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Senior Project Manager interview questions
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With so many varied responsibilities, demands, and expectations, not everyone is cut out for the job. Finding a project manager who fits your unique needs can be a real challenge, and it's difficult to nail down exactly what qualities you should be keeping an eye out for -- or how to test for these.
W e've compiled a list of interview questions that can help you identify the right leader for your next project, and we've given you some insight into what to look for in a good response. One of a project manager's core responsibilities is managing groups of people. And where there are people, there are conflicts. Avoiding or glossing over conflicts that arise can be detrimental to the project's objectives and can actually exacerbate underlying issues, causing them to bubble up and wreak havoc later down the line.
The ideal candidate will understand that each conflict is nuanced and uniqueand she won't try to approach each one with a cookie-cutter solution. Having some knowledge of conflict resolution techniques is great, but project managers need to be able to adapt to the needs of their individual team members and the greater company culture, particularly in high-stress situations.
Look for a candidate who doesn't fall back on textbook frameworks or inflexible methods. If the project ended well, what exactly contributed to that success?Sam Sauer November 30, And so have the other candidates. If you want to stand out from the competition, you need to prepare for the curveballs and the PM-specific questions. We asked recruiters, hiring managers, and talent acquisition specialists for their go-to project manager interview questions. I want candidates to walk me through, in detail, the steps they take to alert the stakeholder and make a plan to get the project back on track.
Hitting deadlines is the most important issue in my industry. The project team is clearly not working well together. What are three different ways to address this? A critical skill for project managers is the ability to solve problems flexibly and with agility. Thus, asking project managers to present multiple solutions to a challenge is a great interview question! If the interviewee comes up with an interesting answer, I know they are creative and can communicate well.
It also allows me to see if the candidate is a quick thinker, which is another important skill required from a project manager. What do you do when you are overwhelmed by all the moving parts in any given project? You can learn if the candidate gravitates toward being tight follow the blueprint, no matter what or loose wait too long to address their own confusion. How many stacked pennies would it take to equal the height of the Empire State Building? I once had a candidate jump up to the whiteboard and mathematically find his way to an answer that was within feet.
Needless to say, he was the type of person that we wanted on our team. How did you solve it? It also demonstrates their thought process, creativity, and sense of urgency.
If the rest of the members of our PMO were in a bus accident tomorrow, what would you do? How would you handle it? Very few candidates expect a question like this, especially junior candidates.
Second, it gives us a little bit of insight into what kind of leader they are. Would they start by collecting data? Would they immediately take action? Would they delegate or try to do it all on their own? There are a million possibilities in this kind of hypothetical.
Jonathan D. This question allows for further investigation and probing. I like to hear how a project manager adapts and deals with tough situations; their thought process and level of humility; dealing with difficult and unreasonable stakeholders.
All these are part and parcel with being a project manager. Check it out.
The Ultimate List of Product Manager Interview Questions
How do you know what to ask? And how do you use what is Remember: interviews are two-way conversations. You need to "interview" the company to find out if this is a place you'd like to work. Use these questions to help you find the right boss, culture, and job during your project manager interviews We've compiled a list of 44 of the best books, podcasts, courses, certifications, and websites to help you up your project management game What do you do when you realize a project is off deadline?Interviewers are eager for candidates who are natural leaders and work well with others.
Be prepared to provide examples of difficult team members you've worked with as well as unsuccessful projects you've been a part of.
Avoid getting negative in your response to those questions. You'll likely also be asked about your project management failures and successes. The following is a list of frequently asked interview questions for project manager positions. Take the time to practice these answers, so you appear polished during the job interview. You might even want to use your mobile phone to record your responses. Full Bio Follow Linkedin. Follow Twitter.
Alison Doyle is the job search expert for The Balance Careers, and one of the industry's most highly-regarded job search and career experts. Read The Balance's editorial policies. What are the most important qualities of a project manager?
Tips for answering: In your response, keep in mind the specific requirements listed in the job description. Plus, if there were any challenges that the interviewer brought up previously in the conversation, you can form an answer that reflects how you would deal with those challenges. If you had to rate project management as a career, from one to ten, how would you rate it? Tips for answering: While you want to be honest in your response, please do not be negative.
An interview for a project management role is no time to give the career a low mark! What was your most successful project? Tips for answering: Go ahead and brag a bit. Be specific about what went well, and how you were a part of that. A gracious project manager always remembers to note team members and relationships that helped fuel a project's success. Tell me about the projects you have managed. Tips for answering: Employing the STAR technique —where you frame your answer in terms of S ituation, T ask, A ction, and Result —can help you give a cogent and meaningful response.
Which project management software and tools do you prefer using, and why? Tips for answering: Most likely, interviewers are most interested in your reasons for liking a particular type of software, and what your preference expose about you as a project manager.
