Omar Eduardo, Product Manager at Google, says that he underwent an eight-staged lengthy recruitment process before being employed at Google.
Itching to know what goes on within the PM recruiting bounds of the world’s tech giant?
Let’s enlighten you.
- Product manager resume and application submission
- A half-an-hour phone screening with the recruiter
- A forty-five-minute mobile interview session with a product manager
- A five-hour on-site interview at one of the Google offices
- Review with the hiring committee
- Team matching process
- Compensation appraisal with the pre-review committee
- SVP review
Isn’t that a huge list?
But let’s understand that it’s because of this strenuous scrutinizing process of onboarding product managers, that Google is flying high in the SaaS product realm.
But, of course, not all companies can follow Google’s recruitment process.
Thankfully, while the process might differ, the stages of recruitment remain almost consistent across various industries. By understanding the different stages that are involved in recruiting a product manager, you can define your recruitment process and haul amazing talent like Google.
Let’s now show you the ropes!
Optimize Your PM Recruitment Talent Funnel
Wondering what this talent funnel is all about?
Well, it’s quite similar to your sales funnel. You have tons of leads, but in the end, only a few convert and make a purchase.
Similarly, you have heaps of applications seeping through your talent funnel. But eventually, you can recruit only a few. Some make a hole in the funnel and exit due to a lack of interest, while others are shown the way back to the mouth of the funnel due to lack of expertise.
Either way, the journey that you layout for your applicants would either build your business or might even collapse it.
So, here is the talent funnel that you must embrace to induct dynamic product managers in your team
1. Enlarge PM Talent Source
You need to interact with a wider segment of applicants to narrow down your choice to the most adept one. And there are four ways in which you can diversify the sources to identify a product management applicant.
Firstly, you can send out an advert. Those who respond would be your proactive applicants. Next, you can share the job opening within your known circle. You can also discover talents in acquaintances via social platforms. And lastly, you or your team can reach out to a good fit by passively discovering candidates through LinkedIn.
In this way, leverage as many sources as available to amplify your choices.
2. Visualize PM Persona
Make up your mind about the kind of product managers you need in your company. Some recruiters favor applicants who can code, others favor those who can sell, and some others believe that analytical horsepower is a mandate.
Ideally, though, you must be on the lookout for product managers who have the following traits:
- Smart and witty
- Strong technical expertise
- Creative product instincts
- Commanding leadership
- Shipping history
“I’ll take a wickedly smart, inexperienced PM over one of average intellect and years of experience any day.”
–Ken Norton, Senior Operating Partner, GV
Ken’s practice is secure and sound, although most recruiters might be skeptical of such a prospect. But really, you can’t have managers who’d cower when you say, ‘I’d like to pose a theoretical problem.’
Alternatively, while some might confess that leadership skill is the building block of a dynamic product manager, it’s only partially true.
Sure, your product manager must be able to command respect. But at the same time, your product manager should be technically sound. Only then, he’d be able to relate to the challenges that his team members face.
Lastly, your ideal product manager must hold the Spidey-sense to infuse creativity into your products with a history of having shipped products.
3. Devise PM Screening Process
Once you have applications flooding in, you’d have to set up feasible means of correspondence, in a timely fashion, to onboard talent as you’ve envisioned. That said, you must not make your applicants come back for endless screening rounds.
Ideally, you can follow the three-rule screening test, as shown in the pointers below:
- Telephonic interview
- Personal interview
- Group interview
With a telephonic interview, your applicants would be able to gauge your requirements, while you’d also be able to draw their persona. So, neither of you offer any major commitments.
If you deem them a good fit, you’d qualify them for the next test; else, you’d drop them. Conversely, the disinterested candidates would exit on their own.
Next in line is the personal interview. You can assign a half-day session to interview your applicants. You can assess them personally, and for a better understanding, you can make three or four of your co-workers judge their quality through interview questions for product managers.
When your interview panel is of one accord about a particular candidate, you can take the screening to the next step by engaging him in a group interview. You can assign him a two-hour session, where he can present on an informed topic, and interact in the group setting.
This would help you determine his leadership and team playing skills.
4. Collaborate PM Findings
Upon finishing the personal and group interview rounds, gather together on the same day to narrate your experiences. Thus, you’d be collecting fresh feedback from your co-workers.
Alternatively, by taking multiple points of view, comparing notes, and impressions, your final decision will not be biased, rather a well-informed one. As you chat about your findings, you’d be able to gather whether the candidate merely wants a job or is truly enthusiastic about the position, that he’d expound the product details to the end-users, to delight them.
In fact, that’s just what Todd Jackson and his team do at Dropbox.
“That’s how you know the difference between a passionate product person and someone who just wants a job.”
-Todd Jackson, VP of Product and Design, Dropbox
Finally, as all these interviewing sessions come to a culmination, be sure to check the references to formulate the offer.
Keeping the talent funnel in mind, develop the skeleton of the kind of product manager you must recruit. The sinews and muscles would be incarnated once the candidate successfully completes his journey through your talent funnel!