Best Project Manager Interview Questions To Ask A Candidate

July 05, 2023

best project manager interview questions to ask

The proper project manager can be the difference between delivering a successful project on time and on budget or failing to achieve the project's goals.

That's why it's critical to ask the right interview questions. In this article, we will outline the 15 best project manager interview questions to ask in 2023.

What are the best project manager interview questions?

1. Can you describe your project management process?

This question helps you understand the candidate's methodological approach to managing projects. Do they follow the traditional waterfall or the agile method, or do they mix elements of both? The answer can shed light on their working style and how they handle complex projects.

2. How do you handle a project that is off track?

Project managers often deal with unforeseen challenges. This question helps evaluate their problem-solving skills, resilience, and adaptability. Look for answers that feature concrete examples of past scenarios and the strategies used to mitigate risks.

3. What project management tools are you familiar with?

By asking this, you can assess a candidate's technological proficiency, ability to learn new tools, and experience with planning, collaboration, tracking progress, and reporting.

Familiarity with popular tools such as Trello, Asana, Jira, or MS Project can give candidates an edge, showing they're ready to hit the ground running.

4. How do you manage stakeholder expectations?

Managing stakeholder expectations is an integral part of project management. A good project manager needs to balance the needs, expectations, and priorities of various stakeholders, including team members, senior management, clients, etc.

Their answer will provide insight into their communication skills, negotiation abilities, and experience handling complex interpersonal dynamics.

5. Tell us about a time you managed a difficult team member.

best project manager interview questions to ask

This question helps you understand how the candidate manages interpersonal conflicts and difficult situations. It gives insights into their leadership style, problem-solving skills, and ability to maintain a positive work environment.

Conflict resolution and the ability to deal with diverse personality types are key skills for a project manager.

6. How do you ensure your projects stay within budget?

Budget management is a critical aspect of project management. An efficient project manager should know how to allocate resources wisely, track expenses, adjust plans when necessary, and make strategic decisions to keep the project within the agreed budget.

This question will help yous assess a candidate's financial management skills, strategic planning abilities, and detail orientation.

7. How have you handled multiple projects at the same time?

Project managers often juggle multiple projects simultaneously. This question is designed to gauge a candidate's multitasking, prioritization, time management, and organizational skills.

It will show how effectively the candidate can allocate resources and time across different projects without compromising quality and meeting deadlines.

It's also a way to explore how they handle stress and maintain work-life balance during high workload periods.

8. Describe a project you’ve led from start to finish.

This question helps you understand a candidate's full project management lifecycle experience. It provides insights into their planning, execution, monitoring, control, and closure skills.

By asking for specific details about the project's scale, complexity, team size, outcomes, etc., you can assess the candidate's capability to manage similar projects within their organization.

9. How do you approach risk management in your projects?

Risk management is a fundamental aspect of project management. This question assesses how the candidate identifies potential risks, plans mitigating strategies, and how they handle those risks if they materialize. Their answer will give an idea about their foresight, planning, problem-solving abilities, and adaptability.

10. How do you go about delegating tasks?

best project manager interview questions to ask

Delegation is an essential skill for a project manager. This question evaluates a candidate's leadership style, their ability to assess team members' strengths and weaknesses, and how they distribute tasks accordingly.

Effective delegation can lead to increased productivity and job satisfaction, and it demonstrates trust in the team.

11. What strategy do you use for decision-making?

This question probes the candidate's decision-making process. It is important for a project manager to make informed, timely decisions.

The candidate's answer can provide insights into their analytical thinking, problem-solving skills, and ability to make decisions under pressure. Whether they make decisions based on data, consensus, experience, or a combination, can reveal a lot about their management style.

12. How do you keep your team motivated during challenging projects?

Maintaining team morale during challenging times is crucial for project success. This question assesses the candidate's people management skills, empathy, and ability to inspire others. Their strategies could range from open communication and providing constructive feedback to recognizing achievements and creating a positive work environment.

13. Tell us about a time when a project did not go as planned and how you resolved it.

In project management, encountering hurdles and unexpected situations is common. This question can provide insights into how the candidate responds to challenges, their creativity in finding solutions, and their ability to learn from mistakes.

The way they handle failure also indicates their capacity to take responsibility and lead their team through difficult times.

14. What metrics do you consider most important in project management?

Metrics are essential for tracking progress, measuring outcomes, and making informed decisions. This question will reveal what the candidate values in project management.

Their answer will demonstrate their understanding of project success and their capability to use data effectively.

15. How do you ensure the quality of deliverables in a project?

This question assesses the candidate's approach to quality assurance and their commitment to delivering high-standard results.

The candidate's answer will reflect their understanding of the processes and tools necessary to manage and ensure quality, as well as their attention to detail and commitment to excellence.

Is there another way to assess project management skills?

Choosing the right project manager is a challenging task—one that involves balancing technical skills, leadership capabilities, and individual fit within your organization.

A project manager job knowledge test provides a standardized evaluation, ensuring that all candidates are assessed on the same criteria, leading to fair and unbiased results.

A combination of well-crafted interview questions and pre-employment tests, such as the project manager test, can greatly enhance the hiring process and help you find the right project manager.

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