MockQuestions MockQuestions
Interviews Questions by Career
Interviews Questions by Company
Interviews Questions by Topic
Get Started
Interview Coach 1:1
Gain the confidence you need by asking our professionals any interview scenario, question, or answer you are unsure about.
Let Us Review Your Answers
Our interviewing professionals will gladly review and revise any answer you send us. Allowing you to craft perfect responses for your next job interview.
Interview Questions by Topic
Interview Questions by Career
Interview Questions by Company

Construction PM Interview
Questions

30 Questions and Answers by Rachelle Enns

Updated February 16th, 2020 | Rachelle is a job search expert, career coach, and headhunter
who helps everyone from students to fortune executives find success in their career.
Question 1 of 30
If you notice that a project is off track, what action steps do you take to course correct?
View Answers
How to Answer
A project running off track can be incredibly frustrating for any project manager. The interviewer wants to know what you do, in these instances, to course correct and move the project to successful completion. Take the hiring authority through the steps you take, showing that you have confidence in your decisions. If you are new to your career, base your answer on a hypothetical situation.
30 Construction PM Interview Questions
Win your next job by practicing from our question bank. We have thousands of questions and answers created by interview experts.
  1. If you notice that a project is off track, what action steps do you take to course correct?
  2. We use DMAIC for improving business processes, and DMADV for creating new processes, products, and services. What do these acronyms stand for?
  3. Have you ever experienced conflict on the job? If so, how was it handled?
  4. Do you consider yourself someone direct and forthright with others?
  5. When change occurs in the workplace, it can create new problems. Do you see these as inconvenient problems, or opportunities to learn?
  6. A Construction Project Manager must be an agile problem solver. In your opinion, what does it take to be a great problem solver?
  7. Construction projects often have tight targets, and missing a cutoff can be very costly. How do you react when your team misses a deadline?
  8. The Construction Project Manager is a critical role in our organization. How can we motivate you as a leader, keeping you engaged in the job?
  9. As a Construction Project Manager, what do you find to be the most challenging aspect of leading your current team?
  10. Highlight your top leadership qualities for me, and how they benefit you as a Construction Project Manager.
  11. What do you believe are the core duties of a Construction Project Manager?
  12. How comfortable are you performing duties related to negotiation and conflict resolution? Give an example of a time when you resolved an issue in the workplace.
  13. What sources do you turn to when staying up-to-date on the rules, regulations, and quality standards of the construction industry?
  14. On a scale of 1-10, with ten being exceptional, how strong is your knowledge of construction materials and equipment?
  15. Have you obtained your PMP or an equivalent certification? If you have not, is this type of certification of interest to you?
  16. We prefer to hire a Construction Project Manager with a Bachelor's Degree in Architecture, Engineering, Construction Management, or another related field. Walk me through your education, and the core coursework that is relevant to this job.
  17. What stage of project management do you feel you are the strongest?
  18. Do you have any formal Six Sigma or Lean Six Sigma training? If not, are you open to exploring options towards Six Sigma Certification?
  19. What project management methodology do you most prefer; Waterfall, Agile, or Scrum? Explain your reasoning.
  20. What construction project management software do you prefer to use?
  21. What is the most significant error you have made on a project? How did you address the issue and repair the situation?
  22. How do you go about assessing your team members' strengths and delegating work to each member of your project team?
  23. Do you have experience managing outsourced resources, such as temporary employees or subcontractors?
  24. How many team members do you have experience managing? Include their job titles and the extent of your leadership involvement.
  25. How do you ensure the budgetary health of a construction project?
  26. In your opinion, what are the most prominent signs that a project is off track?
  27. Briefly describe your project management style and how you feel it will benefit our organization, should we hire you.
  28. Have you ever worked on a project that spanned the course of a few years?
  29. What gives you the most satisfaction working as a PM in the construction industry?
  30. How do you explain complicated construction or engineering concepts to someone who may not understand?
Suggested
Interview Q&As
Explore expert tips and resources to be more confident in your next interview.
Behavioral
Common
Phone
Tough
Leadership
All Interview Topics
All Career Q&As
15 Construction PM Answer Examples
1.
If you notice that a project is off track, what action steps do you take to course correct?
A project running off track can be incredibly frustrating for any project manager. The interviewer wants to know what you do, in these instances, to course correct and move the project to successful completion. Take the hiring authority through the steps you take, showing that you have confidence in your decisions. If you are new to your career, base your answer on a hypothetical situation.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"If I notice that a project is going off track, I first uncover the core of the 'why' before jumping into action to fix the situation. Reacting too quickly can add to the initial problem if we miss the critical step of root-cause analysis. Information gathering is helpful for a team to continue working together while also developing systems for future situations where the issue could happen again. Once I have the accurate information, I can then move forward to reprioritize and restructure tasks."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"If I noticed that a project was running off track, I would first discover the core of the issue and then reassess my resources. Next, I would ensure that I had assigned the best people to the right tasks. This assessment may mean that I have to redelegate. I would also identify which team members could be more hands-on with critical activities. I would focus on competency and what I could do to move forward, rather than dwell on the setback."
2.
We use DMAIC for improving business processes, and DMADV for creating new processes, products, and services. What do these acronyms stand for?
Depending on the processes used by the hiring company, you may need to be familiar with DMAIC and DMADV.

