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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?
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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.
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Top 30 Construction PM Interview Questions with Full Content
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."
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