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Finding the perfect product manager for your team can often feel daunting, much like searching for a needle in a haystack. However, the right approach and understanding make finding that needle much more manageable. Our years in hiring within the product management market have helped our teams understand the key traits that distinguish a great product manager and how to attract them to the most suitable role. Here, we'll share a few of those insights with you.

Before diving into the search, you need to start with what makes a great product manager. These traits ensure your new hire will significantly contribute to your product's success. Here are five key attributes to consider in your search:


  1. Product Lifecycle Management: Your ideal product manager should be ready to take charge from the first sketch to the final product and even beyond. They're all about guiding your product through its entire lifecycle, ensuring it grows and adapts over time.


  1. Market and Customer Intuition: You want a PM with an almost uncanny knack for understanding what your customers are thinking and what the market's murmuring about. A product manager who anticipates needs and trends before they become the next big thing.


  1. Data Driven: Numbers tell stories, and your product manager should be a master storyteller, using insights from data to drive strategies that move your product forward. They make decisions based on hard evidence, not just gut feelings.


  1. Experimentation and Adaptability: Look for someone fearless in trying new things and seeing what sticks. Your PM should love running experiments to test ideas and learning from successes and failures to refine your product's path.


  1. Cross-Functional Leadership and Communication: A key attribute should be an ability to get everyone on the same wavelength, from engineers to marketers. They're a bridge-builder, ensuring all the different parts of your team are pulling together towards the same vision.


Starting Your Search

Now that we’ve covered what makes a standout product manager, let’s focus on how to find them. This next section offers practical tips for identifying and attracting the right candidate to your team.


Start with Reality

First, think about what you're looking for in a product manager. What are the must-haves and nice-to-haves? Now, take a step back. Are you piling too much onto one plate? You need to separate the wheat from the chaff here. Sometimes, what starts as a hunt for a product manager ends up as an unrealistic hunt for a superhero with an impossible skill set. If your description reads like it's for multiple roles mashed into one, you're not going to find your candidate; you'll only find frustration.


Get Clear on Expectations

Once you've got a clearer picture, be ready to adjust those expectations. It's about balance. Can one person realistically tackle the technical side, understand the market, lead without authority, and champion your product vision? Maybe they can; unicorns do exist, but they like to be paid as such! Ensure your expectations are grounded in reality.


Salary Expectations

This leads us nicely to the sticky topic of salary in general. If you're after a top-tier product manager who ticks all your boxes, you will need to be ready to pay what they're worth. That might not necessarily be monetary; some of the best professionals we've worked with are often after a more interesting project and might be prepared to take a lower base alongside higher benefits or shares. So, look at the market and see what others in your industry and region are offering (contact us for a Consortia salary guide). If your package isn't competitive, you might be fishing for whales in a pond. Remember, you get what you pay for.


Using the Right Bait: Job Ads and Keywords

Once you've nailed down exactly what you need from your prospective product manager, it'll be about getting your job ad and description in front of the right product eyes. Use the language that your ideal candidate speaks. Keywords aren't just SEO fluff; they're the breadcrumbs that lead the best talent to your door. Think about what a top product manager would type into the search bar. If you aren't getting many bites, it might be time to tweak your job title or description. Sometimes, calling the role something slightly different can make all the difference in attracting suitable candidates.


Bringing It All Together

Finding the best product manager requires clear expectations, competitive offerings, and strategic advertising. Keep in mind what makes a product manager truly invaluable but equally balance this with understanding that product managers are humans with their own quirks, strengths and weaknesses!


If you're still encountering hurdles in hiring a product manager for your role, don't hesitate to contact us. Our doors (and inboxes) are always open to chat about your recruitment needs. Feel free to connect with us via the contact page on our site; we're here to help streamline your search and ensure you find the right product manager for your needs.

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