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120 Most Common Project Management Interview Questions

        posted by , January 27, 2013

Project management is a tough profession that demands a tough interview.

Projects often fail. Projects often go over budget. Projects are often late. Project managers need to be almost super human to keep a complex project on track. Indeed, the skills and abilities typically expected of a professional project manager are extensive.

The following interview questions are designed to help project managers prepare for the most common questions asked in a tough project management interview.

They cover all 9 project management knowledge areas as defined by the Project Management Institute. These questions can also be used to interview a professional project manager (e.g. a PMP).

Core Project Management Skills

1. How long have you been managing projects?

2. Can you tell me about the last project you managed?

3. How do you manage scope creep?

4. How do you estimate costs?

5. How do you ensure that cost estimates are accurate?

6. How do you manage project risk?

7. Can you tell me about the most difficult project you have managed?

8. Can you tell me about the most difficult stakeholder you've work with? How did you manage the situation?

9. How do you communicate project status and issues?

10. Can you tell me about a time you had to manage an underperforming resource? How did you manage the situation?

11. Have you ever had to re-baseline a project? Why?

12. Can you tell me about a project you managed that was late?

13. Can you tell me about a project you managed that was over budget?

14. How do you provide stakeholders with transparency into project issues?

15. How do you help stakeholders to come to agreement on project decisions?

16. What is your definition of project success?

17. What is your definition of project failure?


Scope Management

18. What information goes into a requirements document?

19. What is your definition of quality requirements?

20. Can you tell me about a time you managed a team of business analysts?

21. How do you model project decisions for stakeholders?

22. What is your approach to developing a work breakdown structure?

23. What project management software are you most familiar with?

24. How do you verify project scope?

25. What is a project baseline?

26. Can you tell me about a project you managed that experienced significant scope creep? How did you manage the situation?

27. How do you use earned value management to measure project performance?


Time Management

28. How do you identify project activities?

29. How do you manage activity estimates?

30. How do you sequence activities?

31. How do you validate your schedule?

32. How do you manage your schedule?

33. How do you manage the priority of tasks?

34. What is the 80-20 rule of project management (Pareto Analysis)?


Cost Management

35. What is the largest project that you've management (total budget)?

36. How do you manage a cost estimate that you feel is high?

37. How do you manage your project budget?

38. Are you familiar with any accounting software?

39. What is the difference between a cost estimate and cost forecast?

40. What financial metrics have you used in your project status reports?

41. What financial metrics have you used to support stakeholder decisions?

42. What cost-benefit metrics have you used?

43. What is net present value?

44. What is resource leveling? Can you tell me about a time you used resource leveling techniques on a project?


Quality Management

45. What information goes into a quality plan?

46. How do you ensure that your project plan is high quality?

47. How do you manage the quality of project outputs?

48. What project management best practices have you used?

49. Are you familiar with any quality standards or methodologies?


Integration Management

50. What information goes into a project charter?

51. How do you identify project constraints?

52. What is the difference between a constraint and a risk?

53. What information goes into a project plan?

54. How do you ensure that project resources follow your project plan?

55. How do you ensure that stakeholders agree with your project plan?

56. How do you manage change requests?

57. How do you reflect change requests in your project plan?

58. What steps do you take to close a project?

59. Have you performed a project audit?

60. What information is captured in the lessons learned for a project?

61. If you could use any 3 software packages to manage a complex project, which would you choose?


Communications

62. Have you performed a stakeholder analysis? What steps did you take?

63. What information do you capture in a communication plan?

64. How do you manage stakeholder expectations?

65. How do you communicate project status?

66. What are the 3 most important project metrics (in your opinion)?

67. What techniques have you used to manage meetings?

68. Are you a good public speaker?

69. How do you ensure that your visual communications (e.g. presentation slides) are effective?

70. Are you a good listener? Have you used any techniques to improve your listening skills?

71. How do you influence without authority?

72. Have you negotiated contracts? What negotiation techniques did you use?


Human Resources Management

73. What information goes into a project resource plan?

74. Have you developed an organizational chart for a project? What steps did you take?

75. How do you manage onboarding of project resources?

76. How do you ensure that your team have the skills they need?

77. How do you manage a situation in which the resources assigned to your project don't have the requisite skills or abilities?

78. What team building techniques have you used?

79. How do you motivate your team?

80. Can you tell me about a time you managed conflict between members of your project team?

81. Have you managed distributed teams (remote teams)?

82. What steps do you take to manage the logistics of a distributed team?

83. What methods have you used to evaluate the performance of your team?

84. How do you provide informal feedback to team members?

85. What intercultural management challenges have you faced?


Risk Management

86. How do you identify project risks?

87. How do you estimate the impact of risks?

88. Have you conducted a risk probability analysis? What steps did you take?

89. How do you prioritize risks?

90. How do you plan responses to risks?

91. Can you give me an example of a project risk?

92. How do you monitor and control project risks?

93. How do you communicate project risks?


Procurement Management

94. How do you plan for project procurement?

95. What information goes into an RFP?

96. Can you tell me about a time you managed a RFP process?

97. What is your approach to vendor management?

98. How do you ensure a positive relationship with project vendors?

99. How do you manage conflict with vendors?

100. How do you manage a vendor that fails to meet the terms of a contract?

101. Can you tell me about the most difficult vendor you've managed?


Soft Skills

102. What are your professional ethics?

103. Can you tell me about a time you had to be flexible in your approach?

104. How do you deal with office politics?

105. What was your biggest political success (office politics)?

106. What business trends are you keeping an eye on?

107. Can you tell me about a time you mentored another project manager?

108. What is the worst decision you've made? What did you learn from the experience?

109. How do you deal with stakeholders who frequently change their mind?

110. How do you manage ambiguous project requirements?


IT Project Management

111. What is enterprise architecture?

112. What is business architecture?

113. What is solution architecture?

114. What information goes into a solution architecture document?

115. Why is architecture important?

116. What is technology scope creep (function creep)?

117. Are you familiar with any software development methodologies?

118. What is the Software Development Lifecycle?

119. Are you familiar with any IT standards or best practices (e.g. ITIL)?

120. What is IT governance?

Similar articles: 105 Project Management Interview Questions

This post is part of the ongoing series called how to win your next job.


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