All related (46)
Rekha Srivatsan
Vice President Product Marketing, SalesforceApril 16

I don't care about the candidate's background when interviewing for my team. I've hired folks from engineering, solution engineering, sales, and customer success teams and they've become successful PMMs. That being said, most of them have this in common: 

  • Can-do and flexible attitude - Ready to take on any challenge. Open to solving it creatively and however long it takes to wrap it up. 
  • Connecting the dots - Instead of being siloed as just a PMM, thinking about the adjacent functions like campaigns / content / GTM teams and how to involve them.
  • Good copywriting skills - Flair for writing is key for a PMM. 
  • Product experts - Know the product extremely well and ready to strategize with the product team for roadmap discussions. 
  • Creative problem-solvers - Always thinking about ways to do things differently and not afraid to try something new. 
Tiffany Tooley
Head Of Product Marketing, HubSpot | Formerly Salesforce, IBM, Silverpop, BlackboardMarch 7

I've done a lot of interviews and hiring over the years and I'm constantly impressed by how smart and driven Product Marketers are! It's one of the things that makes interviewing so much fun - you get an opportunity to talk to and learn from the best of the best. That said, I think there are a few things that really stand out for me, and they are:

  • Curiosity - Most candidates are well-educated and skilled, so it's the folks with humility and a curiosity to learn that really shine during the interview process and on my team
  • Customer-First - Candidates with deep empathy for the customer (both buyers and sales) and can show consistent examples of how the work they've done has been developed with them in mind
  • Creativity - Whether it's their ability to creatively solve problems or the level of creativity they bring to their campaigns and strategies, I often find that these individuals are the spark of innovations that a team or project needs!
  • Resourcefulness - I believe you don't always have all the answers and neither do those around you. The best candidates can share how they've identified solutions across their team during ambiguous times. They don't let the lack of clarity prohibit their progress. Instead, they take steps to build clarity. 
  • Impact-Focused - Finally, they never forget that the reason they're leading all the projects and programs at their organization is to have an impact. The best candidates can speak clearly to the impact they have had and have a POV on the additional impact they'd like to see. 
Christine Sotelo-Dag
Director of Product Marketing & Customer Marketing, Mode AnalyticsMarch 16

From my hiring experience there are typically there are a few key characteristics and examples I look out for

  • Has to be a great storyteller - go beyond writing copy, and able to craft narratives
  • Ability to take complex topics and translate them into value
  • Customer-centric 
  • Cross-functional / team players 
  • Organized, ability to prioirtize and pull together disperate workstreams 
Jenna Crane
Senior Director of Product Marketing, Klaviyo | Formerly Drift, Dropbox, UpworkNovember 17

I think the best product marketing candidates — and product marketers — have one thing in common: empathy. Empathy helps you understand where others are coming from, and that is the foundation of great messaging & positioning as well as great collaboration. 

If you can put yourselves in your customers' and prospects' shoes — what they care about, their needs and pain points, what success looks like to them, their emotional state at different phases of the customer journey, etc. — you are halfway to creating great messaging. 

And if you can put yourselves in the shoes of your cross-functional partners — what they care about, what they're worried about, and what success looks like to them — that is the foundation of a strong and productive collaboration. 

Jack Wei
Head of Product Marketing, Sendbird | Formerly SmartRecruiters, Mixpanel, DeloitteJanuary 22

My answer spans the top hard + soft skills:

  • Hard: Well-rounded across words and numbers. You often hear that PMMs have to be strong storytellers (framing, positioning, mesaging, writing), but the highest-performing and highest-potential PMMs I've worked with are also very analytical and comfortable with some number crunching. In the B2B space, in particular, backing up any story with inspiring message, facts, and data will do wonders. 
  • Soft: Empathy and stakeholder management. Someone who can put others first and put him/herself in another's shoes. You often hear that PMMs must act as the voice of the customer, and that is 100% true. Add to that the ability to get other people and teams on the same page (the case for most PMM projects) will go a long way.

To the people who asked this question, I'm curious -- What do the best product marketing leaders have in common?

Kevin Garcia
Head of Product Marketing, RetoolMay 1

In my mind, the best performing product marketers exhibit three must-have skills:

  1. Research
  2. Storytelling
  3. Project management

To expand on each:

  1. The instinct and ability to research, talk to customers, and analyze data to find new insights
  2. The ability to combine insights + product features into stories that resonate with your audience
  3. The drive and cross-functional skills to work across any internal scenario to drive external results

In my experience, folks with (1) and (2) but not (3) tend to be really thoughtful and analytical, but have a harder time connecting that rich insight to business outcomes. Folks with (2) and (3) but not (1) tend to move fast and ship often, but the substance of their work might not hit the mark.

For what it's worth, I've never found someone who spikes in all 3 (for those curious, I personally have been on a long journey at getting better on storytelling). I've also found that every company operates differently. Some companies are SO good at data and insights that you don't need to be an expert analyst. Some have product ops teams that help run the cross-functional projects. There will be places where your spikes just don't fit for the team.

So if you're a PMM candidate, don't worry about nailing every spike. Instead, make sure that the anecdotes and ideas you share help provide a well-rounded picture of who you are.

