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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.

Understands their role within the power of “TEAM”

While project managers lead and facilitate, they must also be team players and understand the power of the “team” concept. Hiring a project manager who may be too self-focused can be disastrous for team dynamics, as it can establish mistrust, lack of buy-in or cooperation from other team members. Carefully assess this characteristic and the candidate’s personality when hiring a project manager.

Now that you know what to look for, how should do you go about finding what may at first seem like a mythical creature?

Talk to others in the PM and recruitment field

Project managers come to the table with varied levels of experience, training, views and expectations. It is always a good idea to reach out to colleagues and other business professionals for project manager referrals that can fit specific business needs. Ask around about candidates with the most suitable characteristics and personality traits for your business culture and specific needs. Take advantage expertise and knowledge from other professionals whenever possible to avoid the stress of not knowing where to start. May be even searching professional networks like LinkedIn as a starting point, as many individuals will have recommendations on their personal profiles that can offer insights into some of these factors.

Verify their training and experience

Once a project management candidate has been selected, spend sufficient time carefully verifying their experience, training, personality attributes, working styles, leadership and, facilitation skills to ensure the best individual for specific needs has been selected.

Hire on a trial project basis before hiring full-time

Give thought to hiring a contractor project manager to ensure the right individual with the required skill sets has been chosen prior to committing to a full-time position. This arrangement can work to the benefit of both the employer and employee to ensure the fit works and both parties want to continue with the arrangement.

Offer and request feedback

After hiring a PM, keep two-way dialogue going to ensure you know what is working and what needs work.  Hiring a PM and realizing things may not be going as anticipated can be frustrating, and may not necessarily be the fault of the PM. It may be a situation where employer expectations may not have been clearly defined or parameters had changed following the hiring process. These changes may not have been conveyed to the new PM, making goals difficult for them to attain without the employer revisiting and updating the job requirements and scope.

 

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