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How to hire a project manager


Nearly every organization out there divides its main objectives into smaller projects to make the process more agile and manageable, whether it’s developing groundbreaking products, implementing new approaches to serving customers, or executing high-stakes initiatives to increase profitability. 

This enables you to manage projects more efficiently and allocate the right resources to each one. But for this, you need to know how to hire the right project manager who’ll be able to ensure the success of each initiative. 

And indeed, a skilled project manager can be the difference between a triumphant venture and an utter failure. However, finding the best person for the role can be difficult: you need to make sure they have the right project management skills and auxiliary abilities, such as communication, leadership and people management, and problem solving

In this article, we’ll talk about the key skills that you’ll need to assess, how to assess them, where to find the best project managers, and how much you can expect to pay.

With the help of curated skills-based assessments, it’s easy to streamline your project manager hiring process. 

What is a project manager

Just like the captain of a ship ensures the vessel stays on course or the conductor of an orchestra ensures every musician is playing harmoniously, a project manager ensures every moving part of a project is functioning efficiently.

They are responsible for planning, executing, and overseeing projects from start to finish, and their main goal is to ensure that each project is completed: 

  • On time

  • Within scope

  • Within budget 

They act as the central figure to ensure team members are able to achieve their best performance, reach individual goals, meet client objectives, and complete the project successfully.

Depending on the industry and the type of work, the tasks of a project manager can vary significantly. 

For instance, a project manager working in IT or software development might have to perform some technical tasks as well, while a project manager working in the healthcare sector mostly oversees people and defines common objectives.

Project manager hard skills

Hiring the right project manager can make a significant difference in how your company executes tasks and whether it’s able to meet client demands. 

Here are some of the hard skills that you should look out for when hiring a project manager:

Project planning and scheduling

Defining project goals, objectives, tasks, and resources needed to complete the project is one of the fundamental roles of a project manager. 

They should be able to divide the project into different chunks, assign resources, and chart a detailed schedule with clear milestones and deadlines. A skilled project manager should always be able to keep the project on track and be prepared to tackle any roadblocks.

Budget management

Project managers need to understand the financial limitations of each project and work within budget constraints. 

Creating a budget plan, estimating costs, monitoring expenses, and deciding on workforce and wage allocation (in cooperation with HR) is an essential part of a project manager's job. A skilled project manager will help you get the best results without breaking the bank.

Risk management

Every project faces potential issues along the way, especially when times are uncertain. According to McKinsey & Company, dynamic and flexible risk management is a key piece in the puzzle of a company’s success.

For this reason, a competent project manager should conduct regular assessments to identify potential risks affecting the project’s success, prioritize them based on their impact and likelihood, and develop mitigation strategies. 

They should also create contingency plans to address future risks and respond to known risks promptly.

Technical knowledge

A project manager’s job is not limited to managing and directing the team toward success. Depending on the project, they may need to possess specific technical knowledge. 

Proficiency with common tools like Microsoft Dynamics 365, Google Slides, Confluence Cloud, and Notion, among others, is essential for communicating with team members and stakeholders successfully. 

Quality assurance

Quality assurance is one of the most important skills for a project manager. They need to ensure that project deliverables:

  • Meet the specified quality standards

  • Provide the expected outcomes 

  • Meet the goals of the client 

This also means that project managers need to be flexible and know how to manage changes in requirements, scope, and resources while still maintaining excellent quality.

Project manager soft skills

Effective soft skills are vital for a project manager to interact with team members, stakeholders, and other project participants and promote a positive work environment. 

Here are some of the soft skills you should look out for during the project manager recruitment process:


The most vital skill for any project manager is communication. They must stay in touch with everyone, convey the project’s goals and objectives to team members, and give progress updates to the client.

More complex projects might require managing cross-functional teams, where people from different teams and departments come together to achieve the desired outcome. 

Excellent communication is key here, too, along with important subskills, such as active listening, conflict resolution, and non-verbal communication.

Team building and collaboration

A skilled project manager fosters a positive team environment, promotes open communication, encourages collaboration, and builds a cohesive team to ensure project success. 

Proper stakeholder management is also crucial for any project and helps ensure cooperation from all parties.

Time management

Time management is the ability to prioritize tasks, set realistic deadlines, and ensure that the project progresses according to the schedule. 

An experienced project manager should know how to manage their own time efficiently and help team members do the same to meet project milestones and deadlines.

Leadership and decision making

A project manager is the leader of the team, so they need to inspire and enable team members to do their best work in sync to achieve their common goal. 

Everyone on the team might have an opinion but it’s up to the project manager to decide what’s the best way forward. A skilled project manager would gather relevant information, consider the risks and consequences, and make a well-informed decision.


Your next hire should possess excellent problem-solving skills and be able to think on their feet whenever they encounter unexpected obstacles – which they will. 

The ability to revise plans, brainstorm ideas, fix technical issues, reallocate resources, and adapt to changing requirements is a must-have for any project manager.

Recommended reading: How to assess project management soft skills

How to test project manager’s skills

While resumes and recommendations on LinkedIn give you an idea of the experience of a candidate, they don’t exactly demonstrate whether they actually have the skills they need for the role. 

Project management is one of the most important pillars of every business, so you need to hire the right person to get the best results.

Instead of going through hundreds of resumes to try to figure out who matches your job requirements, you can streamline your project manager hiring process with the help of pre-employment skills testing

TestGorilla is one of the best platforms to help you assess applicants’ skills. With it, you can easily shortlist them based on their abilities and actual job performance potential. 

The platform enables you to combine up to five tests in a curated assessment. Some of the tests you can use are:

  • Project management: Use this test to see who has the talent and skills necessary to manage projects successfully and achieve the goals of your business. 

