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How to Recruit a Superb IT Project Manager

By Mike Bryan

When searching for a top-notch IT project manager, a key quality to seek out is ‘extreme adaptability’ rather than just how a candidate fits certain selection criteria.

Many organizations go on a box-checking mission, trying to tick off as many boxes as possible that match the desired industry, culture, behavior and academic backgrounds when selecting a candidate. This is especially true when for project managers who will be tasked with steering and delivering a project that will transform the business. 

However, going down what seems like a surefire route to a perfect fit is often not the best tactic. A superb project manager can work in any environment under any domain expertise, whether that’s IT or another part of the business.

Superb project managers can deliver any project in the business or IT discipline. And while industry expertise is key to a certain point, it really depends on what the organization is trying to achieve as to whether this is necessary.

If a business is doing a particular niche project that has never been done before by the business, it makes sense to onboard an IT project manager with domain knowledge. But the modern-day project manager is required to manage up, down, and laterally, and oversee third party consultants and vendors while delivering the project. In other words, soft skills have become a requirement, not a nice-to-have.

Project managers need to be open and honest, naturally command authority, know when to ask the right questions and have strong team-building skills. They must also be able to push back on stakeholders when needed to deliver the project.

Companies today look for strong discipline and organizational abilities, plus interpersonal skills. People skills are important, including the ability to relate to a variety of personalities. If an environment needs nurturing, then the company needs a person who understands how to nurture that environment.

While the new generation of project managers is increasingly coming from a generalist background such as psychology or marketing, qualifications in project management methodology is an advantage.

Before recruiting a project manager, be crystal clear on the requirements. Be aware that it’s common for the hiring manager and the HR manager to want different things from the role. Once the business requirements are fleshed out, a company can proceed to recruitment.

A recruiter can then identify the key points in which a business has a gap, and find talent that will fill the gap as well as fuel the project.

Need to hire a great IT project manager?
Contact Hudson IT to discuss your needs. 


Boiling Point: Are today's IT project managers under too much pressure?

By Mike Bryan

A lot of companies experience failed and derailed technology projects. As project leaders, IT project managers tend to shoulder the brunt of the frustration. Are today’s IT project managers under too much pressure?

As a hiring manger, what can you do to find and also set up your next IT project manager for success?

More often than not, project managers are delivering recovery programs or projects that need resuscitation. Often, such cases require more ramp-up time not accounted for in the schedule. Today’s IT project managers are finding it difficult to manage organizational expectations as they come under increased pressure to deliver huge programs under tight, and perhaps unrealistic, deadlines. This drives many professionals to leave.

When it comes to recruiting new or replacement IT project managers, it’s not uncommon for businesses to withhold key information. And these businesses are to blame for the revolving door mentality in the sector.

What happens on the inside is not always transparent. Within an 18-month period, it’s possible that there have been up to four other project managers that have left the same position in frustration. Companies and hiring managers hope that if they withhold this detail, a new person will come on board, like the team, and cope with the challenges.

The truth factor

It’s difficult for a business to explain to a potential recruit that multiple project managers have already attempted the role, or that the operational culture is not optimal and as a result the project is 12-months behind schedule.

Given that IT project manager candidates are in high demand and may even have two or three other opportunities, it’s no wonder that hiring managers may be tempted to avoid sharing the complete story.

Once in a role, project managers are classically put under pressure due to timelines, budgets, resources and scoping issues.

It is important to ensure that projects managers have the resources they need, access to key areas of the business and also the leverage of the stakeholders to get things done. If the stakeholders do not believe in the project manager, it will be very difficult to bring projects to completion.

Extra pressure points: tools and timeframes

Another pressure point for project managers is being unable to access the right tools for the job.

This can be due to a lack of resources, but often it is the realization and discovery that the core IT systems of a particular organization are not up to the changes required. Project managers and clients have halted projects after as few as three weeks or as many as eight months into production due to that reason.

It can be painful when a new program team is coming into recover a project that is six to nine months behind. Even though the teams are getting good outcomes initially, they are then being put under more pressure to make up time, and this has a negative effect.

In this situation, organizations should acknowledge that the new team is achieving where others have fallen short.

Implications for hiring IT project managers

In terms of those who hire or recruit for IT project managers, what then are the implications?

