Top Answers to Project Management Interview Questions
First let us compare Project Management with Operations management:
|Criteria||Project Management||Operations Management|
|Key feature||Introduces change||Keeps the business going|
|Type of work||Unique||Repetitive|
|Budget||Depends on tasks||Usually fixed|
This question will test your knowledge of your industry and its relevant challenges. You should speak of the challenges that you faced as per your personal experience. Your answer should reveal your industry domain knowledge, what are important challenges, and their most appropriate solutions. All this is important from the perspective of a project manager and this is what is expected from you when you are answering a question of this type.
As a project manager you need to communicate your ideas to the entire team. So this question will test your knowledge of how you handled your project in your last stint. You can talk about something which was challenging when it comes to communicating with your team members. It could be when you had a face to face meeting or via any online channels of communication. You have to analyze why such a challenge occurred, what are the reasons for it and how did you overcome this challenge of communication gap in the project team.
Organizations are looking for somebody who is trustworthy and has a certain kind of integrity to the project and the organization. You have to explain about your integrity, honesty, consistency to the job role and the wider role in the organization. The reason why enterprises think this is important because you will directly be the face of the organization, will handle a lot of the money and resources of the organization and so on.
Through this question the interviewer wants to see how you will be handling bad news. You have to be clear about how you deliver the news, whether you will be upfront, whether you understand how the bad news affects the various stakeholders and so on.
Through this question, the interviewer would like to check your problem-solving skills. You have to be clear about how you would be handling the team. As a leader you have to ensure that your team members are happy at workplace, if they have any issues then you need to find out the root cause of the problem and ensure that the workplace environment is always congenial to work.
Being a project manager is all about handling multiple tasks, delegating authority and ensuring that the results are achieved. Along this path, sometimes it is difficult to fulfill some promises. You have to give a clear account of the situation when you faced such a situation, how you handled your responsibilities and still kept your promise even though it was difficult.
This type of questions are asked to see how you handle failures. No matter how good you are, failure is a part of every project manager’s life. So instead of hiding anything, be upfront about the project in which your decision backfired and explain how you learnt from it. You have to explain the reason why it failed and how you became a better decision-maker since then.
Since customer is the final person who will be affected by the result of any project, you cannot think of working on any project without the customer orientation clearly understood. So here for this answer you can think of any project wherein the customer orientation mattered the most and how you got a clear idea of the customers before working on the project.
This question is directly aimed at checking whether you will succeed as a project manager. Since every project is aimed towards satisfying the customer expectations, you will have to give a clear idea of how you will deliver the project goals on time without overtly generalizing the answer but giving specific milestones and the approach that you are going to take.
You should have a clear strategy of how you will be developing good customer relationship. You can give an instance of how you maintained good relationship with customers in your past stint. Since repeat customers are important for any business, you should also outline your plan for maintaining good relationship with your existing customers.
It’s important to show that you have leadership skills when you answer this question. Be thorough about your daily tasks when it comes to managing your team’s performance—for example, perhaps you hold weekly strategy discussions and meetings. You’ll also want to provide specific examples of how your management style has resulted in positive team performance.
As a project manager you have to understand that your team members also need to work as effectively as you. So keeping them motivated at all times is the key. You have to give an instance of how you motivated your team members be it through accolades, incentives or something else.
In today’s world there are a lot of tools and resources which are available online or through various vendors which can be used to develop, train, monitor and manage your team. You have to talk about few of the tools you have used for this purpose and how it has benefitted you in your task as a project manager.
To be a successful project manager you have to ensure that you can delegate authority the right way. So here you have to talk about the instances when you successfully delegated authority to your team members depending on their skills and capabilities and how the outcome of this decision positively affected the project.
Since delegating authority is very important, your quality of delegating authority is checked here. You should show your ability to delegate authority while at the same time show how you monitor the work that is being delegated to your team members. All this shows your interviewer that you are good at delegating authority.
Having a focus on the goals is extremely important. As a project manager you cannot lose sight of the goal. You have to give a clear idea of how you focus on the goals. All your tasks like assigning resources, planning the strategy and everything should fall in place and should be in line with the ultimate goal that you are going to achieve.
Risks and ambiguity are part of any project that you might be involved in. so it is very important to visualize things and forecast any risks that might come in your way. Planning even in the time of ambiguity and taking everybody on board is important as a project manager.
Time management is crucial for any project. You have to emphasize on your ability to keep the project on track. Explain what are the ways you are going to do this like setting milestones, reviewing the work and ensuring everything is falling in place so that the deadline is adhered to.