Better Project Management Recruitment and Poor Project Failure Rates

scenario interview

Over the last 10 years it is clear that Project Failure rates have not budged much below 70% and this has caused a lot of frustration among many organisations. It is clear that organisations covering all sectors of the UK and world economy have failed to make effective changes necessary to resolve these huge levels of wastage.

Despite this poor situation we have seen through our work with a number of FTSE 100 organisations a move to increase Project Management Maturity and associated Soft skill capabilities through better recruitment processes and procedures.

Many years ago it was typical to see Project Managers recruited in the same way as any other member of staff with the usual job spec, CV sort and interviews with HR and the hiring internal manager. Today we are seeing more complex and refined Project Management recruitment approaches similar the one detailed below:-

  • Stage 1 – Produce Job Description and advertise the role.
  • Stage 2 – Collect CVs and filter out the best compared to the Job Description
  • Stage 3 – Telephone based Domain Knowledge interview using an Automated Scorecard. This scorecard is calibrated by the Project Management thought leader/s in the recruiting organisation and tests the candidates Project Management knowledge of key project management methods, techniques and processes. Just passing PRINCE2® is not enough these days.
  • Stage 4 – Scenario Based interview. Candidates are given a typical scenario of a project in trouble and they are asked to prepare a solution within a far to short space of time in order to put them under stress. They are then individually asked to present this to a couple of actors (usually other senior Project Managers) playing the part of key Project Stakeholders who are at best frustrated by the projects poor status and are looking for the candidate Project Manager to find a optimal way out of there troubles.
  • Stage 5 – Final Interviews. Those few (normally 2 or 3 people) selected out of Stage 4 are then interviewed by the Project Management Thought leader/s who run a high maturity interview of these candidates and select 1 or maximum 2 people for final interview by the hiring manager. Sometimes this stage might include both the Project Management thought leader/s and the hiring manager.

The advantages of this approach over many traditional recruitment approaches are as follows:-

  • This approach only involves scarce senior Project Management resource in the interview process only at the very last stage in the recruitment process and asks them to select from a very small group of hopeful applicants.
  • Project Manager Applicvants are not so easily able to charm and  use doctored CVs to push themselves through to the later stages of the interview process without as a minmium demonstrating a high degree of Project Management Domain knowledge /skill.
  • Tests Candidates behaviours and capabilities under pressure which is a usual part of daily life as a good Project Manager without having to find out a weakness in this area during the candidates prebation period.
  • Reduces recruitment costs as the fallout rate during probation periods is much lower as much of the testing of capabilities and abilities are tested upfront.

In our opinion organisations where we have seen /implemented this recruitment approach have developed raised levels of Project Management Maturity and through survey proved that they have better project delivery outcomes.

05/05/2016

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