DMAIC:
- Define the problem and the project goals
- Measure in detail the various aspects of the current process
- Analyze data to, among other things, find the root defects in a process
- Improve the process
- Control how the process is done in the future

DMADV:
- Define the project goals
- Measure critical components of the process and the product capabilities
- Analyze the data and develop various designs for the process, eventually picking the best one
- Design and test details of the process
- Verify the design by running simulations and a pilot program, and then handing over the process to the client

Discuss your level of knowledge regarding these two primary Six Sigma Methodologies. These methodologies are generally carried out by Six Sigma Green, Black and Master Black Belts. So, if you are not immersed in Six Sigma, this question may not apply to you.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"I have earned my Six Sigma Green Belt and have plans to earn my Black Belt in the next year. During these studies, I did learn about both DMADV and DMAIC. I understand that DMAIC is used to improve business processes by defining the problem and project goals. Then, measuring in detail the various aspects of the current process. Next, analyzing data to find the core defects in a process. Then, improve the process and control how we approach the process in the future. With DMADV, we can create new processes by defining the project goals then measuring critical components of the process and the product capabilities. Next, we analyze the data and develop various designs for the process, eventually picking the best one. The next step is to design and test details of the process then verify the design by running simulations. As a Construction PM, I find the use of DMAIC to be more prominent."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"At this stage in my career, I am not fully immersed in Six Sigma methodologies. I do understand that DMAIC is for improving business processes, and DMADV is for creating new processes, products, and services. I am certainly open to putting in the weeks of work to earn my Six Sigma belts and will go as far as this certification as your organization would like to see. I certainly see the value in mastering this top-down methodology."
3.
Have you ever experienced conflict on the job? If so, how was it handled?
The hiring company wants to see that, as a highly visible leader in their organization, you bring self-awareness, maturity, and professionalism. While you do not always have to agree with everyone, the interviewer wants to see that you respond appropriately in the face of conflict. The key to successfully answering this question is to impress upon the interviewer that you are a respectful professional who treats others fairly. If you are newer to your career, you can draw from a post-secondary example (perhaps you had a conflict with a professor or on a team project).

