Project Success Starts at the Interview – The Key Factors

This forum is for members to share and gain knowledge of Project Management. Got a question about project management? Need help with a problem? Wish to offer tips and advice? Post here.
Post Reply
New Member
New Member
Posts: 3
Joined: Tue 14 Apr 2015 3:38 pm

Every day I think about that.

To me every good project starts in choosing right people, at the right time. What if I choose the wrong person for my team? What if I could not see the potential of the person I have in front of me?

If a project manager is involved in the team expansion process he will of course encounter this dilemma: is this person the right resource for my team?

Saying ‘NO’ to HR regarding the hiring of people is never easy, sometimes it's really difficult, but a PM needs to take some decisions based on what he/she thinks are the key factor for project success.

What are the key factor to be taken into consideration at the interview, to put together the basis of a successful project?

Talent or Trust
A factor to be considered when we are doing the interview is the talent-trust choice. What is more important for a project? The loyalty could bring your project a valuable person for years. On the other side, the talent could grant your project a boost in terms of productivity and incomes.

In my opinion, a project should go for the “loyalty” choice since this will permit the project to avoid time lost due to people quitting their job. Time, also, will create a more cohesive team that could increase the productivity of every member in the team itself.
I will go for the talent choice just if the project will need great effort in few time, where high skills are required and the time is a factor.

I always thought that empathy was a key attribute for a good PM. This permits you to identify a good choice from a bad one. Some candidates are just appearance, someone bluffs at the interview. I honestly prefer honest persons that does not pretend to be omniscient, but are confident about their capacities. If the person seems perfect, it won’t fit.

Soft Skills vs Hard Skills
Are soft skills as important as hard skills? Of course we are not speaking of a project management position. Still I think that soft skills are very important.

Chemistry of the team passes also through relations of team staff. This, will affect projects to last longer and improve knowledge, reduce conflicts and communication problems.

Hard skills, on their side, are a key factor since these are an indicator of “how the candidate can do his job”.

Honesty From the Other Side
PM also, doing an interview, must be honest with the candidates. He or she has to explain how the work is really going to be, the potential of the project, the opportunities in the company, the evolutions of the position and so on. If not, the hired person will feel betrayed and frustrated, and won’t last long.

Last, but not least, luck. For this factor, nothing can be done by the project manager, but still, this will influence the success of the project.
User avatar
New Member
New Member
Posts: 2
Joined: Sat 16 May 2015 5:56 pm
Location: Santa Barbara, CA

Hiring the right people, I believe, is the reason way projects succeed on time, budget, and quality. The wrong people cause the most harm to a project in the terms of cost, margin, frustration, and quality.

When I hire, I take an approach of attitude and intelligence. I believe, from my experience hiring plenty of people, if you find the right person who's is smart and a go-getter attitude, that person gets the job done. When I'm doing an interview, I let me people know I hire 50% on both, but fire on 90% attitude.

Challenge the person to think. Ask questions about a problem that you're experiencing currently. Start with an ambiguous direction and give them little pieces of information as they ask. Intelligence is not always about degrees and certifications. Intelligence is about curiosity, getting down the critical success factors and discovering the solution. A degree provides more tools to lean on to find the solution.

When you need to determine if this person has the right attitude, listen for terms like "I" over "We". Ask about a team experience. Do they say "I" or "We". Deliberately tell them one of their answers is wrong, even if you know it's right. You'll discover a lot about an interviewee if you challenge their answer.

Of course, you need to find the person who fits the role. If you need an electrical engineer, don't hire a marketing person. But the two principles of attitude and intelligence gets you the right person once the basic qualifications are met.
Brian Dawson
Expert Member
Expert Member
Posts: 63
Joined: Thu 15 Aug 2013 1:43 pm

I believe there's one word that is used to describe a major quality that you are looking for in this kind of role:


Those blessed with this quality are always useful to have in many project based scenarios. In my opinion.
Post Reply