6 interview questions for new project managers
Your interview is coming up, and you’re probably a little nervous. If you already have your attire selected and your documents prepared, all you have to do now is prepare yourself for the actual talking portion of the interview. If the anticipation is getting the best of you, and you’re worried you won’t be so witty on the spot, here are some common questions asked during an interview for a project manager, and some responses to consider. A little practice never hurt anyone.
1. What do you dislike doing?
This question will give the interviewer a large grasp of who you are and where your priorities lie. Your answer should be something that is truthful, but not too honest. “I really hate X, Y, and Z” is a forward answer, but a little too forward. “I’m not good at (task)” is even more off-putting.
Be honest about one or two things you dislike doing, but also make sure to illustrate that you’re not opposed to doing them. It also helps to illustrate how you approach these tasks, such as tending to these tasks first, to get them out of the way.
2. What skill is most necessary for success?
Don’t rattle off a list of things that you know will fall within your job duties in the event that you’re hired. Instead, use this opportunity to mention what you’re best at. This is a direct opportunity to show what you’ve mastered and how it applies to the situation.
3. How will you assemble your team?
Here is a perfect opportunity to be modest, while also showing who you intend to be as a team leader. Don’t try to convey that you possess the ultimate wealth of knowledge—the interviewer already knows you don’t, and he or she is not expecting you to.
Your responsibility as a project manager will be to delegate tasks to those who have an expertise in what is primarily required. Keep your ego out of your outlining, and show your clear focus.
4. What methods will you use to accomplish a task?
When you’re answering a question like this, it’s very important that you aren’t too broad. Take advantage of this opportunity to highlight your versatility by demonstrating that you understand a ‘one size fits all’ approach is unrealistic. Entertain a number of plausible scenarios and discuss what you would do across different situations.
One way of thinking only works for one kind of solution, and you need your interviewer to know that you’re able to think outside of the box and that circumstances will shift from project to project.
5. How will you handle tension within your team?
You’ll find yourself in that scenario as a project manager. Your team members will disagree with each other, or even disagree with you, when it comes to developing a project strategy. Everyone has differing opinions, and they’ll sometimes be contradictory.
Showcasing your ability to mitigate disputes will count for a lot. Explain that you’re willing to listen to everyone and consider all feedback before proceeding, and acknowledge that you’re aware that at the end of the day, what’s most important is that you’ve picked the most effective approach to a project.
6. How do you intend to keep your team on track?
This is the most important aspect of a project manager’s job. While you’ll be doing a myriad of other things that are vital for the success of a project, your main role is to make sure that synergy is flowing through your team. Discuss how you would motivate others, and what plans you have for monitoring progress to be certain that you’re moving at a reasonable pace towards a deadline. Let the interviewer know that you understand the importance of unity and how to empower a team.