Products are built by people, working together. Therefore a major part of the role of a Product Team is ensuring that the right people are brought into the team and that they are set up for success.


Staffing enables us to deliver on the product plansWe need to hire the right people to deliver on our plans.By planning our future product needs and identifying the skills and behaviours required we can ensure that we are hiring the right people.
We want missionaries, not mercenariesWe need to ensure that teams are aligned with the company mission and values.By defining compensation structures that prioritise long-term incentives such as product performance based bonuses or equity we can ensure that we are attracting people who are aligned with the company mission and values.
Only a fraction of people are looking for a job at any given timeWe need to be proactively sourcing candidates continuously.By maintaining a continuous sourcing pipeline through employee referral programs, content marketing, industry event attendance and nurturing personal networks, we can have a list of warmed up candidates for when we need to hire.
Skills are taught, behaviours are caughtWe need to hire people who have the right behaviours and company values fit.By doing an initial screening, which focuses more on skills, we can devote more time in the interview process to focus on behaviours and values.
Interviewing is like product discovery - examples are the bestWe need to ensure that candidates share real, applicable examples rather than generic answers.By running case study style behavioural interviews, and honing in on what the person actually did and how they approached the problem, we can get a better sense of the experience of the candidate.
Interviews are assumptions, they need to be validatedWe need to ensure that the interviewee isn't just skilled in interviewing but also in the role.By implementing take-home assignments or, if possible trial periods, we can ensure that the candidate can actually do the work required.
New hires do not have the context to deliver straight awayWe need to minimise the time between starting and performingBy delivering a structured onboarding program we can build context, relationships and efficiency quickly.
Not every person is the right fit for every companyWe need to ensure that people find a better fit if they aren't working out after 3-6 monthsBy acting swiftly and offboarding people who are not working out, you can limit any motivational impacts on the rest of the team and let the person find a company or role that would better suit their skills and behaviours.


Reviewing resumes is time-consumingWe need to ensure that we focus our limited time on the best potential candidates.By creating detailed job specifications which highlights both the positive and negative traits that we are looking to avoid we can limit the number of resumes that we have to review. This can then feed into a strict initial screening which can limit the overhead of interviewing.
The period between the hire and the start is the most dangerousWe need to ensure that the candidate actually joins the company after investing in the hiring process.By implementing a pre-boarding process where we regularly check in with the new hire we can keep them excited and less likely to accept a counter-offer.
Onboarding needs to continuously evolve because your product isWe need to be flexible in our onboarding process to ensure that the new hire gets the context they need.By implementing a peer mentor program where we pair new joiners with recent hires we can ensure that they get recent, relevant, onboarding context. The questions asked should be fed back into the structured onboarding program.
Keeping people is cheaper than hiring new onesWe need to constantly strive to make our work and management practices better.By running exit interviews when people leave the company we can learn what we can do better and iterate on our hiring and management practices.


Pressure leads to compromisesWe need to ensure that we are maintaining a high bar for hiring quality even when we are under pressure to hire.By implementing a bar-raiser program we can appoint a person who is not directly involved with the team doing the recruiting to veto a candidate if they do not meet the required standard.


HR is there to helpBusy managers don't have the time to source and do initial evaluations of candidates.Increasing the bar for quality hires reduces the load on managers as they have fewer issues with existing hires.
Overemphasis on culture fit can lead to homogeneityPrioritising behavioural interviews can inadvertently lead to a lack of diversity, as it might favour candidates who share similar backgrounds or perspectives.You need to ensure that your core values and principles, that guide the behavioural questions, reflect the real behaviours you want to see and not biases.


  1. The Perfectionist’s Veto: Insisting on finding the 'perfect candidate' can lead to endless searching and unfilled positions, hurting team productivity.
  2. Burnout by Interview: Overloading candidates with too many interview rounds, leading to candidate fatigue and potential withdrawal from the process.
  3. Ghosting Candidates: Failing to provide feedback to candidates post-interview, which can damage the company's reputation and discourage potential future applications.
  4. Rushing the Fit: Speeding through the cultural and behavioural assessment to fill positions quickly, often resulting in poor long-term fit and higher turnover.

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