The Ultimate List of 141 Project Manager Interview Questions


SEE ALSO: Technical Concepts for Project Manager Candidates and How to Ace the Amazon Leadership Principles and Values Interview

Here is our big list of project manager interview questions.

  • If you’re a hiring manager, select the interview questions based on the competencies you’re evaluating.
  • If you’re a candidate, prepare and practice using this common list of developer interview questions.

Technical and Background Questions

  1. What project management software programs are you most knowledgeable in?
  2. If I gave you a laptop to plan your next project, what software would you want on it?
  3. Describe how you’ve implemented portfolio management across an organization.
  4. What tools do you use to monitor and control projects?
  5. What industry experience do you have besides [insert your industry here.]
  6. Tell me about a project you led in that industry.
  7. Describe one of your most challenging projects? Why was it challenging and how did you pull the project through it?
  8. What is your exposure to [Agile, SDLC, or whatever other methodology used on your projects]
  9. What is your exposure to [the industry for which I’m interviewing]?
  10. Tell me about the kinds of performance metrics you use to see if the project is on track?
  11. Tell me about a time when you moved a project into yellow or red status? How did you report on it? How did you get it back to green?
  12. What project management methodologies are you most familiar with?
  13. What change management processes have you used to ensure that change is introduced properly?
  14. What are the practices you follow for closing a project and meeting the conditions required to establish closure?
  15. What specific training have you had that would be relevant to this project manager job?
  16. Tell me a little bit about your career path, how did you move into Project Management?
  17. Who were your mentors as you entered Project Management? What did you learn from them?
  18. What do you feel is the value of a good Project Manager (PM)?
  19. What would you say is the most important skill of a PM and why?
  20. How do you keep up your skills in Project Management?
  21. What are your favorite aspects of being a PM?

Project Design Questions

  1. Briefly describe the project life cycle.
  2. You’re leading a project that must be planned, executed, and closed in ten days. The work itself will take nine days to complete. How will you conduct your project planning?
  3. You have to deliver a large scale business change project, what’s the first piece of information you would request?
  4. Think about what is important for the organisation — is it complexity, budget size, number of people involved or the subject matter of the project? How do you determine realistic schedules for the project?
  5. Explain your methods for resource allocation.
  6. How do you manage suppliers?
  7. How do you inform all the stakeholders of the progress of the project on a regular basis?
  8. What change management processes have you used to ensure that change is introduced properly?
  9. What are the practices you follow for closing a project and meeting the conditions required to establish closure?
  10. Tell me about a time when you encountered a serious conflict and how you dealt with it.
  11. What projects have you managed and what different styles have you used? [Waterfall, Agile, strong leadership, self-organizing teams — looking for how flexible and adaptable candidate might be]
  12. Tell me about how you approach Risk management on a new project.
  13. How do you handle a situation where the client does not want to surface and address Risk?
  14. How do you hold a team accountable for quality, not quantity?

Project Development Questions

  1. Give an example of how you tackle the initiation of projects?
  2. How do you make sure that all members of a project understand their roles and deadlines?
  3. What’s most important to you as a PM: finishing a project on time, on scope, or on budget?
  4. Describe a recent experience integrating different schedules across related projects or programs. What is your approach to manage and track key milestones and deliverables across a program?
  5. How do you manage new project requests and determine the organization’s resource capacity?
  6. Describe a previous experience where you were responsible for process quality assurance. How do you ensure projects within the portfolio are following tollgates and obtain the necessary approvals to proceed?
  7. Describe your experiences managing financial budgets. What was the scope and processes used to manage program or portfolio forecasts?
  8. Describe your experiences implementing a change control board across a program or portfolio.
  9. You have taken over as PM on a project that is behind schedule and over budget. What will you do to recover the situation?
  10. How do you estimate the completion time of a project?
  11. What is your style of management?
  12. When was the last time you didn’t delegate and what happened?
  13. How do you do your scheduling?
  14. How do you allocate resources?
  15. How do you do status updates?
  16. What don’t you want to work on?

Project Specification Questions

  1. How have you managed risks on a project you have run?
  2. What do you put in your risk management plan?
  3. Given a situation when we are delivering a project without a contract but on a promise that the customer will pay (they have always paid before), what are the issues?
  4. How do you start costing your projects? What experience do you have of building a change request for more money to complete your project?
  5. Consider the statement ‘inadequate quality management will result in project problems’. Give an example of why this should be.
  6. What methods do you use to capture issues when initiating your projects?
  7. In terms of time quality and cost and time please give an example of how you have managed change?
  8. How did you identify and determine the impact of your change options?
  9. Give an example of where a requested change was refused and how you managed it?
  10. Who are some of your stakeholders?
  11. How would you communicate with your stakeholders?
  12. What tools or process would you use?
  13. What’s the difference between a sponsor and a stakeholder?

