Hire the most competent Project Manager

Use these five universal guidelines when hiring just the right Project Manager for your needs.

A Project Manager can help your company accomplish a lot. The importance of proper business co-ordination is huge, which is why even startups should consider hiring such professionals. Whenever your teams are having trouble meeting deadlines, when there are financial losses and serious disagreements pertaining to how work should be done, the selection of a good project manager will be a viable solution.

Identifying the right expert for the job isn’t always an easy task. The specific requirements vary from one company to another but there are a few universal guidelines you may want to adhere to when attempting to hire the most competent project manager.

1 Make the Job Description very specific

Many companies are guilty of a common sin – generic job descriptions. While a copy-paste job ad is very easy to put together, it discourages the right candidates from applying. Be very specific about what you want and what you have to offer. This way, the job ad itself will do “automatic vetting” of the candidates. True, some people who don’t have all the required characteristics may still apply, but the percentage of unsuitable candidates is going to be much lower. You should never be vague about what your company offers, the work conditions, growth potential and eventual remuneration. If you don’t give candidates specifics, chances are that experienced professionals in the field will move on to another offer that’s worthy of their time and effort.

2 Learn from the experience of others

Project Manager recruitment is very specific and there are a few differences from standard employment that make the process unique. Talking to other recruiters who have done PM hiring in the past will shed some light on what you have to do in order to attract top talent. Reaching out to colleagues (whether in person or over social media) will give you a good idea about the skills and qualifications that matter the most in practical settings. Personality traits can also play a role.

You should also understand that hiring a Project Manager in the IT field is different from finding the right person for a coursework preparation business. Thus, the tips you should be getting need to come from someone who understands the field, the challenges in the industry and the responsibilities of a PM in the field.

3 Ask the right interview questions

Putting a good job ad together is just the first part of the process. Next, you should prepare for the interviews with suitable candidates. Asking eventual PMs the right questions will shed a lot more light on their background, communication style and relevant experiences. Once again, going for standard and generic will only lead to time wasting. Instead, focus on relevant inquiries that will give you the information you require to make a strategic decision. Questions could include: What’s the most important task a Project Manager should deal with? What challenges have you had to overcome in a previous place of employment? Do you have relevant product or service experience? What’s the one task you dedicate the most time on? How do you tackle conflict resolution within the team?

These are all specific open-end questions that will reveal a ton of information about the work style and ethics of a PM position candidate.

4 Understand the importance of timing

The timing of hiring your PM is also very important for finding the perfect professionals for the job.

You need to start looking for a PM before you’re desperate for such an expert on your team. If you are pressed by circumstances and you have to hire someone immediately, chances are you will make a compromise and you’ll opt for a candidate that potentially isn’t an optimal match. Even if you don’t start the recruitment process early, you should have a clear idea about the skills and competences you’re looking for. Get the HR team to prepare a Job Description and to define the role of the Project Manager in advance. Having clear guidelines for the selection of an experienced professional in the field will speed things up when the time comes.

5 Know what they want and how to attract top talent

Experienced and reputable HR professionals will have certain requirements in order to consider an eventual job offer. You need to have a pretty good idea about what they’re looking for.

Most experts in the field are looking for additional professional qualification and training opportunities. Companies that offer such educational options tend to be more popular among job seekers than others.

You should also put emphasis on the perks that stem from working for your company. There could be bonuses, wellness programmes, a spectacular workplace and a flexible schedule.

Anything that makes your company unique should be highlighted for the purpose of catching the attention of top performers. Putting effort into the recruitment process is the only way to attract a skilled Project Manager. Begin the process early enough and be strategic about it. If you know what you’re looking for and what you have to offer, chances are you will identify suitable candidates for the position quickly.

Laura Buckler is a freelance writer based in San Francisco, California. Her belief is everything should be simple in life, so she helps her readers understand that. Check out her twitter page.

This article appeared in the January 2018 issue of HR Future magazine.

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