Are You Sassy About SASE?

As a tech-focused recruitment firm, we have a front-row seat to the growth and innovation happening across many solution categories, whether cloud infrastructure or cloud computing on the application side.

One of the networking categories our Product Practice has been solving for over the last year has been the category of Edge Computing, specifically SD-WAN, Network Security, and the newly defined category, SASE.

When Gartner announces a new category, it's a big deal, so it was no surprise to our recruiting team when everyone was suddenly talking about SASE. So what does this mean to companies who need to "get sassy" about SASE / SSE and hire tech talent to sell, market, manage, and launch it? 

Here are our three recommendations for cloud networking tech companies that need to recruit for strategic roles and SASE / SSE talent.

1. Get Ready, Stay Ready 

As this was being written, news channels were touting economic downturns, recessions, and downsizings. While all of that may be true, from where we sit, tech remains a land of opportunity, and tech employers remain bullish on acquiring top talent to scale their businesses. 

This includes all our recruiting practice lines: Sales, Marketing, and Product Management. In fact, our teams have never been busier recruiting for enterprise cloud networking companies, specifically for Product Marketing and Product Management talent.

Our Recruiters confirm that candidates who enter one of our search processes interview on average, with two other companies seeking the same skills and experiences. Thus, employers need to be in a position of readiness to increase the likelihood of achieving the outcome they want, a hire.

2. Outcomes vs. Experience 

How does a company hire for a new category or innovation when the talent pool is small or undefined? This is a question our recruiting teams have been answering for over 20 years:

  • In 2000: What persona of software salesperson do I hire to sell CRM when the only known CRM company is Siebel?
  • In 2001: How do we find a marketer with experience marking something called an "ASP" when until now, all software has been on-premise, installed on a server (ASP was the precursor to SaaS)
  • In 2006: Product management? What's that?

Our experience has shown us that when it comes to simplifying a hiring decision, outcomes beat experience every time.

Interviewing and hiring based on a candidate's outcomes give employers a glimpse into the soft skills and DNA of the candidate’s persona, which will most likely follow them into any role they are hired for. This is in contrast to interviewing candidates who may have industry experience but are not as accomplished (a.k.a successful) as their colleagues and counterparts. 

Interviewing candidates for their outcomes allows you to discover what qualities have enabled them to succeed through their experiences. Here are some questions to ask to focus on outcomes:

  • Describe the state of the business when you were hired and the roadblocks you identified as ones preventing a successful outcome.
  • Walk us through how you overcame those roadblocks to achieve the outcomes you achieved.
  • Looking back, where did you fail? What did you learn from that?
  • If you were hired to do that same job again, what would you do differently?

Hiring for outcomes vs. experience is something we learned from one of our clients and has become one of the key strategies our teams apply when evaluating candidates.

3. Talent over Location

While the industry has begun to see companies question remote work models and begin to draw employees back into offices, we caution that allowing a candidate's location to trump outcomes and skills will only delay or possibly impede a hiring outcome. 

Most of the employers we partner with determine location flexibility based on the size of the available talent network. Most often, we are retained to find strategic hires in any location. 

Based on our hiring data, your likelihood of an expeditious hiring outcome increases by 60% when you take a location-agnostic approach. This is especially true of cloud networking tech companies, whether SD-WAN, ZTNA, Cybersecurity, Virtualization, or PaaS. These are some of the most competitive tech categories to recruit for. 

Our advice to anyone hiring such talent is to look at the talent pool as a global pool. For example, we recently completed a search for a North American cybersecurity company that engaged us to recruit a Principal Product Manager.

Due to their location flexibility, we completed that search in 33 business days with a hire based in the UK. When location is agonistic, finding a hire within 30-40 business days is the average for our product practice.

If you're looking to hire a SASE-focused Product or Product Marketing, apply these three recommendations to ensure a faster and more fruitful talent search.

book a consultation