The one potentially tricky aspect of this question is if the company does not use your preferred software. You may want to mention that you're comfortable with several types of software to your response. How do you handle office politics? Tips for answering: Do be honest, but stay away from anything that reflects poorly on you as a potential employee.
Tips for answering: If possible, share an anecdote about how you handled a situation like this in the past. Do you prefer working on a single project or multiple projects at the same time? Tips for answering: Be thoughtful about the role you're seeking to take on. If the company is notorious for having project managers juggle tasks, it just doesn't make sense to respond by saying you prefer working on a single task at a time.
What are the project management methodologies you most familiar with? How do you go about planning a schedule for a project? How do you allocate resources? Tell me about a full project life cycle that you managed and what was included in this project. What is the best way to set up and manage an interdepartmental team? What was the consequence when you didn't delegate?This is a self-guided, day, step-by-step interview prep guide for Google product management PM interviews.
Complete one example a day for the next seven days, choosing from the list of questions from The Product Manager Interviewbelow. For each one of the next three days:. Acculturating a product design mindset 24 hours a day, both at the interview and in your everyday life. Sign up for the product management interview practice group on Slack: bit.
Take turns during your practice session. That is, Partner A interviewer gives a case to Partner B interviewee. Then, swap roles. Coordinate in advance which case each person will receive; to simulate the interview environment, the interviewee should do a case that they are not familiar with.
The interviewer should take time to acquaint themselves with the question and the sample answer. The best candidates will have practiced at least 20 product design cases.
Master the product design interview. It is the number one reason why candidates fail the Google PM interview. If you have committed yourself to thoughtful practice, you should be an expert when it comes to tackling product design questions.
Use the guidelines below to gauge your product design proficiency:. Gain proficiency in brainstorming a complete and exhaustive list of issues when troubleshooting a metric. Complete one example a day for the next seven days, both on your own and with your practice partner, from this book.
Master estimation questions. Not only is response quality important, but also you should complete most estimation questions in about 10 to 15 minutes. Practice the following strategy questions, in this book, either on your own or with your practice partner:.
For more examples of thoughtful strategy responses, refer to the popular blog, stratechery. While Google has an affinity for case questions, you should spend some time preparing for traditional and behavioral questions. Review the technical topics suggested in: bit. Gain familiarity with technical concepts and questions. At Google, technical interview questions are reserved for on-site interviews, usually for candidates who have succeeded in other parts of the interview such as product design, analytics and strategy questions.
Try some technical interview questions, with a focus on calming your nerves and approaching questions with open curiosity. If you liked this article, let us know by clicking Like.
July 20, at am, Ananthi Mathur said:. Best of luck and hope the study guide helps with your product management interviews! Day 2. Day 3. As you become attuned to the differences, your own responses will improve.
Getting started, by practicing, is half the battle. Day 4 to Day For each one of the next three days: Walk around the neighborhood.Now let me go more in-depth and explain the difference in having a technical project manager TPM versus just any project manager PM on your team. The most significant difference is their technical aptitude for understanding data center construction, server, network and storage configurations ….
Far too often PMs with [very little or no] technical background get tossed into a technology project and then flounder around confused or add to the chaos. What you need is someone with technical project management skills who can engage with the professional staff at a high level and ask the right questions, so the project schedule has realistic dates, and sets the proper expectations.
These three real-world technical project manager interview questions are designed to be tough and increase your project success rate by filtering out [up front] candidates without technical depth and experience.
The TPM whom has successfully planned a migration of physical and virtual infrastructure to another data center location [or even to a cloud platform ] will have experienced the challenges of complicated networking and storage issues. They will also have mapped out applications, databases, and web servers for reconstruction on the other end.
The standard project delays that arise are because of unplanned dependencies or higher than expected complexity. Someone who answers this question with examples of moving network segments or circuits or terabytes of data is aware of complexity. Answering these questions with relevant explanations of handling these or similar challenges successfully is a valuable PM skill.
Most server consolidation projects happening involve building private cloudsor migrating to public clouds, or even a combination of both which is called a hybrid cloud. Server consolidations are common and the technical challenges encountered will teach new project managers the lessons they need to better prepare for unexpected problems.
Problems such as storage and network performance issues after the migration, or servers that require specific firewall ports to be opened so network traffic can pass from the database to the application and web servers.
Also, there is usually a lot of hardware involved that needs a plan on how it will be set up and configured. Other answers to solving network or storage over-subscription problems will also be a validation of experience. Add people from the technical team to the interview panel so they can properly vet the candidates, too.
This is common in environments that are out of compliance and old servers have been allowed to continue to operate long after the end of life for the hardware and software. This requires a lot of planning and in some cases the development of custom code for remediation of legacy issues with browsers or databases.
It also may be that the database also needs to be refreshed on a newer version and this can make things even more complicated.
7 Most Common Project Management Interview Questions
Someone who has been through this type of project experience will have learned the technical difficulties and will answer these questions with examples of incompatible databases, or bit applications and operating systems that were uplifted to a bit platform.
