM interview questions are designed to be open-ended and somewhat ambiguous, so you need to be able to think creatively and come up with innovative solutions.
  3. Lack of information: PM interviewers often intentionally provide limited information to test your ability to gather and analyse data, and to make informed decisions with incomplete information.

While you can get better by practising interviewer questions, there will be times when you will be caught off-guard by a question that you haven’t anticipated or seem unreasonable. After going through and conducting multiple rounds of PM interviews myself, I decided to write this article that shares some tactics that I employed. I hope this will help you project confidence and professionalism. Read this before your next PM interview.

Image from iSmartRecruit

Tip #1: Always expect the unexpected

The best way to prepare yourself for the unexpected is to always expect the unexpected. In fact, it is a commonly used tactic to deliberately throw you off the game to test your ability to think on your feet. Thus, the first thing you should do when it happens is to stay calm and request some time to think.

It is perfectly acceptable for you to demonstrate that you are considering your response thoughtfully. This is an important attribute that is desirable for a good product manager because we need to be strategic and thoughtful in the way we communicate on a daily basis.

An appropriate time that I would recommend is 10–15 seconds as waiting for too long may make you appear unprepared or indecisive. This is why I keep an analog clock or watch nearby as I can easily tell time is up once the red second hand moves a quarter of the clock face. During this short time frame, I would ask myself what motivates the interviewer to ask the question and what are they trying

Zen Liu
Agile Insider

Senior Product Manager

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