How to Hire Product Managers

No one is perfect, but hiring for the absence of weaknesses will lead you to hire average PMs who don’t stand out at all.

Sérgio Schüler
Hiring PMs is a pain. I had a conversation with other 5 product beasts about it. Together we have hired more than 500 people for sure. Here is our take on how to hire great product people 🧵
1/ Hire for the superpower, not the absence of weaknesses. It’s quite common in a selection process to have that feeling of “I don’t see any reason not to hire this person”. But this is the wrong way to make the selection.
2/ No one is perfect, but hiring for the absence of weaknesses will lead you to hire average PMs who don’t stand out at all.
3/ Interview with your best people Not just to raise the bar, but if you approve someone, it doesn’t mean they will accept. If you put your A-team to interview, there is much more chance that they will impress the candidate.
4/ As with user interviews, candidate interviews should talk about the concrete past. If the person reads the right content, it’s easy to get tricked by answers about the future or generalizations, such as “what would you do if X?” or “what do you think about Y”.
5/ It is much more difficult to talk about concrete situations from the past, to explain what the person did and what happened. No wonder companies like @amazon use this type of interview to evaluate candidates.
6/ Raise the bar, even if you keep the chair empty Great people want to work with other great people. Never settle for “good enough”. In my experience, it’s always better to have no one than to have the wrong person.
7/ If you don’t have anyone, you know what the problem is and try to solve it. If you have the wrong person, you’re going to spend a lot of time trying to make the person perform well (without success).
8/ Optimize to reduce false positives even as you increase false negatives When in doubt, the default answer should be “no”. As @JeffBezos said “I’d rather interview 50 people and not hire anyone than hire the wrong person”
9/ Be careful when using junior to interview senior The most senior person can provide answers far beyond the junior professional, which he might interpret as a bad answer.
10/ Prioritize well what is non-negotiable and what is trainable Certain skills are difficult to train while others are easier. Don’t waste too much time looking for someone good at something the organization can easily train.
11/Search for top PMs “factories” There are organizations and leaders with great product practices. So much that we know that who has been there have a good chance of being good. Generally, these are not big enterprises — those have many subcultures. It’s hard to generalize.
12/ Content is gold to attract talent If you have a company that most people never heard of (i.e B2B SaaS), it is good to create quality product content . At @RD_Station, several of our best PMs got to know the company like this.
13/ For example, at the time we all were at @RD_Station, the organization was very good at training in digital marketing skills everyone who joined. So PMs who understood marketing weren’t necessarily what we were looking for (it was just a nice to have).
14/ If you hire the wrong person, fix it fast The best recruiter in the world will get it right 2/3 of the time. Don’t punish hiring managers for wrong hires, but make sure they take action quickly if performance doesn’t improve.
15/ Thanks to @rfarinazz, @spengler_, @resminitiago, Gustavo Mendes and Raphael Abreu for the insights!
BTW, this was my first thread. I didn’t imagine it would be so hard. Respect to top threaders, such as @shreyas and @hnshah

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