How to Give Remarkable Answers to Product Marketing Interview Questions
A great product marketer always does research, makes a plan, and only then jumps into action. So naturally, if you want to show that you’re one of the best, that’s how you need to prepare for your interview as well. To help you with that, let’s talk about how to stand out from other candidates and give impressive answers to all your product marketing interview questions.
As a team that interviewed and hired dozens of product marketers in the last couple of years, we collected tips and examples to help you prepare. With these, you should be able to answer any question that comes your way, even if you don’t have time to memorize sample answers word-by-word.
In this post, we’ll go through…
- General questions: previous experience and motivation
- General marketing questions: mention an example of…
- Product marketing questions: tell us your process for…
- Questions about skills: tell us about a time when you…
- 5 tips for nailing your product marketing interview
- How we hire product marketers: our interview process
The 4 categories of product marketing interview questions
We’ve divided the typical product marketing interview questions into four categories to make them easier to digest. We’ll give you a few example questions for each, then talk about how to think through them and give a unique and impressive answer. Because trust us, hiring managers don’t enjoy hearing the same memorized cliché answers over and over again.
General questions: previous experience and motivation
These are the questions that you’ll get in every job interview, no matter if you’re applying for a product marketing or architecture position. These typically are…
- Can you introduce yourself in a couple of sentences?
- Please tell us about your previous work experience!
- Why do you want to work for our company?
- Why should we hire you?
Although they seem pretty different, the underlying logic you’ll need for the answer is the same —and it’s probably not what you think.
These questions are not actually about you, not really. But about what value you bring to the company. So answer them with that in mind.
That means if they ask you for an introduction, talk about yourself, but include details that are relevant to the job or company. For example, if you applied for a product marketing job for a fitness app and you go to the gym every day, you should mention it. Somehow like this:
“My hobbies include running and going to the gym 4-5 times a week, which is one of the reasons I was so excited to apply. I have a lot of insights into the world of fitness and the minds of people who train through my own experience and talking to others, which could be very beneficial for me as the product marketer of this fitness app.”
Similarly, when they ask you about your previous experience, try to highlight positions or skills that’d be valuable in this new job. For example:
“As a content marketing manager, I was responsible for all digital content, from planning, through design and execution, to publishing. Working with writers, designers, and occasionally developers taught me how to work really efficiently in cross-functional teams.”
And the classic “Why do you want to work here?” question? Don’t start explaining why the job would help your personal and professional development, or help you reach your goals. Talk about how excited you are about your skills making you successful in this position, and elaborate on that. Like this:
“As someone with experience in product launches and PPC, it would be really exciting for me to create the go-to-market strategy for this new product, watch it take off, and reach breakeven. The task fits my interests and expertise so perfectly, it would feel like a match made in heaven.”
Again, these are just examples, here to illustrate the logic. Don’t try to memorize them, just follow the reasoning and build your own, personal answer on it.
General marketing questions: mention an example of…
Once the interviewer knows the basics about you, they’ll most likely get to the general marketing questions. These tend to be ones that go: “Can you mention an example of…?”, asking for things like:
- A great marketing campaign you’ve seen
- A good product that has bad marketing
- Multi-channel marketing campaigns and where they appeared
With these questions, they want to find out two things. First is how much you pay attention to industry news, and which aspects you notice and appreciate the most.
Second, they’re looking to find out more about your marketing skills and knowledge, as they’ll expect you to use that in your answer. Either for highlighting why that campaign was so great, or giving suggestions for bettering the marketing of that actually-great product.
So how do you give great answers to these questions?
First of all, take your time to think about them in advance. You might have no clue what to say to these if we asked you out of nowhere. And that’s okay. Try to think back to the products and campaigns you saw and keep your eyes open for any that you see now.
When choosing one to talk about, try to pick ones that you can connect with your relevant personal interests (e.g. food or cooking if you’re applying to work on a foodie app) or your relevant marketing skills (e.g. a great product that could use PPC to gain more exposure, when you’re in fact a master in PPC strategy).
Product marketing questions: tell us your process for…
It’s time to really test your expertise and way of thinking, getting to the product marketing interview questions. Whereas the general marketing questions typically ask for examples, these tend to aim at the process.
