It’s no secret that hiring at a startup is hard.
And we know that the product marketing job description is a hard one to define (see What is product marketing).
Combine the two and you might wonder how anyone ever hires the right product marketing manager.
Great product marketers drive demand for your products and ensure long-term success with your customers, so it’s vital to make sure you’re asking the right questions in interviews.
Here are six interview questions to help you find out if a candidate has what it takes to drive demand and determine if they’re the right fit for your product and your customers.
Want to listen to this post?
Product Marketing Interview Questions
1. “Describe each of the products at your previous company.”
A question like this is a great way to start an interview. It gets the candidate talking about something they know (hopefully) and let’s you see how well they articulate the story of their product out loud.
Things to look for: Is their description clear and concise? Can you easily understand it? Do you feel persuaded to use the product? If not, your customers probably won’t either.
2. “We’re releasing X feature. How would you launch it?”
Walking through a product launch evaluates their familiarity with the process. It also allows them to show their creativity and any new strategies they could bring to your company.
Things to listen for: Real anecdotes. Dig in on the real things they’ve done. Make sure they’re hitting some of the key steps (see How to Launch a New Product) and are keeping customers at the heart of every decision. Also note if they’re walking through the processes you already use, or if they’re bringing anything new to the table. You should leave the room with 2-3 new ideas.
3. “Name a good product that’s marketed poorly. What would you do differently?”
Product Marketers should always be looking for ways to improve adoption. This question let’s a candidate show that they know what good marketing looks like. If they do, it won’t take them long to think of one. This will help you dig into if the candidate understands the nuances between product marketing and product management.
Things to listen for: While the hope is that they’re ready to go with an awesome marketing overhaul, this is another instance where you want to make sure they’re keeping the customer in mind with every recommendation.
4. “We’re increasing the price of one of our features. How would you communicate this to our customers?”
Not an easy message, which means it needs to be handled carefully to mitigate negative reactions and churn.
Things to listen for: Where do they start? Are they thinking through process, or through possible customer reactions? Empathy and an understanding of the customer is crucial in crafting these messages.
5. “How would you fix onboarding?”
A good product marketer makes decisions that are driven by data and customer feedback. Max Freiert, Director of Product at LovePop Cards uses this question to see if candidates take the easy route of diving into a solution, or start by asking questions to come to a data-driven solution.
Things to listen for: Questions about things like current issues with the process, conversion rates, and where customers are dropping off.
6. “We sent a notification asking customers to update their software. 60% updated. How would you get the remaining 40% to update?”
Take launch questions one step further. Asking about next steps lets you see if they can iterate to further drive adoption. This would also be a great question to ask a growth marketing candidate.
Things to listen for: Big changes in messaging or delivery. Doing the same thing again won’t get you any closer. Asking questions about customers is a great sign here, as well.