Anyone can study the right questions and get the job. If you’re tired of interviewing applicants who seem to already know what you’re going to ask and feed you a canned answer, the following project manager interview questions can help.
Ask the Right Project Manager Interview Questions
Project managers frequently work on a variety of projects.
They need to be strong, involved leaders with the ability to productively manage a diverse team that may change regularly – both in task and members.
The following questions go beyond just addressing an applicant’s technical skills and delve into the way an effective project manager handles different personalities and projects.
When you've got the right project management candidate, want to make sure onboarding goes smoothly? Use our new employee checklist. Also if you want even more ideas, check out our guide to 25 job interview questions and phone interview questions.
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Question # 1: If we provided you with a laptop for project planning and management, what software would you want on it?
While this may seem like a simplistic project management interview question, it allows the interviewer to explore the software a potential hire is acquainted with, why they like it, and what problems they’ve encountered using it.
If you’re lucky, the answers to this question may also lead to a valuable anecdote. Additionally, if you do end up hiring this prospect, you’ll already know what they need on their computer.
Question #2: What is your approach to managing a project?
Every work culture is different. By asking this question, you get an idea of how the candidate handles their daily workload, whether they are more hands-on or prefer sit back and observe their team in action.
You’ll get a good idea of how their personality blends with your organization, and may be able to lead from this question into examples of how or if they may have improved processes at their previous job.
Question #3: Are you trained in supply-chain management?
Not all project managers are created equal. If you need someone with supply-chain management experience, ask candidates directly. Those that don’t have this experience may be interested in acquiring it, but you can’t afford to hire someone who doesn’t have it and doesn’t want it if you need it.
Sometimes, it pays to be direct.
Question #4: Describe how you deliver and present results.
Different project managers have different styles.
Do they like to present everything personally? Do they involve the project team? How is credit for a job well done shared and how is blame for a mishandled project assigned? Does their management approach match your workplace? Do they use the presentation of results as a way to motivate or punish project team members? How they handle project delivery can be a window into a lot of candidate attributes.
Question #5: How long after delivery do you typically wait to revisit projects, and why?
The answer to this project management interview question gives you insight into the candidate’s business skills. Some project managers will revisit a project days or weeks after completion, others wait months or a year, and some never do. There is no right answer, but there is one wrong one. A project management candidate who never revisits a project is a poor choice.
Question #6: Tell me about a conflict your team faced and how you solved it.
Conflict resolution is one of the most challenging and commonplace management tasks. This question gives the applicant an opportunity to provide you examples of their managerial skills in action. Does their style produce good results? Does it blend with your company’s goals? Do they have the ability to learn from the experience?
Question #7: What don’t you want to work on and why?
Everyone has something they dread doing.
Project managers are tasked with a wide variety of projects that may frequently change. Knowing in advance what tasks your candidate dislikes can be highly beneficial. You’re looking for answers that show a candidate who is open to working on anything, even if there are portions of a particular project they may not be crazy about. They need to be flexible and ready to do what the company needs to meet its goals, even if their personal preferences aren’t in agreement with it.
Additional Job Interview Questions to Ask:
- How do you manage up?
- What do you spend the most time doing each day?
- When was the last time you didn’t delegate on a project? What happened?
- How do you handle risk management and quality management?
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