30 Construction Project Manager Interview Questions & Answers in 2021


We have compiled top 20 construction management interview questions that might be asked in an interview to test various aspects of construction management skills, with tips and a sample answer for each of them. These construction management interview questions will help employers to assess whether each candidate has the required knowledge and experience in construction management.

1. Tell Us About Yourself

The question requires the candidate to introduce themselves, stating their name, education background, key skills and competencies. The interviewee could also mention briefly about previous experience, which is closely related to construction project management. For recent graduates, they could refer to the projects they undertook while still in university or college. The candidate should take the chance to state why they are uniquely positioned to execute the job well. It allows them to sell themselves to the interviewing panel.

2. What Are The Skills That a Construction Project Manager Must Possess?

Some of the essential skills for a construction manager include:

3. What Is Construction Project Management?

It refers to overseeing the successful implementation of the designing and construction of various projects including roads, buildings, and bridges while following specific objectives, goals and a set schedule within a particular budget.  Moreover, it involves the coordination of both human and material resources from the beginning to the completion of the project.

Construction project management involves the following:

  • Integration, which makes sure that all the various segments of the project will be able to be completed successfully.
  • Scope: ensures that the plan includes all essential tasks that need to be done to prevent any task from being forgotten.
  • Time frame: the duration within which the project needs to be completed.
  • Quality: To ensure that the construction meets the international standard for building and construction to ensure the safety of the individuals who will use the construction product after completion.
  • Team: this refers to the personnel the project manager will bring together to help him implement the project.
  • Risk assessment and management: the project manager must ensure that all the impending unforeseen events can be mitigated effectively.  
  • Procurement: the acquisition of the appropriate equipment and materials from other stakeholders in the project, including suppliers and contractors.

4. What Are The Roles Of a Construction Project Manager?

  • Formulating specific objective and strategic plans considering the scope of the project, the schedule, the budget, and recruiting or selection of the member of the project execution team.
  • Ensuring that the resources allocated for the implementation of the project are used efficiently.
  • Facilitating the acquisition of the materials and other essential equipment.
  • Overseeing the execution of the project schedule and strategic plan through coordinating the day to day activities during the implementation of the project.
  •  Ensuring there is an efficient flow of information and resolving any conflicts arising within the team members.
  • Quality: To ensure that the construction meets the international standard for building and construction to ensure the safety of the individuals who will use the construction product after completion.
  • Risk assessment and management: the project manager must ensure that all the impending unforeseen events can be mitigated effectively. 

5. What Kind Of Construction Projects Are You Comfortable With?

  • The candidate should mention that he/she is interested in projects related to construction.
  • They can mention about the construction of residential houses and apartments, commercial and institutional projects, highways, roads, streets, alleys, bridges, dams, sewage lines, dredging project, flood control projects and water treatment plants. They should include details on a specific project they completed and mention that their motivation and interest in the project that contributed to the success of the project.

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6. Are There Any Projects That You Would Not Prefer To Do?

The candidate’s response to this question will show the interviewing panel whether the candidate has an area of specialization which the candidate can perform excellently. The candidate should mention the projects they are not interested in, for example, working at high altitudes, sewage projects, or projects offered by an untrusted client whose financial status is not well known.

7. How Do You Prepare For The Commencement Of a Construction Project?

Taking time to comprehend the objectives and milestones of the project which helps the manager to know the materials and equipment that will be needed, the number of personnel to be hired, the various tasks, and other essential information required in budget management.

  • Selecting a design professional: in case the owner of the project does not have a design yet, there will be the need to hire an architect to make the design according to the owner’s preferences.
  • Coming up with the plan and setting goals, milestones and objectives.
  • Recruitment of personnel including contractors, surveyors etc.
  • Identifying the suppliers that will provide the materials and equipment needed in the implementation of the project.
  • Acquisition of necessary licenses from relevant local authorities.

8. What Are The Steps That Are Involved From The Beginning Of A Project To its Completion?

The interviewer wants to find out whether the candidate understands how a project goes together and how to prioritize the beginning steps of launching a successful construction project. It is also likely to determine how detail-oriented a candidate is, how they communicate their objective, and how they see their role in the whole project.

