Microsoft Product Manager Interview Questions

Updated Mar 16, 2015
Updated Mar 16, 2015
35 Interview Reviews

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Helpful (6)  

Product Manager Interview

Accepted Offer
Positive Experience
Difficult Interview
Accepted Offer
Positive Experience
Difficult Interview

Application

The process took 4+ weeksinterviewed at Microsoft (Redmond, WA) in February 2011.

Interview

After submitting my resume, I got contacted for a phone interview (I don't live in the Redmond area). The phone interview was with an HR person and lasted about 45 minutes. There wer typical behavioral questions (tell me about a time when..), and also a few marketing questions about products that I thought were marketed well, how I would improve those products. There was also a question about designing an alarm clock for the blind.

A few weeks later I received an email saying I made it through to the 2nd round. I went to the campus in Redmond as part of an interview day. There were 4 interviews scheduled for everyone participating in that day (all within the group I was applying for), each one lasting from 45 minutes to an hour with short few-minute breaks in between. All the interviewers were nice, but each interview was very different. They were all people that worked in the group that I was applying for (not HR).

My first interview was behavioral (tell me about a time when...), and asked very typical questions about why I wanted to work at Microsoft. It was very conversational, and it felt more like we were just talking about my resume, my skills, and my interests, rather than a formal interview.

The second interview was a case interview. My interviewer drew out a real Microsoft business problem on the white board and asked me questions about how I would approach the problem, what other information would I need, and what action I would recommend. After saying a few things, I got stuck, but my interviewer guided me along towards different areas to consider. In the end, there was something important that I had missed and my interviewer let me know what that was. There were also a few random questions like, describe a process to me as if I were a 7 year old child. I didn't think I did well in this interview, but it couldn't have been that bad because later I got the offer.

The third interview was very focused on marketing (I was applying for a marketing position). I was asked about products that were marketed well and poorly. I think it was crucial to use a framework in answering this question (marketing mix), but again, the interview was very conversational, and my interviewer guided me in certain directions when I ran out of things to say about a certain product. There were also questions that tested creativity like, what are all the ways you could market ping pong balls if they could no longer be used for ping pong?

My last interview was the least structured. My interviewer basically let me have the entire hour to ask any questions I had about Microsoft. The interviewers talk to each other after each interview, so maybe I had already gotten a "Yes" from the first 3? Even though I only had a few questions to start with, as we talked, it became conversational so I asked additional questions based off the ongoing conversation. I think this was to gauge my interest in Microsoft and show that I knew enough about it to ask intelligent questions.

Some people in my group got called back for a 5th interview, and we all thought that a 5th interview meant that you did well (and only 4 interviews meant you were cut), but that turned out to be untrue, since I only had 4 interviews and I got an offer. To prep for the interviews, I would just prepare for business cases, marketing cases, research the company, research your group, and show your interest in technology and in Microsoft.

Interview Questions

  • There is a business unit within a large software company (Microsoft) that has X revenue, their expenses are increasing, their competitors are creating lower cost products, and their suppliers are putting pressure on costs from the supply side (there were a few other circumstances I don't remember). What would you do? What other information would you need? What questions would you ask?   Answer Question
  • How else could you market ping pong balls if ping pong itself became obsolete? (List many, then pick one and go into detail)   Answer Question
  • What was the hardest qusetion you were asked in the interview loop today?   Answer Question
  • Think of any process that you are familiar with (doesn't have to be software related) and explain it to me as if I were a 7 year old child.   Answer Question
  • What is a product you think is marketed well? How would you improve the marketing for it?   Answer Question

Negotiation

One of the first things my recruiter said to me when I got the offer was that it was not negotiable at all. I actually received a better offer from another company, but ended up choosing Microsoft because of the culture and company reputation. I think they know they have that going for them.

Other Interview Reviews for Microsoft

  1.  

    Product Manager Interview

    No Offer
    Neutral Experience
    Average Interview
    No Offer
    Neutral Experience
    Average Interview

    Application

    The process took a dayinterviewed at Microsoft (Redmond, WA) in February 2011.

    Interview

    This was a 30 minute screening interview. The interviewer was nice, and started the interview off with a behavioral question. "Tell me about a time when you failed to meet a deadline". Then the interviewer asked me to design a microwave. I asked him questions like "who is our target audience". I'm not sure what he was looking for, whether he wanted to know technical skills or requirements gathering. It was all pretty vague. After that, the interviewer asked me to write a method that would remove every other node from a doubly-linked-list. I received an email about a week later letting me know they did not want to hire me.

    Interview Questions

    • Design a method that removes every other node from a linked list.   Answer Question
  2. Helpful (2)  

    Product Manager Interview

    Accepted Offer
    Positive Experience
    Easy Interview
    Accepted Offer
    Positive Experience
    Easy Interview

    Application

    I applied through an employee referral. The process took 4+ weeksinterviewed at Microsoft (Seattle, WA) in September 2010.

    Interview

    3 rounds of interviews, all were pretty easy. The interviewers asked questions like:
    Why do you want this job
    Why Microsoft
    What do you think about [specific division you're applying to]'s [specific problem]? How would you solve it?

    I got a few macro-level questions about the industry and company strategy, but that probably varies by position.

    Interview Questions

    • Asked specific questions about high level tech trends & things in the news   Answer Question

    Negotiation

    One back and forth, and done. They are more flexible on levels than they are on salary from what I've noticed. Always go with the levels -- managers change so often that you can often request a pay increase in 6 months or so. However, if you're stuck in a lower level and already making the max pay, it's much harder to jump levels.

