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09.10.2023 Hiring process

Hiring a project manager [how-to guide]

Your team might consist of the best and brightest brains in the field for specific job roles. But just because your data engineer is brilliant doesn't mean they know how to manage large-scale projects and efficiently collaborate with many stakeholders.

That’s where a project manager comes in. See them as the pivotal piece to any project puzzle.

Wonder if you should be hiring a project manager? Then keep reading:

What is a project manager (and why you might need one)

A project manager is a professional tasked with planning, executing, and closing projects. The project manager ensures the project is completed on time, stays within the project scope, and is on budget.

They act as a bridge between the different stakeholders involved in a project or campaign, facilitating communication, managing risks, and ensuring that the project objectives are met.

Hiring a project manager is crucial for organisations looking to undertake projects, especially complex or large-scale ones. That’s because a project manager brings a structured approach and a single point of accountability to the endeavour.

Project managers are skilled at resource allocation, time management, and problem-solving, which are essential for the smooth progression and successful completion of the project. By providing clear direction, a project manager improves the likelihood of a project’s success while improving its overall efficiency.

This makes them invaluable in achieving the desired outcomes and ensuring a return on investment. By running projects more efficiently, your entire team can save precious time, effort, and money.

And that need for project managers is reflected in our data as well. For example, we looked at the thousands of online jobs posted in Germany via JOIN’s free recruiting software and found that “Project Manager” is in the top 3 most popular job titles!

Luckily, with our multiposting and job distribution tool, you can easily find and attract a project manager for your business.

We’ll go deeper into the actual process of how to find a project manager next.

How to find and hire a project manager in 5 easy steps

If you’ve recruited and/or hired someone before, you’ll probably recognise these steps, as they’re mostly the same as in any other hiring process. However, to attract great project managers, you need to adapt your process to fit their profile.

1. Define the type of project manager you need

There are many types of project managers. True, the ideal project manager skills, such as great leadership skills, are mostly the same across industries.

However, your company’s project manager role might require specific skill and experience related to your niche and the type of projects the new employee will manage.

That’s why it’s important first to define what types of projects you’re working on (e.g. online or offline) and see if there’s a dedicated project manager type that’s best for such projects. You can find some of the most common types of project managers further below in this article.

Note that you should also decide if your company requires a full time project manager or if hiring a freelancer or part-time employee would suffice as well.

2. Create the job description

A well-structured and well-targeted job description is the foundation of attracting top talent. It should comprehensively detail the expectations, qualifications, and responsibilities associated with the role.

In the case of a project manager, you should highlight skills relevant to effective project management, such as great organisational skills. Experience with a specific project management tool might also be useful to ask about in your job description.

Need more help crafting a job ad? Then check out our detailed guide on how to write a great job ad.

3. Finding a project manager

We hinted at this a bit already above.

Probably the easiest way to find a project manager is to multipost your job ad to multiple job boards. As they are in such high demand, it’s important that you get your job ad in front of as many qualified project managers as possible.

Most companies start with their own career page (also see: how to create a career page) and large, general job boards like LinkedIn, Google for Jobs, and Indeed. To learn how, you can check out these resources:

Additionally, you can post your job to a niche job board that fits the specific type of project manager you’re looking for. For example, if you’re looking for an engineering project manager, you might want to use a more tech-related job site.

You can use a tool like JOIN to speed up the process and get data-driven job board suggestions. JOIN allows you to multipost your job ad to more than 10 job boards for free and to an additional 250+ premium job boards, often at sharply discounted prices.

So try JOIN now – it’s free!

4. Screening, shortlisting, and interviewing candidates

Once applications start flowing in, the onus is on screening applicants and shortlisting the best candidates that align with your needs.

Next, you can start the interview process to test the applicants’ capabilities further and to eventually select the best person for the job.

While evaluating candidates, it’s important to consider their past experiences and any relevant certifications in project management, such as Project Management Professional (PMP) or Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM).

5. Hire your new project manager

Time to close the deal.

Send out the job offer, and if they accept, you can officially hire the project manager for your team!

Start hiring your project manager now – for free!

Two people shaking hands as confirmation to hire a project manager
Photo by Cytonn Photography on Unsplash

What are the duties of a project manager?

Typically, a project manager’s responsibilities include organising all the parts that make up the process of a project. They are the bridge between the project team and stakeholders, ensuring clear communication and satisfaction on both ends.

Their main responsibilities include:

  • Project planning: Establishing the project boundaries, defining the metrics of success, identifying deliverables and deadlines, crafting a detailed schedule and budget, and securing stakeholder endorsement.
  • Project resourcing: Allocating necessary resources, securing budget approval, and obtaining schedule authorisation.
  • Project management: Monitoring the schedule, re-evaluating workloads, addressing stoppages and bottlenecks, maintaining harmony, and proactively averting potential crises.
  • Project-team motivation: Ensuring team morale and focus; resolving interpersonal disputes.
  • Project delivery and reporting: Transitioning the project to the client or succeeding business unit, conducting post-project evaluations.

Essential qualities of a good project manager

By now, you’ll have an idea of the types of skills and qualities a person needs to possess to become a great project manager. Here are the main ones to look out for when recruiting a project manager:

Leadership skills: An effective project manager must exhibit stellar leadership skills. They should command respect and inspire the team to work cohesively towards the common goal.

Communication skills: Communication is the linchpin in project management. A project manager should be adept at conveying ideas clearly and listening attentively to feedback and concerns.

Problem-solving abilities: Projects are breeding grounds for challenges. A competent project manager should possess robust problem-solving skills to navigate the inevitable hurdles.

5 common types of project managers

Here are five common project manager types that you could consider bringing to your project management team.

Note that the project management team is sometimes called the project management office (PMO). A PMO manager is a project manager who’s either part of such a team or the one overseeing such a team. This depends on the specific company.

IT project manager

An IT project manager specialises in handling technical projects. This could include a wide variety of projects, for example, in software development or IT infrastructure.

Due to the technical nature of the projects, this person needs to be tech-savvy and, ideally, have a background in IT themselves.

Web project manager

A web project manager mostly focuses on technical projects, but more specifically on any project directly related to a company’s website. For example, a project can be to launch a new website section with a specific set of landing pages.

Similar to the IT manager, technological acumen is a must.

Event project manager

Opposed to the previous two managerial roles, the event project manager is more involved in offline task management. Their projects involve organising and hosting (off-site) company events, such as a conference.

In this case, technical skills and experience are probably not required. On the other hand, visual representation and verbal presentation are likely crucial skills for such project managers. Their job often involves more travelling, negotiating contracts (e.g. with caterers), and overseeing logistics.

Engineering project manager

The title Engineering Project Manager can be a bit confusing, because there are actually a lot of different types of engineers. And the type of engineering will strongly impact the project manager skills and requirements.

For example, a civil engineering project manager will oversee building projects. They’ll likely need strong mathematical skills and have a background in civil engineering or construction. Their job will likely also include managing people at a building site and overseeing the logistics at the site.

Then there are also engineering project managers who oversee online engineering projects. That is, they work together with data or software engineers. Their job happens mostly online and is much closer to the work of an IT or web project manager.

Construction project manager

Our last example is the construction project manager. This type of manager oversees, as the name suggests, construction projects. For example, they could plan and oversee the construction of a new school.

They are in charge of creating a schedule, timeline, budget, and resource allocation involved with the construction of the building. This includes the logistics of getting all the building materials delivered as well as planning tools and manpower.

Want to learn more? Then check out our dedicated construction project manager job description or – if you’re already interviewing – have a look at our construction project manager interview questions!

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