Here is someone with a lot of experience in hiring product managers talking about how to hire one:
So what do I look for in a PM? Most importantly, raw intellectual horsepower. I’ll take a wickedly smart, inexperienced PM over one of average intellect and years of experience any day. Product management is fundamentally about thinking on your feet, staying one step ahead of your competitors, and being able to project yourself into the minds of your colleagues and your customers.
This post is well worth a read. I’d like to see a similar text about designers, art directors, creative directors a.s.o. from people with a long history of hiring these in different types of corporations (large ones, startups, etc).
What about designers?
Generally I observed that the amount of designers hired with a »classic« education has decreased in the last 15 years. Communication (the inhouse communication as well) has become one of the most important business acitivities and thus almost every aspect of mangagement has become more or less a question of good and accurate communication and some sort of »creative thinking«.
And while design practice has spread into all areas of business processes many design educators remain constrained on a classical understanding of design as »form creation«. But frankly this is just one end of the spectrum and designers limited to this notion of design will wonder how big the distance between decision makers and them can grow. In other words: a classical understanding of design rarely is able to deliver relevant insight to the decision making process. This is not a question as to wether or not this is a positive development in my personal view – it is just a observation, that managers have taken over strategic parts of the design domain and separating strategic issues from formal details. And that is something I think is very problematic. The task of designers task then will be limited to the creation of options for management decisions instead of management learning to deliver excellent design briefings at the first place.