Project managers ensure that the client’s requirements are met; the project is completed on time, and within budget. Typical responsibilities of a project manager include representing the client’s interest, organizing people working on the project, risk assessment, making sure the quality standards are met etc. Depending on the project, responsibilities can cover all aspects from the design stage through to completion and handover to the client. Below are some frequently asked project manager interview questions and answers. However, you should be prepared with other questions as well.
1 Q: What were the projects that you handled before?
A: Describe the projects that you have handled briefly and accurately. Always answer honestly as sometimes you may be asked to produce a certification or they even contact your previous employer. Through this question, the interviewer gets an idea as to what kind of projects you will be able to handle efficiently. Answer in a few sentences and in a confident tone.
2 Q: What did you find the most challenging aspects of the project?
A: This question allows the interviewer to know how good you are in handling challenges and problems. Describe a situation based on your actual work experience. Then say about the solutions that you implemented. You should give a very honest answer to this question.
3 Q:. Describe your way of encouraging your team members?
A: The interviewer wants to determine your leadership skills. Share your key strengths and also mention how you have used them in various projects. For saying about your weakness avoid denying that you don’t have any weakness. Describing about your weakness shows that you accept this fact and also suggest the steps you are taking to overcome it.
4 Q: What are the essential qualities of a project manager?
A: The essential qualities of a project manager are good communication skills, leadership, ability to delegate tasks and problem solving skills. You can describe giving examples where you have shown such skills in your previous job. Answer in brief and to the point. Show your enthusiasm while saying your answer.
5 Q: What project management systems do you use?
A: The interviewer wants to know whether you have the required knowledge of existing management models and systems. Mention all the programs and software that you have used previously. Also, describe about the training you took for acquiring new knowledge. This will show how you are interested in updating your knowledge.
6 Q: How do you perform under stress?
A: A project manager will have to deal with stressful. So the interviewer will want to know whether you are able to deal with such situations. Give example of your work situation from the past. Describe why it was stressful and how you overcame the situation. You can also add your ways of dealing with stress in your answer.
7 Q:. What was your greatest success as a project manager?
A: Describe in detail the project that you consider was the most successful and explain your reasons. You can say this answer in the best way possible as it brings your success as a project manager. You need to prove that you did bring success as a project manager.
8 Q:. What was your biggest failure as a project manager?
A: Say this answer in such a way that it brings a positive impression of you on the interviewer. Describe the cause of the failure but mention what you learnt from it and how it has made you a better manager. Always end in a positive and confident tone.
9 Q:. Why should we hire you?
A: This question basically aims at selling yourself. You have to align your answer to the company and focus on the benefits you can bring. Describe your way of contributing to the company and what skills and abilities you bring with you. Limit your answer in a few sentences.
10 Q: What do you think are the main causes of project failure?
A: There are various reasons why projects fail. Describe some of them in brief. Some of the reasons can be poor governance of project, poor implementation and loss of focus on project benefits. However keep your answer short and also explain how these reasons can be resolved so that a project does not result in a failure.
11 Q: What are your long term goals?
A: This question is asked to see how goal oriented you are. This is a good chance to tell the interviewer how you progressed through your career, and what you did to achieve your goals. Be specific and to the point. You need to show the interviewer that you have a goal in life and you know where you are going.
12 Q: Why do you want to leave your job?
A: Avoid making negative remarks about your previous boss or employees or the company even if they are true. You will be viewed as a person with a negative attitude. Say something short and positive. You can very well say that you are looking for a change in environment or a more challenging job etc. Whatever you say, you should not sound negative.
13 Q: Have you ever faced any disagreements in your previous job?
A: A project manager has to face many disappointments. They can be between employees, between the boss and employees or between client and employee. Avoid saying that you never ever faced disagreements as it is difficult to believe this. Come up with one incident where you had to face disagreements and how you resolved the situation using your skills and experience. Talk in a few sentences and end in a positive tone.
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Project Interview Questions
1. Project skills interview questions
• Tell us about a successful project in which you participated and how you contributed to the success of that project.
• You are given the assignment of project manager and the team members have already been identified. To increase the effectiveness of your project team, what steps will you take?
• Do you understand milestones, interdependencies? Resource allocation?
• Do you know what Project Software the new company uses and is there training for it?