The candidate should mention the stages of the project and include the objectives, the personnel involved and the role of the candidate in all the project steps.

The critical stages of project implementation include:

Initiation Stage

The beginning phase identifies the need for the enactment of the project. A feasibility study is conducted to ascertain the appropriateness of the project at the suggested site.

Planning Phase

  • Selecting a design professional: in case the owner of the project does not have a design yet, there will be the need to hire an architect to make the design according to the owner’s preferences.
  • Coming up with the plan and setting goals, milestones and objectives.
  • Recruitment of personnel including contractors, surveyors etc.
  • Identifying the suppliers that will provide the materials and equipment needed in the implementation of the project.
  • Acquisition of necessary licenses from relevant local authorities.

Implementation (Execution) Phase

The team begins working following the project plan. Effective communication and control from the construction project manager are very vital at this stage since it is the phase when the real work is done. Moreover, there is the continuous monitoring of the project progress while counterchecking with the schedule to ascertain if the team is moving with the projected pace, of there is some lagging behind. The project team also needs to deal with unforeseen events that might happen and be able to mitigate the impact through risk management.

Closing Phase

The project manager finally hands over the final construction product to the client for inspection. The project manager also submits all the necessary documentation to the project owner. This is the phase where the contracts of suppliers, contractors are terminated. The project manager also communicates to all other stakeholders of the project about its completion. The construction project manager then conducts post-project analysis, which includes the lessons learned from the challenges faced during the project implementation. After the review, the manager needs to write a project closure report for future reference for the company.

9. What Are The Necessary Documents/Licenses Required Before A Construction Project Is Authorized For Commencement?

Depending on the type of construction project, some of the following requirements might be needed before the project can proceed.

  • Planning permission
  • Permits to work
  • Fire safety
  • Resistance to contaminants and moisture
  • Toxic substances
  • Advertisement consent
  • Approval or conditions (reserved matters) on planning permission (or removal or variation of terms)
  • Certificate of established use
  • Certificate of immunity from listing
  • Detailed planning permission
  • Environmental impact assessment
  • Falling or lopping a tree
  • Hazardous substances consent
  • Lawful development certificates

10. What Factors Do You Consider When Setting Priorities While Planning For The Essential Tasks, Roles, And Responsibilities For Personnel Involved In The Construction Project?

  • Skills and technical competencies
  • Experience
  • Cultural diversity
  • Team climate
  • Global environment

The objectives of project team development include:

  • Improving skills and competencies of team members to increase the probability of achieving project deliverables in the context of decreasing costs, improving quality and reducing schedules.
  • Improving internal agreement and personal recognition among team members to enhance morale, reduce the number of conflicts, and improve productivity.
  • Establish a dynamic team culture to improve team spirit and cooperation between team members to contribute to better knowledge and expertise sharing

11. What Project Management Tools Would You Utilize As A Construction Project Manager?

The candidate should mention whether he/she can use project management tools for construction such as Procore, Buildertrend, WorkFlowMax, BuiltTools among others. The candidate should have researched and known some of the project management tools and software used by the specific company he/she is interviewing in. He/she should explain how the knowledge they have can help to enhance the general performance of the company in project execution.

12. How Do You Ensure A Safe Working Environment In A Construction Site?

  • Workers should have protection from dust, including nose masks and eye goggles. Moreover, the manager can use vacuum extraction/filtration systems on tools and setting up a containment tent with an extraction/filtration unit. 
  • Ensure safe handling of heavy materials using equipment such as forklifts, electric or hand-powered hoist. Heavy items should be delivered closer to the storage area.
  • Prevent slips ad trips to minimize injury to workers. Fundamental causes include uneven surfaces, obstacles, trailing cables, wet or slippery surfaces, and changes in level. Slips and trips can be avoided effectively managing work areas and access routes such as stairwells, corridors, footpaths and site cabins.  
  • Noise protection. Workers should wear protective equipment for ears such as earmuffs or earplugs.
  • Workers should wear helmets to protect themselves against falling objects.
  • Ensure that the construction project is undertaken under safe weather conditions.
  • When working in tunnels, there is a need to ensure that there is good air quality. The construction manager should provide a constant supply of fresh air in confined areas.  
  • Controlling exhaust fumes from diesel vehicles and equipment through fitting particulate and catalytic filters on exhausts and using local exhaust ventilation.
  • Training workers on how to use power tools to minimize the number of accidents emanating from the wrong use of power tools.

