As per a PWC survey, the career in project management is growing at a rate of 12% on an average. This fact makes it pretty obvious that choosing project management as your career is the best decision of your life.
So, if you aspire to become a project management professional, you first need to know the basic thing about what it is and why it is important.
What is PMP ® (Project Management Professional)?
PMP ® (Project Management Professional) is a certification, which is internationally recognized and valued. This certification for a project manager is offered by Project Management Institute across the globe.
Designed for project managers, the PMP course is for both fresher and experienced to improve their skills and ultimately their career in project management. Besides basic project management and its usage, this project management course provides an overview of concepts such as process groups and the project triangle in project management.
Let’s come back to the primary context of the topic- PM interview questions
Since every interview is different, but they hold the one similarity of making even the most confident people nervous. And especially for a position like a project manager, it is sure to bounce your heart rate. Well, you don’t need to worry because you can cope up with the situation by going through some project management interview questions and preparing them beforehand to crack the interview.
However, the problematic situation of a job seeker is also applicable for employers or companies who are looking to fill the project manager position. They need someone with the breadth of knowledge and skills, along with mastery in communication and methodologies. But, it’s hard to find a person who is apt for both the job criteria and culture of an organisation.
We’re compiling here a list of 25 project manager interview questions that will be helpful for interviewee as well as interviewers. However, this is just one viewpoint, and there can be more than thousands of questions related to project management with multiple viewpoints
As the focus of organizations is slowly shifting towards flexibility and agility in the projects, the interview questions are also focusing on the same. We have made this list of questions keeping the same perception in mind.
Project Management Interview Questions Based on Experience
In this part, we’ll cover few general project management interview questions that interviewer may ask to evaluate the knowledge and skills acquired because of the previous experience. If you are a fresher in the field, then you may only face some basic questions about yourself.
1. What’s your previous experience in the industry?
Well, if you have some experience in this industry, then it’s definitely not a game closer. The project management is similar to industry to industry. But, if you don’t have direct experience, you can showcase your skills that relate to the industry. And if you hold a specific experience in the field, then highlight the point by briefing about the relevant projects you handled successfully. Answer the question confidently and don’t lose your authenticity.
2. Which are your greatest weaknesses and strengths?
Every person has some weaknesses and strengths. The main reason behind asking this question is to check whether you are willing to improvise and whether you know yourself well on the basis of your strengths.
Do not show yourself as a perfectionist, because sometimes it may backfire against you. Represent yourself smartly by putting your weaknesses to explain you’ve scope for improvement and you’re good at it as well. Likewise, when you showcase your strengths, it should lie in line with the job need, and not your personal preference.
However, this question is simple and repetitive, but interviewer may further frame many questions based on the answers.
3. Can you cite some examples of instances of where you did team development for your team?
Good project management calls for a team management skill and team development, along with the leadership and mentoring skills for the project success. If you believe the same, then only you can understand this question.
Here you need to illustrate your people management skills you’ve developed with some examples. You can also give your knowledge demonstration by explaining the whole procedure of team development. You need to represent your leadership, conflict management, mentoring and team grooming skills.
4. How you cope up with pressure situation?
This is one of the most commonly asked interview questions to analyze your knowledge on the subject and management, along with an evaluation whether you’ve actually gone through tough pressure situations on the project.
Thus, this is a good opportunity to mention the already faced situation by giving one or two examples. You can make the interviewer better estimate your skills by explaining some problem-solving techniques such as root cause analysis with five why’s etc.
5. Why should we hire you? Give some reasons.
If you fit the job, then this one question will definitely hear from you. This question will also judge your willingness and confidence for the adaption. So, you should focus on highlighting the fact that how you are an able fit for the job. Sometimes an interviewer may tell you that you don’t meet certain criteria, you need to show your shift willingness and keenness to learn the specific gaps. It is also a point, where you can express something important that has been missed in earlier questions.
6. Do you have any specific reason for quitting your current organization?
This question is general but most important for a senior position like a project manager. It is to judge how ethically you put forward your current organization and then answer. Do not say any negative things about your earlier organization as it will only create a bad impression.
Instead, you should give reasons such as career growth or interest towards the organization you appear for the interview. Try not to play the lame game. As when you switch again in future, whatever you are saying for your previous organization, you would be repeating the same in future for the interviewed organization. Therefore, be cautious with your answer.
