Why Tech Product Managers Now Need a Strong Personal Brand

Why Tech Product Managers Now Need a Strong Personal Brand

In today’s competitive tech job market as a Product Manager, a strong personal brand is more valuable than you’d think. Employers searching for top talent no longer consider only a person’s CV, cover letter, and credentials. They examine your entire personal brand, looking at the characteristics and attributes that set you apart from competing candidates.

While demand for candidates is increasing this year, the market is still extremely competitive, particularly as business leaders navigate difficult economic environments and budget shortages.

Whether you’re re-entering the job market or looking for new opportunities, developing a strong personal brand could boost your chances of success.

In fact, according to LinkedIn, 71% of professionals believe a good personal brand opens the door to new career opportunities.

Here’s why personal branding is important and how to build a brand with the right impact.

The Importance of Personal Branding in 2024

Your personal brand is a culmination of all your skills, values, experiences, and personality traits. It shapes how employers and peers view you in the technological landscape, what value they assign you as an employee, and even how you view yourself in your career.

A positive personal brand has always been a valuable resource for tech candidates and employees. The right brand helps you gain credibility as an industry professional, draw attention to your unique values, and capture the attention of employers.

However, the demand for personal branding is set to be even higher this year. Although there are significant skill shortages, finding the right role can be extremely difficult. Some studies suggest candidates can spend up to 6 months finding a new position.

Today, the tech market is characterised by rapid changes as workplaces evolve, leading to demand for new skills and abilities. Competition will increase, particularly for roles with the best benefits and salaries in a difficult economic landscape.

Additionally, business leaders will become more discerning when choosing which candidates to add to their team as hiring budgets diminish. A personal brand will ensure you can access the right roles and demonstrate your value to your employer. It could even be the key to opening the door for promotion opportunities in the future.

The Benefits of Personal Branding Today

With 95% of recruiters now predicting the job market will become more competitive in the years ahead, personal branding has never been more valuable for tech candidates. A well-crafted personal brand can deliver a host of benefits, including:

  • Improved differentiation: A strong personal brand highlights your unique values and attributes, positioning you as the ideal person for a role. With your personal brand, you can separate yourself from the competition and increase your ability to access new roles.
  • Better online visibility: Working on your personal brand on social media platforms like LinkedIn can make you more visible to potential employers. Around 85% of recruiters and H.R. professionals say an employee’s online reputation influences hiring decisions.
  • Greater trust and credibility: A consistent and authentic personal brand builds credibility for you as a tech employee. Hiring managers and business leaders are likelier to hire and promote team members with a clear track record of expertise and shared values.
  • New career opportunities: Enhancing your personal brand and demonstrating thought leadership online and offline opens the door to new opportunities. It can help you expand your network and form relationships with people who guide you towards new positions.
  • Adaptability: As industries evolve and job opportunities change, your personal brand can act as a testament to your adaptability, continuous focus on growth, and willingness to learn. This can ensure you can apply for new roles in a difficult market.

How to Start Developing Your Personal Brand

The good news for candidates in the tech product world is that developing a strong personal brand doesn’t have to be as complex as it seems. You can even consider working with specialist recruiters in your industry for guidance, building your online presence, and showcasing the right attributes in CVs, cover letters, and online profiles.

Here are some of the key steps involved in building a personal brand:

1.    Conduct a Self-Assessment

First, you need a clear understanding of your strengths, positive attributes, and abilities as a professional in your niche within the tech industry, whether this be SaaS, eCommerce or others.

Take a closer look at your skills and accomplishments in previous years.

Think about the key attributes that set you apart from other competing candidates in your industry, such as a focus on adaptability or a willingness to learn. What do you want to be known for in your sector, and what do you need to work on to improve your value to employers?

2.    Define Your Audience

Once you clearly understand your strengths and weaknesses, think about the target audience you’re trying to impress. If you’re hoping to access new promotions within your current tech role, it’s important to know which values and skills your employer values. If you’re trying to secure a new position, consider what matters most to new employers.

For instance, in 2024, 68% of employers prioritise digital skills, 82% focus on analytical skills, and 57% pay more attention to employee resilience.

Looking at the job descriptions posted by the companies you want to work for or speaking to a recruitment company can help you identify which key attributes to highlight in your personal brand.

3.    Optimise Your Online Presence

90% of recruiters conduct online research to learn more about potential candidates. Another 70% say they’ve rejected candidates based on the information they found online. Search for your name and examine what information appears.

Is your LinkedIn profile complete and up to date? Does it accurately highlight your tech experience, skills, and credentials? If you have other social media profiles, what do they say about who you are as a person and employee? You might even consider developing a portfolio or website where you can tell people more about your skills and achievements.

