Whether you’re doing your recruiting with an engineering search firm, your internal recruiting team, or a combination of the two, it’s critical that you treat the search just as you would a project. This means you need to designate a Project Manager or Project Champion for the search. Throughout my years of experience recruiting, I’ve seen time and time again that the companies who apply this concept get better results every time.
Within the parameters of a search effort, a Project Champion is the person who takes on the responsibility of ensuring everyone involved in the search (i.e. HR, recruiters, hiring managers, and anyone involved in the decision making process) is on board with the success of the project/search. The Project Champion works with the team to make sure the project/search objectives are clear. They must define the role, the process, the resources being used to recruit for the role, the project’s timeline, its value (meaning what it means for this position to remain vacant), and the key players involved in the project.
The Project Champion is responsible for moving the communication along – they are in charge of getting feedback from hiring managers and sharing that feedback with the appropriate people. This person will need to put the pressure on when necessary, so it’s critical that they have the influence and backing necessary to do so. I’ve talked about the importance of moving quickly in this challenging hiring market, and the Project Champion is the key to ensuring that this happens.
When identifying a Project Champion for a particular search within your company, consider the following factors:
Qualifications – Does the person you are considering have the qualifications and aptitude to understand the search? I’ve seen companies throw people into this Project Champion/Manager role without considering their qualifications, and it very rarely turns out well. You want to make sure the person you are appointing has a clear foundational understanding of the role you are recruiting for and its importance in your organization.
Capacity – Does the person have the time required for a successful outcome? If this person is too busy, they will become a bottleneck and actually slow the process down. The person you consider should be able to commit to the project and its time requirements wholeheartedly. Don’t give the Project Champion job to someone whose focus needs to be elsewhere in your company.
Influence – Does this person have the ability to influence, motivate, and inspire the team to buy in and become engaged with the project/search and its success? Again this person is responsible for keeping the search moving, so their ability to influence others is critical.
Problem Solving Skills – Are they resourceful and do they have the ability to overcome any obstacles or frustrations that may arise? The Project Champion must be able to evaluate the search and make appropriate changes based on feedback, outcome, etc.
Organization Skills – As with most projects, there are lots of moving parts, and organizational skills are a must for keeping themselves and team members on track. They must know where every candidate is throughout the search and what needs to be done next and by whom to keep them moving along the path.
Communication Skills – Last, but certainly not least, this person needs to have excellent communication skills. Their job as Project Champion is to keep everyone involved in the process (HR, recruiters, hiring managers, department manager, candidates, etc.) in the loop and engaged. Again, this is such an important factor in this particular hiring market. If you don’t keep candidates engaged, you will lose them to either your competition or your failed hiring process.
Because all six of these factors are so crucial for a Project Champion to lead a successful recruiting effort, I hope this blog post helped you realize that you cannot put just anyone in the lead role on a recruiting effort.
Remember, there’s nothing more expensive than making the wrong hire. Make sure you avoid that costly mistake by having the right Project Champion leading the entire recruiting project.