The 34 Most Important Product Manager Interview Questions

Product Management
Exponent TeamExponent TeamLast updated

Trying to figure out which product manager interview questions you should spend your time practicing?

Below, we share some of the most common PM interview questions and answers to help you prep for your interviews.

To create this list, we analyzed over 1,700 recently asked product manager interview questions reported by real candidates and collaborated with senior PMs and APMs at Google, Meta, Amazon, and other startups.

Stephen Cognetta (Google PM) explains the most common product management interview questions you should expect to answer.

This guide is an excerpt of Exponent's product management interview course, trusted by 25,000+ PMs.

Sneak peek:
- Watch a Google PM answer, “What’s your favorite product?”
- Watch a Google PM answer, “How can Airbnb increase bookings?”
- Watch a Meta PM answer, “Design Facebook Movies.

Top Product Manager Interview Questions

Product management interviews are focused on a few key areas. Below, we’ll talk about how to tackle each of them.

Jump ahead:

Product Design Questions

Product design is about one-third of the PM interview process. These questions are centered on your product thinking skills like:

  • User empathy and user-centered design,
  • Feature prioritization,
  • and changing products for better product-market fit.

Some common product design questions include:

  1. What's your favorite product and why? Watch a Google PM answer.
  2. How would you improve our product?
  3. Design a product for drivers during rush hour. 
  4. How would you improve Instagram Stories? Watch a Microsoft PM answer.
  5. How would you improve Spotify as a podcast application?

Behavioral Questions

Behavioral questions make up about 20% of PM interviews. Most, if not all, of your PM interviews will have a behavioral component.

Hiring managers use these questions to understand how candidates handle real-world situations and fit within the company culture.

Generally speaking, companies want to hire candidates who:

  • Can do the job at hand.
  • Can learn and grow in a collaborative environment.
  • Fit in, given company culture and values.

Some common behavioral PM questions include:

  1. Tell me about yourself. View expert answer.
  2. Tell me about a time you handled a difficult stakeholder.
  3. Tell me about a time you made a mistake.
  4. Tell me about a time one of your products failed.
  5. How would you handle negative user feedback for your product?
  6. Why do you want to work as a product manager?

Thorough preparation is the best way to stand out in interviews.

You should create a story bank of experiences you can adapt to various behavioral questions.

You might also get asked variations of the question, "Why do you want to work here?"

Try to have at least five to eight stories to choose from. Your interviewers will talk to each other and you don’t want to only have one story.

Amazon behavioral interview questions are notoriously tough. Throughout the entire interview process, they're listening for evidence of their leadership principles. Preparing stories beforehand is a great way to be prepared for these types of questions.

Product Strategy Questions

Most of a PM's job involves making strategic product decisions in a constantly evolving marketplace.

Product strategy interviews, which usually last about 45 minutes, test your ability to think about products in a competitive way, set goals, and develop a strategy.

Generally, there are four types of product strategy questions:

  • Differentiation: What unique value does the product offer to customers?
  • Go-to-Market: How will the product be introduced to the marketplace?
  • Pricing: How much should this product cost?
  • Growth: What strategies can increase the user base of this product?

There are no right answers to these questions. Instead, be clear in your thought processes.

Some common product strategy questions include:

  1. Should Samsung build a video game console? Watch Microsoft PM answer.
  2. How would you increase the number of users on YouTube?
  3. How would you react to a competing product to Gmail?
  4. How would you increase the adoption of Microsoft Edge?
  5. What's the biggest threat to YouTube? Watch Google PM answer.
Google is famous for its strategy interview rounds.

Analytics and Metrics Questions

Can you reason with metrics? Can you think critically about user feedback and bugs?

The analytics or metrics interview lasts about 45 minutes. Expect to answer two questions in this time.

You might be asked to:

  • define a single north star metric for a company,
  • set KPIs for a new product,
  • or evaluate success after a launch.

Some analytics questions include:

  1. Tell me about when you used data to solve a problem.
  2. What metrics would you focus on as the PM for Netflix?
  3. What metrics would you focus on as the PM for Alibaba?
  4. Devise an A/B test to improve Google Maps.
  5. What should Airbnb's north star metric be?
Use the GAME framework to work through metrics questions.

Estimation Questions

Product managers need to be able to make decisions with incomplete information.

This could involve estimating the market size for a potential opportunity or assessing user interest in a feature. Your ability to do this is evaluated through estimation questions.

