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Many consider it one of the most crucial positions in a company; a project manager (PM) is responsible for planning, organizing, and directing projects in a company. Project managers can heavily influence the outcome of a project. To be able to take on responsibility of such an important role, you have to first shine in a project manager interview, which is not that easy.
You need to understand the role of a PM before thinking about what types of questions could be asked in a project manager interview. As the overseer of a project, a PM uses their broad knowledge to maximize the company’s efficiency, reduce costs, and maximize revenues. Their responsibilities span through the project’s life cycle.
Such an influential role causes project manager interviews to be somewhat challenging. Other than field specific knowledge, PM interview questions will aim to learn about your hard and soft skills and even challenge you with situational questions.
You will need to put in some effort to hone your skills and prepare for the project manager interview questions. Keep the following tips in mind too.
Because project management questions and answers cover so many areas, you should try to broaden your horizons by learning about different projects. Case studies are a great way to prepare for project manager interview questions.
Do it s you can understand what other PMs have done in either successful or failed projects. The more you know, the easier it will get to answer any project manager questions.
Study before going to the project manager interview. Reading common questions for PM interviews can help you do it. Interviewers will ask you questions that range from planning and organizing to team and conflict management. Prepare good answers before a project manager interview for a positive result.
Recruiters will expect you to be able to assess situations and ask the right questions during the project manager interview. Therefore, you need to know what questions to ask in a project manager interview.
Prepare a list of questions before you go in, and take note of interesting details you learn throughout the interview to know the best project manager questions to ask the interviewer.
We have prepared the following list to help you prepare your answers to some of the most common questions for the PM interview. You can use the sample answers for reference when you prepare for the project manager interview.
Show your organizational skills. This project manager interview question aims to understand how familiar you are with different tools that can help you organize any project you manage.
Therefore, what tools do you use as a project manager is an interview question you need to be ready to answer. List down organizational tools you are familiar with before going to the project manager interview, or talk about the ones you know the best.
Sample answer: “In my previous position as a PM assistant, I learned to use Asana. The platform provides several useful options. In my opinion, the best one is how you can integrate several apps like Google Drive and Gmail to control everything in one place.
I have also been learning Basecamp on my own. It is a great app that eases communication as it has real-time chat, schedules, and even to-do lists. It has been a little challenging, but I enjoy learning to use new software.”
This project manager question shines a light on your idea of success, aside from giving recruiters a better understanding of your work history. Ensure that your project manager interview answers focus on the steps you took to achieve the outcome rather than just the result.
Try to give things a positive twist when you answer this project manager question. You can also highlight the obstacles you surpassed to show them your perseverance during the project manager interview.
Sample answer: “It was managing a residential project, in affiliation with the government, from beginning to end. I was in charge of setting deadlines, managing our company’s teams, and meeting with stakeholders.
Working with governmental organizations was quite challenging, but I learned how to deal with them. Thanks to our team effort, we stuck to the budget and finished before our proposed deadline. By the end of the project, our client was so satisfied that he signed again with us for more projects.”
There are several methodologies for the PM to use. This question for PM interviews analyzes how many you know and how skillful you are. Additionally, they want to check if you can use the one that suits the projects available best.
Adapting to different projects is what project managers do. That’s why the company is interested in learning what you can provide referring to management methods. Keep it in mind when you answer this PM interview question.
Sample answer: “I used traditional methods such as the Waterfall and Kanban approach when I worked at a production factory. However, I used the Scrum methodology in the company I worked with last. It was a very agile way that suited the company.
We were a small team working with small producers. Our Scrum Master helped us cooperate with the product owners and lead our team to accomplish our goals. We also had constant feedback that helped us when sprinting to finish any tasks.”
Another vital part of the project manager interview is to show your organizational skills when answering this question for the PM interview; you need to show the company that you can manage juggling tasks and even projects at once.
Additionally, the recruiters would like to know your decision-making process; make sure you walk them through your thought process when answering this project manager interview question.
Sample answer: “My first priority would be understanding the stakeholder’s needs. I would set new deadlines with them in mind. I will be able to draw the critical path once I clearly state the order of importance of the tasks.
I gathered relevant experience in my previous position. It was a smaller company, and different projects overlapped sometimes; By following my strategy, we always delivered positive results on time.”
This project manager interview question digs deeper into your leadership style. It would be better to show that you can use different styles during the project manager interview because sometimes, companies need to project managers to change their management style mid-project or for different projects.
Sample answer: “While I consider myself flexible enough to use different styles, I prefer transformational management. I feel I grew exponentially after working under a transformational manager myself.
