Project Management Interview Questions With Answers
By Indeed Editorial Team
Published 16 August 2021
The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.
You can prepare for an interview by rehearsing answers to questions, which help to recall your experience and show more confidence during the interview. In an interview for a project management position, the hiring manager will seek to determine whether your management style and experience are a good fit for the position. It's useful to showcase your leadership skills and highlight relevant experiences. In this article, we present common project management interview questions and provide reasoning to help you understand why employers ask these questions with sample answers to help you prepare your own.
Project management interview questions
During your interview for a project manager position, a recruiter may ask you many questions about your management style, your past experiences and your professional goals. When answering these questions, try to be clear and concise as you answer with examples to demonstrate your skills and explanations of your professional experience. Here are some questions your interviewer may ask about project management:
What types of project management tools do you use?
Describe the last project you worked on.
What escalation paths do you use?
What would you do if a professional on your team is underperforming?
How do you handle conflict within your team?
What is your communication style? What methods of communication do you usually use during projects?
How do you redirect a project that is getting off-schedule or diverging from the original project plan?
Do you have any experience with managing project budgets?
Describe how you prioritise tasks within a project.
Have you ever managed a team of remote employees? How does it differ from your usual project management experience?
Which of your professional skills allows you to succeed as a project manager?
Tell us about a time in which you made a mistake during a project.
What is your leadership style?
How do you respond to stressful situations as a project manager?
Project manager interview questions with example answers
When preparing for your interview, it's helpful to consider questions the interviewer may ask you regarding the position and your work experience. Here are five questions to help you brainstorm answers:
1. What is the most important thing a project manager does?
The aim of this question is to assess your knowledge of the job duties a project manager has. Consider your experience managing projects and determine the key responsibilities you may perform in this position.
Example: “In my experience, communicating with my team, shareholders and clients is one of the most crucial elements of this role. There are typically many moving parts involved in complex projects, each contributing towards a certain portion of the goal. For everyone to be able to do their jobs efficiently and well, it's important that we are all on the same page. It's also important to communicate the progress of the project to clients and other key stakeholders. Ultimately, communication is what makes a project flow smoothly.”
2. Have you ever had a project that did not meet the deadline or budget?
Missing the deadline or budget are two common issues that project managers encounter. This question gives you an opportunity to show how you handle project setbacks. Consider a situation in your career in which you met this obstacle and explain the steps you took to remedy it.
Example: “While working on a project for a client, they decided later in the project that they wanted to add a certain feature to their custom software that would put them over the allocated time. As the project manager, I needed to decide whether we should add this feature and miss our deadline or spend less time on another part of the project.
I met with my team to understand how much time it would take to add the feature. Once I had a very thorough answer for the client, I presented them with the options. They decided that they would accept a later deadline for the feature. We ended up delivering the finished product a month later than the original deadline, but the client was happy with the outcome.”
3. Can you describe your most successful project?
The aim of this question is to discover your definition of success and the steps you took in order to achieve it. Think about your most successful project and why you had a positive outcome and be sure to describe the situation to the interview in detail. It may also be helpful to highlight some of your professional skills in your answer.
Example: “My most successful project was to create an advisor portal our client could use to manage customers' assets. First, I worked with my team to develop a reasonable timeline, budget and detailed steps we would take to complete the portal. Afterwards, we had a meeting with the client.
This is where we had a minor issue. The client was not happy with our original timeline. They wanted the portal three weeks earlier than what we proposed. I explained that in order to complete it earlier, we would have to increase the budget so we could use more resources. They were hesitant at first but ended up agreeing to a slight increase in budget.
After that, I had a daily meeting with my team and weekly status calls with the client to give them updates and ensure the deliverable looked and worked as expected. We delivered the portal on time and within the budget. The client was so pleased with the user-friendly interface and functionality that they had us create phone and tablet applications, too. The key to success was constant communication and managing expectations throughout the project."
4. Describe your usual relationship with your project sponsor.
The aim of this question is to reveal how you interact with project sponsors. Because these individuals are responsible for the success of the project, it's important that you, as a project manager, contact them often to inform them of any changes within the project that could affect its success. In your answer, try to mention how often you contact your project sponsor and what topics your communication with them often includes.
Example: "I usually prioritise communication in my projects, so I always offer to have weekly meetings with the project sponsor. Additionally, I contact the project sponsor when any aspect of the project requires their input. The relationship I have with the project sponsor often depends on the professional, as some are busier than others. I always contact the sponsor when necessary, but some prefer more involvement than others, which I am more than happy to accommodate."
5. What project management methods do you use?
The aim of this question is to determine how your working style fits with the company's current methods. Consider the methods you use and explain how they affect your work. It may beneficial to mention more than one method to demonstrate that you are flexible and have experience with various project management tools.
Example: “Since I have worked primarily in the software industry, I have found the Agile method works best for my projects. With Agile, I can create shorter delivery cycles so the client can see my team's work and give us constructive feedback. It creates a more collaborative environment where I can work to create goals with my team based on their feedback.
I have also studied the Lean method in my own time and tried to incorporate some of it into my style. I try to eliminate waste in time and budget in all of my projects and always find ways to improve the process.”
Tips to prepare for a project management interview
Here are some tips that may help you when preparing for an interview for a project management position:
Practise your answers
Practising your answers to interview questions the manager might ask you can help you feel more comfortable during the interview process. This is because you may feel more confident after practising. Try to time yourself to ensure that your answers are concise and detailed. Ask a family member or friend to help you practise so that they can provide feedback for your answers.
Use the STAR method
The STAR method stands for situation, task, action and result. This helps you organise your answers and fully explain your skills, qualifications and experiences. When using this method, try to respond to interview questions keeping this acronym in mind. To use the STAR method, follow these steps:
Situation: Establish the details of the situation relevant to the story you are telling to provide a context for your answer.
Task: Explain what the task entails and describe your role in the situation.
Action: Describe the actions you take in the situation.
Result: Detail the outcome of your actions and the resolution of the situation.
Think of questions to ask
At the end of interviews, managers often ask if you have any questions for them. This is a great opportunity for you to express your interest in the job and dedication to becoming a valuable employee. Consider asking questions about the role in which you are interviewing or about company policies. Think of a few questions before your answer and ask one or two when prompted if they haven't provided the information already.
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