How to hire a project manager

In today’s world of work, effective project management can serve as a linchpin for success. Whether it’s launching a new product, implementing a software upgrade, or orchestrating a complex, global marketing campaign, having the right project manager at the helm can make all the difference. 

Finding the perfect fit for this crucial role requires a strategic approach. In this quick guide, we’ll delve into some of the key steps and considerations for hiring a project manager who can drive your initiatives from initial concept to fruition.

How to hire a Project Manager

Understanding the role

Before diving into the hiring process, it’s essential to have a clear understanding of what the role entails. A project manager is responsible for planning, executing, and overseeing projects from inception to completion. They are the driving force behind meeting deadlines, managing resources, mitigating risks, and ensuring that objectives align with organisational goals.

Defining your requirements

Start by defining the specific requirements for your project manager role. Consider the scope and complexity of the projects they’ll be managing, the industry-specific skills needed, and the level of experience required. Additionally, determine whether you need someone with expertise in particular project management methodologies such as Agile, Scrum, or Waterfall.

Crafting the job description

Craft a detailed job description that reflects the requirements and responsibilities of the role. Clearly outline the qualifications, skills, and experience you’re seeking in candidates. Highlight any preferred certifications such as PMP (Project Management Professional) or PRINCE2 (Projects in Controlled Environments).


Once you’ve received applications, carefully screen candidates based on their resumes, cover letters, assessment results and any additional materials they’ve provided. Look for relevant experience, achievements, and evidence of successful project delivery. Consider conducting preliminary phone interviews to further assess and verify communication skills, cultural fit, and enthusiasm for the role.

Conducting interviews

Invite promising candidates for in-depth interviews to assess their suitability for the role. Prepare a set of structured questions to evaluate their project management expertise, problem-solving abilities, leadership style, and interpersonal skills. Use competency based interview questions to delve into past experiences and gauge how candidates have handled challenges in previous roles.

Assessing soft skills

While technical expertise is crucial, don’t overlook the importance of soft skills in a project manager. Look for candidates who demonstrate strong communication, collaboration, negotiation, and conflict resolution skills. A successful project manager must be able to motivate team members, build consensus, and navigate complex interpersonal dynamics.

Assessing project management skills

In addition to evaluating candidates’ soft skills and past experience, it’s crucial to assess their proficiency in core project management skills. Look for candidates who demonstrate a deep understanding of project management principles, methodologies, and best practices. Evaluate their ability to develop comprehensive project plans, set realistic timelines and milestones, allocate resources efficiently, and track progress effectively. A strong project manager should also excel at identifying and mitigating risks, adapting to changing circumstances, and ensuring that projects stay on course to achieve their objectives. By prioritising candidates with strong project management skills, you can ensure that your projects are managed with precision, agility, and a relentless focus on delivering value to your organisation.

Assessing leadership ability

Effective leadership is a cornerstone of successful project management. Assess candidates’ leadership ability by evaluating their track record of guiding teams, inspiring confidence, and fostering a culture of accountability. Look for evidence of their ability to delegate tasks, provide constructive feedback, and mentor junior team members.

Test problem solving skills

Projects invariably encounter unforeseen challenges, and a capable project manager must be adept at problem-solving under pressure. Present candidates with hypothetical scenarios or case studies relevant to your industry and observe how they approach problem-solving, prioritise tasks, and develop actionable solutions.

Assessing cultural fit

Consider how well candidates align with your company’s culture, values, and work environment. A project manager who resonates with your organisational culture is more likely to integrate seamlessly into your team and champion your company’s mission and vision.

Checking references

Before making a final decision, conduct thorough reference checks to validate candidates’ claims and gain insights into their past performance and work ethic. Reach out to previous employers, colleagues, and clients to gather feedback on candidates’ strengths, areas for improvement, and overall suitability for the role.

Making the offer

Once you’ve identified the ideal candidate, extend a compelling job offer that includes details such as compensation, benefits, start date, and any other relevant terms. Clearly communicate your expectations for the role and express enthusiasm for the candidate joining your team.

The bottom line

Hiring the right project manager is a critical endeavour that requires careful planning, thorough evaluation, and a keen eye for talent. By following these steps and considerations, you can identify a project manager who possesses the skills, experience, and leadership qualities necessary to drive your projects forward and deliver exceptional results. Remember, investing time and effort in the hiring process upfront can yield significant dividends in the long run, positioning your organisation for success in an increasingly competitive business landscape.


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