Questions to Ask Your Staffing Partner: PM SMEs

As we’ve covered in previous posts, staffing project leaders requires a specialization that goes beyond staffing technical roles.  This series will cover questions you need to ask prospective staffing partners to ensure they have what it takes to deliver excellent project managers, and other project leadership roles.

Do they have project management SMEs?

A search of resumes and a basic phone screen is not sufficient. If a staffing firm cannot say that they have an in-depth phone interview with a project management expert on their team, then it is hard to imagine how they have determined their candidates are differentiators beyond simple trial-and-error with past clients.

Ask the prospective staffing partner if they have the PM expertise to have a two-way conversation about the requirements. A yes-man is a no-no. Constructive feedback on what your organization needs and probing questions into where the candidate will be instilled into an organization is a very good sign. It demonstrates the firm is interested in understanding your corporate culture and plugging into your specific needs rather than simply preparing their boilerplate pile of bargain resumes.

In some cases, the firm can even provide guidance and recommendations to improve your environment and help your Project Managers to succeed.

What is their post-onboarding process?

A drop-and-run approach is not acceptable. It not only shows a lack of commitment to your ultimate success, but also a lack of understanding of how crucial culture fit is to the success of the talent they provide. Do not be afraid of dwelling on the negative. Project management is about preparing for worst-case-scenarios, and if the firm can only provide empty promises that their candidates are perfect instead of having a process to ensure they fit in perfectly, then you are taking on a risk engaging with them.

There should be an expectation of regular communication not just with the candidate, but with the client as well.

To learn how to test whether a staffing firm values quality over quantity, see our last blog post.

You can also access our comprehensive white paper on project staffing for free here.