Hiring for Project Managers – Why Isn’t Your Job Ad Attracting Great Candidates?


7 Job Description Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

You’ve placed a job ad for project managers. You’ve had plenty of applicants, but not one who you would consider as ‘strong’, never mind ‘perfect’.

Before you throw your hands in the air and the towel in the ring, exclaiming that there are no suitable candidates anywhere to be found in the process, it may be time to examine your job ad.

Are you making one of these 11 mistakes that stop the best candidates from applying for your project management jobs?

1.    You Expect the Undeliverable

While some project managers have a huge list of hands-on skills, expecting them to execute a project in an unrealistic timeframe, with insufficient resources, a shortfall in budget, and a team that doesn’t possess the skills needed will not attract the best candidates. You’re setting up your project for failure, and they don’t want that on their resume.

2.    Your Values Clash

Discerning project managers choose projects that challenge them, but they don’t want to be challenged by your business ethos and ethics. They value their professional judgement and won’t have it questioned because of a project that ran counter to that judgement.

Remember, a project manager’s resume is founded on their reputation. They won’t accept a project that may damage that.

3.    You Expect the World

Your job ad must include the required skills of your project manager. The trouble is that the skills you are asking for reads like a rollcall of every skill possible to possess, and a few that no one has ever heard of.

When considering the skills to highlight in a job ad, consider those that are required and those that are desired, and make sure that the ad highlights the two sets separately.

The same can be said about the experience you have requested. One way to attract a deeper pool of talent is to acknowledge what is most important to you – skills or setting (e.g. software development or banking industry).

Be more flexible when asking for a set number of years of experience, too. Instead of ‘a minimum of five years of experience’, a better approach is ‘five years or more experience is preferable, but we are flexible for the required skillset’.

4.    Poor Timing

Timing is everything for projects. It’s also a key factor for project managers. The best have their next contracts lined up well in advance. For maximum project success you should plan ahead by some weeks and months.

Alternatively, by using the services of a specialist agency you will deepen the pool of talent accessible to you – and it is more likely that you will find a highly skilled and experienced project manager at shorter notice.

5.    The Project Is Poorly Supported

Talented project managers want to work on projects that are supported at a high level. If your job ad doesn’t make it clear that your project has this support, you may not receive the application you hope for. Even if your project is fully budgeted and adequately resourced, it’s important to ensure that it is supported in the C-suite.

6.    Inadequate Resources

Before advertising for your project manager role, prospective candidates want to know that they will benefit from adequate resources. Ensure that your job ad highlights what tools, software, and resources will be available to the project.

7.    Insufficient Pay

You want to hire the best project manager available. You want to hire for a specific mix of technical and soft skills, expertise, and experience. You’ve set a budget. How did you measure your budget? How did you arrive at an acceptable pay rate?

It’s essential that you offer a competitive rate of pay to attract the most talented project managers. You will expect a project manager to lead the project team effectively, manage individuals and resolve conflict, create innovative solutions to problems, and ensure the project’s expected outcomes are delivered on time and within budget.

In Conclusion

Your job ad must sell the role to prospective candidates. Make sure that it includes the detail across all the above areas that will help the most talented project managers decide whether the opportunity is one for them.

For the help you need in crafting the perfect job description, using the latest market intelligence on pay rates, candidate motivations, and more, and to gain access to a deep and wide pool of project management talent, contact TotalTek today.