It’s vital to know key project manager interview questions and answers. Does having the proper background and experience qualify you for a job? Yes, but that doesn’t mean you’re guaranteed to get it.
There is still the final test in the screening process, the interview.
There is more to job interviews than being well spoken and confident, it’s a skill that requires preparation. For most prestigious jobs, including project manager positions, the interviewer has an evaluation sheet.
The evaluation sheet is used to measure certain qualities by asking specific questions from a list. They ask a question or two from every category then grade you in each quality according to your answers.
Although there is no one answer the interviewer is looking for, there is a core idea they want to hear. The questions vary according to the job. Project manager interview questions are mostly directed to measuring leadership skills and crisis management skills.
Knowing the questions beforehand gives you time to prepare and a huge advantage over the other applicants for the position.
What Is a Project Manager?
Before getting familiar with project manager interview questions it’s important to know what the job will require from you. A project manager is responsible for overseeing projects within a company.
This includes managing everything within the project, including planning, communications, execution and delivery. Companies in every field can hire project managers. It’s important to research the company first and make sure your experience and credentials match the task.
It can vary from a construction project to software and IT to expansion marketing. Every project management job requires certain tasks but there are some things that are more or less always in common. Naturally, it’s important to have some degree of knowledge of the field you’re working in.
Responsibilities of a Project Manager
Project managers are essentially a point of contact between clients and creative or technical staff. This means that they have a range of daily responsibilities, including:
- Planning the project from start to finish.
- Recruiting the right people for the right jobs.
- Budgeting the project and making plans as to where and when these funds will be spent.
- Communication between everyone working on the project and those in higher positions.
- Motivating the project team and making sure everyone knows their role and is satisfied by it.
- Conflict resolution if there is an issue between team members.
- Crisis management should any problem in the project arise, it should be dealt with internally.
This huge responsibility is why project managers are well paid by companies.
In other words, a project manager can’t keep the team motivated unless they are properly motivated. It’s vital to know these roles clearly and to picture what each means because this is one of the most important project manager interview questions.
Project Manager Interview Questions and Answers
As mentioned earlier, the interviewer isn’t asking questions at random. Every question is a tool to evaluate you on a personal and professional level. The interviewer will have set metrics in mind to evaluate you on.
To be able to provide a satisfying answer you should be able to associate the question with the skill it measures and answer accordingly. The interviewer will have a tranche of preset questions to ask from, each aimed at measure a specific skill.
Here are the most important qualities and some related questions.
Background and Experience Questions Project Management Interview Questions and Answers
The interview process can be stressful and stress can throw off the applicant and give unreliable results. That’s why the first line of project manager interview questions right after ice breaking is usually personal. Project management is a crucial high responsibility job.
For this reason, your background must be rich in the profession and you must have a minimum experience set by the employers.
What is Your Previous Project Management Experience?
This is a must ask a question, because it directly tells them if you have the proper experience, as well as if project management is your main focus or not. Typically, your goal here should be to give a broad overview of your career to date.
- The number of years of experience you have,
- Your previous roles and responsibilities,
- Career highlights and key achievements.
Why did you Choose this Line of Work?
It’s important to know what forces drive you professionally. Is it money? Ambition? Is it a lack of other options? This is your opportunity to show off your understanding of the role, and why you’re the right person in terms of your values and career goals.
Key inclusions include:
- Why you find project management rewarding,
- Which problems you like to solve for your employer and clients,
- Which of your core skills are a good match with the job description.
What Supply Chain Training do you Have?
Questions about your project management training can be general but they can also be specific. Always prepare your relevant training credentials.
When answering undocumented personal questions, it’s okay to exaggerate a little. However, you should never lie when it comes to experience and previous jobs because this is checkable and may put you in a bad position.
What if they ask about a skill that you don’t have a formal qualification in? When this happens, the key is to turn the question to your favour by talking about your relevant transferable skills, and backing them up with hard examples.
You can then say that you’d love to solidify this experience with a formal qualification. This shows off your ambition and long term planning.
Technical Skills Project Management Interview Questions and Answers
This is where the project manager interview questions turn specific. Project management is a broad profession and every company has specific skill requirements they’re looking for.
What Qualifies You for this Job?
This question is asked in any career path. The interviewer is looking for certain skills and lets you list them in your own words. Again, this is an important opportunity to show off your understanding of the role.
As such, always talk about your qualifications in the context of how they will allow you to succeed.
What Software Have You Used in Previous Project Management Jobs?
This is a technical question that shows them how updated you are with project management software. The interviewer is looking for two key things here:
- How quickly you can get up and running in a new role,
- What specialist skills you can bring to the table to improve project management processes.
How Do You Approach a New Project?
The most important thing this type of question establishes is whether or not you have a system or a checklist. Beyond this, they want to know your specific approach to managing clients, colleagues and deliverables.
Take this opportunity to show off some of the concrete benefits of your particular style of project management.
How Do You Prioritise Resource Spending?
Every project has an initial plan or an outline, even before hiring a project manager. The interviewer needs to know if your vision goes along with theirs. They also want to know the kinds of budgets you’ve managed, and how you can deliver return on investment.
When answering all job-related questions it’s best to be as thorough as possible.
Using examples from previous work shows them how organized and experienced you are. Having a pre-existing system indicates professionalism, but you have to make it clear that you’re flexible as well.
Adaptability is a major aspect in the screening process, make sure to make that clear.
Social Skills Project Management Interview Questions and Answers
Communication is a major aspect of project management. It’s important for the interview to tell how well you play with others as well as your leadership potential.
How Do You Manage Conflict Between Two Team Members?
Conflict resolution skills are always part of the project manager interview questions. There are a number of key concerns here. You should show off your awareness of maintaining internal relationships and preventing issues for external stakeholders.
Use concrete examples to show off some of the resolutions you’ve spearheaded in the past.
What Kind of Leader are You?
Or Are you a strict leader? Project management is leadership, it’s important to see if you are the leader they need. You should tailor your approach here to the company culture. For example, if you’re going for a job managing projects with software developers who are experts in their field, an authoritarian leadership style isn’t going to fly.
What Communication Problems Have You Dealt with in the Past?
Nearly all interviews have specific questions about your jobs. You should prepare possible problems and how you solved them, even if you have to make some up. Again, focus your examples around the key skills and experience you can bring to the job.
Preparing for a Project Management Interview
There is no way to hack an interview, but preparation is as close as it gets. Your background and experience are only as good as what you learned from them. It’s always important to prepare scenarios of hardships from previous jobs and how you overcame them.
There are certain key features the interviewer will be looking for. Project managers have to be leaders, they have to work well with others and be able to motivate their team. Most of all,
Project managers need to be competent. That means answering technical questions with ease and familiarity. Brushing up on the latest software and new methodology is always advisable. There are many project management tools that make the job easier.
Preparing project manager interview questions aren’t everything because the position itself requires an interpersonal skill. This means that you have to be well spoken and witty in the interview itself.