Careers
Companies
Topics
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

Project Manager Interview
Questions

30 Questions and Answers by
| Marcie is the principal and founder of CopyHawk, a company that offers editing, writing, and career coaching services. She loves to revamp client resumes so they can land the job of their dreams.

Question 1 of 30

Tell me about your typical relationship with project sponsors.

1000s of Interview Questions

Win your next job by practicing from our question bank. We have thousands of questions and answers created by interview experts.

Project Manager Interview Questions

  1. 1.

    Tell me about your typical relationship with project sponsors.

      It's imperative that project sponsors be kept in the loop throughout the entirety of the project since they provide resources that the project needs to be completed. In addition, project sponsors can provide valuable feedback to project managers as the project progresses. Talk to the interviewer about how often you typically contact sponsors and in what manner.

      Marcie's Answer

      "Throughout my career, I've encountered many different kinds of sponsors. Sometimes they want to be very involved in the project and other times they don't. When I'm introduced to the sponsor(s) at the beginning of the project I try to determine their preferences and then communicate accordingly during the project. If a problem arises that my team and I are unable to resolve on our own, I would definitely reach out to the sponsor to get their thoughts. In many cases, the feedback that the project sponsor provides is extremely helpful. For many of the sponsors I've worked with during larger projects, I scheduled weekly meetings or calls with them where I gave updates and discussed outstanding issues."

  2. 2.

    Give me an example of a time when you successfully handled intense pressure.

      Project managers need to have the ability to juggle urgent deadlines, various personalities, sometimes unreasonable expectations, and more during complex projects. All of these moving parts can create a lot of stress, and the interviewer wants assurance that you can effectively manage high-pressure situations. Provide an example of a time when you did so successfully.

      Marcie's Answer

      "There's no doubt that there's a lot of stress and pressure in the life of a project manager. I personally reframe the stress and look at it positively; I like variety in my work life and many times enjoy the challenges that arise. I see them as puzzles for me to figure out as quickly and efficiently as possible. Within my last role, we were two weeks out from the deadline with a few critical issues still needing to be resolved when one of my key team members got very sick and had to be hospitalized. I knew that I had to fix this fast so the project would stay on track. I re-assigned that person's high-priority tasks to other team members I trusted and hired some freelancer workers I had used in the past to handle his lower-priority tasks. I kept tabs on everything, and in the end, we pulled it off and the project was completed successfully."

  3. 3.

    What project management methodologies do you follow?

      There are many different project management methodologies out there. You will want to discuss the ones that you personally use and explain why you choose to follow them. Try to give an example or two of the times you've used various methodologies. Show that you are knowledgeable in this area and that you understand that some methodologies work better in certain situations than others.

      Marcie's Answer

      "I am familiar with and have used many different methodologies in the past, including waterfall, critical path, critical chain, scrum, adaptive, and event chain. I could likely list even more! There are obviously many to choose from, but in general, I always consider the PMBOK in every project I run and rely on its best practices. Waterfall is also a methodology I commonly follow because of how straightforward and linear it is, especially when I'm in charge of a project that is highly structured. When I'm working with a smaller team in the software development realm, I'm more apt to employ the Scrum methodology. I am comfortable using many different methodologies; I decide which one to use based on the type, size, and cost of the project."

  4. 4.

    Do you prefer to handle things yourself or to delegate to others?

      This is the interviewer's way of finding out if you are a micromanager or not. Most likely, the interviewer is looking for someone who is comfortable delegating tasks to others because trying to do everything by oneself is a recipe for disaster, particularly during a large project. You want to show that you are a leader who puts together strong teams and then allows others to do their jobs so you can do yours.

      Marcie's Answer

      "I have learned throughout the years that I simply can't do everything myself! But I can establish high standards that I expect my teams to meet and exceed. So I start by assembling good teams that are filled with people who are smart and enthusiastic. Then I lay out my expectations for each of them - using project management software - and clearly communicate these to them. Finally, I trust them to complete their tasks but provide guidance along the way if they need it. I also continually monitor everyone's progress using the software so if anyone does slack or fall behind, I can discuss this with them and develop a short-term action plan to resolve the issue."

  5. 5.

    Tell me how you communicate with others. What kind of communicator are you?

      It is vital that a project manager be able to effectively communicate with many different kinds of people, including stakeholders, vendors, and employees, among others. Prior to the interview, brush up on the various kinds of communication styles out there (for example: passive, aggressive, assertive, passive-aggressive, analytical, intuitive, functional, personal) and identify which relate to you. If possible, provide an example of a time when you used your communication skills to resolve an issue.

