How to assess project management skills

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If you’re hiring a project manager for your organization, you need an objective, efficient, and bias-free approach to evaluate project-manager skills.

You also need to know which skills are the most important for a project management role, and how to compare between your strongest applicants.

All of these hiring requirements may seem overwhelming – but don’t fret.

This article will explain which skills you should look for in your project-manager candidates and how to assess applicants objectively.

What are the most important skills of a project manager?

As a hiring manager looking to find a capable project manager, nothing is more important than looking for the right skills from your candidates.

Seven of the most important abilities of a project manager include efficient communication, negotiation skills, leadership and business acumen, problem-solving skills, time management, critical thinking, and task-delegation skills.

Project management hard skills

You’ll also need to be aware of the hard skills that project managers will need in your organization, including negotiation skills, task prioritization, budget management, project planning, and setting goals.

Read the next section to find out how to evaluate candidates’ hard project management skills with pre-employment assessment tools.

How to test hard project management skills with pre-employment assessment tools

Pre-employment assessment tools greatly facilitate the candidate-evaluation process.

Using them begins with building a project management skills assessment and selecting the hard-skills tests you want to use with a skill-testing platform.

For example, you may want to evaluate project-manager candidates’ negotiation skills. In that case, you can select a Negotiation test as part of the project management skills assessment.

Once you have built your project management assessment, invite candidates to complete them – either through an applicant tracking system or the skill-testing platform itself.

You can then look at the results to evaluate project managers’ hard skills and choose whether to interview candidates based on their abilities and knowledge.

Pre-employment tests for hiring top project managers

With platforms like TestGorilla, you’ve got a handy option to use several pre-employment tests in one assessment.

Cognitive-ability, Numerical Reasoning, Verbal Reasoning, and Attention to Detail tests are all recommended for evaluating project manager candidates, so you may wish to include these in your assessment.

image listing different pre-employment tests for hiring top project managers

1. Cognitive Ability tests    

Ensure that you hire a candidate who has the right cognitive skills for your project-manager role. You can assess your applicants with cognitive ability tests, which include Numerical Reasoning, Following Instructions, Verbal Reasoning, and Spatial Reasoning. Here’s more information on these tests.

2. Numerical Reasoning test 

Project managers should have numerical reasoning skills to handle metrics and understand how a team is progressing with a project.

This test will help you evaluate project-manager candidates’ numerical skills and knowledge, including interpreting graphs, tables, fractions, and numerical patterns.

3. Understanding Instructions test

Project managers must follow instructions from senior stakeholders and management.

This test makes it simpler to evaluate project-manager skills related to understanding instructions from senior management, including written, verbal, and visual instructions.

4. Verbal Reasoning test 

One important part of project management involves sharing and interpreting written information.

The Verbal Reasoning test makes it easy to assess a project manager’s skills in drawing correct conclusions from information in written form. It assesses whether candidates can accurately infer the underlying meaning of written information.

5. Attention to Detail test

Managing projects efficiently requires the ability to spot small errors or mistakes. Can your candidates pay attention to the smallest details? Find out with an Attention to Detail test.

Project management soft skills

When hiring a project manager, part of your role as a hiring manager is to look for soft project management skills, including leadership, effective communication, adaptability, emotional intelligence, and integrity.

image listing project management soft skills

Here’s more information on these skills and how to evaluate them.

1. Leadership

An integral part of a project manager’s role is effective leadership.

Project managers must lead effectively, delegate efficiently, plan and support team development, offer feedback promptly, and propose unique ideas to complete projects. Use a Leadership and People Management test to evaluate your candidates’ leadership skills. 

2. Communication

Communication is vital for project leaders. Use a Communication test to evaluate applicants’ communication skills. Active listening and reading non-verbal forms of communication are two skills that indicate efficient communication.

3. Adaptability

Since project requirements can change at any moment, your candidates should be prepared for any shifts in project demands.

Adaptability is an important skill that you could assess during the interview stage, but cognitive ability tests make this assessment process easier.

4. Emotional intelligence

Showing empathy and emotional intelligence are vital skills that help project managers make sound decisions and relate to teams.

With TestGorilla, you have options to assess your project manager’s emotional intelligence, such as with personality tests.

5. Integrity

Although it’s an essential skill for project management, integrity is a difficult soft skill to assess. Combining personality, situational-judgment, and culture-add tests will help to accurately evaluate project-manager candidates’ integrity.

Go to the next section to find out how to evaluate your project-manager candidates with pre-employment assessment tools.

How to test soft project management skills with pre-employment assessment tools

First, choose a skill-testing platform and build an assessment to test soft project management skills.

You can build a single project management assessment and add soft project management skills tests to the assessment alongside the hard skills you’ve already chosen for it.

For example, if you want to assess a candidate’s communication skills, select a communication-skills test and add it to the project management assessment. 

You can then invite candidates to complete your assessment and find out if they have top soft skills. Quality skills-testing platforms like TestGorilla will rank the project-manager assessment test results, so you can see all your candidates’ strengths and weaknesses.

Bottom line: assessing candidates’ project management skills

Despite the difficulties you may encounter when you evaluate the skills of your project-manager candidates, you can make the process easier with a skills-testing tool like TestGorilla.

Remember to start the hiring process with a project-manager skills assessment to ensure your candidates’ abilities align with your open role and that you invite promising project managers to an interview. To help you prepare for the interview phase, we’ve put together a list of the best project coordinator interview questions.

Using skills assessments is the simplest way to hire the right talent.

Check out TestGorilla’s skills test library and sign up to build your assessment with ease. Get started for free today and start making better hiring decisions, faster and bias-free.

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