Picking up Gems from Job Interviews

We are interviewing candidates for the Manager of our Program Management Office this week. These unfortunate economic times seem to generate a high number of quality applicants. Not so good for them but really good for us.

I approach an interview as an opportunity for the selection committee and the applicant to learn from each other. Learning about applicant’s experiences and the organizations they work in provides insight into what is going on in industry.  Recently, we began asking our applicants to make a short presentation. This is a great way to see how the person communicates concepts and ideas as well as handling questions.

Inevitably, there are always gems that the person communicates. When I hear them, I write them down, take back the idea to my team to implement quickly. Here are some ideas:

  • When an item in a project status report goes to a “yellow” state, only let it remain there for two weeks. Either it is resolved and moves to “green” or it needs more attention and moves to “red”
  • Sometimes you run a project using “plexecution” which means you doing planning and execution at the same time … we do this a lot!
  • Build a “No Bad News” environment – encourages PMs to warn early when they see signs of problems in their projects. This allows the steering committee and/or sponsor to react and provide solutions to the issue.

I will continue to track these and share them with you as I get them. Maybe you would be willing to share some of yours?