      Marcie's Answer

      "In general, I believe that I am a very strong communicator and that this allows me to do my job well. I tailor my communication style as needed. For example, when I talked to the sponsor of the last project I worked on, I communicated the big picture and didn't delve into the nitty-gritty details. When I talked to remote team members, however, I focused on expectations, processes, details, and timelines. I consider my communication style to be a mix of assertive, functional, and personal. Assertive because I clearly state my opinions and advocate for the project's needs while being respectful of others, functional because I am detail-oriented and like to communicate step-by-step processes, and personal because I pick up on emotional language as well. In the past, my unique communication style has worked well and I believe it will allow me to excel within this role."

  6. 6.

    Tell me about any experience you have overseeing remote teams.

      Nowadays it is very common for a project manager to work with teams who are located elsewhere. The interviewer wants to know that you are capable in this area. Provide examples of times when you've successfully led remote workers. If you haven't yet done this, talk about how you would handle it. Be sure to mention how you would communicate with and oversee this kind of employee.

      Marcie's Answer

      "There have been many instances during my career where I've had the opportunity to lead remote teams. I'm fully comfortable doing this. Most importantly, I make sure to use an online project management program that is accessible to everyone, no matter their location. This helps me to make sure every team member is aware of my expectations for them and allows me to track their progress. I've learned to be flexible in terms of when the work happens as people who are located elsewhere might have different schedules and/or be in a different time zone. And communication is vital; I schedule short virtual huddles to keep workers who are outside of the office apprised of deadlines, resource availability, etc. I use Zoom, Skype, and even Facetime to communicate with them, in addition to sharing Google documents."

  7. 7.

    What experience do you have in our industry?

      Project managers work in many different industries. Fortunately, if you don't have direct experience in the interviewer's industry, you can discuss the skills you've gained in other industries that will transfer over and still be applicable. Many methods, tools, and skills that project managers use are standardized and used in multiple industries.

      Marcie's Answer

      "To date, I've primarily worked in the finance and technology fields. I'm looking forward to breaking into the advertising industry, and I believe that many of the skills and methodologies I have used in the past will allow me to succeed in this position. I'm used to getting projects done quickly and within budget. I'm also accustomed to working with highly involved and vocal clients who provide a lot of feedback during the course of the project. I've learned to define and control the project scope so the cost and timeline of the project aren't impacted without clear communication with the client. My strong organizational, leadership, and communication skills will definitely help me to excel in the advertising industry."

  8. 8.

    How do you keep a project on track when you feel overwhelmed?

      Running a complex project can be very stressful and the interviewer recognizes this. Discuss how you proactively manage stress, anxiety, and distractions to ensure they don't negatively impact projects. Show that you can deal with these kinds of feelings while also keeping yourself motivated.

      Marcie's Answer

      "Large projects have many different moving parts, and this can naturally lead to my feeling overwhelmed at times. I hold myself to a very high standard and sometimes it's challenging to meet this personal standard when I can't necessarily control everything. So I focus on what I CAN control. Using project management software is incredibly helpful as it allows me to see if someone hasn't done what they need to do so I can quickly fix the issue before it becomes a larger problem. Knowing that I'll quickly become aware of any hiccups because of the software helps take the pressure off a bit. I also work hard to maintain good working relationships with the people around me because I feel less stress when I know I have a great team working with me to achieve success."

  9. 9.

    What do you do to prevent "scope creep"?

      Scope creep can be a real problem for project managers. It occurs when the project's objectives shift as it progresses, which can lead to the project going over its budget and/or timeline. The interviewer wants to be assured that you know how to recognize and handle scope creep. Talk to them about how you would prevent it from occurring and what you would do if it did happen.

      Marcie's Answer

      "Scope creep can be a real problem that results in unhappy customers/stakeholders and a blown budget and/or timeline. In my experience, it tends to occur when there is a lot of client and/or stakeholder feedback that the project manager doesn't correctly manage. Feedback is good, but many times it comes along with additional requests. I've learned that the best way to handle these kinds of requests is to clearly explain to the customer or stakeholder how fulfilling a specific request will change the cost and timeline of the project. Then I only add this to the project scope if the client/stakeholder accepts these cost and timeline changes. I also make sure that the scope of the project is definitively spelled out at the beginning of the project and that I keep track of the smaller tasks and goals as they are achieved so we don't veer off-course. In the instances when scope creep does occur, I move quickly to establish and communicate new expectations."

  10. 10.