13. How Do You Ensure That The Construction Project Progresses Within The Project Budget And Schedule?

  • Through communicating effectively to the project implementation team on the expectations of the client before the commencement of the project tasks.
  • Through having regular debrief meetings amongst the team members for the manager to get updates on the progress of the project. The information the manager receives from these debriefs enables the manager to evaluate if the implementation is moving as scheduled or the team is behind schedule. Next, the manager engages the other team members in finding ways of improving the performance and ensuring that the team accomplishes the scheduled tasks within the expected timeframe.
  • The manager should also listen to the challenges faced by the members of the team and involve them in finding reasonable solutions. By appreciating the contribution of other team members, they feel important, and hence they would work even harder.

14. What Would You Do If You Cannot Meet The Project Deadlines?

The failure to meet the project deadlines can have a possible effect of lowering the morale of the team. The construction project manager is expected to handle the situation in a manner that will not have a grievous impact on the team spirit and confidence of the units.

In responding to the question, the candidate should not place any blames on one individual in the team or a particular sub-team, he/she should mention that the/she would convene a debrief meeting and have a discussion on the causes of the failure to meet the deadlines set in the project schedule. The follow up would be for the manager to mention to the team members not to repeat the mistakes, and work towards improving their performance in the next project phase. 

The candidate should mention their commitment to carefully examine the project progress throughout the construction and ensuring timely completion of projects and how you can tactfully acknowledge when setbacks may require adjusting the project schedule and how to communicate this professionally to the client.

15. What Factors Would You Consider When Hiring The Various Personnel In A Construction Project?

  • Skills and technical competencies
  • Experience
  • Cultural diversity
  • Team climate
  • Global environment

16. How Do You Resolve Conflicts That Come Up Between The Various Personnel Involved In The Construction Project Implementation?

  • The following common steps can be used by construction project managers when developing successful conflict management:
  • Conflict identification: identifying the root cause of the conflict and preventing and managing conflict to resolve it. It is advisable to use informal methods as opposed to post-construction claims and litigation.
  • Conflict analysis: Analyzing the conflict and deciding the best method of resolving it.
  • Design and implementation of a conflict management
  • Monitoring and review of the conflict management
  • Formation of dispute review boards and advisors
  • Negotiation: the manager talks to each of the conflicting parties and encourages them to meet one on one and resolve the conflict between themselves.
  • Mediation: the construction project manager to act as the mediator. The parties come together, and the manager helps them reach an agreeable settlement of the issue at hand. It can save a great deal of time and cost in resolving a dispute and can also help the parties to re-establish trust and prevent damage to ongoing relationships.
  • Litigation: if all informal methods do not work, then the parties can seek formal prosecution through the court of law.
  • Arbitration: it is a legal technique for the resolution of disputes outside the courts. The parties refer the dispute to a neutral, knowledgeable person (arbitrator or arbitral tribunal) who then gives the final decision (award) to which both the parties agree.

17. How Would You Ensure That The Members Of The Project Implementation Team Are Motivated?

The question seeks to see if the candidate possesses people management skills. The candidate should be able to use both long-term and short-term motivation methods to make the team morale to stay alive all through the project implementation process. The response of the candidate should be aligned with making the team members feel free to consult with him in case they encounter any challenges. The manager should be able to listen to the ideas and recommendations made by the members of the team and sub-teams and be able to act on the suggestions accordingly. Allowing the members to contribute their ideas in running the project gives them the sense of belonging and hence the motivation to work harder to ensure that the project succeeds.

The construction manager should be able to work in collaboration with the other colleagues and not just give our orders without considering the input of the other workers.

