The job-seeker's guide to project management interview
There are project managers at all different levels of
experience and skills. Accordingly, a range of different project
management interview questions exists.
Nevertheless, there are some common questions all project managers need
to be prepared for. If you focus on these and think up effective
answers, you will place yourself well ahead of the pack.
Let's get into these interview questions and possible approaches to
# Tell me about your project management experience
Many job seekers dread open ended questions like this.
Yet, the fact is that these questions are an excellent opportunity to
put your best foot forward and set the tone for the entire interview.
The person asking the question is in effect, giving you a lot of
control over the meeting.
The key to answering this question well is to prepare for it in
advance. You need to present a structured answer. One way of doing it
is to say that you will highlight two / three of your past projects.
Then you can briefly outline each project, how the project tied into
your organization, the challenges / risk factors you faced in the
projects. Mention how you worked your way around those situations. Be
sure to demonstrate how teamwork is one of your strengths.
Highlight the skills you exercised and developed as a result of being
involved in these projects.
Further, show how you benefited your company with these skills. For
instance, maybe one of the projects you did was delivered on time
despite a tight budget and manpower constraints. Showcase this and
other similar ways you helped your organization (keeping everyone
focused and motivated, utilizing existing resources fully, etc).
In short, try to demonstrate that you are an excellent project manager
and that you bring valuable abilities and experience to the table for
your prospective employer.
# Tell us about how you handle disagreements at your workplace
As a project manager, you are not new to disagreements! You have to
deal with diverse pulls and pressures from clients, superiors and team
members involved in the project.
When answering this question, mention one or two specific instances of
how you were instrumental in bringing about balance and agreement in a
scenario where people where wanting to go in different directions.
At any rate, never say that you do not have to face any disagreements
or conflicts at your job! That is simply not true.
# How do you prepare your business / project plan?
This sort of question is typically reserved for senior project
management professionals who have considerable experience in the field.
The interviewers would want to know if you have prepared and monitored
business plans and budgets relating to the project. They'd like to know
what leeway you had in this regard (which is an indication of how much
responsibility you actually had).
They also want to get a feel for how you monitor and report project
parameters like costs, revenues, measures of quality, time frames and
so on. Some job interviewers may want to know your experience with
business and project management software including SAP, BANN, etc.
Being well prepared for common project management interview questions
with sensible answers is the key to getting the job offers you want, on
the terms you desire.