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.
- What’s your favorite property management strategy? Certain project management strategies are better than others depending on your company’s projects and goals.
- 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.
- What is your least favorite area of project management? Interviewees are often told to remain positive… and that means that they will usually shy away from the discussion of anything that they dislike. Asking this question directly is more likely to catch an interviewee off-guard and to get an honest answer.
- What do you think is the area in which you need the most improvement? Most candidates know how to avoid the “what is your greatest weakness?” question. By rephrasing it in this way, you get a better picture of what your candidate is actually doing to improve themselves.
- 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. They need to be able to deal well with their team members if they are able to successfully complete their projects.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 answering to higher ups? Is it keeping on budget? And do these values align with the way your business works?
- Have you ever had issues with delegation? Could you describe them? Many project managers suffer when it comes to delegation; they either can’t do it or they do it too much. This answer will illuminate which type of project manager you have.
- 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 you insight into how your candidate manages their time.
- What do you do when a project is going wrong? This will tell you quite a bit about your candidate’s stress management techniques, and how they will report back to you should something go awry.
Sometimes it isn’t about the answer itself but instead about how the answer is given. Is the person you interview confident, or do they seem hesitant when they answer? Are they able to reflect upon their experiences, or do they stumble to find examples? A project manager will often make or break a project, so it’s worth the additional time to make sure that you’re getting the right person for the job.