Using Interviews to Find the Best Project Manager Candidate
Interviewing project managers is never easy. How do you know what to ask them? What questions will effectively help you determine who is the best candidate?
Added to this stress is the fact that candidates can spend time rehearsing answers to standard interview questions. Overall, project manager interviews can start to feel like a box-ticking exercise that doesn’t bring you the results you are looking for. They don’t identify the quality candidates.
To help you get more out of your interviews and land the best candidates, we have put together this list of effective interview questions to ask.
Example Interview Questions to Ask a Project Manager
When recruiting a new project manager, the following questions will help you identify the skills, experience, and other qualities you need the candidate to possess to outperform in the role you are hiring for.
“What parts of being a project manager don’t you like?”
Why this is a good question: You will never find a project manager who loves every aspect of their role. It is fine for project managers to have a preference for the type of projects they take on. However, projects will be assigned to them and you need someone who will be able to complete work effectively – and therefore help your business meet its needs even if it is not their most desired project.
Example of a bad answer: “I like to have control over the projects I work on. Picking the projects, I work on is important as I specifically enjoy digital media projects.”
“What is the most important skill for a project manager to have?”
Why this is a good question: This will show you where a candidate’s priorities lie. From the answer, you can determine if they will be a good fit for the types of projects you work on, your company culture, and your organizational style. For example, if your organization focuses strongly on the process and a candidate’s answer is to be flexible and adapt as the project moves along, they may not be the right for you.
Example of a bad answer: “Project management roles are mainly administrative in nature, so this is the most important skill.”
“What tasks take up most of your time in the day?”
Why this is a good question: The answer to this question will show you a candidate’s process. From here you can determine if they are a good fit for your business. For example, you may work mainly in the office environment and be looking for someone who is used to being in front of their computer all day. On the other hand, you may need someone that does more on-site visits and can have meetings with clients most of the week.
Example of a bad answer: “I spend most of the day checking social media or on my phone for messages relating to my work.”
“Give an example of a time when you didn’t delegate tasks and what happened because of this.”
Why this is a good question: By asking this question you can establish if a candidate is accountable for their mistakes. Being able to tell you about a time that things went wrong (and how they corrected) shows you that they are honest, able to self-reflect, and learn from mistakes. Delegating tasks is key to successfully managing a project. A candidate’s answer should show you that they are aware of this and how they learned to delegate.
Example of a bad answer: “I don’t delegate tasks – I can complete everything myself.”
To Sum Up
Finding a great project manager is tough. Candidates can appear great at first glance, but this might be because of the preparation they have done for their interviews. When they start in the role, you quickly realize they are not the right fit for your company.
Using the above questions as examples, your next interview will be more effective. Questions such as these provide the foundation for a conversation in which you can explore the depths of skills, experience, and personality of the candidate in front of you. And this means you’ll make a better hiring decision.