35 commonly asked project manager interview questions
Author: Nicola Lumb | Date published: 30/07/20
With so many IT project managers on the market it can be a bit of a lottery. Considering the importance and difference a great project manager can make to a business we’ve put together the most asked project manager interview questions to help you select the best project manager for your team.
Top interview questions for project managers that can help when picking the winning ticket!
You want to hire the perfect fit for your team, someone who is going to work well with the group dynamic. Personality questions are a great way to get the candidate thinking and get a well-rounded idea of who they are and what they’re looking for.
1. Describe yourself in a few words
2. Describe a milestone
3. What was your greatest success as a project manager?
4. What was your biggest failure as a project manager? Explain a situation where you made a bad decision and how you dealt with it.
5. What do you consider to be the most difficult aspect of project management?
6. What kinds of projects interest you the most and why?
7. What projects have you handled before that are like this role?
8. How would your colleagues describe you?
9. What do you think are your greatest strengths?
10. What are your weaknesses?
11. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
12. Why do you want to work with this company?
13. Why should we hire you?
Knowledge and skills based questions
Ultimately experience and understanding is key in any profession. With project managers you want to ensure the person you hire can confidently hit the ground running and will be able to stick to strict deadlines.
14. What are the three key challenges for our industry today, and how can these be tackled effectively?
15. What are the essential qualities of a project manager? – What, according to you, is an important skill for a project manager to succeed?
16. Give your definition of a project
17. Describe all the steps involved from the time of project initiation to project completion
18. What do you understand by project life cycle?
Management and leadership questions
Managing yourself is one thing but managing others is a whole new ball game! A good leader can get the best out of their team and can adjust their leadership style to the needs of the individuals.
19. As a leader, do you think it is better to be feared or loved?
20. How would you resolve a situation if two key stakeholders hold diametrically opposed views?
21. What is your delegation style?
22. How do you monitor and review the delegated responsibilities to ensure goals are met?
Good communication skills are important in most roles, but specifically essential to project managers who need to liaise with lots of different people to ensure the project is completed successfully and on time.
23. What were the communication challenges on your last project?
24. What is your communication style with your team?
We’ve all heard the saying ‘the customer is always right’ so is there a way of making customers think your way is the right way?
25. How do you ensure you and your team deliver or exceed customer expectations?
26. What are some best practices you’ve used to develop excellent customer relationships?
27. If the customer is not happy with the result and does not accept the product, what would you do as a project manager?
Team development questions
“The strength of the team is each individual member. The strength of each member is the team.” –Phil Jackson, American professional basketball executive
Being part of a team means helping each other, working as one to achieve goals and never giving up, but also constantly inspiring each other to be better.
28. How do you keep your team members motivated?
29. How would you deal with a team member who is not performing?
Risk management questions
Some say not taking risks is often the best form of risk management, but equally the biggest risk could be not taking risks at all.
30. What do you think are the main causes of project failure?
31. How do you control changes to your project?
Prioritisation and time management questions
Effective time management is essential for project managers; however, you don’t just want someone to say ‘yes, I have great time management skills’ in an interview, you want them to prove it by giving relevant examples.
32. How do you ensure that your project is always on track?
33. What project management software systems do you use to plan your activities as well as that of your team?
Decision making questions
Deciding is one thing, explaining your decision is another but are you able to accept if you made the wrong decision?
34. Have your decisions ever been challenged – if so, how did you resolve it?
35. Have you ever had to make a difficult decision?
There is no right or wrong way when interviewing project managers. As a hiring manager you need to ensure you’re familiar with the responsibilities of the role to ask appropriate questions, which will enable you to identify someone who is going have a significant positive impact on your business.
If you are hiring IT project managers and want some market advice, please get in touch.