  3.  

    Product Manager Interview

    No Offer
    Neutral Experience
    Average Interview
    No Offer
    Neutral Experience
    Average Interview

    Application

    I applied online. The process took 2+ monthsinterviewed at Microsoft (Redmond, WA) in July 2010.

    Interview

    Applied online, said I knew someone who worked there (true.) Lots of questions about why I had returned to Seattle after being gone many years. Was not asked the typical 'trick' Microsoft questions you find online. It seemed they really wanted experienced people who knew content (writing, grammar, etc) and throwing developer-type trick questions at interviewees was not the way to get a good hire. I showed several writing samples, etc. It was a positive experience, but I found another job before they offered me anything.

    Interview Questions

    • Why did I want to be a content editor, (more of an individual contributor) rather than a senior-level content manager?   1 Answer
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  5. Helpful (2)  

    Product Manager Interview

    Accepted Offer
    Positive Experience
    Difficult Interview
    Accepted Offer
    Positive Experience
    Difficult Interview

    Application

    I applied online. The process took 2 daysinterviewed at Microsoft (Bellevue, WA) in March 2010.

    Interview

    Interview process consisted of several 1:1 interviews with different members of the team. Questions mostly ranged from business strategy cases to various problem solving questions around the team's business. About 8 interviews in total. Had a fun day discussing several ideas with the teams. Be prepared with your analysis around several aspects of the industry.

    Interview Questions

    • Should we launch a product in XYZ market? Why or Why not?   Answer Question

    Negotiation

    Not much given the market.

  6.  

    Product Manager Interview

    No Offer
    Neutral Experience
    Average Interview
    No Offer
    Neutral Experience
    Average Interview

    Application

    I applied through college or university. The process took 2 weeksinterviewed at Microsoft (Seattle, WA) in March 2010.

    Interview

    First round was 30 minute phone interview with HR. She asked basic questions such as why MSFT, what's your favorite MSFT product, what's your career plan, tell me a product that was marketed very well.

    Second round was 30 minute phone interview with Senior Product Manager. He asked me to give an example of a technical product that was marketed very well, and how would I compete with it if I were a competitor. He also asked how did I evaluate whether a marketing campaign is successful.

    I haven't got feedback after second round.

    Interview Questions

    • Tell me a technical product that was marketed very well. What exactly did they do?   Answer Question
  7.  

    Product Manager Interview

    Accepted Offer
    Positive Experience
    Easy Interview
    Accepted Offer
    Positive Experience
    Easy Interview

    Application

    I applied in-person. The process took a dayinterviewed at Microsoft (Redmond, WA) in June 2008.

    Interview

    I worked in the same role as a contractor for 4 months. I was originally hired to support someone in her role. The first day I started as a vendor she left on medical leave, the manager who hired me quit, and a peer of mine was advanced to manager. The new manager also left on paternity leave so I was left with no support group at all. I did not have network access or an email address yet and just sat in the contractor room for 6 weeks with nothing to do and no one to report to.

    Fortunately just before the hiring manager left I convinced him to send the Help File of the product I was to be involved in. He had to send it to my personal email account.

    Within a month I rewrote it as I had a technical writing background. Within the next few months I delivered several solid Business Requirements Docs and the pushed me through a hiring loop to become an FTE (Full-Time Employee). I was the only person to go through the loop which I had heard was against their policy but I accepted the position and excelled in this roll until a re-org moved me unexpectedly to another position I didn't really want.

    Interview Questions

    Negotiation

    I tried to begin at a higher level but they stuck with the original offering which I accepted.

  8. Helpful (2)  

    Product Manager Interview

    Accepted Offer
    Neutral Experience
    Difficult Interview
    Accepted Offer
    Neutral Experience
    Difficult Interview

    Application

    The process took a dayinterviewed at Microsoft (Redmond, WA) in May 2008.

    Interview

    I had a one day interview consisting of 4-5 interviewers. If you do well with the team members, you will have a final interview with a GM level interviewer. During the whole time, the team is giving you a yes or no rating as they interview you. There was also a lunch interview but don't be fooled and get too comfortable. Standard interview questions with a few of those out of the box thinking questions.

    Interview Questions

  9.  

    Product Manager Interview

    Accepted Offer
    Neutral Experience
    Difficult Interview
    Accepted Offer
    Neutral Experience
    Difficult Interview

    Application

    I applied through an employee referral. The process took 3 daysinterviewed at Microsoft (Redmond, WA) in January 2008.

    Interview

    There were 5 interviews in one day. Some technical, some casual with an as appropriate interview with the group manager.

    Interview Questions

    • How would you get authentication to work across domains   1 Answer
  10.  

    Product Manager Interview

    No Offer
    Negative Experience
    Average Interview
    No Offer
    Negative Experience
    Average Interview

    Application

    I applied through college or university. The process took 2 weeksinterviewed at Microsoft in October 2014.

    Interview

    Had a on-campus interview after meeting at the career info session. In the e-mail, I was told not to specify my interest in any position yet during the first round interview. However, my first question is "Which role are you applying?". The whole process went bad since the guy seemed not very professional. He missed the original 9am appointment and I had to reschedule with the recruiter to 4pm the same day, which put me to the last one instead of the first one. He rushed me through the whole 30 mins and no matter what I say, he was just playing with his finger nails. Later on, I followed up with my recruiter and was told that I will get feedback with both positive or negative result. I never get it.

    Interview Questions

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