Archive for the ‘Project Management Interviews’ Category:

Project Management interview techniques

Interviews can be a trying time for some therefore it is essential you prepare thoroughly before the big day, put yourself in the shoes of the hiring manager and think about what it is they will want to know about you. As working in project management can be varied from organisation to organisation, departmentally and from project to project it is important to think about how you work, not just what you deliver or support in delivery. Of course the hiring manager will want to know what the deliverables are but they will also be interested in knowing how you get from A to B, not just working through a specific methodology but also how you overcome key challenges. Because there is a lot to get across in the interview you will need to bring some sort of control to how you present the information, it is too easy to get carried away trying to paint a clear picture by going off on a tangent, wasting precious time and not giving the information originally asked for by the interviewer. Here are some tips to help you keep on track:

Interview

  • Research the role and understand which areas of your experience match up to their requirements, then you will have a list to work through.
  • With your list you need to think about some strong examples which really meet with the requirements, these examples may be entire projects or specific areas of a project.
  • Each example should talk through enough information to be clear to someone completely new to your area of work, don’t use acronyms and internal business terminology, do be thorough but concise.
  • A good structured approach to talking through examples is the STAR technique (Situation, Task, Action & Result), apply this framework to each example and keep on track.

 

Make sure you do all you can to answer questions thoroughly, if you are unclear on what the interviewer is trying to draw out from you, ask them to rephrase the question. Keep your cool at all times – sometimes interviewers may throw in some curve ball questions to throw you off balance or goad you to see how you react under pressure. From the moment you arrive outside the building you are being tested, I know a lot of hiring managers who speak to reception staff after interviews to see how you were with them, so always treat others with respect and good manners.

Interview Questions; what to expect – PM Career Tips

Interview questions will vary from company to company and manager to manager but essentially the interviewer wants to verify some key areas such as: whether your skills and experience are right for the job, if you actually want the job and are you the right fit for the business. Answering questions with strong examples from your professional past will really help you win over the interviewer as theoretical answers really don’t add value.

One of the first questions you are likely to be asked is “what do you know about us?” This is where you need to have done your homework and know what it is the business does/produces, who its main competitors are and any challenges they may currently be facing (publicised or not).

You will also probably be asked to talk about yourself; this is something you can rehearse and you should look to produce a short (3 or 4 minutes long) monologue which focuses on relevant pieces of experience, any areas of progression and achievements. Keep it professional, don’t talk about children and family and avoid any jobs which aren’t going to be of interest to the interviewer.

Shake on it

It is also possible you will be asked to talk through key strengths and weaknesses – think about examples which are more relevant to the job/business and don’t fall into the trap of stating you have no weaknesses, we all do and it is how we identify and address them which makes us better/stronger candidates and more employable.

Why do you want this job? Another great question and often overlooked by candidates when preparing for interview – simply stating you need the money to pay the rent/mortgage isn’t good enough. Again this is where your research comes in, knowing more about what they do as a business and the direction they are taking in the market can be a great area to talk about and also think about the challenge of a new team, different projects, developing your skill set etc.

You will ideally be asked to talk about difficult situations and proud achievements – this can be a great platform to demonstrate your management style and to tell the interviewer about something which isn’t covered on the CV, talking about how you have added value and overcome major blockers can really sell you.

You’ll no doubt be asked about your career goals, be realistic but don’t sell yourself short. Think about your 5-10 year career plan beforehand and tell the interviewer your plans but be pragmatic, you could talk yourself out of a job if you intend to be climbing the career ladder at the rate of knots. Taking on more responsibility and new challenges doesn’t necessarily mean jumping from PM to Programme manager or Coordinator to Manager.

5 typical project manager interview questions

The interview process is an imperative hurdle to conquer in order to secure the job you desire. It will be the difference between successfully answering the questions provided, or voicing a chaos of answers only to witness the job slip through your fingers. As a project manager, your interviewer will primarily be looking for your ability to perform well in certain situations, and examples of where your skills have delivered a project on time, in budget and with fantastic results to boot!

In preparation for your next interview, there are a selection of project manager interview questions listed below, so you can get in, answer the questions, and get hired!

