Hiring Product Managers: Using Product EQ to Go Beyond Culture and Skills - Deepstash

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The key to understanding product management is to think of it as a practice—somewhat like a doctor practising medicine or a lawyer practising law.



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Product management skills

The practice of product management consists of two sets of skills:

  1. Technical skills are tools to solve a customer problem: What work is done - product roadmaps, vision statements, OKRs and KPIs, design sprints, product prototypes, testing, MVPs.
  2. Human skills are about how the work is done - the ability to influence, lead, coach, mentor, learn, handle conflict, communicate, be curious, innovate, adapt, energise, build and maintain relationships, and grow as an individual.

A product practitioner needs to balance technical skills with human skills in order to succeed.


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Understanding EQ and human skills

The basic dimensions of emotional intelligence:

  • Self-awareness: The ability to understand what we're feeling and the reason for feeling it. Self-awareness is at the centre of intuition and decision-making.
  • Self-management: The ability to regulate difficult emotions and connect with positive emotions to energise our work.
  • Social awareness: The ability to foster relationships and be aware of others' feelings, needs and concerns.
  • Relationship management: Merging self-awareness, self-management, and social awareness to ensure positive and beneficial relationships.


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Focus on the role in your context

A survey of HR hiring managers found that 80% say job descriptions are important, but nearly 50% admit to copy-pasting job descriptions from other banks and industry leaders like Google and Amazon.

The Role Canvas can help to create a better job description by focusing on the role's purpose, accountabilities, and human and technical skills.


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The Role Canvas

The Role Canvas

  1. What is the main purpose of the role? Why does the role exist? For example, to lead a team to find new ways to engage with a new market.
  2. What is the role accountable for? Start with the known goals or outcomes for the role.
  3. What human skills will the role need to display to achieve outcomes? For example, a role that is part of a team that experience tension and conflict means the person needs strong conflict resolution skills.
  4. What technical skills will the role need to perform in order to meet the outcomes and achieve success?


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Interviewing for human skills

Behaviour-based interview questions focus on understanding what behaviours led to accomplishments, and the intentions, consequences and impact of the behaviours on other people.

Questions to explore conflict:

  • Tell me about a time you suggested something that others disagreed with. What did you say?
  • Have you ever encountered someone unreasonable at work? How did you handle it?

Questions to explore resilience:

  • Tell me about a time someone criticised you at work. What did you do?
  • Tell me about a time you wanted to give up on a goal.


85 reads



Education officer at museum

Courtney Abbott's ideas are part of this journey:

Product Management Starter Kit

Learn more about business with this collection

How to focus on the present moment

How to cultivate empathy and understanding towards others

How to set personal and professional goals

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