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#19: 5 Interview Qs for PMM Candidates

Last week, I revealed my top 5 go-to PMM interview questions I think all managers should ask. This week, I’m turning the tables to focus on the candidate’s perspective.

Product marketers are in high demand, and the best one’s have multiple options. You should be choosing your next company and role as much as they choose you.

In order to make an informed decision, you need to surface the right data and insights during the interview process.

Here are five interview questions I’d ask if I was interviewing for my next product marketing role.

Essential Questions for PMM Candidates

Question #1: What are the key customer problems you’re solving for as a business?

What I’m Looking For:

  • Consistent answers across all interviewers. When a company has clearly defined customer problems and they are aligned across teams, this helps to build momentum.

  • If they can’t answer this succinctly, it’s usually a sign they aren’t actually using customer problems to guide product development and business strategy.

Question #2: How would you describe your target market? What is the size of that market, and what share of market do you own today?

What I’m Looking For:

  • Again, I’m looking for a clear articulation of their target market across teams. If they can’t do this, then I’m looking for them to express appetite in better defining their market (this is usually the case for me, since I often come in to help with segmentation specifically).

  • A market and category that is large and growing. I want their market share to be large enough to demonstrate product-market fit, but for there to still be enough room in the market to drive significant growth long-term.

Question #3: How do you win in the market today?

What I’m Looking For:

  • An understanding of whether the company believes they are better than, or different than, the competition. At the end of the day, it’s going to be difficult to drive sustainable growth if they’re playing the “better” game (copycats abound).

  • Assessment of whether they are trying to play in an existing category or building a new category altogether, and how far along they are in this journey.

  • A strong, compelling point of view that can feed narrative development.

Question #4: How do you build OKRs as a company? What specific OKRs or metrics is PMM accountable for?

What I’m Looking For:

  • A thoughtful and systematic approach to setting company wide goals, and an understanding of how they trickle down to departments and teams. If they can’t share this, it’s likely it doesn’t exist and annual planning will feel very chaotic. Good to know this before you get involved, especially if you’re joining at a senior level.

  • Alignment with my own view of the metrics used to measure product marketing teams. For me, this usually means things like adoption rate, segmented market growth, and key lifecycle metrics (activation, engagement, deflection). This will change depending on your own style of PMM, but make sure the outcomes you’re trying to drive are aligned with the type of work you want to do.

Question #5: What does the partnership between Product Marketing and Product Management look like? When and where is PMM involved in the product development lifecycle?

What I’m Looking For:

  • A true partnership, not a handoff. It’s a red flag for me if they speak about PM handing PMM a product once it’s ready to launch, or if there is too much emphasis on launch communications.

  • A desire to include PMM inputs - such as market or competitive insights - into the product development lifecycle from the beginning, during the discovery stage.

What’d I miss? Reply back with your fave interview Qs and I’ll share the responses on LinkedIn this week.