Hi there everybody, my name is Richard McMunn, and in this training video, I’m gonna teach you how to pass successfully your project manager’s interview.
So I’m gonna give you seven really important project manager interview questions, and also sample responses.
So let’s get straight into it, so seven questions, seven project manager questions.
First and foremost, question number one,

(1) «What are the most important skills of a projectmanager, and why?»
Now there’s obviously loads of different skills required to be a successful project manager, but you need to list them, but also state what the most important ones are for you. I’m gonna tell you what I would say as a project manager, and the reasons why. So here’s some tips first of all, before I’ll give you a sample response.
Obviously, there are many skills required to be a successful project manager, and they are all as important as each other.
However, I recommend you state that both planning and the execution of your plan are the main ones.
Now there’s loads of different elements to that.
Obviously, strategic planning, communicating, motivating your team lead and etc., but planning and execution, without those, you don’t get the project delivered on time and within budget.
Also, be prepared to give an example of where you planned and executed a difficult project.
I’m gonna cover one of those in a second, so make sure you stay tuned.
But be prepared to give a specific example.
Okay, here’s my response for you.
Don’t forget, you’re gonna get these slides anyway, but do feel free to take notes.
So the question is, «What are the most important skills of a project manager and why?»
Here’s my answer for you.
«A competent project manager would need to have numerous skills and attributes to be successful.
However, the most important ones in my opinion are planning and execution.
As a project manager, you are ultimately responsible for delivering the project on time and within budget.
The only way you can successfully achieve these goals is to plan thoroughly and execute the delivery of your plan.
If you fail in these two areas, the client or your employer is let down, and the consequences can be far-reaching.
Now, in addition to planning effectively, and the thorough execution of the plan, you also need to communicate effectively, both in writing and verbally.
You need to have outstanding motivational skills, be enthusiastic about the project yourself, have a flexible approach to working, be a great negotiator, be unwavering in the face of adversity and challenges, and also be confident in your own and your team’s abilities.
I believe I have all of these skills and qualities, and can be relied upon to deliver fantastic results on budget and also on time.»
Now, you’ll notice that that response, even though I focus on the planning and execution and I state why they’re important, because without those, you don’t get the project delivered,
I also give my understanding that there are others, too, so I’ve listed those.
So that’s question one, «What are the most important skills of a project manager and why?» Question number two,

(2)»Describe the most challenging project you have worked on and why?» Okay, so this is your chance to give them a really good project you’ve worked on. Here’s some tips.
Make the project as difficult as possible.
Now, this could include maybe time constraints.
I know all projects have them, but in particular, difficult time constraints.
Maybe changing dynamics, where things are going wrong and you have to deal with them, or even a difficult client.
Another tip, demonstrate you have the ability to work under pressure and deliver the project successfully.
You know as well as I do as a project manager, you’ve gotta focus on the task really hard, and make sure it’s delivered regardless of what happens.
So use this as an opportunity to showcase your skills, your qualities, your attribute and your experience.
And you’re gonna focus on your management style, your leadership, and also your ability to communicate effectively.
So let’s take a look at a sample response to the question, «Describe the most challenging project you have worked on and why?» Here’s my response for you to use.
«One particular project immediately springs to mind.
I was managing a project for a client who had specific requirements that continually changed.
Now, every week, they would change their mind on what they required, but I focused on completing the project successfully, on budget and on time, whilst motivating my team.
Now, the project was particularly challenging because some members of my team did not like the client, and they were threatening to quit because they kept changing their mind.
I motivated my team continually and listened to their concerns as and when they raised any issues.
I found that by communicating with my team regularly, it helped them to stay focused on the project.
I did decide actually to discuss tactfully my concerns with the client.
I felt it was important to communicate with them how their indecision could potentially have a negative impact on the project.
Now, whilst I assured them the project would be delivered, I felt it was my responsibility to inform them of the potential negative impact their indecision could have on the overall result.
Now, they took on board my comments, which was great, and my suggestions, and they thanked me for my honest feedback.
The end result was that the project was delivered on time and to the satisfaction of the client.
Now, at the end of the project, I conducted a meeting with my team members, and we all discussed what we had learned from the project, so that we could improve for next time.
I always find an honest and open approach to managing projects works really well.»
So you can see that I’ve given a specific example, and that’s the key thing, is to use a specific example of a project that you’ve worked on.
Now obviously, mine’s not based on a particular one, but if you can say, «Yes I was working for this organization, this was the project,» and you can give more detail, then that’s great.
Question number three of the project manager’s interview,

(3)»Describe your communication style during the management of a project.»
Here’s some tips.
Having an open communication style with your team and your client or employer really are important.
Have an honest communication style where open discussion is encouraged.
This will help you and your team to continually improve.
Now, of course, there are gonna be times, especially when there’s a strict time constraint
and there’s high pressure on, where communication might be limited, but obviously, you know as well as I do communication is absolutely vital.
I used to work in the fire service for about 17 years, where I would turn up at incidents and had to manage quickly and make decisions, but I always found that being highly communicative with my team worked really well.
So communication, honest communication, is important.
So here’s my answer for you.
«Describe your communication style during the management of a project.»
«My style of communication is always open, honest and encouraging.
I believe that, by having an open and encouraging style of communication, my team will discuss with me any issues and potential problems, which will in turn allow us to deliver the project on time and to specification.
Now of course, there are times when a limited communication style is required, especially when we are operating to an extremely tight deadline.
However, wherever possible, I always encourage open, honest and frank discussions where the team feel they can communicate with me at any time.»
Okay, question number four.
We’re making really good progress now.
Don’t forget, if you’re liking this, I would appreciate it if you gave the video a thumbs up.
Put in the comments section below what you think of the training so far, and at some point soon, I’m gonna tell you where you can download these slides, and you can use them during your preparation. Question four,

