All The Skills To Look For In A Product Manager Before Hiring Them
A product manager is responsible for controlling the success of a product and leading a team responsible for improving it. In many ways, a product manager’s role is conceptual, similar to a brand manager in a company.
Product managers provide the broad product expertise needed to lead the organization and make strategic product decisions. They often analyze market conditions and present a differentiated product vision and offer unique value based on customer needs.
This role includes many activities, from strategy to tactical and outstanding cross-functional leadership – especially between marketing, sales, and support teams.
If you are looking to hire a product manager for your organization, you need to focus on various necessary skills that are required for one to become a leader.
A product manager has to work efficiently in three areas: business, customers, and technology. This role is extremely challenging and needs a broad mastery of various fields and skills.
List of Skills to Look for in a Product Manager
Apart from a compulsory product management certification, each candidate would also have to show a certain number of skills needed to become a successful product manager. Once you find all of these skills, ideally in one candidate, it would become easier to hire a PM for your organization.
Communication and Writing Skills
A product manager’s day is full of communication, from meetings to presentations, one would spend a lot of time communicating and writing. As a product manager, one’s job would be to inform the internal and external team members about what is happening. Hence, they need to provide clear and comprehensive instructions and guidelines to the team.
Poorly presented information can lead to inconsistent expectations and missed deadlines. Writing documents about the product requirements is probably one of the most critical tasks a product manager has. A PM must be able to compile and write a report so that it becomes easy for the team to follow and understand.
Excellent writing skills also play a significant role in the position of product manager. Words are essential, so one needs to know how to use them effectively to support a product.
User Interaction Skills
Spending time with consumers can be the most valuable part of a product manager’s role. This is also one of the most effective ways to achieve product success.
As a product manager, they would be the voice of every customer in your organization. It is their job to understand the needs precisely so that they can work effectively for solutions that meet those needs.
There are various ways to get an in-depth knowledge of the needs of a user, like:
- Having a direct dialogue with the user.
- Taking out time to get acquainted with the customers.
- Making emotional connections.
- Asking questions about how the product has changed the customer’s life.
They need to be creative and consistent when they engage with users. They should send surveys, post questions on social media, support focus groups, or start one-on-one conversations. This is precisely how they would be able to make a secure connection with the users.
Knowledge of Sales
As a product manager, they would have to sell their ideas to people who can realize their vision. Their target users would undoubtedly be the engineers. Hence, they would have to think in a certain way that would match their wavelength with them.
Here are a few ways in which the product manager should have a proper interaction with an engineer regarding the product:
- They have to be technically reasonable enough to discuss the aspects of the product comfortably with an engineer.
- They need to know how to describe the product in an effective manner so that the engineers become interested.
- Successful communication of their ideas with engineers requires a combination of enthusiastic evangelism, inspiring storytelling, and authentic empathy.
Inspiring storytelling is a powerful way to create support for their product. This can include data-based materials such as market research and customer surveys. This can also include one-on-one interviews with customers and testimonials.
When you hire a product manager, look for strong leadership and interpersonal skills. Product management is not just about being a task manager but also about supporting and empowering others by understanding their strengths and weaknesses.
Hence, product managers need soft skills for the following reasons:
- Emotional intelligence and empathy to help read and manage situations more precisely and wisely.
- Relationship management skills enable smoother processes and help resolve conflicts.
- Confidence helps them to remain objective so that they can become an active champion for customers.
A good product manager is also responsible for maintaining consistency between the product vision and the product team. This requires connecting daily tasks with broader strategies for reasons, such as:
- The initiative is prioritized appropriately, and
- The expanded team understands and is inspired by the final impact of their work.
It would be best if you hired someone who motivates people by articulating the big picture clearly and explaining why it matters to customers and the company. Also, they need to help each team member do their best work to support the collective goals.
Time Management Skills
Proper time management is a crucial skill that is important in every profession or role. Still, it is vital for product managers because they have many different tasks to perform on time. Because of their work nature, they run the risk of continually taking on tasks that are not supposed to be on their plate.
Hence, it is better to hire a person who can correctly do time management and knows how to submit them before the deadline.
Knowledge of Coding
Lastly, it is not compulsory to know to code, but it would be better to hire someone with a fundamental knowledge of computer programming languages.
A certain level of technical skill is necessary for a successful product manager, as it will make them more productive. In this way, they would easily be able to interact with the engineers and guide your design and development team.
Whether it’s the position of an associate product manager or a senior product manager, it’s not an easy task to hire. To produce outstanding products, a successful product manager requires many different skills. Moreover, one has to have the inherent qualities needed to endure hard work.
In simple words, a product manager is key to all product-related decisions. Hence, you need to go through all the skills and look for the same in the candidates before deciding on one.