4.    Invest in Networking

Developing your network is one of the best ways to enhance your personal tech brand and ensure its visibility to the right people. Join industry-specific groups on LinkedIn and Facebook, visit forums related to your industry, or work with a recruitment agency to strengthen your connections with new groups and potential employers.

Invest in both online and offline networking whenever possible. This means attending industry events and online webinars, joining professional organisations, and even searching for mentors or peers in your niche.

5.    Demonstrate Expertise Consistently

To further draw attention to your personal brand in the tech space, commit some time to creating and distributing thought leadership content. You can create blogs and articles you share through your website or social media pages. You could publish videos on YouTube or even create your podcast.

Whatever content you invest in, ensure you consistently send the same message about your values, abilities, and strengths. Using a consistent style, tone of voice, and messaging across all platforms will enhance your credibility.

6.    Be Ready to Evolve and Adapt

While consistency is important for a personal brand, it’s important to understand that your brand and the needs of employers will change over time.

Stay up to date with industry trends so you can draw more focus on the skills and characteristics that will help you appeal to future employers. Ensure you update your online profiles and social media accounts whenever you accomplish something new, highlighting your commitment to constant growth. This will make you more appealing to today’s dynamic tech employers.

Building a Strong Personal Brand

Effective personal branding has always been crucial to success in the tech job market. However, as recruitment processes change and employer priorities evolve, ensuring you’re effectively building and showcasing your personal brand is becoming increasingly crucial.

Follow the steps above to create a brand with impact in 2024, and work with your specialist recruitment company agency to position that brand in front of the right employers.

If you’re looking for help with your recruitment strategy, get in touch by calling Paul Hudson Managing Partner on 01580 857179 or send us an email here.

Opus Resourcing recruits world-class SaaS, technology, commercial and executive talent for companies ranging from seed-stage start-ups to Fortune 500 companies within the UK, Europe, and the US.

How to Build an Effective Talent Pipeline for Your Product Management Team

How to Build an Effective Talent Pipeline for Your Product Management Organisation

In our post-Covid world, having a strong Product Management talent pipeline is more crucial than ever.

And the skills shortage that was present in tech sector pre-Covid is still threatening organisational growth.

When you’re recruiting, it’s not about the number of product management people you can attract to your organisation; it’s about the quality of these candidates.

Even with the perceived increase of candidates in the post-Covid tech job market, there are still skills shortages across the tech industry. In the U.K., the Prime Minister addressed how the pandemic has highlighted skills shortages in many sectors, emphasising an urgent need for a focus on improving skills to protect the economy.

Depending on the product role you are trying to fill, recruitment can be a lengthy and involved process.

One of the most effective ways to ensure you can quickly fill the critical gaps in your team is to have people ready to step into your organisation at the earliest available opportunity; in other words your talent pipeline.

This blog explains the whys and hows of building a robust talent pipeline for your product teams across your business.

The Benefits of a Strong Talent Pipeline in Product Management. 

​Despite the pandemic, skills gaps are widening across all sectors; in fact, the pandemic has brought to light just how crucial the skills gaps are in many industries.

2020 LinkedIn Workplace Learning report found that globally, 51% of companies plan to implement an upskilling programme, with 47% focusing on re-skilling, highlighting the need for increased talent in a post-Covid world.

In developing a strong talent pipeline, the aim is to avoid the scenario where you have critical skills gaps and no-one lined up to fill them.

Many organisations think of recruiting only when they actively have a vacant product management position. A talent pipeline is a way of thinking about your team, and recruitment, in a more holistic way. You will always have an active, engaged audience and the idea of working for your company is something that is always on their radar.

Let’s look at some of the main positives of building your talent pipeline now.

1.    Identify More Candidates 

​When a vacancy arises in your team, wouldn’t it be ideal to already have someone in mind to take over the role?

This is where a talent pipeline comes in; it reduces the fear of having a critical vacancy open as you have a range of potential IT candidates set up to open a dialogue with.

Your talent pipeline will speak to the 70% of candidates who aren’t actively looking for a job, the ‘passive candidates’ market. Organisations without talent pipelines are missing out on this significant portion of the workforce.

You can start to bring candidates into your talent pipeline at different stages in their careers, starting with graduates up to exec level.

When you have a talent pipeline you can rely on, you have a range of candidates ready to be invited for an interview rather than starting the recruitment process from scratch.

2.    Reduce the Time to Hire

​I’m sure you’ll agree that in our post-Covid world, the thought of having critical vacancies in your team is an unpleasant one.

