How to Hire A Great Project Manager

'Among my many talents, not shown on my resume, is that I can say 'multivarient transformative interactive analytical heterogenacity in management leadership' three times fast.'


Hiring good project managers is critical to any business’ success, yet so many companies are going about hiring them in all the wrong ways. Russell Harley provides us with five simple, cost-effective ways to ensure you are hiring the right project manager for your business. Picking the right or wrong applicant for your company’s needs can make or break your company. If hirers take these five simple measures- they will be far more likely to hire a great project manager that will better the company.

Stop Using Generic Job Descriptions

It seems as though every job description/qualifications section for a project manager job application is a broad template that could be applied to just about any position or company. “Must have good communication skills,” “Be a self-starter,” and “Work well with teams” are all examples of what you will see in just about every job description for a project manager position. In order to find the right person for the position- these need to be more specific to what the company values and expects from the candidate. Such broad language will invite hoards of applications into your inbox, turning your hiring process into a “needle in a haystack” type of task. You are more likely to get responses from project managers that are a good fit for your company when you clearly specify what is expected of the person. Not only will these generic job descriptions hinder your company’s hiring process, but is also not fair for the applicant to come into a position that they are not prepared/qualified for.

Decide Exactly What You Need

Doing this is really just another way to narrow down your pool of applicants. Prepare an in-depth analysis of what aspects of your company struggles with and needs improvement. For example, if your company is struggling with the adoption of a new type of software, ask for knowledge and experience using that specific type of software. This will cut down on training time/costs and help your company operate more efficiently.

Critical Projects Need Dedicated Project Managers

With cost-cutting being a reoccurring measure taken by almost all companies- it is important to get the most bang for your buck when hiring a project manager. Sure, the overseeing and delegation aspect of project management is very important, but you also want a project manager that is willing help out with the workload. Having a project manager that is willing to get his hands dirty will earn the respect of team members and increase efficiency. Make sure to find a project manager that doesn’t want to just sit a desk all day; find one that is willing to do whatever it takes get a project done the most efficient way possible.

If You Need a Specific Methodology Used, Say So

Some project managers favor certain methods for getting a project done and not all of them will work for what you need done. Make sure you know what methods of management your employees respond best to and that the project manager you hire is familiar and experienced with those methods. Using a methodology that your employees do not respond well too can cause a project to fail quicker than almost anything.

Eliminate the Essay Questions

 It is very common for companies to ask for written responses from job candidates answering questions like “What makes you a good leader?” Nine times out of ten you are going to get a fluffed up response with little merit. Going through all of these responses can be a lengthy, time-consuming process. Look to their experience and references- that should answer just about any essay question you are thinking about putting on an application.

Do you agree/disagree with Harley’s suggested practices in the project manager hiring process?

Thanks for reading.

7 Ways to Be a Better Project Manager When You Aren’t One


Whether you have the title of Project Manager or not, it is vital for you to adopt certain principles if you want to thrive in the work place. This article describes how the rapid increase in the use of online social media and tools has transformed the work place into a much more collaborative environment. This collaborative environment requires employees to act like a project manager by proxy. I was drawn to this article because although I am not a project manager per se, I recognize the importance of having the skill set that a good project manager has.

The first way to become a better project is to be “Mr. or Mrs. Fix It” when encountering a problem. Heading up the most pressing issues can inspire a team and increase their level in confidence in you as a leader. I have always believed that it is best to nip something in bud as soon as it arises, but I think it is also important to approach problems tactfully. 

The article next talks about the importance of having a thorough understanding of what the project is. Personally, I have a hard time with the planning part of a project. As soon I think that I might understand what is being asked of me, I tend to jump right into it and fix my mistakes as I go that otherwise could have been avoided if I spent more time planning. Do you put a greater emphasis on the planning or action phase of a project?

The author next talks about how easy being compulsively organized has become through the use of collaboration software. I use google docs all the time for group projects and the like, and I could not agree more. Everyone being able to collaborate in one place with collaboration softwares has made staying organized and on-task easier than ever. Do you believe in the power of face-to-face meetings or is online collaboration something you would prefer? Why?

Not letting your team coast is the next way to improve your project management skills. The author argues that the project manager should not only focus on team members strongest areas, but areas with room for development. Having to learn and research as you go can inspire innovation and a new/better way to do something.

The importance of being assertive goes hand-in-hand with being Mr. or Mrs. Fix It. If there is an issue or you’re not satisfied with someones performance, addressing the matter right away is the best way to handle it. Give a clear explanation of what you want from them when you approach them.

I think many people confuse an assertive manager with one who is trying to micromanage. An effective manager will be assertive when approaching someone, but will help them correct the issue. This will usually give them ability to work autonomously for the remainder of the task at hand. I have worked for people who like to micromanage because they believe it limits room for error. I disagree and believe that mistakes are a good thing that provide a learning opportunity. Do you prefer to be micro or macro managed?

Perhaps the best way to improve your management skills is to “always have their back”. Do your best to encourage ingenuity and make it clear that mistakes are hardly ever a bad thing. To quote the great Bruce Lee, “the master has failed more times than the beginner has ever tried”. What are your thoughts on the importance of mistakes and how to approach them as a project manager?