3 questions to ask when vetting staffing partners

Finding a good project manager can be a critical first step in the product/program development life cycle. Unfortunately, many companies still struggle to identify the talent needed to guide projects. They often outsource to staffing agencies to spotlight promising candidates, an approach that can yield more problems than potential.

Large staffing organizations typically aren’t attuned to their partners’ true needs and can rarely identify a shortlist of credible candidates. They’ll stockpile résumés that — on paper — align with the role’s surface-level requirements, then pass the buck to HR to filter through the noise and home in on the best potential matches.

Project management staffing, like other tasks, isn’t one to enter carelessly or impatiently. Before partnering with a staffing partner, it’s vital to size up what exactly this collaborator will bring to the table for you.

View our “Finding a Staffing Partner That Goes Beyond the PMP and Delivers Project Excellence” webinar.

Stay Mindful

Hiring a project manager requires a focused and nuanced effort that reflects the role’s significance to your business’s overall trajectory.

Of course, not all firms are created equal, which is why you should carefully vet potential partners. Here are three key questions to ask as you conduct your search:

1. What skills and attributes do you prioritize during your search?

When building a list of project management candidates, traditional staffing firms focus on technical expertise and PMO-certifiable skills. Unfortunately, that’s not a recipe for a successful hire.

Given the importance of soft skills in project management, a firm that doesn’t conduct an in-depth phone screen led by a project management expert before referring a candidate is simply not adding much value to your hiring process. Find a partner that employs subject matter experts who understand what makes a project manager an effective leader. A two-step verification process should enable you to narrow in on an ideal hire.

2. What is your process for sourcing candidates?

Dynamic project leaders possess a rare combination of traits, experience, and technical skills — all qualities that take time and knowledge to assess. A good partner will commit this time and knowledge before even engaging with you so it can regularly have access to a pool of qualified candidates who can meet its clients’ needs.

Look for a firm that is entrenched in the field of project management to foster a community of practice. Make sure the firm regularly attends seminars, networking events, and industry conferences so you know it’s continuously tapping credible and diverse talent segments.

3. What is your role in the onboarding process?

Some firms boast their ability to find candidates only to disappear after the hire. That shows a lack of commitment both to you and to the employees they hire on your behalf.

A good partner will communicate regularly with you and with your candidates to confirm that all parties are completely satisfied with the match. They’ll also have processes in place to support candidates during onboarding and beyond, increasing the likelihood that a new project manager is set up for success from the start.

Finding a good project manager is one of the most crucial personnel decisions you’ll make, so be sure to get it right. For more tips on what to look for in candidates and partners, check out our latest whitepaper, “Getting Beyond PMPs: Best Practices to Find, Select, and On-board Excellent Project Leaders.”

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