Prepare for your Project Manager interview. Understand the required skills and qualifications, anticipate the questions you may be asked, and study well-prepared answers using our sample responses.
The PMBOK is a guidebook for project managers that outlines best practices and standards. Employers may ask this question to see if you have experience using the PMBOK and how you feel about it. If you’ve used it before, share what you like about it. If you haven’t, explain that you’re interested in learning more about it.
Answer Example: “I’ve used the PMBOK in the past and find it to be an excellent resource for project managers. It’s packed with valuable information about best practices, processes and techniques that can help us succeed in our roles. I’m always open to learning more about how to improve my skills and performance as a project manager.”
This question is a great way to test your knowledge of the project management process. It also allows you to show your ability to create a plan and how it can benefit a company. When answering this question, it can be helpful to list the components of a project plan and explain what each one means.
Answer Example: “The key components of a project plan are the objective, timeline, budget, resources and deliverables. The objective of a project is what the team is trying to accomplish. The timeline shows when tasks need to be completed by and how long the project will take. The budget outlines how much money is available for the project and any expenses that may arise. Resources include any people or equipment needed to complete the project. Finally, deliverables are what the client wants at the end of the project.”
This question can help the interviewer understand how you use your experience to make decisions that are beneficial for the company. Use examples from past projects to explain how you decided on the optimal team size for a project and why it was beneficial for the success of the project.
Answer Example: “I always take into account the project’s goals, timeline and budget when determining optimal team size. For example, if I’m managing a project that requires extensive research and data analysis, I will likely want to have more than one person working on it so that we can split up the work and get results faster. However, if the project only requires minimal research and data entry, then one person can complete it alone.”
This question is an opportunity to show your interviewer that you have the skills and abilities needed for this role. You can answer by identifying one or two skills and explaining why they are important for project managers.
Answer Example: “The most important skill for a project manager is communication. A project manager needs to be able to communicate effectively with team members, clients and other stakeholders. They also need to be able to communicate clearly and concisely in writing so that everyone understands what’s going on with the project.”
Project managers often have to deal with difficult stakeholders. Employers ask this question to see if you have experience dealing with challenging people and how you handle them. When answering, think of a time when you had to work with a stakeholder who was difficult to work with. Explain what you did to resolve the issue.
Answer Example: “In my last role as a project manager, I had a client who was very demanding. They would often call me at all hours of the day to ask questions about the project. This made it hard for me to focus on other tasks because I had to answer their questions right away. Eventually, I set up a meeting with the client to discuss their concerns. We came up with a plan to better communicate so I could answer their questions within 24 hours.”
This question is a great way to see how you have grown as a project manager and how you would advise others in the same position. Your answer should show that you have learned from your past experiences and are ready to apply those lessons to future projects.
Answer Example: “If I could go back in time and give myself one piece of advice as a project manager, it would be to always be organized. When I first started managing projects, I was always forgetting important details or losing track of deadlines. Eventually, I learned that being organized is essential to success as a project manager. Now, I make sure to keep detailed notes on every meeting and assignment so that I never miss an important deadline again.”
This question can help interviewers understand how you handle challenging situations. Your answer should show that you are willing to take steps to resolve conflict and ensure that everyone is working together effectively.
Answer Example: “If I noticed team members becoming frustrated with the project timeline, I would first try to understand why they feel this way. I would then meet with each individual to discuss their concerns and find out if there is anything I can do to help them overcome these frustrations. If not, I would work with them to create an action plan for moving forward. This could include setting realistic goals for the project timeline or providing additional resources to help them complete their tasks.”
Project managers often have to handle stressful situations. Employers ask this question to make sure you have the skills and abilities to manage stress in the workplace. In your answer, explain how you handle stress. Share a specific strategy that has helped you in the past.
Answer Example: “I find that taking breaks throughout the day helps me manage stress. I also make sure to get enough sleep at night so I’m well-rested when I start my day. These two things have helped me stay calm and focused when I’m faced with challenging projects. Another thing I do is exercise regularly. Exercise is a great way to relieve stress and clear my mind.”
Project managers often have to work with remote teams. Employers ask this question to make sure you have experience working with people from different locations. Use your answer to explain how you manage projects when team members are not in the same office. Explain what strategies you use to stay in touch with remote team members.
