Interviews can be stressful, given the stiff competition there is for every open position. If you’re looking to land the plum position as a Project Manager that you’ve always had your eye on, you need to be head and shoulders above the competition. Making the grade is not easy, with companies putting potential employees under a very rigorous scanner indeed!
Here’s a heads up on some interview questions that have been asked to potential project managers (courtesy glassdoor.co.in, Quora, stories heard). Remember, there are no right or wrong answers…your interviewers are just looking to evaluate your thought process, articulated with honesty and clarity.
Why do you want to join TCS ?
This is a no-brainer, and a question that you are likely to face wherever you go. Make sure you do your homework well, and be prepared with an answer that resonates with your beliefs and your own career goals. Be specific…answers like, “This is one of the best companies to work for,” or, worse- “My brother/uncle also works here and we can share a ride!” are not going to reach you anywhere.
Of all your career choices, rate Project Management on a scale of 1 to 10.
Well, come on. If you are applying for a job as a Project Manager, you’d better rate it high on your scale! Explain your rating as well.
If you are asked to report to someone who is younger than you, how would you react?
As a mature project manager, you should be able to respect all your colleagues- regardless of their age! The project comes first, your ego takes a back seat. Full marks to this answer!
Why Microsoft? Why not Google, Facebook, Apple or Amazon?
Be prepared with answers to this one. Try answers that come from your heart….and reflect your commitment to the company you are interviewing for. Find things about the company that excite you, and convey your passion to them.
If you were a Google project manager, would you partner with or purchase (name of) company?
Here you are expected to think out loud, and show them your background knowledge of the company in question. Talk through the logic of both options – partnership or purchase- and tell them which one would probably work better, and why you think so.
Do you remember the vision statement at your previous organisation?
Be careful with this one! It looks deceptively simple, but can get rather complicated. You can explain your own interpretation- be honest- and how you and your team worked towards achieving this shared company vision. Emphasize the teamwork involved and the role you played.
Is your team more important, or your clients?
There’s the old adage: The customer is always right. But it may not work all the time…this depends on the situation, and there can be many interpretations. Again, remember that there are no right or wrong answers and you need to back up your response in a convincing manner, whatever it may be.
Why do you want to change your job?
Never say anything negative about your previous job; that would reflect badly on you as an employee, and no one wants to hire a snitch! Here, talking about moving forward toward your career goals is a safe enough answer.
Have you had to face any decision making that involved ethics on a project?
You should be aware of the PMI Code of Ethics in order to answer this right. Talk about your own experiences, if you have had any, or tell them about something your colleagues may have experienced. Don’t, however, try to pass it off as something that has happened to you.
And then, of course, you will get the usual questions that are directly related to your knowledge of the best Project Manager skills. These are possibly the easiest to tackle, as you can cram for them!
Here are a few:
How do you do contingency planning?
Briefly describe the project lifecycle.
How would you initiate a project?
Give an example of something you have done to mitigate risk on a project you handled.
Again, there are the questions that are asked just to see what your answer will be. Interviewers need their bit of fun, too! So we have:
You’re a new addition to a box of crayons. Which colour would you be, and why? (Fun!)
How many white Honda cars do you estimate are in your city right this moment? (We have it on authority that this is a very, very popular interview question.)
Why is a tennis ball fuzzy? (Huh??)
Yes, seriously. Those were actual questions asked at proper interviews. It’s best to be prepared for just about anything during an interview.
To wrap up, we leave you with some tips:
Always think out loud, and respond with clarity. You may be looking for the answer in your mind, but the interviewer may just think that you are completely at a loss for words.
It’s fine to ask a question back. Just make sure the question is relevant and not used to waste time.
Stay calm and confident. They will always try to throw you off track and get you flustered. Don’t get flustered!
Never try too hard to please. Interviewers are skilled at spotting someone who is fake, and at the end of a long tiring day it can just get irritating for them.
Good luck! Go ace that interview!