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The PM Recruiter: An Interview with Kristin Solberg (Part 2)

SolbergKristin We complete our interview with Kristin Solberg today.  As I mentioned in my previous post, Kristin is a top recruiter for consulting firm Genesis 10.  In her role, she has been exposed to hundreds of project managers, and finding the correct fit among client, consultant, and project is a daunting task.  I've known Kristin for years, and her judgment and people skills are unparalleled.  In this part of the interview, we focus on some of the current business landscape challenges and how Kristin addresses them:

Kristin, what are some of your favorite interview questions when talking with a project manager?

When I’m certain they are technically qualified to be a PM, these are my top three open ended questions:

    1. How do you define a ‘successful’ project?  I’m looking for something beyond the PMI party line of finishing a project “on time, on scope, on budget.”  A good answer includes a discussion about delivering the required business value.  Bonus points if they mention an experience when they recommend a project be cancelled because it was no longer viable.

    2. What are the top three ‘value adds’ project managers should provide to a project team? Many acceptable answers, but I’m looking for 1) managing risk 2) removing obstacles for the team 3) understanding and enabling team member strengths

    3. Describe your approach to project leadership and managing teams.  Is it more important to lead or manage?  Give me an example when your approach was more effective than what the typical project manager might have done.  I ask these questions to assess the PM's fit for a specific project and/or organization.

I'm glad you mentioned adding value, because it is certainly on everybody's mind these days.  In our lean economic market right now, how have your job responsibilities evolved to continue to add value?

The individuals that you present to the client have to be a perfect fit.  They have to have the right balance of technical fit as well as cultural.  With the competition that is out on the market it is not enough to have similar experience, they are looking for an individual that have the precise background for their project. The project manager that will secure the position is the individual that can sell themselves

What “after the sale” activities do you do for the project manager and for the client to ensure continued success?

Our goal is to follow-up with both parties within a two week window of starting a project and to have continued contact.  If a client or project manager is having difficulties we want to be able to recover the situation sooner than later.  We have a large network of contacts that we can reach out to for support. As in most situations, communication is key.

Well put, Kristin.  Thank you again for taking the time to talk to me.  For those of you out there looking to hire or contract with a talented project manager, Kristin and the folks at Genesis 10 would be a great first stop.


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