Project Managers are generally responsible for planning scopes of work, overseeing the execution of project tasks, and managing interactions between relevant stakeholders. By coordinating projects from start to finish, their primary goal is to ensure the overall success of the project. Doing so requires them to manage both tasks and expectations of stakeholders, as well as being able to communicate project progress effectively. As project manager work spans many industries and functions within an organization, the specific requirements for a particular Project Manager role vary, but the core group of skills highlighted here are essential for project managers to be successful in any context.
Core skills for Project Managers
How to effectively interview Project Managers
While it might seem difficult to figure out whether a candidate will succeed as a Project Manager in your company, a well-developed set of interview questions that tap into the core skills required to perform in a Project Manager role will go a long way in helping you decide.
But where do you start? How do you develop a set of great interview questions?
The best interview questions come directly from a job analysis. A job analysis is an evidence-based method that focuses on assessing key features of a particular role. These features describe both the job itself (i.e., tasks, responsibilities, and performance objectives), and the characteristics required of someone to perform successfully in the job (e.g., knowledge, skills, and abilities). A job analysis forms the basis of many HR practices such as compensation, performance management, and - you guessed it - how to interview and hire candidates.
At Hireguide, we’ve done the job analysis work for you. We’ve used the method to identify a core set of skills associated with the Project Manager role, and we’ve developed and validated a list of behavioral and situational questions with answer guides that tap directly into those core skills. And that’s not all. We’ve compiled these questions and created a Project Manager Interview Template for you that integrates other interviewing best practices. Skills-based interviews will not only help you make higher quality and evidence-based hiring decisions, but research also shows they enhance fairness and reduce bias in your hiring process.
Example interview questions to ask
Tell me about a time you were managing a project and had an unexpected problem that required you to pivot some of your project plans. How did you manage that change effectively?
- Describes the unexpected problem and why it arose
- Explains how and why the project plans needed to pivot
- Discusses the implications of the pivot on the team and resources
- Estimates the implications on the overall project success and completion
- Discusses learnings and key takeaways from experience
When managing programs, you often deal with stakeholders who hold different levels of power and investment in projects. What are some communication and engagement strategies you would apply to manage different stakeholders?
- Considers different stakeholder roles (internal/external, direct/indirect, etc.)
- Tailors communication based on stakeholder power and investment per project
- Exercises active listening to develop clear understanding of needs/expectations
- Builds stakeholder trust through open, honest, and timely communications
- Discusses any key tips or learnings for managing different stakeholders