Answering project-management job interview questions can be more stressful than the new job itself. Most candidates expect to talk about their strengths, weaknesses, skills, and methodology as a PM. But to truly be prepared when walking into that next PM interview, be ready to answer these difficult project management interview questions.
By itself, the title of project manager can be a bit misleading in terms of the responsibilities and level of accountability involved. Make no mistake about it, though; a PM is a leadership role, and as such, project managers should think and act as leaders, always factoring in high-level business goals and objectives. With this in mind, be prepared to answer a few broad, complex project management interview questions about business strategy, objectives, and leadership.
How to answer questions relating to company-wide business objectives
What do you think your role is as a project manager in terms of achieving company-wide business objectives?
Before your next interview, spend time doing some research in preparation for your response:
- Research the industry the business resides in.
- Research the nature of the business, its activities, products and services, stakeholders, and so on.
- Review the business vision, mission statement, and short-term and long-term objectives.
- Search for information on the management team and overall business culture.
- Determine how your role as a project manager and leader may impact that particular business and, in turn, how it may be impacted by that business.
- Think about how you can best utilize your training and experience to advance the overall business objectives. Picture yourself working within the business to envision your role.
Questions about your project-leadership style
Describe what your style of project leadership is and why you think it will work well with this company.
In preparation for your response:
- Think about leadership characteristics that you may possess—and be honest with yourself.
- Consider if your specific leadership style will work within the new business’s specific projects and if others would find your project leadership style helpful and supportive.
- Take some time to think about your leadership style within previous projects and note any feedback you may have received.
- Be honest; this is not the time to project something you are not, as it may come across as disingenuous.
- Give thought to attributes that may make you more effective than other project leaders; these are the things you want to focus on in an interview.
Sometimes you may be asked to voice your expectations from company leadership to assess the type(s) and level(s) of support they may be expected to provide to enable your effectiveness in the job.
Moira Alexander, PMP, I.S.P., ITCP/IP3P, is a recognized project management influencer, thought leader, a regular correspondent for PMI’s Projectified podcast, Founder and Editor-in-Chief of PMWorld 360 Magazine, Founder of Lead-Her-Ship Group, and author of “LEAD or LAG: Linking Strategic Project Management & Thought Leadership”. Moira has over 25 years of experience in business (IS&T) and project management for small to large businesses in the US and Canada and has been quoted in various publications including Forbes. She writes thought leadership content for top-tier publications and business blogs and oversees or writes sponsored content and software reviews on PMWorld 360 Magazine.