Institute of Product Leadership
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Panel Discussion Wrap-up: Future Hiring Practices - Emerging Trends in Hiring

A decade ago, you wouldn’t have thought you’ll see ads on social media about the product you were discussing with your friend while your phone was in your pocket. You wouldn’t have thought working from home would turn out to be such a bane (Not for all, but you get the drift right?). Yet, here we are. Even the field of hiring is undergoing rapid changes and hiring managers are identifying key trends that would completely change how hiring was done until now!

We hosted Venkataraman Rengasamy, Senior VP & CHRO at Candela Labs, Akhil Sikri, CTO/ Co-Founder at Zolo, Varadharaju Janardhanan, VP & Head HR at [24] and Ramprasad S, President of Xpanxion for a panel discussion as part of the Product Leadership Festival 2020. The discussion was centered around the future of hiring Product Managers and the skill sets hiring managers are looking for in a candidate. Here are a few excerpts from this insightful session.

Future Hiring Practices – Emerging Trends in Hiring

Prof. SaiSatish Vedam: If you were to look at the industry, especially the hiring pattern and how that might change in the context of Product and Data Science Careers, what do you see as an emerging trend?

Ramprasad S: The ideology of finding and nurturing local talent is over. With remote work coming into play you have a larger pool of applicants today and that means you have access to a global workforce. This opens up immense possibilities for all of us. Contextual thinking will be seen as an important ability for any role. Understanding business and understanding the customers will be a very relevant skill.

Venkataraman Rengasamy: The rise in contractual jobs that are purely assignment-based is a trend that is slowly catching up. Most countries look at full-time employment as more superior than contractual jobs. That is set to fade away in the future. This is a huge opportunity for SMEs and freelancers. Geographical borders wouldn’t be a constraint as people can work from anywhere with the right set of tools. Companies would look at hiring people who have greater learning agility and not just on skills.

Akhil Sikri: The number of people required to do a certain job is reducing. Technology has taken over and the world is looking at a leaner workforce in companies. Tech frameworks have evolved so much that 2-3 guys can build an application. The interview process is also set to undergo a lot of changes. 

Prof. Sai: What do you feel about Job Auditions? Is it a buzzword that will fade away or is it here to stay? 

Varadharaju Janardhanan: Oh it is here to stay definitely. We’re hiring candidates only when we’re sure that they can solve a persisting problem in our organization. So, it’s important to have skills that you can showcase meaning we want to see if candidates can put their theoretical knowledge into practical use.

Prof. Sai: Great! What do you feel about the gig economy in the context of Product and Data Science roles? Do you actually see gig workers in the Product and Data science domains?

Ramprasad: It depends a lot on the role for which you’re hiring. For some roles, you expect the person to be fully in the zone and focus on what you’re building. However, there can be some roles in which you can afford to hire gig workers. For example, if I need an opinion on my user experience, I can hire a specialist and get his opinion. Again, it’s going to be very contextual. 

Prof. Sai: There’s this new term floating around- AI Product Management. While it may sound heavy-loaded,  is this because products themselves are collecting a huge amount of data? Or how do you see this new area of product management ?

Akhil: Yes, this is a new area of Product Management and is all set to take precedence in the near future. When we hire candidates, we look if the candidate has had a steep learning curve apart from academics and experience of course. We take a look at the problems the person has solved in earlier companies and then take a call.

Prof. Sai: What are the best practices a mid-level professional should follow to shift from one industry to the other? For example, an individual wants to move from BFSI to E-Commerce. What’s the best possible way for a seamless shift?

Venkataraman: That’s an interesting example. The individual needs to have a good grasp of the techno-functional expertise to make that shift. It takes some time to adapt to the dynamics of the new industry but the transition is bound to happen sooner than later.

Thank you Akhil, Varadharaju, Venkataraman and Ramprasad for the amazing insights on emerging trends. We have come to understand that it’s important for people to be intellectually curious and have hands-on skills in their arsenal.