How to Find and Hire Your Next Head of Project Management

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How to Find and Hire Your Next Head of Project Management

Your head of project management is, in many ways, the lynchpin of your business success. You can’t afford to get this hiring decision wrong. As such, the process of sourcing and onboarding your new head of project management can be immensely stressful. There’s a huge amount invested here.

The head of project management is the conduit through which so much of your overall success happens. This individual controls critical budgets, manages the most valuable staffing and is the central communication channel with clients. Their tendrils extend into every facet of your organisation. In short, it’s one of your most important hires.

How do you find your next head of project management? And how do you successfully bring them onboard?

What you need to look for in your next head of project management

Primarily, you need to look for a successful project manager who is skilled in leading others. In fact, the best head of PM is going to be busy leading the function for another business. They will be in the midst of action. They are unlikely to be actively looking to move and, as such, won’t have you or any advertised vacancy on their radar.

Instead, you need to actively identify suitable individuals who are already in post. Industry may be relevant, and this will depend to some degree on the nature of your sector. However, what you really need to look at are comparably sized companies, with comparably sized projects. You need to be able to see success in action.

Beyond this, you need to identify people with the relevant project management certifications. From ScrumMaster to Prince2, it can take some sleuthing to identify those who have the right experience and achievements, as well as the right professional qualifications.

Beyond this, there’s actually even more you need to look for. The head of project management can set the tone for so much of your business function. You need someone who is very in tune with your business values and culture. Identifying this person at the sourcing stage is important but difficult.

So how do you find this needle in a haystack?

As you can imagine, finding this individual isn’t going to be a straightforward case of listing a job vacancy on a few job sites and waiting for the CVs to roll in. You could do that, but you’re simply making your haystack bigger. You’re actually making it harder to find the needle.

It’s best to recruit for such critical positions more strategically.

By choosing to use a search specialist, or headhunter, you focus on really identifying who would be absolutely best for the head of project management position. They are able to scour competitors and those outside your niche industry, to uncover existing talent that is proving their value.

A headhunter will then work diligently and carefully to entice the potential candidate into your arena. They can undertake crucial screening to ascertain if this individual really is as suited to the role as they seem. They can also ascertain if they are likely to be able to draw the person away from the current role that they are in, and get them absolutely committed to working at the leadership level in your organisation.

There are also other valuable elements to using a professional headhunter. They have a much more holistic view of business and success, combined with excellent experience within recruitment. As such, once you have some potential candidates, they can help you determine which of those candidates really is best for you. They can help you navigate these high level interviews and negotiations.

Looking to leadership too

Importantly, when hiring your next head of project management, you need to go beyond the scope of the project manager alone. It takes a unique character and skillset to be both a skilled project manager and a skilled leader or people manager. It is quite possible for someone to be an exceptional project manager but leave a lot to be desired when it comes to actually managing a team of other project managers, of various levels.

As such, ensure that you are looking at executive and leadership skills in addition to the components of project management work. You need to see that your chosen candidate can manage people as well as projects.

Your headhunter will be able to help with this. They should get to know your organisation and the exact nature of this leadership role. They will be able to identify leaders who are aligned with your company mission and vision, values and approaches. As such, the incumbent will be able to come in and actively lead the project management function forwards. Given how critical PM is to your overall business success, this couldn’t be more important.

The candidate that’s right for you is unique

At the end of the day, a headhunter will know not to assume that the executive project manager who is excelling for someone else is definitely right for you. They will work to uncover someone who isn’t just excellent for someone else, but someone who will really take things further for your business. The right head of project management is unique to your organisation. And that’s where the headhunter is really worthwhile.

As you can imagine, once you’ve identified that individual, you don’t want to lose them! Again, the headhunter is worth their salt! Skilled headhunters are outstanding negotiators. They ensure that your new executive comes onboard enthusiastic, committed and fired up for your organisation. They can align expectations so that the onboarding process is smooth and successful.

Learn more about why headhunters are critical for executive positions

The headhunting process is distinctly different to standard recruitment and absolutely essential for senior and executive level positions. It’s important that you understand why the head of project management is so critical to your overall business success, but also why a headhunter is going to be the solution to finding and hiring them.

Are you looking for your next head of project management? Do you want to understand more about why headhunters make all the difference? Get in touch.