Below are top 8 mostly asked questions that would be asked in an interview to test various aspects of project management skills.
1. Please Describe Yourself and Your Background Briefly
This is perhaps the most common start-off question during job interviews and employers asking this want to know whether you’re a good fit for the job and the company. Your answer is also a reflection of your self-perception and self-confidence; and that counts for a lot in your professional life.
Tip #1 : Make sure you keep the job description in mind when you are answering this question; pick the traits that fit the job right.
Tip #2 : Keep your answer short, straightforward and humble. Sell yourself as being a standout candidate, without over-doing it.
Tip #3 : You don’t have to go into a lot of details or give off examples to this particular question, unless the interviewer asks for them.
“My name is John Smith. I hail from Hartford, Connecticut while I was born and brought up in New York. I graduated with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Hartford. Since my graduation, I have been working as a project manager for the past eight years.
I love connecting with people; it’s my favorite part of the job as a project manager. I’m often told by people that I’m a great listener, and my ability to effectively communicate is probably my best quality.
I’m a highly organized person and I thrive off of learning new things. I constantly find myself wandering off into challenging situations, and developing long-term, achievable and realistic goals for myself. I am also great at managing time, because my goal-oriented nature demands a lot of productivity from me.”
2. Why Are You Interested In This Role?
The interviewer wants to gauge how serious you are about taking up the responsibility, and if you know what comes with the package.
Your answer will also reveal how likely you are to stick around provided that they offer you the job. After all, there can be no long-term arrangement made for a person who is not interested in their job.
This question requires you to focus on two things:
- What have you done before that makes you appropriate for this role? (Experience)
- If you are moving up the hierarchy of roles within the industry, what are your skills?
Tip #1: Keep it short and crisp. If you have stories, skip them because the interviewer will probably be getting to them at the end of the interview –for now, just highlight, summarize, and stay relevant.
Tip #2: Make sure to appear enthusiastic, and genuine. Don’t sound robotic, or seem as if you memorized the answers –if you are disinterested, it will show.
Tip #3: Even if the question is subject to you, make sure you throw in a thing or two about the company as well. Not doing so is a major red flag because it shows that you are not interested in this particular role for this particular company.
“What interested me to apply for this role, in particular, is that it would let me combine project management skill with service delivery experience and my inherent knack for software development. I think this position will really help me grow my portfolio for project management skill, which is important in this industry.
Of course, enhancing my portfolio is only part of the equation. I would love to work with a company with a standing like yours. Your goal [insert goal] is inspiring, and I’m really excited about this opportunity. “
3.Why Do You Want to Work With Us?
This is one of the most frequently asked interview questions, and employers use it to gauge how genuinely interested you are about the company, which lets them know how serious you are about the job.
They want to see if the person that they are hiring has a legitimate interesting in furthering their long-term career plan through their company –and is not a person who will take any job at any place.
Tip #1: Get a glimpse of the social media of the company, LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram. This will give you a better idea of what their ‘reputation’ or economic standing is on the market, and what people think of their products and services in general.
Tip #2: Make a list of your own career objectives, and merge them with the companies.
Tip #3: Rather than focusing on how the company can help you, talk about what you can add to the company.
“I know that your company is trying its hands at global expansion. Having worked in project management for about a decade, I’m confident that I can help the company achieve that target successfully.
I wish to bring my experience and expertise to bear to help your company grow, and to achieve my personal growth goals as well. I view myself as a project manager, leading a team and coordinating different milestones for boosting overall performance”
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4. Tell me What You Know About This Company?
Interviewers don’t want someone applying for hundreds of jobs with no end goal to pursue any of them properly, to work for them. They want someone who knows what he or she is doing, who’s done their research, and has a clear idea of what to expect when they join the company.
Hiring someone who did not do their research means going through the time-consuming task of interviews only for you to find out that this company is not appropriate for you. Or that you aren’t invested in it, so would not be adding anything.
Another thing that they gauge from your answer to this question is how much preparation you did for the interview. If you are applying for a couple of hundred jobs everyday and showing up for interviews in multiple companies, chances are you have no end-goal in mind and you won’t be well-prepared for any of them. It just makes you look sloppy.
Tip #1: Do your research–and not just by visiting theirs About Us page. If you are in touch with someone who used to or currently works in that company, asks them what they want in employees.
Tip #2: Google the name of the company, and visit the pages other than their website. This includes mentions by the general public, any latest press releases, or media coverage. This third neutral party perspective will give you a better idea of the company’s end goals and help you visualize your role in the future with it.
Tip #3: Only say what you are 100% sure about, not everything. So, even if you are applying to multiple jobs, take a few minutes to find out 3 basic facts about all of them.
“Well, I know that you are a leading project management consulting service, and were founded when your CEO realized the dearth of effective management that companies face. His commitment towards helping startups and SMEs in particular compels me to bring my skill set here to help your clients achieve their goals.
