Project Management

Hiring Project Managers: 4 Tips for the Perfect Interview

A dreaded formal application process is sometimes necessary for sourcing the appropriate PM talent. If this is the case, how can you pinpoint the perfect candidate? An article by Kevin Korterud on Project sorts out the mess to leave you with just four essential tips for getting the most out of your PM interview.

Interviewing Mainstays

  1. Prepare.
  2. Place is important.
  3. Question wisely.
  4. End on a positive note.

Prepare for interviews! That stack of résumés needs to be appropriately sorted according to the organization’s needs. You’ll want to focus on behavioral skills in addition to the standard technical requirements. Be prepared to ask scenario-based questions that reflect the kind of skills and thinking appropriate for the job.

Environment matters too. For the role of project manager, there is no better space for interviews than the control room. That is, choose a space where the various artifacts of project management (e.g. metrics, schedules, issues, etc.) can be referenced to facilitate questions that either party might have.

Then there are what Korterud calls “dead-end” questions. “Tell me about yourself,” doesn’t reveal much about the candidate’s credentials, so avoid anything that’s been asked in the initial screening process or that doesn’t focus on the specific needs of the organization. For instance, “Why did you become a project manager?” might be a helpful revision of the previous question.

If you like the candidate but their skill set doesn’t quite meet the needs of the role you are offering, take care not to alienate them from the company. You never know what new requirement might come along – and they’d be the perfect fit. Just assure them that you’ll be passing their résumé along to be considered elsewhere. End on a positive note.

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