It won’t come as a surprise to you to know that having the right people on the team is crucial for project success. But how do you get the right people in the PMO? In this article, we’ll show you how.
You have 3 options for growing your project management team with skilled staff:
- Recruit new permanent resources
- Bring in skilled contractors
- Upskill your existing team members
We talk a lot in this blog about improving the skills of your workforce, for example, through helping them better use the tools they have for managing projects, like Primavera and Deltek. We also offer services to augment your existing workforce through project management contractors. But today we’re going to focus on recruitment.
Start With the Demand
What is it exactly that you need from your new recruits? Before you start a call for resumes, you need to be sure what it is that your current team is lacking.
Perhaps you need more experience in a particular sector. Perhaps you need to fill some junior posts in the team, with the objective of having those individuals grow into experienced project managers in your organization. Perhaps it’s a particular technical skill that you are looking for, like contract management.
Look at what you need, and how long you need it for. This will help you decide if you are hiring for a full-time permanent position or whether your needs could be filled with a part-time or temporary resource.
Define the Job
Next, you need to create a job specification. This sets out the role and the skills required to fulfil the role. Your internal HR team or external recruitment agency will use this to match candidates to the job. It should explain exactly what the role entails. It will be read by the candidate, who has no prior knowledge of your business, so ideally it should be free from jargon and describe the job in an interesting way. You want to attract people to the role, not put them off from the specification!
Sometimes you may create a person specification as well, which describe the ideal candidate. This is on an individual level so it would cover the amount of experience you’d expect the candidate to have, their certifications, industry background and other criteria relating to them as an individual.
Gain Approval to Recruit
Generally, managers can’t simply go out and hire anyone they want. There is a process to go through that justifies why the position is required. It can be very expensive to hire someone, so businesses do not make the decision to do so lightly.
Talk to your manager or the HR team if you are unsure of what the process is for gaining approval to recruit. It’s likely that you will have to fill out some kind of business case or justification for the extra person.
Start the Recruitment Process
OK, now you are good to start recruiting in earnest! Work with your HR team’s recruitment specialists, or your appointed external agency, to get your job specification out to relevant groups. They will be able to assist you in reaching candidates who will be interested in your role.
They may also be able to help you with screening candidates and carrying out first interviews to assess suitability.
If they can’t do this function for you, put some time aside to go through the pile of resumes and applications.
Create a Shortlist
Whether you have filtered them yourself, or received a list of pre-screened candidates from your recruitment partner, you are now at a point where you have a long list of candidates. These are the people you could possibly bring to interview.
You will most likely find that you have more candidates than time to interview, so prioritize the people you have selected on your long list to create a shortlist. These are the ones you will take to interview first. Don’t discount the others until you have seen this first batch. Sometimes resumes that look uninspiring lead to your most promising candidates.
Work with HR to arrange interviews for your selected candidates. Ideally, you’ll want to do this as quickly as possible, as that gives you the best chance of securing a candidate before they find a job at another business.
Next, carry out your interviews. Try to fit these into a small time frame so that those who are seen first don’t have too long to wait for a decision.
Let’s assume you’ve seen someone you really like, who you think would be a great fit for your team and the organization. Now is the time to make them a formal offer.
Be prepared to negotiate a little at this step, so know what you can offer in terms of salary and benefits, and who to go to if you need to stretch this a little to secure your best candidate.
Hopefully, your top choice candidate will say yes! If not, you’ll be going back to your interview notes to select an alternative.
However, don’t feel that you have to settle for your second choice. Often it’s better to keep on searching and interviewing until you meet someone truly inspirational than to hire your second choice. Unless you are 100% confident that they will be a good fit and can do the job, meeting the needs you identified earlier, then don’t give them a job. Having the wrong person in the team – not to mention the difficulties of getting rid of someone who isn’t right – can be time consuming and destructive, with a negative impact on team morale.
Welcome them Onboard
The best candidate has accepted your offer and is excited to start working with you. The first few weeks in the job are crucial. It’s here that they will form their opinions and get a feel for whether this is a project management environment in which they could thrive. Will they decide to stay for the long term or will they quickly feel that they only need to do a respectable period of time before moving on?
The on-boarding process is key to making them feel welcome. Make sure that they meet the team and have access to the equipment and software that they need to start making a contribution from day one.
The right person on the team can make a huge difference to your overall productivity and morale, so recruit carefully!