How to ask and respond to common project manager interview questions
Project managers are responsible for the daily management of project work and need to have the skills to handle the scope, schedule, budget, risk and quality of any project.Project manager roles can be very stressful and time-sensitive, so interviews for this kind of role can be challenging. Although every interview is different, it is likely that similar questions will be asked that focus on interpersonal skills, technical knowledge and examples from specific situations.Here are some common project manager interview questions that you can ask as an employer and how to answer them as a candidate.Tell me about yourselfEmployer: This is a common question to start most interviews, and it is a good way to learn more about a candidate’s background, previous experiences and skills they have learned from other roles. This question can also be used to try and learn more about the candidate’s personality and how they would fit in as a project manager at the company.Candidate: There are several ways to approach this question that will satisfy the interviewer. A simple and effective way to structure a response is to start with your current role and what you do, then move on to past experiences that are relevant to the role you applied for and finish with what kind of role you are looking for next and why you are interested in this opportunity.There are several ways to approach this question that will satisfy the interviewer. A simple and effective way to structure a response is to start with your current role and what you do, then move on to past experiences that are relevant to the role you applied for and finish with what kind of role you are looking for next and why you are interested in this opportunity.What’s your prior experience in this industry?Employer: It’s important to know if a candidate has experience in your industry because they may already have the knowledge and understand the methods that your company uses to manage projects successfully. If they don’t, try to assess if they have strong project management skills that can apply to your industry, such as using project management software or having a good knowledge of how the industry works.It’s important to know if a candidate has experience in your industry because they may already have the knowledge and understand the methods that your company uses to manage projects successfully. If they don’t, try to assess if they have strong project management skills that can apply to your industry, such as using project management software or having a good knowledge of how the industry works.Candidate: Being prepared to talk about the industry is essential. Make sure you can talk about any experiences you have had in the industry - from either a professional or academic perspective. If you don’t have any direct experience, talk about what you know from market research, what interests you about the industry and what you plan to bring to it. It may be helpful to mention any skills or knowledge that are transferable as well.Being prepared to talk about the industry is essential. Make sure you can talk about any experiences you have had in the industry - from either a professional or academic perspective. If you don’t have any direct experience, talk about what you know from market research, what interests you about the industry and what you plan to bring to it. It may be helpful to mention any skills or knowledge that are transferable as well.What was your most successful project?Employer: Scenario-based interview questions are a good way to understand how candidates have achieved success in different situations. This question will help to identify a candidate’s passion for their work, any proven successes as a project manager and how they measure success.Scenario-based interview questions are a good way to understand how candidates have achieved success in different situations. This question will help to identify a candidate’s passion for their work, any proven successes as a project manager and how they measure success.Candidate: This question gives you a great opportunity to show your strengths as a project manager. Focus on your role - what did you do to make sure the project stayed on track to meet the deadline? Think about the key decisions you and the team made that led to its success. Remember, projects can be successful not only for meeting goals and deadlines, but also if they introduced change and developed new strategies.This question gives you a great opportunity to show your strengths as a project manager. Focus on your role - what did you do to make sure the project stayed on track to meet the deadline? Think about the key decisions you and the team made that led to its success. Remember, projects can be successful not only for meeting goals and deadlines, but also if they introduced change and developed new strategies."Although you may be concerned about a career decision, or some possible skill gaps a candidate might have, be mindful to not rule anyone out or make any snap judgements before the end of the interview so you can get the full picture and give the candidate a fair chance."Scott Nevett- Recruitment Director, ReedDescribe a difficult project and how you handled itEmployer: The purpose of this question is to evaluate how candidates cope with challenges. Obstacles are common when managing projects, but you want to find out how they solved them in the past to understand how they deal with real-life situations. This question also gives an insight into the person’s project management style, and how they lead teams and resolve conflicts that may occur.Candidate: Facing unexpected challenges is a key part of being a project manager, so ideally you’ll have a few examples to pick from. The best way to answer this question is to first explain the situation and what the challenge was. Then, describe how you found a solution to overcome the situation. Next, tell what you did, and how you did it. Finish by sharing the result and what you learned from the experience.How do you prioritise tasks on a project?Employer: Knowing exactly what to prioritise is essential for any project. To be successful, a good project manager or project management office (PMO) is going to help manage small and large-scale projects that have an impact on the business and customers. This question will explore the candidate’s thought process and how they make time and task management decisions. It’s also worth finding out how the candidate would handle multiple projects at once.Candidate: When asked questions about prioritisation, providing examples of how you organise your day, plan your work and set deadlines shows the interviewer that you’re able to monitor and keep on top of work. According to the 2021 Project Management Report, 59% of project managers run between two and five projects at any given time, so make sure your answer includes a combination of deadlines, stakeholder needs and business-critical tasks.What tools/software do you like to use to help plan, track and evaluate a project?Employer: A project manager will use tools to plan, track and evaluate their work. Take the time to get a sense of how well the