They may even answer with examples of failures because the application was so outdated it could not be migrated and required a full code rewrite. Need help writing a TPM job description? But I can speak from experience that having an excellent technology project manager leading your project team will increase your odds of success!
And probably an essential task for a TPM is setting realistic expectations with the business and stakeholders. Are you a new PM without any technical skills? Please feel free to add these technical project manager interview questions to your next PM interview.
Honesty Disclosure: VMinstall. Joe believes creating the best user experience is his top priority, which is why he's been sharing his ideas, experiences, and advice on VMinstall. Feel free to leave Joe a comment below One, when data centers changes and existing servers are fork lifted from old data center.Going for a project management interview? Go through these top project management interview questions and prepare yourself to crack the interview. Project Managers are required across the industry and interview process for Project Managers is different for technical developers or senior developer level.
The reason is very simple, organizations have a big stake in projects and compensation which is involved.Prepare for Your Google Interview: Project, Product, and Program Management
Project Stake, because the hired candidate will be responsible for the project success or project failure in which the organization has invested. And compensation because the project manager and any further senior management roles have to offer good compensation which is up to market standards. Definitely, this is only one viewpoint and there can be thousands of questions related to project management in the interviews with multiple viewpoints.
The focus of the organization has been drifted towards agility and flexibility in the projects due to which interview questions are also focused on the same.
It is not very simple to crack a project management interview, the interviewer may ask you different types of questions to check your knowledge and skills at various perspectives. So, it is very important to prepare yourself with some of the latest project management interview questions to crack the interview.
Understanding the value of good preparation, here we create a broad list of top project management interview questions and answers under different categories. If you are a fresher in project management, you may be asked some basic questions about yourself. An interviewer will also check if you are a good fit for the offered position while you are answering this question.
This question is to judge whether you are open for improvements and whether you are aware of your own self in terms of your strengths.
There is no need to show oneself as the perfectionist that may work against you. You may need to smartly put your weakness to show you have areas of improvement thought you are good at it. Similarly, strengths you showcase should be in line with the need of the job and not of your personal choice. This question is very simple and repetitive but interviewer makes many decisions based on the answers you give.
This is an opportunity to express the already handled situation with one or two examples. Problem-solving techniques may be a keyword for you to understand that interviewer is trying to judge if you know about some techniques commonly used by Project Managers like root cause analysis with the help of 5 whys etc.
This question is to understand if you believe in that. In this answer, you need to express the people management skills you have developed with few examples. You may explain team development procedure to demonstrate your knowledge. You need to showcase your leadership, mentoring, conflict management as well as team grooming skills.
At the same time, the manager is required to manage the project efficiently and has to take some tough decisions during the course of the project.
Confidence and readiness for the adaptation are also judged. The focus while answering this question should be to express how perfectly you fit the job requirements.These are temporary, in the sense that they are not routine work like production activity but most often one time set of activities undertaken. Provide some examples. A project for a product will result in a complete product or part of a product. An example would be the creation of the Microsoft Surprise tablet that used a liquid magnesium deposition process to create the enclosure.
The process developed in the project will be used for subsequent production of the tablet. Proper completion means implies achievement of end results within given cost and time constraints. It usually means balancing of the constraints of scope, budget, schedule, quality, risks and resources. Most often any project goes through some easily identifiable set of activities during its lifetime.
Some typical activities can be identified as related initiating a project. Planning set of activities are required to plan the activities to be undertaken to achieve the defined goals.
Executing group of activities help getting the project done. A related set of activities are required to monitor and correct the course of actions to keep the project on the planned course charted for it. Final set of activities are related to the systematic closure of the project.
Most important of which is, of course, to formally record what has been learnt during the execution of the project. When documented, this set of documents, related forms to be used, the way estimates are to be made, database of estimates of similar projects etc. What do you think is the difference between projects, programs and a portfolio? Projects are undertaken for a specific or a set of related purposes. A program is a set of projects managed in a coordinated manner to achieve different parts of an overall goal.
For example the NASA lunar landing program had the development of the command module and the lunar landing modules as separate projects. A portfolio is a collection of projects, programs and even other portfolios that help an organization achieve some common high level business purpose.
Any person, organization or an entity whose interest is affected, positively or negatively, because of the project. The influence of stakeholders is an important issue to take into account in any planning and subsequently during execution of it as well. Every organization has a certain way of doing things, collective wisdom about how things can best be done, etc. These influences need to be taken into account when estimating, planning for activities related to projects.
These are often mentioned as organizational environmental factors. A project has distinct phases when the range of activities required to carry out the project work differ. The points in time when the phase changes happen are named variously as phase gate, exits, milestones or kill points.
If a project is to be closed, it is decided at these stages based on the performance or if the need of the project has disappeared. This is a document where it all begins. Project authorization is done on this document and a project would be initiated with the top level requirements listed in this document.