Interviewing Product Managers for Product Sense

Evaluating “hard” product skills

The case prompt

Before diving into the actual “product sense” part of the interview, a case prompt has to be set up. There are various ways to do this. Some people prefer prompting candidates with a specific opportunity for the company’s own product. Some use well-known third party products. Others are using physical examples, like “design an alarm clock for the blind”. Personally, I am not a big fan of the latter, since physical products would in reality be product managed quite differently than digital ones.

Product strategy questions

The first few questions that I ask are higher level “strategy” questions to see how well the candidate can reason about the context and goals of a product.

Product improvement questions

The second part of the product sense interview is a bit more free-flowing than the first one, and the candidates that perform best in this part need hardly any guiding questions. I start off this section by telling the candidate to pretend they are the product manager for this product, and then ask them how they would go about identifying areas for improving the product and come up with some improvement ideas. I also call out that neither of us knows the product and has all the context, and that they can make assumptions.

Wrapping up

To wrap up, I often ask candidates to summarize the discussion. This gives a little bit of extra signal in terms of structured communication, but mostly, it ties up the discussion nicely before I give the candidate the opportunity to ask me some questions.



Head of Product at RevenueCat; previously at 8fit, Yammer, BCG.

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