candidate knows different project management tools and how they use them.Candidate: It would be helpful to list the project management tools you’ve used in previous roles, from Trello to Basecamp to Asana. Mention what you enjoy about the tools, and how they could be improved – it would be a great bonus to find out what tools the company uses and start a conversation on that.How do you manage budgets for your projects?Employer: Most projects, regardless of the size, usually require some budgeting, which is why it may be useful to ask questions specifically about budget management. Asking questions about budgets allows employers to gain a deeper understanding of what experience the candidate has with project management processes.Candidate: The employer, more often than not, will want to hear examples of when you’ve managed a budget for previous projects. Try to talk about situations when you’ve given cost estimates, allocated funds, kept track of money spent, and how you’ve planned for unforeseen costs. If you don’t have much experience, share what you know about budget planning, or, if relevant, talk about budgeting in your personal life. Our specialist recruiters can help you conduct the perfect interview.Have you worked with remote teams?Employer: Because of the pandemic – and the rapid growth of digital project management tools – projects being done and worked on remotely have increased significantly. Knowing how the candidate has worked with people and resources remotely can show you how they adapt to changes in working conditions, and provides valuable insight into their leadership style.Candidate: Employers will want to know how you’ve successfully worked with remote teams. Often, they will want to hear possible challenges faced when working with a remote workforce, and how you dealt with any issues quickly and effectively. Showing how you’ve been flexible and adaptable to changes in working conditions – such as using communication software like Microsoft Teams – is also a huge positive for businesses in the current situation.How would you handle a difficult stakeholder?Employer: This question aims to gain clarity into a candidate’s stakeholder management skills and how they deal with issues. How they communicate with executives, project sponsors and stakeholders requires a different tone than what is used with team members – use this question to understand what approach they’d take to handle this situation.Candidate: Working with stakeholders is never easy, but it’s a vital part of being a successful project manager. Being able to showcase your ability to manage stakeholder needs is crucial. Focus on a previous example, describing the situation, before presenting your solution and the result will stand you in good stead. Your communication and negotiation skills will be an important part of your answer.If you are looking for the next top professional for your business or looking for your next role, get in touch with one of our expert consultants today.
Interview question generator - New Reed AI tool
Why should recruiters and hiring managers use our tool?Well-crafted interview questions are essential for determining an interviewee's skills, experience, and fit for the role.If you are looking for good interview questions for recruiters or managers, our interview question generator is your go-to resource for fast, comprehensive interview question generation, providing you with a wide range of relevant and effective questions to choose from.Our tool uses advanced AI algorithms to generate a list of interview questions to ask candidates that are tailored to the specific requirements of the role and your company. Using the tool ensures that the questions you ask at an interview are relevant, effective, and comprehensive, allowing you to gain a deeper understanding of each interviewee’s strengths and weaknesses. Our interview question generator will save you time and effort, while ensuring that you are asking the right questions to identify the best candidates for your open positions.Tailoring questions to your industry and roleOur interview question generator will craft a set of interview questions to suit any role, in any sector, across a range of seniority levels, from entry level to c-suite.Helping recruiters and managers craft better interview questionsBy highlighting your top-three most sought-after soft skills, this AI-powered interview question generator will align with your hiring needs, helping you uncover the best talent to help your team thrive.Helping hiring managers save timeWhat used to take hours of searching the internet for the best interview questions, will take you no more than five minutes.
Five common mistakes interviewers should avoid
Improving your interviewing skills is essential for finding the best candidate for the job, as well as saving time and money. A LinkedIn survey found that 83% of professionals would change their mind about a role after a bad interview experience. To help you avoid this, here are five common mistakes that interviewers often make and how to prevent them.Making hasty judgmentsYou might be tempted to form an opinion about a candidate’s fit for the role based on their body language, voice or CV before the interview - but this can be misleading.Even if you have some doubts about their career choices or skills, don’t dismiss them or jump to conclusions before the interview is over. Give them a fair chance and try to see the whole picture.Showing a lack of interest or attentionRemember that interviews are not only for you to evaluate the candidates, but also for them to decide if they like you and the company.Therefore, you should act as you would expect them to act, for example by making eye contact, smiling and nodding as they speak and paying attention to what they say. By listening carefully and being present, you will make them feel comfortable and more interested in the role and the company.Not reading the candidate’s CVIt’s not enough to read the candidate’s CV once before inviting them to an interview. You should also review it again before the day of the interview. By looking at their projects or work samples or checking their LinkedIn profile for any topics they post about, you will be more prepared and able to establish a connection with the candidate, which can help you determine if they are right for the team and the role.Being too rigidIt’s good to ask all your candidates the same questions to compare them objectively, but sometimes this can make you seem too stiff and rehearsed.Instead of relying on pre-written questions that you read from a paper, try to talk more naturally and conversationally. This way, you will make the candidate feel more relaxed and not like they are taking a test, as well as get to know them better by asking follow-up questions or finding out more about their personality.Not being ready to answer the candidate’s questionsAt the end of an interview, it’s common to ask the candidate if they have any questions for you, but you might forget to prepare for this if you are too focused on your own questions.It’s a good idea to look at some of the typical questions that candidates ask and make sure you can answer them confidently and clearly.
