How to Run a Job Interview as a Project Manager

by Jennifer Bridges, PMP (formerly, Jennifer Whitt)

Job InterviewBelieve it or not companies are actually hiring again, and part of the project manager role is to participate in job interviews. One pitfall project managers succumb to in how they approach interviewing is lack of preparation. I want to share a few techniques that’ll ensure you get the right person on your team, and that you know how to run a job interview.

Clearly Understand the Role

You must clearly understand the role yourself before actually engaging a potential participant in an interview. What is the role you want this person to fill?  What are the expectations for their experience, training and knowledge? What are the expectations relative to the project? Are you going to need them to be there after hours? Know exactly what you expect from that person, and be very clear.

Run Background Checks

Step two is to run background checks prior to any interview on people who submit their resume. You can easily do that on LinkedIn, by doing a search for the person’s name. You can look at their background and see their work history, if they have any recommendations, who are they connected to,  groups they participate in, and whether or not they are active in project manager or technology groups if those are areas you need that person to be connected to.

Use Google

Google is also another tool for doing background checks. I love Googling people’s names and being shocked at what I find. Usually I’m shocked in a good way. I may find that the person was a writer, or maybe they are a speaker, or are quoted in certain industry publications. You might discover that the person has more skills in their tool set that you were not aware of, if they haven’t had an opportunity while speaking with you or with their resume communicate that. I like going into an interview knowing who that person is. It gives me a leeway into conversation with that person and makes me feel more comfortable. .

Make the Interview a Comfortable Experience

Step three is the interview structure. How are you going to conduct the interview? Are you first going to do a phone interview? One of the things I’ve tried to do over the past couple of years is a phone interview before I bringing the person in for a face-to-face. People may be remote, in another country or city, so the face-to-face may not be an option anyway. I like a phone interview for several reasons. If you schedule a time are they prompt? If they can’t be available do they contact you to reschedule? If you call them are they available? You find out little things about a person before you ever even engage with them on the phone the first time.

If you found these tips from Jennifer Bridges, PMP (formerly, Jennifer Whitt) of value and are a PMP looking to earn PMI PDUs, you might be interested in her self-paced, downloadable courses at PDUs2Go.com.

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