    How experienced are you in using RAID analysis?

      Project managers commonly use RAID analysis at the beginning of projects to assess risks and issues. You will want to show the interviewer that you know what it is and, if possible, walk them through a past project when you used RAID analysis. In addition, mention any software that you use to run this type of analysis.

      Marcie's Answer

      "I always run a RAID analysis prior to starting a project. Doing so allows me to perform a broad environmental scan during the planning stage of the project so that I become aware of any potential issues or risks. I have used various programs to run RAID analyses; more recently I have used GroupMap. I like it from an organizational standpoint too because it encourages me to put everything relevant to the project in one place. Within my current role, I oversaw a marketing blitz for a new product. The RAID analysis I ran at the beginning of the project brought many risks, assumptions, and issues to light but, significantly, it showed me that we couldn't move the project along until our designer created all of our marketing material. I was able to identify him as a potential bottleneck; to resolve this I put strict deadlines and frequent communication efforts in place. Ultimately, the project was completed successfully."

  11. 11.

    What is the most successful project you've managed to date?

      Remember that the interviewer is considering hiring you to oversee complex projects for their company. And, as they say, the proof is in the pudding. The interviewer wants assurance that you're capable of managing projects so give an example or two of past projects you've led that ended successfully. Clearly explain the details of the project, your role and actions, and the final result.

      Marcie's Answer

      "I previously worked for a bank that needed to establish consistent and reliable data to be used for decision-making purposes. As the leader of this project, I determined that we needed to decommission multiple legacy systems, hundreds of spreadsheets, and several other tools and platforms in order to standardize the data. Once the scope of the project had been laid out and I had run a RAID analysis, I put all the details of the project into an online project management program, assembled teams, set expectations, and established timelines. I communicated clearly to the various parties that participated in the project, from upper management to the IT team and other employees. Ultimately, the project was completed within budget and on time, and it allowed the bank to standardize its data, improve its transparency, and reduce costs."

  12. 12.

    What are some risks and issues you've dealt with in the past during projects?

      Project risks commonly involve resources, time, scope, communication, and cost. They tend to refer to a condition or event that may impact the project in the future, whereas an issue is an existing problem that is currently affecting the project. The interviewer wants to know that you're familiar with risks and issues because as a project manager you need to be able to prevent, mitigate, and manage any risks or issues that arise during a project.

      Marcie's Answer

      "I've learned throughout my career that in many cases the project manager can take actions to help avoid project risks. For example, making sure the project's purpose, need, and scope is well-defined prevents significant problems down the road. In terms of risks that I've encountered during past projects, they would include contractor delays and not having control over my team's priorities. I've learned techniques to combat these risks like including late penalties in contractor contracts and briefing team managers on the importance of the project. In terms of issues, I recently had to quickly adapt when a key member of my team was unexpectedly hospitalized. Luckily, I had identified back-up employees and was able to tap some of them to fill in while this person was incapacitated so the project timeline wasn't impacted."

  13. 13.

    Are you experienced with process development?

      An interviewer who works for a startup might ask this question since when a company is small and growing it may have a need for more structure and processes. You will want to let the interviewer know if you have experience in this area or not. If you do, provide an example or two; if you don't, talk about how excited you are to have the opportunity to put new processes in place.

      Marcie's Answer

      "During my career, I've had the privilege of working for several startups. As a result, I'm well-versed in creating new processes, as well as modifying existing ones. In my last role, I oversaw a project that involved implementing a new sales process for the company. Until that point, the company had allowed its sales employees to decide individually how they wanted to sell various products and services, but the time had come to standardize this to ensure consistency. At the end of the project, there were clear processes in place around cold calling and emailing prospects, when and how to follow-up, how to schedule demos and on-sites, and more, which resulted in higher sales across the entire team. I am very process-driven and always thinking about how to put more structure in place around sales, marketing, customer service, and HR tasks to increase productivity and effectiveness."

  14. 14.

    Do you prefer to work on one project or multiple projects at the same time?

      Consider what the company will likely need from you. If you think this company/industry will require you to juggle multiple projects at once, go in that direction with your answer. Be truthful but thoughtful.

      Marcie's Answer

      "I've had experience both juggling multiple projects and focusing on only one at a time. I think in many ways it's ideal to only have to worry about a single project at once because then you can direct all of your time, energy, and ideas to it. But there's something to be said about the excitement that comes from handling multiple projects at once. It keeps me on my toes! And, honestly, with the available project management software on the market these days it's easier than ever to keep track of several projects at one time. I have experience doing both and see value in either method. At times it's inevitable that projects might overlap as well; that's just part of the job and something I have no trouble handling."

