Preparing for a Product Management interview is often no easy task. Once you get past the first few interviews, where a recruiter or hiring manager is establishing if you’re qualified for the role, you’ll likely move into more technical exercises that you’ll need to excel at to demonstrate you’re the right person for the job.
These can take the form of answering hypothetical questions or crafting case studies as part of a take-home project, sometimes referred to as Product Management exercises. Each company is different and will likely follow a different format when putting together their interview format and style.
Below, we outline some of the most common Product Management exercises you may want to prepare for as well as some suggestions on how to effectively study for these.
1. Practice developing a pitch for your product. This may seem like a sales responsibility, but it’s important that product managers also know how to effectively pitch and explain a product. Keep this as succinct as possible but develop a pitch you would give an investor in a few short minutes. Include talking points like your product’s value proposition, target audience, and behavior patterns.
Sample product management exercise: Develop a pitch for a new app that measures heart rate through an app and provides biometric data. Answer questions as to why your product is different from other, similar products and the value you plan on bringing your consumer.
2. Make sure you understand how to create a product roadmap. In an interview, you may be asked if you can develop a product roadmap for a hypothetical product, or perhaps even the product of the company itself you’re interviewing with. In order to effectively do this, you’ll need to spend some time talking about product features, timelines (from the R&D stages to GTM stages), goals, and metrics.
Sample product management exercise: Create a product roadmap for Uber for a new ride system geared toward older adults who wish to use Uber to drive to their doctor appointments.
3. Know how to conduct a market analysis. Conduct a market analysis for a hypothetical product. Pick something that you use daily or is a favorite product of yours. Make sure you cover the competition, target audience and potentialmarket size in your analysis. If you want to go a step further, start writing out additional market analysis factors, like:
- What are the needs of your target customer? Think through their pain points and behaviors. This can be done through hypothetical customer interviews, surveys, or talking with friends and family about your idea.
- What do you want your distribution strategy to look like? Identify the channels through which you will sell and distribute your product. This could look like hiring salespeople, doing online sales, pursuing partnerships, or maybe even a completely new, creative idea.
- What is your marketing strategy? A marketing strategy can also be part of your market analysis. Write down a few points for a marketing strategy that effectively communicates your product to your target audience. This can include advertising, content marketing, social media – or again, perhaps something else that’s entirely new and creative.
Sample product management exercise: Please build out a market analysis for a travel booking site that now wants to offer wedding concierge services. Consider current competitors, what others in the wedding industry offer, define your target audience and their budget, and the potential market size for this product in the US.
4. Put together a pricing strategy. Leadership teams will often rely on a combination of finance, operations, sales, and product employees to advise on how to price a product the market will buy. You’ll want to make sure you thoroughly explain market competition, your customers’ willingness to pay, and profit margins to develop a pricing strategy in this product management exercise. When you’re preparing for a question like this, you may want to think about pricing tiers too. Will you offer a “freemium” product (aka a product that’s free, but has limited capabilities), a mid-level pricing tier, and a higher pricing tier? You may not need to consider all these factors, particularly if you’re not operating in the B2B space or selling to enterprises – but these are all points you may wish to address in your answer.
Sample product management exercise: Develop a pricing strategy for a cybersecurity company that’s offering “fractional” cybersecurity engineering services to mid-sized businesses who may not be ready to hire a full-time cybersecurity engineer yet. Explain how you arrived at your pricing cadence and how you plan to bill customers as well.
5. Create a user journey map. Showing you understand the user journey is critical when interviewing for a Product Manager role, and when preparing for product management exercise. Outline a customer’s experience from discovery through purchase through retainment. How will you educate your customers on why your product is important and Bonus points if you know how to use Figma, Canva, or some other design tool to map this out in an eloquent way.
Sample product management exercise: Create a user journey map for a banking app geared toward young adults who want to invest and start opening their first investment accounts. Outline what the purchasing stage will look like through a customer who’s been using the product for a year.
6. Explain how to monetize a feature. This one is a bit on the advanced side but remember – companies are always trying to figure out new sources of revenue. When you’re completing a product management exercise that asks you about monetization, start with the value your feature is bringing your target audience. Are they saving time, or additional money, or some other resource? What is that worth to them? You may also wish to revisit your pricing strategy at this stage and consider different pricing tiers.
Sample product management exercise:Write a monetization plan for a new, add-on feature of a men’s clothing subscription:virtual styling services. Previously, this service was free, but now the company wants to charge new users for this service. Develop a plan for how youcommunicate this new feature, what you charge, and why your customer’s should care.
Our parting advice on Product Management exercises: Remember– even though Product Management exercises can be tricky and feel different from regular interview questions, the same principles that apply to successful interviews still apply.
Even if you’ve prepared a lot of material, keep your answers to the point – you don’t want to run out of time and run the risk of appearing too verbose.
Once you’ve prepared to answer product management exercises like the ones above, completing case studies or take-home exercises will be much easier!