When you bring in new project managers, do you do so strategically?
Interviewing is subjective, of course, but for the essential job of Project Manager, you want your process to be as bulletproof as possible. After all, ending up with a bad Project Manager could cost you big time. Fortunately, PMO director Russell Harley is here to share his best practices for making the right hiring decisions upfront.
Alexandra Levit: Russell, what’s the biggest mistake that hiring managers make when recruiting new PMs?
Russell Harley: They use generic job descriptions. You’ll see things like “good communication skills,” “be a self-starter,” and “work well with teams.” Well, job descriptions like this will quickly get you overrun with responses that are hardly targeted. So instead of wasting time with vagaries, describe the details of the actual project, and if you want it done using a certain methodology, say so.
While stellar project managers can usually work on any type of project, there are certain projects we really enjoy doing versus ones we are capable of doing but would prefer not to. By putting the specific needs for the position into the job description, you are far more likely to get responses from project managers who really want to do that type of project. And wouldn’t you rather have someone leading the team who doesn’t think of it like a dentist appointment?
Alex: Do you recommend hiring PMs for specific technical skills?
Russell: Someone once commented on my blog that a good project manager’s knowledge is a mile wide and an inch deep. Technical skills can often be learned, but excellent PM skills are harder to come by. By requiring PMs to have very specialized knowledge, you will dramatically reduce the pool of applicants, and an outstanding PM who could do amazing things for your company might be left out. Deciding on what is truly needed for every position will save you time and attract the right people.
For more of Russell's tips, have a look at the full post at Intuit's Fast Track blog.