Tag Archives: product manager recruitment

Web Product Manager Recruitment Ad – 4

There is a job ad in the US for a Product Manager – Mobile Advertising. Similar to that, there is another job ad on Linkedin for a Senior Product Manager/Director in India. Here are some points to consider about both ads.

  • Both ask for prior relevant experience. The US ad mentions Mobile Ad Network and Data Analytics specifically, the Indian ad mentions nothing specific which makes it harder to understand the role.
  • The US ad talks mainly about functional capabilities. The Indian ad specifically mentions Interpersonal, Leadership, Core Product Management and Technical skills, which indicates that they are looking for a fairly senior person.
  • The US ad does not mention the advertiser, but says that the compensation will be based on experience. The Indian ad is for Pubmatic, a firm started in 2006.
  • Neither ad mentions team size. The US position is for Boston, MA and the Indian position is for Pune.
  • Pubmatic is open to hiring either Senior Product Manager or Director, however, the former role has no direct reportees. The US firm is only looking for individual contributors.

The ad for the US based opportunity is fairly specific about the requirements. So it will collect fewer responses, but the ones they get will be pertinent. Since the ad is about a very specific role in the ad industry, career growth will occur if the person becomes highly skilled at his job and gains more domain expertise.

Pubmatic has actually provided a good and detailed job ad. However, it lists a lot of traits and qualifications, so they will have a lot of irrelevant resumes. Hence the chances of getting shortlisted in India even with relevant experience are correspondingly lower. And it is extremely unlikely that you will be interviewed unless you are known to senior people within the firm or have strong brands in your resume (IIT, Stanford, Google, Yahoo! etc). Additionally, perception management will be very important in this role for career growth. To apply for a role in India, I would definitely search on Linkedin to identify how many PMs Pubmatic has hired and released in the past few years.

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Web Product Manager Recruitment Ad – 3

Myntra.com is hiring 2 senior product managers. One role is called “Senior Product Manager, Back End/ERP” and the other is called “Senior Product Manager, BI/Analytics“.

The complete JD is available from their website, and these are the 2 main roles in product management advertised. Myntra.com is one of India’s largest e-commerce websites and their offices are located in HSR Layout, Bangalore.

Location: Bangalore
Desired Qualification:Engineering degree from a good college; Having an MBA is a plus
Desired experience: 810 years

Here are some points to consider regarding the role and the firm:

  • This ad has been on their website for about 6 months now.
  • The years of experience desired, and qualifications such as engineering from a good college mean that this will be a relatively high paying job, but that will depend on the interview, experience and other factors. You can probably expect compensation between 8-15 lpa.
  • A person with “deep knowledge of ERP” is usually a specialist in that role. Such a person is extremely unlikely to have strong Usability and UI design knowledge. Neither will he have full product management experience.
  • They are looking for people who have undergone multiple releases as product managers in 3-4 years. It is very rare in India, especially given the slowdown that occurred after 2008. Offshore enterprise product managers will probably not fit in this, even though they are the most likely candidates with relevant experience.
  • Someone who has worked for several years in software development, and has implementation or design exposure to ERP packages in an engineering role will be a good fit.
  • The designation says “Senior Product Manager” however, normally it is the work of a “senior business analyst” to design, customize and deploy an ERP package. This designation is normal, as candidates are more attracted to the “product manager” designation.
  • They are not specifically looking for candidates from other e-commerce firms.
  • Operations and Finance will be the key stakeholders, along with engineering and senior management.
  • The marketing team interaction mentioned is unlikely to occur, given this is a product for interal users.
  • An MBA from a top college is unlikey to add value in the role, it may increase the salary offered. Total compensation is unlikely to be more than 15-16 lakhs per annum. Most e-commerce companies in India are struggling for growth & profitability and profit margins dictate employee salaries and perks.
  • Growth after this role will probably be to a larger organization in the e-commerce space or an IT consultancy firm working in the e-commerce vertical. PMs working on UX and front end will have a greater opportunity to work on new initiatives.
  • I have not discussed the BI/Analytics role, as normally it is about obtaining and processing data for creating reports, dashboards and presentations on usage trends and customer insights.

