by Humphreys & Associates | February 22, 2018 12:13 pm
You are searching for the right person to fill that critical EVM program management or project controls position on one of your newer or one of your tough projects. So, what does the interview sound like? Probably like so many I have witnessed. But there is a much better way to conduct the interview and get the right person.
Many of the interviews I have participated in consisted largely of the interviewer telling the potential candidate about the position, about the company, and almost making the interview a selling situation. It sometimes seemed like the theme was “How can we convince this person to come on board?”
Of course, some time in the interview must be spent explaining the situation to the candidate’s satisfaction. You would not want to make an offer to someone only to have them come back at you expressing confusion about the position or the project. That happened to me years ago. I was interviewing with a major computer firm for the position of “program manager.” Obviously, the ad I answered, and the screening process were flawed. I arrived at the interview and within a few minutes the interviewing manager was commenting on the fact I had no software programming experience. They were looking for a manager for a software development (programming) effort. They did not even understand the term program manager as it related to project management. We agreed to end the interview on good terms although I am sure we both realized we had wasted a lot of time.
Often an interviewer will focus on the certifications the interviewee has achieved. If the person is a PMP from the PMI, that is a good thing. But more than once I have met and worked with people who are certified and credentialed, but who really have no earned value training and cannot get the job done in the real world. Be careful and dig deeper. The right interview can help do that for you.
But the most frequent observation I have made about a defective interview process is the failure to verify that the candidate can do the job. The best illustration of this is from the book “Peopleware” by Tom DeMarco and Timothy Lister. The example is in Chapter 16 and is called “Hiring a Juggler.” It presents the story of the hiring manager, it was the circus manager, asking a lot of questions about other circuses the juggler has worked for, the things the juggler can juggle, how many things can he keep in the air at one time, and so on. At the end of the interview, the manager is satisfied he has found his new juggler and offers him the job. The surprised juggler asks one question only, “Don’t you want to see me juggle?”
At H&A, when we are looking at new individuals for our scheduling practice, we actually give them a test. They are provided a written description of an interview with a CAM in which the CAM explains what is supposed to happen in his or her control account. From that written discussion, the interviewees are asked to get into the scheduling software with which they are proficient and build the plan described by the CAM. With that plan, they are asked to determine the end date, locate the critical path, and otherwise verify that the schedule is a high-quality schedule. In other words, we ask our interviewees to show us they can juggle.
So what kinds of things would you want to talk about in an interview for a project manager candidate, an EVMS candidate, or a scheduling candidate? What direction could you take in the interview that would be more oriented to seeing if the person can juggle? How about some of these questions? Or at least how about the general direction of these questions?
Now that you have had a chance to think about those questions, undoubtedly others have come to mind. An interview with the give-and-take generated from discussing a list of questions like those would be very revealing. At the end of that interview you should know if the interviewee can juggle. You will know where they have good understanding and where they might not be ready.
Does the interviewee have to be exactly right on every topic? Not at all. But the answers and the discussion can help you assess how much development is still needed for this candidate to be able to shine in the open position you are trying to fill. Not everyone knows everything. Experience is a great teacher, but it comes from the situations where the interviewee has been directly exposed. Or perhaps from their leaning.
Take a moment and think about the interviewing practices at your company. Are they like the ones we just discussed? Can they be improved? Where are they weak? Where are they strong?
Source URL: https://blog.humphreys-assoc.com/hiring-right-evm-professional/
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