Project Manager Behavioral Questions

  1. What was the most difficult ethical decision you’ve had to make on a project?
  2. What mechanisms do you employ to enable you to cope with a heavy workload?
  3. How have you improved project management processes at your current firm?
  4. What creative problem solving techniques do you use?
  5. What has been the most significant project you have worked on?
  6. What was your actual role in your last project?
  7. Can you give an example of when it has been difficult to maintain your own effectiveness due to external changes or pressures?
  8. How did you manage the situation? Will you describe your decision making processes with reference to a particular decision you have made recently?
  9. How do you manage the situation when your plan of work is upset by unforeseen circumstances?
  10. What aspects of your leadership style might positively or negatively influence members of a team? Can you give me an example of each?
  11. How do you make your opinion known when you disagree with the views of a colleague? How would you deal with a direct report who is failing to meet their objectives?
  12. Can you give an example of where you have had to direct work through colleagues who were reluctant to participate? How did you deal with the situation?
  13. How would you prioritize a lot of requests, if you couldn’t manage them all?
  14. Tell me about a time when your stakeholders didn’t agree on a project. How did you proceed?
  15. Have you ever experienced project failure? What happened?
  16. Tell me about a time when you had two key stakeholders with opposing views. How did you manage that?
  17. How do you handle politics?
  18. What’s your approach to managing a project?
  19. What’s your school of thought on project management? Are you an agile person?
  20. If you had to rate project management as a career, from 1–10 how would you rate it?
  21. What’s the most important thing for a project manager to do?
  22. What do you spend the most time doing each day?
  23. How do you work with sponsors? How do you manage up?

Project Analysis Questions

  1. Can you give me a redacted copy of the most recent “lessons learned” document you created?
  2. Are lessons learned captured at all phases of the project?
  3. Are there any lessons learned that were the responsibility of the Project Manager?
  4. Does the document reference other “lessons learned” from previous projects?
  5. How do you carry out failure factor analysis?
  6. How do you do contingency planning?
  7. What is your favorite way to deliver and present results?
  8. What type of closure processes have you done?
  9. Do you typically revisit projects a few months after delivery?
  10. How do you like to track your business progress? How do you develop, manage and communicate you businesses plans?
  11. Are you responsible for delivery and financials or just the administration of the project? Tell me about your recent project’s goals and results.

Culture Fit Questions

  1. Who was your last Project Sponsor? Is he/she one of your references?
  2. Describe a time where you had to use your written communication skills to perform your job.
  3. Describe an experience where you were responsible for coaching or training others on project management techniques.
  4. Are you comfortable reporting to multiple department heads?
  5. Describe the most complex project you have managed in the past.
  6. Describe a time you made a critical mistake.
  7. Have you had to work without outside contractors before? How did you manage them?
  8. What types of checks do you put in place to make sure the project is on track?
  9. How do you handle a team member that is falling behind a deadline?
  10. How do you handle a team member that consistently fails to meet deadlines?
  11. Which management theory has given you the greatest insight into managing a team?
  12. How do you create a productive successful team?
  13. How do you manage conflict?
  14. What kind of leader are you?
  15. What motivation tactics do you use to keep team members efficient?
  16. How do you know when a project may fail?
  17. How comfortable are you communicating complex information in layman terms to a client?
  18. If you were appointed as dictator of your previous company, what would you change?
  19. What would you bring to the team that nobody else would?
  20. If you get up in the morning and you feel really bad, what motivates you to start the day?
  21. When you see under performance in a process or a person how do you handle it?
  22. How have you identified and resolved conflicts in your teams?
  23. What does diversity mean to you?
  24. How do you deal with sound business but sometimes annoying process, delegation, levels of authority, have you ever managed to get and existing policy and practice changed?
  25. What is a traffic cone good for other than regular traffic stuff?
  26. When the project didn’t go well, what happened?
  27. What happens when your projects fail?
  28. How do you manage your customers and stakeholders expectations?
  29. How do you ensure communication has/is happening?
  30. Leadership, give examples of motivation, team work and where you have made a difference.
  31. How do you communicate your ideas, influence and persuasion what examples?
  32. How do you deal with client employees with low motivation or low skills?
  33. Tell me about a failure and what you learned from it.
  34. Tell me about a do-over in your career?
  35. What would your peers and past supervisor tell me about you?
  36. Tell me about a personal legacy that you created on one of your projects.
  37. Tell about sample project, Why was it conducted?
  38. How do you determine realistic schedules for the project?
  39. You are the project manager and want to do option A. Everyone else on your team wants to do option B. What do you do?
  40. Tell me about a time when your domestic team wanted to approach a project one way and your offshore team preferred a different approach.
  41. What was the issue, and how did you resolve it?
  42. What were the challenges on your last project?
  43. Do you manage people and projects or just projects?

SEE ALSO: Technical Concepts for Project Manager Candidates and How to Ace the Amazon Leadership Principles and Values Interview



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