project management challenges

5 Skills Recruiters are Secretly Looking for in a Project Manager [Guest Post]

December 1, 2016 by

Enterprises and organizations are now slowly realizing the critical role of project managers. The popularity and demand for the job have made it a sought-after career.

Because of this, recruiters have set a higher standard when hiring aspiring project managers. The list of requirements and experiences needed to land a job as a project manager can seem daunting.


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It is no longer sufficient to just have the right credentials, a stellar recommendation, and background; you also have to stand out amongst all the other applicants.

If you want to be a project manager, here are 5 skills recruiters are secretly looking for in their next project manager.


5 Skills Recruiters are Secretly Looking for in a Project Manager

1. Listening Skills

A lot of applicants boast about excellent communication skills. But, great project managers know they do not just talk, they also listen.

Since project managers lead a team into completing a project, listening sets apart the great project managers from the good ones. They encourage everyone in the team to discuss and share their ideas to build a collaborative relationship.


2. Ability to handle criticism

No one is perfect. Even great project managers make mistakes sometimes. To succeed in the field, you should be able to treat criticism as a learning opportunity.

Cite experiences and demonstrate to recruiters how you manage negative feedback. The interviewer might be more interested to know you are eager to learn than how much you have mastered the art of project management.

On the job, you don’t just manage a team. You also need to learn how to manage yourself.


3. Creativity

Having the ability to think outside the box can help you come up with innovative strategies and solutions for a project. This is something recruiters strongly look for because creativity cannot be bought or faked.

Projects are bound to have challenges. As the project lead, you need to have the creative mindset to guide the team in resolving it.


4. A sense of humor

Research shows, humor may be the number one trait that gets people to fall in love with you. Humor is not just good for romantic relationships. It can also help warm up your colleagues to you.

Handling projects, especially in times of crisis is never easy, and recruiters know this. So, when looking for the next project manager, recruiters want to find the person who everyone looks forward to working with – even during the bad days.

A good sense of humor can help motivate and inspire the team when they need it the most. Ideally, project managers should not be jaded people. They need to be someone who can smile and remain positive even when challenges arise.


5. Budgeting

It is no secret that projects cost money. Businesses and organizations spend resources on manpower and other supplies needed to complete a project.

Though they are no accountants, project managers also need to know a thing or two about budgeting. Project managers are in charge of tracking expenses and forecasting expenditures. They need to be able to work out how to spend what is allocated for the project and not go overboard because this also affects the business or organization’s revenue.


Certain project manager vacancies may ask for more requirements like a bachelor’s degree, a minimum number of years in the field, or a certification. These skills are only a handful that recruiters look for when hiring a project manager.

If you do not have the necessary experience in these areas, do not fret! Just prepare for the interview and walk with confidence and the eagerness to learn. Recruiters might also appreciate your positive disposition for the job. Good luck!


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Author Profile:

Shuba Kathikeyan heads APEX Global, the learning solutions arm of ECC International (ECCI). She has over 10 years of experience in the areas of project management, business analysis, software development and IT service management. She carries several international certifications in the areas of ITIL, Business Analysis, Project Management, Microsoft Technology, and Learning Management amongst others. Shuba has a passion for process improvement, training, and new product development.


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