11 Common Project Manager Interview Questions

Preparing for Common Project Manager Interview questions

Interviewing a project manager for a technology position can be challenging. Not only do you need to test them on the intricacies of their technical understanding, but you also need to determine whether they fit into your current team and can get the desired results from your top talent. Though much of your interview will likely be made up of context-sensitive information, there are some common project manager interview questions that can be quite illuminating.

Prepare to Ask (and Answer) These Project Manager Interview Questions

For both the interviewer and the candidate as well, think about the below to engage in a meaningful and productive interview:

  1. What’s your favorite project management strategy? Certain project management strategies are better than others depending on company projects and goals.
  2. How do you usually approach your projects? Ask your candidate to walk you through a project from start to finish, in brief. If their approach is significantly different from their “favored” project management strategy, now is the time to ask why.
  3. What is your least favorite area of project management? Interview tips often call for accentuating the positive. However, asking this question directly can help start and open and candid conversation.
  4. What do you think is the area in which you need the most improvement? Most candidates are prepared for the “what is your greatest weakness?” question. By rephrasing it in this way, get a better picture of what a candidate is actually doing to improve themselves.
  5. Can you describe the last time you had a disagreement with a team member? What was that disagreement? And how was it resolved? Project managers aren’t just keepers of the clock. Working with team members effectively must be prioritized if they are able to successfully complete projects.
  6. What project management solutions have you used in the past? Project management today is highly dependent on technology. Knowing whether the candidate is familiar with your systems will give you a better understanding of their capabilities and the candidate another chance to highlight their skills.
  7. Can you describe a project in your past that went wrong? Why, and what would you now do differently? Everyone makes mistakes and mistakes are how individuals learn. Describing a past project will give you deeper insights as to whether or not your interviewee is capable of dealing with crisis situations and whether they have been able to successfully grow as a leader.
  8. What do you think is the most important part of your job? The answer to this question will tell you what this individual focuses most upon. Is it managing stakeholder expectation? Is it keeping on budget? And do these values align with the way your business works?
  9. Have you ever had issues with delegation? Could you describe them? Some project managers might struggle when it comes to delegation. This answer will illuminate management style.
  10. Are there any time management skills that you’ve found particularly useful? Every employee, whether in project management or not, has their own ways of managing time and keeping productive. This will give insight into how your candidate manages their time.
  11. What do you do when a project is going wrong? This can indicate a bit about a candidate’s stress management techniques, and how they will report back should something go awry as well as gain insight into how someone can be supported.

During an interview, sometimes it isn’t about the answer itself but instead about how the answer is given.  For the candidate, being open and learning about the role during the interview is critical to making a decision. For the company, a project manager represents a significant piece of a project so it’s important to ensure the right hire is made.

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