Project Management

Project Management Central

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Topics: Career Development, Communications Management, Strategy
How much can project managers talk about their projects during an interview?
Many times I don't know how much or should I even share about this information.
For example,
The company asked for examples of solving a tough technical issue or conflict requirement from stakeholders.
The company had many following up questions and wanted to know what are the technical issues, and what skills were applied to solve those issues. The company also wanted to know what are those conflict requirements.

Your answers? How would you respond?
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It depends on the interviewers.

Watch them, if their body language and mimic suggest they are interested. Ask them a question while you explain to understand what is important to them, so you can reflect on that. Make pauses. Smile.

Make sure you do not share inside information, no names of people or projects, and do not blame others but reflect on what you could have done differently to avoid the issue.

Interviewers want to know about your technical understanding but also (and maybe even more) about your personal attributes, are you honest, respectful, fair, acting responsibly, humble, caring for others.
Tsung -

Ask yourself the question as if you were a leader in the previous company - is this something I'd want shared by a past employee? If it makes you uncomfortable, it probably shouldn't be shared.

But there is no harm in framing the problem you or the team faced, how you approached it, what the outcome was and what you learned without getting into the specifics of any information which would be considered confidential.

You cannot reveal proprietary information, which is essentially information which has business value to your prior employer and which is not publicly disclosed. This is also known as intellectual property (IP).

As Kiron said, you can still describe what you did without going into the details. You might describe the approach you took to solve a particular problem and in general terms how your solution was innovative, but not the specific solution itself.

If you are not already familiar with those terms, it would be well worth your time to look them up in more detail, and the types of information that are included. I take mandatory training on this annually and have at times had to confer with IP experts so it is not always perfectly clear.
It depends on the privacy stated for the project. If you signed an NDA (Non-disclosure agreement), you can't reveal any core information about the project.
You can talk about different situations you solve without provide names. This method is called START Method. Check it into the internet and it will help you how to be prepare for the interview.
Three questions to keep in mind while being interviewed:
1) how would I feel about seeing my answer on the front page of the local/national newspaper?
2) How would my company feel about seeing my answer on the front page of the local/national newspaper? and
3) How would my stakeholders feel about seeing my answer on the front page of the local/national newspaper?
A fourth may be: How would my staff feel about seeing my answer on the front page of the local/national newspaper?

It also helps if you know and understand the interviewer's intent and your intent for the interview. Make sure you achieve your objectives.
As Thomas points out, the interviewers are trying to learn about you, not your current or previous employers.

Obviously, a big part of your experience, knowledge and skills came through your work leading to the interview. Make sure you talk about your projects from your point of view: lessons learned, issues resolved, risks managed...
It depends. You should be very careful and focus on the subjects that your interviewer is looking for.
You can generalise the stuff, like storytelling with your real-time project (and project situations and technical aspects) as the main theme
I had the same challenges long time ago, I needed to work hard to explain the work I did, the achivements during the project, the risks whitout disclosing anything.

I believe that was Sergio the one that introduced me to the START method, it's a good one and helped a lot.

As other mentioned, only answer what they asked, don't need to go to the details, some people (and I'm one of those) tend to give more explanations in the interviews that they need or they asked.

Example - Do you know what time is it?

The answer is yes... they didn't ask you what time is it... and I usually answer, oh yes, it's 5.45 pm in my time zone, I'm based in MST...

Hope it helps!

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