A technical product manager in a company is liable for the success of the product newly launched in the market, which is why companies get somewhat skeptical when hiring and go into the intricacies when examining the candidate.
They work cross-functionally with the teams that are building, marketing, selling, and backing the latest product. Unlike conventional product managers, technical managers possess high-level engineering and design skills.
The job of technical product management congregates elements of numerous other specialties such as engineering, marketing, design, sales, business development, and many more.
Characteristics of a Competent Technical Product Manager
Here are the top characteristics that companies look for in a candidate and advance with the selection process only if these qualities are met –
1. Problem-Solving Ability
Company executives know that product management plays a critical role and that launching a product successfully in the market requires a plethora of creative solutions to unanticipated deterrents.
Because of reasons like these, product leaders seek natural problem-solving aptitude, which portrays itself as creative thinking.
Companies are also very keen to know about your experience in the field, your knowledge of their product, and ways to improve it. This phase is where your answers must be laced with creativity and have an intuitive approach.
2. Decent Technical Background
Some managers only hire technical PMs that possess computer science degrees. Having a legitimate engineering background provides a PM with two critical tools –
- The competency to relate to engineers.
- A grasp of the technical intricacies that drive the product.
Product managers with solid technical backgrounds often enjoy more success while conveying product requirements to engineers and sharing complicated details with non-technical colleagues as-well-as customers.
However, since PMs with an engineering background do not have experience in handling technical decisions for the company, the recruiters favor hiring people who have already been into the technical product management at a previous job.
Check out some decent technical product manager jobs to help you get started in your career and gather the experience required to apply for future roles.
3. Excellent Communication Skills
Having decent communication skills has become more of a mandate than a plus point in a resume.
Technical PMs must deal with a substantial number of people every week who might have minimal to no technical expertise in your product; however, your communication skills must be competent enough to make them understand the intricacies.
Even if a PM candidate checks all the relevant boxes such as decent product management history, experience in your company’s expertise, technical knowledge, and others, that PM will be ineffective if he fails to communicate effectively with professionals across various disciplines.
4. Product Instincts and Creativity
Certain people have instinctive product instincts, which tell them precisely what makes a great product.
Such people have their intellect levels higher than the crowd, which provides them with future insights into the success of upcoming products.
Product management, particularly in highly dynamic situations, involves making numerous small decisions. Companies often throw tricky questions at candidates hoping to receive suggestions that are not only out of the box but practical as well.
Intuitive mindsets know what the product lacks and can offer improvements in UI, add missing features, or eliminate architecture flaws that might hinder the overall performance of the product.
5. Capability to Understand Several Points-of-View
Being a product manager requires being an advocate for the customer, engineering, executives, sales, and marketing if they are not present in the room, which implies that you must know how to do the jobs of other professionals to some extent.
Intellectual PMs know how to siphon various points-of-view and think through a complication from multiple angles.
Interview panels often comprise an engineer, a marketing manager, a product manager, and various other personnel from different departments to judge your approach across diverse expertise.
Companies might give you a technical problem and demand a solution that also caters to marketing issues at the same time. You do not have to impress everybody, but the solutions that you bring to the table must touch different expertise with minimal to no shortcomings.
6. Insatiable Curiosity
Many companies consider this value point as their first evaluation metric, if not the most important out of the bunch. Product management is a role that demands an enormous deal of action and intrinsic motivation.
Often, PMs settle for the instructions given to them by non-technical personnel, which severely limits their curiosity and creativity. Because of this, companies try to extract multiple answers from the candidate in a single question.
A PM who is internally motivated will always come up with innovative solutions that can satisfy different departments in a company and drive sales.
7. Experience and Background
Organizations and businesses hire product managers who have shipped a product from start to finish, from developing a concept to launching in the market.
This experience level is the best indication of the ability of a candidate to ship premium products due to his prior experience in the field, as past performance indicates future success.
It also gives companies something tangible to evaluate in an ocean of intangibles. When going through references, companies also talk to relevant colleagues from a previous project, typically the PM’s manager as-well-as their engineering and sales or marketing counterparts.
Considering that experience is a vital point in your resume, you must acquire the skills necessary to gain leverage over your competitors.
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8. Comfortable With Failure
Companies know that any product in a line, or any particular market launch, might sink due to multiple reasons. Because of this, companies ensure that the PM they hire will not crumble to pieces at their first product failure.
Instead, companies require a technical product manager who will react appropriately and start gathering useful lessons to avoid the encountered pitfalls and propel the next launch to success.
Recruiters can pose such a hypothetical question in your interviews to determine how you will overcome failure and start working on the next project without hesitation.
A product manager will perceive the product better than anyone in a company, and thus, you must prepare aptly for the role as companies do not go very easy on potential candidates.
PMs who have their eyes always fixated on the objective and can handle the jobs of various departments without being bottlenecked are the ones that companies hire the most.