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Product Managers Should Know These Essential Interview Questions 

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If preparing for a project manager interview, you should expect the standard questions about strengths and weaknesses. Still, you should also be ready to answer questions about the position.

The hardest part about being a project manager is dealing with difficult interpersonal situations. Sometimes, a project doesn’t succeed as it should. Sometimes, you can’t give a client something they want. An effective project manager can navigate these situations and achieve the best possible outcomes.

Consider two key interview questions that a strong candidate should be able to answer correctly:

What Interview Questions Should Product Managers Know?

Can You Talk About a Time Your Team Failed Despite Your Best Efforts?

Product managers are responsible for both successes and failures. Even if you did everything right to guide your team to win, you must take responsibility for the failure of a product you helped to develop.

When failures happen, the natural instinct is to assign blame. While figuring out who did what wrong is a worthy exercise, your priority should be stopping further damage and addressing whatever damage was done.

Immediately pointing fingers is also a bad look. If your team gets a sense that you’re throwing people under the bus when something goes wrong, they will be less likely to trust you, volunteer ideas, and make decisions on their own.

Effective product managers have the trust of their team members. They protect their colleagues from blame but quickly give them credit for success. When something goes right, good product managers provide recognition to those around them and begrudgingly accept it for themselves.

If you can show your interviewer that you prioritize the greater good and the health of the collective, you are well on your way to landing the job.

How Do You Approach Being the Bearer of Bad News?

Sometimes, clients want features that cannot be delivered or need clarification about why things are done a certain way. In these moments, a product manager might have to give bad news to a client or set the record straight. These are difficult conversations, especially with people paying good money for a product. However, these conversations come with the territory.

Product managers must be able to explain difficult decisions with conviction. Because of this, interviewers seek candidates who understand how to deliver bad news in ways that make the receiver understand the rationale and point of view. Good candidates understand the power of transparency and the courage to embrace hard conversations.

In some companies, the product manager needs to have a direct dialogue with the client. However, the product manager can still offer to deliver bad news to a client. Doing this demonstrates both empathy and the courage to do what is right.

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