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Mid year recruitment update: Product Management

Product management recruitment has always been associated with a rigorous and comprehensive evaluation process, due to the importance of the function, where it serves as a bridge across multiple internal functional areas.

The trend towards more demanding recruitment processes has continued to intensify. Where hiring managers may have previously been willing to keep an open mind, as long as core criteria or experience was met (i.e. consumer mobile or B2B enterprise), expectations around the specificity of candidate profiles have spiked dramatically.

Competition is especially fierce for senior individual contributors with at least 4 years product management experience, especially if they are comfortable remaining hands on without an immediate path to leadership. Whereas startups would previously attract rising stars by providing them with the opportunity to step into management, along with the commensurate title, we are now seeing a clear expectation that candidates must have had prior people management experience if they are to be considered for leadership roles.

The offer management process is also becoming increasingly challenging, stemming from the change in legislation concerning how questions are asked around current compensation. Candidates are providing expectations to the hiring teams that are, at times, exorbitantly above the market rate for their level of experience as a negotiation tactic. From hiring managers, we are seeing wide compensation budgets, allowing for flexibility. The combination of these factors adds an element of confusion into the process of finding a mutual fit, while still staying in line with market trends and company capabilities.

Regarding skill sets, we are seeing a greater appreciation for UX/UI design sensibility amongst B2B startups as they utilize B2B2C type models, or drive greater adoption of the product by focusing on the end user. Professionals who are able to show that they can aim for a ‘stickier,’ more intuitive product, rather than focusing exclusively on performance, are very much in high demand.

Company size and stage continue to play a large factor in determining what businesses are looking for in a product manager. Earlier stage startups gravitate towards those with more technical backgrounds, prioritizing their ability to collaborate and drive engineering teams. More mature startups, while still valuing prior experience and training in technical disciplines, tend to appreciate those that bring more strategy and go-to-market experience as they scale and acquire a broader customer base.

“Overall, given the sophistication of candidate criteria from hiring teams, and the PM to engineering ratio trending upwards, we have experienced a surge of activity and look forward to the remainder of Q3/Q4. Please get in touch of we can help you with your recruitment.”

Eric Soni, Manager - Product Management

Dir: +1 415 549 2005

Email: eric.soni@robertwalters.co