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The 7 Step Guide to Product Management Recruiting

Product managers are some seriously skilled IT professionals, and they can be hard to come by. The average product management recruiting cycle can take 3 – 6 weeks, but it doesn’t have to. In fact, it shouldn’t. Especially in today’s job market that is going increasingly remote, and is becoming more and more slanted in favor of the applicant.

Gone are the days when the candidate was required to sell themselves to the company. The opposite is quickly becoming a reality. The top product management talent is being constantly blitzed by recruiters and offers just aren’t that hard to come by from desperate companies. Even if you aren’t desperate for product management talent, your competition likely is, and there’s a good chance that they are recruiting the same candidates.

So what do you do to stay not only competitive, but ahead of your competitors in your product management recruiting process? That’s what we will discuss in this article. Specifically, the 7 steps that if followed, will lead to a successful hire of well qualified product management talent.

Here are the 7 steps. We will go over each one individually.

  1. Diversify Your Talent Sources
  2. Diversify Your Candidate Pool
  3. Create and Follow a Structured Interview Process
  4. Learn How to Sell Your Company and Your Open Position
  5. Consult With Your Whole Team After Each Interview
  6. Ask Your Candidate to Make a Proposal
  7. Make Your Offer and Make Your Hire

Diversify Your Talent Sources

Knowing what you need your product management talent to do, doesn’t tell you where top product managers come from. Truth is – they could be coming from anywhere, if you know where to look.

They could be coming from a technology team like developers, dev ops, testers and architects. They could be coming from a marketing team like brand managers, content marketers, analysts, or campaign planners. Or they can come from a field that you would have never even associated with product management before like accounting, finance, retail service & operations, and HR to name a few.

This is where your first job begins. You need to define your candidate sources where you will look for top talent.. This is important because if you want to recruit top product managers, you can’t look in only one place.

Diversify Your Candidate Pool

Once you have your candidate sources defined, the next step is to define what type of product manager that each source can offer.

For example, if you are looking for a product manager to work internally on your technology team, you will likely be recruiting someone who has very strong technical experience with your systems or similar technologies. On the other hand, if you are looking for that same person to come from an operations background, then they need to have significant operations experience. The same holds true for marketing, finance, and any other department or background that you can think of.

The reason this is so important is because if you don’t understand what kind of candidate you are looking for at the source, then it doesn’t matter how many interviews you conduct if you will never find the right fit. The ebay strategy is to keep your candidate pool filled with product management talent from various backgrounds.

Create and Follow a Structured Interview Process

You have your candidate sources. You know what types of product management talent each source will likely produce, and you know the kind of candidate you are looking for in each case. Now it’s time to create an interview process.

You may be thinking this is just common sense, but take a few minutes to think about how many times you have interviewed someone and just said, “I just don’t know” when it comes to hiring them.

An effective product management recruiting process involves an interview process that has a goal. This goal is to confidently know whether a candidate is definitely what you’re looking for, or definitely not what you are looking for. This goal is achieved by the interviewer asking specific questions that allow them to establish an environment conducive to discovering talent.

In other words, you need a plan. This isn’t a quick meet and greet coffee shop kind of deal or “I want to get to know you better” kind of thing. It’s a structured way to ask questions to draw out the best in your candidate. Once you see your candidate at their best, you will be more confident in your decision to progress them through your interview process or let them go now.

Learn How to Sell Your Company and Your Open Position

Product management recruiting in today’s labor market requires knowing how to sell your company and why it’s a great place to work.

Remember, top product managers are high-performing individuals who have many options when it comes to where they want their career to go. They don’t need another job. They are looking for the perfect fit because their professional development is important to them.

You need to be able to sell your company and you need to be able to sell your open position. And you need to take the time to learn how product managers operate because this is a two-way relationship, not just an employee/employer relationship.

Consult With Your Whole Team After Each Interview

You need to get feedback from everyone involved in the hiring decision after each interview. Ask them what they liked about the candidate, and what they did not. Ask them if they would make an offer or a rejection today, if the decision were left up to them. This information will help you find your future superstar talent while avoiding costly mistakes in the long run.

Ask Your Candidate to Make a Proposal

At this point, so long as you have followed your interview process and given all of the interviewers an opportunity to question the candidate, it’s time for one more step in your product management recruiting process, before making an offer. The last step is to ask your candidate to make a proposal on one of the products they would be responsible for if they came on board.

This proposal can include anything from an idea for a product or feature to be included in one of the company’s upcoming offerings, to product management best practices they would follow if asked to run a division.

Make Your Offer and Make Your Hire

You’ve done your research. You have sourced great talent from a variety of sources. You have established a structured interview process that allows you to find the best product manager for your company’s needs, and you know how to sell your company and position well. You’ve finalized your candidate list and you’ve seen them in action via a proposal. The only thing left is to make an offer and make your hire.  Go get ’em!

Need an Experienced Product Management Recruiter?

This product management recruiting process can be a lot, even if you have your own in-house recruiting team. Working with an experienced product management recruiter like Talentfoot can help ease the workload and help you hire better talent faster. Contact us today to start your search for your next top hire.