Senior Project Manager interview questions and answers

(Editor’s Note: We recently published an updated version of this article, where we asked recruiters for their favorite PM interview questions. Check it out.)

Interviewing project management for open positions is something I have had to do but I don’t find it easy. How do you know what to ask? And how do you use what is normally a really short period of time to let the candidate show themselves in the best possible light?

Added to that is the fact that it’s easy for candidates to come up with answers to many of the standard questions because there are so many books about recruiting and interviewing. They have plenty of time to rehearse their answers, so the whole thing can feel like a box ticking exercise.

I’ve put together my 10 killer interview questions for hiring a project manager. Next time you have to recruit someone for your project team, why not try some of these?

Role-specific interview questions
  • What is Agile methodology? …
  • What is the most important stage in the project management cycle? …
  • What do you need to create a project timeline?
  • What project management software have you used? …
  • How do you monitor everyone’s work?
  • What performance appraisal methods do you use for your team?

If you find that it takes your team longer than expected to complete a project, what’s your approach for ensuring it gets completed by the deadline?

This question assesses your ability to ensure that projects continue to progress even when experiencing a delay. It allows an interviewer to assess your ability to overcome a challenge that might occur frequently in the position. You can answer this question by using an example of a time when you were responsible for completing a project and experienced a delay. Discuss your approach to meeting the deadline and what you were able to learn from the experience.

Example: “In my role as a project manager for an advertising firm, I led a project that ended up getting delayed due to a supply chain shortage that made it difficult to get the materials necessary to shoot a commercial. I requested to meet with all stakeholders involved in the project to discuss the best method for completing it within the correct time frame. We worked together to brainstorm ideas to satisfy client requirements and complete the project. During this process, I learned the importance of regular communication with relevant stakeholders.”

Questions about background and experience

Questions about your background and experience can help your interviewer determine your qualifications for the senior project manager position. Since a senior project manager likely needs prior experience overseeing and implementing projects and managing project teams, your interviewer may ask you about the responsibilities you had in previous positions. You can use these questions as an opportunity to demonstrate how your responsibilities and accomplishments in previous positions prepared you for a high-level management position. Here are some common questions that assess your background and experience:

What do you do to monitor risks while managing a project?

Interviewers often ask this question to determine your ability to manage risks that relate to project management. By demonstrating your ability to monitor risks, you can showcase your passion for project management and your professional competence. In your answer, you can mention a past project you were responsible for managing and what you did to monitor and identify risks.

Example: “In my previous position as a senior project manager, I first assessed potential risks by performing a full risk analysis, where I examined how project outcomes might change as a result of different events. After identifying risks, I then led my team in prioritizing them to understand the resources necessary to solve the problems they posed. Over the course of the project, we made sure to monitor these risks continuously by engaging in risk reassessment. While every project has different risks, I found this method to be an effective way of monitoring risks closely.”

Interview Questions for Senior Project Managers:

Shows the candidates planning and management style.

How do you handle conflicts between project teams?

Tests conflict resolution skills.

Describe your most challenging and most rewarding experiences as a senior project manager.

Reveals more about history.

Use these sample Senior Project Manager interview questions to identify potential hires for your open roles. Feel free to modify these questions to meet your specific needs.

Beyond technical skills, your ideal candidates will be able to handle challenges, like unexpected changes in resources or product requirements. Look for potential hires who can take accountability and go off-script to find the best solutions. They should also be able to maintain a healthy and productive work environment for the entire team.

During your interview process, test candidates for their knowledge of systems and programs that you use. Qualified candidates will provide detailed explanations on how they approach each situation and how they cooperate with internal teams to reach project goals. It’s best to identify candidates with experience in various industries and products. They will be equipped to select the best methodology for all kinds of projects.

Project Manager Interview Questions (With Answers)

This question, being one of the most important project management interview questions, intends to know the type of projects you would like to take up. By answering this question honestly, you open up an opportunity to manage projects that excite you or those in which you can excel. Your answer should include multiple points such as whether you like to work as part of a team or alone, the kind of deadlines you prefer, whether you are interested in innovative and creative projects or not, and more.Â

FAQ

What questions should I ask at a senior management interview?

7 Questions Senior-Level Candidates Should Ask in a Job Interview
  • What brought you to this company/role? …
  • What does a typical day look like? …
  • What are some of the biggest challenges within the department currently? …
  • What sort of person would be successful in this role? …
  • How would I be evaluated in this role?

What makes a good senior project manager?

A quality Senior Project Manager will have strong communication and management skills. They must have the ability to follow direction from management, manage budgets and deadlines and have a history of successfully promoting teamwork.

How do you prepare for a project manager interview?

Follow up with the interviewer.
  1. Emphasize your knowledge and experience. …
  2. Demonstrate good communication skills. …
  3. Prepare talking points about the different tools used in project management. …
  4. Outline your organization techniques. …
  5. Highlight your focus on customer satisfaction.

What are the skills of senior project manager?

Senior Project Manager Requirements:
  • A degree in project management, business management or a related field.
  • 5 Years of experience with project management.
  • Excellent interpersonal and communication skills.
  • Ability to multitask.
  • Proficiency with Microsoft Office.
  • Excellent planning and time management skills.

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