  1. Estimate the number of Uber drivers in San Francisco. Watch a Google PM answer.
  2. Estimate the number of videos watched on YouTube per day.
  3. Estimate the total dollar amount of online sales for fruits and vegetables per year in New York City.
  4. How many quarters do you need to reach the height of the Empire State Building?
  5. Estimate the total Internet bandwidth needed for a campus of 1,000 graduate students.

While companies like Google are well-known for their estimation questions, they are asked less often these days.

The reason? They don't accurately depict the day-to-day work of a product management team.

Nonetheless, you should be prepared to answer them during your product manager interviews, just in case. They're a good proxy for your communication skills as you navigate nebulous problems.

You may be asked to a question like "Estimate the height of the Empire State Building."

Execution Questions

Execution questions test your ability to make sense of a situation, set goals, and make decisions.

  1. How would you reduce fake news on social media?
  2. YouTube comments are up, but watch time is down. What do you do?
  3. If you were the PM of eBay, what goals would you set?
  4. Daily active users have gone down on our application. How would you find the root cause?
  5. Should Uber Eats be a different app from regular Uber?

Meta asks execution questions focusing on root cause analysis and decision-making, such as evaluating metrics for Instagram Stories.

Google, however, assesses execution skills through broader hypothetical questions during Cross-Functional Collaboration rounds, with questions like "When do you consider a design review completed?"

Technical Questions

Technical questions are not common in PM interviews unless the position is explicitly technical.

For instance, technical product managers at Amazon should know how to code. Some technical PM positions even have a system design component.

Regardless, having a technical background can help you better understand the feasibility of new product ideas or the strategic implications of new technology.

Your recruiter should let you know if you will face a technical round.

Google recently phased out technical questions for PMs.

If you do know you’ll be asked technical questions, there are three common types to be aware of:

  • Communicating Technical Concepts: “Explain DNS to a 12-year-old.”
  • Explaining Technical Decisions: “Tell me about a time you made a technical trade-off."
  • System Design: “Design the architecture for Instagram’s Home Feed”

Next, let's walk through answers to some of the most common product manager questions.

"The most effective PMs use a structured framework to maintain their focus while answering questions."

Dobri Dobrev—CTO co-founder with a decade of PM experience at Google and Yahoo.

Q1: What's your favorite product?

"What's your favorite product and why?" is one of the most common PM interview questions. You should expect to answer it in every interview you have.

Below, a PM candidate talks about why Google Chrome is their favorite product.

Sample Answer

Watch a Google PM answer: "What's your favorite product and why?"

My favorite product is the Chrome web browser.

Google Chrome is one of the most popular web browsers for computers and phones. There are many types of users and I consider myself to be a power user. I know everything there is to know about the product and use it to its fullest potential, including using add-ons, having more than one profile, and more.

Users who browse on the Internet are mainly looking for a web browser that's quick and efficient to use. Finding relevant content and a smooth experience are critical to any web browser's success.

Before Chrome, the most-used browser options were Safari, Firefox, and Internet Explorer (IE). These browsers had basic features but weren't customizable or advanced enough to satisfy users' needs. They also lacked innovation and didn't deliver the efficient experiences users wanted.

Google Chrome came into the market and focused on personalization above all else. This, in turn, paid dividends because it also created more efficient and relevant web browser use.

Chrome added three things that created a better experience: Profiles, Quick searching, and a powerful homepage.

Chrome users could log in to their Gmail accounts to quickly collect relevant data on their usage behavior. This allows Chrome to create a more personalized experience by recommending sites based on past behaviors.

Another great feature they added was a quick search on the URL bar. Google leveraged its core product, the Google Search engine, to allow Chrome users to search the web directly from the URL search box. This lowered the friction to search—one of the core functions of Internet users. Lastly, they added a personalized home page with your most visited sites already on their homepage. This feature saves users time by increasing navigational efficiency.

Chrome is fantastic, but I'd add vertical tab displays to improve it. Similar to how Slack has channels listed vertically, adding this feature would improve the multi-tab experience.

Specifically, it would allow for clearer distinguishing between tabs at high volumes rather than squishing the width of each tab where they're no longer distinguishable.

My favorite product is Google Chrome—Google's web browser. Before Chrome, web browsers only fulfilled one function: searching the web. Chrome created a more personalized experience that enhanced the web viewing experience. If I could improve it, I'd add vertical tab displays.

Interview Tips

Here are some things to think about as you answer favorite product questions.

  • Pick Popular Products: Popular products, like Google Chrome, are popular for a reason. If something popular is genuinely your favorite, don't shy away. Come up with a new, compelling reason why it's your favorite product.
  • Improvements: How would you make this product better if you were the product manager? This shows empathy for the user experience and not settling for the way things are.
  • Differentiation. This product is your favorite, but what about its competitors? How does it stack up to other similar products in the space?
  • Passion: Your interviewer wants to see you light up when you discuss this product, not an answer you rehearsed. This is your time to show what excites you about product management and well-made products. You can bring this passion and excitement to your new job.