Sarah Din
VP of Product Marketing, QuickbaseJanuary 19

I love this question because in my experience I have hired PMMs from a variety of backgrounds, including people that have had no direct PMM experience, but they all had the right aptitude for the role. Depends on the level of seniority you are looking for OR the kind of product you have, you might have specific technical skills you require. In my opinion, technical skills can often be learned on the job, but there are a few more “softer skills” that cannot. Here is what I always look for:

  • The ability to think strategically. Be able to see the bigger picture, and the long-term vision. At the same time, you HAVE to be able to roll up your sleeve and execute. No matter how big your org is, you will always have to balance the two.
  • Strong communication skills. Half of our job is about listening to people, understanding them, and presenting ideas. PMMs lead through influence, and to have influence you have to have clarity of thought and tell stories that will resonate (both internally and externally).
  • Be comfortable with ambiguity and the ability to pivot quickly. This is even more important at start-ups but working at public companies I've still seen this be extremely useful. PMMs don't’ have a static role (and they should not). Our focus changes with company priorities so it's important to be comfortable with not knowing what each quarter might look like. But also don’t get married to ideas, you have to be able to let go easily and not get frustrated.
  • Organized and self-driven. PMMs often work on multiple initiatives at the same time, no matter how big the team is. If you are not organized or cannot project manage, you cannot do this job well
  • Be passionate and want to grow. I think this applies to almost any role, but it's important for me to build a team of people that are willing to learn and want to work on a variety of things to become a more well-rounded PMM.
Sahil Sethi
Senior Vice President, Product Marketing, BetterUp | Formerly Klaviyo, Qualtrics, Microsoft, MckInseyNovember 18

I think the best product marketing candidates have three things in common

  • They are strong on the core requirements for the role. In most cases, it involves a degree of comfort with developing or activating messaging/positioning/value propositions for products/solutions/audiences/segments. They can simplify complex ideas, convey it in different media types and can explain the process behind it confidently

  • They are natural collaboators and very very strong at working with others. Could be product, sales, CS, other folks in marketing. Best PMM candidates, even the junior ones, can comfortably play an aligner/orchestrator role. They can bring consensus and calm to heated discussions, and connect different factions together

  • They have a ‘growth mindset’. Strong PMM candidates know that PMM is a ‘breadth function’ and that they will often wear multiple hats -even if it is not part of their job description today. Strong PMMs are adaptive and flexible, eager to learn new skills and take on new challenges and help drive ownership and accountability with a strong ‘growth mindset’
Andrew Stinger
Head Of Marketing, UniverseJune 1

I’m always wary of painting with too broad a brushstroke when it comes to hiring. Your job as a hiring manager is to spend time understand the super powers of the people you meet as part of your interview process, and to evaluate if those super powers have a place at your company.

With that in mind and the current context of our work at Coda, I can share some commonalities in some of our recent all-star hires:

  1. Curiosity with the intrinsic motivation to go find answers (vs. letting questions persist indefinitely or waiting for an answer to be handed on a silver platter)
  2. A genuine interest and engagement with our product
  3. Stellar, engaging, thorough communication
  4. A “test and measure” mentality that knows (1.) what they want/ought to measure, and (2.) how to structure a test to get the insights they need to do the job well
  5. Belief in the innate capabilities of humans to do amazing things with positive impact
Abdul Rastagar
GTM Leader | Marketing Author | Career Coach, June 7

The ‘product marketing skills’ question has been answered really well by a lot of others on Sharebird already so I will focus my answer specifically to the interview itself: 


I always look for candidates who have a strategic mindset and who can articulate what success in their current role looks like. I interviewed one candidate once who really impressed me with her ability to paint ‘before and after’ pictures. It’s less common than you would expect and she completely differentiated herself because of it.

Lisa Dziuba
Head of Product Marketing, LottieFiles | Formerly WeLoveNoCode (made $3.6M ARR), Abstract, Flawless App (sold)December 3

The best product marketing candidates have:

  • Excellent communication skills that come to "fitting" them to the role I'm hiring.
  • Proven experience in product marketing with measurable results. The best candidates have hands-on experience with user research, competitors research, ICPs, GTM: strategy + execution, narrative design, sales enablement, and content.
  • Strong analytical and problem-solving skills with use cases from their past experiences.
  • Desire to invest time into preparation. They have done their homework on the company, our products, persona nd market.

It's rare to find such candidates but maybe YOU will be such one :)

Jason Garoutte
Growth, (sabbatical) | Formerly Salesforce, Twilio, Blue MartiniMarch 29

I have some data here. For years, I used "candidate fit tests" (offered by Pittari.io). It's like Myers-Briggs but focused on workplace style & drivers. For successful PMMs, I noticed a pattern. When it comes to workplace style, PMMs scored highly for "commanding" and "outgoing", favoring an "easygoing" style more than "exactlng". In other words, they like to enage with people and push conversations forward, but they're still flexible in groups. Then, across 7 possible drivers, PMMs scored highest on creativity and altruism. This makes a lot of sense for positioning work, and "atruism" echoes Jenna Crane's answer about empathy. The PMMs were less motivated by "individualism" (i.e. they're generally not mavericks).

Though I like using the Pittari test to spark a conversation, I'm sure you can assess these traits through behavioral interviewing.

Sidenote: If you look for these traits, you can find hidden gems in unlikely places. One of our best PMMs at Twilio came from a completely different role in Marketing Ops with no PMM experience. If the hiring manager only looked at resumes, it wouldn't have happened.