Rachelle's Answer #1
"My first foreman was a challenging person. His expectations were often unreasonable and would come with little explanation. I worked with him for two years and left when I knew I was no longer benefitting from his leadership. I was pretty green and did not feel I had the years behind me to openly challenge his working style. I did keep my head down for the most part, but the benefit came to me at a later time when I took on my first leadership role. I knew what I did not want to be like; thus, the experience helped to shape my communication style as a Construction Project Manager."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"I have disagreed with fellow students during various group projects, but there have only been a couple of times where it has become a true conflict. One instance that comes to mind was regarding the distribution of work when a new group project was assigned. The group leader created a meeting schedule that conflicted with most of the team members' other commitments. This schedule was a problem because it was obvious the group would struggle with keeping in timely communication. I laid out the reasons why this schedule would not work. Although the group leader had little empathy for anyone else's' commitments, in the end, we identified other times that we could meet, keeping everyone's project schedule's more achievable."
4.
Do you consider yourself someone direct and forthright with others?
As a Construction Project Manager, you will need to be direct and lead your team to project completion. The hiring authority wants to see that you do not leave people hanging when it comes to answering questions, providing direction on a project, or offering necessary feedback. Talk to the interviewer about a time when you were candid with a coworker, customer, or superior, ensuring that they had the direct information that they needed from you.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"Yes, I do consider myself to be direct with others. The most professional and respectful thing to do is to get to the point in a considerate way. I never sugar coat a situation; however, I do assume that everyone had the best of intentions. One example of my being direct is when one of my employees delivers a project report with errors. I will approach them and say, 'There are errors in your report. Are you able to fix these by the end of the day?' By doing so, I point out the issue while being transparent and direct on what the deadlines are for resubmission. As the person leading a project to the finish line, I must be clear on expectations every step of the way."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"I believe that part of being direct is sticking to the facts when discussing a workplace situation. If there is a concern with my work, I would appreciate my supervisor approaching me promptly while outlining what needs repair. As a recent university graduate, I had many opportunities to be direct and give feedback to fellow students during group projects. I would state where I saw the issue and then offered up clear recommendations on how we could fix the situation before the assignments' due date."
5.
When change occurs in the workplace, it can create new problems. Do you see these as inconvenient problems, or opportunities to learn?
As a Project Manager, you already know that when a change occurs in the workplace, problems often arise due to new implementations and procedures or unforeseen kinks that need smoothing. Do you approach these problems positively, or do you resist the change? Talk to the interviewer about how you adapt to issues that cause change. If you have work experience, try answering this question using the STAR method (Situation, Task, Action, Result).

Rachelle's Answer #1
"Change is inevitable when you work in the construction industry, as there are multiple moving parts. Also, with a blend of permanent employees, temporary staff, and subcontractors, even the most skilled PM cannot control everyone's actions in a day. Recently I had a major shift in my team and, overnight, went from being completely staffed to reassessing our temporary staffing strategy due to multiple no-shows. I saw this as an opportunity to stretch outside of my comfort zone. I found a new temporary staffing agency that could provide a greater number of reliable laborers at an even lower rate than I was previously budgeting. In the end, I saw this situation as a blessing because it caused me to revisit my temp labor spend, saving me nearly $15K by the end of the project. I embrace unexpected changes and certainly view them as learning opportunities."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"Being new to my PM career, I plan to approach every day and situation as an opportunity to learn and grow, even if it's uncomfortable. I believe there's something valuable to take away from any situation that involves change, so I remain adaptable. I am capable of pivoting when needed and maintain focus through unexpected challenges."
6.
A Construction Project Manager must be an agile problem solver. In your opinion, what does it take to be a great problem solver?
In the life of a Construction Project Manager, problem-solving is a critical factor for success. The hiring company wants to know that you have a systematic approach to problem-solving. Consider the skills and qualities that help you successfully face problems in the workplace. Perhaps you have a keen eye for detail. Maybe you can see opportunity when others can only focus on the issue. Share your strengths as a problem solver, and your ability to come up with innovative solutions. Remember that strong problem-solvers are:

- Systematic thinkers
- Open-minded
- Okay with being wrong sometimes
- Always researching and exploring
- Adept in identifying the core problem
- Ready to reverse engineer a challenge to avoid future issues
- Able to come up with multiple avenues that work well for all stakeholders
- Are do-ers and not worriers

