How We Hire Senior Product Managers at Inc42 Media?

We have always been happy about our Job Designs, and believe it to be an important investment of time. In this article, we want to share the journey for a Product Manager through out our hiring stages and the rationales towards their next career move.

“All-together, everything we do, starts with a why, collaborates on the how, realistically decides on the when, artfully delegates the what and proudly own it end to end.”

- Head of Talent & Performance | Inc42 Media

1. The Job Design

We start by looking at, what are the first few early wins a person in the role should achieve in the first three months of joining. Our talent needs are mostly urgent and requires a very short TAT of hiring, to enable the continuity in the surges / momentum [Subscriptions/Page Views]. This need of minimal TAT & the business, does not allow a elaborate & comprehensive training & onboarding system; however, no compromise is accepted on the quality, experience and detailing of the accelerated onboarding. So the first three months’ delivery are perceived as the eligibility criteria for the role, rather than a total number of experience in a traditional/conventional format, that most Job Posts we come across generally would dictate. We mention what it requires to achieve those first three months early wins, and conclude our JDs with the annual OKRs & roadmap ahead. Keeping it under 350 words, and allowing people to visualise tangibly and specifically on what the job role requires to be successful at it.

2. Competency Map

“Competencies are the knowledge, skills, and/or behaviors a professional must master in a specific content or performance area.” — CIPD

For a Product Manager, we have three level of competency, in a pyramid structure, Level 1 being on the top and Level 3 at the base. Each level requires a success precedence in level below.

Level 3 skills require a repeated success precedence in previous employments, for they require to be applied from your Day 1 at Inc42.

Level 2 is where we’d want the professional to build credibility with the peers & leadership at Inc42 Media through the first 90 Days, and this is reviewed for the success of probation period via peer-review, and with cross-functional teams experience & learning.

Level 1 is what gets associated with your appraisals, bonus & variable pay. At the end of the year, we should find our selves in a place to have performed well throughout the levels and are “competent” to work on succession planning as you find a new competency map [mountain] to conquer.

3. Why so much effort & planning?

We find Business insights sits at the heart of what everyone at Inc42 does, be it Journalism, Design, Marketing, Product, DataLabs, or the BrandLabs. When speaking to our investors or stakeholders, specially our readers about the company’s new reorganisation — Inc42 & Inc42 Plus — we aim to align with the new strategy by April 2021.

Inspired from various companies overhauling, such as Microsoft, Unacademy, 314 Capital, CRED, PoSist and so many more in their recent closing visit to Bengaluru; Vaibhav Vardhan, the chief executive officer, explained how the leadership team had spent last six months,

‘not beating out what a reorganisation looks like, but really fundamentally honing the strategy, the strategy first and foremost of focusing in on high-value activities.’

- Vaibhav Vardhan, CEO

There are actually high-value activities and low-value activities. Although sometimes you’ll find that somebody’s low-value activity is somebody else’s high-value activity.’

3. Hiring Stages

A. First Contact

We are always thankful, for everyone who shows interest in working with us and our utmost importance or lets say the success parameter is not limited to hiring the best, but also to ensure candidate’s experience is worked for equally. We are most active on LinkedIn for recruiting, FYI if you are a startup and need a hiring solution, we have had the pleasure of working with Anusha & Rahul Roy from LinkedIn Team, let us know we’ll connect you. If a profile is shortlisted, you get a call and you’d find us to be very intriguingly happy & curious to learn more about you and aslo to answer your questions.

B. Case-Study Round

Our first contact is all about, making an informed decision. If we both find continuing the candidature to be the right call, you shall recieve a case-study. The case study is to try identify your “knack for detailing and obsession for customer experience along with, analytical and business mindset”. The candidates are required to share the analysis and broad roadmap in a doc, within 3–5 days of receiving it. The time taken to submission is compared with the depth of the analysis, so take your time, but think it through.

C. Interview with the Co-Founder

We have both the Interview and the following White-Boarding Round on the same day and in the office premise. Since, the Senior Product Manager will work closely with Technology Talent and Design Team to get best in class products, features and experiences to customers. It is essential for us to understand, whether you perceive these functions as operators or solution designers. If it is the latter, we’ll get along good. Perhaps, understand your technical skills in development, tools, tech architecture & design sense.

D. White-boarding Round

We have an unusual need to write on white board tables, glass, white-board, and what not. It generally is understood as the need to be able to visualise and ensure we identify our blindspots.Thus, this is the make it or break it round. All the information the candidate has assimilated in the hiring process so far, equips them well to thought experiment with the team members to solve a hypothetical roadblock on the whiteboard, together. 5.

E. Interview with the AVP Marketing & CEO

Virtual Interview or On-site, subject to the availability of the candidate. Well, ofcourse teh CEO would want to meet you, and the AVP Marketing [You’d love them both, brilliant happy honest individuals]. You’d find yourself interacting, brainstorming and collaborating with them most in the long-run. This round is to map and know about your leadership style, your expectations, and understanding of Marketing & Media.

F. Peer-Review

Alas, we are here. Virtual as well, and on the same day as the previous interview. Peer-review is the last stop to ensure there are no doubts or reservations left and completes a holistic understanding of your potential. Led by the VP Product & Marketing, and joined by two peers, we try understand your learning style and current understanding of analytics, engagement and customer experience in a subscription business. And by now we trust you to share a few plans we’d want you to work on, shhh.

4. Summary of Our Internal Thought Experiments

If you are passionate, driven by a steep learning curve and most importantly you look for the right people to surround yourself with to be able to accelerate that growth.

We at Inc42 would love you to have you onboard.

We at Inc42 are looking for you. :D