Project managers are responsible for managing a project from initiation to completion. A project manager’s job is to work with a team to achieve project goals within a specific timeline. Project delivery includes client management, billings (contractor/vendor invoices), and problem solving. The requirements for each project can be different, but the skills required to complete any type of project are usually similar.
Nearly every industry requires project managers. When you join a team as a project manager, you are expected to learn about the project through training and meetings. You play the role of leading cross-functional teams throughout the process of project completion.
Project managers (PMs) take ownership of their work and ensure projects are delivered according to time, quality, and budget requirements. It is very critical for a PM to ensure customer or client satisfaction, as clients are the number one priority in this role.
Project management is a diverse field, and as a project manager, you have the option to switch between different projects or to take on new ones. If you are considering entering the field of project management, then this guide will help you prepare for common job interview questions you may be asked. To prepare for PM interview questions, you need to practice both technical as well as behavioral questions.
Below are some of the behavioral project management interview questions you may be asked.
Why do you want to be a project manager?
This is one the most commonly asked question in a project management interview. The interviewer wants to know why you are interested in the field and what personality traits you possess that would make you a great project manager. Through this question, the interviewer also wants to know about projects you handled in the past that reflect your project management skills.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
This is a tricky question. Through this question, the employer wants to know if your personal goals align with the company’s goals. Make sure to read about the company and your potential team to understand their mission and goals.
Describe a time when you failed to deliver a project. What did you do to fix it?
The intention of the interviewer here is to assess how good you are with risk management. Mistakes and failures are very common, however, the way you respond to them can make or break a project. To answer this question, think about a real failure you encountered in a previous job, admit to the mistake, and talk about the steps you took to fix it. Make sure to mention how fixing that project helped the company.
When you are assigned a new project, what process do you follow in its delivery?
When interviewers ask you this question, they want to know your management style. How do you break down the project, delegate responsibility, follow client requests, implement feedback, prioritize tasks, manage time, etc.? The best way to answer this question is to walk the interviewer through a project worked on in one of your previous jobs. Explain the steps you took to complete it. Make sure to mention how effective the delivery was and how it benefited the company.
What is the most important role of a project manager?
The answer to this question could go in a couple of different directions. It is important to understand the reason behind the interviewer asking this question. They want to know if you understand the complexities of a project and are able to tackle challenging issues by identifying problems and developing solutions for these problems. You can answer this question along these lines: while it is important to complete a project in its due time, it’s also important to focus and give due time to problems that arise along the way. Leaving a problem unattended can create more problems, whereas if you tackle it in a timely manner, you can save a lot of company time, energy and resources.
Here are some of the project management technical interview questions that you may also come across in your interview. It is always a good idea to prepare for the unexpected.
What project management software do you prefer working with, and why?
Project managers are great at organizing their work. A lot of project management software is designed to help with smooth and effective delivery of the project. When you are asked this question, you need to walk the interviewer through the software you have used in the past, explaining how you utilized it in your projects and how it helped you attain the best results and outcomes.
How do you delegate tasks?
A project manager cannot complete all their tasks alone. The most efficient way to complete a project is through delegation. This is why as a project manager, you will be delegating tasks very frequently. Think about a project you worked on in the past where you assigned tasks to other people. How did you do it? How did you communicate the tasks to the team? What were the results?
What are the main phases a project typically goes through?
If you have project management experience, you know the project management process. A project typically goes through the following five phases:
- Quality Control
For this question, you can briefly elaborate on each stage with an example.
Tell me about your experience in planning and managing data?
For this question, you can talk about one of the projects from your past, the software tools you used, and the process you followed in the planning phase to manage the whole project. Consider discussing the goals and objectives of the project, data collection, Gantt charts, project activities, project plans, project requirements, database management, brainstorming, project risk assessment, etc.
Project management is a great field to be in and offers many learning and growth opportunities. While the position comes with many responsibilities, it also pays well. According to LinkedIn, the median salary for project managers is $75,000 per year in the United States.
As a project manager, you will also be learning and growing in the field. You will get a chance to learn new tools like Workzone, JIRA, NOTION, and Asana, depending on your company’s preferences.
Project managers have always been in high demand, and there are a number of industries you can enter as a project manager—for example construction, finance, insurance, and business services. Before your next interview, spend some time learning about the field so you are well equipped to answer any kind of question.