This post is part of a larger series where Frankie and I want to shed light on how different companies in Asia hire Product Managers!
To start off this series, I wanted to share more about how we hire Product Managers at TradeGecko. For those who don’t know, I’m currently the Director of Product for TradeGecko, and a big part of my role is determining how to hire the best Product talent to fuel the company’s growth.
TradeGecko is a B2B Software-as-a-Service product company headquartered in Singapore, with offices in Toronto and Manila. TradeGecko focuses on building products that help Commerce Brands scale with confidence. The core TradeGecko platform helps SMB brands manage their inventory, eCommerce channels, and gives them visibility into their business to help business owners make better decisions.
What TradeGecko is looking for:
There are two major bucket of things we look for – product skills and culture fit. We believe that successful Product Managers at TradeGecko need to demonstrate fit in both of these buckets.
Under the Product Skills category, we care about three things:
- Customer Centricity: We want to hire people who truly put the customer first. When forced to make a difficult decision – they will always challenge their teammates to do what is best for the users behind our product.
- Experimental Mindset: We want to hire Product Managers who exhibit an ability to learn fast, pivot fast, and find new ways to delight our customers. That’s why we want to hire data-driven, learning-oriented Product Managers. We are curious to learn about how candidates view their past work as experiments, their past failures (and learnings), and how they’ve become a better Product Manager with those experiences.
- Past Successes: We want to hear about the things they’ve shipped in the past. The challenging decisions they’ve had to make, the conflicts they’ve had to resolve, and most importantly, how they’ve impacted the company’s bottom line.
TradeGecko has five key values that exhibit what it truly means to be a Gecko and to succeed in the organization. We test that our Product Managers fit these values:
- Best at Getting Better: A learning mindset and a willingness to experiment
- Just Fucking Do It (JFDI): Bias for action in everything they do
- Act Like an Owner: See a problem? Own it, fix it, communicate it 🙂
- Customer Obsessed: Put the customer first in everything they do
- Inspire, and be Inspired: Willingness to teach, and humility to learn
We have a four-step process in our hiring process than can span between two to three weeks.
- Phone Screen (30 minutes): I have an initial conversation with the candidate to assess a high-level fit with the role. This is where I find out what they’ve done in the past, whether they’re at the right level that we’re hiring for, and what they’re looking for in a new role. This is the stage where we assess a mutual fit – if it doesn’t work out, we part ways without a major commitment on either side.
- Design Interview (60 minutes): This is where we get a Product Manager and a Product Designer to interview the PM candidate. We ask them to work through an open-ended design question (e.g. “How do you design a doorknob”). This gives us an opportunity to see how the candidate reacts to new information, how they structure an open-ended problem, and how they can come up with a solution that truly solves the customer problem at hand.
- Culture Screen (60 minutes): If candidates make it through the design interview, then we bring in two people from other teams (e.g. sales, support, success, partnerships) to meet with the candidate. This is where we assess culture fit and whether the candidate will do well in the larger TradeGecko setting.
- 90-Day Plan (60 minutes): We expect our Product Managers to run their fully autonomous feature teams. As a result, we want our Product Managers to be able to go between high level strategic conversations to detailed design decisions. The final step of the interview process is for them to synthesize everything they’ve learned about the company and the team they’re joining to put together a 90-Day plan on what they would do if they were hired. This is an important step because we’re looking for Product Managers who can run fast without too much hand-holding.
TradeGecko is hiring!
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