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The 5 Most Common Project Management Interview Questions

1. Why are you interested in this role?

Other versions of this question:

  • Tell me about why you’re interviewing here today.
  • Why did you apply to this position?
  • Tell me about yourself.

According to Inc., “Tell me about yourself” and “Tell me about your interest in this position” questions are common for any interview, so they’re both worth preparing for. The interviewer wants to get a quick overview of who you are, and why you might be a good fit for their company.

Consider this question to be a request to walk through your resume. Briefly outline what attracted you to the role that you’re interviewing for, and then follow up with a few details about previous work and what makes you, you.

You don’t need to explain your divorce or why you left your hometown, but your interviewer should come away from this question understanding why you think this job is a good fit for you, what fuels your decision-making, and an overview of you as a candidate.

2.What are the three key challenges for our industry today and how can these be tackled effectively?

This question enables the candidate to think about the top challenges of the industry in which your organization operates. The response from the candidate reveals his understanding of the industry, the market, current challenges, and possible solutions. This knowledge is critical to the success of any Project Manager as they will be tackling these challenges inside the organization if they get hired. So this question helps the hiring managers assess whether the candidate has the domain knowledge that makes them fit for the role.

3. Tell me about a time when your stakeholders didn’t agree on a project. How did you proceed?

Other versions of this question:

  • Tell me about your ability to “manage up.”
  • How do you encourage cooperation between your stakeholders?
  • What soft skills are most important to a project manager?

Monster.com notes that companies are interested in project managers who can inspire cooperation between all parties.

Interviewers asking this question are looking for stories that will prove you have these necessary soft skills for the job. BMake sure to brainstorm stories about your former project management roles in anticipation of this question and use them as a confirmation that you have the mediation skills that these hiring managers are looking for.

One of the most important skills for Project Managers is communication. Without this everything else fails. Communication is the life and blood of any project. It’s claimed that about 90% of a Project Manager’s time is spent communicating. In today’s siloed organizations, communication happens between various groups and levels, including internal as well as external groups of stakeholders. 

What were the communication challenges on your last project?
 What is your communication style with your team?

The first question helps you assess how effectively the candidate handles communication in challenging situations. The second question helps you understand how the candidate engages with others and assess whether they demonstrate good sense and judgement and are able to use language effectively.

4. Have you ever experienced project failure? What happened?

Other versions of this question:

  • Tell me about a time you failed.
  • Share a challenging situation that you experienced while working on a project. How did you deal with it? What did you learn?
  • Can you think of a time where you learned from your mistakes? What happened?

It’s happened to the best of us: A project went too far out of scope, or became too expensive, or was behind on delivery, and it ultimately failed. The situation is always unsettling, but even more so when inquired about in an interview.

The fortunate truth is that your interviewer is less interested in the actual failure than they are about learning how you deal with stressful situations. Set up the story with what happened. Be as brief as possible and try to pick a story from something that happened a long time ago. Then, detail what you did in the situation.

5. If you were to pick one skill for a project manager to have, what would it be and why?

Other versions of this question:

  • What are your strengths and weaknesses?
  • What questions haven’t I asked you?
  • What are the characteristics of your perfect role?

This question is really asking if you understand the job description and have the skills to match it. It also allows the interviewer to peek into what your project management career has been thus far, and what is important to you as a manager.

Answer genuinely. Regardless of whether your answer is communication, risk management, PM process, or another project management skill, this is your chance to demonstrate that you’re a good culture fit for the company and share the same values your future team will have. Take time to answer this question and give detail about why that skill is important to you.

 

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1. Why are you interested in this role? Other versions of this question: Tell me about why you’re interviewing here today. Why did you apply to this position? Tell me ...
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