PrincePerelson & Associates

How to Hire the Best Project Managers

When you start a business, it’s just you (the owner), maybe another partner, and a small, tight-knit team. You handle all the tasks, and work isn’t so complicated that you need a helping hand.

But once you start landing bigger projects and expanding your team, it becomes critical to hire a project manager. The best project managers can mean more than just the difference between completed and unmet goals. With a great project manager on your team, you can have peace of mind knowing work and processes are being efficiently managed.

With that said, there are tons of great PMs out there, and a lot of companies are battling it out to secure their talent. How do you attract superstar project managers to join your team? Whether you’re looking for a person to inspire trust in your vision, or angling for a project manager with a unique set of skills to help boost your company’s creativity, here are some tips for hiring the best of the best.

1. Recruit for Culture Fit

The first interview for the PM vacancy should focus on whether or not the candidate would fit the culture of your team and internal processes. The best project managers not only create status reports and work breakdowns but also lead, mentor and coach team members.

You’ll want to ensure the applicant cannot only complete project-related tasks on budget and on time, but also be respected by their coworkers. Ask your candidates how they blend within a team, as well as how they overcome stress and challenges. You might even consider bringing other team members in on the interview to get their opinions. Hiring a PM with a good understanding of your organization’s culture will significantly improve the performance of your team.

2. Inquire About Experience

There are plenty of aspiring PMs out there. However, the best project managers usually come with a great deal of experience, which they leverage to anticipate difficulties, think rationally, and solve issues before they affect a project. If the PMs you just interviewed all aced the basic questions, rely on experience to separate the wheat from the chaff.

While talking about their experience, you can also take a detailed look at where the project manager has previously worked and what kind of projects they’ve managed. Unless it’s essential for you and your business, don’t look for the exact match in terms of industry. Instead, review the company size, project size, and length of time spent in each firm.

3. Look for Relevant Qualities

Ideally, you want to hire a project manager who has the following qualities:

  • Leadership

Leadership involves more than just telling a team what to do – it means making challenging decisions, being a role model, and even sometimes taking a hit for your team. While most company are impressed by color-coded agenda candidates, finding someone who can inspire confidence and trust within your company organization is just as vital as onboarding a planning-pro.

  • Intrapreneur mindset

Effective intrapreneurs work within a company to promote new innovations. Great project managers are always evaluating the best way forward for goal attainment. All of their actions and decisions are directed towards the best interest of their company. This requires a candidate to be extremely focused, goal-oriented, and open-minded at the same time. Whether the challenge is marketing or finance-based, a project manager with an intrapreneur mindset helps to liaise between teams and smooth out bottlenecks.

  • Technical proficiency

Within high-performing project managers, there is a clear understanding of the technologies being used by the employer’s IT team. Those with a technical background will naturally have this understanding. Besides that, if they have certifications in areas like Scrum, you can capitalize on this technical knowledge at times of shortage in the IT department.

  • Passion

PMs have one of the most intuitive but stressful jobs within a company. It’s not a role for the faint of heart, so you’ll want to make sure that those who’ve applied are aware of what’s expected of them and have a passion for the field. In the worst of times, the best project managers will find a way to efficiently juggle multiple requests, stakeholders, goals, deadlines, and resources.

4. Verify Their Credentials

Project management candidates come to the interview with varying levels of expectations, views, skills, and experience. It is, therefore, a good idea to reach out to their friends, colleagues and past employers for referrals. Take advantage of the opinion and knowledge of others wherever possible to avoid recruiting a challenge.

When it comes to finding coworkers and past employers, LinkedIn is a great place to start. Many candidates will have mentions and recommendations on their LinkedIn profile that can offer detailed insight into some of these variables.

Another thing you can do is hire an individual on a project basis. This can help ensure you’re looking at the right person with the necessary skills prior to offering a full-time position. Such arrangements can work to the benefit of both the candidate and the hiring company to ensure that expectations are fulfilled and both parties want to continue the journey.

5. Work with Executive Recruiters

The position of a project manager is seen as an executive-level role within a company. If you’re finding it difficult to attract top project managers for your vacancy, you can work with an executive recruiting firm like PrincePerelson. We have the contacts, experience and commitment to refer the talent that your business needs to make an impact.


How to Hire the Best Project Managers


The hiring process can often be stressful sometimes for the recruiters. It is nerve-wracking to interview candidates, especially when recruiting for high positions like project managers. Hiring decisions have a big impact on the entire team dynamics thus it is very important to find the right fit for the position. With several tips alongside all the qualifications, you are sure to find the best project manager out there.

5 Tips to Hire the Best Project Managers [infographic]