Project Management Interview Questions Based on Project
The role of the interviewer is to look for the best candidate who has the ability to drive the project towards success. The interviewer will ask few questions to test your knowledge on how you handle the projects. So, do your preparation with the required project details you’ve handled previously.
7. What was a challenging situation in your job and how you managed it?
This question is usually put to identify if you can show adaptability to a challenging situation and mental agility to decide how to act in such situations. So, you should take this as an opportunity to showcase your skills and bring across your experience of agile project management effectively.
As the question takes you from theoretical to the practical conversation, you can give examples of some real-life problems. Tell how you lead the team and go beyond your limits.
8.What should you demonstrate as a leader?
The essential competency for leadership is being honest and trustworthy. A good leader should demonstrate ethics and values in his/her personal behaviour and integrate them into organizational activities. While leaders should also open up with their employees and model transparency and fairness, they do not reveal the information, which is potentially harmful. If you want, you can also share your knowledge about the PMI code of ethics.
9. What’s the difference between project, program and portfolio?
The objectives of the project are defined, and the project manager progressively presents the high-level information scope into the comprehensive plans during the complete project lifecycle. The programs have a larger scope and are managed in a coordinated way to accomplish the different portions of the overall goal.
Comprehensive planning is done at the component level in the program. The business scope of the portfolio varies with the change in strategic goals of an organization. It helps achieve organizations some common high-level purpose.
10. How do you determine the communication needs of stakeholders and how do you communicate with them?
Based on the position in the power/influence grid, impact/influence grid and power/interest grid, the communication needs of stakeholders are defined. Another effective technique is salience modelling. It’s a qualitative assessment to determine the communication type, and details stakeholders need for the project. To be an effective communicator, you need to apply slightly different approach every time.
11. How do you delegate the responsibilities and when was the last time you failed to do it properly?
This is a little tricky question, but it’s the one that has a hidden question inside it. This question is to identify how you make sure that your team members are working to their full potential and are meeting their deadlines. It will need you to clearly define your responsibilities, arranging regular meetings and encouraging team members to approach in case of any concerns.
As the question also demands you to tell about your mistake, it is put to assess how you learn from mistakes and handle the overload of information. Even if you’ve not gone through such a situation in your professional life, try to bring parallel examples from your personal life to depict your capability of learning from mistakes.
12. How do you know the project is not on track?
Every project is unique, but they are bound to hit a snag during the project progress. But, it is not necessary that every project manager is aware of the delay or issue until the issue goes beyond repair. So, it is important for a manager to monitor and track the progress of the project to immediately check if it’s not going as per the benchmarks you’ve set in the planning stage.
It is perhaps the most crucial responsibility of a project manager, and it is possible to track and monitor everything with the help of right tools. The early detection of risks is critical so as to make any changes as per the project benchmarks.
13. How do you get a project back on a track, if it’s not adhering to the schedule?
If the project is not going as per schedule, then it is of much importance to getting it back on a track. When you acknowledge that there is a discrepancy between the actual and planned progress, you should take steps to bring the project back on track without exposing the enterprise to any threats or risks. You should have enough confidence to answer such questions with practical specifications.
14. What can be the associated risks during any project?
This is certain that interviewer will ask you this question to clarify if you can work on risk handling properly. There are several types of risks in any project. You need to have the proper knowledge to ensure the success of the project.
The risk of the project depends on various factors, which includes internal or external factors, and technical factors. This will also depend on the project type and the team allocated to it. So, for any project manager, risk assessment is one of the essential qualities.
15. What will be the ideal project in your terms?
Of course, the ideal project is the one that the interviewer is looking to fill the position. But, you need to answer honestly while answering this type of question during the interview. Tell the sort of projects that really excites you and what you excel at.
Always put forward your strong points and take care that they look relevant to the project in the organization where you’re probably going to join as a project manager. Try doing some research to know about the type of projects that they will appoint you during your work.
16. Do you bother to take help outside of your project team?
Of course, you’re not perfect at everything. Still, some of you may show that they are fully independent and never need any kind of help. But, the project manager is one who is more resourceful and knows when to take help from mentors or network of professionals.
