What is Product Management Talent?
Product leaders are responsible for discovering and recruiting the right people for the product team. To do so, they need to seek out product management talent, or the pool of potential candidates to consider for building the product team and filling key product roles.
The Importance of Product Management Talent
The overall success of a company depends on a robust and talented product team, and the role of product manager (PM), in particular, is increasingly viewed as a top talent priority. Therefore, product leaders invest adequate time in developing a thoughtful and thorough hiring process.
Product leaders are concerned with product talent because:
- Hiring and developing the product team is a core responsibility of product leadership. It’s also among one of the most complex and nuanced parts of the job.
- Product leaders are tasked with finding and vetting candidates when the team is ready to scale (and if they’re a good fit, selling them on the role).
How to Approach Product Management Talent
Great product leaders don’t just hire talent; they grow and develop it. To do this successfully, you need a structured process that’s repeatable and sets expectations.
As you approach product management talent, recruit from a variety of sources by diversifying the talent pool. Remember: there’s no perfect background, technical or otherwise. Interviewing methods need to include a mix of phone, screen, individual face-to-face interviews, and group interviews.
Read 11 key competencies to look for when interviewing PM candidates.
Know What You’re Looking For
Before you go searching for talent, pause, and take an inventory of your team’s current strengths and weaknesses. Where are you over- and under-indexed on skills and domain expertise? Do you intend to have a highly specialized team or do you plan to hire generalists?
Learn how to create an intentional product culture.
Diversify Your Sources of Talent
In general, there are four ways to find a product management candidate:
- Proactive applicants: They saw your ad and applied.
- Personal network: You already know them and personally reached out to gauge their interest.
- Social discovery: While you may not personally know them, you’ve been connected to them through a mutual acquaintance (or a series of acquaintances).
- Passively discovered: Their LinkedIn profile looks like a match, so you (or your talent team) approaches them.
While some people swear by one of these particular methods, there’s no perfect way to find the right product talent. Although someone who wasn’t actively looking for a job might seem more attractive, they might also be harder to actually get since they aren’t particularly unhappy with their current situation. And, while personal connections are great, there’s plenty of other talent out there who may not be in your network. It’s a good idea to utilize as many sources as possible to give yourself the most diverse pool of possibilities. Try to keep the conversation and networking going even when you aren’t actively hiring for your team.
This article shows you how to source, recruit, and hire PMs by establishing a product management talent funnel.
Download the Free Product Leadership Book, From Product Manager to Product Leader.