It is certain that project management is a strategic component that is essential to business success. When it comes to hiring a project manager to the company, hiring managers and recruiters are looking for answers to the main questions: “Will this person fit into the culture of the organization?”, “Will this person get along with other team members and lead them effectively?” and “Will this person deliver on the project goals and on time?”.
Hiring managers always want to focus on the key competency and asking the right questions.
Key competencies of a project manager are:
- Domain knowledge
- Clear communication
- Customer orientation
- Developing others
- Effective delegation
- Goals focus
- Managing risks
- Prioritizing and time management
- Proactive decision making
If you want to impress the interviewer and be the top candidate, you should be able to answer all questions about your technical competence, business methodology, interpersonal skills, and behavior in the job interview. In this blog post, you can find tips and general questions for a Project Manager interview.
Also, you can check open Project Manager job positions on RattleBerry.
Before the questions, it is really important to prepare the structure of your answer. I always suggest STAR technique which allows you to explain every single detail as well as impress the interviewer.
‘STAR’ technique is a popular and effective tactic for competency where the recruiter or hiring manager is seeking examples of your previous experiences (mostly challenges) you have encountered. For the questions related to previous projects, your answer should be structured with four parts: Situation, Tasks, Action and Result. Thus, the interviewer will listen carefully to each part of your story if you have a strong base and you can convince the employer that you are perfectly suitable for the position.
This is where you start and set the scene by giving a context and background to the situation. Do not forget to outline 5 Ws – Who? What? Where? When? Why?
This part is basically your challenges and expectations you faced during the situation. You should also mention your individual role within the team.
This is the most important part of your answer: you need to explain what action was taken, what tools and tactics were used to help you achieve your objectives. So, this is the main answer to the question: you can use a lot of details. Lastly, use always “I” rather than “my team” or “we”.
Achievements on the back of the project. Try to include as many facts and figures as you can remember. (Numbers are always cool!) The recruiter will want to see what did you learn from the situation, how do you act towards a problem/conflict and if there was anything you could do for the next time.
GENERAL INTERVIEW QUESTIONS
1. If you had to rate project management as a career, from 1-10 how would you rate it?
2. What is the most important thing for a project manager to do?
3. What are the 3 key challenges for the industry today and how can these be tackled effectively?
4. What criteria are you using to find your next job?
5. How have you improved project management processes at your current firm?
6. How do you approach a newly assigned project?
7. What are your career/project goals for the next 6 months?
1. How do you work with sponsors? How do you manage up?
2. How do you ensure your team stays on track to meet project deadlines?
3. Do you manage and project or just projects?
4. What are/were the communication challenges on your current/last project?/What is your communication style with your team?
5. How do you handle disgruntled employees?
6. What is your delegation style?/ How easily do you delegate responsibility?
ROLE SPECIFIC QUESTIONS
1. What is your approach to managing a project?
2. Are you an agile person?
3. How do you do your scheduling? / How do you allocate resources?/ How do you do status updates?
4. Are you responsible for delivery and financials or just the administration of the project? Tell me about your recent project’s goals and results?
5. How do you ensure you and your team deliver or exceed customer expectations?
6. How do you go about performance management of your team?
7. What tools and resources do you use to develop your team?
8. How do you ensure that your project is always on track?
9. What tools do you use as a manager to plan your activities as well as that of your team?
1. What is one skill a project manager needs to succeed?
2. When a project didn’t go well, what happened?
3. Tell me a time when you had two key stakeholders with opposing views. How did you manage that?
4. How do you keep your promise even when it is difficult to keep?
5. What are the best practices to develop excellent customer relationship?
6. Describe 2 areas in your current project where there is a high level of uncertainty. How do you tackle these uncertainties?
7. Give a few examples of proactive decision making in your project. Also, in your life.
8. Can you give me a few examples of where you made a tough decision and it backfired?
DON’T FORGET TO …
Make sure you have created stories by asking yourself all these questions before the interview. You should relate the answers to cost, schedule and customer experience.
Define your value while answering questions. If the interviewer doesn’t ask you behavioral questions, answer questions in a behaviour-description way. Explain in detail what actions you took that affected the project, how you describe the details of those actions in a way that helps articulate the value of how you worked.
Do not assume the interviewer know what you mean: explain each experience, past project, project management in detail. Always use STAR technique for the structure.
Here, you can find hundreds of questions and answers for the interview.
Finally, good luck!
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