Project managers are a vital asset to any business as they oversee the implementation and completion of defined projects or programs of work. While job specifications may differ depending on the industry, primary duties often involve planning interdependent tasks and coordinating teams.
Hiring departments are therefore very observant and thorough when looking for suitable candidates for such positions. If you are currently looking for a job in this field, it is crucial to understand what to expect in an interview for a project management role.
Here, we discuss eight tips that will help you impress the hiring team and land that next big project.
1. Demonstrate Good Communication Skills
One aspect interviewers use to assess job candidates is the ability to communicate effectively. Demonstrate this soft skill in your interview by providing precise and confident answers.
Also, avoid interrupting the interviewers while they speak and refrain from movements that may display poor non-verbal communication.
2. Focus on the Skills Needed
While you may have a broad range of soft skills and expertise, it is crucial to focus on those needed for the role. Before an interview, read the job description several times to identify the expertise the company seeks.
With this information, explain your effectiveness in managing teams and simplifying project implementation. Don’t forget to establish credibility by mentioning your technical capabilities and Certifications.
3. Discuss Your Problem-Solving Skills
As a project manager, you will face situations requiring you to make tough decisions. You will also encounter time and resource constraints during implementation. In your interview, demonstrate the ability to analyze and solve problems by providing real-life examples of problems you solved.
These may include ones from your past job or a current issue affecting a specific firm. Having a high ability to solve problems will increase competence and complement your technical skills.
4. Explain Lessons Learned from Failures
Managing projects is not always a successful job because sometimes you may make decisions that negatively affect implementation. During your interview, do not be afraid to talk about past projects that weren’t successful.
Use them to discuss the lessons you learned from these events and how you might make decisions differently now.
5. Prepare Questions to Ask
Asking questions during an interview indicates an interest in learning more about the company. This practice also shows that you value clarity, which is a vital skill for a project manager.
When preparing for an interview, come prepared with a mental list of questions to ask. Use them to demonstrate your understanding of the nature of the job and preferred project delivery methods.
6. Don’t Bad-Mouth Previous Co-workers or Bosses
While your previous boss or partner may have been frustrating to work with, it is crucial to avoid bad-mouthing during interviews. Always determine a positive way to describe the need to change jobs.
For example, you might explain that you want new career opportunities to challenge your developing expertise. At the same time, assure the hiring manager that you are not a ‘risky’ candidate that will leave quickly when another chance arises.
7. Prepare for Commonly Asked Questions
Preparing for questions asked in project management interviews not only boosts your confidence, it gives future employers confidence in you. Some of the queries you may encounter are:
- Tell me more about yourself and the projects you have worked on?
- What is your personal communication style and how does that impact on your interactions with others?
- What project software have you used and what did you like about it?
- Why should we hire you?
When answering these, ensure that the responses relate to the company’s goals and culture and don’t just end up sounding boastful.
8. Follow Up
After any interview, it is advisable to thank the manager for their time and send a short email to express your continued enthusiasm for the role.
Then, wait for about one week to inquire when you’re likely to get feedback. However, avoid nagging the manager by only contacting them once unless they request following up later.
Certify with the Institute of Project Management
The process of obtaining a project management Certification will help to formalize the knowledge, skills and experience that you have already earned.
Holding an internationally recognised project management certification may help get your foot in the door for a key interview or be an influential factor when pitching for a new client.
Project management Certification can also help you to grow your professional network.
To discuss how a project management Certification can future-proof your career, contact the team at Institute of Project Management today.
About the Author
Camillia N. Shanks is a marketing professional who specializes in taking difficult to understand subject matter and turning it into easily digestible content.
For the last five years of her career, she has lent her services to companies in the IT, software, food retail and lifestyle spaces.
In her spare time she enjoys cooking complex meals in her tiny kitchen, working out and binge watching The Office.