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Some of the questions often asked of us are listed here with their answers.

Q. Why does PMSelect offer career planning as a service as well as recruitment services?

A. Firstly, both are in demand from project professionals.
Secondly, people we meet to help with career planning are sometimes people we are able to recommend to employers.
Thirdly, with able people in short supply and a fragile career structure for project professionals, we are able to add value to the employer and the professional seeking advancement, by recognising career routes otherwise not perceived. This widens the field of candidates open to the employer and extends the options of the able project professional seeking advancement.


Q. How can a project executive find a career opportunity in another sector?

A. The abilities needed to manage projects can be divided into two: the ‘Universal Abilities’ and the ‘Context Abilities'.

The first is the same for all project professionals, whatever sector they work in and whatever technology they engage with. It comes from their training and can be seen in the PMBoKs (Project Management Body of Knowledge) published by the APM, APMA and PMI professional associations.

The second amounts to the project professional’s knowledge and understanding of the sector, organisation and technology that forms the context of their work. This is not project management but the knowledge of the situation that a project manager needs to understand to conduct project management.

The stronger the capability and maturity in the ‘Universal Abilities,’ the more that that this value will transcend limitations apparent from a lack of familiarity with a new context. Communication with a prospective employer in another sector therefore needs to refer to the ‘Universal Abilities’.

A strategy to develop opportunities in another sector can be to use an agent.


Q. What qualities distinguish the most able project professionals?

A. In our experience, successful project professionals are strong in all aspects of project management. It is in the human aspects of the work however, that professionals distinguish themselves. Emotional Intelligence is critical to success as is bravery, communication, judgement and reading and responding to the political scene.


Q. Where do I get advice for advancing my career in project management?

A. Your first port of call has to be your colleagues and your boss. They will see you differently to the way you see yourself. Few people can work out their strengths and learning needs on their own! These then need to be placed within the context of where the present is taking you and where you should be headed.

It all needs to lead to a series of options, a strategy and a plan. You can contact PMSelect who provide a service to do this, one-on-one, called Career Pointers.


Q. What selection methods are used by PMSelect in its work?

A. To be successful, a project professional must have mastered a good deal of knowledge and skill. They are typically people who are very curious about what is going on around them and learn quickly. PMSelect's starting point is Twenty Keys, a model of the competencies and experience that explain someone's ability for managing projects. Twenty Keys has spawned a series of selection methods, including

  • Assessment Centre designs and processes
  • The Case Study Interview
  • Competency-based and behavioural event interviewing
  • Executive Assessment
  • The Self Assessment Questionnaire.


Q. What is meant by Twenty Keys?

A. Project management is very young in comparison with other professions, with roles requiring an extensive range of skills. The field is complex and continues to evolve. We offer here a fresh approach, known as ‘Twenty Keys’, providing a more useful way to understand a project management role and the abilities needed of people who can be expected to succeed. Twenty Keys has been developed to improve the success and reliability of project management recruitment and a framework to use when setting the career direction of project management professionals.


Q. What is ‘Reveal’?

A. Every project organisation and every project management role is different. It is important that we recognise the employer's performance expectations, the competences required and the professional experience of candidates we will be looking for. There will be no perfect candidates; but there will be trade-offs and we need to know and understand the requirement well to be able to recognise where these may be found.

PMSelect have developed a process known as ‘Reveal’ to help us to collect the information needed - rapidly and effectively. Recruiting is a project. As with all projects, defining the requirement is critical.


Q. What is a ‘Universal Project Manager’?

A. The IPMA (International Project Management Association) chose the theme of ‘Universality’ at their last annual Congress in London. This idea, expressed at its simplest, claims that an accomplished project manager can perform any project management role successfully, regardless of the sector, technologies used, or any other technical aspect of the work. A project manager, in other words, is a project manager who can manage projects – any project.


Q. How do PMSelect find jobs for project professionals?

A. PMSelect is not an agency that holds particulars of candidates for passing to employers. We recognise able senior project professionals in this occupation and introduce them to potential employers who have retained us where we believe there to be a good match. We want to hear from any senior professional seeking a new opportunity who may wish to use our career planning services. In all cases we need to assess people’s abilities and their preferences before considering them for openings. Where we recognise a possible opening we will recommend candidates with an accompanying report.


Q. How do I get started in project management ?

A. Generally speaking, people cannot ‘start’ in project management. Usually people move across gradually from another role in the same business and then progressively specialise. This process, for the more ambitious, is accomplished concurrently with studying the subject and acquiring professional membership of the APM or PMI. It is possible to complete a course in project management and then use this as credentials to take a junior role from which a career can be established and grown.


Q. What is it that attracts people to managing projects?

A. There are many answers to this profound question! By their own admission, project professionals enjoy the variety and stimulus of the work. It is a particularly social role requiring strength in communication and an interest in people and groups and how they work. It requires the acquisition of a range of formal methods for, including others, the planning, control and risk management of projects. People need to be able to learn these methods quickly as well as to develop the skill of reading social and political situations and understanding commercial issues.

It is also true that project managers tend to be more focussed on results than attending to the power agenda. Getting the job done is something that attracts interest and attention, to a greater extent than winning the political game and ‘calling the shots’.


The Recruitment Requirement
Planning a Recruitment Assignment
A DIY guide to Search
Career Planning
The Universal Project Manager
Twenty Keys
Customer Stories
Assessment Centres
The Assessment Model
Self Assessment




Career Planning