18. What Are The Factors That You Would Put Into Consideration When Negotiating Contracts With Subcontractors?

Often, the parties in construction contracts will have different and sometimes conflicting interests in the form and content of the contract. Contract negotiation will usually involve some degree of compromise on both sides to achieve a final agreement that is acceptable to all parties. In a case where the negotiating parties are acting on behalf of someone else, they must be clear what the limit of their authority is.

Some of the factors to consider include:

  • The contract sum
  • The start and finish dates.
  • A clear scope of work.
  • Ability to claim the extension of time or damages.
  • The time frame of payments.
  • Insurance requirements, warranties and bonds.
  • The scope of work and duties.
  • The valuation of payments and variations.
  • Understanding the required elements of a valid contract
  • Understanding the objectives that need to be accomplished
  • Analyzing all the negotiable terms to be included in the contract.
  • Documentation to support negotiation position
  • Identifying where there might be leverage for flexibility or compromise on both sides.
  • Identifying what a mutually satisfactory contract could be.
  • Preparing a counteroffer to a draft contract.
  • Knowing the cut-off point at which it is best to walk away from negotiations.
  • Having alternative contractors to prevent any particular contractor or sub-contractor having a sense of monopoly.
  • Consider paying the contractor’s subcontractors directly instead of through the general contractor to save some money.

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19. How Do You Handle A Situation Whereby A Subcontractor Tries To Alter Contract Terms To Increase Their Remuneration?

  • Convene a face-to-face meeting with the subcontractor to discuss their reasons for altering the original terms of the contract.
  • Consider starting a counterchange order process
  • Enhancing the relationship with the subcontractor by working closely in coordination and collaboration with them.
  • Establishing quality control processes which clearly state the remuneration as per the quality of work done by the subcontractor.

20. How Do You Deal With A Worker Or Personnel Who Do Not Follow Your Instructions Regarding The Implementation Of The Project?

The candidate should mention previous instances if they experienced, such when a worker or sub-contractor knowingly decided to act contrary to the candidate’s directions. They should describe cases when their colleagues disagreed with the candidate’s decisions/suggestions and explain the steps they took to ensure that the instance did not affect the project negatively.

The question seeks to examine the candidate’s ability to respond to negative feedback or criticism constructively and be able to bring everybody back to a collaborative mood to work towards achieving the project objectives.

21. How Would You Ensure Effective Communication Exists Amongst All The Members Of The Project Execution Team?

The candidate should be able to show that he/she possesses excellent communication skills. The answer has to be either good or excellent. But the candidate should avoid sounding overconfident. The following response can be appropriate:

  • Having an open-door policy which builds trust between the project manager and the team members. It ensures that anyone can ask questions, raise concerns and suggest ideas at any time without any limitations.
  • The construction project manager should be open to constructive criticism to allow those are having contrary opinions to share them, and if those ideas are worth implementing, the project manager should go ahead and enact them even if they are opposite of what the manager suggested initially.
  • Organizing regular communication training which can focus on presentation skills, business writing and managerial skills training.
  • Choosing a useful mode of communication, for example, a team working from different geographical locations could consider communicating through video conferencing tools and emails while a team working at the same area can utilize face to face meetings most of the time.
  • Use the leaders of sub-teams to circulate useful information concerning the project.  

22. Describe Previous Projects That You Have Overseen In The Past, Including The Project Budget, Milestones, And Deadlines.

  • The candidate is expected to explain a recent construction project that they undertook and achieved positive results.
  • The interviewee should explain clearly the scale of the budget of the project since it will show the interviewing panel that the candidate has the capability of managing a project’s budget. The higher the budget, the better, but the candidate should mention a project that they undertook and can provide legitimate documented proof of their involvement with the construction project.
  • The candidate should also describe how he/she planned the project, the procedure and factors considered in making milestones and goals as well as the timing of each milestone.
  • The candidate should also mention the number of members in his/her team. The higher the number, the better the perception that the candidate can manage a bigger team efficiently.