Rachelle's Answer #1
"My current reports tell me that I am an excellent problem solver, and I believe this is because I have a natural engineering mind, further developed as I earned my Bachelor's in Construction Engineering. I can take an issue, reverse engineer to solve it, and then use that resolution as a basis for avoiding future issues. I am also a big-picture thinker, which allows me to come up with various resolutions per problem."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"I have a well-honed ability to research, read, and explore for answers. I believe these are critical factors for problem-solving. When I base my recommendations on facts rather than by guessing, I develop my knowledge base, get to the core of the issue faster, and build the respect of my team members. This approach will be especially important as I begin my career as a Construction Project Manager."
7.
Construction projects often have tight targets, and missing a cutoff can be very costly. How do you react when your team misses a deadline?
In the construction industry, missing a deadline can be devastating to a projects' budget. Not only are missed targets a pain point for stakeholders, but they can also reflect poorly on you as a leader and project manager. The hiring authority wants to know how you react to disappointment and project plans, not going your way. Give an example of a time when your team missed a deadline and walk the interviewer through the action that you took. If you have encountered this situation before, try to deploy the STAR method by including an overview of the Situation, Task, Action, and Result.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"We reach deadlines as a team, and we miss deadlines as a team. I truly believe in that philosophy. Although this does not often happen, when we miss a deadline, I look at how we could have moved better as a group, to meet the original delivery. I do not react negatively to my team members, but I do use those situations as learning and coaching opportunities. For instance, last year, we had a $15M hotel project underway when it came to my attention that some of our supplies were on hold due to new changes in NAFTA. It became apparent that I needed to find a new supplier for tile and a few other finishings. To pivot, I quickly sourced similar products from within the country and had them express shipped. I was able to negotiate good deals, so it only impacted our overall budget by 2%. I made up for the additional material costs by finding savings in labor. All in all, the project was completed on time and budget. My team stuck with me through the entire process, and I showed my gratitude for their hard work and dedication."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"As a Construction PM, it is important that I never place blame on my team for a deadline that I missed. A project managers' entire job is to meet the timeliness of a project so I would take full responsibility. For that reason, if I were to miss a deadline, I would first reflect internally and then ask my team and management for feedback. I would craft a plan around what went awry and how I could prevent it from happening again in the future."
8.
The Construction Project Manager is a critical role in our organization. How can we motivate you as a leader, keeping you engaged in the job?
Construction Project Managers hold a crucial role as they plan and oversee a wide range of construction projects from start to finish. Construction PMs look after a projects' budget, work alongside subcontractors, ensure the keeping of regulations, and govern the obtaining of proper permits.

With such a busy and task-filled schedule, it's no doubt that even the most poised project manager can be in danger of feeling unmotivated and disengaged now and then. The hiring company wants to know how they can be an encouragement to you, in turn.

You should be able to identify and express what keeps you showing up, working hard, and supporting your team. Your motivation may be that the idea of success and achievement drives you. Perhaps you are working towards career advancement. Take some time to think about what truly motivates you.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"What motivates me is the potential to continue to grow with a company and take on more responsibilities and larger projects. I value recognition, especially when it plays a role in taking my career to the next level. I value a company that appreciates me and all of its employees. Loyalty is rare these days, and it's something I truly value."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"Being new to my construction project management career, it's important that I get started on the right foot. What will motivate me the most is joining a company that is ethical and strives to do the right thing, creating an impeccable project. I am at my best when I am supported by those who have good intentions, high standards, and a strong work ethic."
9.
As a Construction Project Manager, what do you find to be the most challenging aspect of leading your current team?
The interviewer is trying to learn more about the challenges you currently face, as a project manager and as a leader. If hired, this information will help the hiring company to know where you could use additional support. Every leader has an aspect of responsibility that is challenging for them. Share your most challenging aspect of leadership but also highlight the steps that you take to alleviate or overcome that challenge.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"Currently, around half of my team consists of permanent employees, and the other half are temporary, seasonal, or contracted workers. I find this staffing ratio a challenge because I spend a lot of time re-training new people, or trying to create an air of enthusiasm and buy-in from people who are only with us for a short time. To overcome this challenge, I hire back as many temps and seasonal employees as possible when our construction season kicks up again. I have also started building a library of resources that I refer to as the 'Online Learning Portal' where new team members can familiarize themselves with our most common processes and best practices. This initiative has decreased the time that I spend training new hires and has also increased everyone's understanding of the job, thus reducing human error and boosting team spirit."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"I believe that the most challenging aspect of being a leader in this industry will be effectively managing the large variety of personalities on and off-site. It takes time to get to know everyone, but I am confident that I can do it by being present, engaged, and taking the time to get to know my team and what their individual needs may be."
10.
Highlight your top leadership qualities for me, and how they benefit you as a Construction Project Manager.
A great leader is someone who people naturally want to follow. They have exceptional interpersonal skills and the ability to build relationships with nearly any personality type. A respected leader will take ownership of their mistakes and will always lead their team by example. True leaders see the importance of motivating others and recognizing even the smallest achievements. As you know, these are all essential qualities for a Construction Project Manager.

