Interview Questions for Project Managers

Interview
questions for project managers inevitably focus on past project experience. The
ability to form detailed and articulate responses is one of the top factors
recruiters look for, since the nature of the position entails so much communication.
You should also be able to demonstrate excellent organizational skills when you
describe previous projects, according to Vasanthan Dasan, CTO and VP of
Engineering for the Armada Group, a cloud computing firm in Silicon
Valley. Demonstrating time-management skills, and the ability to
identify project roadblocks in advance, are also key.

Interview Questions Project Managers Should be Ready ForHere’s a sample of the questions you’ll be asked.

Give me an
example of a project you managed as it relates to this position.

Most project manager interview questions are related to previous
projects. The project manager should be able to articulate project details such
as
planning,
methodology, team management, risk management, collaboration, technical tools,
obstacles, communication and results.

The best answer is to give an example of a project that is similar
to your prospective employer’s projects. If not, you should at least attempt to
orient the answer as it relates to the position.

Here’s a sample project. How
would you go about planning, managing and completing it?

A variation on the first question, this one’s designed to test your
quick-thinking ability and depth of knowledge.

Talk about a project you
worked on that had problems and what you did to fix them.

A
similar question that may be asked: "Explain when an IT project wasn’t in
line with what the organization wanted. How did you get around that?"

"Project
Managers are frequently asked about challenges and to reveal a situation where
there was conflict that needed to be resolved," says Susanne Currivan,
senior account manager for Project One, a New York-based IT staffing firm.

During a
project, how do you inform all stakeholders of progress on a regular basis?

Effective communication is key to a successful project, so you’ll
need to demonstrate numerous ways and tools used to communicate with team
members and stakeholders in the organization.

"Methodology and communication end up being a big part of the
hiring decision," says Craig Kapper, senior regional vice president for
Robert Half Technology. "Do they have the right methodology and does the project
manager consistently relay progress reports to stakeholders?"

What tools
do you typically use to monitor and control a project?

Obviously, there are numerous tools that can be used during a
project, yet some are more robust and scalable than others. The idea here is to
find out if you’re using some of the more effective tools available, Kapper says.

How did you
apply your training or certification to a previous position?

This
question will commonly be addressed to probe your experience or certification,
such as PMI. Interviewers may follow up with a request to give specific
examples.

Explain how
you established a relationship with your project team and how you collaborated
to get things done.

This
is a "culture fit" question designed to discover how you work with
other people. A similar question is: "Give an
example when you received coaching and how you reacted."

Others to look out for:

What project management
methodologies are you most familiar with?

Give an
example of a time where you had a conflict with, or disagreed with a boss or
coworker.

– Chandler Harris

Comments

  1. BY dscds says:

    cds

  2. BY Frank DeFelice says:

    If you don’t have a set of spec’s you’re in trouble. Get the program manager to give you a statement of work and a budget. You can go from there. If you’re replacing a project manager, you may have problems, such as being behind schedule, customer threatening to sue, and incompetent staff. Good luck!

  3. BY Paul Jass says:

    Be prepared to discuss how you handle resource in a Matrix manged organization. 99% of all companies now use Matrix management and you better be prepared to discuss it with examples.

    Paul Jass MPM

  4. BY Nancy says:

    Can you give an example of how to phrase the desired answer that an interviewer may be looking for? Thanks.

  5. BY David Blackwell Sr. says:

    I feel that this is very good information and useful toward helping each and every individual that’s on your site, because I as a previous Project Manager have experience all of these at one time or another.

    Please keep the information coming because I appreciate it myself.

    Thank You.

  6. BY Hussain Nisar says:

    Good questions but bit less on technical side of project management. However it is helpful.

  7. BY Errol Reiner says:

    I am currently going through a Proposal Manager process. They sent me an exercise RFP on which they wanted me to: 1) provide a proposal outline of what was needed to bid; 2) develop an outline of the proposal based on the exercise RFP and 3) go out on the internet to their corporate site and find some information to initiate the proposal writing. That was followed with a team face to face interview in which many of the questions you have were included as well as others. They asked for specifics on how I would plan the proposal, including scheduling, how would I handle team members who were to busy to respond, etc. Very thorough. Good start on your questions.

  8. BY Nelson Alexander says:

    Project management standard is all about incorporation of the following to achieve expected outcome timely and delivery to budget. indentifying the Budgeting, Phases indentification, Milestons, Risk management, cost effectiveness, utilisation of; (project managers, Team Leads and Subject matter expert) maximumly, Time managemant, Communication management, human resources, accountability. Major Communication terms are; What? How? when? What means the project. How means planning to detail. When mean delivery and expected result at expected time.
    Most cases, your recruiter may not even know like u do but their interest is not to search for the best but their interested person. In a nut shell, experience is the best teacher. I shall appreciate your further detail information on project manager expected questions from prospective employers.
    Thanks in advance.

  9. BY Philip Siddons says:

    I understand from a recent University of Buffalo workshop in interviews, that most recruiters look for content in answers wrapped the acronym STAR.
    S Situation described, the challenge or objective
    T Tasks at hand, what you set out to accomplish
    A Actions taken, what it is you did to make changes or growth
    R Results, the measurable outcomes as a result
    All this seems embedded in the Six Sigma methodology.

  10. BY xx says:

    I live it

  11. BY Sam Magambo says:

    This information is very helpful. For many years, I have been managing projects, as an IT / Project Manager for my agency. I am now interested to focus on project management exclussively as a career. I have an advanced academic training in IT / PM and hands on experience, but not a certification. It is my hope that my skill set would be relevant and of value to any employer out there.

  12. BY RJC says:

    LOL!!! LOL!!! First of all, if you are asking these questions, you’re interviewing a Project Coordinator, and not a Project Manager. Second, to address something that Mr. Philip Siddons remarked about, namely, STAR, STAR is Situation, Task, Activity, Result. It has nothing to do with Six Sigma “anything”: it was a simple protocol put together by Dupont back in the 1960s, and later revived by Hyperion Solutions and evolved into a STAR Schema for four dimensional management classifications within a Program or Project. Third: for those of you who have been misinformed about Project Management becoming a career, please be advised: it is not a career, but rather a role that most Dept. Directors, BU Managers or Section Heads should occupy as a result of establishing new criteria and scope for development of solutions, software or systems (bus. or tech).

    I could go on, suffice it to say that “stuff” like this is just further testimony to the ignorance, and asinine behavior out there, primarily generated by sites like this and PMI, which although created PMBOK, has no other basis in reality other than that.

  13. BY S Froider says:

    This is very valuable for someone who is looking for a PM/PMG position. I appreciate if we can keep receiving the useful tips. On the other hand, I have a bit of contribution on this subject – a value-add, the leadership skills you may bring up. The methodologies and past experience are the hard core ingredients that get you in the door for a conversation. Nothing in the book or pure training can help you pretend you have leadership skills, a true leader, not a manager who only looks over the shoulder. Be able to take the heat for the project team members in times of need for troubled projects, be able to negotiate with senior executives are the high caliber that companies are looking for. Positives results and consistency in project/program success takes time to develop professional relationship with every personnel in the project from bottom to top, internally and externally. Just selling hard core skills, in most organization with their unique culture, simply not sufficient.

  14. BY Bill says:

    Be very careful about disclosing confidential information. Some interviews are just fact finding and information collecting and the job is secondary

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