Why Reverse Interview Questions Matter in Product Marketing
The manager you choose will have the BIGGEST impact on your next role.
A great manager will catapult your career, and a bad manager will hold you back and make you feel inadequate.
Having worked at 6 companies across industries, I can say the biggest factor in my career success was optimizing my next role for the best manager.
However, even though we all know it’s important to find the right manager, most people don't know how to determine the quality of the hiring manager during the interview process.
So if you are currently job searching, you need to smartly and tactfully ask great reverse interview questions in order to make informed decisions. This will also have the added benefit of enabling you to take control of the interview process and be seen as more intentional and capable.
Key Questions to Assess Manager Quality
Below is a list of key reverse interview questions to ask during product marketing interviews. While not exhaustive, it serves as a helpful starting point. Huge shout out to my current clients who contributed to this list as well, based on their real-life, first-hand experiences.
Also keep in mind, the most valuable questions you can ask are those aligned with the values that matter most to you, which you should have identified when you began your job search journey.
What led you to join this company? What do you like/dislike about the journey so far?
How do you take constructive criticism, and how did you respond to a time you received it?
How would your employees describe your management style?
What is your view on promoting employees? What is the promotional and growth path for this role in particular?
What are the three things you think I can learn from you as a manager
What are you doing to reduce burnout for your team?
What is the most surprising thing about company X that is different from other companies you worked at?
Why did this role open up, and why now?
I understand the target customers are X - would you mind sharing more about the approach for determining ICP and targeting? What segments are you choosing NOT to focus on?
What is the biggest challenge facing the company right now, and why?
What does success mean for your company today? Of the three growth levers, which is most important (acquisition, monetization, retention)?
What do you feel is the company’s greatest competitive advantage?
What KPIs are you most focused on improving to drive revenue?
How do you view the relationship between product marketing and product management?
What kinds of decisions do you expect the new hire to make, vs. deferring the decision to you?
What do you envision success looking like in this role in 90 days and in a year?
How do you hope this role contributes to meeting the key goals of the company?
What’s the biggest impact you believe this position can make for the company?
Can you define what being flexible means in a hybrid/remote environment?
If you could describe the company culture in 3 words, what would they be and why?
How did your company respond to social issues such as the rise in Asian Hate and the Black Lives Matter movement? How do you support your employees from diverse cultural backgrounds?
Perception of you
Is there any additional information I can provide that would elevate your confidence in me as a candidate?
What is the profile of the candidates you think would be the most successful on your team?
Additional Tips for Your Reverse Interview Process
In addition to choosing from this list of questions to ask, here are some additional tips to keep in mind:
How you ask the question also matters. If you are asking more sensitive questions, it’s always better to start by providing context on why it’s important for you to know and ask them in a positive, friendly tone.
You can always request more meetings with the interviewers after you get an offer if you feel the information you got is insufficient to allow you to make a decision. Do not hijack the interview and demand to get all your questions answered no matter what.
Even beyond asking questions, if you feel something is off, you can also do your own diligence by finding ex-employees on LinkedIn and getting some insider information.
Finally, remember, you are valuable and you are in control of the interview as well, so don’t sell yourself short and get what you deserve!
You should be asking smart reverse interview questions during your interviews, even in today’s job market.
The questions to prioritize should be focused on what you value the most.
If you don’t get what you need or have doubts, find other ways to learn more before you take the offer!
And if you are in need of more in-depth, detailed guidance along your job search journey, then it’s the perfect time to sign up for my Product Marketing Job Search Course. For a limited time only, you get access to the 20+ video lessons PLUS access to my private student community, and LIVE group interview coaching sessions, at 50% off before 7/31.