Q2: Improve Instagram Stories

Below, a Meta PM answers the question, "How would you improve Instagram Stories?"

First, they identify the pain points of Instagram for Gen Z, such as difficulty connecting with friends

This has led to lower usage and stickiness for users and lost revenue for Meta.

One potential solution is a new feature that allows users to collaborate or create Instagram Stories during special events like holidays or birthdays.

Collaborative Instagram Stories could lead to more creation, viewing, and sharing—valuable metrics for engagement.

Sample Answer

Read more community answers to this interview question, like this one from Siddharth R.

Instagram already has a large user base, so the team should focus on enabling new features to keep users excited and coming back more often rather than acquiring more people.

Facebook (Meta) strives to connect users and provide a fantastic experience through interactions with friends, so this feature should be designed with that vision in mind.

We should focus on Content Creators as our customer segment. They are highly active, looking for new ways to impress their friends and provide the potential for virality.

We can brainstorm solutions and prioritize one, such as an augmented reality (AR) feature where users can "wish" they were somewhere and post a story with their own image superimposed on a public image of that location.

- This could be tied to the existing avatar feature for added fun.
- Celebrities/influencers can be leveraged to promote the feature.

Success metrics should include the following:

- Acquisition: Number of users creating and watching these stories.

- Engagement: Number of times users create and watch these new AR-powered Instagram stories.

- Retention: Frequency of users returning to create and watch stories daily or weekly.

Interview Tips

  • Segment: First, identify user segments and their pain points. Then brainstorm ideas and create a product vision that prioritizes features for those users.
  • Paint a Picture: Describe a user interacting with the product to illustrate your vision. Describe the average day as a user. What are their pain points?
  • Tradeoffs: Highlight tradeoffs to demonstrate a deeper understanding of the product.
  • KPIs: Talk about key performance indicators (KPIs) and what success looks like.

Q3: Short-term Sacrifices

"Tell me about a time you made short-term sacrifices for long-term gains" is a strong behavioral question.

Below, a PM for Capsule, an online pharmacy, talks about improving internal processes.

Behavioral questions help interviewers answer questions like:

  • Are you able to think strategically under pressure?
  • What methodology do you use to make decisions?
  • How do your decisions affect other team members?

Sample Answer

Read more community answers to this interview question, like this one from Laura L., a PM at Capsule Pharmacy.

Recently, I had to make a decision:

Option 1: I could automate part of a process that would reduce a client's nine hours of manual work to one hour.

Option 2: I could fully automate the end-to-end process, which would take four weeks to develop but could be used for everyone moving forward.

The process was to change a bank customer's contact preferences to paper mailings if their emails bounced more than three times. Currently, the process is manual.

It includes extracting bounced emails from a reporting tool, tracking the customers, changing their paperless preferences, and creating a notice with a given message.

This process takes up an entire day, so the operations team asked me to prioritize automating it.

I discussed the requirements with the lead developers and operations manager. After some effort versus impact analysis or return on investment (ROI), I found two options.

Option 1 was a short-term solution. It involved less effort but would take a week to develop. This option would continue existing practices at the organization. It would save development time and let us continue rolling out mobile app improvements.

However, our email marketing team wanted to start sending more emails to customers this year. Naturally, that would increase the bounce rate of emails and put more customers at risk of not receiving our emails.

Option 2 was a long-term solution with higher impact and scalability, but it took more effort and four weeks of development.

Option 2 had a higher ROI, so it was the winner. I ensured it met the operations team's objectives and got their go-ahead.

Option 2 delayed updates to our mobile application. This slowed other product marketing and marketing teams from getting the data they needed for future campaigns.

However, the upside of fixing this process allowed us to run campaigns more smoothly."

Interview Tips

  • Details. Set the stage for your interviewer. What position did you hold, what problem were you facing, and what options did you have to fix it.
  • KPIs. Mention how clear KPIs helped you decide which option to choose. Knowing how to act on data, even in times of uncertainty, is invaluable.
  • Multiple Solutions. Show your interviewer that you deliberated on multiple outcomes and that options were weighted methodically.
  • Complexity: Understand the complexity and impact of the decision to be made. Then, communicate the situation and decision with the relevant parties in your example.

Q4: Increase Airbnb Bookings

"How would you increase Airbnb's bookings?" is a product strategy question.

Product strategy questions test your ability to think strategically about a business and its target market.

