How to Hire Project Managers by Dagmar Urb on Jul 12, 2017

We learned from our study that Project Managers are versatile leaders, who appreciate a good salary and would most likely react to a simple way to applying for a job.

Based on conversations with 50 project managers, we put together this short guide explaining what they value at work and what’s the best way to hire top-notch managers. In this guide you’ll learn about:

  • What do Project Managers do
  • What personality do they tend to have
  • What do they value at work
  • How to write a Project Manager job description
  • How to find strong Project Manager candidates
  • Which test questions to ask in interviews

What do Project Managers do?

Responsible for all aspects of taking a plan from conception to completion. Coordinating the work of different counterparts, their job is to keep the team on track, ensuring work is completed properly by the deadline and within budget limits.

What personality do they tend to have?

Project Managers are thoughtful, pragmatic and have a high degree of foresight. They know how to demand respect and push the team to meet customer expectations. And working with people obviously requires elegant organizational, communication and leadership skills.

What do they value at work?

Knowing the expectations of the employees you are looking for makes targeting and recruiting talent much easier. So we talked to professional Project Managers and found that, like other startup employees, they mostly look for:

  • Good wages
  • Interesting challenges at work
  • Great leadership
  • Well nurtured company culture
  • Nice work environment

How to write a Project Manager job description

A good Project Manager description will give an overview of what the role entails along with expectations of the successful candidate, a list of tasks and responsibilities, a list of required job skills and details on what the salary range is.

Project Manager task list

  • Ensuring that projects are delivered on time, within budget and according to plan
  • Coordination of resources and team members to ensure successful execution of projects
  • Developing project plans to detail how projects will be delivered within a particular time frame
  • Carrying out feasibility studies on potential projects
  • Planning budgets and ensuring resource availability
  • Measuring project performance using management tools and systems
  • Managing relationships with clients and stakeholders
  • Producing reports to analyse the success of project delivery

Project Manager job skills

Organisational skills – Project Managers need to be able to multi-task and keep the many strands of the project progressing according to plan. Project management involves keeping on top of meetings, tracking budgets and coordinating everyone involved in the project so that things don’t start to slip. A good Project Manager will need to start by showing that they are well organised within their own day-to-day lives.

Communication skills – much of a Project Manager’s time is spent communicating, from informing team members what needs to be done through to conveying the central ideas of the project to external groups using presentations. Good report writing skills are a must, as reports are typically required before, during and after project delivery.

Negotiation skills – there will be a lot of negotiating on budgets, resources and schedules, not to mention the need to negotiate any rearrangements if a change of circumstances occurs or if a deadline might need to be rescheduled.

Leadership skills – project management is about managing both tasks and people. Project Managers need to keep themselves and everyone else on the team motivated from start through to finish, inspiring everyone with a clear vision and knowing what to do if things go off track. A Project Manager has to take overall ownership of the project while at the same time making sure each player takes responsibility for their part.

Risk management skills – projects, especially big ones, come with risks. It’s the Project Manager’s responsibility to mitigate those risks before things get underway but putting in the necessary measures. You don’t want someone in charge of a project who is going to wait for problems to explode onto the scene before they try to fix them.

Decision-making skills – Project Managers have to make decisions on a daily basis, ranging from big decisions such as who to award a contract to, through to smaller administrative decisions. They will need to demonstrate the ability to think clearly and rationally, analysing both short and long-term impacts of their decisions.

Project Manager salary

Project Managers usually earn between $40,000 and $130,000 in the US, depending on industry and level of experience. The average salary is around $80,000. In Western Europe, salaries are typically between EUR 30,000 and EUR 100,000, with average salaries around EUR 60,000.

How to hire Project Managers 

We also asked where and how a potential employer could get Project Managers interested in a new job. And updating a resume or cover letter turned out to be a high application barrier for professionals in the tech field. So attracting those hard–to–reach candidates would be easier with a recruiting method that is enjoyable for candidates too. 

According to Project Managers, they would most probably react to:

  • An easy way of applying
  • A progressive recruitment approach
  • A chance to show their skills right away
  • A quick challenge
  • A thorough introduction to company and it’s culture

Since most of the qualified workers already have a job, additional emphasis must be placed on obtaining candidates. To source the best talent, use:

  • Job listings
  • Word of mouth
  • LinkedIn
  • Company’s career page
  • Facebook

The best hiring process

For years, we’ve been using quick challenges to screen prospective employees, and it has dramatically increased diversity, quality and cost-efficiency. Candidates take a short test to evaluate key job-related skills, followed by a test drive for the best performers.

The skills-based approach, leaving resumes and cover letters aside, has yielded truly encouraging results in the technology industry, providing a model for other industries too. Now, build a recruiting test with Hundred5 and thereupon share it on relevant channels to attract applicants.

Recommended test questions

To get started, here are some suggested test questions from professional Project Managers.

Question 1 – What do you think about deadlines?

  • Deadlines are important to keep things moving
  • Deadlines are not suitable for creative work

Question 2 – Which one describes you better?

  • Done is better than perfect
  • I’m a perfectionist in everything I do

Question 3 – If your life was a book, what would it be called?

Question 4 – You need to hire a freelance developer to help you with your project:

  • Interview different freelancers to find the best mix of experience and value
  • Hire a top rate freelancer and skip time-consuming selection process

Question 5 – Your project isn’t bringing in any new signups:

  • Scrap it and move on to another project
  • Keep working on it because it’s good for brand awareness

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