It’s only one of the most difficult product manager interview questions!
I know that a lot of people are intimidated by “Do you have any questions for me?,” coming at the end of the interview, after you’ve told your stories and “told them about yourself.” What should you ask about, what won’t make you seem self-serving and childish (like “do you have free soft drinks in the break rooms?” ). And what will help further your goals of being perceived as a very smart, highly knowledge product person?
I needed to address this for myself in my last job search, and my coaching and training clients ask me constantly how to handle this question.
In this episode I share my approach to coming up with great questions to ask in a job interview. And you’ll hear that my questions are fully aligned with how i approach product management in general. I’m thinking about the company and the product at a high level and thinking about myself as the solution to a problem – but I have to make sure I understand the problem.
Bonus cheat sheet
I have a bonus that goes along with the episode, a Google doc based on the mindmap that I use for structuring all the questions I’m going to ask. It’s quite extensive. You can access it using this link (no signup required!) make a copy for yourself, and use it to help develop the questions you will ask when the dreaded question comes.
Preparing for the interview
The structure of the podcast episode is simple – I start from the question itself, and why can be so difficult. And then I move into how to prepare.
As you go through this preparation, you’ll find there are LOTS of dimensions that you will want to explore more, and which at the same time will demonstrate a kind of product-management-y way of thinking. In fact, your big frustration when using this framework won’t be not knowing what to ask, but with having too little time in the interview to explore all the different things you want to learn about the company, the people, the hiring manager, the team and the product.
There’s an additional great benefit to doing all this research of course – it’s going to help you with your answers to all the other product manager interview questions that might arise.
Some additional links
- The cheatsheet, again, in case you missed it above. It’s a Google doc, make a copy of it into your own Google folder, and knock yourself out.
- A few related podcast episodes, including guidance on several other product manager interview questions:
Let me know your thoughts!
- The easiest and best way to support the podcast is to give me some feedback on this episode! Leave me a comment or question, or drop one into my Twitter mentions (I’m @nilsdavis), or just send me an email at email@example.com.
- You can also rate and review the podcast on Apple iTunes – that really helps others find it.
- And you can just share the podcast directly with your product manager friends – they’ll probably really appreciate it!