Project Management Recruitment Ideas – Hiring Right First Time

As the hiring manager how do I “ensure” that more often than not I get the right person for the role first time of asking?

What a great question and I’m sure if we could crack this one all our lives would be much easier! I think one of the main reasons why recruitment activity doesn’t give consistent results over time is for the simple reason that recruitment involves people and where there are people involved there are differences in interpretation, assumptions and expectations.

Take for example the relatively easy task of stating what kind of person you are looking for to fill a project manager position. We have to consider; what the roles and responsibilities will be; what skills and experience the role demands; what education, training and accreditation level the role will require; the behavioural characteristics and personality required; the cultural fit into the organisation and so on.

Some parts of the specification may be easier than others; after all, listing out what the tasks need to be performed on the job should be straightforward for a hiring manager. The problems start when we have to try and put into words what kind of personality we need or behavioural characteristics. These are entirely subjective and not only are they are they difficult to articulate and write down, they are also difficult to convey to others, for example when briefing a recruitment agent.

Another area of difficulty specific to project management hiring is that it can also be difficult to determine the right level of previous experience and skill level of candidates in relation to the tasks of the job. For example, take this line in a job specification for a project manager; ‘Constructing project plans and schedule activities throughout the project lifecycle’. It is an activity that all project managers would be expected to perform however there are no details here or elsewhere in this particular job specification that gives important context. Is there an expectation that the project plans will be created using a particular tool? How complex are the plans and schedules? How many resources are we expecting to schedule? Are we talking about PIDs in relation to project plans here? What is the project lifecycle for the organisation? Here our interpretations, assumptions and expectations of the job specification come into play and have a bearing on the types of project managers who would be suitable for the position.

Finding the right project management candidate

 These are just two areas that impact the success of a hiring campaign. Further areas like organisation attractiveness for candidates (would they want to work for your organisation?), advertisement effectiveness, communication throughout the recruitment process, interview skills, appropriate interview testing and so on all contain further pitfalls. Some of these areas will be addressed in further Project Management Recruitment Ideas Q&As next week.

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Comments

  1. Inquisitiveness and energy are always at the top of my shopping list. I prefer to get the smartest people I can and will morph the organization as needed when I find one. Especially true when looking for junior or mid-level players whose intelligence and energy can help expand perspective and drive innovation. I only look for specific knowledge and skill set alignments when hiring for niche technical positions.

  2. @Ken:
    Thanks for commenting! Dare I suggest that you put major (though not necessarily exclusive) stock in those persons who don’t mind differing a bit in perspective from the groupthink that can set in with project teams? If so, the “Yes, man” culture that is so dangerous to thinking within the bubble cannot set in and eyes are always wide open.
    We appreciate the perspective. You’re always welcome here!

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