Disclaimer: I have a lot of respect for myntra.com. This post is only provided to prospective PMs to help them to interpret job ads for product managers

If you have applied/joined somewhere for a web PM role similar to this, then drop me a comment, and we can discuss the same.

Web Product Manager Recruitment Ad – 2

Times of India has the requirement of a product manager. However, the hiring firm is actually called Times Internet Limited.

Online Product Manager
Location: Delhi
Desired Qualification: Graduate/ B.E./ B.Tech
Desired experience: 2 – 5 years

The full details of the advertisement are given here.
So what should a prospective candidate analyze from this information? Here a peek:

  • It’s about the subscription pay wall design and how it is implemented around the world, so it’s a very specific role
  • Competitive research is very important, the depth of research will depend on the type of report generated and the audience
  • Website launch is another key requirement, so this role will probably be less important after 6-9 months

Here are some insights on the role based on the advertisement:

  • Its more about business analysis and launch and not product design. MBA from any good college will be useful
  • A very junior level role, compensation will probably be between 4-8 lpa
  • It is possible to grow from this role in to more customer facing roles, such as business development or partner management
  • The role requires little to no technical knowledge, basic smartness and research skills are important
  • The role does not report into engineering leadership, so a software engineer may not fit this role
  • You can expect good opportunities in the job market after this, in online advertising and media
  • Monetization and content management will be other product management roles that are part of the same team
  • Times of India is a great brand in any résumé, and will be a strong plus for career growth
  • Marketing skills are important, but cross functional co-ordination or project management is not.

Disclaimer: I have a lot of respect for Times Internet and their website, timesofindia.com. This post is only provided to prospective PMs to show how to interpret job ads for product managers

If you have applied/joined somewhere for a web PM role similar to this, then drop me a comment, and we can discuss the same.

Hiring Slowdown in India

A quick look at the number of job ads on popular sites such as shine.com, monsterindia.com and naukri.com will show the obvious. There has been a marked hiring slowdown in this quarter. So what could be the causes of this slowdown?

For sure, the following macro factors have had an impact:

a. Slow Recovery in the US

Most offshore R&D centers have slowed down or put off hiring in India, as their parent firm is itself cautious about spending money. This has affected the hiring for posts of product managers in India apart from the regular engineering roles.

b. Slowdown in Indian Market

Thanks to the awesome policies and the wonderful government here, there is neither growth in industrial investment (apart from some core sectors) nor in consumption (due to uncertainties and price hikes). Overall the job market is usually lacklustre in the 4th quarter, but this year things have been worse than usual

c. “Bring Jobs Back” movement in the US, after Obama reelection

This has definitely changed the number of high-end jobs (read: PM roles) that R&D centers in India could offer. In fact, the “value of outsourcing to India” debate has again begun in earnest.

d. Disinterested VCs funding new technology ventures in India

After a funding frenzy in the beginning of 2011, all major VCs have either shifted their focus from technology, social media and consumer web to enterprise software and other sectors. This has had an impact on the startups who managed to get angel funding but could not get a term sheet approved.

Thanks to these factors, all 4 types of product managers are significantly impacted, with little opportunity for lateral movement or growth. I know of several people who had to take a pay cut and do low quality work, simply to show continuity in their résumé.

Thoughts, comments?

ABCs of Variable Pay – How Product Managers are underpaid in India

Indian_Rupee_symbolIn many companies in India today, variable pay is an important technique to reduce cash payouts (OpEx) during slowdown. It typically varies from 10-25% of your total compensation with 20% being the new norm today. The variable part depends on the company’s performance and occasionally, is also used as a performance management tool.
So why is this a big issue?

A. Accountability

In many offshore R&D centers, it is seen that the engineers do not have any variable pay, while Product Managers do. While engineers have no say over the product performance (and the firm’s performance), in R&D centers, the PMs do not have any control either. Hence, a 20% variable pay for an offshore Product Manager is definitely unfair to him. Additionally, sometimes the PMs quarterly payout is tied to the product release date, whereas in reality, the release is dependent on a host of issues, which can only be monitored by program managers. So docking performance pay for PMs when other managers get their full payout is not a good practice.

