A project manager is the one responsible for the overall planning and execution of a certain project. This is a big role to fill in, that’s why companies are looking for the most competent, experienced, and hardworking person for the job. To be hired as a project manager, you should have experience handling project teams. If you’re applying for this job, it is time for you to gather your thoughts on the possible questions that might be asked in an interview.
Project management interview questions and answers are tough. The interviewer wants to catch you off guard to make sure you can answer questions honestly and quickly. For this reason, we’ve compiled a list of sample questions to help you prepare for a project manager interview questions and answers.
Q: How did you start as a project manager?
A: I started as a regular project staff after graduation. I loved to get involved in project development and see it being implemented. After years of working in the company, I was promoted as assistant project supervisor (or any position before you become the project manager). In my time as supervisor, I managed a team of (number of staff) and we were able to deliver in time and within budget. The management might have considered those achievements and they finally promoted me as project manager.
The interviewer wants to know your track records as a manager and ways you will handle this job.
Q: Who leads you to project management? What particular learning you had from your mentors?
A: Project management has always been my calling. When I was in school, I was an active member of several clubs and teams. I guess my biggest influences are my college professors and my early managers. One of the significant things I learned from my mentors is to organize things from the start and follow the schedule legibly.
Here, the manager wants to know how you applied your experience to your job as a project manager.
Q: Tell me a bit about your experience.
The interviewer wants to see that you have some sort of experience in the field you’re looking to manage. The inexperienced rarely become project managers, because project managers need to have what it takes to get a project done.
Q: Why do you think it is important to have a great project manager?
A: The success of a project depends on two things: the how the project manager handles it and the support of the whole team. I think it is very important to have a great project manager to oversee the overall process and plan implementation. It is also important someone who has the ability to gather people and motivate them to work towards a common goal.
The interviewer needs to see that you understand the importance of your role as project manager.
Q: Describe the perfect project manager.
A: Capable, determined, and a good leader.
This question looks at your values.
Q: What do you think is your strongest skill or characteristics as a project manager?
A: Among my strongest skills are my communication, organization, and time management skills. I can easily get along with people. I am also the person who organizes things before getting it done. This is to make sure that everything goes according to plan. And if anything goes wrong, I still have the clearance to make necessary adjustments.
The interviewer gauges your skills as a manager and how do you use them to assemble a team to provide and implement the finest projects for the company.
Q: How do you maintain your skills in project management?
A: I maintain my skills by taking personal learning such as reading books, listening to other managers’ experience, and just continue educating myself with new experiences.
The company wants a manager who continues to grow as a person and as a professional.
Q: What are your favorite parts of being a project manager?
Q: How do you address a Red Status?
A: Red Status comes to every project — although it is something we don’t want to happen, there are times that it is just inevitable. I handle these situations by identifying the most immediate solution possible. Once the status is addressed, I sit on with my team to discuss the situation and devise plans on how to avoid it in the future.
The interviewer wants to know how you handle a difficult situation that comes along the way of project development and implementation.
Q: Do you have background or experience handling projects this big?
A: I have been a project manager for quite some time and I have the experience handling projects this big. Although they may not be totally similar projects, I think most of the projects I handled were of similar scope like this.
The interviewer wants to know your experience in managing projects of similar scope, provided that you are applying for a company of similar industries. If not, it is important to highlight your skills in handling projects as big as this.
Q: What is your approach to Risk Management?
A: My approach to Risk Management is early planning. I believe that the best way to mitigate risk is to be prepared for it. I establish a project plan along with a timetable. At the start of a project, I see to it that the team has a clear understanding of the processes and their respective responsibilities. I also implement techniques and use the tools available to see to it that the project is a success.
Companies are interested in project managers who are well prepared for any unprecedented situations during project development.
Q: How do you keep your team accountable for quality and not for quantity?
Q: How do you motivate your team?
A: I motivate my team my engaging them into personal development training. I also give credits when credit is due.
The interviewer wants to know how you handle your team and keep them motivated to be contributors.
Q: How do you handle teams with a lot of strong personalities?
A: As with all leadership positions, one of the important things to keep in mind is delegation. I kept track of everything while delegating in a way that kept the strongest personalities from clashing.
The interviewer wants to see how you deal with conflict.
Q: What’s the first thing you do when faced with a new project.
A: Define the goal.
The interviewer wants to see where your priorities lie.
Q: Do you think this position is going to be challenging?
A: All positions are challenging, in a way. That’s what makes them interesting.
The interviewer wants to see that you’re not afraid of a good challenge.
Q: Describe a disagreement you faced in the past.
A: I had someone I was leading say I was misleading the team. I took him out to lunch, and we talked about it. We apologized to each other. He respected me, and I changed my leadership style.
The interviewer wants to see how you handle conflict.
Q: What’s your response to a failed project?
A: I shoulder the blame and try to see where it went wrong. Then I use those lessons for the future.
The interviewer wants to see that you can be positive in the face of failure.
Q: What project software are you most comfortable with?
A: Basecamp has served most of my needs, but I’d be willing to learn something new if need be.
The interviewer wants to know that you’re willing to learn/know the company’s project software.
Q: What is your method for determining the schedule of a project?
A: A lot of different factors have to go into it. I do some research, seeing if I can’t learn about the timeframe of similar projects. I talk to all involved parties, getting the lay of the land. And then I talk to the people who need the project to be done. Taken together, this all determines the schedule.
The interviewer wants to see that you’re organized enough to be a good planner.
Q: What salary are you hoping for?
Project Management is a rewarding and fulfilling job. If you’re applying for such position and got lucky to land an interview, make sure that you highlight your management and communication skills well. It is also imperative that you understand the weight of responsibilities you are about to obtain once you got the position. So good luck!
Take a look at the project management interview questions and answers to be sure you are ready for any tricky question.