A Not-So-Routine Role: Identifying the Best Product Manager for your Business

Product Manager Blog

For most of us, we’re accustomed to the routine questions asked at job interviews.  Whether we’ve acted as the interviewer, the interviewee, or a little of both, we understand that some questions look for behavioral and/or attitude traits, others are seeking out experience details, some are testing teamwork strategies, and yet others are verifying competency.  While clearly the answers these questions are pursuing all have great merit, some positions absolutely require a more delicate, and at times inherent balance of many different abilities and specific characteristics, and perhaps most importantly, a certain kind of passion.

This could not be truer than for the position of your product manager.  This person plays a vital role within the organization, responsible for launching the next generation of products that will either make or break the success of the company itself.  Yet many businesses make the mistake of maybe being a bit too routine in their approach to finding the ideal candidate.

And – it could be said this issue starts at the very beginning – when you’re going through resumes, looking for the right applicant for this all-important position.  It’s potentially when the routine becomes not so routine at all.  Looking for that perfect balance – are the qualities there, or are they not, takes a keen eye, and interviewers need to guarantee they are looking for the right strengths to bring to the role, and essentially, to the entire company.

So, where to start?

Possibly, the most crucial attribute to look for in a potential product manager is an obvious display of product passion.  This passion will often be summoned to get through a difficult path to success, and enable the product manager to make tough decisions and pursue ambitious goals with limited resources and imperfect information.  The product manager will be the voice of the product to the organization, and a display of passion breeds confidence, inspiring and motivating others toward product success.  Recognizing that a candidate exudes passion in his or her demeanor and words is a huge component of finding someone that can greatly contribute to this aspect of your business.

Serving as an internal motivator is one thing, but understanding your customer is another.  A successful product manager also realizes this, and has proven experience in empathizing with target customers, respecting them and comprehending how they feel and what they need, instead of trying to “enlighten” them.  A product manager must look at situations from a solutions-based view, keeping the customer involved every step of the way.  Complete understanding and proven results with this critical component of product success are imperative traits of the product manager for your company.

As you can start to see, finding the best person to serve as your product manager really isn’t so routine at all, and we’ve just begun to explore the very specific things you need to be looking for in your search.  Exact Market has released a comprehensive article that takes a full look at the product manager role itself, and what you need in a candidate to best fill it.