Nailing the Technical Product Manager Interview: Must-Have Questions (From a PM’s Playbook)

Arush Sharma
4 min readApr 17, 2024


Cracking the technical product manager (TPM) interview can feel daunting. You need to showcase not only your product management chops but also your technical understanding. To help you prepare, I’ve compiled a list of essential interview questions gleaned from my own experiences and valuable online resources.

Technical System Design

>> Explain the architecture of a past technical product your team built

>>Share a technically complex problem your team had to solve. What were some of the solutions the team came up with? What were the components that took the most time?

>>What are the top 3 technology trends that will change the landscape in the next decade?

>>Tell me about a time you handled a difficult technical stakeholder.

>>What are the key conflicts between the development and business teams?

>>Have you designed a technical solution that then became a commercial app? Talk about a technical blocker and what you did to remediate it.

Case Study

>>How would you decrease the amount of storage needed for messages in Gmail?

>>Our app is experiencing a forever-spinning circle. How can we solve it?

>>Your product is a video streaming service, and you want to save on bandwidth costs. How? You have a successful website. Now you want to build a mobile version. How would you do?

>>Design an algorithm for a self-driving car.

>>How would you diagnose a connection issue with Instagram?

>>How would you create a high-speed network to communicate with team members on Mars?

>>How much storage would offline maps take? You open Uber and you don’t see any available cars. What could the issue be?

Engineering Collaboration

>>How do you align the technical team with the product vision?

>>Tell me about a time you worked with an engineer on a roadmap.

>>How do you work with engineers effectively?

>>What are the main mistakes PMs make when working with engineering?

>>How do you earn credibility with the engineering team?

>>How would you handle negative user feedback about YouTube comments, and how might you address it with the engineering team?

>>What is the importance of engineers and technical teams as stakeholders?

>>How do you bring “the user” into the technical team?

Computer Science

>>What are the different types of load-balancing algorithms?

>>How does Google Maps compute ETA?

>>How would you explain cloud computing to your grandfather?

>>How would you describe an API to a non-technical person?

>>Explain to a child how the Internet works.

>>What happens when you type into the web browser?

>>Why is Gmail search slower than Google search?

>>How do you improve response time and latency for a website?

>>How would you explain neural networks to a non-technical audience? What’s the best way to connect SQL databases and why?

>>How are passwords securely passed from servers to clients?

>>What are the tradeoffs of agile development?

>>What is multithreading? • How would you choose a programming language to build your product?

>>What are the different kinds of sorting algorithms?

>>What happens when a file is deleted?


>>Describe a recent workplace conflict and how you resolved it.

>> What are your career goals and aspirations?

>>How do you approach giving feedback? Can you share an example?

>>Describe a significant challenge you faced and overcame.

>>What’s your strategy for engaging with customers and users?

>>Can you give an example of using data to drive a key decision? How do you handle the pressure of tight deadlines?

>>Share an experience of adapting quickly in response to changing work priorities. How do you manage work-life balance while meeting high-performance standards?

>>Describe a time when you had to lead a team through a difficult situation How do you handle receiving critical feedback?

>>Share an experience where you had to make a tough decision without complete data.

Basic Coding

>>Write a program that traverses a linked list.

>>Write code to find an even number of occurrences from a given list of integers. • Given an integer array nums, return all the triplets [nums[i], nums[j], nums[k]] such that i! j, i != k, and j != k, and nums[i] + nums[j] + nums[k] = 0. Write a function that returns how many digits are in a number.

>>How would you write a method to randomly shuffle an array of numbers? What’s the big O time of Linear Sort?

>>What is the computational complexity of hash tables?

>>Write a program to find common items between two linked lists.

>>Given reverse polish notation, return the integer value of the expression aka “5,3,+,2,/” would be 5+38 and then 8/2–4.

>>Write a program to find if an integer is a palindrome

>>Write a program to reverse a string using no built-in functions

>>Parse all lines in a CSV file with a given string

>>Write a program to identify all the equal elements between two arrays

Product Related

>>How does our product work?

>>How would you explain Twitter to an elderly person?

>>Walk me through the pain points of a developer using our API.

>>Our engineering teams are pretty used to employing X & Y methodologies. What is your opinion of them? Have you used them in the past? Are you familiar with the X system that we use here? Can you clarify how you have used them in the past?

>>How would you implement the sync feature of Google Drive app or Google Docs? How would you design the DB for G-drive?

By preparing for these key questions, you’ll be well on your way to demonstrating your technical prowess and product management mindset, landing you that coveted TPM role.

Follow along for Part 2!