How to answer the Super Power interview question

How to answer the Super Power interview question

"If you had the choice, what would your product management superpower be?"

This is another one of those questions that get asked in product management interviews, designed to understand where you think you'll be able to make the biggest difference to their business, which shows self-awareness, skills, and your own ability to blow your own trumpet.

And as with any interview question, with a bit of thought, and a structure to your answer, you'll be able to give a good account of yourself and not get caught out.

Structuring your answer
As we've seen with other posts on answering interview questions, there is an overall structure that you can follow in order to cover everything you need to, and in this case this means:

  • Identify what your super power should be
  • Explain how this super power would benefit the business
  • Show how you reached this conclusion, including how you have some of the traits already

What should your super power be?

Do you think that being able to read user's minds would be the killer power? Or being able to automatically translate any idea into a fully formed user story without having to wrestle it into shape?

Would you like to see into the future and understand what the competitive landscape would look like in twelve months time? Or be able to speed up your engineering team to 2x normal speed?
The choice is yours!

How would this super power benefit the business?

Once you've made your choice, then you need to justify it and show why this would your choice out of any power.

If you can see into the future, how can the business utilize this knowledge to gain an advantage? Will you be able to assess your competitors products and steal the good ideas? Will you want to understand where your own business makes mistakes and then take steps to avoid them?

Why do you think this is an important super power?

Now's your time to apply your real world experience to the situation (after all, you're here to get a job not just theorise!). 

You may have seen team failures as the thing that has held your product back previously and so now you want to ensure you avoid these issues going forward. You may have not done enough user research and missed opportunities in the market, or the flip side and seen the real benefits of research and keeping ahead of the market.

An example

"I think my super power would be being able to see into the future, as knowing as much as you can about what's around the corner is key for allowing a business to plan and prioritize effectively. 

You'd be able to know what your customers will want to focus on, how your competitors react to it and find the opportunities. You'll be able to see how your team perform and be able to answer some of the unknowns that always happen when developing new products.

I've been part of businesses that haven't really kept a close eye on their competition, or focused much time on asking users what they want, which has meant they've been caught out by new developments and we lost market share."

An alternative question

Some times you'll find an alternative version of this question which asks what your current super power is, which is a bit more grounded in reality, and focuses on your existing skills, however the structure of your response will follow a similar pattern to the question above.

This time you'll be looking to show the biggest benefits that you've brought in your previous roles, such as "My super power is really getting to the bottom of customer needs, through asking the right questions, and ensuring that this then informs the features we introduce into our product. The best example of this was ..."

A bit of preparation for this question and you'll be using this response to other questions you might be asked, such as "Tell me your best traits as a PM?" or "What would your team say you bring to the business?".

In summary
Whichever version of the question you're faced with, a bit of preparation, and an awareness on how to structure your response, you'll be able to give a good answer and illustrate your skills.