B. Benchmarking

A few IT services and startup (e-commerce) firms are notorious for using variable pay to pad up the CTC offered to prospective employees. It is only after joining that they find out that the notional variable pay on their offer letter is the high water mark, and typical payout is only about 50-75% of that. This automatically reduces the total compensation in comparison to other firms.

C. CTC or “Cost to Con”

In India, if a firm offers a large amount of stock options or has 20-25% variable pay, then it is very suspect behavior. It is likely that your tenure in the firm will be short and you will see neither variable pay nor stocks. Sadly, this is actually arranged by the senior management, in partnership with HR, to control costs. So the PM does not really get to see the full benefits of his efforts, while the firm claims to offer competitive compensation. The fact that they regularly churn product managers and have very few long timers is a clear indicator of this.

So how do you protect yourself from these? Here are a few suggestions:

1. Do your research

Sites such as Glassdoor offer insights into salaries and contain employee reviews. Keep adding your own experiences and review the content there before accepting a job offer.

2. Let firms compete for your talent

A Computer Science engineer from IIT Bombay told me last year that he had 7 offers to choose from before selecting a new job. While a PM’s bargaining power is limited, it always helps to shop around. And while an offshore PM role is lucrative, the growth options are severely limited.

3. Ignore the salary!

A PM in the Indian market can easily get noticed and get promoted/poached. I know a few people who started in product management (post MBA) at 5-6 lakhs and within 4-5 years reached 20 lakhs CTC per annum. They only extra effort they incurred was to promote themselves on social networks and learn the skills needed to rise up.

Web Product Manager Recruitment Ad – 1

drawingHere’s a look at a job ad from a prominent web firm (People Group) in India

Shaadi.com
Position: Product Manager
Location: Mumbai
Basic Function: Product Manager is primarily responsible for strategic product planning, defining, delivering and continuously innovating Internet based consumer products and services. Product manager should strive to create world-class products that are marketable and should be instrumental in getting the same implemented.

The ad goes on to further mention the job responsibilities, position requirements, necessary skills and good-to-have attributes.

So what should a prospective candidate analyze within the following information? Here’s a peek:

  • What are the products within Shaadi.com that he would be working on
  • What does “Training and mentoring teams as and when required” mean
  • How can he “ensure timely delivery of projects”
  • How can a product manager not be a “team player”

Here are some additional insights into the role solely based on the advertisement:

  • Its a junior level product management role (4-6 years experience), so expect compensation between 8-15 lpa, based on experience, non-MBAs can expect less
  • “MBA from top B-school” is written to mainly reduce spam resumes, anyone from from the top 25 schools can apply, or any engineering graduate (IITs, NITs etc) working as a web PM can also apply
  • There will be little ownership of products or sections of properties within the website, so this is a good role if you want an all round education into different tasks in the web PM space
  • Formal training and support for further education is not to be expected
  • Shaadi.com has a large user base, so expect to design many UX solutions, experiments, wizards, that focus on client issues and interactions
  • Web analytics and the metrics they provides will be used to gauge the success of the solutions
  • Competitive analysis against other sites such as jeevansaathi.com is paramount, specially for the solution you will create on the job
  • There is little to no budget for user studies or market research
  • As the role is mainly about feature performance, roadmapping and creating specifications, you are likely to fall into the trap of one-dimensional product management. However, neither Agile nor Scrums are mentioned in software development, so the question mark on ultimate accountability remains.
  • This role does not report to engineering head, so there will be independent appraisal of PM contributions. PM will probably have to track feature development and learn project management.
  • Growth from this role will likely be to Senior Product Manager, and in rare cases, into Product Head. You can expect good increase in market value if you stay within the role for a couple of years.

Disclaimer: I have a lot of respect for People Group and their website, shaadi.com. This post is only provided to prospective PMs to indicate how to interpret job ads

If you have applied/joined somewhere for a web PM role similar to this, then drop me a comment, and we can have a quick discussion.