The interviewers want to see your knowledge of how these are done —or if you have no experience with them, how you think through the possible solutions. They could be asking your process for…
- Market research
- Product launches or a go-to-market (GTM) strategy
- Measurement of marketing efforts
- Dealing with churn or improving retention
How to answer these product marketing questions
To prepare for answering these types of interview questions, try to think of all the tasks and responsibilities a product marketer might have. Write a list and see which ones you have experience with.
For those, think about and write down your actual process —then keep thinking and add whatever you would do differently. Whether you present the complete picture as your current process, or tell them about the modifications is up to you. Assess the vibe of the recruiters and you’ll see if they’re the type that’d appreciate the honesty and motivation to better yourself.
Once you’re done with those, look at the list of things you haven’t done before and sit down to do your research. Don’t stop at the “how it should be done” part, but try to read through marketing case studies to truly understand the “why” behind it.
Questions about skills: tell us about a time when you…
Another typical question you’ll likely get is the “tell us about a time when…” type of question. These typically aim to explore your soft skills, often tapping into problem-solving or social aspects. Think of questions asking about times when you…
- Got in a challenging situation/faced a challenge at work
- Had a conflict with a colleague
- Saw a colleague do something incorrectly
- Had people asking for your help while trying to deal with your own busy schedule
Yet again, with these questions, the interviewers want to know how you’d act in similar situations as their new colleague. It might be a little bit cheeky to recommend, but think about what the ideal behavior in these situations would be, and give that as your answer.
It’s of course the perfect time, to reflect on your actual reactions in these situations, compare them with the ideal outcomes, and see what you could do to bring the two closer together.
5 tips for nailing your product marketing interview & stand out from the crowd
Being able to confidently answer these typical product marketing interview questions is only one piece of the puzzle. So let us add 5 more tips to make sure you nail your interview.
1. Send your marketing portfolio ahead of time
This first tip belongs to the preparation phase. Update your marketing portfolio well before your interview, so it showcases your most recent and relevant work and your updated CV. Then send it over to the recruiter or hiring manager a few days prior, so they have ample time to check it out.
Don’t be afraid to reference it throughout the interview too. You can even ask to present some parts if you feel it’d be helpful —and if someone has a laptop or tablet on hand. It’ll show all the interviewers that you really know what you’re talking about and can prove you have the expertise you say you do.
Don’t have a portfolio yet? Look up some marketing portfolio examples for inspiration and check out Copyfolio to create yours quickly and easily. It was designed for writers and marketers, so it makes building a professional portfolio website super intuitive.
2. Ask follow-up questions —they say a lot
The second tip is to ask follow-up questions. Giving great answers to the ones they ask you is a good first step. But if you want to leave an outstanding impression, you should show your wit and expertise through questions of your own.
Whether it’s asking which way to specify your answers, or asking for details about the company and its processes, your questions say a lot about you. They show whether you have the know-how and if you understand the key aspects of a topic.
So don’t forget: questions will not make you look uninformed or inexperienced. Instead, they’ll show you’re someone who thinks critically and is not afraid to ask for clarification to give the best performance possible.
3. Don’t be afraid to bring up mistakes
Similarly to asking questions, don’t be afraid to bring up past mistakes either. We’re all human and so making mistakes is completely normal. (And if the company you’re applying to doesn’t think so, that’s a red flag that tells you to run.) What matters is what we learn from these mistakes and how we make sure they don’t happen again.
So to show your ability to take responsibility and learn, as well as your motivation to keep improving yourself and grow professionally, feel free to talk about times when things went wrong.
Just make sure to always mention what caused the issue, what the key takeaways and learnings were, and where you go from there.
4. Mention your non-marketing experience too
Yet another topic people tend to avoid is talking about previous experiences that are not strictly in their current or new field. What they forget is that direct experience is not the only thing a job gives someone.
You also pick up a lot of skills: both hard skills and soft skills, which are often transferable to other fields as well. Say if you worked as a researcher, you probably picked up really valuable expertise that can help you excel in a data analyst or marketer role.