This year, teams have been stretched to breaking point, with many taking on extra roles, having to adapt to working from home and generally being busier than ever before.

To keep your entire team working cohesively, you need to know that any critical vacancies will be quickly filled, instead of being left unfilled, damaging team output and reducing morale.

3.    Increase Your Offer Acceptance Rates

​One of the most frustrating things that can happen in the recruitment process is when you think you’ve found the ideal IT candidates, but then they turn down your job offer.

The more people you have in your talent pipeline, the more they will get to know your organisation, and this relationship is what pushes great candidates over the line to say yes to your job offer.

As you can see, there are many benefits to creating a talent pipeline to make your recruiting process much easier.

Next, let’s look at how to build and develop your product talent pipeline.

​How to Build Your Product Talent Pipeline

​Creating a talent pipeline means proactively forming long-lasting relationships with candidates who would be the right ‘fit’ with your organisation – both in their skill set and their culture and values.

So, how do you do this?

1.    Defining What Your Product Organisation Needs

​The following are questions to ask when thinking about what you want from your talent pipeline –
  • Who are your key employees and in what roles?
  • What skills are most critical to your organisation?
  • Where do you want to take your business in the next 3-5 years?
  • What type of people will you need in your business for it to grow?

Drawing on your experiences with Covid can help here too. When your business was in ‘critical survival mode’ like many were during the height of the pandemic, did this highlight any areas where you were missing in vital skills?

2.    Attracting the ‘Right’  Product Talent

​Attracting the right candidates to your organisation is the critical part of building your talent pipeline.

Building a talent pipeline focuses on attracting both passive and active candidates, rather than a recruitment process which focuses solely on filling a current vacancy.

Having an excellent employer brand will be essential in attracting the type of talent you want. Any prospective talent that comes into contact with you will be forming an opinion as to whether they would like to join your company, whether they’re an active or a passive candidate.

The following are the most direct ways to build your IT talent pipeline –

  • Networking events – getting your name out in your industry is crucial in building a following.
  • Working with a IT recruitment specialist.
  • Your social media channels – are you regularly posting engaging content for your IT candidates?
  • Existing contacts and referrals – do you have a robust referral scheme in place? How often do you review and reconnect with former colleagues or managers?
  • Graduate campaigns – getting to know the new generation of talent coming through the ranks is an excellent way to build your talent pipeline.

3.    Reviewing Your Application Process

​A poor recruitment process is enough to put even the most interested candidates off.

Making your recruitment as seamless, engaging and professional as possible will leave even candidates who are not successful in applying for your roles, want to do so again in future.

Make sure your recruitment process is mobile-friendly; 58% of active job seekers use their smart device to search for jobs. But with many sites still not being mobile-friendly, mobile seekers complete 53% fewer applications and take 80% longer to complete each application than applicants using desktops.

A mobile-friendly application process increases the number of applicants to each role by 11.6%.

Write easy to read job descriptions with clear information; stay away from jargon.

Make sure you have the recruitment process planned out step by step so that applicants can be informed of the exact date by when they will be progressed to the next stage or not.

Important: Always stay in touch with candidates via email or phone throughout the entire recruitment process.

Start Building Your Product Talent Pipeline

​With a network of engaged potential candidates ready to join your business, you’ll ensure that you always have potential on-hand to fill essential roles.

So, now you have the premise of building your talent pipeline, it’s time to get started.

Remember that you don’t have to go it alone – working with a dedicated IT recruiter is a great way to work on building your talent pipeline.

If you’re looking for help with your product management recruitment strategy, get in touch by calling James Shenton Managing Partner for Technology on 01580 857179 or send us an email here.

Opus Resourcing recruits world-class SaaS, technology, commercial and executive talent for companies ranging from seed-stage start-ups to Fortune 500 companies within the UK, Europe, and the US.

Book a call with James Shenton

7 Qualities Required When Hiring Product Managers

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7 Important Qualities Required When Hiring Product Managers

As a tech hiring manager, it’s essential that you hire individuals into your product team who will thrive, which in turn allows your business to grow. There are 7 Important Qualities Required When Hiring Product Managers.

The ‘right’ hire can make all the difference, just as hiring someone who isn’t exactly what you’re looking for can be harmful to your team and ultimately your success.

The Recruitment and Employee Confederation (REC) estimate that the cost of making the wrong hire at management level (with an approximate salary of £42,000) can be as high as £132,000 – yes, you have read that right.

No business wants to spend any more time, resources or revenue than is necessary on their recruitment process.

In an ideal world, you could make the best hire the first time around – every time. Unfortunately, in real life, it’s not as simple as that.