Interviewer tips for conducting a perfect job interview
What is a job interview?A job interview is a formal meeting between a job applicant and an employer to evaluate the applicant's suitability for a job role advertised by the employer. Interviews are commonly used for employee selection.Conducting a job interview is a crucial part of the recruitment process as it allows employers to gather information about the candidate's skills and prior experience, providing insights into their potential performance in the role.So, how can you conduct a seamless and professional interview process?Here are some top tips for interviewers to help you conduct the perfect interview:Familiarize yourself with the job descriptionBefore the interview begins, it's important to thoroughly understand the content of the job description and the associated roles and responsibilities.By reviewing the job description, you can formulate relevant questions and gain a clear understanding of the qualities you are seeking in a candidate.Define your expectationsWhile a well-written job description is a good starting point, it may not be sufficient for conducting a comprehensive interview. It is crucial for interviewers to have a thorough understanding of the desired qualities in a candidate.Consider the ideal behavior and characteristics of an employee in the role. As an interviewer, you should ask questions that assess the candidate's alignment with your expectations and determine if they are a good fit for your organization's culture.Creating a checklist of these expectations will facilitate the comparison of interviewees and simplify the decision-making process.Prepare relevant questionsPreparing a list of questions is essential for a successful job interview. The balance of question types is equally important.Include competency-based questions to assess the candidate's approach to the role. Use character-based questions to evaluate how well the candidate would fit within your team. Inquire about their career goals to gain insights into their motivations. Remember to ask open-ended questions that encourage the candidate to provide detailed responses rather than simple yes or no answers.By following these tips, you can conduct an effective job interview that helps you identify the most suitable candidate for the role.”Preparation is key: from greetings to the final question, make sure you have all bases covered.”Be Prepared Beyond the Job InterviewDo not underestimate the significance of small details during the job interview. It is important for the interviewee to feel comfortable enough to express their true personality.For instance, check the interview room. Is it private and comfortable? Do you have water available on the table? If the interview is being conducted remotely, ensure that your sound and camera are working properly and that your Wi-Fi connection is strong. Introducing candidates to your team members on the interview panel before the interview begins is a great way to observe how they interact with people, while also giving the interviewee an opportunity to learn more about your company.Practice Makes PerfectGoing over your questions and expectations with a colleague before the interview will boost your confidence.It is worth considering having a second team member join you in the interview to take notes. This will give you more time to focus on the interviewee and respond to their answers.Colleagues can provide valuable tips on how to conduct a job interview. They may also be interested in receiving your interview advice!Foster a ConversationA job interview can be an insightful and enjoyable experience for both the interviewer and the interviewee.Help the interviewee make the most of the session by putting them at ease from the beginning. Asking conversational questions will allow you to get to know the candidate better and encourage them to speak freely before moving on to more challenging interview questions.“Follow the 80-20 rule of interviewing: let the interviewee talk 80% of the time.”Listen moreAs the interviewer, your focus should be on your questions and guiding the job interview.Keep in mind that your goal is to learn about the candidate. A commonly recommended rule is to speak only 20% of the time and listen for 80% of the interview. While silence may feel uncomfortable, allow the interviewee time to think and answer your questions. Resist the temptation to break the silence yourself.Encourage the candidate to ask their own questions during the interview and at the end.Expect questions from intervieweesIn addition to encouraging questions from the interviewee, anticipate that they will come prepared with inquiries about various aspects, such as company culture, development opportunities, and career progression.Take this opportunity to provide additional information about the company that the interviewee may not have discovered during their research. This can include details about the working environment and how the business has been affected by the pandemic. It's important to give interviewees insight into the company's purpose and how the team operates effectively.Be aware of 'unconscious bias'As the saying goes, don't judge a book by its cover. Your first impression of someone is formed in just seven seconds, driven by your unconscious brain.During a job interview, it's crucial to be mindful of this bias. Remind yourself not to make hasty decisions. Stick to your planned questions and use a standardized checklist to ensure every interviewee has a fair chance.Do not make promises you cannot fulfillIt is natural to want to present a positive image of the job and company, but be cautious not to misrepresent the role.The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development refers to this conversation as a "psychological contract." If the actual job differs from the expectations set during the interview, the psychological contract is broken, which may result in the new hire leaving.Conclude the interview appropriatelyInform the candidate when they can expect a response and how it will be delivered. Provide or confirm the contact information they should look out for, and ensure that the contact information you have for them is accurate.Before ending the interview, express gratitude for the candidate's time. This leaves a positive impression of the company and acknowledges that the candidate is also evaluating you. It is important to present the company in a favourable light.What happens after the interview?Conducting a job interview does not end when the interviewee leaves the room. Following up with the candidate after the interview is a crucial, yet often overlooked, step in the process.Put yourself in the candidate's position and consider their experience during the next steps. Inform them of when they can expect a decision and communicate any delays in the process. Failing to follow up can harm your reputation and lose potential prospects.Avoid making a final decision hastily during the interview itself. Take the time to evaluate the candidates' performance before informing every one of the outcomes. Additionally, be open to providing constructive feedback if requested by the interviewee.In this competitive market, it is essential that your interview process, whether conducted in person or online, is effective, keeps candidates engaged, and ultimately helps you secure top professionals.
