Article – Dear Recruiter, Please Learn the Basics!



I warn you, the article you are about to read is a cry from my heart that has been “wounded” in the recent couple of incidents…

Episode 1 – Conversation with a recruiter

R: (enthusiastically) Hi, Jamal! You have recently applied for a Senior Business Analyst position

Me: (also enthusiastically) Yes, I did!

R: (somewhat less eagerly) But your resume says “Project Manager/Requirements Analyst…

Me: Yes!

R: But the client is looking for a Business Analyst, not a Requirements Analyst

Me: But you see, titles like Business Analyst, Systems Analyst, Business Systems Analyst and Requirements Analyst are all synonyms and are used interchangeably depending on the industry and even the company…

R: (sternly) Oh no, unfortunately we can’t send your resume to them. They were very specific in their desire to hire a Business Analyst!

Me: (quietly banging my ahead on the table) Oh God, please take me now!

Episode 2 – Conversation with a different recruiter

R: (thoughtfully) So, Jamal, you are a Senior Project Manager, right?

Me: Yep!

R: (inquisitively) But do you have any experience with end-to-end implementations?

Me: Well, by definition, EVERY project is an end-to-end implementation… You have your Initiation, Planning, Execution, Monitoring and Control and Close-out phases. So, every project that has been completed by default went through end-to-end implementation!

R: (confused) How come your resume doesn’t mention “end-to-end implementations"?

Me: (sighing heavily) Because it uses traditional project management lingo! We use words like “Planning” and “Execution”

R: (sternly) Oh no, unfortunately we can’t send your resume to them. They were very specific in their desire to hire a Project Manager with “end-to-end implementation” experience!

Me: (quietly banging my ahead on the table) Oh God, please take me now!

Do you, guys, have the same experiences or is it just me?

Article - An Interesting Dilemma: Who Would You Hire?


Since I posted my previous article “A Story of One Interview: What Would You Do?” that went viral on LinkedIn, I have received more than one hundred comments from professionals from all corners of the globe. After reading them I realized that the problem of “should the project manager be a technical expert in his/her domain?” still remains deeply misunderstood by some people. As a result I just wanted to share yet another discussion that I had at one of the project management conferences with a CIO of a North American university followed by a simple survey that would require you to select an appropriate project management candidate.

CIO: … When looking for a PM I definitely value technical knowledge more than project management experience. For example, if I have an SAP project in my portfolio, I will favour someone with SAP experience, preferably in the educational sector.

Me: (after the presentation has ended) You mentioned your preference for technical expertise over the project management one when looking for a PM.

CIO: Yes I did.

Me: I really don't want to argue here about the fact that a project manager should not be a technical expert in her domain and that you should have subject matter experts taking care of that problem. I just have a couple of questions ...

CIO: (tensely) OK.

Me: Well, let us consider the SAP example. SAP is an enterprise resource planning system, correct?

CIO: Yes ...

Me: So, it is very likely that the project would impact areas like, oh I don't know, finance, accounting, human resources, student records and even possibly engineering. By employing your logic we can deduce that the PM should also be an expert in those areas as well, right?

CIO: (smiling) Absolutely! But unfortunately such person does not exist ...

Me: OK, next question then, if you don't mind. Let us say that you hired this "great SAP expert with no project management experience" person. Let us even assume that she successfully delivers the project in question (which I personally doubt). A couple of months go by and you are presented with a new flagship initiative; say, the development of a brand-new university website.