Do this before you go hunting for a product manager for your startup
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When a startup takes the crucial leap from seed to Series A stage, they are often seen going berserk hiring the right product manager. Anshumani Ruddra, Vice President of Practo, spoke at a summit conducted by SAIF Partners on what a founder should keep in mind while hiring a product manager and at what stage should a startup actually hire one! The following article contains few excerpts from Anshumani’s talk on Wednesday.
It’s your job to hire, don’t outsource this task
An entrepreneur should never outsource the hiring process. Hiring is the founder’s prerogative and he is the first product manager of the company. An ideal job description for a product manager should not follow the mundane template format. A founder and co-founder should write a JD based on what he does on a day-to-day basis which will help in setting the right expectations. One needs to keep the JD real and transparent.
Hire someone smarter than yourself
If an entrepreneur thinks he is the smartest person in the room, he is sure to see a downfall. Always hire people smarter people than yourself and never fall prey to your ego. Engineers generally make good PMs, in most cases. But it’s not necessary that they alone can fit this role. A product manager is usually a good writer. In early days of your startup, a product manager is your marketing guy and your PR who writes out your press releases.
Keep your hiring process smart and set the right expectations
In general, startups should always look to hire for long term. Even in the case for interns, get them involved in the company and pay them appropriately. When it comes to hiring a product manager, the startup should first select a very diverse set of panellists. Very often investors are asked to interview candidates and it’s important that they are aware of what they are expected to look out for. A founder should himself do all the reference checks, which include talking to the candidate’s former bosses and colleagues, college alumni, professors and if possible, even junior colleagues.
Keep an eye out for some qualities that can guarantee a good hire. A product manager should be good experimenters and should have the ability to deconstruct a product. A product manager should definitely be able to take out his mobile and show the product at any point of time.
Prior to joining Practo, Anshumani had worked with Zynga and Hike Messenger. While being screened for the role, Anshumani had extensively discussed the product with Practo’s founder Shashank which made him feel part of the process prior to being hired. Brainstorming ideas while being screened got him involved in the company’s product and culture instantly.