Top 45 Project Manager Interview Questions For 2020

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By Jeff Gillis

Being a project manager requires you to wear a ton of different hats in your job. At any point during the life of the project, you may need to be a leader, a planner, a “Budget”, a organizer, a politician (yes!) and more. (Let’s take a break to recognize how badass you are!…. Okay, take a break.)

With all of these different skill sets required, it can be a bit daunting trying to prepare for a project manager interview. I mean, how do you show the hiring manager that you have all the qualities they’re looking for ??

By providing tailor-made answers to the questions they ask you, by highlighting the skills they have put in the job description of course!

But in order to do that, you need to know which questions you will most like to face in an interview with a project manager. This is why we have compiled here for you the 45 main interview questions with the project managers …

The 3 best tips for a project manager interview

Before we get into our 46 top interview questions, let’s go over some critical points you should be aware of before you sit down for your project manager interview …

1. Prepare several “Success Stories”

Chances are, the hiring manager will ask you to discuss past projects you’ve worked on. This is why it is essential to have specific examples. The key is that you want your successes (in this case, examples from past projects) to be clear, concise, and highlight the qualities and skills that you know they’re looking for.

JEFF’S TIP: Your success story doesn’t always have to be sunshine and roses. Don’t be afraid to talk about an experience that presented challenges. Just be sure to show how you approached the challenge and what you learned from it.

2. Study the job description to find the qualities and skills the company is looking for.

This tip follows on from tip 1. In order to create great successes, you need to be aware of the skills and qualities required by this particular project manager position. How do you understand this? By combing through your project manager job description. Too many job seekers read the job description just once and leave it at that.

Big mistake.

The job description is a gold mine. The company has taken the time to define exactly what its “perfect candidate” needs in terms of skills and qualities.

For a project manager, some of these qualities will likely be: direction, Communication (for example, your ability to speak to both your team and your shareholders), organization and Planning. There will probably be more. That is why you should pay special attention to the job description.

Once you have them, make sure the success stories you prepare highlight those qualities.

3. Find out what project management software the company is using

As a project manager, you will almost certainly be working with some form of project management software. Some examples are:

    • Trello
    • Hive
    • Asana
    • Smart sheet
    • Base camp
    • Liquid planner

There is a good chance that you are not familiar with all of these different solutions, but it can be a pretty critical part of working as a project manager. First examine the job description to see if they mention the type of software they are using.

If they don’t mention it, I recommend you head over to Glassdoor.com and do a little detective work. Type in the company you’re interviewing for and comb through the various comments from past employees. It is possible that some of them discuss the project management software used by the company. If it’s the one you haven’t used before, you can take online training on Youtube to be ready to answer any maintenance questions about the software.

45 Interview Questions for Project Manager

    1. Tell me a bit about your background and your experience …
    2. What is your style of project management?
    3. What type of project would you most like to work on?
    4. How do you deal with an underperforming team member?
    5. What do you think is an important quality to have as a project manager in order to be successful?
    6. What’s the biggest mistake you’ve made on a project?
    7. Do you have experience in budget management?
    8. How do you communicate bad news?
    9. Do you have experience in managing international project teams?
    10. How do you manage the changes in your project?
    11. Which project management software and tools do you prefer to use and why?
    12. How do you deal with people on your team who resist change when leadership demands something different?
    13. Suppose you were working on a project with an initial scope of a few months and you were told that you now have a few days – how would you handle it?
    14. Describe a project you managed and the steps you took to complete that project.
    15. Do you have experience in budget management?
    16. Do you have experience in outsourcing personnel or managing suppliers?
    17. What is your style of delegation?
    18. What do you do when you realize that a project is out of time?
    19. How do I start a newly assigned project?
    20. Has a colleague or manager ever challenged your decisions? And if so, how did you manage it?
    21. How do you set your team’s goals? And how do you track these goals?
    22. What project management software are you using?
    23. What is the most critical or difficult problem you have had to face while managing a project? How did you solve it?
    24. Tell me about a situation where you were faced with a major project modifying a decision where you had to go over the heads of your managers …
    25. How do you improve your project management skills and abilities?
    26. Can you work with a company that doesn’t have project management software?
    27. How do you resolve conflicts as a project manager?
    28. What’s the first thing you do when you start a project?
    29. Do you prefer to work on a single project or on several projects at the same time?
    30. How do you manage the risk in a project?
    31. Why do you like being a project manager?
    32. Have you ever worked in this industry?
    33. What is your leadership style?
    34. Are you looking for help outside the project team?
    35. How to prioritize tasks on a project?
    36. Describe the agile development process …
    37. Which project management methodology do you prefer? And why? (Agile, Waterfall, Scrum, Kanban) – If you want to cool off, check out this helpful flowchart. The approach will depend on the project https://www.lucidchart.com/blog/agile-vs-waterfall-vs-kanban-vs-scrum)
    38. How do you communicate with customers, sponsors and stakeholders?
    39. How do you keep your team members motivated?
    40. Tell me how you plan projects and set deadlines …
    41. What is the greatest number of projects that you have handled at the same time?
    42. Are you PMP certified?
    43. When do you know the project is off track?
    44. How did your last project end?
    45. Do you have any questions for me?

Put it all together

Most of the above questions come from real interviews with project managers. As you can see, they often focus on past projects and how you work and communicate with other people. Keep these questions in mind when preparing your “success stories”. If you need more help with success stories, our Behavioral Interviewing 101 Questions and Answers article might be of use to you.

As always, good luck!

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