Good product management can make or break a software company, especially one like Sparkcentral.
Businesses use their software provide customer service and support via social media platforms, so if there's a problem with the product, Sparkcentral's customers can't provide help for their own customers. That's why it was so critical to find the perfect candidate when they were hiring a Vice President of Product Management.
Larry Bernstein, Sparkcentral's CTO, had been working with the company's internal recruiter to fill the role, but they simply weren't finding the talent they needed. Then, he remembered an old contact from earlier in his career: Talented Recruiting founder Danielle van Asch Prevot.
"[Talented Recruiting] reached out for a role I was looking for before I had this job," Larry said. "Someone I had talked to while I was looking put me in touch with Danielle. She had some successes in placing product management people and I remembered that, so when I needed it, I reached out to her."
From there, Sparkcentral began working with Talented Recruiting. As with any new partnership, it can take a bit of time for both parties to get to know each other and figure out how to best work together. To help them get aligned on the right candidates, Danielle and Larry established regular weekly meetings on top of their informal communications. During these meetings, they discussed the resumes Larry had looked at and which candidates should and shouldn't move forward.
"It was nice having a regular time to meet up," Larry said. "The first few candidates didn't seem like the right fit, or maybe should have [been] cut sooner, but this was part of our learning. Danielle was quick to recognize what wasn't working, and was able to make the adjustments to accommodate."
Within a couple of months, they found the person Sparkcentral eventually hired for the position.
"He really knew our space from an industry perspective," said Larry of his hire. "He was able to … immediately take over major parts of accountability and ownership that I needed [to transfer] to someone who could take it and run with it. He's been improving our whole product strategy, and engaging not just with engineering, but also sales and marketing."
Admittedly, Larry wasn't sure if his now-employee had the right experience for the job at first glance. But Danielle encouraged Larry to schedule a face-to-face meeting with him over coffee.
"We immediately connected in a way that probably wouldn't have happened over a phone call," Larry said. "The candidate requested it, and she helped drive that."
This, he said, was an example of what he really liked about working with Talented Recruiting: Danielle challenged him to look carefully at each candidate, and not dismiss anyone based on certain factors.
"Wherever she thought I might have been missing something about a candidate, she was good at articulating what she saw, and following up [about] people … I may have initially thought weren't the right fit," Larry said.