Hiring managers should consider these pressures when assessing the kind of person who will succeed in a particular role.

If the reality is that IT projects are often delayed and under tight budgets, then they need to define the talent solution. They need to find the kind of people who cannot only cope with—but actually excel—in that environment.

You might be looking for someone who enjoys the pressure of delivering a large project. Or you might be looking for someone with the very specific skill of communicating to stakeholders the consequences of them not fulfilling their part of the project.

It will depend on each individual project but broadly, when it comes to IT project managers today, you’re looking for adaptable PMs who can deal with the challenges of a project that is way behind time and well over budget.

Need assistance hiring your next IT Project Manager? Contact Us


Hire a Veteran: Roadblocks and Solutions to Supporting Vets

HIring a vet makes strategical
and financial sense

by Ed Maldonado

Call it a case of good intentions: While the idea of supporting vets by adding them to your employee pool sounds great, it doesn't always come to fruition. Whether it's more qualified applicants, scheduling issues, or simply a poor fit, while you might hope to hire a veteran, it's sometimes hard to follow through. Still, if you're dedicated to making sure vets have a place in your company, there are ways to increase the chances of adding the right people to your team and hiring veterans.

Hiring Roadblocks

One of the issues facing companies hoping to hire vets is simply that of a rapidly moving job market and veteran job-seeking knowledge. Veterans are not aware of the opportunities that are in the marketplace. The jobs in the IT industry move fast; by the time a job is posted and searched for, it could be filled by someone relatively quickly due to a high demand of IT professionals.

Some vets have also been out of the job market for a long period of time. That can translate to a lack of updated resumes or knowledge of the best ways to seek and apply for jobs across the board. Therefore, it's not a matter of companies being specifically unwilling to hire a veteran, but that other qualified candidates snag the job beforehand.

Vet Benefits

Unlike any other subset of the job market, vets are uniquely qualified and primed for quality work. Think about it: They're highly trained, have unsurpassed work ethic, understand how to lead and love a challenge. The result is a motivated employee who becomes an invaluable part of your team from day one. Vets are primed for "missions." Instead of punching a time clock, they're used to sticking around until the mission (task) is finished.

What's more, employers who hire veterans may also qualify for tax credits — some in the neighborhood of anywhere from $1,500.00 to $8,000.00 per hire. Not only does hiring a vet make strategical sense, but it could have an impact on your bottom line as well.

Making an Effort

Employers ready to make more of an effort in hiring vets have no shortage of resources available to them — and vets can take advantage of the same organizations and websites. Take Hero2Hired, a virtual job board that allows employers to post jobs specifically for vets seeking employment. The Wounded Warrior Project provides support and job placement opportunities to vets injured in the line of duty. Of course, there are also state programs available — check your state administrative website for initiatives and incentives for hiring vets.

Hiring a vet makes good business sense, but posting ads might not be enough. By understanding the benefits hiring vets offers for an organization, it's easier to find the right channels to make those connections. Thinking beyond the job board may be the key to hiring a well-qualified and highly motivated veteran.


Tips for Contacting a Hiring Manager After Your Interview

All post-interview activities should
go through your recruiter

by Valerie Emery

You've just completed a job interview and you walk out of the office thinking, "Nailed it!"

So what happens next when you're working with a recruiter?

In the past, applicants were advised to simply sit back and wait for a phone call from the hoped-for employer. These days, there are several proactive steps you can take to remain "top of mind" with the hiring manager, which is precisely where you want to be.

The key point to remember is that all post-interview activities should go through your IT recruiter — not the person who interviewed you. Why? Because your recruiter is in the best position to know the most appropriate methods of staying in touch.

During the Interview

The best first step should actually take place during the interview. As the conversation is nearing the end, inquire politely what will happen next. The interviewer can give you some idea of the time line involved (interviewing other job candidates, meeting to decide on finalists, etc.), which should help lessen the suspense involved in waiting.

Send a Thank-You Note ASAP Through Your Recruiter

It's surprising how many job candidates neglect to follow up after an interview with a short and sincere thank-you note. There's no better way to indicate your interest in the open position and to build on the favorable impression you made during the interview itself.

