I have been helping few of early stage founders figure out how to get their first product person onboard ,and the general do’s & don’ts of this. Before you read this, I would encourage you if you went through this article, that touches on when to hire your product person? Or should you even. (Mostly the answer is NO!)
Anyway if you are still looking to hire. Here are my top points:
Within the product teams itself, there is so much to look into. There is a lot that this function can do. I would say ask what you want. Some questions I typically ask the team or myself are:
Can we hire someone with no product experience? Typically done, when the founder/team knows what needs to be done. Just needs mostly execution. Someone savvy enough to project manage but also eventually get to doing more product related things as they grow in the organization.
Can we hire a junior PM? Someone that understands the fundamentals of PM, has done this for a year or so. Understands the whys clearly when needing to scope. But, probably needs a push in the direction/theme.
Can we hire a senior PM? Has done this for quite a while now( say 4 years/ relevant experience) and knows what to do. Can manage most tasks alone. Does not need to check in & will be someone you see growing onto becoming Director/ VP if they understand what needs to be done from a strategy perspective.
Director/VP or above: Hire for this role, if you can afford this person. Usually brings a lot of clout( therefore helping your hiring funnel), experience and probably expertise in the domain you are building for. However, you have to know that this is a more managerial role - So this person will build up a product team, give a strategy to them but will typically not do day-to-day running of features.
So think very carefully who this person is to you & what your expectations are here. There is no wrong answer here, it is just answering your WHY more clearly.
One thing you have to know is - Do you need this person to know your domain really well or not. Are you also just building for masses, or do you need a certain sense of market understanding.
An example of this would be - If you are a fintech consumer facing app, you may need someone that understands B2C space more than fintech. Because your team has enough domain knowledge to cover the spots. A counter to this will be - You are a DTC brand & you know all about your customers but don’t know enough about the ecommerce space. So you need someone that has domain expertise.
Always hire a complimentary person vs someone just like you, so you can cover more depth.
A lot of people ask, how do they hire if they have no technical/design knowledge. How do they test their PMs on these things. I would say perhaps you either have someone on the team that can cover these skills & ask questions on them or you don’t need this expertise yet. If you are early in the startup I would say you should have the following rounds at least ( add your own flavour to it though)
That is pretty much all I can think of at this point. Let me know if there is an area you think this post should elaborate more on!