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How to hire a rock star project manager

Moira Alexander | March 2, 2016
When hiring a PM, the knee-jerk tendency seems to be to hire the person with the most technical knowledge, when other, broader skills are more likely to get the results you're really after.

Exudes intrapreneurial spirit

Project managers need to be of an intrapreneur mindset, always evaluating the best methods for business goal attainment. All decisions and actions must be directed towards the best interests of the business. This requires a project manager to be innovative, extremely focused, as well as goal and people oriented at the same time.

Demonstrates extraordinary leadership

Exceptional leadership skills are not optional in this role. While the majority of PMs will have some form of formal technical training and combined experience, not all project managers demonstrate exceptional leadership. Leadership is not simply leading, facilitating, managing and directing. True leaders must lead by example, make difficult decisions when necessary, and act in a fair manner when it comes to all stakeholders while ensuring their attention and effort remains trained on business objectives at all times. Accomplishing this is not always easy but is necessary in order to be an extraordinary leader.

Excels at crisis resolution

Crisis resolution is another one of those areas a PM must be versed and experienced in, as this is guaranteed to be a regular fixture in the world of project management, and more often than not projects do not go as planned. Project managers will often encounter one crisis or another, whether financial, time-based, human resource in nature or other related, and will need to remain calm, focused and level-headed, and act appropriately, regardless of the situation. A crisis resolution expert can make all the difference as this can be easier said than done.

Exhibits outstanding communication skills

Many projects have been derailed solely on communication issues that have arisen simply because the project manager lacked sufficient oral, written or non-verbal communication skills. Knowing how to effectively communicate, and which medium to utilize in a particular situation is critical. This is easily one of the most important skills to look for due to the potential ramifications.

Is obviously results-oriented

Ultimately a project manager must be results-oriented if they are to be successful. Absent this, project management is pointless, as the project activities are only executed with an intended end result required. Hiring a project manager that simply navigates from one phase to another without vetting whether the activities align with the end goals cannot be successful. This is a must.

Interlaces with your business culture

When hiring a project manager look for individuals that will work well within the business culture. Personality and character make a difference, seek individuals that can work easily with stakeholders, and project the business culture in general. This will help to decrease the likelihood of unnecessary friction and help to accomplish a smoother transition, especially in the initial phases.


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