Hiring Project Managers: Job Description, Pay, & More

Consider your last road trip. You may have used a mobile app to navigate your route and plan pitstops. Then, you may have turned to scheduling software to book your itinerary along the way. Along your route, you stop at architectural sites or amusement parks for entertainment.

What do your mobile app, booking software, and even the rides at the amusement park have in common? They likely relied on qualified project managers to get made.

What is a project manager, and how should you approach hiring one for your next project? Let’s dive into defining the role and the details you need to craft a compelling project manager job description.

What is a project manager?

Project managers (PMs) are responsible for planning, executing, and overseeing the progress of projects across an organization. These individuals are specifically trained in project management so they can ensure work plans are followed, keep project budgets in check, and guide projects through critical milestones.

They can support projects across any industry and specialty, including information technology (IT), construction, creative, and m

RELATED: 30+ Great Project Manager Interview Questions

Project manager roles and responsibilities

So, how can teams assess when their project scopes are big enough to warrant a project manager? Your organization might benefit from a project manager if:

  • A large project lacks leadership or direction.
  • Specific goals or benchmarks need to be monitored and tracked for a project.
  • An IT project needs oversight from a technically proficient leader.
  • A project is being managed across several teams and needs consistency.
  • A specialty project is being initiated, and the business needs an expert to navigate this new terrain.

Regardless of what project they are working on, core responsibilities of a project manager include:

  • Supervise projects’ end-to-end lifecycle to ensure successful completion.
  • Identify project goals, benchmarks, and milestones to track progress throughout a project.
  • Understand the full scope of a project, including all tasks, deliverables, and timelines.
  • Oversee the project timeline and delivery of all project assets.
  • Delegate and oversee the execution of project tasks by team members.
  • Manage project resources and replenish as needed.
  • Liaise between project stakeholders and foster two-way communication between the project team and business leaders.
  • Document project progress using project management tools and solutions.
  • Ensure project goals are met, and deliverables are top-quality.

Top skills to look for in a project manager

The projects managed by PMs can vary drastically based on industry, expertise, and scope. Therefore, it’s important to have a project manager who is skilled in many key areas, some of which include:

  • Leadership—These individuals should be skilled in leading teams by instilling confidence and guiding by example. They are responsible for relaying updates to business leaders to mitigate issues that arise.
  • Communication—Project managers need to communicate with stakeholders across the entire project development lifecycle, making this a critical skill to look out for.
  • Time management—PMs need to juggle competing or shifting priorities. This requires strong time management and delegation skills to guarantee project deliverables are completed on time.
  • Flexibility—Pivoting is the name of the game when something inevitably goes wrong during project planning. Ideal PMs welcome change and are able to adapt projects creatively to keep timelines moving.
  • Problem-solving—Similarly, teams rely on project managers to come up with creative solutions to help projects stay on task, on budget, and avoid preventable mishaps.
  • Team player—Project managers are part of a team, and their role is to motivate team members throughout the project’s lifecycle and help team members liaise with other stakeholders to keep deliverables moving.

RELATED: 4 Qualities of a Stellar Project Manager

Project manager qualifications

There are many routes for someone to become a project manager. The role doesn’t require federal training or certifications; however, many employers prefer candidates with proper experience. Many candidates choose to pursue an associate or bachelor’s degree in project management, business, communications, or a similar field. PMs who aspire to work in healthcare or IT may pursue a degree in those fields.

To demonstrate foundational project manager skills, some candidates pursue the Project Management Professional (PMP) certification or become a Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM) through the Project Management Institute (PMI).

Pay and job outlook

The job market is strong for prospective project managers. PMI’s 2021 Talent Gap report found that 2.3 million PMs are needed each year to fill positions expected to open by 2030. That means the global economy will have 25 million additional project management professionals to meet demand in the next decade.

To meet this demand, many organizations are offering competitive project management salaries. According to a 2022 PMI Jobs Report, the U.S. has the highest median compensation for project professionals, behind only Switzerland. In 2022, the median salary for project managers was $115,000 (with a 16% median increase for individuals with PMP certification).

Commonly asked interview questions for a project manager

When hiring your next project manager, be sure to craft strategic interview questions around the specific project they will be supporting. General project manager interview questions can include:

  • Share your most successful project. What made it so successful? How did you measure its success?
  • What tools do you prefer to use when monitoring a project’s status or delegating team responsibilities?
  • What stakeholders do you have experience working on projects with?
  • Have you had to escalate a project issue? What was the outcome?
  • When would you identify that an issue needed to be escalated?
  • How do you differentiate project monitoring and controlling?
  • How do you conduct risk assessments and healthy risk planning?
  • What steps do you take when a project timeline or budget is no longer on track?
  • Walk me through the steps you take to develop a project plan.
  • How do you foster a collaborative environment on your project teams?
  • How do you effectively prioritize competing project tasks?
  • Share your most challenging project. What made it challenging, and how did you navigate it?

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Get started hiring your next project manager

Your project’s success is largely determined by the project manager at the helm. Be sure that the next candidate you hire possesses the right proficiencies and soft skills needed to be successful. Insight Global’s pool of skilled project managers can help hiring managers cut down time and energy on finding the perfect candidate. Reach out to our team today.

Hire Project Managers with Insight Global

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