1.       Give an example of your experience with managing different projects

Your potential employer is looking for a clear and honest explanation of your past experiences at a former company, and how you handled yourself in those situations. The question seeks to find out more about your management skills, and ultimately, how your skills can benefit their company.

Problem or Solution2.       What kind of techniques would you use to motivate ineffective team members?

This would be a good time to give an impressive example of your leadership skills. If you have experienced an unproductive team member at your previous job, communicate what the problem was and how you motivated them into becoming an efficient and key member of the team.

3.       What kinds of project management software do you use?

The point of this question is quite simply, “are you up to date with the latest technology, or are we going to have to spend our resources to get you up to speed?” Like many companies, they would rather have an employee enter the company with the knowledge of certain processes firmly in place, instead of hiring a novice. So do yourself an act of kindness and make sure you’re familiar with all the latest tools.

4.       How do you handle politics in the workplace?

The ability to keep the peace between team members while maintaining the focus of the project is key here. Your interviewer is asking for an example of a time where employee differences may have had the potential to be detrimental to the goal of the project, and the actions you took to resolve the issues.

5.       How do you close your projects?

Your employer isn’t interested in hiring an employee who fails to close projects well. This is your opportunity to shine and provide examples of projects you’ve successfully managed from beginning to end. Include details of team member and client feedback, and how you evaluated those results to present a positive end solution.

The most powerful tool to employ before your interview date is preparation. These questions will be sure to assist you in your adventure into the menacing world of the interview process and help you see the way forward in your career progression. With a splash of confidence, a pinch of positivity and a heap of preparation, go grab this opportunity with both hands!

Karly Edwards is a freelance copywriter writing for Computer Recruiter, an IT recruitment agency based in Cardiff, South Wales: http://www.computerrecruiter.co.uk

Questions you should ask the interviewer

Interviews can be stressful for some and even enjoyable to others – it just depends on your perception of what you hope to achieve from them. Clearly you are hoping to be offered a job but that is not always the case; the interview should be a two way setting and often the candidate loses sight of this. I have been in interviews where I have known quite quickly that it is not the role for me, and walked away from interviews wondering if I actually would welcome an offer – therefore it is important to make sure you know if this is the one for you.

Notes

Most formal interviews will consist of an introduction from the interviewer followed by a series of questions presented to the candidate to understand how you work and react in situations, towards the end of the interview you will be presented with the opportunity to ask questions back. This is where some good planning comes into play; you need to think outside the box as the interviewer should answer a lot of questions in their introduction. A trap, a lot of candidates fall into is to respond with “I think you have answered everything I was going to ask” – this can come across as a lack of real interest in the business / role and can put interviewers off you.

Here are a few questions you may find useful to note down for future interviews:

  • What does the actual day to day work involve? (bearing in mind Project Management makes for constant change, there will still be core duties required of you)
  • What do you enjoy most about working here?
  • What are the main challenges the team / projects face at the moment?
  • Have you identified any weaknesses in the team; are these something you would like me to address from the start?
  • What do you think it might take to be really successful in this role?
  • Could you talk me through the management style here?
  • Do you have any specific projects in mind that the successful candidate will be working on?
  • Is it likely I will be working as part of a team and are the staff involved in different projects at any one time?
  • Does the business encourage employees to study and gain professional qualifications? What kind of support is in place?
  • What kind of backgrounds personally and professionally do the existing team have?

And to round up:

  • When can I expect to hear from you with a decision and do you usually call or write to let candidates know the outcome?
  • Would it be possible to gain some feedback from you regardless of the outcome?
  • Have I answered everything thoroughly enough for you or is there anything else you would like to ask me?

I recommend writing a list of questions to ask – always write down more than you need in case some are already covered by the interviewer (some interviewers are more thorough than others). Avoid any questions about pay, holidays, benefits, sick leave, hours of work etc as this can give a bad impression – these questions will be answered at the offer stage (if you get that far). Once you have a list of questions, place them in a folder and when you are asked for questions do remember your manners and ask if it is OK to refer to the list you prepared prior to the interview.