However, as a leading company in the IT industry, there are ways that you can mitigate hiring problems and challenges in your organisation. High on the list is only hiring individuals with certain high-performing skills.

Today, we share the 7 top qualities to look out for in your recruitment process – hire employees with these attributes to attract the success you want for your business.

1.    A Great Communicator

​Communication is the number one attribute all great IT employees have; possessing great skills is one thing though not being able to communicate effectively with your team stops everything in its tracks.

In any organisation, no matter how small, the way employees interact with each other is the key to a successful team, and this has only been increased in our new physically distanced world.

Since the rise in remote working, possessing excellent communication skills has never been more critical. Sending an unclear email or miscommunicating a message over messenger bots or on the phone can cause all manner of problems for the entire team.

The most successful teams are full of great communicators – so look for this attribute when interviewing potential new employees.

2.    Autonomy

​In a busy organisation, you need a team who can work independently outside of the initial onboarding period.

Your employees need to be able to manage time effectively, balance their workload and ensure that deadlines are met.

Additionally, autonomy is a contributing factor to high engagement, productivity and work satisfaction – so when you employ and encourage autonomy in your team, both you and your employees will benefit.

To find out if candidates have high levels of autonomy during the recruitment process, ask them how they feel working independently and if they have experience of working on their own – particularly from home – and look out for how confidently they talk about being self-driven. ​

3.    Leadership Skills

​Another key trait to look out for is their leadership potential.

In our ever-changing world, you must know that your team can step up when needed. Additionally, when you recruit IT talent with leadership potential, this is a long-sighted growth strategy which can save you time and money in the future.

Leadership qualities involve a variety of soft skills including communication, confidence, delegation and being able to give and receive feedback.

4.    A Positive Mindset

​A positive mindset is essential in IT organisations, and unfortunately, it’s not something that can be taught easily.

Some individuals approach challenges with a ‘can-do’ attitude, are always able to look at the positive in a situation and can consistently bolster others – and these are the type of people you need in your organisation.

Individuals with a negative mindset will find it harder to thrive and move forward, as they find it challenging to see past obstacles. Unfortunately, their negativity can quickly spread and bring other members of the team down too.

Additionally, positive individuals have an ability to adapt to change with ease – which is going to be essential in organisations moving forward.

5.    A Team Player

​As with a positive mindset, being a team player is a crucial trait for IT employees to have.

Be on the lookout for employees who have plenty of experience of working as part of diverse teams, as working with lots of different people and personalities is a great way to develop the skills needed to be an excellent team player.

Team players contribute by listening to their colleagues, offering a different perspective, they help to strengthen bonds and trust within the team, and they are essential when things get tough.

6.    Emotional Intelligence

​Emotionally intelligent individuals possess the interpersonal skills needed to help your organisation to thrive, and they do this in a few ways.

Building on the great soft skills we have already mentioned in this article, emotional intelligence allows employees to exhibit the following:

  • Self-awareness – the ability to prioritise, manage time and resilience to stress and anxiety during busy times.
  • Self-regulatory behaviours – they are always in control of their emotions, and they are good at resolving conflict.
  • Empathy – they can understand different members of the team, which allows them to work well with everyone.
  • They can take feedback constructively – they don’t let it affect them personally, and they learn and grow from the experience.

An ideal IT team is full of people with high emotional intelligence, and it is such a necessary trait it ranked sixth in the World Economic Forum’s list of the top 10 skills that employees will need to thrive in workplaces of the future.

7.    Agility

​And finally, since the enormous changes that have happened to our world due to the pandemic, flexibility is essential.

Never before has the skill of being able to work outside of our comfort zones been necessary. It is now essential for all IT employers to be sure that their team are able to pivot to the ever-changing needs of a post-pandemic world.

Some people are great and adapting to change, whereas others find it more challenging, and some are unwilling to try.

7 Important Qualities Required When Hiring Product Managers

How have employees coped with the recent changes to our world? Have they been happy to embrace new ways of working and living? Agility comes with a growth mindset, one where employees are always looking to develop and to grow, and this is the only way continued future success is possible.

Finally

I hope you enjoyed our blog on 7 Important Qualities Required When Hiring Product Managers.

​If you are looking to employ new Product Management talent into your organisation, these are the skills that you should be on the lookout for.

If you’re looking for help, get in touch by calling James Shenton Managing Partner for Technology on 01580 857179 or send us an email here.

Opus Resourcing recruits world-class SaaS, technology, commercial and executive talent for companies ranging from seed-stage start-ups to Fortune 500 companies within the UK, Europe, and the US.

Book a Call with James Shenton