Tackling a new project is always a daunting prospect, especially if it involves appointing a new project manager. A project manager plays a critical role in the success of your company, and it is of vital importance to hire or appoint someone who is not only a guaranteed to fit for your company, but is also well equipped to handle the types of projects that your company will be dealing with. Whether you are appointing someone on a contract of permanent basis, this is no small task.
So what should you look out for when starting the interview process for a new project manager? Here are just a few guidelines to help you in finding the right person for the job.
Does your company already follow a methodology, or are you still looking for something that will make your team function to the best of their abilities? If you have a set methodology in place, then you will obviously need to look for a project manager who understands that methodology, and has a proven track record in managing projects using it.
If you have a new company who is yet to establish exactly how they will be managing your projects, then you might end up killing two birds with one stone. As long as your candidate project manager is well versed in the methodology and it is applicable to your industry, you might have found a wining combination.
Just because a candidate has the right certifications, does not necessarily mean that they have the needed experience as a project manager to help your company move forward. Just because someone has a theoretical knowledge of the processes involved in project management, does not mean that they will be able to successfully lead a team.
If you are looking for someone who will guarantee that the job gets done, it is better to look for an experienced candidate, with a proven track record in your industry over someone who simply displays the right credentials.
Looking for the right experience:
There are too many variables involved in project management to name them all, which is finding someone with the right levels of experience for your company might be a difficult task. The best way to go about finding a new project manager with the right levels of experience is to take a good look at the class of projects you will be managing.
If you are tacking a multi-million Rand project that will need to be managed from the ground up, it might be worth investing in the time and money to bring in a senior level project manager who has direct experience and expertise in the field or industry associated with the project. A less intense project such as changes to a website or simple product enhancements will not require as much experience and expertise, and a junior or mid level project manager would suffice. In this case, you might also look into promoting someone within your own ranks.
When interviewing a new project manager, ask them to describe the most complex project they have undertaken, explaining the budget, duration of the project, the number of team members involved, as well as any problems they encountered and how they resolved them. This will give you a good idea of how suited they are to your company and projects.
Fitting in with the team
Above all, you will need someone who fits your company’s unique energy. If you are a start-up company with a fast paced, yet unstructured environment, someone from a rigid corporate background might not be the best fit for your team. The same is true for the opposite situation. However, a good project manager will be able to adapt to any situation. Despite this, it is always better to look for a candidate that comes from a background similar to your company, and will go a long way towards managing a productive and efficient team.