Thursday, 25 August 2016

Musings on Arras People's Project Management Benchmark Report 2016

The Project Management Benchmark Report from Arras People is a must read for all Organisations and anyone directly or indirectly connected to projects. I've read the 2016 report a number of times and find it particularly interesting for 4 main reasons:
  • It's the 11th annual report in this series so that plus the number of respondents is a solid base for year-on-year analysis, trends and drawing of conclusions.
  • Certification statistics clearly don't support the amount of noise in the market about Agile.
  • Regardless of the time and effort expended on methods, process, or training, projects continue to fail.
  • 42% of hiring Organisations believe it's getting harder to find "appropriate" talent.

This last point really stuck out. Why can't they find the talent they need?

The report goes on to look at the hirers view and this time it was the hierarchy of elements against which they place importance that was most interesting. These were:
  1. Experience
  2. Personality / Style
  3. Domain / Sector
  4. Accreditation
  5. Education

    The CV

    While the CV remains the primary tool in recruitment it's one-dimensional and, even with all the market advice available about CV structure and content, accurately capturing the points that trigger interest for a recruiter can be fairly hit and miss. Highly specialised or technical CV's excepting.

    The quality of a CV alone doesn't account for the Arras Benchmark Report respondents responsible for recruitment reporting that 43% of recruitment campaigns in 2015 were unsuccessful; double that of 2014. The report suggests that the skills deficit may well be in how practitioners present themselves to the market and the process/people organisations use to filter their applicants. Given recruiters are there to satisfy a demand, could they cut the number of unsuccessful campaigns just by being more personable and knowledgeable about a role and the candidates they contact?

    In the July's issue of recruitment grapevine a short rant by Mark Hopkins, Director at Thomas Lee Recruitment, highlights the frustration inside the recruitment industry around application etiquette and how being stuck in an age of recruitment where thought processes haven't changed in 15 years is resulting in recruiters themselves destroying the industry's image. The main article offers Ed Vernons', OBE and Chairman of Macildowie, views on the recruitment industry post Brexit, in which, by echoing in the above, he comments that this is a time for new thinking and new approaches.

    Whatever this new thinking or approaches might be, they can't happen fast enough if finding appropriate talent is to get any easier for hiring Orgs.

    The Basics

    New would be great yet it takes time to discover then entrench as business as usual. Until then anyone involved in hiring could target some basic areas for continuous improvement and monitor the results.
    • Mass-emails - If this practise is to continue at least check the structure, grammar and spelling before hitting send. Better yet, add some context or humanity to it. Just like the default LinkedIn invite, unless there's context the candidate you really want to talk to has probably already hit delete.
    • Square peg, round hole - There are project managers and then there are project managers. Each has different competencies, styles and focus areas over and above PM101. Companies initiate projects for different reasons so understand the desired outcome and define what's really needed to deliver that, then search. The type the organisation typically hires may not be the type the role needs.
    • More Research and Talk - A mass-email that includes could this be something you're interested in? followed immediately by forward a current CV, is fishing. Take a leaf out of the head-hunters manual - do more research then pick up the phone. A 10-minute targeted chat will save time and shorten the recruitment cycle. Get to know a candidate not a word doc.
    • Share useful details - Recruiters generally hunt and gather (refer mass-emails above). Confidentiality etc aside, the more useful details in an initial contact the quicker it is for both parties to qualify and gauge the role and fit.
    • Integrity rules, always - Many good and appropriate candidates may be available but they won't be found when application etiquette is one-way traffic. Refer previous points and treat others how you'd prefer to be treated yourself.

    The Challenge

    Finding appropriate talent, whether permanent, contract or interim, is not easy. If hirers genuinely have experience and personality / style as the top most important criteria then reliance on CV's as the primary selection tool needs to change. As long as candidates have to play scrabble with their CV's to satisfy a filtering system operated by someone recruiting for a role they don't understand, it will continue to be hard for hiring Organisations to find appropriate talent.

    What's your approach to recruitment? How important is the CV in your process?

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