Top 20 Project Manager Interview Questions and Answers Covered


Project management is an integral part of business success. This is why there is a high demand for skilled project managers.

According to a report by the Project Management Institute, in the US over $122 million is wasted for every $1B invested due to the lack of project performance.

Moreover, the lack of clear goals is one of the key reasons for the project’s failure. This is where a skilled project manager can make a difference.

The role of a project manager profile has evolved over the years. Today, they are not only expected to fulfil the project requirements but also maintain customer relationships and create a positive environment for employees to work with.

This is why many times the things may get challenging when it comes to hiring, experienced project managers.

During the project management interview, the interview panel comprising hiring managers may try to check the fitness of a person for the job by asking different project manager interview questions.

Answering these questions smartly and posing the solution-oriented approach will lead you to land the perfect person for the profile expected.

This post offers insights on some common and popular project manager interview questions and their answers, which would help you while preparing for your next project manager interview.

20 Common Project Manager Interview Questions and Their Answers Discussed

The following are only a few common project manager interview questions that test a person’s ability to manage and lead a team towards success.

  1. Tell us something about yourself.
  2. When answering this question, you need to focus on your educational background, your professional experiences and your personal approach to challenges, success, failures, and so on.

    Your answer to this question will form the basis of the next project manager interview questions discussed here.

  3. What is an ideal project according to you?
  4. The answers to this project manager interview question may differ, however, you can be honest about your expectations here. You can consider these points:

    1. What type of projects do you like?
    2. What deadlines do you like to work on?
    3. What do you prefer - a project that challenges your creativity and innovation or a project that looks repetitive and much similar to other projects by the same client?
    4. How comfortable do you feel while trying new things on a project?
    5. Do you enjoy being appreciated?

  5. How did you ensure the project’s success when working remotely during COVID-19?
  6. Although answers to project manager interview questions like this may vary, still, working during COVID-19 has been challenging for many project managers.

    This question tests your flexibility, brainstorming capability, as well as adaptability.

    The following are some best practices of remote project management.

    1. Divide the work into several sections and assign a deadline.
    2. Confirm with employees to assure the work completion status.
    3. Stay connected with your team through all online channels.
    4. Encourage team members to update themselves and encourage them to implement their knowledge by engaging in small games.
    5. Use the free or paid remote management tools to keep track of the workflows and follow-ups.
    6. Organize daily meetings with all team members to discuss their challenges, project status, and other important details.
    7. Always keep a backup plan ready if for any reason the first plan fails.

  7. What according to you is the most important skill to become a successful project manager?
  8. A project manager must possess several skills if he/she wishes to excel in the job. Communication, negotiation, leadership, empathy, and time-management are some skills or traits that differentiate a successful project manager from a less successful one.

    Make sure you recount instances for each of these skills while answering this question.

  9. How do you prioritize tasks during the project execution?
  10. Task prioritization is an important aspect of project management. This is why it is one of the important project manager interview questions.

    A good project manager understands the difference between an important task and an urgent task. So, he understands what needs to be addressed first among various tasks.

    Your answer to this question will help the employer to understand your efficiencies in managing tasks and meeting deadlines.

  11. Have you ever tackled a project that missed the deadline?
  12. Missed deadlines and extended budgets are two key challenges that most project managers address during their tenure.

    Many project managers fear answering this question may highlight their inefficiencies. However, that is not true. This question needs to be answered with the STAR approach.

    1. Situation: Here the project manager must present the situation or the issue constructively by carefully removing all negative elements.
    2. Task: In this, the project manager must explain the tasks undertaken by him and his/her personal approach to the situation.
    3. Action: Under this, the project manager must explain the special steps taken to mitigate the challenges and tackle altered deadlines.
    4. Result: The project manager needs to explain how his/her actions made a positive impact on the situation.

  13. What project management tools do you use often?
  14. Every organization uses different project management tools. You need to explain all the tools used to date. This will help demonstrate your technical proficiency and also your familiarity with different tools.

    Nowadays, many job listings for project managers mention the tools used in their organization and requests candidate to improve their familiarity with the tools before applying for the job.

    So, while answering you need to ensure that you are familiar with the tools mentioned in the job listing.

    If you do not meet this criterion, then explain the tools that you are most familiar with and their advantages. Be honest with answers and display your eagerness to understand and utilize these tools used by the management.

  15. What are the different project management methods you are familiar with?
  16. Most organizations or project managers employ either of these methodologies or they may take a hybrid approach. You can focus on these five methodologies and their benefits.

    1. Scrum: This allows a cross-functional, small, and self-managed team to meet their deliverables effectively.
    2. Kanban: This methodology focuses on visibility and minimizes multitasking.
    3. Agile: It focuses on collaborative efforts and versatility. In this, the teams, collaborate to iteratively deliver solutions.
    4. Lean: It focuses on minimizing waste and maximizing productivity.
    5. Waterfall: In this approach, project managers plan the project fully and deliver them in different phases.

  17. How do you resolve team conflicts?
  18. This is one of the trickiest project manager interview questions you may encounter. People management and conflict resolution are two important skills that a project manager must possess.

