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7 Project Management Interview Questions That Reveal Everything

        posted by , May 06, 2013

Hiring isn't a lottery.

The quality of your interview questions can greatly improve your results.

Hiring a project manager is no easy task. Beyond the methodologies and best practices, project management is a leadership ability. Leadership is never easy to measure.

The following questions cut directly to the core leadership functions of project management. They may help you to separate the great project managers from the pack.


1. Why do projects fail?

Projects commonly fail. How the candidate views failure shows a lot about their experience and style.

Is the candidate fully dedicated to avoiding project failure? Do they accept reality when a project is truly doomed? Do they take responsibility where appropriate?


2. What's wrong with PMP?

If the candidate has a professional certification such as PRINCE2 or PMP — ask them how they'd improve it.

If you know something well enough you can see its faults. This reveals the depth of the candidate's methodology knowledge.

It can also reveal how adaptable the candidate is in applying methodology to real situations.


3. Can you tell me about the most difficult stakeholder you've managed?

Managing stakeholders is job one. Reveals how the candidate manages difficult relationships and conflict.


4. Can you tell me about the least motivated team you had to lead? How did you improve their engagement?

A project manager's ability to engage and motive their teams is critical.

What's the candidate's management style? Do they have effective methods of dealing with resistance to change and performance issues?


5. How have you delivered business results such as revenue in the past year?

Is the candidate commercially focused or detached from the business problems that drive project urgency?


6. What's the biggest project challenge that you've overcome?

How resilient is the candidate in the face of challenges? Do they drive political resolutions or sit back and watch the show? Do they innovate to find solutions to seemingly overwhelming issues?


7. How have you improved in the last 3 months?

Project management is no easy profession. The best project managers are always seeking to improve their style, methods, techniques and strategies. Project managers who aggressively seek professional improvement are usually a safe bet.


Next: 10 Questions That Pop Up In Every Project Management Interview


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