I have been performing as project manager since last few years. I manage complex large-scale software projects that involve teams across the globe. We have few outsourcing vendor partners as well as tech in-house engineers to do the development for us.
Lately, we are in hiring spree, anticipating an increased demand starting from Mid 2019. We are actually preparing for an economic downturn that’d spike the demand for our product. But today’s article is not about the economic or your personal financial meltdown.
Today we will talk about how to get hired as a project manager. I have taken some 50+ interviews till date for managers in my last 5 years.
Here are some of the questions we tend to ask every candidate short-listed after going through the resumes.
Is there a project management interview that you are anticipating? Prepare yourself to answer a number of questions based on different situations and behaviors. Brace yourself for the toughest questions.
You may be asked about your interest in project management, your capability of working with teams, especially difficult teams, and the wins and losses in your previous project management endeavors.
Answering these questions will show your leadership strengths, communication, and organizational skills, and can prove to be very helpful in landing you your desired project management job.
(Related – How to become a productive employee)
Sure, you can prepare with some generic questions as well. But the list we have provided will equip you with the answers to the toughest project management questions.
1. How did you develop an interest in project management?
This is the kind of open-ended question that is probably asked in any kind of interview and is not just limited to roles in project management.
We are asking you to prepare for such a simple question because it sets the tone for your interview, and is a chance to make a great first impression.
Just remember not to take this opportunity to give a lengthy lecture about your project management journey from day one. Remember to keep things short, engaging and to the point.
2. How do you prioritize multiple urgent tasks?
It is easy to get confused and overwhelmed when you are assigned with multiple tasks, all of which are urgent. Each task is riddled with multiple intricacies that require undivided attention.
This is where the qualities of a strong project manager are put to the test, as they display their ability to filter the things that are unnecessary and perform the tasks that they deem most important.
Seize this opportunity to show your interviewer that you keep a cool head under pressure and are a smooth operator at all times.
Your answer should always come straight from the heart as the interviewers have a knack for sniffing anything that does not seem genuine.
3. Tell me about your favorite details of being a project manager?
This question will probably be asked during the early stages of the interview. This question, being a little lighter than the other ones, allows you to exhibit your knowledge related to project management and even gives you the opportunity to display your technical prowess.
Showing your passion to the interviewer is essential. You may not realize it, but interviewers pay close attention to the eyes of the interviewee.
Eyes are a clear indicator of a person’s thoughts and motivations. That’s why it is so important to be passionate about what you are speaking while maintaining authenticity at the same time.
4. Tell me about the result of your last project?
Most people take this question as an opportunity to brag about the success of their last project. Bragging should be avoided at all costs as it gives interviewers a really negative impression. The interviewer looks forward to seeing your reaction to how a project turned out.
So, the answer should display your ability to learn from previous mistakes.
5. In what way do you plan to maintain your project sponsor’s support?
If you didn’t know by now, losing your sponsor’s support is considered a cardinal sin in project management. If you aren’t able to convince your sponsors with the end goal of your work and they don’t understand the purpose of your work, then nothing but doom awaits your project.
Therefore, you should deliver a convincing response to this question. You should focus on displaying strong interpersonal and negotiation skills.
6. What are the different kinds of project management skills you use?
This question is a tool for finding out your adaptability and flexibility. You should give your answer while providing a variety of examples highlighting the styles that were the most successful for you in your previous projects.
7. Describe your communication style
A person who is aware of how he or she communicates is always a strong communicator. This doesn’t mean that everyone should follow the same method of communication.
It simply means to be aware of how your style is affecting your colleagues around you. Identifying your own communication style is a strong project manager’s trait.
8. How do you deal with serious conflicts?
You can demonstrate your managerial skills by answering this question. You should explain how you find out the root cause of conflict as well as the steps you take to resolve it.
9. How much do you know about our industry?
This is a question that specifically requires you to study the place you are interviewing in. A solid answer will give the interviewer confidence in your expertise and will make you a top contender for the job.
10. How do you salvage a project that is not going your way?
This question seeks your ability to maintain the morale of your team if a project is not going as planned. You should highlight your re-planning and reevaluation skills as they are a crucial feature in every successful project manager’s arsenal.
I didn’t discuss the best possible answers to the questions above, that part is pending for your input. Try to have some mock interviews. I achieve the best result when I take my interview in front of a mirror.
Managers, be prepared and show your skill at most as you can, you’ll have just under an hour to showcase what you can do.