Navigating the Tech Ladder: Tips from Michal Novovesky

Navigating the Tech Ladder: Tips from Michal Novovesky

In a recent episode of our podcast, we had the pleasure of interviewing Michal Novovesky, the former Head of Product at Bloomreach. Michal shared his invaluable insights on leadership, career growth, and the intricacies of hiring and managing product and engineering teams.This blog post will highlight key takeaways from our conversation, peppered with direct quotes from Michal that provide a window into his extensive experience and thoughtful approach.

Video Interview

Watch the video interview on YouTube or below:

The Importance of Real-World Experience

One of the standout themes of our discussion was the gap between candidates' resumes and their actual capabilities. Michal noted, "The biggest surprise I've seen was the huge difference you can see between the first call with the candidate and then after the assignment." This observation underscores the importance of practical evaluations in the hiring process. It's not enough to shine in an interview; candidates must demonstrate their skills in real-world scenarios.

Preparation is Key

Michal emphasized the need for thorough preparation, especially when moving into a new industry. He shared, "If you are moving in the same role, but to a completely different industry, just double-check how it works, prep for it, and then apply your knowledge." This advice is crucial for anyone looking to transition to a new field. Understanding the nuances of the new industry can make a significant difference in performance and integration.

Balancing Hard and Soft Skills

When it comes to evaluating potential hires, Michal explained the dual focus on hard and soft skills. He said, "For us, the assignment shows you two parts about the person: how familiar they are with the role and the field, and how motivated or ambitious they are." This balanced approach ensures that candidates are not only technically proficient but also culturally and motivationally aligned with the company's goals.

The Role of Motivation

Motivation and cultural fit are paramount in Michal's hiring philosophy. He remarked, "I'm always looking at the motivation of people, and typically people whose motivation is 'I was an engineer, or I was a team leader, and now I want to be a VP.' That's a very questionable motivation from my perspective." True motivation goes beyond career advancement; it involves a genuine passion for the role and the challenges it brings.

Continuous Learning and Adaptation

Michal's journey to becoming a VP of Product was not linear. He shared, "My CV would never go through any interview for head of product or engineering role. At the time I was, I got into the role because I never did it in the past, and I had to quickly learn how to be a good leader of this team." This candid reflection highlights the importance of continuous learning and adaptation. Even seasoned professionals must be willing to evolve and grow in their roles.

Building Strong Teams

A significant part of Michal's role involves team building and ensuring the right cultural fit. He stated, "We would typically ask questions around, hey, look at this part of our architecture. What do you think about it? Or what are the best and worst architectures in software as a service world that you've seen, and why? What's your opinion on it?" Such questions help gauge a candidate's technical acumen and their ability to critically analyze and improve systems.

The Art of Stakeholder Management

For senior roles, managing stakeholders is crucial. Michal elaborated, "I would be definitely checking on the ability to manage stakeholders, meaning active listening, then top-down communication, how that person can listen, understand the benchmark, and then challenge back and show how this would be translated into an engineering language." Effective communication and stakeholder management are essential skills for any VP or CTO.

Self-Reflection and Improvement

Finally, Michal stressed the importance of self-reflection and continuous improvement. He advised, "If your communication is not great, work with a Communication Coach and do better. If your stakeholder management is not great, just do better and work with someone who will help you." This proactive approach to personal and professional development is key to success in any leadership role.


Michal Novovesky's insights provide a comprehensive guide for anyone looking to climb the tech ladder. From the importance of real-world experience and thorough preparation to balancing hard and soft skills, his advice is both practical and profound. As Michal's journey illustrates, success in leadership roles requires continuous learning, adaptation, and a genuine passion for the challenges ahead.

To delve deeper into Michal Novovesky's thoughts on leadership, hiring, and career growth, watch the full episode of our podcast here.

Don't miss out on the valuable lessons shared by one of the leading voices in the tech industry!

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Michal Juhas

Michal Juhas