The key here is the same as before: explain why it’s relevant if you bring it up, so the interviewers can see the value in it as much as you do.
5. Research the company and read the job description
One of the worst things for an interviewer is when they realize the candidate has no clue what position and company they’re interviewing for. And while applying to many positions at the same time is not a crime, not being prepared and fully present at an interview will most likely kill your chances of getting hired.
So if you actually want to get the job, do your homework. Read up on the company and the division you’re hoping to join and refresh your memory right before the interview. Carefully go through not just their website but also the job ad and sprinkle some small references to them in your replies.
A great example was when we hired our newest product marketer. In the interview, we asked her: what’s one thing that concerns you about the company or position? She replied that her only concern is that she doesn’t know how to kayak.
Out of context, it might seem like an incredibly random answer. But it was actually perfect. Why? Because it showed us she carefully read the job description, which mentioned going on regular team-building activities like kayaking.
How we hire product marketers: our interview process
Since we’ve done dozens of product marketer interviews over the years, we thought it’d be interesting to finish this article by showing you our interview process as an example.
To give you some context: Copyfolio is one of the digital products of the UI/UX design and research agency, UX studio. Other brands in the product suite include UXfolio and Archifolio, which are portfolio website builders for UXers and architects, respectively.
Whenever we hire a new marketer for either of the teams, our senior product marketers take part in evaluating submissions and attending the interviews.
The 4 stages of our product marketer interview process
The application process is always the same: candidates have to go through four stages before we choose the person we hire. Through these stages, we’re aiming to find out about their expertise and professional experience, as well as their personality to see if they’re a good team fit.
1. The initial questionnaire
It all starts with filling out a questionnaire as part of the application. The aim of this step is to get a feel for the applicants’ motivations, both for the product marketing career path and for our company, and for their expertise.
We also included a marketing strategy question here, which can show us both the candidates’ attitudes (some are not even willing to answer) and their expertise or way of thinking.
It’s worth mentioning that attaching a CV or LinkedIn profile is not obligatory for the application —but we do appreciate seeing one. And if you also attach a portfolio link? Consider our attention grabbed.
Takeaway tip: make sure your motivation shines through, already at the very first step of a job application. Send in all possible materials (CV, portfolio, cover letter) that can help you stand out from the crowd.
2. The phone interview
Next comes the phone interview with our HR manager. There she chats with applicants about their work experience, going more in-depth about the skills we’re looking for. But more than that, she’s also getting a feel for the personality of the candidates, seeing their motivations, and evaluating how they could fit in with our team.
Based on her feelings and inputs from our marketers with the help of interview notes, we then invite the most promising candidates to complete our challenge.
Takeaway tip: being a good team fit is just as important as excelling professionally. Be sure to be polite and friendly throughout the whole interview process and make an effort to make a good impression.
3. The challenge
Let’s be honest: marketers are great at selling themselves. So as a recruiter, you’ll either have to ask for a portfolio or test their skills yourself. To make sure we find people who’ll excel at what we do, we decided to do the latter.
Here we check if they know the basic criteria of certain tasks (e.g. that an email should have a captivating subject line, greetings, CTAs, and so on), their writing style, and way of thinking.
The challenge has three assignments, each of which they’d do a lot if we hired them. This way it’s not only us getting a good idea of their potential, but also them getting a sneak peek into what work here would be like.
Takeaway tip: if you’re serious about landing the position, don’t shy away from putting time and effort into completing assignments for it —or be prepared with an impressive portfolio. As a product marketer, you should know how important “show, not tell” is.
4. The video interview
The candidates who proved themselves in the challenge then get invited to their final interviews. Years ago these used to be in-person interviews, but now, especially since we hire people internationally, we do them through video calls.
Here applicants talk with our hiring manager and senior marketers, discussing and getting feedback on their challenges. Since they put in the time and effort, we believe that’s the least we can do for them —and seeing the way they take constructive feedback also helps us see if they’re a good team fit or not.
We then also talk about their experiences and all things product marketing.
Takeaway tip: take the time to prepare for your final and most important interview. Go through the questions you are likely getting and practice your self-introduction. Other than that, just be yourself and don’t be afraid to ask questions.