Moreover, yours is a growing company. I read that it’s doubled in size since last year, and you plan on doing the same this year as well. I want to associate myself with a company that is on the ascendancy, and in the process achieve my personal career goals”
5. Why Did You Leave Your Last Job?
The way and the manner in which you quit your workplace says a lot about you as a person, which is what the interviewer is trying to judge by asking the question. If you left for an odd reason, your loyalty is questioned. If you were fired, your work ethics and performance is questioned.
Tip #1: Before you leave a place of employment, make sure that you leave on good terms. In fact, get your former employer to write you a recommendation letter; it can go a long way.
Tip #2: Keep your end goal in mind during the interview, and talk about it from the perspective of starting with a new opportunity.
“I was at that company for three years, and I worked with some of the most amazing team in the industry and learned a lot. I got promoted last year as well. However, over the past few months, their sales had declined, and I was starting to fall into a routine without excitement. What appeals to me about this position is that it allows me the same job but with a bigger team, more exciting opportunities, and new challenges.
My former company recently lost one of their major clients, and that had a huge impact on the bottom-line. As a result, the company had to downsize, and unfortunately I happened to be one of them. However, I’m very proud of the work I did during my time there, and the manager is my strongest reference here.
We had some management changes in my former company, and it was clear that the new set of expectations misaligned with my strengths and experiences. I’m a major asset in the project management area, but unfortunately, that’s not what the Manager needed. “
6. Why Should We Hire You?
Simply put, they’re trying to see what value you have to offer and if you can communicate that value to them as well. What do you bring to the table that other candidates don’t? How will you grow their team, company, and brand?
If you are confident in what you bring to the table, this will be an easy step for you to do.
Tip #1: Don’t get too cocky, but don’t be too bashful either; keep a level head and an even more level tone.
Tip #2: Keep it short, simple, and targeted.
Tip #3: Make your past experience in line with your potential employment.
“In your advertisement, you mentioned that you were looking for someone with project management experience. I think my 15 years of project management experience sets me apart from other candidates. Adding to that, I also have service delivery management skills, and I really value long-lasting relationships. I value what I do, and I do it as passionately as possible and that is what makes me a valuable addition to your team.
You can see in my resume that I have spent decades performing the project management role in different companies. I have a complete understanding of this one role in different industries including business, education, banking, and telecommunication. You mentioned you were looking for an experienced project manager and I think I have something great to add to your team keeping in mind my experience.”
7. Do You Have Any Questions?
This is like a feedback session at the end of the conversation, and the interviewer wants to know if you were genuinely engaged in the process and hence interested in the position or not.
Also, because this question typically comes up at the very end of the conversation, you can leave the interview on a good and impressive note. You can even use it to recover from any of the mistakes you made during the interview.
Tip #1: Be prepared for this question. In fact, make a list of questions during the interview. And save the mid-interview curiosities for end-of-the-talk.
Tip #2: Depending on who is interviewing you, your questions will change. If someone from the HR is asking you this question, you’ll need to answer accordingly, and the same applies to the manager and so on.
Tip #3: Don’t talk about salaries and benefits, especially if this is the first round of interviews –it makes you look tacky and unprofessional.
“What issues is your company currently facing?
I noticed you talked a lot about Big Data, so I’m assuming it’s a priority? How is your department involved in this project? I read that [ABC] company was doing some work on it as well.
What’s a typical day in this role like, and what are the everyday responsibilities?
What are your goals for the upcoming year?”
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8. Where Do You See Yourself In Five Years?
Of course, it’s hard to predict what will happen in the coming years, but that’s not the point of the question. The interviewer wants to ask about your plans, if you have them, for the upcoming years and how you want to meet them.
This further helps them align your long-term goals with the company’s goals, and to predict for how many years they can keep you around.
Tip #1: Keep your answer relevant to the job application, and the company –you don’t want to talk about your writing goals when you are applying for an accountancy job.
Tip #2: Don’t be too vague, because it reflects that you have not thought about where you plan on going in the future and that is a major red flag.
Tip #3: Outline a career path; research well, and make a flow diagram in your head of where you plan on going with your professional life.
Tip #4: There are some professions like teaching, planning, counseling, and sales where there are no corporate ladders to climb up –and it’s perfectly okay to not have a clear career path and just talk about the everyday mysteries of the job.
“In the next five years, I want as many opportunities to grow and learn as I can take. I see that at your company, you really value professional development and I intend to take advantage of all of the opportunities that you offer.
In five years, I see myself as one of the top-performing employers at an organization as well established as this one, and I plan on taking all the responsibilities that come my way so that I can get there. I want to add as much value to an organization as I can, but I realize that that takes a lot of years so for now, I’m working on this post to enhance my skills.”