A lot of the success of your project will come down to the quality of the team members you have working on it. This means that if you are given the chance to choose your own staff you should be very careful about how you do it. So what are the main characteristics you will want to look out for and how can you rate them?
Clearly it is very important that you get a good mix of skills in your team. However, I have always felt that the right person can be trained on anything which they need to know for working on a project. This means that getting someone who has shown that they are capable of learning and who meets the other criteria on this list might be more important to you than what they have in other jobs in the past. It might sound weird but unless I was working on a project with a terribly tight timescale I would probably put the person’s existing project skills down near the end of my list of important criteria. That’s not to say that it isn’t nice to find someone who know how to write a plan or hold a meeting but I just think that there the following points are even more important.
You will want your team to have a nice mix of personalities to help you cover all of the tasks you need done. Of course, you will also want someone who has a pleasant personality and who is easy to get along with. Having said that, you will also want to make sure that your team has some people who are assertive enough to get the results which are needed. Every project you take on will need a different mix of personalities, just at it will need a different mix of skills as well. However, while you can get your team members to add new skills fairly easily it is a lot more difficult to get them to change their personalities. It isn’t impossible but it will require time and a lot of effort on their part.
I think that it is important to consider someone’s experience as being different from their skills. I would suggest that their experience is more important than their skills, as it shows you the path their career has taken and what kind of work ethic they are likely to have picked up along the way. What I mean by this is that someone who has worked in a very limited role for a long period of time is more likely to be overwhelmed by the amount of change they experience in a project role. I have often heard it said that employers don’t like to see potential employees with too many different jobs on their resume. However, I had been in a number of different roles before moving into projects and I think that it could be an ideal position for a restless kind of person who has tried a number of things and can’t seem to find something which gives them the challenge they are after.
The attitude of your possible team members is one of the most important points for you to consider. Do they come across as a flexible and hard working sort of person who could be of value to your team? This is probably going to be the most difficult issue for you to get a handle on during the interview. It is worth considering using some interview questions which display more details of how they think and what they are looking for from the job. This is why project interviews often involve questions which are rather tangential to the subject and don’t ask the interviewee about specific skills they have. If their attitude is right then the skills will follow in due course.
Their Future Aspirations
Finally, you can learn a lot from someone when you ask them about their future career prospects. Are they looking to settle into an easy job or are they keen to stretch themselves and try to progress as far as they can? A role in a project team is best suited to someone who likes a challenge and who wants to learn a variety of skills. If you can find someone who thinks like this and who is keen to join your project then you could have a very useful team member on your hands.
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