Why Does Hiring Go Wrong?

As part of our Product Management Practice efforts, we invest a tremendous amount of time engaging with Founders and hiring stakeholders to understand the needs and goals of the product team they are trying to build.

Every hiring stakeholder believes they can attract the talent they want. We've known this to be consistently true across every product category our Recruiters have worked in, including adtech.

But sometimes, things don't go as planned. There are instances when employers are not able to attract the talent they want and things go awry.

Why are things likely to go wrong during a search? Here are the top three reasons an adtech startup or scale-up may struggle to make a successful Product Manager hire:

1) Underestimating the speed at which the market moves

Underestimating the speed of how the market moves can have several implications for the hiring process:

Increased Time-to-Hire

If a company underestimates the speed at which other companies hire candidates, it may lead to a longer time-to-hire. Qualified candidates actively seeking opportunities are likely to receive multiple job offers, and they may accept offers from other companies before a slower-moving company can even get to the offer stage. Losing out on hires due to process delays can result in prolonged hiring cycles.

Loss of Competitive Advantage

In a niche candidate market, companies need to move quickly to secure top talent. Underestimating the speed of the candidate market can lead to missed opportunities and losing out on highly sought-after candidates to faster-moving competitors. This loss of competitive advantage can impact the company's ability to build a high-performing team and stay ahead in the industry.

Reduced Candidate Interest and Engagement

Candidates in the tech industry often have multiple options. If the hiring process is slow due to underestimating the speed of the candidate market, it can reduce candidate interest and engagement. Candidates may lose enthusiasm for the role, question the company's commitment, or assume their candidacy is not a priority. This lack of engagement can result in candidates withdrawing their applications or accepting offers from other companies.

Higher Recruitment / Business Costs

Underestimating the speed of the candidate market can increase recruitment costs. A prolonged hiring process may require additional resources. These additional costs can strain the budget and impact the overall efficiency and effectiveness of the hiring process. There is also the cost to the business resulting from the role being vacant for an extended time.

2) Mismatched Requirements

Here are some ways in which mismatched requirements can impact the hiring process:

Limited Candidate Pool

When the requirements for a position are narrow or unrealistic, it can significantly limit the candidate pool. These restrictions reduce the number of potential candidates who meet all the specified criteria. Consequently, the hiring process becomes more challenging as it may take longer to find qualified candidates who align with the specific requirements.

Delayed Hiring Timelines

Mismatched requirements can extend the hiring timeline. If the company cannot find candidates who precisely match the requirements, the process may be prolonged as the company continues to search for the ideal fit. This delay can disrupt project timelines or increase the workload for existing team members covering the vacant role.

Increased Turnover Rates

Mismatched requirements can result in hiring individuals who do not possess the necessary skills or experience to succeed in the role. This can lead to higher turnover rates as the new hires struggle to meet expectations or face difficulties in performing their responsibilities. Increased turnover requires repeating the hiring process, resulting in additional costs and disruptions to team dynamics and productivity.

Lower Diversity and Inclusion

If the requirements for a role are too rigid or narrowly focused, it can inadvertently limit diversity and inclusion efforts. By seeking candidates with overly specific qualifications or experiences, the company may unintentionally exclude talented individuals from underrepresented groups who could bring valuable perspectives and skills to the team.

3) Competing Priorities

Here are some ways in which competing priorities can influence the hiring process:

Resource Allocation

Competing priorities within a tech company often involve allocating resources, including time, budget, and personnel, to various projects or initiatives. When multiple projects demand resources simultaneously, it can create a strain on the hiring process. Limited resources may result in a slower hiring process, delayed decision-making, or reduced capacity to dedicate sufficient time and effort to attracting and evaluating candidates.

Time Constraints

Competing priorities can lead to time constraints, where the hiring process needs to be expedited to fill critical positions quickly. This can result in shortcuts or compromises in the recruitment process, such as limited candidate sourcing, shortened interview cycles, or reduced due diligence. Time constraints may impact the company's ability to thoroughly assess candidates and make informed hiring decisions.

Hiring Manager Availability

In a tech company with competing priorities, hiring managers may have multiple responsibilities and time commitments. Their availability for participating in the hiring process, conducting interviews, and evaluating candidates may be limited due to other pressing tasks or projects. This can extend the hiring timeline or delay in providing feedback to candidates, potentially affecting their engagement and interest in the opportunity.

When struggling to land a hire, correcting even one of these common issues can significantly improve the chances of landing a top-choice product management hire. 

Looking for more adtech-specific hiring advice? Visit our blog or see Martyn Bassett Associates' past adtech hiring success stories.