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Best Practices for Staffing Project Leaders: Setting Requirements

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In this series, we provide detailed coverage of each of the steps in the staffing process.

This post will cover Communicate process and define requirements.

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When your organization finds there are skills it needs to perform a project, the first step is to identify the requirement, then approve and budget it.

Then, there needs to be an in-depth discussion of what is needed. This definition of accurate position requirements must be intensive because it will drive the search and frequently be reprised and revised if the ideal “Ten-out-of-Ten” candidate isn’t readily available. What you put in is what you get out. The more generic the requirements are, the more time will be spent on fruitless cycles searching and reviewing imperfect candidates until the requirement is refined to the point that the hiring firm is looking for the right skills.

If you’re asking someone to get milk from the store, you need to decide whether it’s chocolate or regular milk you need before wasting man-hours searching for the wrong item. Inaccurate or non-specific inputs will give you the wrong outputs, and there are considerable costs associated with wasting cycles on the wrong candidates.

Decide what the right ratio of technical versus leadership talent is needed for this role, as well as what demeanor and disposition the candidate will need to have to be a culture fit.

Then, set realistic expectations for price and timeline based on this. Pricing is key. Too low of a price, you will have inexperienced candidates as well as a potential flight risk. The price is dictated by the market and industry standards.

To provide an example of how much detail you will need, here is an example position requirement information form:

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Once a clear position description has been developed, confirm the process and cadence for the screening and selection phase. This sets realistic expectations of how things will progress and will result in a plan and timeline for the interview, selection, and hiring. In the case of where an organization is engaged with a staffing firm, this will make up the substance of the Service Level Agreement to ensure that there are no process gaps or timing gaffes between the two organizations that let top talent slip through the cracks.

Ensure the internal constituents—including Human Resources, Finance, project team members, hiring manager, and stakeholders—are in agreement on the various priorities each party has (for example: cost, speed, various skills). If there are disagreements, resolve them now so that the expectations are in alignment with everyone’s desires and deliverable realities.

Click here to read about the next step, Initiate Search.

Click here to see a brochure on Project Assistants’ staffing offerings.

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