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Product Owner

Best interview questions for your hiring process

Product Owner Interview questions

The Product Owner is responsible for coordinating with all the different stakeholders across the company, and organising the different priorities into workflows. They work closely with researchers, developers, and designers to improve and create new product features. 

Some important points to look out for while you’re interviewing for new product owners: 

  • A good communicator with great listening skills to fully understand both users and stakeholders. 
  • A good knowledge of Scrum, or other workflows. 
  • Creative but also analytical.

You are searching for an excellent Product Owner? Before conducting your interviews, take a look at our complete product owner interview questions guide to make sure that you’re asking the right questions to attract the best talent. 

Our interview questions are suggestions for the earlier stages of the application process and for candidates with average work experience. They are therefore a little more general.

Interviews naturally breed nerves, so the first part of your interview should aim to make the candidate feel comfortable speaking with you, you’ll get much more information out of them and a better sense of the person they are if they feel like they can trust the environment they are in. 

To do this you can ask some fun and interesting questions linked to the role, they should be open-ended and encourage conversation. 

Best interview questions for your hiring process

See our Product Owner Job Description here

For the interview

A positive opener to start

What has been your journey so far?

Why did you decide to go into product management?

Behavioral Questions

When someone asks you about your profession that has no experience in product, how do you explain it?

Product owners should have good communication skills as they will be explaining things to many different people throughout the day, as well as presenting new ideas company wide. 

How do you stay up to date with new trends in the industry?

A good question to gauge how up to date they are about product in general, and therefore how passionate and focused they are. 

How do you stay user focused?

One of the most important parts of being a product owner is understanding the user they’re building for. They should have a natural focus on the user and always be including them into their processes. 

What is a product that you use everyday? How would you improve it?

Should have thoughts about improvements even if they are using them everyday and show how passionate they are about their role.

Soft Skills

If you had to pick one skill as a product owner, what would you say has been the most valuable for you?

This will be different for each person, but it will get them talking about their strengths, and give you a better idea of their mindset and how they approach projects. 

What is your leadership style and in what environments do you thrive?

This question is to get an overall idea of how they work in general, and 

How do you approach working with many different stakeholders with opposing agendas?

Good organisational and communication skills should be displayed here, as well as good listening skills to properly understand the needs of each stakeholder and then be able to prioritise.

Hard Skills

Could you talk about a time that you used customer success metrics? What was the outcome? 

One of the main focuses of a product owner will be their work and research with the users. If you also have a UX Researcher, they will work closely with them to gather data. They should be able to talk about how their past customer research has affected their products in a positive way. 

Do you have experience working with a Scrum framework? 

Scrum is the main framework that product managers and owners use to help prioritise tasks and keep track of product feature releases. All product owners should have a good understanding of Scrum, or some of the similar frameworks like Waterfall. 

How much time do you give to understanding the customer and user research during the discovery phase?

It’s important to find out what the candidate’s process would be, the research stage is essential to producing a product that is actually useful to consumers. Answers will differ, but we would suggest around 40%.

Operational / Situational Questions

Several different product feature changes are requested at once. At first, they all seem to be on the same priority level. Can you walk me through how you differentiate between these and prioritise with your team? 

One of the main skills of a product owner is time management and prioritization. A good candidate will be able to organise the different requests and have a good idea of how the features will affect the users, compared to how much effort is required for each task. 

Can you tell me about a time that you’ve had to change priorities during a sprint?

A good candidate will be able to tell the difference between a critical shift in focus, and something that can wait until the sprint is complete. They should be of the opinion that a sprint is only interrupted in rare circumstances. 

Can you talk about a time in which someone asked you to complete a task which you had little to no experience in? How did you tackle that? 

Will be able to think on their feet and have good listening skills with an ability to learn quickly. A great candidate will have a knowledge sharing approach to work and be adaptable.

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