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What questions can a project manager expect to be asked in an interview?

Published on: 16 Feb 2024

Many firms need project managers to plan, budget and assess projects, with those in security cleared industries being no exception. Once you’ve crafted the perfect project manager CV and it’s earned you an interview, it’s time to start thinking about the next stage of the recruitment process.

Interviews can feel like a daunting prospect, but the more experience you have with them, the more confident you’ll become. It’s a good idea to do some preparation in advance and think about the sorts of questions you might get asked.

That way, you’ll be in the best position to reply with relevant answers. Even when you tick all the boxes a potential employer is looking for, there’s a certain amount of skill required to make sure this comes across during an interview.

Typical project manager interview questions

No two interviews will be the same, but even if questions are phrased differently, the information a panel is trying to elicit is likely to be similar. Here are some of the questions you can expect to be asked in your next interview for a project manager role.

Tell us about yourself

Such an open-ended question makes it feel like an easy way to slip up in an interview, so it’s important to have a strategy to answer it. Show off your organisational skills by explaining your experience in a logical manner, starting with your current responsibilities, then systematically going back through previous positions in order.

What was the last project you worked on?

The interviewer doesn’t want to know just what the project was about, but also how you approached it, the number of people you were managing and what the outcome was. This question is a great opportunity to demonstrate your ability to learn and adapt to new approaches, so mention something you’d do differently next time.

How have you overcome challenges in projects?

This is a more explicit invitation to talk about your weak points and akin to the much-hated ‘what’s your worst trait’ interview question. However it’s phrased, this question is likely to come up, so there’s no getting out of it. Have a really good example ready to go with context, an outline of the situation, the actions that were carried out and how problems were overcome for a satisfactory conclusion.

Tell us about your most successful project

On the flipside, you’re likely to be asked about a project that went well. While there’ll probably be one that immediately comes to mind, think carefully about which example to use in your interview. Choose a project that’s relevant to the job you’re applying for and link the success back to its goals, so you can demonstrate your ability to meet the demands set out at the beginning of the process.

Peruse our latest project manager job listings to see where your career could take you next.