What should go into this thank-you message? Here are a few suggestions, depending on your particular situation:

  • Thank the interviewer for his or her time.
  • Remark how your interest in the job has increased, based on the interview.
  • Reaffirm your conviction that you feel you're a "great fit" for the job opening.
  • Politely ask for any update on the time line.

The most important elements in a thank-you note are promptness (don't wait longer than a day to send your message) and a positive tone. You're mainly trying to keep the favorable feeling of the interview alive in the days that follow.

Once your thank-you note is composed (and you've proofed it several times to ensure there are no typos or misspellings), send it to your recruiter. This person can tell you if the message has the right tone and content. If so, he or she will be happy to pass it along. 

Should You Follow Up With a Phone Call?

In most cases, a follow-up phone call to the hiring manager isn't a good idea. First of all, the hiring manager is swamped with resumes, interview appointments, etc., and likely won't have the time to chat. A better option is to follow-up with a phone call to your recruiter instead.

Is it possible that stopping by the would-be employer's office in person might tip the odds in your favor? In the vast majority of cases, the answer is no. Hiring managers are extremely busy and probably won't welcome a surprise visit.

When You Get the Verdict

Hopefully, you've done everything right during the interview and in the days afterwards. The recruiter calls with the happy news that you've been offered the open position.

But it's a good idea to be prepared for the alternative situation. If the news is bad, keep your cool. Ask your recruiter to thank the interviewer for the opportunity to apply. Ask if the hiring manager can share any feedback about your interview performance with the recruiter. Also ask if it's acceptable to stay in touch with the hiring manager (through your recruiter). If so, plan to occasionally send news of any changes in your job status, an article related to the industry you work in or a request to join the hiring manager's LinkedIn network.


Contract Employees: Giving Contract Work a Second Look

Hudson IT offers flexible and
challenging IT contract roles

by Mark Paolini

When it comes to full-time employment, "contract" can be somewhat of a four-letter word. A negative connotation often follows the inclusion of a contract exception on a job posting, which can make it less enticing to the right candidates. But contract employment opportunities have come a long way, especially in an increasingly flexible workforce. While employers may still have to sweeten the deal, contract employees can enjoy specific benefits if willing to sign on for something other than a traditional full-time position.

Overcoming Objections

Contract work isn't for everyone, but you might be missing excellent opportunities if you turn a blind eye. The most common objection to contract work is that employees may feel that, with the job being temporary in nature, it's less stable. Another reason is lack of the full complement of benefits. Hudson makes it clear that we offer health insurance, but the lack of time off (holiday, sick, vacation pay) in contract positions could turn some people off.

Employers hoping to hire contract employees may need to brainstorm benefits to entice professionals to shift focus away from traditional, salaried and full-time positions, while pros should consider the advantages to a contractual agreement.

Contract Benefits

While it's true that you may miss out on the same benefits extended to full-time employees, don't skip over a contract job during your search. In fact, contract work can have an advantage over a more traditional opinion. Since the full benefits package is not included, the average contract position pays 25-30% more than the same job would pay a salaried employee. Also, as an hourly employee, the contractor is paid for all the hours they work, and in some cases (depending on the type of job, and the state in which they work) they can make time and a half for any hours worked over 40. So it can be quite lucrative. While you may not be considered a salaried employee, you could stand to make a significant amount more and have the option to choose your own benefits when buying as an individual.

Sweetening the Deal

It's up to employers to make a contract deal sweet enough to make it enticing for IT professionals and hopefully, eventual contract employees. As a job seeker, ask about the potential length of a project or contract — this can help ease your concerns about a short-term position. You can also do your own networking: See what other contract workers say about the office environment and what its attitude is toward contract employees. Of course, employers should make sure their reputation for accepting and working with contracts is impeccable.

While it may not be the ideal situation for everyone, don't make the mistake of completely skipping over contract opportunities. If the employer is willing to sweeten the pot and compensate for the lack of a salaried role, you could end up with the perfect position.

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Hudson is a global talent solutions company. We help transform the workplace and unleash the full potential of organizations and individuals. Our expert team and proprietary tools provide you with unique insights and services that help you maximize your success. Across 20 countries, we deliver a range of recruitment, talent management and recruitment process outsourcing solutions to get you and your business where you want to be.