We are now at the half-year point, and what a half-year it's been. When we began 2022 and shared our State of Product Recruiting report, we never expected the events of the last quarter:
While the speed at which the market can change has rattled many, the industry and its people are resilient. As we collectively march forward into the back half of 2022, here are the four things we want CEOs, Founders, and HR Leaders to know when recruiting product management talent:
It is still a candidate’s market for specialized talent
Our Product Practice has not experienced a slowdown in the roles we get engaged to recruit. Why? Because most companies that engage us do so for tough-to-fill, mission-critical, leadership, and/or highly specialized roles.
Our real-time market insights confirm that top CPO and VP Product leaders are still being aggressively pursued and often have their choice of opportunities. The same goes for specialized product talent in domains such as proptech, marketplaces, adtech, and all the flavours of security, be it cyber or identity access management.
Don’t wait, hoping for perfection
Attempting to hire a unicorn now that the market has slowed? A would-be client recently suggested that they wait to start their search because "there might be more downsizing in their product category, and the perfect candidate might apply." Unfortunately, it’s been months, and they still have no product leader steering the ship.
While magic might strike, what happens if it doesn't? What is the cost to the business over those weeks, months, or even the year if there is no hire? Before waiting around for the perfect hire, determine the cost to the business and a timeline for how long a position can remain vacant without long-term consequences to product and business growth.
Many candidates are on edge, and rightfully so. To counteract this fear, over-communicate at every stage of the hiring process and to every stakeholder involved. This simple flow of information is one of the most effective tools leaders have in attracting and engaging candidates in today’s market.
To create efficiency, don't let any interviewers "wing it." Instead, ensure each person who interviews understands what specific skills they are being asked to qualify for (cultural fit, technical skills, career aspirations, selling the product story and securing buy-in, etc.). This will create the greatest likelihood of a thorough process that doesn't waste time asking the same questions.
Communicate the company's vision to every candidate. Candidates need to emotionally buy into the business being built if they are to leave something permanent/stable in this market.
Choose the start date carefully
The wider the distance from the date the offer is signed to the actual start date, the more room it gives for anything to happen. Time cools interest - time kills deals.
Work with your recruiting partner to negotiate on your behalf and get the earliest start date possible. This is especially important when hiring in Europe as 2-3 months notice periods are often required. It is equally essential in North America as pandemic-related fatigue has caused many candidates to take longer than usual time off between jobs.
Candidates in rocky markets can start feeling rocky emotions and decide not to make a job change. Shorten the likelihood of a false start by shortening the hire's time to onboarding.
With more talent circulating the market, internal talent acquisition teams will have an easier time finding and landing qualified junior candidates to join organizations. However, when hiring specialized and leadership-level product talent, the market remains competitive and challenging.
In the back half of 2022, those in demand will stay in demand and many will become more rooted in their current role due to fear of market volatility.