Open and close mobile menu


Insights Top 5 project manager interview questions to prepare for​

Project managers are at the heart of a project. Whether they’re overseeing the construction of a bridge, keeping track of a new wind farm, or directing their organization’s computer-related activities, these professionals are crucial to the success of the team.

According to the Project Management Institute (PMI), the demand for project managers is growing faster than the demand for other professionals. In the Job Growth and Talent Gap report, the PMI states that by 2027, this will amount to 88 million project management-oriented individuals, and an additional 9.7 million job openings are expected in the manufacturing and construction industry in the USA alone.

With more opportunities springing up across a range of industries, ambitious project managers will have no trouble finding a role that’s suited to them. However, to secure your next job, you need to think about how you’ll make a lasting impression in an interview. Here are five top project manager interview questions that you should prepare for.

row of hands placed on a table with notepads and pens

1. Can you explain a project where something went wrong and what you did about it?

This question is one of the more obvious ones, but it’s often approached wrongly. Setbacks are a part of project management. The focus of this question isn’t on what went wrong but on how you rectified the issue. To give a comprehensive answer, use the STAR approach.

Even if you worked on a project where your team missed a deadline or exceeded a budget, don’t be afraid to mention this. The interviewer will appreciate that you’ve taken the time to reflect on how you’d avoid a similar scenario on future projects.

2. How do you prioritize tasks when project managing?

With this question, it doesn’t matter if you’ve got limited experience running multiple projects at the same time. The interviewer isn’t interested in hearing about the variety of projects, they simply want to learn how you juggled all the elements of a project manager role.

Changing deadlines, stakeholder demands, and financial constraints are just some of the challenges that can throw a project manager’s well-planned project off course. Again, you can use the STAR approach to explain how you met the deadlines on a previous project and incorporate some project management principles where you can. If your project management career is just taking off and you can’t think of an impressive example, plan an answer that talks through a hypothetical situation.

3. How would you encourage collaboration within your team?

If you’ve got limited experience in the field of project management, this is the question where you can display your aptitude. Organization skills are often considered the most important within this role, but really, people skills are just as important. To steer the project to success, you need the full cooperation of your team, and any good leader will achieve this by leading from the front and setting a precedent for collaboration.

The hiring manager will also be listening for evidence of you promoting collaboration with other teams, so make sure to include this in your answer.

4. What experience do you have running projects in our industry?

You cannot over-prepare for this interview question because the hiring manager will be listening carefully to your answer. One of the best parts of a project management career is that you can take your experience from one industry to the next. However, employers want to know that you have some understanding of their industry, and more importantly, a passion to work in their field.

If you’re thinking about making the leap to a new industry, list your relevant experience before the interview and brush up on your knowledge of the latest trends. For example, if you’re deciding whether to bring your project management career to an engineering firm, it would be impressive to share with the interviewer that you’re aware that spending within the construction industry has surpassed pre-pandemic levels, peaking at $1.57 trillion in July 2021.

5. What project management tools are you comfortable using?

Lastly, prepare to explain to the interviewer which tools you are proficient in, as well as the tools you’re less familiar with. The more you list here the better as it demonstrates that you’re able to learn different tools and would be capable of learning how to use the tools the employer currently uses. Don’t just list them off though. Talk through which tools you like best and what are the drawbacks of them.

Explore our latest project management jobs in the USA

If you’re passionate about project management but want a new role that will challenge you and develop your skill set, we could have a role that’s just right for you. Browse our current project management jobs in the USA or explore our other job opportunities in America.

Alternatively, if you’re not ready to search for jobs, why not check out our project management content? You’ll find more career advice, insights into how our people are working to change the planet for the better, and more.