CQU Project Management education

Project management recruitment today

Adeline Teoh
March 23, 2011

A vox pop of project management recruiters on the challenges in the field today.

Michael Chachaty

Associate Director at BlueVisions Management

What is the biggest challenge facing project manager recruitment today?
The biggest challenge facing project management recruitment is matching the candidate to technical requirements as well as the equally important cultural alignment. Put simply, it is no longer enough for the project manager to be competent technically in order to secure a project management position. They also need to demonstrate that they can work in their client’s environment.

What do recruiters do to address this issue?
Recruiters need to develop a more in-depth understanding of their client’s business. They need to proactively build strong relationships and ensure transparency exists to address both written and non-written criteria to successful recruitment. This understanding is what separates an average recruiter to a high performing recruiter.

Where do you see project manager recruitment in the future?
We see a much more competitive playing field in technical project management skills, with the main differentiator being the individual’s emotional intelligence, that is, being able to adapt and work within our client’s environment.

Jim Ilievski

Managing Director at cki people

What is the biggest challenge facing project manager recruitment today?
The biggest challenge that we are seeing is separating the ‘true’ project manager from the ‘accidental’ project manager: résumés only tell a part of the story. The demand for experienced and disciplined project managers across industry sectors has increased, and like any popular trend people want to be a part of it so the challenge is to obtain the right resources and offer our clients a choice of top professionals.

What do recruiters do to address this issue?

  • Don’t rush. Too many times I have seen placements made to fill a role, meet a quota or react to an urgent need, without required diligence applied by the recruiter.
  • Evaluate thoroughly. Go that extra step to qualify a resource; having targeted selection criteria is a good method. This can be the difference between the ‘true’ versus the ‘accidental’ project manager.
  • Match make. Ensure that not only does the individual meet the job requirements but also the job meets the individual’s requirements.

It’s just common sense, however I am surprised at how many times it has not been applied.

Where do you see project manager recruitment in the future?
Project manager recruitment needs to be flexible, adaptable and forward thinking. I see the project manager’s role in the future not as a Jack-of-all-trades but rather a master of all trades. In more recent times, project managers are not just project managers: they are the procurement leads, they are the resource managers, the legal representatives, the finance leads, and I am sure many other roles also.

Project managers traditionally come from all walks of life and are the most adaptable individual on a project team. They have to do all of this while still performing at high quality aspects of a disciplined project manager.

I definitely see the demand for the discipline increasing. I also believe that experience will still outweigh the theory aspect, even though accreditation and certification is significant. I see a greater alignment to portfolio management where project managers are not just accountable and responsible for their project but are actively providing value across the entire portfolio.

Daniel Moulding

National Manager at Mosaic IT&T Recruitment

What is the biggest challenge facing project manager recruitment today?

Quite often, project managers write generic CVs that simply go as far as detailing a list of projects they have worked on. Consequently, finding out what a project manager actually contributed to projects can be challenging.

What do recruiters do to address this issue?

When interviewing candidates, we ask incisive questions to uncover their level of involvement on a particular project. We try to determine what formal methodology they used, whether there was a methodology in place before they started, and if there were there any major issues with the project, how they overcame them.

Where do you see project manager recruitment in the future?

The birth and rapid growth of social media sites, such as LinkedIn and LinkMe, has opened up an exciting new recruitment channel for candidates to professionally network, and to proactively showcase their stories, successes, and if they so wish, their availability for work. This affords the individual greater control over what information they want available in the public domain, and in my opinion, has led to some people being more open and honest than they may otherwise be on their CV.

Rose Fiore

Senior Recruitment Consultant at RMA IT Recruitment

What is the biggest challenge facing project manager recruitment today?
Project managers are very much subject to market conditions, supply and demand. At the moment, project managers are in demand. Clients often seek specific industry experience as well as technical exposure. In IT project management, Agile experience is also very highly regarded.

What do recruiters do to address this issue?
Maintain a solid network of project managers through good times and bad times; RMA rely on referrals from our networks, database searching as well as social networking tools such as LinkedIn.
Recruiters will find it easier to work with clients who treat project management as a profession and use project management as the key strategy to implement change.

Where do you see project manager recruitment in the future?
There will be further emphasis on certification in certain methodologies. Demand for iterative project management, namely Agile, is steadily growing.

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Adeline Teoh
Adeline Teoh is the editor and publisher of ProjectManager.com.au. She has more than a decade of publishing experience in the fields of business and education, and has specialised in writing about project management since 2007.
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