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22 de abril de 2012

Interview to hire a Project Manager



If you are about to hire a Project Manager, you may like to know if he is familiar with project management tools, his academic background, if he is a PMP® certified since when, how many projects has he managed, his industry expertise, etc. One candidate may score high at these topics, yet I would hesitate if hiring him or not. 

Conversely, sometimes you don’t need to ask anything. Someone else comes along, and a little voice inside you sings out, “It’s her! She is the one! Grab her and put her in charge of the whole works and leave her alone”. That’s the gut speaking. Her résumé don’t say much, but she start talking… and you already know for sure. You want her to manage the project. It is a critical project, and if it goes wrong it is going to make a great loss for everybody, but in some way, you know you have made the right decision.


When I perform hiring interviews, my main concern is to get to know if this person will be effective because he or she has good habits. Here is a sample of main topics I usually ask (they are seven main topics not by accident):

  1. Is he used to committing? Is he used to identify goals? Is he proactive? Is he used to getting into the role of a Project Manager?
  2. Is he used to clarifying what to do, early enough?
  3. Is he used to controlling scope, schedule, cost? Is he used to doing the talk, to getting things done?
  4. Is he used to managing uncertainty? Is he used to managing conflicts? Is he used to negotiating?
  5. Is he used to communicating effectively?
  6. Is he a good leader?
  7. Is he used to continuous learning?

The answers to these questions offer plenty of good information, but in general, you get the besst information from what they ask, and for what they don’t:

  • If he does not ask good questions, would he be good at communication, negotiation, leadership? Would he be able to get stakeholder’s requirements?
  • If he does not ask about his level of authority, his empowerment to take decisions, would he be truly committed to project goals?
  • If he does not ask about his expected wage and bonus increase rate, would he be a got negotiator? Would he know how to manage project costs?
  • If he does not ask about enterprise environmental factors, quality standards, follow up procedures, would he be a good communicator?
  • If he does not ask about his team, working conditions, most frequent issues regarding human resources, current capabilities, training plans, turnover rate, etc. Would he be a good leader?

Click here to read the Spanish version of this article.