Tag: Hiring a Project Manager

Hiring a Project Manager, Five Interview Questions

The position of project manager within any organization, the demands on time, patience with customers, it takes a very special person. The role requires being prepared execution, accountability, and leadership ability. If you are looking for your next Project Management role, then being prepared as you would for any project is very important, how to separate yourself from others also applying for a similar role.

Being in a position to answer the hard questions, being confident and articulate when answering is very important, but how do you prepare for the interview process, which at times and depending on your character can be an arduous task.

The following is a list of five interview questions that will help you be selected as the best candidate for the position of a project manager. Some of these interview questions are sure to distinguish you from other project managers.

Question #1: If We Provide You With A New Project, What Will Be Your Approach To Manage It, And How Would You Present Results?

On the surface, it seems like a simple question. However, what works here is this – It’s a process-based question. This question is to venture inside your brain, giving you a quick peek into the kind of work culture you have experienced in the past. This is probably the best way to understand the blueprint of your ideal approach, which can help the interviewer assess whether you would blend in the organization.
The second part of the question referring to the “presentation of results,” helps the interviewer understand how you would handle a standard project delivery. The interviewer will also get to know about presentation style and the perceived involvement of different team members in the process. In a nutshell, this is the perfect open-ended question to understand a personality, work style, team management attributes, and you’re most typical approach to fresh challenges.

Question #2 – What If We Assign You A Complex Project That Is Already Running Behind Schedule? How Would You Manage It And Bring It Back On Track?

This question tests your creativity and how well you can formulate a hypothesis. Just try and understand how you plan to maintain the level of quality without creating any undue pressure on other team members. The interviewer will try to notice whether you are willing to negotiate for more time or resources with the upper management.
Not all PMs are created equal. So, if you don’t like one specific approach or the way someone handled this imaginary problem, you are welcome to move on.

Question #3 – What’s The Nature of the Communication Style with Your Team Members?

Here’s a cold hard fact. PM’s that communicate well with their team members achieve far more than the rest. The nature of this question is to help the interviewer understand whether you are aware of the importance of communication mechanisms and how that affects team members. This is a prime indicator of how you would be able to manage the difficult conversations as and when the situation arises. If the interviewer doesn’t get a satisfying response, it’s quite likely that as a candidate, you would fail to deliver in the real world as well.

Question #4 – Share Your Experience Of When You Were Responsible For Training Others On Any One Aspect Of Project Management.

They say great leaders and great trainers have a lot in common with each other. That’s not entirely difficult to understand since good project managers are also known to be the big picture thinkers that influence major decisions in an organization. Holding such an influential position, most PMs become great communicators. That’s why the art of training, coaching, or mentoring should come naturally to them. If you share an experience where you were in the position to coach one of your team members, take it as a positive signal. This means you are good at guiding other team members to success (as compared to a one-dimensional PM, known for giving orders.)

Question #5 – If You’re Allowed to Design a Dream Job, What Would You Choose as General Metrics to Determine If a Project Is on Track?

We know that managing a project involves far too many moving parts and variables. This question allows you to tell how you would design the ideal metrics and judge your ability to delegate, organize, and manage assets in a hypothetical situation. This is an excellent way to judge your domain knowledge and skills, as well.

Summary

Given that looking for, training and actually attending interviews is a time-consuming process, being ready to answer questions of this nature can help you decide if you are the best fit for the organization. Obviously, there is no right, wrong, or inappropriate answer to these questions. However, it gives you a fair idea of what an interviewer wants from the position.

Here’s a bonus tip. Don’t forget to reverse the table and allow time in the end for candidates to ask you questions. This is a great way to understand what matters to them. Their own words will also help you decipher whether they have the correct mindset to succeed as a project manager in your organization. The basic idea is to create a challenging interview environment where candidates can showcase their business acumen along with the soft skills needed for the job.