Interview Techniques For Hiring Top Project Management Talent

Architectural project management recruitment and hiring top talent is challenging. The industry has always struggled to keep up with demand as skilled candidates move into senior roles or retire.

The interview process must be highly effective and efficient to find the best talent. It is important to avoid bias and ensure consistency of interviews by using a structured approach.

1. Behavioral Interviews

When hiring for a PM role, interviewers should assess the applicant’s ability to work with teams and meet deadlines. The best way to do this is through behavioral questions. Behavioral interview questions look at the applicant’s actual experiences, rather than asking hypothetical situations. This gives a more accurate view of the candidate’s abilities.

Behavioral interviewing involves using questions that ask candidates to give examples of their previous professional experience. This allows the interviewer to see what the applicant actually did, instead of merely rehashing what they say on their resume or in their cover letter.

This type of questioning is based on the premise that past behavior predicts future performance. It also helps identify candidates who may be embellishing their qualifications or experiences on their resume or in their interview. The financial cost of a bad hire can exceed twice their salary, making this interview technique an essential part of the hiring process. It is also a great way to identify soft skills, which are hard to evaluate on paper.

2. Competency-Based Interviews

Often called structured, behavioral or situational interviews these interview techniques use questions that are specifically designed to assess a candidate’s key competencies. Whether assessing graduates for training schemes or selecting individuals for senior roles, these interviews work on the premise that past behavior is a strong predictor of future performance.

The questions will focus on specific situations, and ask candidates to provide an example of how they would respond in that situation. A good interview answer will be clear, concise and include: the context, the action, and the result.

To prepare for a competency-based interview, read the job description carefully and identify what the company is looking for in terms of specific qualities. Then, think about examples from your own experience that demonstrate those qualities. By doing this in advance of the interview, you’ll be able to respond confidently and provide a more structured and logical answer than you would if you were just answering spontaneously.

3. Observational Interviews

After filtering through applications, performing phone screening and in-person interviews, top candidates may be given a working interview or observation time. This allows the interviewer to observe how the candidate performs job duties, explains their processes and approaches challenges. Some businesses believe that observing an employee in their work environment is more accurate than a written report because it can give the interviewer insight into how a person performs under pressure or when they are challenged with tasks. The observer effect (the theory that being observed changes a behavior) and the Hawthorne Effect could also come into play, causing employees to ramp up their performance when they know they are being watched.

In depth interviews are a powerful data collection method, according to Penn State University. The interviewer asks participants questions to elicit rich and detailed responses. In depth interviews are most effective when conducted face to face, but can be successful over the telephone as well.

4. Telephone Interviews

A telephone interview is often used as a preliminary screening method to reduce the number of candidates for a face-to-face meeting. These short interaction conversations are a great opportunity to gain a better sense of the applicant’s experience and suitability for the open position. Asking the candidate to give some quick examples of their past experience is a good way to assess whether their skills and experience match the job requirements.

Asking the applicant about their work experience is also useful and helps to understand how they approach different situations. Questions could also include asking how the interviewee has dealt with issues and challenges that they have faced on previous projects.

Applicants should prepare for their telephone interviews by researching the company and the role before the call. This research will spark ideas for answers to competency-based questions, and it can help candidates to feel confident during the conversation. They should also be prepared to take notes during the interview.