    You should try to answer how you have successfully resolved team conflicts in the past and encouraged people to work together.

    For instance, you can recount how you have encouraged people to ease out their differences by own and find an amicable solution. When people communicate transparently and work towards a common goal, they can always find a solution.

    In some scenarios, people may fail to find a solution and the conflicts between team members may further intensify, sometimes even affecting project deadlines or eclipsing its progress.

    You can intervene and ensure smooth communication between the team and try to find a solution that is agreeable to all involved team members.

  19. What are the most challenging projects handled by you? What are the lessons learned?
  20. This can be another tricky project manager interview question put forward to you because the interview panel is trying to understand your response to challenges.

    It is always better to avoid referring the team problems such as non-cooperative or underperforming members, or lack of support from the client or your organizational management, and so on.

    Instead, you can focus on factors such as reduced deadlines, reduced budgets or extra additions demanded by the client.

    In the end, you can answer how these projects have prepared you for the tough path ahead and how you have learned to tackle such situations.

  21. What are some mistakes made by you during the project execution and how you rectified them?
  22. Everyone learns from mistakes and it is common knowledge. The same goes true for a project management task too. When answering this question, you need to recount the mistakes made and the steps taken to rectify them.

    This question is often asked to check your honesty and your approach towards mistakes and their solutions. Ensure that you take responsibility for the mistakes made, as it exhibits your maturity level.

  23. Can you recount an example of a failed project? What were the reasons for failure?
  24. Failure is part of your career. You need to recount a few examples of failed projects and the reasons for their failure and your approach to them. Try to explain how you tried to implement the lessons learned from failures when working on similar projects.

  25. How do you deal with customer rejections or criticisms?
  26. Being a project manager, you are answerable to customers. While answering this question, you need to explain how much you value customers and how you work hard to meet their requirements and integrate additional and manageable requests made by them.

    Also, you can indicate how you communicate with the customers regarding deadlines and project outcomes.

  27. Do you understand scope creep? If yes, how do you deal with it?
  28. Scope creep is a term for changes in the project that may make your team miss its targets or overdo the budget.

    Your approach to the situation will help the employer to understand how you manage resources, tackle challenges, and meet deadlines, without overdoing the budget.

  29. How do you manage underperforming members of your team?
  30. Every team has some underperforming members. It is the responsibility of the project manager to help these members by identifying their problems and helping them develop or sharpen their skills. So, by answering this project manager interview question tactfully you can demonstrate your leadership and management skills.

  31. Do you employ corrective and preventive actions during the project execution?
  32. There are several project manager interview questions that help the interview panel to shape their perceptions about you. This is perhaps one such question where you can display your farsighted attitude.

    Generally, corrective actions are performed to rectify any existing defect and preventive actions help minimize the risks of failure.

  33. Where do you see yourself within five years?
  34. This is one of the most important project manager interview questions you may encounter. If you are seeking an entry-level position, perhaps, you can express your desire to take high responsibilities that come with the top position.

    If you are already an expert with several years of experience, you can express your eagerness to contribute to the company’s growth.

  35. How do you convey a negative client comment or bad news to team members?
  36. It is likely that you may have delivered a negative client comment or bad news to team members. There are several things to keep in mind while doing so.

    First, you have to keep all facts handy, and think of ways to convey this news, and also understand the impact that this news will have on the person or your team members.

  37. How do you handle dissatisfied employees?
  38. There are several project manager interview questions that mainly analyze your critical thinking and problem-solving skills, and this question is one of them.

    Here, you need to focus on how you have worked closely with the employee to identify the root cause of the problem and how you have tackled it.

    It may not be possible to pacify every disappointed employee, however, the interviewer may want to see how you handle the situation and the steps taken to find the solution.

  39. What are some best practices you have developed to maintain team integrity and to build interpersonal relationships within the organization and with customers?
  40. Many project manager interview questions may appear interconnected and this is one such example.

    Relationship management, whether within the team or outside the team, is an art. You can explain the ways how you have taken efforts to communicate with team members, other teams, and your customers and how transparent and fair you have been in your dealings, and so on.

    All these shows, your maturity to handle a team or multiple interlinked teams, and customers.

Conclusion

The above project manager interview questions will help project managers crack their interviews. However, that is not enough. Many organizations are keen to hire experienced, skilled, and above all -certified project managers.

Although experience and expertise count, still, project management certifications always add value to your profile. Like with any other competitive exam, the project management certification exams also require dedicated preparation extending over months.

Although there are several study guides and free practise tests available online, still, they may not suffice.

This is where CertoMeter makes a difference. We offer well-structured project management courses designed and conducted by industry experts.

You can also attempt free and paid tests offered with them. These project management certification exam tests are revised often to include fresh questions and reflect changing requirements. These tests help users to prepare for their certification exams easily and effectively.

Curated by-

Ms. Mahima Garg

She is a technology enthusiast and an author who is passionate about ideation, planning, implementing, integrating, and managing business processes for business growth. This led her and the team to build a Global IT Certification and Preparation Platform for professionals which help them get certified and enhance their career growth. With 20+ years of experience in IT and Management, she believes to impart what she has learned in her exciting career.

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