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When Benjamin F. Wirtz talks to founders, product leaders, and recruiters they all declare that hiring Product Managers is hard. During these discussions two common myths are cited to explain why hiring product managers is hard: “there are just not a lot of them”, and “it seems to be difficult to find the right fit.” Benjamin suggests that there are plenty of product managers out there, but they often get incorrectly screened out due to three job spec requirements. Those requirements: “someone who is technical, understands the industry and has some actual PM experience” represent an imperfect understanding of what makes product managers successful in their role. In this post, Benjamin explains why “Your goal shouldn’t be to hire Product Managers, your goal should be to hire someone that helps your team ship value at a higher rate.” (via @benfwirtz)
The field of product management has changed considerably over the past decade and is still in flux. As a result, organizations often struggle to find product management candidates, which makes it hard for candidates to understand what organizations are looking for. Poornima Vijayashanker talked to Jeana Alayaay to help you get a better understanding of the product management hiring landscape. In this discussion, they cover how to communicate what you are looking for in a candidate, how to build a pipeline of candidates, and how to train recruiters to help you screen candidates. (via @poornima)
Over the past five years, Galina Ryzhenko has conducted over 500 interviews and has learned several lessons. In this post, Galina explains why hiring great people is like a marathon, what she looks at when hiring people, and how she has refined the hiring process to make it efficient and friendly. The ideas in this post are helpful for candidates and hiring managers alike. (via @usejournal)
The folks at ProductPlan work closely with product executives around the world. In their discussions with those leaders, they’ve gleaned some insights about what traits product executives value in product managers and what skills and characteristics they look for when they’re hiring a product manager. Shaun Juncal thought you might benefit from hearing what people who hire product managers have told his team over the years about the traits they’re most interested in when it’s time to find a new PM. And if you’re someone looking for your next product role, this advice will help you, just reverse-engineer it. (via @shaunjuncal)
In Cracking the PM Interview, Jackie Bavaro wrote a lot about interviewing from the candidate’s perspective. She thought it was time to flip that around and share some of her tips for the person doing the hiring, starting with how you interview. Here are some of the top things Jackie learned throughout her years both as an interviewer at Asana and Google and as a hiring manager at Asana. (via @jackiebo)
Colin Lernell suggests that while empathy is a core skill that all product managers should have, you should also know 5 technical skills. He explains those skills, why they’re important, and how you can learn them so it’s not essential to have those skills in order to become a product manager, but you want to be able to learn them along the way. (via @xolin, @UserVoice)
Alex Cowan answered the question “Are non-technical product managers going to quickly become irrelevant?” by pointing out that it’s helpful to define what you mean by “non-technical”. If non-technical means you don’t have a computer science degree, the short answer is no. If non-technical means “too intimidated or too uninterested” to learn about and engage in technical details, then you already are irrelevant. (via @cowanSF)
The product manager role differs across organizations depending on whether the role is used for internally facing purposes or customer facing purposes. Napala Pratini argues that “despite the core differences between the various PM roles, however, the underlying foundations of what makes a good product manager hold true across organizations of all types.” She described that foundation in terms of six skills – one of which is technical skills.
A common topic of discussion in product management circles is you need a technical background to be effective as a product manager. Product Manager HQ described the two viewpoints in this discussion (yes you do; no you don’t) and identified steps you can take to develop a technical foundation.
Product Craft found that over 56% of respondents to a poll say that a technical background was not required for product managers. This view is somewhat shared – with some caveats – by four industry experts they asked to debate the question. (via @Product_Craft)