The interviewer wants to know what you consider to be strong leadership qualities for a Construction Project Manager. When describing your leadership qualities, avoid general terms, and give some specifics. Be sure to talk about how these qualities will help you to succeed in this role.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"I sum up my leadership qualities as dedicated, attentive to detail, and accountable. As a Construction Project Manager, I must lead by example and show my team what it means to be dedicated to a job and deliver the best work. This approach is beneficial because it teaches my team to own up to their mistakes and work hard to reverse any errors we may encounter during a construction project."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"I possess many leadership qualities that will help me grow my career in the construction industry, and as a project manager. These skills include diligence, tenacity, and open communication. With diligence and tenacity, I will always be available and on-the-ball when it comes to the needs of your construction projects. With open communication, I will guide my team with enthusiasm and clarity at all project stages."
11.
What do you believe are the core duties of a Construction Project Manager?
Depending on the size of the company to which you are applying, your responsibilities may vary. The interviewer wants to ensure that you have a proper understanding of the expectations in this role. When crafting your response, be sure to include many details from the original job description.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"I have been working as a Construction Project Manager for over 15 years now and, although the tasks I perform can have a wide range, there are a few responsibilities which are at the core of what I do. These tasks include overseeing construction projects from beginning to end while estimating costs and managing the budget. As a Construction PM, I carefully track inventory, materials, tools equipment, and working hours. I regularly craft and submit reports on the projects' status while communicating with key stakeholders. Another large part of my role is to ensure compliance with safety regulations and building codes and gain the right permits. I provide clear communication with subcontractors, engineers, architects, and key team members of the project team while also negotiating with vendors to gain the best possible pricing on supplies and materials. Much of what I do is around communicating expectations and progress."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"I have carefully studied the job description for this role, ensuring that I compete for this job with a full understanding of what it will take to succeed. From my understanding, the core duties of this Construction PM role are to ensure the meeting of critical deadlines. I am to hire contractors, construction laborers, and delegate responsibilities to them. I am to keep frequent communication with project stakeholders and handle any issues or risks that come up during the project span. I will also spend a great deal of time conducting site checks, ensuring quality standards, and that we achieve project milestones on time."
12.
How comfortable are you performing duties related to negotiation and conflict resolution? Give an example of a time when you resolved an issue in the workplace.
Much of your role as a Construction PM will be to negotiate rates, timelines, project vision, and contracts. When deadlines and budgets are tight, with many opinions involved and a lot of moving parts, conflict can arise. Show the interviewer that you are not one to back down from a critical negotiation or potentially damaging conflict. Use an example from your recent work history. If you are new to your career, you can discuss a time from your post-secondary experience.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"I have been involved in numerous negotiations and conflicts, and am very comfortable in my skills within this area. I am sure to listen more than I talk, and I frame the conversation positively. One example of my resolution skills in action was when I came across a significant difference in project vision between the client and the engineering and architecture firm. Everyone was working towards the same goal of making the client happy; however, some of the clients' desires could not occur in a way that worked within their budget. I carefully communicated the disconnect between vision and budget, leading the client to increase their budget by $200K. In the end, we all landed on the same page, and we were able to deliver the clients' vision to a tee."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"I understand that a successful construction project comes from teamwork, clear communication, and a shared vision. For this reason, I need to be strong in conflict resolution and leading workable negotiations. In university, we had many successful group projects and the odd group project that was not as team-oriented as I would have liked. During a structural engineering project, our group didn't work efficiently due to personality differences. Some chose to be independent and not act as team players, which made the work a lot harder than it needed to be. Overall, this slowed down the flow of the project. I decided to address the communication problems and differences in personality. I stated that we needed to overcome our differences for the benefit of the project and our overall grade. Once I framed the situation in a way that benefitted everyone, they all agreed to set aside their differences, finishing the project faster and more efficiently than it started."
13.
What sources do you turn to when staying up-to-date on the rules, regulations, and quality standards of the construction industry?
