Program Manager Interview questions and answers


Agile PM, Development Manager, Scrum Master, Data Warehouse DWBI, Informatica ETL Projects, Healthcare and Credit Union

As an active Project Manager and PMP who is often asked to interview candidates, my focus is to find out if they will be able to complete those “on time and under budget” projects while keeping the team calm, cool, and productive.

As the one seeking a job, you want to be prepared to do your best on the interview.

As the hiring manager, you want to find the best candidate but you have to do it in about an hour or less.

One top employment site recommends asking how project managers do the schedule, allocate resources, and provide status reports. But it may not be the best use of your interview time to spend it on tools or methodology questions.

What are you looking for?

I look for the ability to lead, to earn the trust and respect of the team and the client. I'm seeking someone who is positive and excels at creating great teamwork in this world where team members work remotely, sometimes in different countries, and for different contracting firms.

The Recruiter's Preliminary Screen

These questions should be asked by the recruiter but can be explored further in the interview. If I ask them, it's normally after Question #1.

Where do you see yourself? Engagement Manager? Practice Lead? Portfolio Manager? Project Manager of an IT team?What is your current project and how long are you committed to it?What are you looking for in this next assignment?Is there an industry where you feel the most comfortable?

My best tips for the interviewer

Don’t merely ask the question to check it off, say, “um hmm”, and move on. Rather, engage and listen. Make it conversational. Ask new questions to explore what you might have heard in the answer. Notice that we start out "easy" and end on a positive note. It's a gentle slide into the tougher questions so that you can build rapport and surface greater insights.

Top 21 Project Manager Interview Questions

  1. Tell me a little bit about your career path, how did you move into Project Management?
  2. Who were your mentors as you entered Project Management? What did you learn from them?
  3. What do you feel is the value of a good Project Manager (PM)?
  4. What would you say is the most important skill of a PM and why?
  5. How do you keep up your skills in Project Management?
  6. What are your favorite aspects of being a PM?
  7. Describe one of your most challenging projects? Why was it challenging and how did you pull the project through it?
  8. What is your exposure to [Agile, SDLC, or whatever other methodology used on your projects]
  9. What is your exposure to [the industry for which I’m interviewing]?
  10. Tell me about the kinds of performance metrics you use to see if the project is on track?
  11. Tell me about a time when you moved a project into yellow or red status? How did you report on it? How did you get it back to green?
  12. Tell me about a time when you encountered a serious conflict and how you dealt with it.
  13. What projects have you managed and what different styles have you used? [Waterfall, Agile, strong leadership, self-organizing teams - looking for how flexible and adaptable candidate might be]
  14. Tell me about how you approach Risk management on a new project
  15. How do you handle a situation where the client does not want to surface and address Risk?
  16. How do you hold a team accountable for quality, not quantity?
  17. How do you deal with client employees with low motivation or low skills?
  18. Tell me about a failure and what you learned from it.
  19. Tell me about a do-over in your career?
  20. What would your peers and past supervisor tell me about you?
  21. Tell me about a personal legacy that you created on one of your projects.

I would love to hear your personal favorite interview questions in the comments section below.

Datasource Consulting is always looking for experienced DW/BI project managers. Our mission is to be the leader in Enterprise Data Management and Business Intelligence consulting. If our mission resonates with you, and you want to work with other professionals that are passionate about data, apply today to join our talented team.

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