HR managers and senior executives recognize that project management is an indispensable part of a business’s success. They know that experienced, knowledgeable, and skilled project managers are among their most valuable resources.
Due to the cruciality of the role of project managers, the job interview in this domain can be a little tricky and intimidating. The interviewers ask questions around multiple things besides domain-specific questions – will the candidate fit in the organization’s culture? Will he/she get along with the team members while leading them effectively? Will the candidate be competent enough to achieve the project goals on time?
Therefore, getting through a project management interview is both a science and an art. Though there will be a lot of things with which you might be unfamiliar, focusing on key competencies and areas and giving the right answers confidently in the interview will help you get selected. Generally, in a project management interview, you are likely to encounter questions around technical knowledge, people skills and a few of them might be scenario-based as well. While you can’t prepare for every project management interview question in advance, it is highly recommended to go prepared with answers to a few common yet important questions:
Project Management Interview – Scenario-Based Questions
A few of the many scenario-based questions that can potentially be asked in a project management interview are:
How do you define an ideal project?
This is one of the most important project management interview questions. With this, the interviewer intends to know the type of projects you would be interested in taking up. It is advisable to answer this question honestly as it will help you in getting the chance to manage the type of projects in which you can excel.
What is your strategy/way for prioritizing the tasks?
Irrespective of its scope and size, prioritization is a pivotal concept which determines the project’s success and timely completion. If the interviewer asks you questions on prioritization, your response should include the way in which you differentiate between importance and urgency. You can tackle this project management interview question by talking about how you determine the crucial tasks and leave the unnecessary ones behind. Basically, this question is put across to test the degree of adaptability and flexibility you possess. Additionally, your answer should reflect that you are well-aware of when to say no to the projects.
Suppose the project you are managing has gone off the rails. What actions or steps would you take to bring it back on track?
After realizing that the project is not moving as per the designed timeline, scope, goals or budget, the top priority would be to bring it back on track. You can say that you would take appropriate steps to resolve the discrepancy between planned progress and actual progress. You can also talk about re-adjusting resource management, putting in extra efforts, finding the root cause of off-tracking, and more.
Can you give an instance of a failed project? Have you ever had any such experience?
It is important to accept that success and failure are parts of everyone’s career in project management. Therefore, it wouldn’t be wise to say ‘no’ to this question. Instead, think of a phase or an event in your previous project where you experienced setback or failure. This project management interview question is aimed at checking your experience in managing expected and unexpected risks. Do not miss out on including how you handled the problem.
These were a few scenario-based project management interview questions. You can prepare for other similar questions to increase your chances of clearing the interview.
Project Management Interview – Technical Questions
Explain about the triple constraint triangle of project management in brief.
Every project has certain hazards and restrictions that must be efficiently handled to be successful in the end. Your answer to this project management interview question should include scope, money, and time as three critical restrictions. These restrictions make the project management triangle. You can explain about these restrictions a little more by telling how you use these in your day-to-day job.
Which metrics did you use for measuring the progress of your last three projects?
Answer this question carefully as this will show your ability to ensure that the timeframes are properly adhered to in a dynamic project. You can stick to the metrics you actually used and keep your answer brief.
What is your project management style?
Before taking up a project management interview, you should be aware of different project management styles. With this project management interview question, the interviewer wants to check what your leadership style is, if you are self-aware or not and how approachable you are. To answer this, share a success story of the leadership style you followed, and how it proved to be beneficial for you and the organization. Do not forget to read well about different leadership styles before you sit for the interview.
You can also say that you have a flexible approach, and your leadership style varies depending on the team. Some people believe in leading by example while a few of them require some persuasion.
Skills Needed for Project Management
All the skills needed for project management cannot be explicitly stated, however, a few of the important ones are:
- Effective communication
- Scheduling and time management
- Risk management
- Technical expertise
- Critical thinking and problem solving
- Cost management
- Planning and forecasting
How to Prepare for a Project Management Interview – Take up a Certification Course
Now that you have read through various project management interview questions and answers, you must have gotten a fair idea about how a project management interview is carried out. Though you can gain some theoretical knowledge about project management by reading up or talking to project managers, it cannot be compared with the in-depth knowledge and practical skills that you gain after undertaking a project management certification courses. Once you are through with it, the project management interview will seem like a cakewalk and the chances of clearing the interview would also increase.
Emeritus India offers top-notch and exhaustive project management certification courses in partnership with world-class universities. A few of such courses are Advanced Programme in Strategic Project Management from IIM Calcutta, Executive Certificate Program in Advanced Project Management from SPJIMR and others. You can choose any of the project management certification course depending on whether you are beginning or advancing your career in project management.