Sample interview questions for a project manager job

With sample interview questions for a project manager job, you can better prepare for your meeting with the interviewer.

Although interviewers can ask you thousands of possible cases, we share a few sample questions with you. And at the end of the article, we publish more links to more useful questions.

Have you ever had something go wrong during a project you led?

Of course! One of the main responsibilities of a project manager is to deal with unforeseen circumstances. And such always arise – even the best and most precise planning cannot predict the future 100 percent. Every project is the sum of multiple, constantly moving parts, many of which are people. The human factor is the most difficult to predict since each person is a person with his specific ups & downs, irrational impulses, and emotions.

Therefore, building efficient and productive communication between team members and the project manager is always my priority. In 9 out of 10 cases when problems arose with the implementation of a project, the reason was poor or lack of communication. A well-formulated and implemented communications plan, along with an understandable, easy-to-implement change management plan, usually handles such contingencies.

If a failure does occur, it is good to analyze it in detail and describe it in the lessons learned diary, so that the same mistakes are not made in the future. More on the topic: “Questions and answers for a job interview for a project manager“, https://agileprogramming.org/questions-and-answers-for-a-job-interview-for-a-project-manager/

What is your most successful project?

Any project that is first and foremost well planned; in which at least 90% of the realization moved according to the previously developed and approved plans; where the scope is implemented exactly according to the defined specifications and requirements; effective and productive communication between all interested parties took place throughout the implementation period and the project was ultimately completed within the set deadlines and budget.

Last but not least, every project in which all interested parties were satisfied with the work done: the customers from the delivered product or service, the management from the results achieved, and the teams from the material and/or non-material bonuses and incentives received. Reference: “Common Project Manager Interview Questions and Answers“, https://pm.mba/posts/project-manager-interview-questions/

A team member tells you that they need extra time to complete their assigned task. How do you react in such a situation?

As a project manager, one of my main tasks is to support each member of the team in the implementation of his assigned tasks – including in similar cases when he claims that he does not have enough time. However, it is good to analyze the deficit (in the case of story points) carefully. Is the problem isolated? Is it a one-off problem or a chronic problem affecting more than one team member?

Maybe a mistake was made in estimating the velocity of the teams. Or were the relevant stakeholders overly optimistic at the pre-planning stage of the relative values ​​for completing the task? Will adding a member to the team solve the problem, or is a more serious adjustment needed in the developed Gantt chart with all the resulting implications for the project (adjustment of budgets, time constraints, etc.)? Reference: “Project Manager Interview Questions and How to Answer“, https://medfd.org/project-manager-interview-questions-and-how-to-answer/
Naturally, it may not lead to such dramatic consequences, but in any case, the request for additional time is an important feedback signal from the teams, which should not be ignored and analyzed carefully.

How do you avoid gold plating when implementing a project?

First and foremost – a clear, precise, and specific definition of the scope of the project. Then – clear, accurate, and specific communication of the scope requirements to each of the stakeholders. In the end – continuous control for its strict compliance.

If it is a large-scale project, the objective perspective of an external auditor or QA specialist can also be helpful. When the project is looked at with the fresh, outside perspective of a person outside the overall planning and implementation process, it is often easier to spot gold plating practices and deviations from the baseline defined by the scope.

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What is the most important role of a project manager?

The role of a mediator. My practical experience with the implementation of projects has proven to me more than once that most often the key role of the project manager comes down to being an intermediary, guaranteeing productive and problem-free communication between all interested parties. For all of them to fulfill their roles and tasks as efficiently as possible, one of the most important conditions is that everyone is so to speak “on the same page”.

Teams must be well aware of their tasks and requirements, and approach them with an understanding of the importance of meeting defined deadlines and budget constraints. Management and clients should be reassured that the project is moving according to plan and for this purpose, they should receive regular reports on its progress formatted appropriately (according to their specific stakeholders and their involvement in the project).

After all, communication is a kind of fine “lubricant” that allows the many cogwheels of any project to move smoothly and without problems, which is why the role of the project manager as a mediator is often among his most key duties.

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