Does Anyone Out There Understand Product Recruiting?

We are always amazed when we meet business leaders who express surprise at the fact that we specialize in Product Management recruiting.

While on one hand, it's cool to be a disruptor, it's also opened our eyes to the biggest reasons why we see so many tech companies struggle to hire product talent. While there are multiple reasons companies may struggle to hire product leaders, the most common reason is this: most people don't understand product management! 

This includes recruitment firms, internal talent acquisition teams, and sometimes even Founder/CEOs. 

Nuances of Product Management Hiring 

There are Venn diagrams out there that attempt to illustrate the nuances between different product roles, but when you then add specific skills required for industry and the rapid pace to deliver consumer experiences on a global scale to millions or billions of users... things start to get complicated.

Throw in specializations in native mobile vs responsive or web, the world of APIs, the skills necessary to lead a business through backend tech debt, past related experiences, location(s), salary expectations, etc. many hiring managers and recruitment professionals will find themselves lost in a sea of seemingly similar yet crucially different candidate profiles.   

Finding the right product leader for your startup is not as simple as putting up a job posting and waiting for the inbound applicants. This is why recruiting product talent requires an entirely different level of understanding and experience to get it right.

So much so that we love the moment when we look across the table (or these days Zoom room) and say with confidence: "we understand product management and what it takes to recruit the product talent you are looking for."

Product Management Specialists 

Since our first Product Management search in 2006 and launching our dedicated Product Practice in 2016, we have invested more than the magical 10,000 hours needed to master a skill.  

Becoming a master in recruiting product talent across North America has taken a commitment of time and resources. Our Product Practice Leader & Senior Recruiter has over 22 years of search experience, 12 of which have been focused on Product Management executives. 

We also have an entire team of talented Recruiters, Researchers, and Support/Operations members who enable us to scale and provide speed without sacrificing results. 

The benefits to having a dedicated Product Management recruiting team are many, but here are the main ones:

  • We are often already engaged within the community of people whose skills and experiences you have an interest in hiring.
  • Highly sought-after candidates are more likely to respond and engage with us because of our reputation within the product community.
  • Our Researchers enable us to shorten the time it takes to engage in live discussions with candidates to qualify them against requirements and to market your company and opportunity.
  • Due to the number of VP Product searches we do, Martyn Bassett Associates are trained in this unique persona - the top skills and experience necessary for a successful hire.
  • We are aware of current market salaries and are therefore able to anticipate roadblocks and consult with clients about how to be in a competitive position to attract the person they want to hire.


Some of our more weighty experiences, which have served to strengthen our recruiting muscles include:

  • A global search for a CPO-level hire required relocation to a midsize Canadian city for a company whose product was named "Project X." A mystery launch only to be shared with the chosen hire after all contracts were signed. 
  • A search for a Product Leader who not only had product leadership experience but also had the business ops experience to enable them to step into a dual role: COO + VP Product. The added complexity was finding someone who embodied both the 'startup hustle' to work within a 30 person company, yet be credible enough to satisfy the corporate ownership and Board (a billion-dollar public company in Europe).
  • A Canada-wide search for a Product Leader, at a CPO or VP-level, with product experience coming from a consumer subscription service and PLG business model, who was fluent in Mandarin and could step in as the CEO to run the company.
  • A US-based search for a DTC consumer electronics and wellness brand that needed to hire their first VP Product capable of pivoting the business to a subscription model.
  • The search for a Head of Product to join 3 seed-funded Founders with a mission to take their product idea from a napkin drawing to a market release.
  • A global search across 3 continents for a Design Leader to champion the next generation of products with a use case to ensure all humans receive consistent healthcare services regardless of where they live in the world.

As product management recruitment specialists we understand the nuances within a candidate profile that separate a talented product professional from a talented product professional who will excel in a specific role. 

Connect with us today to learn more about our Product Management Recruitment Practices or check out some more of our recent searches.