People, I would like to write something about Product Owner vacancies. Because let’s be honest, it is freakin’ hard to find people for a Product Owner job. I am not even talking about the best Product Owner or best fit for the job.
While writing this there are about 1500 PO/PM vacancies on LinkedIn jobs in the Netherlands only. Maybe the actual number is less because there are quite some recruitment and headhunters who add duplicates vacancies to the list. But interesting is, speaking of duplicates, most of these vacancies all look the same! The only thing that differentiates one from another is the name of the company that posted the job.
But what is the purpose of a vacancy actually? Lets see what the internetz tells us about the definition of a vacancy…
Cambridge dictionary.cambridge.org: “a list of the responsibilities that you have and the duties that you are expected to perform in your work”
Pretty straight forward but I think there is more to it. I like the description from a news website called chron.com.
Chron: “A job description is a statement that outlines the specifics of a particular job or position with a company. It goes into detail about the responsibilities and conditions of the job. Companies typically perform a job analysis that looks at the job in depth to create a comprehensive description of what the job entails.”
In my opinion a vacancy should attract your new potential employee, colleague or contractor. But what I experience is a lot of half baked a very generic job descriptions that tell job seekers exactly nothing. While creating a vacancy go for transparency and honesty instead of jotting down some competences like stakeholders management, managing the backlog, work with a development team.
Below 3 random vacancies to make this problem more tangible. No need to read them obviously but just scan them and try to find out WHAT you are actually going to work on. Ready, set, go! You got 1 minute.
Please know that I just picked 3 random vacancies from LinkedIn. I am not writing this to blame these companies specifically. This is what they put on LinkedIn Jobs after all, not me. Now let’s go to the lessons learned part of this article. It will help organizations a lot if they simple add a few things and remove some unnecessary stuff. I mean you don’t have to tell a Product Owner the following:
- Manage the backlog
- Stakeholder management
- Set priorities
- Work with a development team
- Prepare the sprint review (although this is a team effort)
Ok I understand, what to change?
What you could include and will probably help you to attract more applicants is the following. I know it can be hard because you have to be pretty honest and transparent but hey, no company is perfect right?!
- Company vision on the product/market
- Please tell why you are in business and not only what you sell
- What (themes) are on the roadmap for coming period
- What are the challenges regarding the product/service
- Team(s) composition
- What kind of PO: backend focused, consumer app knowledge, heavy on data streams, mix of hardware and software etc.. (Yes PO’s should focus on the functional side but imo that is what you read in books – this is the real world)
The solution to give the vacancy a little more edge sounds rather easy to me. To sum it up: Stay away from copy pasting a list of Product Owner competences and write down what you would tell the applicant in the first interview.
If you have any questions or want to challenge me please hook me up! Looking for high quality Product Owners with a growth mindset? I am part of TriggrProfessionals; a community of highly motivated and skilled Product Owners. You can reach me on firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks for reading.