23. Do You Have Prior Experience In Handling Projects With Huge Budgetary Allocation?

  • The question seeks to examine the candidate’s ability to manage a project budget. The candidate should give an example of a project budget he/she managed in a previous successful project. He/she should mention how he employed measures to save the unnecessary waste of materials and other resources.
  • The candidate should give an example which implicates him/her to know what each part of the budget is allocated for on each site.  
  • The candidate should show they possess necessary accounting skills.
  • He/she should show how he/she negotiated with vendors aiming to save.

24. What Are Some Of The Challenges You Faced During The Project Implementation Process?

The candidate should mention some of the problems that they faced during the execution of a previous project. The challenge mentioned should be an external factor that the manager could not have direct control, for example:

  • Heavy rainfall.
  • Lack of funding

25. How Did You Resolve The Problems You Faced?

The candidate should explain how he/she handled the challenges they faced. For example:

  • Heavy rainfall: The candidate could mention that they had to cover the foundation of the building temporarily to prevent flooding.
  • Lack of funding: The candidate could mention how he/she convinced the owner of the project to avail the required financial resources by promising a timely completion of the project and guaranteed returns after a specific timeframe.

26. Would You Be In A Position To Manage More Than One Project At The Same Time?

The question seeks to examine the ability of the candidate to multi-task. The answer of the candidate should be able to demonstrate their ability to work on concurrent or simultaneous projects. This would mean that the hiring company would be able to save for not having to a construction project manager for each project if they have several projects going on at the same time. The candidate should demonstrate their ability to balance attention amongst the projects assigned to the skillfully. However, they should be realistic in their answer to state a reasonable number of projects they can manage simultaneously, say a maximum of two or three projects.

27. What Would You Do When Conflict Arises Between You And One Of Your Superiors In The Construction Project Team?

Conflicts often arise between significant stakeholders in a project. The junior partner needs to consider approaching the superior stakeholder and opt to solve the dispute through negotiation and mediation.

  • Negotiation: the manager talks to each of the superior colleagues for a one on one meeting and resolves the conflict between them.
  • Mediation: the construction project manager and the superior whom they have a conflict together choose a mediator, who can be a high ranking colleague within the project team. The mediator summons the conflicting parties to come together, and the helps them reach an agreeable settlement of the issue at hand. It can save the costs of solving the conflict in a court of law and can also help the parties to remain friendly and still work together after the dispute has been resolved.  

28. What Would You Do If A Heavy Rainfall Downpour Occurs While The Construction Project Is Still Underway?

  • Covering the foundation and other structures of the construction to prevent damage.
  • Pausing the project work until the weather becomes favorable.
  • Pausing the transportation of materials and equipment.
  • Pausing all earth-moving activities, for example, the use of excavators.
  • Cover all materials present at the site to prevent them from getting mixed by the rainwater.
  • Having adequate water pumps to pump away rainwater and enhance fast drying up of the construction site.
  • Manufacturing some materials such as blocks off-site.

29. How Do You Know If A Construction Project Has Met The Required Qualities?

The question seeks to ascertain the candidate’s knowledge about quality control about construction projects. Quality control ensures that the final construction product adheres to construction standards which uphold safety. Quality control analyzes the difference between the qualities of the construction product and the desired qualities of a standard construction that must be met. In the case of the existence of some variations, the construction manager will have to make relevant corrections to comply with the internationally recognized standards.

A satisfactory construction project should meet the technical specifications, including the types of materials as well as the construction methodology in completion of the work.

30. What Would You Do If The Client Rejected The Final Construction Product?

In case the quality assessment reveals the presence of defects in the final construction product, there will be the need to correct the mistakes before the construction manager can handover the product to the client. Errors occur due to corrupt practice or design, or the use of inappropriate materials in that particular construction methodology. The construction manager needs to be able to identify the cause of the defect and remedy it immediately. The product has to comply with the client’s requirements as well as the internationally recognized standards. It might involve demolishing part of the completed construction product, for example, if the roofing were not constructed at the required angle of elevation, the construction project manager would have to coordinate and ensure the roof is reconstructed to meet the requirement.

Conclusion

These are but a few interview questions for construction manager that you need to prepare yourself before attending an interview. Hopefully these interview questions for construction project manager will help you land your next dream job.

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