Interviews are staples of hiring, but they can be a minefield. There are project management professionals with immense potential who don’t interview well and duds who can talk a good game. Here’s what to look for to identify project management candidates with the right skills who will bring a balance of technical background and soft skills.
Look for Key Project Management Skills
There is so much that goes into a great PM hire, but if they don’t possess the basic skills that will enable them to succeed on the job, it doesn’t matter how much you like them. Look for project management candidates with the following attributes:
- Leadership abilities
- Communication skills
- Change management expertise
- Experience in various project methodologies
- Ability to resolve resource constraints
Top Professionals are Engaged in Their Work
Even when you’re on the hiring side of the table, you know there are good jobs and bad. But a candidate who is truly engaged in their career can speak to you honestly about both the jobs they liked and those they didn’t without being excessively negative. You want to hire the sort of project managers who can take away lessons learned from even the most challenging job situations.
Are They Asking Questions?
The key to any successful project is asking a lot of questions. It’s what enables successful managers to anticipate risks and determine what resources are required for successful project completion. Candidates who ask you a lot of questions in the interview are exhibiting their natural curiosity and ability to gather necessary information.
Top project management candidates answer these questions with tremendous responses.
How do you approach each project? PMs each have their own management style. Look for candidates whose style will mesh with the expectations of your company and the types of projects you tend to encounter.
How do you resolve team conflicts? Ask for specific example of a conflict they encountered with their team and how they were able to successfully resolve it.
What is your preferred project management software? Even those who are comfortable with a variety of PM software options is are likely to have a favorite. Answers to this question can provide insight into the working style of the candidate.
What are your favorite and least favorite types of projects to work on? This may seem obvious, but it’s essential that the person you hire is comfortable with the types of projects they will be expected to run at your company.
Probe this further with follow-up questions. You don’t want to miss out on a solid candidate who disliked a certain type of project because of personality conflicts or other specific factors they would not encounter at your company.
If you’d like more advice on interviewing potential project management or business analyst hires, or help recruiting for direct hire or contract positions, contact the professionals at PMO Partners.