So, you should never say no as an answer, and rather you should deal with it in an appropriate way. You can say that many situations may come when you may need the help of others, but it all depends on the type of situation.
17. Do you have any preferred methodology for project management?
Based on the project, there is more than one way, or you can say several ways to manage a project. You should have complete information of all these methodologies before you appear for the interview. Whether you choose to go with the traditional methods such as a waterfall or use hybrid method for project management, you will need to get into each and every detail of methods you use.
Ideally, you should know every way of work and preferably the one that best suits the work at hand. This is because you may need to do variations in methods according to the project type and current workplace situations.
18. What are the different kinds of tools or software that you prefer to use for project management?
From simple to complex, there are many tools that you can use for different purposes like planning, monitoring and reporting on the project. You don’t need to go with any specific tools used by the company; you should choose the one with good knowledge. Or else, it is better to research the market and know about some useful and popular tools.
This question is to reveal how up-to-date you’re regarding the knowledge of project management tools and software. It will provide a clear picture of what tools or software you use for project management. The knowledge of these things will definitely lend you better chances of a successful interview. So, it’s better if you choose the tools you’ve previously used or had some prior knowledge about.
19. How will you improve your knowledge about project management?
Hiring employees is a big investment for any company. The company will always expect to see the improvements in your knowledge and skills if they hire you for the project manager position. So, you continually need to upgrade your skills to remain relevant. However, it is good if you grow your knowledge with the latest software tools and the invention of the process regularly in the landscape of project management.
In this question, you basically need to demonstrate that what you are going to do to grow in your field. You can join workshops/courses for the certification. You can also discuss your interactions with project managers to stay up-to-date with the latest.
20. How can you manage a change request?
It is a common process in any company to need any type of particular change in the final product or project. In such a situation, the project manager will first need to assess the situation properly, along with the possible required changes in the project. While there may be some changes that will not take a lot of your time, some other changes may want you to spend a lot of time as well as money. Also, the factors like estimation of final project costs will depend on when you will deal with such kind of change request.
21. What is the one quality you think is the most essential trait of a good project manager?
A good project manager should be proactive enough. It is the essential quality that a project manager should have to determine any deviation signs in time and as well as a cost to project progress as earliest as possible. This ability to handle the potential risks, weak points and deviations allows rectifying the situation on time and minimizing its impact on the project.
22. Do you have any experience in managing outsourced resources and remote teams?
With a global workforce and many dynamic tools for project management, many project managers may not need to handle or execute projects under one roof. Some important resources need to be outsourced, involving different management technique than used to work with the employees. This is therefore essential to explain how you can manage people and resources.
23. What strategy do you use to prioritize your tasks on a project?
It is always important to do the prioritization. As there are a lot of tasks involved in the day to day life of a project manager, you need to determine what is more important or crucial and as to what can be left undone, ultimately prioritizing the tasks accordingly. In simple words, it is to see how you as a candidate make the decisions.
24. Do you have any methods to gain commitment from your team?
By influencing and encouraging the team to set objectives, leaders can establish cohesion and cooperative spirit for goal attainment. You can take the team on the performance phase very quickly.
By instigating a passion for personal commitment and promoting a productive culture, you can fill an inspiration of a commitment to excellence and success in your team. Also, if you value the individuals and their contributions, then even you can get a source of commitment from your team.
25. Is there any biggest mistake you have ever made on a project?
Mistakes are a part of life. The important thing is how you deal with them. This purpose of this question is first to gauge the honesty of the candidate. And if you say that you have never made a mistake, then you are faking to act as truthful, and your resume will surely go into a circular file. However, when you tell about the mistake you’ve done, you’ve to tell of course how you resolved it. This will reveal your level of maturity.
So, this is our list of top 25 project management interview questions and answers. We hope you’ll find these questions a helpful resource to prepare for the project management interview. However, you may not find these 25 questions enough for the preparation of the interview, as the list of questions is enormous.
The role of a project manager is vital in project management. So, you should give a high priority to this interview as the employer will seek the multiple skills in the candidate. The candidate appearing for the job position will need to have proficiency in all the skills. The candidate should also demonstrate good decision making and adaptability skills. Here we have discussed the most important facts that employers give the highest priority in hiring a candidate for the position of project manager.