Which jobs produce the best Project Manager candidates for LSPs?

Occasionally we have a need to find a new project manager, and we approach the task with a certain amount of trepidation. Casting the broad net of a Help Wanted ad brings in all types of prospects and depending on how you word the ad, the responses can be exactly what you were looking for, or completely miss the mark. So as we wax philosophical around the coffee pot, we attempted to determine if in fact, there were certain jobs or industries that made better project manager candidates.

At first blush, you may expect that picking up a project manager from within the language industry would be your best bet, but just because someone came from an LSP doesn’t make them automatically a good candidate. Much more depends on the traits you want in your project managers. For us, we look for some specific attributes such as:

  1. An ability to focus – attention to detail
  2. Ability to work as part of a team – overall attitude
  3. Willingness to learn – ability to accept constructive feedback and improve
  4. Logical thinking, general organization skills
  5. Ability to interact with customers, verbal and written communication skills

Yes, the list could go on much longer, but these are some of the higher priority traits. So are there jobs or industries where these traits are valued? Some jobs come to mind:

  1. Insurance claims adjuster
    • This job requires a high level of attention-to-detail, and the work normally is split between dealing with internal processes, other staff working on different parts of a claim and also dealing with the customer (person filing the claim). Someone who does well at this job may be a good candidate for an LSP project manager. The work also is repetitious but varies within a certain set of parameters and each claim has unique aspects to it that require a broader set of skills than just taking information and plugging data into a form.
  2. Bank teller
    • Who else deals with people all day long and must get each transaction exactly right? Again, several of the key traits seem to align well. The biggest difference here is that these people may be good with numbers and not so good with words.
  3. Newspaper editor
    • Yes, thanks to the internet and web publishing, newspaper editors are a dime-a-dozen. These people certainly should be good with words and have an eye for detail, but you may want to peruse some recent articles they edited for errors before jumping in and speak with co-workers if you can find some.

That’s enough examples to get the idea, and there are many other feeder jobs suited for the type of person you want as a project manager.

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