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Frequently Asked Project Manager Interview Questions and Answers

10 Project Manager Interview Questions and Their Answers

Project managers with the right blend of soft and hard skills and work experience are considered invaluable assets to a company.
Hiring qualified project managers can get tricky, so interviewers review every candidate in a detailed manner. They (interviewers) ask candidates questions that test their technical abilities, knowledge of different project management concepts, and responses to specific scenarios.
Here are some interview questions frequently asked to project manager candidates, and ways to answer them.

Common Project Manager Interview Questions

Tell us about yourself

This common interview question is an opportunity to describe who you are and highlight points that can help you get the job. It is typically asked at the start of an interview to ease you and get a general overview of your professional capabilities.

Here’s how to answer this question:

The most effective way to answer this question is to start with recent achievements and the latest skills and move on to future plans.

Tell us about the last project you worked on

It’s common to discuss your work history and experience in an interview. There are many things that interviewers might gauge from your response to this question. They can determine:

  • Details about your past projects
  • Details about your team members
  • Project management methods and tools you prefer

Here’s how to answer this project manager interview question:

You should treat it like a story. First, set the context with the goal and the problem. Then, explain your approach and hurdles and finish with your achievement. Speak openly about what went well and be sure to mention some quantifiable metrics that showcase the outcome of the projects.

How do you prioritise tasks in a project?

Time management is a crucial skill that project managers need to perform their job well. So, it shouldn’t come as a surprise if an interviewer asks, “How do you prioritise tasks in a project?”
Knowing what to prioritise is the key to successfully completing a project. Moreover, interviewers try to understand if you know the difference between urgent and essential. A good answer addresses the difference between the two.

Here’s how to answer this question:

It’s best to give a real-life example to showcase your time management skills. Let the interviewer know you have a strategy to achieve the target on time.

Tell us about a time something went wrong in your project

Challenges and setbacks are typical in any project. However, the way you handle the challenges helps you stand out. An excellent project manager handles setbacks effectively.
Interviewers ask this question to determine your professional capability and understand how you deal with a setback or what you do when things don’t go according to plan.

Here are some tips on how to answer this question:

  • Outline what went wrong
  • Describe your actions or steps taken to reverse the situation
  • Emphasise on results or outcome
  • Discuss your learning

How would you describe a project plan and project’s lifecycle?

An interviewer will gauge your technical knowledge of basic project management concepts. Therefore, they might ask questions related to project management concepts that will help them determine your professional capabilities.
The best way to answer questions related to project management concepts is to state examples of how you implemented them (concepts) in the past or plan to use them in the future.

Tell us about your most successful project

Every project manager experiences their fair share of successful and unsuccessful projects. There are a few reasons why interviewers ask this question. First, they want to understand what you consider a success.

Success is a subjective concept. Hence, you might consider a project successful for meeting goals, deadlines, and budgets, while others might define success differently.

Here are some tips on how to answer this project manager interview question:

#Tip 1: Start by writing down a list of all the important projects you’ve worked on in your career. Note down the goals of these projects and how you brought the project to the finish line.

#Tip 2: Note down the outcome of all your projects.

#Tip 3: Prepare a concise answer using the STAR method (Situation, Task, Action, Result). Ensure your response demonstrates your abilities to set priorities, make decisions, meet deadlines, and delegate tasks.

What do you prefer- working on a single project or multiple projects simultaneously?

There is no right or wrong answer to this interview question. However, be open about your preference and managerial style with the interviewer.

What would you do when a project goes off the rails?

Projects go off track most of the time. As a project manager, you are responsible for getting the project on track. Monitoring a project’s course is your responsibility. The interviewer might ask this question to identify if you can handle a crisis and handle a problematic situation pragmatically.
The best approach to answer this question is to share real-life instances to explain your process of bringing projects on track.

Describe your work experience in the industry

The purpose of asking this question is to understand how your work experience will enhance your chances of gaining a competitive advantage over others.
Consider it a chance to elaborate on your skills and industry knowledge that align with the new role.

Here are some tips on how to answer this question effectively:

  • Focus on tasks that highlight the critical skills required for the job you are applying for
  • Talk about your previous accomplishments
  • Discuss your interpersonal relationships with your peers

What tools do you use to plan a project?

The project manager uses various tools to accomplish tasks and executing varied responsibilities. There are both manual and automated tools in project planning that a project manager can use. Interviewers might want to understand your familiarity with different project management tools.

Here’s how to answer this project manager interview question:

Mention all the project management tools you have used before. These can include tools like RACI charts or software like Trello. Also, describe how they helped in improving the project planning process.

Some other common project management interview questions:

  1. Tell us about your experience with budget management.
  2. How was your last project?
  3. How do you handle conflicts in the team?
  4. How do you manage underperforming team members?

Scenario-Based Project Manager Interview Questions

How well are you prepared to manage a team remotely?

Since project managers today need to handle a global workforce, one of the project manager interview questions will center around your ability to manage remote teams. The answer should revolve around the methodology you use to handle people in a remote environment. You can also list the strategies you undertake to ensure all tasks are completed on time when the team is remotely working.

What is the most desired skill to handle a difficult situation?

Possessing just one skill alone may not be enough to handle a difficult situation. For example, to handle a conflict, a successful project manager needs a wide range of skills such as leadership, communication, negotiation, conflict management and time management skills.

Here are some other scenario-based project manager interview questions:

  1. Which strategy, according to you, is effective in dealing with internal conflicts?
  2. How do you stay organised while handling multiple projects?
  3. Describe a situation when you had to perform something for which you had no training or expertise in.

How to prepare for a Project Manager Interview?

Tip 1: Be prepared to handle any situation

Tip 2: Ask questions at the end of the interview

Tip 3: Research the company beforehand

Tip 4: Refer to case studies of projects that went well

Tip 5: Practice common interview questions and answers before the interview to demonstrate the right attitude and skill in the actual interview

If you are looking to learn new project management concepts or refresh old ones, consider taking a project management certification course.
Emeritus India offers various advanced courses in project management designed for fresh graduates and experienced professionals to help them understand project management concepts and deliver projects on time and stipulated budget without compromising quality.  Our programmes are offered in association with renowned institutes like IIT, IIM, and ISB.

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Emeritus brings you the latest learning trends, in-demand skills, and research across the most sought-after professions. Discover the benefits of lifelong learning with us.
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