STEP 3 – Consider the project manager’s personality type
In additional to the above steps, you can generate further insight by considering the personality type you require. Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) is an assessment tool, which isn’t normally used in recruitment. We can however draw from the tool in order to gain a better understanding of various candidates.
MBTI measures a person’s preferences for how they normally focus their energy, how they tend to relate to the world, how they make decisions and how they organise themselves under normal circumstances. MBTI measures this on the four following axes:
- Extraversion vs. Introversion (how people prefer to focus their energy)
- Sensing vs. iNtuition (How people prefer to gather information)
- Thinking vs. Feeling (how people prefer to make decisions)
- Judging vs. Perceiving (how people prefer to organise themselves)
Extraversion vs. introversion in project management
Managers with a preference for extraversion get energised by interacting with others and will enjoy being around and communicating with other people. They tend to be expressive and action oriented and would potentially enjoy a high profile leadership role.
Managers with a preference for introversion prefer to take a less prominent role as they tend to get energised by reflection and time with their thoughts. They are more contained and may prefer to let others on the team take the spotlight while they organise and direct behind the scenes.
To find out if the project manager has a preference for introversion or extroversion, ask questions such as:
- How do you tend to solve problems and become clear about a complex issue? (Would the person talk it through or think about it quietly)
- How would it be if you couldn’t talk it through with anybody or
- How would it be if you couldn’t get any quiet time to think things through?
- How would you feel about being the central person of a project, having to constantly liaise and communicate with everyone?
Sensing vs. intuition in project management
Managers with a sensing preference will approach the world and gather information in a pragmatic and tangible manner, working step by step to solve real-world problems and deliver measurable and concrete solutions and projects. They are realistic and observant and tend to look at the detail before they consider the big picture. They will be very good at providing concrete direction to others.
Managers with a preference for intuition are theoretical and imaginative and tend to focus on the big picture before the detail. They are good at creating a vision for the team and seeing interdependencies between various streams and aspects of the project. They tend to be future focused and are good at conceptualising ideas and solutions.
To find out if the project manager has a preference for sensing or intuition, ask questions such as:
- When planning a project or dealing with an issue, where is your preferred starting point: big picture or specific detail first?
- How do you tend to lead and motivate team members, by giving detailed direction or by painting a picture of end goal?
- Do you prefer to deal with the detail of the project or with the bigger picture vision and strategy?
Thinking vs. feeling in project management
Managers with a thinking preference are good at making decisions based on objectivity, logic and rational thinking. They are often viewed as firm but fair managers who lead in an orderly and sequential manner.
Managers with a feeling preference will predominantly make decisions based on personal values and have a strong awareness of others’ point of view. They will be known as a people-person and are good at empathising with people around them.
To find out if the project manager has a preference for thinking or feeling, ask questions such as:
- How do you go about making big decisions? (Does the person use logic and objective criteria or more subjective gut feelings)
- When you last experienced a situation of conflict, what did you do? (Was the person unemotional and focused on facts and figures or did he empathise and see it from all sides)
- How would you go about motivating team members? (Would the person provide objective and rational reasons or tap into the other person’s emotional and individual drivers)
Judging vs. perceiving in project management
Managers with a judging preference tend to be very organised and timely. They will often put work before play and will be good at creating timelines and plans and bringing projects to closure in a timely manner.
Managers with a perceiving preference are more flexible in their approach and comfortable in an unstructured or changing workplace. In managing the team they tend to give people a great deal of latitude and autonomy.
To find out if the project manager has a judging or perceiving preference, ask questions such as:
- How do you work to deadlines and how do you work if there are no deadlines?
- How would you prefer to delegate a task? Agree up front when it should be delivered or let them get on with it and see how it goes?
- If catching a long distance train, will you prefer to get to the station well in advance, just in time or will you get there when you are ready and then take the next available departure?
STEP 4 – Carry out the selection and interviewing process
Steps 1 to 3 have been concerned with the preparatory steps of recruiting a good project manager. Only when the organisation knows exactly what kind of person it is looking for, should it attempt to carry out step 4 and do the actual interview.
You should carry out the selection and interviewing process by observing and listening to the candidate and asking open and probing questions about their experiences and abilities. You can ask questions such as:
- Which steps would you take if you were to start up a new project?
- How would you go about estimating a project?
- What would you do if the sponsor kept changing the project’s scope?
- What did you do on previous projects to engage and motivate the team?
- How would you react if the sponsor asked you to deliver the project earlier?
- Please give me an example of where you effectively managed conflict?
- What do you think is important for the team to work effectively together?
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