We often cite this VP Product Management search when we meet employers who ask us "how long is this going to take?”
Because a big part of the answer is … it depends on you!
All employers believe:
- A VP Product search is one of the most critical hires they will make in a year
- They are willing to remove roadblocks to create efficiencies and execute quickly
- Are able to make a decision quickly
But, our 20 years in business has shown us that reality is often the opposite.
However, last year we were retained by a Canadian B2B SaaS company that was ready to recruit their first product leader. They too communicated the urgency and the priority of this search, but they also came to the party ready to execute and they meant business!
Here is how their search went:
Timeline of the Search:
- Prior to the start of the search, discussions and commercial terms were put in place
- Day 1: Deep-dive requirements call with the CoFounder and VP People
- Day 6: 4 candidates presented - 3 of the 4 scheduled for first interviews
- Day 9: 2 additional candidates presented - both scheduled for first interviews
- Day 10: All candidates were interviewed and everyone progressed to 2nd and 3rd round interviews
- Day 17: Offer presentation
- Day 20: Offer declined (chose an opportunity with greater equity)
- Day 22: Offer presentation to their back-up candidate
- Day 26: Offer declined (chose a smaller local company)
- Day 26: Introduction of a new candidate and their interview scheduled for the next day
- Day 27: 3 additional interviews scheduled for this candidate over the following 4 days
- Day 28: 2 additional backup candidates presented and 1 scheduled for an interview
- Day 32: Offer presentation to the candidate who was presented on Day 26
- Day 33: Offer accepted
- 10 candidates presented with 8 of the 10 interviewed
- 2 female | 8 male
- 4 California based | 3 in Boston | 2 in Atlanta | 1 in Toronto
So how did this client manage to get their first VP Product Management hired in just 33 Business Days?
Well, it stemmed from being in a position of readiness and following these 5 steps:
- The CoFounder (to whom the role would report) was the first interview. He not only interviewed but was an outstanding salesperson for the company, its vision, and the opportunity. Everyone who met him wanted to continue the process.
- The CoFounder made himself available to interview candidates within 24 hours of presentation. The VP People assigned a resource whose sole role was to work with us one-on-one to book Zoom interviews as quickly as possible. This Coordinator was fast, efficient, and even responded to our emails after hours to speed up the process.
- The SLT were the interviewers and decision-makers. This client kept the interview process streamlined to the leadership team (Head of Sales, Head of Engineering, Director Product, Director Design). They qualified against skills, experiences, and culture all in one meeting. To reduce the number of meetings, SLT members were combined in Zoom interviews that were predetermined before we began the interviewing process.
- Offer letter template was ready. The offer package documents were ready and waiting for the name and address of the hire and their salary.
- The CEO was the last interview and all he did was sell and cast vision. No case studies, no personality tests - if someone met with the approval of his CoFounder and SLT, the CEO was bought-in. He came to the table to make sure the candidate left with a clear vision of what the organization was building towards and how the hire would participate.
While there is never guarantee on timelines when it comes to leadership searches, following these 5 steps helps to ensure the process moves as quickly and efficiently as possible.