By using this style, I would focus on encouraging my team to be their best version. I would help them take on new and exciting challenges. With the right help, people can reach new heights. Together, we can make the company succeed.”
This is one of the most important interview questions for you because a project manager is all about communicating with others. Your communication skills will show in how you answer this PM interview question.
Keep in mind that you need to communicate differently with different people when working as a project manager. Make sure to clarify that there are various ways you communicate with people during the project manager interview.
Sample answer: “I learned that there is no perfect communication style. As a PM, you need to be able to read the room and understand how to approach different people.
For example, if the person I am talking to is rather passive, I would try a more persuasive approach. Being aware of the differences between styles helps me to choose the right one for different scenarios.”
Behavioral project manager interview questions can sometimes put you on the spot. It is hard to come up with quick and good solutions to questions you are not prepared to answer during the project manager interview.
Take your time to arrange your ideas before answering this behavioral interview question during the interview for a project manager role. Try a step-by-step explanation of your procedure to show how organized you are.
Sample answer: “I would acknowledge the stakeholder’s concerns first. If they have any, I would start by making sure I clarify their questions. If they do not, I would instead start by clarifying how things went in the initial meeting.
I will ask for their opinions once they are up to date. I would invite other stakeholders for a follow-up meeting if they have any big concerns that would affect the other parties. Finally, I would send everyone involved a transcript of the meeting to assure every stakeholder has the most updated information.”
Agile PM interview questions like this one aim to understand if you match the management style the company needs.
The agile style focuses on being flexible and improving continuously. Proactive leaders should use this pm interview question to show they can anticipate threats and control projects better.
Sample answer: “I agree. A proactive PM keeps track of any problem that can affect their project. Additionally, they give constant feedback to their team. It can lead to increased efficiency.
Thanks to my organizational skills, I always read and study everything that can affect my project. I can evaluate and take preventive measures to get ahead of such changes. That gives the projects the flexibility we need to satisfy our customers' needs in terms of time, budget, and actions.”
Tech PM interview questions can get a little more specific due to the nature of the job. A Tech PM manages IT or It-related projects.
Positions that require a Technical PM would need your skills to match their specific projects. Try to highlight your hard skills when answering Tech project manager interview questions.
Sample Answer: “I graduated with a systems engineering degree; therefore, I am very interested in anything related to technology. Working with companies that are building the future of technology is quite exciting.
I wish to use my organization and technical skills to help your customers make their dream projects come true. Additionally, I have much web-developing experience that can help us create the best UX for our customers.”
Be prepared to answer some project manager behavioral interview questions. You can answer behavioral questions using the STAR method (Situation, Task, Action, Result). By doing so, you can ace your project manager interview.
Sample answer: “I dealt with one of our client’s engineering teams at the company I last worked at. We had to create a new website for their new product line. It was difficult to deal with the person in charge at first. I believe my patience was key to easing our communication.
My negotiation and problem-solving experience led me to understand we were talking in different languages, marketing and UI languages. Therefore, I decided to learn more about technical issues and earned the engineer’s respect. We finished the project on time and with positive results.”
Both software project manager and project coordinator interview questions can also get very technical in the project manager interview. Software PMs need to show their technical knowledge aside from their leadership skills.
Similar to answering tech PM interview questions, aim to showcase your experience when answering software PM interview questions.
Sample answer: “As in any Project Management position, there are must-have skills like organization, communication, and leadership. However, I think that having a high level of technical skills is the uttermost necessary skill for a software PM.
In our previous company, we had several teams led by different PMs. We realized that Software, IT, and Technical projects were facing delays constantly. We soon understood that only those PMs with technical backgrounds were moving forward as expected. Therefore, I believe that knowledge becomes ver important for Software PMs.”
Case-study project manager interview questions care more about your process than the final result. Case-study PM interview questions give you a chance to showcase your analytical skills.
You can use traditional analysis frameworks to strengthen your answers such as the four Ps of Marketing, the STAR method, SWOT analysis, and Porter’s five forces. A good answer will boost your chances of impressing the interviewer during your project manager interview.
Sample answer: “I would start by meeting with my team to understand the situation better. I would proceed to reorganize the tasks every member has to perform to make sure we avoid further issues.
Additionally, I would meet with our clients to make sure they can accept our changes. Most importantly, I would spend time and resources to mitigate what’s causing the issues. I can use tools such as the fishbone (root cause) analysis to avoid delays in the future.”
By the end of the project manager interview, recruiters will probably expect you to come up with some project manager questions to ask the interviewer.
Asking the right questions can change how the recruiter thinks about you.
Examples of what questions to ask in a project manager interview:
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--- Originally written by Roger Rene Ortega Figueroa ---