Recruitment is an interesting topic and certainly becomes quite complex when you are looking for a specific skill-set such as project management – PM covers a multitude of areas and can often be deceptive in the job titles assigned to roles. The reason it can become difficult to source the right candidate can be because emphasis is placed on a person who currently performs the role, yes it is true. A lot of hiring managers will look to replace “Dave” or “Sarah” when they are moving on, often asking Dave or Sarah to list everything they do in their role to assist in creating a job description. Suddenly a fairly straightforward role starts to take on a rather long “wish list” and expectations are very high, this combined with applying a starter salary for that role means it becomes increasingly difficult to find the ideal candidate for the role.
Understandably if you have a star employee who is progressing or moving on, you will want to replace them seamlessly but naturally as someone has been in a position for some time they will lend strengths to their role which goes above and beyond the job description, over time they are generally rewarded and may take rather large pay increments for having additional responsibility. Then when you are back at square one you are actually looking for an employee which does not exist especially at the lower salary pay band.
To escape this trap, it makes sense to meet with Dave or Sarah and talk through key responsibilities and think about what the core role actually involves and identify what the “would like to haves” are without biasing your recruitment.
The beauty of human nature is that we are all made differently and all have natural abilities in differing areas, therefore a new person on the team could actually bring a fresh dynamic which could really draw out skills from others who haven’t had the opportunity to shine. It is with this thought in mind I always encouraged an open mind from hiring managers to seeing candidates with varying backgrounds. Especially those who were adamant they required someone from a specific industry, the skill-set for a PM professional is transferable and as long as there is no need for the technical knowhow then there is no reason why they wouldn’t be able to perform the role. A PM in the traditional sense does not get embroiled in the product or service as this can greatly affect delivery, slowing down the process. All organisations and industries work differently and taking someone with a different perspective can really add a lot to a project environment. Asking questions often overlooked through complacency and always following methods which have previously worked – but isn’t project management all about change? Shouldn’t we be constantly looking for new and improved approaches as all projects are different (if not, they are business as usual).