  • Communication: Ensure your next project manager knows how to communicate effectively with team members and stakeholders and convey information clearly.

  • Time management: Adhering to timelines and completing projects in time is crucial for your brand’s reputation. Find a professional who knows how to manage their team’s time effectively.

  • Business ethics and compliance: Any project manager needs to have a strong ethical compass, know how to adhere to compliance guidelines, and act with integrity in every business situation.

  • Leadership and people management: Your next hire should be able to lead a team successfully, using different influence, guidance, and motivation techniques.

How to test project managers skills graphic

Recommended reading: How to assess project manager skills and competencies

Where to find a project manager

Finding a project manager that checks all the right boxes can be a daunting task, especially considering the number of project managers out there: More than 426,000 project managers work in the US alone. 

There are several places where you can find good candidates, which we’ve grouped into three broad categories:

Online platforms and job boards

One of the most popular ways to hire a project manager is to post a job listing on platforms like LinkedIn, Indeed, Glassdoor, and Monster. These websites are great for connecting with professionals and evaluating their credentials before the first round of skills assessments.

You can also post the listing on freelance job boards like Upwork, Freelancer, and Guru if you’re looking to hire an independent contractor. This can be particularly useful for smaller, short-term projects.

Networking and referrals

Asking for referrals and recommendations from your friends and professional network is also a great way to find qualified and reliable project managers for hire. 

You can also attend industry-specific networking events, seminars, and conferences to connect with experienced professionals looking for new opportunities.

Colleges and recruitment agencies

If you’re looking to hire for entry-level project management positions, then you can also do a campus recruitment campaign at local colleges and universities. 

Another alternative is to entrust your hiring process to a recruitment agency, so that you only have to interview shortlisted candidates at the end.

Project manager job description template


Project manager



[Your company name] is looking for an experienced and highly motivated project manager to join our team. 

The ideal candidate will have a strong background in project management and will be responsible for planning, executing, and completing projects on time, within scope, and within budget.

About us 

[Add a short description of your company, its mission, and its culture. Mention your industry and size]

Key responsibilities

In this role, you will:

  • Define each project’s scope, objectives, and deliverables

  • Develop detailed project plans, including task breakdown, timeline, and resource allocation

  • Identify potential risks and create mitigation strategies

  • Coordinate internal and external resources to complete each project

  • Ensure each task and milestone is completed on time

  • Maintain regular and open communication with stakeholders and clients, updating them on project progress, addressing their concerns, and managing their expectations

  • Track performance and make necessary adjustments to meet project objectives

  • Manage changes to the project scope, schedule, or budget

  • Ensure your team is able to deliver the expected results on time and provide all relevant documentation

  • Evaluate project outcomes


Proven experience in project management, preferably [X years or more, in Y industry, etc.]

Strong organizational, multitasking, and time-management skills

Excellent communication and teamwork skills

Proficiency with project management software tools, such as [list specific tools your company is using]


[List any benefits your company offers for this role]

How to apply

If you have what it takes to be our next project manager, we’d love to hear from you! To apply, please do the following: 

[Describe your application process here and mention skills tests if you’ll be using them during recruitment]

How much does a project manager cost? 

According to Glassdoor, a project manager’s average salary in the US is $96,719/year, which includes a base pay of $88,780 and an additional compensation of $7,939, consisting of cash bonuses, incentives, and profit sharing. 

When defining the salary of your next project manager, consider factors such as: 

  • Your location and the possibility to work remotely

  • The pay for similar roles at the company

  • Their responsibilities, experience, and qualifications

  • Your industry

This will help you determine a reasonable salary range that’s in line with your organization’s budget for the role.

Project manager interview questions

Skills tests enable you to see who among your candidates truly has the skills and qualities for the role of a project manager. If you use a skills assessment platform like TestGorilla, you’ll be able to instantly identify top talent and invite them to an interview.

Interviews give you the opportunity to ask targeted questions to get a deeper understanding of your candidates’ experience and abilities. Here are some sample interview questions you can use for the role of a project manager: 

  1. How do you prioritize tasks in a project with tight deadlines and limited resources? 

  2. How do you make sure less urgent tasks don’t fall between the cracks?

  3. What was the most challenging project you've managed and how did you ensure it was successful?

  4. Can you walk me through your project management process? 

  5. Which project management methodologies are you most familiar with?

  6. How do you handle a client who disagrees with your approach to a project?

  7. How do you respond to a client who constantly adds new requirements to an existing project?

  8. Tell me about a time you had to switch gears and change your initial project plan dramatically. What caused this and how did you handle it?

  9. How do you make sure your team stays motivated when working on challenging projects?

  10. What would you do if you see that your team is falling behind schedule?

  11. Two team members disagree on the best approach to handle a specific task. How do you handle the situation? 

  12. Which project management tools do you have experience with?

If you need more ideas for interview questions you could ask your next project manager, check out our project manager interview questions, IT project manager interview questions, and behavioral interview questions for project managers.

Our in-depth interview questions for technical project managers will help you evaluate applicants for more technical roles.

Hire the best project manager bias-free

Now that you know what skills to look for and where to find candidates, it’s time to hire the best project manager for your business. That’s easier said than done, though: There are hundreds of thousands of project managers in the US alone, with each having their own skills, expertise, and experience.

To make your project manager hiring process easier, more streamlined, and hassle-free, try TestGorilla’s skills tests. Over 300 tests are available in our test library, and each is tailored to evaluate a specific candidate skill. 

You can even combine up to five different tests into a single assessment to build a customized evaluation and shortlist your most talented candidates quickly and easily. Start a free trial of TestGorilla today to streamline your hiring process and find the most suitable project manager for your business – without bias or stress.


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