If you’re looking for a competent project manager, asking typical interview questions will not do the trick. Queries like, “Can you tell me your biggest regret in life?” will only waste your time.
Instead of getting personal, the interview should reveal the applicant’s competence with the work-related qualities that you’re looking for. The best strategy toward this end is asking situational interview questions. Answers to such questions will give you a more in-depth insight into the candidate—information that you cannot find in the applicant’s file.
Why Use Situational Interview Questions?
Project Manager interview questions should consist primarily of situational inquiries so that you can get a glimpse of the person’s thought process and problem-solving skills. By asking applicants on how they will handle real-life situations (or how they managed similar circumstances in the past), you can foresee their ability to perform the job.
Note that numerous studies support the validity of using situational questions in predicting job performance.
What are Examples of Situational Project Manager Interview Questions?
Experience and Knowledge
Project management is both a technical and creative endeavor. To be remarkable in this job, one needs to have a deep understanding of the field and the right experience.
- Can you describe a specific project that you worked on in the past in terms of deliverables, timeframe, and budget?
- What project management methodology do you frequently use? Can you describe an instance wherein you had to adopt a different strategy? What strategy did you use and what happened?
- What project management tools do you use and why?
More than technical knowledge, project managers should be able to relate and communicate effectively with other people. The success of any endeavor depends heavily on the level of teamwork and building relationships with stakeholders.
- Can you describe a time when members of your team argued on how to go about an activity? How did you handle the situation?
- Have you experienced dismissing someone from your group for whatever reason? How did you go about it? How did you explain your decision to the other team members?
- How do you manage disgruntled team members?
- Can you tell me a time when you had to persuade reluctant stakeholders to support the project? How did you convince them?
Ability to Develop People
Effective project managers not only motivate their people, but they also maximize their potential. They should know how to mentor and develop future project managers that can contribute to the company.
- What is your strategy to keep your members motivated?
- Can you tell me about your preferred management style? Why do you think this method works?
- Can you give me examples of tools or resources that you often used to improve the performance of your team?
Ability to Manage Risks
Since there is no guarantee that projects will always go as planned, project managers should know how to manage and mitigate risks.
- Can you tell me one project that did not go as planned in terms of time or budget? How did you manage the situation? What was the result?
- What strategies do you employ to manage changes to a project?
The role of project managers in the success of the venture cannot be overstated. Failed projects can mean the loss of valuable resources for your company. Given the importance of finding the right person for the job, consider including the questions above during your next interview.