Recruiting a Problem Manager Guide to success
Is Experience Important when Recruiting a Problem Manager?
Recruiting a Problem Manager can be a tricky process. Ideally you would want experience in both your organisation and Problem Management, however this seems unlikely unless you have multiple Problem Management functions. Having experience in the organisation is beneficial for a multitude of reasons. The biggest is existing relationships and understanding the culture.
Recruiting a Problem Manager with No Experience
The trick as with most recruitment is to seek similar transferable skills. Each organisation and role is different however this is what I look for when recruiting a Problem Manager in no particular order.
The Skills to look for when Recruiting a Problem Manger
Relationship building: Good working relationships are important in any role. In Problem Management it can be the difference between the quick co-ordination of investigations to mitigate recurrence vs a costly repeat impact, which typically raises the heat on Problem management. Being able to build relationships is a hugely important skill that transverses most roles.
Communication skills: Problem Management need to co-ordinate with all levels of an organisation from call centre staff to the CEO. Being comfortable communicating at all levels and having some experience is certainly beneficial. It is certainly a skill to adapt the way you communicate dependent on the individual and circumstances. In my experience CEO’s like concise summaries with an action plan. Where there are options a critical analysis of each and a recommendation from Problem Management tends to work well. Communication skills need to be high in both verbal and written forms.
Coordinate and Lead Meetings: Leading meetings with senior stakeholders and multiple suppliers can be a daunting task for some. It is fair to say that many of the individuals in the meeting are more senior and more technically proficient than the Problem Manager leading it. The Problem Manager needs to control the meeting to ensure all objectives are met. This is as skill that can be taught over time, however comes from a place of confidence in the individual. If the individual is naturally introverted or lacks self-confidence this should be warning sign.
Decisiveness: Problem Management have many opportunities every day to make decisions that impact the organisation they support. Being able to critically assess options and make the correct decision is paramount, however being able to do this quickly and under pressure is a strong skill to possess and should be respected.
Change Agility: It has been said many times that ‘the only constant is change’. I whole heartedly agree, which is why it is so important to find people who have the ability to constantly adapt.
Analytical skills: The interrogation and interpretation of data is important in Problem Management. Being able to identify trends for investigation or use data to validate actions is required daily. Experience in this area is a big advantage.
Motivation: I find people who are motivated do a good job (no surprises there Sherlock!). A desire to constantly learn and develop will drive individuals to strive for excellence. It could be said that motivation can be achieved through various means, which is somewhat correct, which is why it is key to understand what motivates the individual. If it is guanine or something external to the individual like money, which may be a warning flag as not always within your control.
Recruiting a Problem Manager Final Word
The above are the key things I look for when recruiting for a role in problem management. I tend to grade each applicant from 1-5 in each section. Dependent on the role within Problem Management you may want to attach a weighting to certain sections or remove them altogether to help evaluate respective candidates.
Some high level additional information can be seen here.
I hope this has been useful. Let know if you have any other criteria or key skills you look for when recruiting Problem Management.
The Problem Manager.