How to help junior PMs?

I am often hearing how hard it is to recruit talented PM, and even more when you’re looking for more Senior profiles (at least I am hearing it where I am leaving).

There are a lot people who want to transition to PM. However, only a few Product leaders are looking to Junior PM - they tend to keep the hiring process running for a loooong time, waiting for the perfect profile.

The reasons given are that they mainly don’t trust inexperienced PM, and so they won’t give them any responsibilities and don’t want to invest time (that they don’t have) to train them. Money is not really a problem, but time and trust is!

Do you think there is anything that could help Junior PM to lend their first job?

or another way to see it: Do you think there is anything that could help Product leaders to hire more Juniors?

NB: I don’t want to discuss about “cracking the job interview” tips and other techniques to let people think you’re a Senior while you’re not. I am speaking about true reassurance and trust building actions :slight_smile:


Somewhat unfortunately, the best predictor of a company’s ability to hire junior PMs is size of the org. I think about it like roughly every 10 senior PMs means there’s bandwidth to mentor one junior PM.

@marcosilva hit the nail on the head. I share the same sentiment in that it is situational based on the organization. Both size and culture play a big part in this.

Speaking from strictly personal experience. I am currently lead a team of 4 PMs. My team has experience significant attrition in the past 8-10 months - most of which was due to resignation from relatively junior PMs (0-2 years experience). Prior to COVID and the shift to an employee’s market, my organization would recruit inexperience employees with a focus on passion and tenacity.

Bring them to us hungry to learn and we’ll develop them into great product leaders.

This worked really great… Until it didn’t. With COVID brought along a mass exodus in the workplace. Our workforce of previously inexperience PMs and POs now had the chops and the resume to land a job that paid wages that were (significantly) higher.

Since this, our cultural and recruitment efforts have shifted and we have since looked to focus solely on more senior PMs to fill this role. Call this being jaded or call the whole situation overextending ourselves; however, its one real-world story that showcases why some companies may have reservations in hiring Junior PMs.

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I think part of this is because there is no formal education for product management. So companies can’t expect to hire an entry level product manager with foundational knowledge from an education.

However, that doesn’t mean I agree with it. From my experience, product management is largely a soft skills profession. Certain people could be very good at the profession with limited training. Learning jira, stakeholder management, etc is not difficult with the right personalities.

I think companies that will succeed in the future with exceptional product management orgs in a business, will be hiring intelligent people rather than experienced product managers. A lot of companies have gone this route for entry level software developers, where they hired intelligent people from Northwestern, Harvard, etc that were willing to learn but didn’t have computer science degrees. Previously this has been done with MBAs from large universities, however I think this will eventually expand to undergraduate for more junior product roles.


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