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15 Project Manager Interview Questions and Answers

Filed in Interviews by on April 1, 2019

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Project Manager Interview Questions – I truly know how nervous you feel when facing an interview. Most especially when you are being interviewed for a big position like Project Manager.

But cheer up for the aim of this article is to provide you with project management questions and answers that will aid you in your upcoming project manager interview.

Below are the Top 15 Project Management Interview Questions and Sample Answers to Aid You With Your Preparation:

1. Tell us about yourself

Most project management job interviews start with this question. ‘Be relevant’ is the mantra to do well in this question. Give a brief introduction of your background and educational qualifications.

If you are an experienced manager, emphasize on the projects that you have done that are relevant to the job you applied for.

If you are a fresh graduate, you can tell them about any college projects that you have done. Treat this question as an opportunity for self-promotion to show the employer why you are fit for the job.

2. What, according to you, is an important skill for a project manager to succeed?

Well, if you are a project manager you might already be thinking that there can’t be one skill that is enough to be successful.

And, you are right. Your answer could be leadership skills, communication skills, or time management skills. What the interviewer is looking for is the justification for the answer.  So, before you blurt out anything, have your reasons ready.

3. How do you begin a newly assigned project?

Through this question, the interviewer is essentially trying to check your clarity of thought. He/she wants you to describe the important first steps you need to take to ensure the success of a project.

A good manager would try to understand ‘what’ of the project before ‘how’. What it means is you first try to understand what is the objective or purpose of the project before diving into how to achieve the goals of the project. Hence, anything on the above lines would get you some brownie points.

4. Where do you see yourself in five years’ time?

This is a top project manager interview question. The answer shows whether you have realistic expectations from the job you are applying for. It helps the interviewer check if your personal goals align with that of the company.

If you are applying for an entry-level position, it might be too ambitious to say ‘I want to be the CEO of this company’. It helps to research on the employee growth in the company and estimate where you could reach with your best performance in the next 5 years.

On the other hand, if you are applying for a senior position, you can talk about how you wish to take the company forward and what your contribution towards that would be.

5. How important is it for a project manager to be ‘proactive’?

By very nature, projects are unpredictable. Hence, it is essential that a manager anticipates problems that can occur and plans ahead. Your answer then has to reflect the importance you attach to proactive project management. Show the interviewer that you can handle risks and rise to the challenges that can occur during the course of the project.

6. What are the knowledge areas relevant to doing a project?

This is a kind of question for which you need to have the answer ready. PMBOK guide describes 10 knowledge areas. Read about them in detail and try to paraphrase in your own words.

7. Describe all the steps involved from the time of project initiation to project completion.

The best answer for this question would be scenario-based. Sometimes, the interviewers themselves give a hypothetical project and ask you how you would handle it.
For each stage phase the project follows, briefly mention the following:

  • The main objective of that phase
  • The key people involved
  • Your role in each of those phases

8. What qualities are required to be an effective project manager?

This question is different from the one in which you are asked to name only one skill. Apart from technical skills, mention leadership skills, time management skills, decision-making skills, prioritization skills, risk management skills etc.

The follow-up question can be about how a certain skill helps. So, do prepare a justification for each of the skills you talked about.

9. Did your colleagues or your manager ever challenge your decisions?

Many people think that it’s better to say ‘no’ to this question and move on to the next. But, disagreements in projects are quite common. So, it is extremely unlikely nobody disagreed with your decisions (Especially, if you are a senior project manager).

So, it’s better to say yes and go on to describe how you handled the situation. Show that you are a person who can take feedback constructively and can take everybody along with you in a collaborative manner.

10. How do you ensure your team stays on track to meet project deadlines?

A sample answer can be ‘I clearly communicate what the expectations are before the team starts to work on the task.

I regularly take updates on the progress and if there is a lag anywhere I make myself approachable for the team members to discuss their problems. Also, I appreciate and give feedback once the project is completed to keep them motivated’

11. Do you think integrity is an essential quality of a project manager?

Of course, you have to say ‘yes’. Go on to describe why it is so. Any company wants an employee who shares the values and principles of the company.

If you are in a responsible position such as a project manager, you are expected to show the way for others to follow. Earning the respect of your team members and the trust of your bosses can only happen when you are ethically upright.

12. If the customer is not happy with the result and does not accept the product. What would you as a project manager do?

Keeping customers happy is important for the companies. Hence, your answer should showcase that you value customers as well.

You can start by explaining that during the course of the project you regularly interact with the customers so that they are on the same page as the project team.

Despite this, if the customers are unhappy with the result, say that you will try to clearly understand what modifications they want and try to incorporate them.

In case the changes cannot be made, you will try to convince and explain to the customer that the project fits in with the agreed scope.

13. What was the biggest challenge that you faced while working on a project?

‘I didn’t have the right team’. ‘I don’t deal well with changes’. ‘My boss wasn’t very supportive’. These would be bad answers to give your future employer. As a project manager, you are expected to manage people and handle risks.

So, don’t tell your interviewer that you fall short in those two areas. Give an example of a situation in which the challenge was due to the external factors.

It can be about when the project was abruptly shelved or when the funding for it has been stopped. Don’t forget to mention how you handled the situation and what you learned from it.

14. What kinds of projects interest you the most? Why?

The one word that you need to focus on for this pm interview question is ‘relevance’. Do your research about the company and the role you are applying for. Your answer for this should be about the kind of projects that the company can offer.

15. Are there any projects that you do not want to work on?

If you say you are fine with any project, it might imply that you do not know yourself enough to answer this question.

Instead, it is better to be honest and communicate your preferences. But, if you are applying for a software project manager position and say you hate software development, slight chance you will get the job. So, be a little smart.

CSN Team

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