How to Identify the Best Project Staffing Option for Your Business

Staffing agencies have no problem filling technical roles with qualified candidates. They can simply hand you a pile of CVs outlining the experience and hard skills of qualified employees, perform the usual background and reference checks on your preferred candidates, and you’ll be good to go.

Staffing leaders, on the other hand, doesn’t work that way. A project manager’s résumé can list all the necessary experiences and include all the relevant certifications, but it’s theoretical. When partnering with a staffing agency to find someone as critical as a project leader, you’ll need an agency that goes above and beyond what’s on paper.

You’ll want a true partner, someone willing to go into the trenches with you to get under-the-surface details about each candidate — the kind of information that helps you truly see if someone is the kind of teammate you want.

Here are some elements to keep in mind to help you pick a leadership staffing partner:

1. Inquire about the screening process.

PMP certifications can tell you only so much about candidates. The same can be said for someone’s education. Successful project management relies on so much more than technical capabilities and broad knowledge of project management methodologies. Effective leadership in project management requires soft skills like time management, conflict resolution, communication, motivation, resourcefulness, and leadership, of course.

As you narrow down the field of potential project management staffing firms, ask about their screening process. Do they have subject matter experts who understand the hard and soft skills needed for effective project management? What sort of verification process do they use to know how they perform in the real world? Posing questions like these can better ensure your staffing partner is adding real value to your hiring process.

2. Request details on their talent pool.

Talent shortages have left many companies scrambling to secure project managers. As the pickings get slimmer, some project management staffing agencies will put forward candidates who’d be “pretty good,” but not ideal, for the job. It takes intimate knowledge of a candidate to know if they have what it takes to be a leader.

Make sure your staffing partners have a source of talent they regularly draw from. Do the recruiters know these candidates? Have they used any of the applicants in the past? This talent pool can be a community of practice, a bench of project managers, a direct referral source, and so on. Just ensure they have a deep, penetrating knowledge of the talent to really know their leadership acumen and style will be a fit for you.

3. Ask about their onboarding process.

The last thing you want is to use a project management staffing firm that has a drop-and-run approach to recruitment.

What you really want is a partner that stays with you even after the check clears. Discuss their onboarding process. Do they support new hires as they learn the ropes at your organization? How so? Better yet, what sort of communication can you expect once talent is hired? Will they be checking in to see how the new hire is working out?

Talent knows what they’re worth these days, which can make it difficult for companies to find the right people to ensure effective project management. If you’ve decided to work with a project management staffing agency, understand that the quality of talent will always be relative to the quality of that partner and worth the investment.

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