How to answer the 5 most common Project Manager Interview Questions

The same questions come up again and again in project management interviews. Use these common interview questions to prepare for your next interview. Each question includes some the key things that the interviewer is looking for in your answer!
Prepare for your project manager interview here! These practice questions come with model answers to help you smash your interview! Use the STAR model to structure your answers.
project manager interview questions

Use these common interview questions to prepare for your next Project Management interview. Each question includes some the key things that the interviewer is looking for in your answer!

The 5 key interview questions

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1. What qualities do you have that make you an effective project manager?

Try to hit some of the points below in your answer:

  • Organised
  • Hard Working
  • Attention to Detail
  • Results Focused
  • Highly Motivated
  • Flexible Approach
  • Excellent Interpersonal skills

2. When given a new project what approach would take to start the project and ensure it runs smoothly?

Good answers to this question are:

3. Can you tell me about a time when you have identified a risk to a project? What did you do about the risk?

Good answers to this question are:

4. Describe how you monitored and reported progress on a project you have managed

Good answers:

  • Manage and report on progress
    • Update project plan
    • Weekly/regular project meetings
    • Daily stand-up or Scrum calls
    • Weekly reporting
  • Project monitoring
  • 5. Describe a project you feel was a great success and one that failed

    Successful project - good answers
    • Delivered to time, cost and scope
    • Challenging, but achieved deadline
    • Happy stakeholders
    • Met business case
    • Achieved KPIs
    • Won a prize
    Failed project - good answers
    • The project was not well defined, so I delayed it, so requirements could be properly defined. I then restarted the project with a change request agreed for a new go live date.
    • The project was already failing, but I managed to turn it around to meet time, cost or budget
    • The project missed the original go live date, but I flagged that the date was not achievable, re-baselined the schedule and the project was very well received by the stakeholders.
    • The project widget was not sufficiently tested by the customer, so as part of the post- project review I developed new guidance on user acceptance testing for future projects.
    • The project was delivered £x k over budget, but the forecast overspend was twice that before I reduced the scope, bringing it within the 10% cost tolerance that could be approved by the project board.

    Practice scenario questions for a Project Manager interview

    Scenario 1 - Difficult person in initiation workshop

    You are running an initiation workshop for your project. One of the Subject Manager Experts constantly challenges your authority by questioning the validity of project management. How would you handle the situation?

    Good answer:
    1. Stay calm and in control
    2. Call for a comfort break
    3. Take the SME to one side and discuss the situation with him
    4. If he is not willing to take a positive role in the meeting advise him you will end the meeting, make an entry into the Risk Register regarding the failure of the workshop
    5. Escalate the Risk to the project office and speak to the person's manager.

    Scenario 2 - Project team member is not delivering / progressing their work

    A resource on your project is responsible for a task that is sitting on the critical path. A few weeks prior to delivery you are nervous that the task is not going to be delivered due to the abilities of the individual. This individual is also your friend. How would you handle this situation?

    Good answers:
    • Sit down with the person and talk to them about where they are and if they are facing any barriers
    • Make sure they are clear on the deadlines
    • Speak to the resource's manager and agree a plan of action with them
    • Enter this concern as a highly probable project risk
    • Escalate to the project office requesting the resource be replaced with a more appropriate person.
    Download these practice interview questions

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