The project manager is often the most important role within any company’s product cycle or project life cycle.
As the name suggests, the project manager is the person who manages projects based on time-schedule, quality and budget.
Therefore, he or she also manages directly or indirectly some of the company’s employees.
This article provides wide-ranging project management interview questions and answers for the project manager (PMO) as well as for the product manager position.
Project Manager Job Description
To be frank, a project manager is rarely responsible for directly doing the project work within a company. The key responsibility area of the project manager is to get the job done and delegate it to the others. The project manager assumes responsibility (either short-term or long-term) for being the project employees’s manager. S/he is therefore an integral part in the company’s work culture and carries on many duties and responsibilities running the day-to-day project tasks.
The project manager must have technical, financial and business development knowledge and skills.
The project manager’s basic strengths may include:
Leadership, teamwork management, good communication skills (with clients and co-workers), analytic thinking, prioritization, highly motivated person, initiator, strong decision-maker, problem solver and multi-tasker.
With all that in mind, the interview and interview questions for a project manager are very important to the hiring process and can, at times, be quite challenging.
This article consists of two parts –
1. General project management questions.
2. Professional project manager interview questions.
After reading this 1300 words article, you may also find interesting information reading:
Team leader interview and Management interview articles that are located at – Management Skills Interview category.
Here are some questions that are asked in a general project management interviews:
Where have you worked before?
Rarely is an inexperienced person taken in as a project manager. Any project manager would have at least two or three years of experience either as an employee or as a project manager. Therefore, this is one of the basic questions asked. Make sure that you give a brief and concise answer to this question, without going too much into the details. Also, make sure that everything you say as an answer to this question is factual.
What are some of the projects that you handled in the previous job?
As an experienced professional, you are bound to have a portfolio, and this is the right time to share such a portfolio with the interviewer. Make sure that the portfolio you share is authentic as your previous portfolio will decide whether the interviewer will be interested in you or not.
What are your greatest achievements in your professional life?
Apart from the portfolio, everyone has some project or aspect of their jobs that they hold close to their heart. This is the time to inform the interviewer about what your favorite project was and why. Of course, you have to make sure that you do not go on a ramble and genuinely discuss some of your favorite projects.
refer to – Greatest Achievement article for further info.
Have you ever faced any disagreements in your previous job? How did you solve it out?
A project manager has to take into consideration several disagreements. They can be between employees, between the superior and the employees, or even the client and the employees.
If you reply that you have never had any disagreements, the interviewer will wonder whether you were really a project manager for your skills or simply because you are a people pleaser.
Make sure that you come up with at least one incident where employees and superiors had differences in thought and you were instrumental in changing the scenario.
Have you ever had disappointments?
No job is without its disappointments. The disappointments can be anything, from an employee who left for personal reasons or the project that you did not bag because of the financials involved.
Make sure that you provide a quick and factual answer for this question.
These and other questions are randomly asked for the interview of the position of a project manager.
There are several types of project managers – it goes without saying that there are different aspects that decide whether a person fits the post of the project manager or not.
The following issues/questions are for an experienced/senior project manager:
Project management tools
One common question is about the various project management tools that you have worked with. One frequently used project management tool is MS Project.
Business management tools
Other than that, the questions may also contain information about which business management tools, like SAP, ERP, BANN, etc have you worked with.
Project Business plan and budget
With these many questions, the interviewer will also like to know whether you created the project business plan and were kept in the loop about the financial aspects of the project. The interviewer would also like to know whether you were the one who monitors the budget/incomes of the project, like – costs, income, gross profit and net profit etc.
Project’s prioritization methodologies
As a project manager, you would have prioritization methods that would be instrumental in solving any problem that your company or institute faced.
What were your prioritization methods?
Project’s risk factors
Every project manager is aware of the risk factors of any project. As a project manager, how did you monitor these risks during the project life cycle?
One another simple question asked is whether you have managed a team directly or indirectly. The interviewer will also be interested to know how you have managed any project that is multidisciplinary, like matrix management or even cross country management.
Subcontractors, vendors and suppliers
Another question that is commonly asked, due to the ever increasing boundaries of the business, is whether you have ever outsourcing works to subcontractors or with firms located in a country other than yours.
The interviewer would also be interested in knowing whether you were responsible for selecting the vendors and suppliers for your project.
(SOW and contract?)
Since a project manager can be responsible for the supply chain management and procurement, you would also be asked questions about the same – in a bid to know whether you have handled these tasks.
Cross-company management, matrix management
A project manager has to liaise with other departments in the company, like the procurement, the R&D, as well as the Logistics department. Other than that, the project manager may also have to interact with customers and company’s parters. Sometimes, the project manager may also be responsible for the invoicing and financial issues of his projects. Do you have that project management experience?
SOW & Action Items
While the interviewer is at it, they may also be interested in finding out about your projects and your contribution to those projects.
Therefore, they may be asked questions about documentations such as: the SOW (scope of work) that your project had, Site Surveys Provisional Acceptance as well as the action items and tasks that were conducted.
Project’s status information – Transparency
With the advent of the corporate culture, transparency is the moot point in any company.
Therefore, you might also be asked about the information that you passed on to the executives and other key management members of your company about the project.
This is not an exhaustive list of the questions that will be asked. There are several other technical questions that are asked during the project manager interview, depending on the job description and the elevation of the job title in the company.
Make sure that you read about the job description and job requirments well before you opt for a project manager interview.
Further reading –