(4)»How do you motivate a team during a project?»
I think it’s important to demonstrate that as a project manager, you are fully aware of the importance of motivating your team to get the job finished, and to a high standard.
As a project manager, you are also a leader, don’t forget, you’re a visionary, a strategic visionary, whose responsibility is to motivate, encourage, and support the team, constantly driving them to complete the project successfully.
Let’s take a look at my sample response for you, «How would you motivate a team during a project?»
«I would motivate my team in three ways.
First of all, through a thorough brief at the start of the project.
Secondly, by laying out the required standards of the project from the get go.
And thirdly, by communicating with them and also supporting them periodically throughout the project duration.
Now, I feel a thorough brief at the start of the project, that lays out the plan and key tasks is essential.
Now, if everyone knows their role within the project, then it’s far more likely to be a success, and the team will feel motivated throughout.
Now, also by setting out the required standard and expectations at the start, none of the team members will have any cause to complain or feel demotivated.
Now, clear lines of communication and expectations are essential to motivating a team.
Finally, by speaking with the team throughout the project, and also offering words of encouragement and support, each team member will feel valued, which is a key driver to delivering a successful project.»
Question number five,

(5)»How would you delegate responsibility during a very important project that has tight deadlines?»
So as a project manager, you have to delegate.
Some people find it hard.
I find it quite easy to delegate, but that’s because I know my team really well.
So, here some tips.
Remember, delegation is an essential part of delivering a successful project.
Now, the only way this can be achieved is by knowing your teams’ strengths and weaknesses, of course. Identify your key players within your team, trust them, and allow them to get on with the task in hand.
So here’s my sample response for you, for the project manager interview question, «How would you delegate responsibility during a very important project that has tight deadlines?» «Now, one of the most important things with regards to delegation is to know your team’s key strengths and weaknesses.
That is why it’s important to get to know your team inside out as soon as possible.
Now, if you know your team well, you should not have a problem delegating tasks.
To specifically answer your question though, I would draw up a list of tasks that needed to be delegated during the planning phase of the project, before identifying which team members should carry out each particular task, based on their strengths.
Now, once the tasks were delegated, I would ensure each team member was fully aware of the brief.
I would also make sure they provided me with a situation report and update on a periodic basis.
This would then allow me to benchmark against my plan, to ensure each task was working towards delivering a successful project, on time and within budget.
I would always trust my team to deliver based on the fact I would be fully aware of their strengths and their weaknesses.» Great response. Question number six,

(6) «How would you ensure a project is delivered on time and within budget?»
Couple of tips.
Now obviously, the only way a project can be delivered on time and within budget is thorough and effective planning.
State you would ensure the project was delivered on time and within budget by planning, by support during the execution phase, and also by having a flexible approach to working.
So, here’s the response.
«All projects I take control of are delivered by: proper planning, support during the execution phase, and also by having a flexible approach to working.
Now, the planning phase is always done well in advance of the project start date, and this allows me to strategically plan for any eventuality.
I will always create a vision board during the planning phase, to identify the key issues that could arise during the execution of the project.
Now, this is important because it then allows me to prepare in advance for any eventuality.
Then, if something happens to potentially put the project off track, it is not a surprise, because I have a contingency plan in place to deal with it.
Now, support during the execution is whereby I provide motivational support to the team, and also look strategically for potential problems with the plan.
This allows me to foresee issues and deal with them properly.
Finally, by having a flexible approach to the project, you are not set in your ways and blinkered by your own thinking.
It’s always important to listen to your team members and other stakeholders, as they may foresee a better way of working that allows us to deliver the project more efficiently and cost effectively.»
Question number seven,

(7) «What is your strategy for working with an underperforming team member?»
Now, we all get these as project managers.
Here’s some tips.
This is where your coaching and motivational skills will definitely come into play.
Mention the word empathy if need be, as this can sometimes be an important part of your project management skills.
Now of course, you are being paid to deliver a project, and some people will argue, «Oh,
I don’t need to have empathy,» but you do.
It can be a great tool, if used wisely.
Tell the interview panel that you would follow the three steps to deal with an underperforming team member by identifying, by coaching, and supporting.
And I’ll elaborate what I mean of each of those in a second.
Question number seven, here’s the answer, «What is your strategy for working with an underperforming team member?«
«My strategy would be to use a three step approach that has always worked for me in the past whenever a situation like this arises, and that three step approach is: I identify the issue that is affecting the team member.
This would mean sitting down with the team member, and getting to the root of the problem. Obviously, knowledge is power, and if I understand what is causing them to underperform, I can resolve the situation quickly.
Now once I’d gathered the information during step one, I could then put in place a coaching or development plan to help them improve.
If it is something in their home or personal life that is causing them problems, I can create a plan for them based on their needs.
However, if it is solely a performance-related issue, I would put in a plan in place to help coach and develop them, and provide additional training if required, while showing empathy if needed.
I would then support them for the required period of time, to ensure they got back on
track with their performance.
Now, whatever the issue the team member had that was making them underperform, I would
get to the bottom of it really quickly.
I’d support them, show empathy where appropriate, and put them on track to get back to peak performance as soon as possible.»

Autor José Angel Pérez

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