A Construction Project Manager should put considerable effort into ensuring they are up to date on construction safety, training materials, regulatory changes, and quality standards. This knowledge is vital for a PM to have so they can plan accordingly while also training construction laborers, and others, on best practices. Show the interviewer that you lean on reputable resources, being sure to express your enthusiasm for being in-the-know.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"I lean on a few strong resources, including The Associated General Contractors of America, Builder Magazine, and the blog by Building Design + Construction. These sources provide me with a wealth of information, giving me an edge and ensuring I stay on top of the latest trends and news."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"Right now, my favorite resource is Procore's Continuing Education Site. This site provides a lot of valuable coursework from industry leaders related to construction education. I also plan to subscribe to updates from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and keep membership with The AGC of America. Do you have any recommendations to help me continually grow my knowledge base as a PM?"
14.
On a scale of 1-10, with ten being exceptional, how strong is your knowledge of construction materials and equipment?
If you are a seasoned Construction Project Manager, this question will be easy for you to answer. Give your rating from 1-10, and then explain where you feel your knowledge is the strongest. Make sure that your response is relatable to the company and the job at hand. For instance, if the organization focuses on green construction, you will want to mention your knowledge of green construction practices and available materials. If you are new to a role in construction project management, be sure to walk the interviewer through the steps you are taking to become more familiar with the construction materials and equipment you will be using most in this role.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"I rank my knowledge of construction materials and equipment a 9 out of 10. I have been working in this industry for 18+ years and take pride in keeping myself up to date on new solutions and products available. I am a long term member of the ACG, which has been a wealth of information along the way. There is always more to learn, but I feel I have the most significant knowledge in the materials, equipment, and best practices that will be most relevant to this role. For instance, I know your organization puts a spotlight on using green materials as often as possible, helping us to do our part for the environment. The AGC is highly committed to promoting green construction practices that are reasonable, practical, and appropriately used. My AGC membership has provided me with critical information on green construction and other environmental issues, which will translate very well in this Construction PM role."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"Having just completed my Bachelor of Science in Construction Project Management, I feel that my knowledge is solid. I rank myself an 8 out of 10; however, I now want to match that strength by gaining more hands-on experience in the application of these construction materials and job site equipment. While obtaining my degree, I excelled in coursework such as Materials & Methods of Construction, Statistics & Strength of Materials, and Heavy Construction Equipment & Methods. I am eager to apply this learning as your next Construction Project Manager and developing a deeper knowledge base to the point where I can consider myself a subject matter expert."
15.
Have you obtained your PMP or an equivalent certification? If you have not, is this type of certification of interest to you?
Project Management Professional (PMP) certification is an internationally recognized professional designation, which is why many companies will ask for this certification from their Project Management candidates. Although it may not be a formal requirement, having your PMP designation will make you a more competitive candidate. If you are PMP certified, explain when you achieved the designation, keeping your answer straightforward and to the point. If you do not have your PMP certification be sure to express openness to obtaining this designation.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"I have been a member of the Project Management Institute for eight years now, and obtained my PMP certification through PMI when I initially joined. I have found this certification to be valuable over the years and am happy that I achieved it, in addition to my Bachelor's degree."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"I have a strong interest in obtaining my PMP certification, and certainly see the value this designation will bring. I plan to commit to a PMI membership and taking the PMP exam within the next 12 months."
View All 30 Construction PM Questions and Answers
Sign up to access our library of 50,000+ Q&As,
plus coaches for one-on-one support, so you can interview more confidently.
More Interview Q&As
Explore expert tips and resources to be more confident in your next interview.
Behavioral
Common
Phone
Tough
Leadership
All Interview Topics
All Career Q&As
Disclaimer
Our interview questions and answers are created by experienced recruiters and interviewers. These questions and answers do not represent any organization, school, or company on our site. Interview questions and answer examples and any other content may be used else where on the site. We do not claim our questions will be asked in any interview you may have. Our goal is to create interview questions and answers that will best prepare you for your interview, and that means we do not want you to memorize our answers. You must create your own answers, and be prepared for any interview question in any interview.