How to hire the right kind of Project Manager

Need a no-nonsense General who runs projects with military precision? Or a wise Jedi Master who loves mentoring ‘padawan’ team members? Different projects, teams and organisations need different kinds of project managers. This infographic shows you how to hire the right kind of project manager for your team based on personality and approach.

As we recruit few hundred technology and business Project Managers every year, we get to meet with an amazing range of Project Managers who have rather varied skillsets and personalities. However, the briefs that we often receive from clients usually detail only on the required skills, experience and qualifications. When soft skills and personality profile actually contribute more to the effectiveness of a project manager.

So what we do is try to dig deep into the unsaid and read between the lines. We ask our clients things like, How is the team like and how do they like to be managed? Do they value freedom or prefer detailed instructions? We take into account not just the organisation’s culture and values, but also each team’s dynamics. Then match it back to the Project Manager’s profiled approach and style.

This infographic is great because it has profiled the essential characteristics of a Project Manager, thus providing a good guide to employers to figure out what may suit their teams. For project managers, this may help you understand how you tend to run your projects, and perhaps evaluate your next job opportunity. To add to it, I’d say that the three most important criteria that a Project Manager should have, no matter what their style / personalities, are:

1) The people person

It’s obvious that Project Managers work in teams. And it’s the ability to deal with people, get things done, and deliver on projects that earn the Project Manager his / her dough.

Do you have a tendency to be a lone ranger? Do you distrust people’s ability to deliver? Evaluating these behaviour tendencies would be key to ensuring you hire the right project manager for the job and the environment. At the end of the day, a great Project Manager needs to believe in the power of teamwork, and that the sum of the team is greater than the talent of any one person.

2) Communication

Experienced employers know that just because everyone on the project has the skills, qualification and experience necessary, it does not mean that the project will always be successful.

The most successful projects have Project Managers who are highly attuned to the minute differences in every individual’s preferred communication styles, and can quickly adapt and tailor accordingly. Clarity and brevity are highly valued.

3) Empathy

Do you understand the motivations of people? What drives behaviours? Do you understand people’s thinking preferences? Do you see teammates as people who need to be drilled into submission or left alone to flourish?

Some of the most successful Project Managers have sometimes told us that they feel like psychologists at their workplace because of their ability to really put themselves in people’s shoes. Just as Developers, Change Managers, Business Analysts, etc. all have different roles and skillsets, they also have different ‘agenda’ on a project. Add to that the complexity of clashing egos, personalities, and looming deadlines, it’s even clearer how important empathy is.

What do you think are the most important criteria when hiring Project Managers? If you’re a Project Manager, what do you think of the profiling method in the infographic? Keen to hear your comments! If you are looking to hire Project Managers in Canberra, drop me a note at


What kind of Project Manager are you infographic MT Resources