Conduct the best video interview possible
Given the rise in remote and hybrid working, it is crucial for employers to understand how to effectively conduct video interviews, considering the differences compared to in-person meetings.This blog aims to assist you in making a positive first impression and successfully selecting the ideal candidate.PreparationPrior to the interview, find a quiet, well-lit, and tidy space without distractions. Remember that this individual could potentially be your next employee, so it's important to present a professional environment. Remove any items from view that you wouldn't want them to see.Dress appropriately, just as you would for an in-person interview, to help get into the right mindset, even if the candidate can't see your entire outfit. Have your questions prepared and gather all necessary materials for notetaking.Technology reliabilityFirst and foremost, ensure that you won't be disturbed during the interview by turning off notifications and email alerts. Test your tech setup beforehand, as you may need to adjust your microphone and camera settings.In case of technical issues or audio problems, make sure you have the candidate's contact number to continue the interview over the phone. If possible, use a headset to minimize feedback and facilitate smoother communication.FramingPosition your webcam at eye level, so you are looking directly at the camera while speaking, rather than at the screen. Keep the camera at arm's length and sit in the centre of the screen, facing forward. This setup creates the illusion of eye contact with the candidate.Tone and body languageSince you are only visible through a screen, your body language cues will be limited. Make the candidate feel at ease by smiling throughout the interview and using a positive tone of voice. Avoid fidgeting, as it can be distracting for the candidate trying to answer your questions.Watch for red flagsA video interview can reveal a lot about a candidate, even if their resume appears impressive. Pay attention to their eye contact and body language for any red flags, such as checking emails or multitasking while you are speaking.By following this advice, you should be able to efficiently select the best candidate in a short amount of time.If you require a quick hiring solution, please contact the closest office.
The exit interview: a must in the offboarding process
A key milestone in the offboarding process, the exit interview provides the opportunity for employers to learn what has led an employee to leave an organisation.Employees are your greatest asset for driving organisational success – it is essential to learn from them.Exit interviews fulfil far more than simply gathering information:They are your best opportunity to gain valuable and honest insight into your team and organisationHelp reduce future turnover and save money associated with the hiring and training of new employeesProvide closure to both partiesDemonstrate empathy - you care what your employees thinkHighlight your dedication to adaptation and evolutionGive insight, helping to improveAllow you to advise of any restrictive covenants and legal policies - minimising the likelihood of any potential legal problemsAn employee can be a great advocate – word of mouth is the best reviewHow to conduct an exit interviewThe discussion itself needs an objective interviewer, meaning that an HR professional is better placed than a line manager to conduct the consultation.The face-to-face meeting should make the employee feel comfortable and open to providing honest feedback, so find out if they would prefer something less formal than a meeting in a conference room.Ensure you highlight how much you value their honest and constructive feedback and, when doing the interview itself, the leaver feels appreciated and that their observations will be heeded.Types of question to include in the exit interviewAsk departing employees open-ended questions, allowing them to fully explain their reasons for leaving and observations about the organisation. Include a mix of yes/no and rating scale questions to help you construct better data sets from the interview, while also allowing leavers space to explain the reasons for their answers.Questions should be the same across the organisation to both maintain consistency and also allow you to spot patterns and trends. Send the employee the questions ahead of time to indicate this is the interview structure you will be using. This gives them time to construct effective feedback.Include questions like:What prompted you to leave?What could you change about your current role to make it better?Did you have the right tools and resources to effectively do your job?Did you feel that your work was recognised and appreciated?Would you recommend working for us to a friend?