  15. 15.

    What is the last project you worked on?

      The interviewer is considering you as someone who might one day run projects for their company. As a result, they want to hear more about how you manage projects. Share details about the last project you worked on and, if possible, try to relate what you worked on with their company/industry. Show that the skills you have are transferrable to their open position.

      Marcie's Answer

      "In my current role, I work for a large company that recently decided to close down one of its manufacturing plants. I was put in charge of managing this closure. When I ran an initial RAID analysis, I realized that there were multiple parts to this complex project. Namely, attempting to sell the plant and its related buildings, managing the organizational change from a human relations perspective, finding alternative sources for the materials the plant used to supply, and closing down any parts of the plant's complex that weren't sold. I used Trello software to keep all of my teams on one page, to communicate their responsibilities, and to notify them of changes during the project. Ultimately, I kept the project under budget and within its timeline. We sold part of the complex and closed the rest while maintaining a consistent supply of materials from other sources. We also coordinated with the employee union, replaced certain employees, and eliminated redundant positions. I believe that all the skills I used during this project, which was large and complex, can be successfully applied to many other project types."

  16. 16.

    How do you handle conflict between team members?

      View All 30 Project Manager Answers
      Sign up to access our library of 50,000+ Answers,
      plus coaches for one-on-one support, so you can interview more confidently.
  17. 17.

    How do you manage customers and stakeholders?

      View All 30 Project Manager Answers
      Sign up to access our library of 50,000+ Answers,
      plus coaches for one-on-one support, so you can interview more confidently.
  18. 18.

    What kinds of project management software do you use and why?

      View All 30 Project Manager Answers
      Sign up to access our library of 50,000+ Answers,
      plus coaches for one-on-one support, so you can interview more confidently.
  19. 19.

    What is the biggest mistake you ever made during a project?

      View All 30 Project Manager Answers
      Sign up to access our library of 50,000+ Answers,
      plus coaches for one-on-one support, so you can interview more confidently.
  20. 20.

    How do you handle the escalation of an issue and when might you do this?

      View All 30 Project Manager Answers
      Sign up to access our library of 50,000+ Answers,
      plus coaches for one-on-one support, so you can interview more confidently.
  21. 21.

    What kinds of risks do you encounter during projects and how do you handle them?

      View All 30 Project Manager Answers
      Sign up to access our library of 50,000+ Answers,
      plus coaches for one-on-one support, so you can interview more confidently.
  22. 22.

    What would you do if a client was unhappy with the project's end result?

      View All 30 Project Manager Answers
      Sign up to access our library of 50,000+ Answers,
      plus coaches for one-on-one support, so you can interview more confidently.
  23. 23.

    What do you hope to achieve in the next five years?

      View All 30 Project Manager Answers
      Sign up to access our library of 50,000+ Answers,
      plus coaches for one-on-one support, so you can interview more confidently.
  24. 24.

    How do you facilitate the success of your teams?

      View All 30 Project Manager Answers
      Sign up to access our library of 50,000+ Answers,
      plus coaches for one-on-one support, so you can interview more confidently.
  25. 25.

    What do you do to ensure a project doesn't go off track? If it does, how do you fix it?

      View All 30 Project Manager Answers
      Sign up to access our library of 50,000+ Answers,
      plus coaches for one-on-one support, so you can interview more confidently.
  26. 26.

    What kind of experience do you have managing budgets?

      View All 30 Project Manager Answers
      Sign up to access our library of 50,000+ Answers,
      plus coaches for one-on-one support, so you can interview more confidently.
  27. 27.

    How do you handle it when one of your team members makes a mistake?

      View All 30 Project Manager Answers
      Sign up to access our library of 50,000+ Answers,
      plus coaches for one-on-one support, so you can interview more confidently.
  28. 28.

    How do you go about defining the scope of a project?

      View All 30 Project Manager Answers
      Sign up to access our library of 50,000+ Answers,
      plus coaches for one-on-one support, so you can interview more confidently.
  29. 29.

    Tell me about the types of projects you've handled in the past.

      View All 30 Project Manager Answers
      Sign up to access our library of 50,000+ Answers,
      plus coaches for one-on-one support, so you can interview more confidently.
  30. 30.

    What is the most important skill that a project manager needs to be successful?

      View All 30 Project Manager Answers
      Sign up to access our library of 50,000+ Answers,
      plus coaches for one-on-one support, so you can interview more confidently.