Hiring for a project team

You are a project manager with a resource requirement. You have a job description to say what the job is. You have a person specification so you can assess the education, training, aptitudes and experience of the candidates. You have approval for the budget and the legal team have approved the draft contract.  The interview will be easy, yes?


This is when the real work starts: matching the person to the culture and resource strategy for the organisation.

You need to know what you are hiring.  Is this a short-term job or for the long haul to an excellent organisation.  Are you hiring for where you, the project and the candidate are now or hiring for potential to build the business?

Often we hire for one aspect of a person’s skills or experience. Is this all there is? Is that OK or do you need more flexibility?  In sports terms, are you looking for a one match substitute or a player to build your squad?

Some people will best suited to working in organisations in different points in the organisation’s development, can help that organisation through transitions but then find life lacks challenge move on. Some people are simply good at what they do, can be dropped into a project to do it but are not interested in building organisational capability. 

So are you building the resource pool and should you talk about the role as a step towards a long-term future?  Or discuss the role as just a job for a number of months?

Do you want to hire people who can perform as if the organisation is the one you want it to be and through that behaviour help the rest of the team get there? Do they have the leadership qualities to do that or will they just frustrate their peers?

How many times have you seen an average football player known for playing one position become something special because of a change in position by a great coach?   Is the candidate truly a one job person or have they been type-cast through chance and their work history? 

Look at the whole person: how long would you want to keep them? Will the project leave them behind at the next major milestone? Will they adapt for the next phase? Will their other skills come into play?  How will you give them career development or are you prepared to take the risk that a good candidate may stagnate because you can’t?

If you hire someone into a role without working out these expectations (and letting them know) the fit will not be good, it will cause frustration in the team and for them. It may even derail the project.


About 3triangles
Helping organisations make change happen in 3 key areas: strategic change, deliver tactical impacts, efficient and effective processes. All blog content (c) 2009 - 2012 Carol Long and Three Triangles Performance Ltd

One Response to Hiring for a project team

  1. Pingback: Hiring for a project team « Change: Programmes, Projects, Processes « Rubber Tyres –> Smooth Rides

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