Wycombe District Council & Arras
Recruiting "difficult to fill" project management positions
"The candidate you provided has worked out really well"
The need for this particular post was for stronger project management skills than the department had traditionally needed. The community based subject matter experience in the project manager role was less important whilst the ability to manage partner providers of projects in a programme and strong budget management experience were key. This specific project was looking at “community cohesion”.
Finding the right balance of project management skills -vs.- sector experience
Finding the right balance of project management skills and sector experience of the candidate was the key objective, like any of our project management recruitment enquries! It sounds a straightforward and easy undertaking but reality shows that the candidates with the years of community experience and excellent project management skills are never available when you need them and the role becomes "difficult to fill".
Although community services experience was not a major requirement, experience of working in local government or the wider public sector would prove to be beneficial in terms of the project management framework (PRINCE2) being adopted and the heavy stakeholder management elements to a community cohesion project like this. There was also a need for relationship management with external partner agencies, youth and community groups which would benefit from someone having previous involvement of projects of this nature.
Targetting a wider pool of project management resources
Arras has project management resources from a wide range of sectors, backgrounds, capabilities and skills. Creating a targeted job specification – emphasizing the project management elements more than the original specification, focusing on the technical skills required of the project manager rather than the deliverables of the project – created a flood of interest from a wide range of candidates.
Public sector candidates plus interest from candidates with experience in the third sector, business management, arts and social all picked up on the need for structure, control and strong leadership in a community based setting.
The role also attracted interest from private sector candidates – interested in leading projects which benefit a local community as opposed to a business or IT environment, this is something we're seeing more of in our project management candidates.
A "difficult role to fill"?
A "difficult role to fill" became a 2 week process – from initial enquiry to successful placement. Recreating the job specification to appeal to the project management market led to an increased resource pool to fish from!
Arras has over eight years of experience working within the public sector project management recruitment field, and everyday we're taking new role requirements and job specifications from clients, recreating or tweaking them specifically to attract project management professionals to their "difficult to fill" roles.
Arras worked with the client to understand the project role from their perspective and really understand and tie down the key attributes required in the candidate. We then recreated the job specification to appeal to the project management job market - attracting attention to the role where previous potential applicants may have disregarded it - clearer key project management skills required, concise objective of the project and the softer skills required to successfully deliver the project.
Arras' interpretation of our client's project management roles to appeal to the project management market in the UK is part of our standard service and recruitment process. Arras People are a pillar in local government project management recruitment.
Salford City Council's approach to project management recruitment of a number of staff for a Corporate Transformation Programme was led by innovation. Recruiting a large number of project manager's to join a local government, to start all at the same time, is no mean feat. Find out how working with Arras People enabled Salford City Council to successfully complete a project management recruitment campaign.
Experiencing PSL Problems?
Croydon Council approached Arras People outside of their Preferred Suppliers List (PSL) because they were struggling to find the right kind of PMO and P3O staff. Croydon Council, the large local government organisation in South East London were undergoing a period of change - this included the Council's approach to programme and project management. Read more about our work with Croydon Council.