Watch a Google PM answer: "How would you increase Airbnb bookings?"

Sample Answer

This candidate focused on providing unique and authentic travel experiences on Airbnb, which helps keep Airbnb at the top of users' minds.

They identify problems or pain points only Airbnb can solve with its unique experiences.

Airbnb's guests can generally be segmented into high- and low-intent travelers and further segmented by business and leisure travel.

High-intent leisure travelers are ready to book right now. Discounts, promotions, and stronger CTAs are easy wins for high-intent travelers already on the site.

Next, consider expanding the target market to more high-intent travelers. Airbnb should maintain its core values of authenticity and uniqueness if it expands to new customers.

For low-intent travelers, Airbnb could become more of a research website. It could feature information about different vacations, deliver inspiration for trips, and be top of mind for anyone planning a trip. Then, Airbnb is well-positioned to capture that business when those travelers are ready to book.

Next, the listings page could get a redesign. It could feature stories from hosts more prominently. Social media and user-generated content could appeal to low-intent travelers as they browse listings.

The Wishlist experience could be more exciting and personalized. Wishlisted homes could inspire more immersive exploring in a city or place.

To test all these new ideas, start with small experiments. A newsletter to inactive users could highlight unique experiences on Airbnb.

Data from early tests will reveal which parts of the browsing experience should get prioritized.

Interview Tips

  • Paint a picture: Take your interviewer on a journey through your answer. Illustrate the daily pain points of different user segments using this product. For products like Airbnb, that means describing different types of holiday and business travelers. Explain why they need accommodation.
  • Invite feedback: In strategy questions, there are no correct answers. Continually ask for feedback from your interviewer to hear their perspective. For a product as universal as Airbnb, your interviewer likely has feedback about which types of users they want to focus on during the limited scope of an interview.
  • Focus on the approach: How you answer the question is more important than getting it right. Spend time explaining your thought process.

Junior vs. Senior PM Candidates

What are the differences between junior and senior product managers?


In your first PM role(s), you’ll conduct market research and competitive analysis, work on product strategy, and collaborate with cross-functional teams.

Senior PMs are usually in a higher leadership position in a team. An experienced product manager may negotiate compensation and promotions and address internal conflicts.


Junior PMs tend to focus on outputs, while Senior PMs focus on outcomes.

Senior PMs are more active in defining the desired outcome of a product or feature. They tend to work hands-on with users to identify areas for improvement.


Seniority comes from accumulated experience, not necessarily in a specific industry.

A senior engineer may already have the skills to become a Senior Technical Product Manager. There is no one-size-fits-all ideal candidate. There are also plenty of examples of non-technical product managers.

There's no formula for how much experience you need to become a Senior PM.

A PM with ten years of experience at a healthcare company may not be the best candidate if the role requires specific SaaS growth experience.

Influencing Outcomes

As a Junior PM, you must guide your team towards a common goal. You’ll likely have to do this without having the authority to give them orders.

You should build personal connections, empathize with your team's problems, and make decisions based on concrete data. When you’re more experienced, these parts of the role will feel like second nature.

As a senior PM, you’ll guide your team based on your findings. You’ll assign data analysts, junior PMs, and engineers to deliver on your clear product vision.

PM Interview Framework

Every great answer in the PM interview will follow the same general format, regardless of the question.

Use a simple framework to keep your ideas organized during PM interviews.

  1. Listen: Actively listen and take notes as your interviewer talks.
  2. Clarify: Ask questions to better understand the problem.
  3. Pause: Stop and think before blurting out an answer.
  4. Structure: Tell your interviewer how you'll structure your answers.
  5. Explain: Give your answer and explain your reasoning at each step.
  6. Check-in: Ask your interviewer if they want to hear more details.
  7. Summarize: Reiterate your main points and takeaways.
Use a product management interview framework to stay organized in interviews.

Step 1: Listen and Take Notes

Listen attentively to the question, take notes, and make eye contact with the interviewer. Ask clarifying questions to understand the details and expectations of the question.

Step 2: Ask Clarifying Questions

Always ask your interviewer clarifying questions, even if the question appears simple or straightforward.

This way, you can determine the most important things to focus on.

Some clarifying questions you can ask your interviewer are:

  • Is this product targeting a specific set of users or customers?
  • Which platforms are our target users using?
  • Is this product being released on a global or domestic scale?

If you can't think of anything, you can always ask, "So, you're asking me to...?" Is that correct?"

Step 3: Stop and Think

You would be surprised what an extra 10–20 seconds of reflection can do for the quality of your interview answer.

