7 Killer Interview Questions for Hiring Project Managers

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Hiring Project Managers

Project managers are critical to any business. They manage the full life cycles of your company’s projects to ensures they’re completed well, promptly, and under budget. Because project managers are in charge of these aspects of a new product or feature, it’s crucial that you find the right candidates to fit your business’ needs.

Project Manager Interview Questions

Asking tough interview questions and getting to the root and attitude of a candidate’s experience is the best way to find a project manager for your business. Below are seven questions you must ask during your next project manager interview.

#1. How do you prioritize tasks as a project manager?

This question will provide insight into how the candidate perceives the project manager role. You want to understand how the candidate will weigh different tasks, allocate assignments, and how much wiggle room they’ll leave in the project life cycle. You should avoid candidates who say they don’t care so much about the process or make it up as they go along.

#2. How do you deal with conflict with those on your team?

You could also ask this anecdotally such as “tell me about a time you had to manage a conflict with a team member or between team members.” While the project manager will ideally put together a team that won’t face conflict, you also don’t want a project manager who is conflict-averse.

#3. Describe a day in the life of a project manager.

A project manager has tons of daily tasks including managing a production team, keeping tabs on the budget, and working with project sponsors to ensure everything runs smoothly. You can get a better idea for the day in the life of a project manager here. This question gives you the opportunity to hear how the candidate thinks about organizing his/her day and how they picture themselves working for your company.

#4. Tell me about a situation where you didn’t delegate tasks well and how you fixed the problem.

Delegation is the key to success for any team and organization. However, managers sometimes make mistakes and don’t delegate tasks in a way that works for their teams. By providing the chance to tell a story, you can understand if your project manager candidate understands the best ways to delegate tasks and if he/she recognizes there’s always room for personal improvement.

#5. Explain a time when you improved a project management process in your current or past role.

Not everyone gets the chance to work on a business-altering project, especially early on in their project management career. Asking where candidates were able to improve a process means more candidates get a chance to shine. You can also get a better understanding of how much or how little credit a candidate is willing to take for the success of that process change.

#6. How do you manage a team member who isn’t productive?

Unfortunately, nearly every team will have someone who isn’t as productive as the others. Whether that’s based out of laziness or lack of the right skills, a project manager will need to be the one to deal with the unproductive team member. Project managers have several options when it comes to dealing with unproductive team members like one-on-one improvement conversations, writing the individual up to HR for underperformance, or firing the individual. Understanding how a candidate deals with those individuals will prepare you for if and when that manager comes on board.

#7. Do you have any certifications that would help you in your role?

Let us be clear; certificates do not make a great project manager. However, certificates can help make a project manager better. There are three significant project manager certificates a candidate might have: a PMP, a PMI, or a CAPM. You can learn more about these certifications at 4pmti. You should also ask if the candidate has any other certifications that might help given the type of business you’re in.

Ask these project manager questions, plus any questions specific to your business, and you’ll be sure to find the right project manager for your company in no time.