Why Is Hiring a Product Manager So Hard?

They are crucial for businesses bringing a tangible product to their consumers, but why are Product Managers so difficult to hire? Consider some of these key factors before you start looking for your next Product Manager!

Despite their rather mundane titles, Product Managers need to be imaginative and dynamic. With the diverse demands that the role entails, an effective Product Manager is one who has experience with different functions. They are usually people who understand both the vision of a project/product and the necessary tasks that need to be completed to make it a reality. Combine this with the ability to communicate effectively with a team and business as a whole, and it's no wonder why it's hard to find the perfect Product Manager.


The Ideal Personality

Team brainstorm


Product Managers need to be able to assess opportunities rapidly and find one that suits his/her goals. This means having the mental ability to process a lot of options and communicating which one is best for the team and project. While hindsight is always 20/20, an excellent Product Manager will be assessing options while simultaneously consulting with customers and shareholders, considering the future of the product and providing the reasoning to ensure everyone is on board with their strategies. This is why dynamic and imaginative personalities flourish in this role. This constant juggling of tasks is why Product Management is not a job you can take with a great deal of ease.


A High Salary Doesn't Guarantee A Skilled Hire

Female manager

Some businesses may think that they can offset some of their hiring concerns by offering a higher salary. The logic behind this being it will motivate more experienced and suitable candidates to apply. However, a lot of talented Product Managers will often refer to a role because of the responsibilities and career growth it offers. In addition to this, how the business functions, its overall goals or visions, and brand culture are also factors that candidates take into consideration. This means that it almost becomes a double-sided interview process.


An All-In-One Education

Female manager and team meeting

The Product Manager, as a role is also something of a more unorthodox position, from a formal education standpoint. It's not as though there is a universally fixed definition as to what a Product Manager does and doesn't do, the types of products they encounter, or even what formal technical training they require. Depending on the sector and the business itself, the Product Manager can dip their toes into a wide array of departments like marketing or quality assurance! As such, candidates with a well-rounded personality, who have experience in many different areas are usually better suited to the role.



The Skill of Communicating

Two men interviewing

Communication is key to a Product Manager. From a hiring standpoint, this can generate issues if the Hiring Manager doesn't fully understand what the role demands. Often Hiring Managers can get too bogged down in questions that may not adequately assess the Product Managers skills or personality. Alternatively, the Hiring Manager could just as easily fail to ask more specific, in-depth questions to determine a candidate's skill level. Ultimately unless the Hiring Manager understands what the role demands and likewise, what the company's needs are, the chances of hiring the perfect Product Manager are slim to none.


Brexit, High Demand and the Candidate Market

EU and UK flags

As we near closer and closer to a stable, set-in-stone Brexit plan we're seeing a greater need for skilled workers in the marketplace. Tech is one of the main sectors that is lacking highly skilled talent. There are too many businesses with needs that require experts, especially as we enter the era of cloud technology. With so much demand and less supply of skilled workers, that means it will likely be a candidates market for some time. This being the case, the business will have to know how to entice the right personnel to join their teams.


More Than One Benefit

Merely offering a competitive salary and dress-down on Friday might not be enough to convince the perfect Product Manager that you need her skillset. She may also have requests for her work/life balance. Perhaps she's interested in health and wellness benefits. These considerations can make the difference between a Product Manager that stays with the business and brings the product vision to reality and a Product Manager who is continually battling every department to achieve simple tasks.

Despite all these factors, hiring is a two-way street. It's never just on the candidate or the business. Both parties need to be happy with what the other is delivering and feel confident that the fit is right. While it is more difficult to find the right Product Manager in a tight, candidate-controlled market, it's not an impossibility. Ensure that your Hiring Manager or recruitment agency understands the business values, goals and overall vision. Otherwise, the hiring process could quickly turn into a nightmare of uncertainty.