Project Manager Interview Questions
According to research, for every $1B invested in the US, $122M was wasted due to lacking project performance. Talented project managers (PM) are one of the most valuable resources for any company because effective project management means less money wasted.
Who is an exemplary project manager? He is an excellent communicator with a wide swath of skills and a deep knowledge of different methodologies. This person understands the power of collaboration and has all the necessary experience to lead the team.
A top-notch specialist on your team - is it a dream or reality? We claim that this is reality, and Yojji’s successful experience proves this.
In this article, we will share tips on what questions to ask a project manager during an interview, how to find a versatile specialist who handles overflow with ease and perfectly motivates the team. Ask these questions to narrow the options to a handful of suitable candidates.
What to Look for in Project Managers?
To perform their best, PMs should have an arsenal of personal and professional qualities that allow them to solve all technical issues and support team members. If you are looking for a perfect PM, make sure the candidate has all the necessary traits. Below, we will focus on the main ones.
- Strategic thinking and excellent organizational skills
The best project managers are highly organized and highly disciplined. They do not lose sight of the smallest details and adhere to a clear strategy that leads to the final goal. Besides, they perfectly organize the workflow of the whole team to achieve the best results.
- Leader and advisor rolled into one
A project manager manages all processes and is responsible for progress. However, this specialist should combine two main roles: the actual leader and the ideological mastermind for his colleagues. He shouldn’t be too pushy and tough, he must give freedom of action to colleagues and motivate them to achieve excellent results.
- Deep understanding of people’s abilities and the main processes
An excellent project manager will always find common ground with everyone and will distribute the workload in accordance with the set priorities. He must be able to speak with people in their language, understand their point of view, use their experience and knowledge to improve the project, and also understand how much time it takes for a particular specialist to achieve a specific goal to organize the work as efficiently as possible.
- Technical know-how
The candidate must have experience with project management software such as Asana, Jira, or Monday. Besides, the manager must have the basic technical knowledge to explain to the client exactly what the developers are doing.
- Perfect soft skills
Smooth communication is one of the pillars of a successful project. The manager must be able to clearly express the set goals, calmly resolve any emerging issues, and efficiently process the information received, as well as share it with other stakeholders. This specialist must be able to discuss with technical teams the nitty-gritty, as well as put all terms into lay language when communicating with non-technical teams and customers.
Top Project Manager Interview Questions to Ask
Finding a professional project manager is tough yet possible. If you want to find a valuable asset, ask the right questions and carefully analyze the answers.
- Tell us about the projects you worked on. What was your role? Who the stakeholders were?
A candidate should give an overview of the projects he worked on. The example should be considered in detail because it gives an insight into how a manager approaches a project and communicates with others. The candidate should describe the scope and complexity of projects for you to understand how you can benefit from his skills in the future.
What to look for:
The candidate should be specific, give examples of coherent explanations they gave to various counterparties. For instance, “I worked with a product manager to control the technical development. Besides, in cooperation with a group of in-house developers, we coordinated testing and managed to finish the project on time”.
- Have you managed remote teams?
Today, being able to manage global remote teams is a must-have. A project manager should use all his knowledge and multiple skill sets to manage team members virtually. He should combine various management techniques to ensure effective collaboration in a remote environment.
What to look for:
An expert should have all the necessary training and experience to ensure all the processes are running smoothly. If not, companies may experience various problems: delays, low job performance, and high additional costs. Make sure the candidate uses different techniques that help him and the whole team stay motivated and effective. For instance, daily check-ins via video conferences, various support engagement strategies, different ways to define the goals clearly and encourage the team.
- Tell us about the challenges you have faced. How have you solved the problems?
Every project manager encounters various challenges that he should tackle effectively. Funding reduction, changes in goals and deadlines are common situations that occur in many projects. Real professionals never blame team members and always find ways to handle the challenges.
What to look for:
A candidate should explain in detail how he has managed to solve all challenges. A perfect PM can find the real cause of off-tracking, change the resource management system, put extra effort, and come up with creative solutions.
- How do you prioritize the tasks?
An ability to prioritize determines the successful completion of the project within the agreed time frame. This question will help you understand if a PM knows the difference between importance and urgency, is flexible, and can adapt to new circumstances.
What to look for:
An experienced PM knows which tasks should be solved as a matter of priority and which ones can be postponed. He should give a thoughtful response without losing sight of the approaches used. A great way to answer this question is to give a real-world example and an overview of the most effective techniques.
- What communication style do you use?
Communication is key as it is an effective way to get a point across. PMs constantly interact with developers, managers, customers, conduct online conferences, brainstorming sessions, explain certain issues to the clients, and take part in in-person discussions. They should communicate easily regardless of the audience. Picking the wrong style can spell trouble. This question will show you how a candidate is in alignment with the communication style of your company and employees.
What to look for:
The assertive style is considered to be the most effective style of communication because it implies the expression of PM’s thoughts and consideration of thoughts, ideas, and needs of other team members. This style is a win-win option for a plethora of projects because it suggests open communicating without an imperative tone. Besides, a great specialist should organically combine active and passive communication methods. He chooses the best one depending on the scope of the project and team type.
Thus, a project manager is your lifeline that will help you organize all processes correctly, control the implementation of all tasks, inspire the team, and achieve excellent results. On top of that, with the help of a first-class expert, you can avoid costly mistakes and implement the customer’s project on time.
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