Professionals and recent grads alike come to Startup Institute seeking a better understanding of the hiring process. There are so many unknowns that make navigating the process a guessing game: “What skills are most important to this company? What type of job experience do they want to see?”
Getting the inside scoop on what hiring managers look for in job candidates can help you focus on what’s important: landing the job.
Lucky for us, Fueled, an app development startup company and member of our NYC tech ecosystem, dishes on the qualities and experience they look for when hiring for the role of Product Manager. Here’s what makes someone hireable, beyond just hard skills, according to Fueled.
You: An ambitious, creative strategist.
Fueled: Cutting edge purveyors of polished apps.
Let’s get together.
A Roadmap of Our Interview Process
First things first, we look for that perfect cocktail of experience. Has the candidate shipped a mobile product before? Do they also have UI/UX and strategy experience? Have they worked in a startup environment? PMs bridge the gaps between clients, Account Managers, and DevOps, so their skills need to be well-rounded. If the resume fits the bill, we move forward with the interview process.
Fueled’s interview process takes about 2-4 weeks from intro to offer stage. We kick it off with a quick phone call during which we’ll introduce the candidate to Fueled. We’ll gauge the candidate’s interest and depth of knowledge across all the skillsets a PM should have.
If the candidate is green-lighted past initial screening, we move onto a Skype or Google Hangout where the candidate will chat with a potential future teammate.
For the final stage, we invite the candidate in to meet with our Director of Product and complete an evaluation exercise, which shows us how you put those skills of yours to work.
What is Fueled Really Looking For?
From a hard skills standpoint, Fueled looks for individuals that have some form of CS education, whether that be at a university or bootcamp level, strong Development/Design skills, and experience making data-driven decisions. Previous experience should include shipping high-quality products from the ground up for an agency, or shipping multiple products across web and mobile platforms. Why? You. Learn. So. Much. Building a mobile app from the ground up is a beautiful but challenging journey, and we want to garner that experience when it’s brought to the table.
During the skill evaluation phase of the interview process, Joe Indriolo, our Director of Product, looks for a few key qualities and skills, including how a candidate solves a problem. At their core, PMs are problem solvers, and it’s important to see how a candidate works through a presented problem. He might present an actual roadblock that the Fueled PM team has experienced and ask how the candidate would move through that. Often times there’s not a perfect right answer, but any answer gives him insight into how this particular candidate’s wheels turn.
Having market awareness is another key quality that Joe looks for. Our PMs work on projects ranging from small, just-funded startups, to corporate giants. Being interested in, and understanding the technology scene is imperative to creating a perfect product that’s relevant to today’s market. Joe says, “Every single thing you do when making a mobile app, you assume that people will want to use it in that way. PMs need to understand their market to make these informed decisions, which then lets us test the product efficiently”.
Let’s flip the script to soft skills. Remember when we said that PMs bridge all those interdepartmental gaps? Other than the necessary technical skills we’re looking for, we also need to do our due diligence vetting personalities. We seek out team players that can take the lead. We look for confidence. We look for people that can mesh well with every person in the company, because it’s likely that they’ll be working with the entire team at some point. When asked how much the candidate’s personality comes into play when making a hiring decision, Fueled’s Senior Talent Manager, Christine Chung says, “A lot. Product Managers at Fueled are like mini CEOs. They need to be confident and personable”.
So, What if You Get the Offer?
If a Product Manager candidate is decided to be the best fit for the Fueled team, they’ll be introduced into our unparalleled culture — if they accept our offer that is. What makes a candidate choose us?
The Product team at Fueled is a collaborative and curious group. Team members are constantly bouncing ideas back and forth, from creative to technical. The team has the same goal in mind; they’re building a story, and figuring out how to tell it.
When asked why working for Fueled as a PM is unique, our Director of Product says, “Our Product Managers work within all industries. The team has worked on donation platforms to adult toys to Fintech to 360º cameras. Any one thing a PM might be interested in, they’ll get the opportunity to work on it”.
Fueled, as a whole, is home to an innovative, supportive, creative, and hard-working culture. Team members are given lots of autonomy and support to build apps that we’re proud of. We’re hungry to create beautiful things, while having some fun along the way. We’re also literally hungry, so it’s good that our office space has freshly popped popcorn, a wall of vintage candy, small batch ice cream bars, and plush leather couches to eat all of it on.
What Should You Do To Be Hireable?
Do your homework. Fueled’s Product team is successful because they have a constant craving for learning. Immersing yourself in the industry is key, and PMs absolutely have to be fluent in the current events of tech. Hacker News and Product Hunt can frequently be seen on a Fueled PM’s screen, and Paul Graham’s essays are read religiously. These are the main resources Joe employs for the team, but any resource that thoroughly fills you in on the market is invaluable to be a successful Product Manager.