Are You the Right One?

Screening project team members requires project managers to see beyond accomplishments and credentials.

The traditional screening questions still apply when assessing project team members.  They typically include:

  • Tell me about yourself
  • What are the roles and responsibilities of your current position?
  • What size project have you supported in the past?
  • What is the average length of the projects you have been involved in?
  • Have you participated in project teams on a full-time or part-time basis?

Because many organizations today do not have enough resources to adequately support project teamwork and ongoing operations, many team members (as well as project managers) are asked to support project work during their “free time.”  With so much juggling going on, it is easy to bypass a thorough team selection process in order to launch the team quickly.  It is easy to ask only the screening questions, but they may not get you all the information you need.

Beware.  Not taking the time to fully evaluate potential team members in advance of placing them on the team may cause regret later –for you as the team leader, for the individual team members, and for the team as a whole.  To see past a candidate’s resume or technical expertise, take the time to evaluate the person thoroughly.  Using behavior-based methods to screen team candidates has become increasingly popular – and necessary.

As you screen candidates, be sure to delve into their minds by asking questions about when they have been successful or what they would have done differently.  Assess the candidate’s ability to be a team player, takes responsibility, and talks about previous team relationships openly.

Here are some of my favorite screening questions:

  • Give me a specific example of a time when you used good judgment to solve a problem.
  • Tell me about a time when you had to establish rapport quickly with someone under difficult conditions.
  • What’s the best mistake you ever made?

Continue to probe the candidate by delving deeper into the situation.  Ask, “How did you feel at that time?”  “What did you do next?”  Ideally, each question posed will peel back an additional layer of the candidate’s personality, allowing you to assess the fit on the team.

Excerpts from Project Team Dynamics:  Enhancing Performance, Improving Results, ©2011, Management Concepts; Lisa DiTullio, Principal, Your Project Office, www.yourprojectoffice.com

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