What real world experience and skillset do your product org look for in potential candidates?
There are a couple of things that make some candidates stand out from the rest:
- User-focused: The most successful product managers are those that think deeply about people and want to understand them to build great products. Product managers should have contact with end users in some capacity at least once a week, and that's what I prefer to see in candidates for roles in my team. What user contact means will depend on whether they are experienced product managers or new to the role. Almost every role out there has someone that consumes the work you produce. Think about how you interact with them on a day-to-day basis. Are you gathering feedback to make their lives easier? What changes have you made recently to adjust to their needs?
- Ability to learn: As a PM, you will be constantly challenged to learn about new markets, technology, and customer problems. I like to see interest and self-motivation for learning. Think about the last time you had to learn about a new space or skill. What was your motivation? How did you go about prioritizing what you had to learn? What resources did you use to gain skills/knowledge?
- Creative problem-solving: Great product managers are resourceful, creative, and explore all avenues to solve customer problems. I like to ask about the last great product challenge that a candidate solved. Bonus points if the solution included cross-functional collaboration and coming up with solutions that were not software.
- Soft skills such as communication, teamwork, adaptability, and a willingness to learn are also important for any product organization.
- Work with Engineering on a day to day basis to help build a product by clarifying requirements (which are gathered from various data sources)
- Additionally skills such as clear prioritization, OKR and goal setting and a good understanding of metrics are crucial
- Good UI/UX skills, ability to talk to customers and help articulate their customer challenges to their teams
- Gather stakeholder feedback and craft a vision/strategy based on various data points (including above ones)
- Ability to work with Sales and Marketing in addition to UI/UX, engineering to help define success of their product
Problem solving capability, Communication skills, Empathy - User and Product, Learning curiosity, Passion to impact and comfortable with failure are some soft skills we evaluate when we hire for the team apart from the necessary skills and relevant experience for the role