10 Interview Questions & Answers To Prepare For A Project Manager Job

interview questions and answers for project managers

10 Interview Questions & Answers To Prepare For A Project Manager Job

So, you’ve written a stellar job application and you’ve landed the interview. Congratulations!

When it comes time to prepare for a job interview it can be difficult to anticipate what questions you might receive and to know how they want you to answer them.  

The traditional recruitment process has changed in recent years and there is a real focus on how a candidate will fit into the company culture. But there are still some competency and personality based questions that you are likely to get in a project manager job interview.  

Before we dive into those questions, what they mean and how you should answer them. Let’s go over the S.T.A.R method.  

The S.T.A.R method is a method for answering questions that helps you to structure your answer sensibly and think through your example logically. Before answering questions think about how you can form your answer in the S.T.A.R method.  

  • Situation  
  • Task  
  • Action 
  • Results  

Using the S.T.A.R method will help you to formulate your answers to the common project manager interview questions below.  

1. Tell us about yourself

This one comes up in most interviews and it can seem like it’s just an informal way for the interview to begin and get everyone comfortable but it’s actually your opportunity to sell yourself.  

Treat this interview question like your elevator pitch. I’m X and I’m project manager with X years’ experience across X industries, I have specialist skills in X and I am interested in the opportunity to move into X. 

2. What was the most challenging project you managed?

This question is at the top of the list for project management interviews. When they ask this question, they are looking for you to find an example that was difficult and address how you overcame the challenge.  

Think about how many people were involved in the project, what was the budget, what was the timeline, what went wrong and how did you fix it? Ultimately, how were you integral in ensuring the project was a success!

3. How would you communicate a failure to your team or client?

When they ask this question, they are looking for you to explain your communication skills and how you managed expectations. In your answer focus on the positives and your communication skills. Yes, your team may have failed but what can you learn as a manager from the failure and what steps did you take to rectify the problem? This is what the interviewer really wants to hear!

4. What projects do you not want to work on? 

With a question like this they are looking for honesty, so give it to them. The reality is that not everyone is interested in or suited to managing all types of projects. There is no point in saying you want to work on everything because at the end of the day if you’re interested in what you’re doing the results will speak for themselves.

5. Are you familiar with project management software?

In this technologically advanced age, there are so many project management systems, Asana, Notion, Monday, Trello, the list goes on. They are not going to expect you to have experience with all of them, but you should be honest about which platforms you’ve used and which ones you haven’t.  

This question can be a bit intimidating for some of the older project managers who remember the days of planning large projects with nothing but a notepad and pen. But these systems are very helpful and whatever they use at that specific company you’ll be able to work it out. 

6. If you were to pick one skill for a project manager to have, what would it be and why? 

When they ask this question, they are asking you to talk to about your biggest strength and why it’s integral to your role as project manager. Frame your answer around the question and use examples of accomplishments or hurdles you’ve overcome by using this skill. 

7. Provide an example where you had to deal with differing opinions on a project from stakeholders? 

This question is about how you handle stakeholder management. They will want to know how you communicate with them and how you found a solution that worked for all parties while still addressing the goals and objectives of the project. 

8. Describe a time when you failed to meet a deadline for a project?

With this question they are looking to see how you manage shifting deadlines, how you reprioritise tasks and communicate with your team.  

Find an example where outside forces interrupted the delivery of project, and you negotiated a new deadline and redesigned the tasks and objectives to meet the new deadline. 

9. Do you have experience working from home and managing a remote team? 

This question is getting more and more common. These days it’s not unusual to have one or more members of your team working remotely on a project.  

If you haven’t had direct experience managing an all-remote team, think to examples where you had team members in different states, or other offices who had to join meetings remotely. Talk about the advancements in technology for project management systems and remote meeting spaces and how this has made remote management so much easier.  

Also discuss how you have kept team morale high and projects to deadlines with team members who are not in the same office. 

10. What is your leadership style?

This question is about your understanding of leadership and management. They’re looking for you to have both leadership and management skills and they want to know how you lead a team.  

When answering this question consider the classic leadership styles – democratic, autocratic, laissez-faire or paternalistic. Then structure your answer around how you use these leadership styles to your advantage.  

If you’re a lasses-faire leader, how do you keep them on track and how does the autonomy they have inspire them to take ownership of their tasks?  If you’re a democratic leader how does your approach and their input strengthen project outcomes?  

Learn more about the different leadership styles 

Final Thoughts  

Being prepared for an interview is always important – regardless of your previous experience in project management. Asset College has helped graduates across all of our courses prepare for life in the workforce in many different industries. 

Find out more about how our project management courses can prepare you for or reward your experience in the project management industry today. 

You can also stay current by joining the representing body for your industry! Visit Australian Institute of Project Management to find out more. 

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