Interviewers prefer you to take your time to organize your thoughts so that your answer is coherent and easy to follow.

Step 4: Structure Your Answers

Provide a structure to your answer. Present this structure to your interviewer or hiring manager before diving in.

Many PM questions can fit into a simple three-point structure.

For instance, you can begin your answer by saying something like:

“Alright, I’m going to explore three possible products that fit your question and cover the tradeoffs of each. These three products are X, Y, and Z."

Giving your interviewer a structure beforehand lets them redirect you if necessary.

Step 5: Explain with Confidence

If you have one, use the whiteboard as much as possible. Every good PM has a whiteboard, right?

Lastly, sit up straight and display confidence while answering. Don't forget to make eye contact, too.

Step 6: Check In and Pivot

It is always a good idea to check in with the interviewer and pivot wherever necessary.

One mistake some new interviewees make is trying to prepare answers ahead of time.

Generally speaking, there are three common scenarios when it comes to necessary pivots:

  • The interviewer presents concerned body language. If your interviewer changes posture or makes gestures, it can indicate that you're off track. Check-in with the interviewer by asking if it's okay to move on to the next part: "I’ll now move on to the next portion of my answer. Is that okay?”
  • You realize your answer is wrong. Instead of getting nervous, the solution is to smoothly pivot by finding a way to redirect the answer. One way to do this is to say something like, "Let me rephrase that" or "Let me clarify my answer."
  • You forget your point. It's okay to ask for more time by saying, "Can I have a moment to think through the rest of my answer?" This shows that you take the interview seriously and want to answer best.

Step 7. Review and Summarize

Finally, summarize your answer in 30 seconds.

Structure this brief summary the same way you did your original answer.

Tip: Go Slowly

Pretend that your interviewer is a complete stranger. Break down complex topics into easily digestible pieces.

Don't explain what a smartphone is or why people use apps. But don't be afraid to explain your product philosophy and how you can make a product team great.

While you're answering questions, talk about things like:

  • What successful products have you launched as a PM?
  • How do you talk to users and conduct user research?
  • How would you implement and plan for new features in a product's roadmap?
  • How do you define a successful product launch?
  • What metrics do you use to determine if a product is working well?
  • How do you work with other PMs on your teams?


Your PM interview is emotional. Your head is probably buzzing with excitement and nervousness.

Think about these common pitfalls:

  • KPIs. The interviewers want to see that you’re ahead of the curve. Identify the KPIs that revolve around the business. If you don’t know how the company measures success, how will you know what's best for the product? While a subscription business focuses on user retention, an e-commerce business might look for repeat purchases.
  • Use the Product. Use the company’s product before the interview. Ask your interviewer for a free trial or beta access if it's behind a paywall. You may be asked how the user interface or experience can be improved. If you haven't checked out the product, you'll not only be stumped in the interview but also leave a negative impression on your interviewers.

PM Interview FAQs

These are the most common questions about the product manager interview process.

How do I prepare for a PM interview?

  • Step 1: Research the company you're applying to. Learn the PM interview loop for that company. Check out our PM company guides for deeper insights into how companies like Adobe, Intel, Amazon, Stripe, Google, and more structure their interviews.
  • Step 2: Choose one type of interview question for that role (product sense, behavioral, analytical, strategy, execution, technical, etc).
  • Step 3: Review the most common interview questions. Create stories from your resume to prepare for your interview. Practice using the STAR method to answer each question. The STAR method = Situation (What was the situation?) T = Task (What goal were you working toward?) A = Action (What action did you take?) R = Result (What was the result of your action?).
  • Step 4: Compare your answers to the most popular answers to interview questions from people who landed the job.
  • Step 5: Move between interview question categories and repeat.

What makes a good PM interview?

Ultimately, your PM interview comes down to three things:

  1. Product vision and sense: How well can you envision future products to solve user pain points and needs?
  2. Communication: Can you communicate your product ideas and vision to a product team and engineering team to execute?
  3. Culture fit: Do you align with the company's vision and the ethos of its workers?

Is product management a technical role?

Depending on the company, your product management role may be technical. Companies like Google encourage a solid technical and coding background to succeed in product management positions.

However, many companies don't require a technical background to lead technical teams.

Read More: Check out our blog post on How to Succeed as a Non-Technical Product Manager.

What questions should I ask a my hiring manager?

You can ask your hiring manager during product manager interviews insightful questions about their role or the company culture.

  • What's a technology that excites you?
  • How does this company stay up-to-date with tech trends?
  • Where do you think this company is headed?
  • What's the process for developing product roadmaps here?
  • What's your management or leadership style?

Learn everything you need to ace your product management interviews.

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