• What is EVM? how will you use it in managing projects?
• What is a project? and what is program?
• What are project selection methods?
• When you are assigned a project, what steps do you take to complete the project?
• As you begin your assignment as a project manager, you quickly realize that the corporate sponsor for the project no longer supports the project. What will you do?
• Your three month project is about to exceed the projected budget after the first month. What steps will you take to address the potential cost overrun?
• Companies have historically looked at technical skills, but more and more business managers are realizing that not have “people” skills tend to cripple projects.
• How many projects you handled in the past? Deadlines met? On time/ within budget? Obstacles you had to overcome?
• Which document will you refer for future decisions?
• How will you define scope?
• Do you inspect or plan for quality ?
• What is the output of scope definition process?
• What is quality management?
• What did you like about the project and dislike about the project?
• What did you learn from the project?
• What are two common but major obstacles for a project like this? What would you do in the face of these obstacles to keep your team on schedule?
• What is project charter? What are the elements in a project charter?
• What experience have you had in project management?
• Name five signs that indicate your project may fail.
• Tell us about a project in which you participated and your role in that project.
• Describe what you did in a difficult project environment to get the job done on time and on budget.
• What actions are required for successful executive sponsorship of a project?
• How did you get your last project?
• What were your specific responsibilities?
• In this field (the field you are interviewing for), what are three critically important things you must do well as a project manager in order for the project to succeed?
• What metrics would you expect to use to determine the on-going success of your project?
• What distinguishes a project from routine operations?
• What are the three constraints on a project?
• What are the five control components of a project?
• What qualifications are required to be an effective project manager?
• Your project is beginning to exceed budget and to fall behind schedule due to almost daily user change orders and increasing conflicts in user requirements. How will you address the user issues?
• You’ve encountered a delay on an early phase of your project. What actions can you take to counter the delay? Which actions will have the most effect on the result?
• What are the necessary steps to successful project management?
• How do you plan for a project?
• What is important to consider when planning a (your type of project)?
• What are things that you have found to be low priority when planning for (your type of project)?
• You have been assigned as the project manager for a team comprised of new employees just out of college and “entry-level” consulting staff. What steps can you take to insure that the project is completed against a very tight time deadline?
• What is a “project milestone”?
• What is “project float”?
• What methods have you used for estimation?
• How would you start a project?
• If you were to deliver a project to a customer, and timely delivery depended upon a sub-supplier, how would you manage the supplier? What contractual agreements would you put in place?
• Which tool would you use to define, manage and control projects?
• What is risk management and how will you plan risk response?
• What are outputs of project closure?
• What are the methods used for project estimation?
2. Leadership interview questions
• Tell me how you would react to a situation where there was more than one way to accomplish the same task, and there were very strong feelings by others on each position.
• Consider that you are in a diverse environment, out of your comfort zone. How would you rate your situational leadership style?
• Give me an example of your leadership involvement where teamwork played an important role.
• How do you handle non-productive team members?
• How do you motivate team members who are burned out, or bored?
• How do you handle team members who come to you with their personal problems?
• What are your career goals? How do you see this job affecting your goals?
• Explain how you operate interdepartmentally.
3. Judgment interview questions
• What would you do if you found out that a contractor was in a conflict of interest situation?
• If I were to contact your former employee, what would he say about your decision-making abilities?
• Give me an example of a win-win situation you have negotiated.
• Tell me about your verbal and written communication ability. How well do you represent yourself to others? What makes you think so?
• Give me an example of a stressful situation you have been in. How well did you handle it? If you had to do it over again, would you do it differently? How do you deal with stress, pressure, and unreasonable demands?
• Tell me about a tough decision you had to make?
4. Experience interview questions
• Describe what you did at your work place yesterday.
• How would you solve the following technical problem? (Describe a typical scenario that could occur in the new position.)
• What strengths did you bring to your last position?
• Describe how those contributions impacted results?
5. Competency interview questions
• Tell me about special projects or training you have had that would be relevant to this job.
• What are some things that you would not like your job to include?
• What are your current work plans? Why are you thinking about leaving your present job?
• Describe an ideal job for you.
• Why are you interested in this position?
• Describe what you think it would be like to do this job every day.
• What do you believe qualifies you for this position?