Answer Example: “I’ve worked with several remote teams in my career. I find that communication is the most important aspect of managing a remote team. I always make sure to have a dedicated method of communication available. For example, I will assign a team member to be the primary contact person for each project. They will then be responsible for relaying information to the rest of the team.”
Project managers often need to give feedback to their team members. This question helps interviewers understand how you plan to give constructive criticism and when it’s most effective. Your answer should show that you know when to give feedback, who should receive it and what steps you take to make sure it’s helpful for the person receiving it.
Answer Example: “I believe that giving constructive criticism at the end of each project is the best time. This allows me to give feedback on all aspects of the project, including timelines, budget and quality. It also allows team members to reflect on their work and make any necessary changes before moving onto the next project. In addition, I find that giving feedback at the end of a project allows team members to better remember what was said and use it as motivation for future projects.”
This question is a great way to show your problem-solving skills and how you can improve a company’s processes. When answering this question, make sure that you are specific about what you would change and why.
Answer Example: “I would change the way we manage our projects from being a reactive to a proactive approach. Right now, we tend to wait until something goes wrong before we take action. This leads to many small issues becoming larger ones that take more time and money to fix. If I were hired as the project manager, I would implement a system where we monitor our projects regularly to ensure they are on track. This will allow us to catch issues early so they are easier to solve.”
Project managers must be able to handle change well. Employers ask this question to make sure you have experience with change and how you handle it. In your answer, explain how you handle change requests in a professional manner. Explain that you always try to keep the project on track despite changes in the schedule or budget.
Answer Example: “I believe that change is inevitable in any project. I take a proactive approach to handling change requests by keeping an open line of communication with my team members. When a change request comes in, I first assess whether or not it’s possible to implement within the current timeline and budget. If so, I work with my team to develop a plan for implementing the change. If not, I discuss other options with the client or customer.”
Employers ask this question to learn more about your qualifications and how you can contribute to their company. Before your interview, make a list of all the skills and experiences that qualify you for this role. Focus on what makes you unique from other candidates and highlight any transferable skills or knowledge you have.
Answer Example: “I believe my experience and qualifications make me stand out from other candidates for this position. I have over 10 years of experience in project management, with a proven track record of delivering successful projects on time and within budget. In my previous role, I managed a team of 10 people and oversaw projects worth over $1 million annually.”
This question can help the interviewer determine your experience with different project management methodologies. It’s important to be familiar with several different methods, but it’s even more important to have a preference for one particular methodology. When answering this question, it can be helpful to mention two or three different methodologies and explain why you prefer one over the others.
Answer Example: “I have experience using both the waterfall model and the Agile method. I find that I prefer the Agile method because it allows me to work more quickly and efficiently. With the waterfall model, I often have to wait until certain steps are completed before I can move forward with my projects. With the Agile method, however, I can move between phases of the project as needed. This allows me to make adjustments or respond to changes quickly.”
Closing out a project is a important part of being a project manager. The interviewer may ask this question to see if you have experience with closing out projects and how you feel it’s important to remember when doing so. Use your answer to highlight any skills or traits that are relevant to this role.
Answer Example: “I think the most important thing to remember when closing out a project is to make sure you’ve documented everything. I always make sure to document all of the tasks that were completed, who completed them and when they were completed. This helps me remember what happened on the project and gives me an idea of where we can improve in the future.”
This question can help interviewers understand how you plan your work and manage deadlines. Your answer should show that you know when to update project plans, including when it’s necessary and when it’s not.
Answer Example: “I believe in updating project plans regularly so that everyone on the team knows what tasks need to be completed and by when. I think it’s important to update project plans at least once a week, but sometimes I may need to do it more often if something changes or if we’re behind schedule. In those cases, I try to update the plan as soon as possible so everyone knows what needs to be done.”
This question can help the interviewer understand how you handle challenges in the workplace. Use examples from past experiences to explain how you would address this situation and help the team achieve their goals.
Answer Example: “When a project does not meet its goals, I take this as an opportunity to learn from the situation. I use the data collected from the project to analyze why we did not reach our objectives and then create a plan to improve future projects. This helps me develop my skills as a project manager and helps the team understand what went wrong so we can avoid making the same mistakes in the future.”