Project Management

Deadly Questions Redux: Resurrecting the Interview

Mark Mullaly is president of Interthink Consulting Incorporated, an organizational development and change firm specializing in the creation of effective organizational project management solutions. Since 1990, it has worked with companies throughout North America to develop, enhance and implement effective project management tools, processes, structures and capabilities. Mark was most recently co-lead investigator of the Value of Project Management research project sponsored by PMI. You can read more of his writing at

You never quite know how something is going to get responded to until you put it out there. My last column, "Deadly Questions For The Killer Candidate," tried to offer some concrete and practical suggestions to what is one of their toughest hiring challenges for many organizations--finding great project managers. While the article presented a number of specific suggestions, the real goal was to get people to start thinking beyond the standard interview questions and start focusing on a selection process that gives you what you are really looking for.
Let's face it: Asking someone where they want to be in five years is a pointless question. The most honest answer is probably along the lines of "In your chair." Or, if we're being really candid, "In your boss' chair." But let's be frank, here--in the current job market, statistically speaking, any candidate that you hire today is highly unlikely to be working for you five years from now. Given that, how much does their future ambition really influence whether or not you hire them?
The number of responses garnered by the article was nothing short of astonishing. Some loved it, and even wished their interviews went something like that. Others were completely offended. Some of this seemed to be a dismissal of any company that can't design an effective interview approach on their own. For others, the possibility of facing such a …

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When an elephant is in trouble even a frog will kick him.