60+ Great Project Manager Interview Questions

When organizations invest in project management, they on average waste 13 times less money due to their more successful initiatives. However, a gap exists between the demand for project management skills and the availability of trained talent. According to research from the Project Management Institute, 25 million new project professionals are needed by 2030 to keep up with the pace of demand.

To hire quickly and find candidates with the right hard and soft skills, it’s helpful for organizations to ask poignant and strategic project manager interview questions. Asking the right questions can help organizations determine whether a candidate is equipped to handle all aspects of the role, including the technical, relational, and situational components.

Let’s take a look at the different types of interview questions hiring teams should ask when hiring their next project manager.

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Basic Project Manager Interview Questions

Project managers can come from a variety of technical backgrounds, and it’s important to establish a baseline understanding of their professional experience and career goals.

When first getting to know a candidate, start by asking thoughtful baseline questions that gather details on a candidate’s career beyond what’s offered in their resume and portfolio.

  • Can you summarize your experience with project management, including the size and complexity of the projects you’ve handled?
  • Tell me about your most recent project and its outcomes.
  • Why are you interested in a career in project management?
  • What strengths help you succeed as a project manager?
  • What do you see as the most important skills for a project manager?
  • What are your main weaknesses, and how are you addressing them?
  • How do you learn about developments and trends in the project management field?
  • How do you define project scope and objectives at the outset?
  • Describe your approach to risk management in project planning and execution.
  • Share how you ensure that project deliverables meet quality standards.
  • How do you prioritize tasks and allocate resources to keep a project on track and within budget?

Project Manager Interview Questions for Team Management And Communication

Project managers must be able to communicate clearly and concisely with a variety of business stakeholders. When conducting interviews, be sure to ask poignant questions that deduce how a candidate would engage with stakeholders, set expectations with leadership, and run day-to-day activities with their teams.

Some helpful questions that gauge a candidate’s communication style and team management skills include:

  • How do you communicate expectations with your team during a project?
  • Please share an example of a time when you successfully resolved a conflict within a project team.
  • Share the steps you take to establish trust with a new team.
  • Describe your leadership style.
  • How do you motivate your team during long, tedious projects?
  • How do you maintain consistent communication throughout the lifespan of a project?
  • What strategies do you employ to ensure effective stakeholder communication and relationship management throughout a project’s lifecycle?
  • What strategies do you employ to keep stakeholders informed and engaged in a project without overwhelming them with details?
  • How would you manage a team working remotely?
  • How do you adapt your communication style when working with different stakeholders, such as executives, team members, and clients?
  • Have you managed a project with multiple external vendors or partners? How did you ensure collaboration and coordination among them?
  • Can you walk us through your process for conducting effective project kickoff meetings?
  • What techniques do you use to keep project meetings productive and on-topic?
  • Tell me about a project where you had to manage a team with members from different generations. How did you handle any generational differences and foster collaboration?
  • Share an example of a project you managed with a highly diverse and culturally varied team. How did you leverage diversity for project success?

Project Manager Interview Questions for Soft Skills

Project managers require soft, transferable skills such as change management and conflict resolution to ensure that projects are successfully managed. Unlike automated or technical skills, many soft skills are learned through on-the-job experience running meetings and organizing schedules. By asking about various soft skills, you can learn about how each candidate manages their workflow and interacts with others on a team.

Some questions that help gauge a candidate’s project management soft skills include:

  • How do you stay organized when managing a complex project?
  • Describe a situation where a project faced significant delays or obstacles. What actions did you take to overcome them?
  • What strategies do you use to manage timelines and meet deadlines?
  • How do you handle project documentation and ensure it’s up-to-date and accessible to the team?
  • Discuss a project you managed that required significant change management. What strategies did you use to facilitate the transition?
  • Explain your approach to continuous improvement and lessons learned in the context of project management.
  • How do you ensure that a project aligns with an organization’s strategic goals and objectives?
  • Can you share a project management success story that had a substantial impact on the organization’s bottom line or customer satisfaction?
  • How do you maintain a healthy work-life balance while handling the demands of project management?

Project Manager Interview Questions For Technical Skills

Successful project managers have the knowledge and hard skills to implement specific project management strategies. You can learn about a candidate’s technical skills by asking about their education, subject matter knowledge, and experience using specific techniques.

Some questions that help interviewers assess a candidate’s hard skills include:

  • Can you describe your experience managing and mitigating project risks, such as scope creep or resource shortages?
  • What software or project management tools are you proficient in using?
  • What are the 10 areas of project management?
  • Describe your process for accurate project forecasting.
  • What quality management processes do you use to monitor your projects?
  • Explain your process for creating and maintaining a project timeline or Gantt chart.
  • How would you use a Gantt chart to support your projects?
  • How do you monitor and assess the progress of a project? What key performance indicators do you track?
  • Describe your experience with Agile or Scrum methodologies, if applicable.
  • What professional development or certifications have you pursued to enhance your project management skills?
  • In a project where the team lacked domain or technical expertise, how did you navigate the knowledge gap and lead effectively?
  • Have you managed a project where you introduced innovative technology or methodologies to your organization?
  • How did you gain buy-in and manage the learning curve?

Situational Interview Questions

Situational interview questions ask candidates to consider how they would respond to hypothetical situations. One of the key roles of a project manager is to respond to changing circumstances and use their best judgment to solve problems. These can help you understand each candidate’s thought process.

Here are a few examples:

  • What would you do if you suddenly needed to rush a project timeline?
  • How would you handle a reduction in your project budget?
  • Can you share an example of a project that was delivered ahead of schedule? What contributed to its success?
  • What would you do if one of your team members was consistently underperforming?
  • How do you ensure that each team member understands project expectations and requirements?
  • What would you do if you realized a project needed additional resources?
  • What would you do if you felt a project’s scope and budget were unrealistic?
  • If a project is under budget and there are unused funds, how do you reallocate or manage these resources effectively?
  • If your project team begins experiencing burnout, how would you address and fix team morale and productivity?
  • How would you respond if a client wasn’t happy with a final project?
  • You’ve identified a risk that could disrupt the project. How do you assess and mitigate this risk proactively?
  • If you inherit a project that has been poorly managed, and the team is demotivated, how do you regain their trust and improve project performance?
  • How would you handle a situation where a critical vendor or supplier failed to deliver as promised, jeopardizing the project timeline?
  • What do you do when a project stakeholder is resistant to change or opposes the project’s objectives?
  • Share a project you managed that required you to integrate sustainability or environmental considerations into the plan. How did you approach this aspect?

Hire Your Next Project Manager With a Great Interview

When deciding on what interview questions to ask, aim to create a balanced mix of questions that target different areas of project management. By choosing the most relevant questions from this list and adjusting them for your specific team, you can navigate the talent gap and secure a top project management professional.

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Updated November 16, 2023