Given the complexity of project management and the fact that it is not an exact science, it is quite understandable that sourcing the right candidate can be a challenge.
FOXit, a project management specialist, independent software vendor and Microsoft-certified Gold Partner across numerous competencies within the Microsoft Partner Network, believes there are measures that can be put in place to ensure a higher level of success in recruitment.
Project management is heavily reliant upon experience for successful rollout. This means that the brief given to HR managers to acquire the services of a project manager is to find someone who has proven experience, backed up by the requisite accreditations and qualifications.
At the same time, some degree of flexibility is provided for to allow for the HR manager’s discretion and intuition when faced with someone with obvious potential.
“A clearly defined brief needs to be given to the HR professional outlining the project scope and the Key Performance Areas that the Project Manager requires to be successful. That said, the HR professional should not be closed to rising stars with the capability of rising to the levels required,” says Dierdre Strydom, CEO of FOXit.
Another key challenge within the industry is that knowledge and skills assessments are not designed for entry-level project manager positions, the rationale being that the majority of candidates have been- or should have been actively working in the industry for some time to build up credentials.
“Knowledge comes with the whips and lashes of having done it; experience is so vital in project management and due to the fact the entry-level project managers have not yet run this gauntlet having specific tests for these sorts of positions cannot work.
“This is where a tried and tested mentorship programme plays such an important role where the juniors can have the skills transfer from the grey beards that have gone through the growing pains,” Strydom adds.
Focusing on the attributes and skills that ordinarily characterise the project manager, leadership at FOXit acknowledge that project management is varied and ability often comes down to problem solving.
“And this does not necessarily have to be seen in a negative light,” Strydom continues.
“You need someone that can look at a situation and be able to think about all the various scenarios and be creative in solution finding. This person also needs to be able to listen to their gut instinct and work with the situation that they have at any given time. They have to believe in their convictions and also be able to be the ‘bad cop’ in some situations.”
Although there is a concerted effort in the market to establish assessments and help HR managers appoint the right project management candidate, there are many considerations and deliverables. This makes sourcing the “perfect fit” and someone who can satisfy every single criterion near impossible, says Strydom.
“What businesses should do is build their own systems and people that work for them, look at where technology can fill the gap and, in that way, create a combined solution for the complexity that is called project management.”