To excel in your next project management interview you need two things. Firstly, you need to read through the best answers for common project management interview questions. Secondly, do a practice interview and luckily, you can do both here. After reading the expected interview questions and answers, take a free mock interview where you will get detailed feedback from artificial intelligence software about your personality and skills.
Getting an interview call for project management is thrilling and daunting. It is exciting to get an opportunity to be interviewed for the job opportunity. When you get an interview call it means you have passed the first hiring phase and are one step closer to landing the job.
It is normal to get nervous before the interview. The most concerning part is which questions you will have to answer and how you are going to answer. The best thing to do is to take a project manager mock interview.
At the end of this post, there is a free project management mock interview, questions from real interviews, and feedback from artificial intelligence about your project management skills and personality. Practice makes perfect!
It is easy to get flustered by questions like what are your weaknesses or why are you interested in the position? Preparation makes sure you can answer questions, even tricky ones without hesitation.
Impressing the interviewer is a big task and the key to success is preparation. Here are seven common questions a candidate gets while interviewing for project management.
7 Common Project Management Interview Questions in a Mock Interview
Behavioral questions are a part of questions asked during a job interview. Be ready for a question that asks you to recall and explain with specific experience and examples.
The question allows the interviewer to check what type of project management the candidate has and what projects they are good at.
It is essential to be as specific as you can while answering a behavioral question. However, it’s also important to understand how much information is too much. Make sure that you are prepared to elaborate the answers with real explanations and situations.
Here is an example of how you should answer the question:
“While managing the project of installing a new system in an old office I got to test different things and check out their feasibility before making a decision. It gave me a chance to explore my options and pick the best one or use the knowledge to improve the existing processes.”
While managing a team, which communication styles do you use?
Communication is crucial for succeeding as a project manager. The question is asked to check if the candidate has adequate communication skills. Communication is the heart of project management. Managers have to deal with brainstorming sessions, online collaboration, and in-person discussions. The question allows the interviewer to see if the candidate can tailor their communication to the occasion.
It is a tricky question and answering it is not easy. Different circumstances require different communication styles. The first step to answering the question is recognizing the importance of successful communication and the benefits of different styles, for example:
“There are no set rules on how to communicate with different people during different phases of a project. It is essential to have the capacity to adapt the communication skills according to the situation. Sometimes it’s time to be assertive and there are other times when a manager has to act as a facilitator. I believe a capable project manager can adjust the communication style whenever needed.”
Project management interview questions: What process do you use to set project goals and monitor progress?
It is not possible to get a project done without setting clear goals. A project manager is responsible for creating objectives and keeping up with the progress. The question is straightforward as the interviewer wants to confirm that you can handle important tasks by setting SMART goals and keeping up with the progress.
The question is directly related to the qualifications and skills a candidate can bring to the table. The question deserves a tactical, thoughtful, and detailed response. Mention any tools or frameworks and tools you use to streamline the processes for the project team.
Here is an example:
“I believe in SMART goals. To ensure success, the goals of the project team must be achievable, specific, relevant, time-bound, and measurable. I make sure I maintain communication with the project team while setting goals to incorporate their opinions and thoughts on the direction of goals. To enhance excitement regarding the goals, it is essential to maintain realistic objectives. To monitor the progress of goals I use smaller milestones as it makes it easier to keep up with the progress and ensure everything is on track.”
How do you deal with team conflict?
Conflict is unavoidable on a project team and it is the manager’s job to resolve conflict. Project managers are responsible for resolving conflict effectively and efficiently. The interviewer wants to know how do you prefer to solve the issue and do not like sweeping things under the rug.
Think back to situations where you had to deal with conflict and mention the techniques you used to fix the issue.
Here is how you can answer the question;
“I understand that conflict is a part of every workplace. A project team compromises people of different personalities and there is going to be some friction. There are three approaches to dealing with conflict, confront or defuse. Firstly, I will put a limit on the interaction between conflicting parties. Separation makes it easier to root out the cause of the problem.
My next step is to facilitate one-on-one conversations so that I can identify if a certain task is a reason for confrontation. My next step is to call a problem-solving meeting of conflicting members so that they can sort things out. I ensure that I regularly check in on the original issue so that everything runs smoothly. Make sure there is no resentment among the team members”
What do you do to finish the project on schedule?
Deadlines are important in the successful completion of projects. The goal of asking the question in a project management interview is simple. They want to know that you can deliver on time and within the budget.
Start the answer by recognizing that even the best plan can go off the rails from time to time. A realistic project manager understands that. After the acknowledgment, you should explain in detail the typical approach you take to ensure the smooth running of the project.
Here is a sample of what a good answer would look like:
“Meeting deadlines is a crucial part of project management. The first step is to ensure that the team has a solid grasp of the project scope. Every member of the team must know what needs to be done before starting the project.
My next step is to schedule management which includes processes of time management to finish the project on time. The entire team must have easy access to the detailed schedule and processes. There must be no confusion about when the pieces of the project need to be delivered.
The schedule is flexible and can change with the circumstances. I like to frequently check the progress of the tasks so you can identify roadblocks and make changes accordingly.”
Even the most thought-out projects can face hiccups and it is the project manager’s job to fix things and get to the finish line. Surprises and problems are inevitable so the interviewer wants to ensure the candidate has problem-solving skills to deal with surprises.
It is a behavioral question and the best way to answer it is to use a real-world example. No project is perfect and there are always issues, so it will not be hard to find a realistic example. The ideal situation is the one that resulted in a win as it will showcase your abilities in the best way.
Here is a sample of what a good answer would look like:
“During my last project, I was given the responsibility of managing the renovation of a company’s website. The design and engineering team were at a halt about the layout of the home page. To move things along I called a meeting of the entire team making sure everyone gets a chance to share their suggestions. It made it possible to reach a compromise and move forward. It allowed me to deliver the project on time.”
What are the top three skills that are most important for becoming a good project manager?
While hiring a project manager the interviewers are looking for specific skills and they want to hear from the candidates about the best skills they can bring to the table.
The answer should include skills that are important to the project manager job you are applying for and the skills you have. Avoid planting seeds that undermine your qualification. Mention the three skills that are necessary for getting PM certification as they will demonstrate your knowledge.
Here is an example of answering the question:
“Project management requires excellent time management and organizational skills. They also need one to be good at communicating.
The Talent Triangle offers the ideal breakdown of the skills that an effective project manager must have. Combination of business and strategic management along with strong leadership and technical management ability is essential for succeeding as a project manager.”
It’s not possible to know every question the interviewer is going to ask you during an interview for a project management job but you can always prepare by going through common project management interview questions. It helps in giving an impressive interview and increases the chances of getting a callback. To increase your chances of being shortlisted, you should optimize your resume and improve your body language and public speaking skills.