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What are good interview questions to ask candidates for a project management post?
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What are good interview questions to ask candidates for a project management post? How can real hands on project management experience and expertise be squeezed out from candidates?
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Joseph -

It is always difficult to identify good PMs purely based on an interview. This is where I'd strongly recommend doing a thorough reference check with sponsors or key stakeholders on the candidate's past projects.

Some of my favorite questions are:

1. Tell me about a time when you tailored your PM approach to the needs of a given project.

2. What was your greatest project failure, what did you learn from it and how have you subsequently applied that knowledge?

3. Tell me about a time when you had to deliver some bad news to a customer or other key stakeholder and how you went about doing that

Kiron
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1 reply by Joseph Pangan
Oct 08, 2017 12:18 PM
Joseph Pangan
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Awesome Questions Kiron. Thanks.
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When I participate on this I always ask: tell me the history of your last project. What and How you do it. No matter the results, tell my what and how you do your job as project manager. And I asked some questions if applies with focus in my actual company process and environment.
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1 reply by Joseph Pangan
Oct 08, 2017 12:25 PM
Joseph Pangan
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Thanks for sharing your thoughts Sergio.
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Oct 08, 2017 10:52 AM
Replying to Kiron Bondale
...
Joseph -

It is always difficult to identify good PMs purely based on an interview. This is where I'd strongly recommend doing a thorough reference check with sponsors or key stakeholders on the candidate's past projects.

Some of my favorite questions are:

1. Tell me about a time when you tailored your PM approach to the needs of a given project.

2. What was your greatest project failure, what did you learn from it and how have you subsequently applied that knowledge?

3. Tell me about a time when you had to deliver some bad news to a customer or other key stakeholder and how you went about doing that

Kiron
Awesome Questions Kiron. Thanks.
Network:782



Oct 08, 2017 12:12 PM
Replying to Sergio Luis Conte
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When I participate on this I always ask: tell me the history of your last project. What and How you do it. No matter the results, tell my what and how you do your job as project manager. And I asked some questions if applies with focus in my actual company process and environment.
Thanks for sharing your thoughts Sergio.
Network:662



I remember my toughest pm interview (many years ago, and I still remember it!): the interviewer took his time and described several project situations asking me about my thoughts, possible solutions, and recommendations for those situations. I understood only later that those were real situations in the project I was hired to manage... The interviewer wanted to be sure that my approach is aligned with their expectations and, more than that, he also got a kind of commitment from my side.
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1 reply by Joseph Pangan
Oct 09, 2017 12:36 AM
Joseph Pangan
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Awesome experience. Thank you for sharing your experience Simona.
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Asking one about failures is making assumptions, better to ask about difficulties and challenges. It's more open-ended, allowing the candidate to speak to challenges and actions to get through.

Search through the forums; there are a couple existing and extensive threads on this same topic.
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1 reply by Joseph Pangan
Oct 09, 2017 12:27 AM
Joseph Pangan
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I agree in avoiding assumptions. Candidates could feel trapped answering questions like these. But you can perhaps ask if they have experienced such already to legitimize such questions. Such questions I think could give the interviewer the depth of the experience of candidates. We all had something we can consider as a blunder at one point in our careers. Haha.

Thank you Andrew.
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I've written an article about this with some interview questions you might find helpful: https://www.girlsguidetopm.com/10-killer-i...oject-managers/
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2 replies by Joseph Pangan and Urban Werner
Oct 09, 2017 12:29 AM
Joseph Pangan
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Thanks for the reference Elizabeth.
Oct 10, 2017 9:06 AM
Urban Werner
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This is a good set of questions!
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In no particular order, here is a list of questions that can be culled and edited by the PMO staff and the Human Resource representative to meet specific industries, organizations, project positions and the length of the interview period.

1. What do you enjoy about project management?

2. What are the contents of the Project Plan/Charter?

3. How do you use a Project Plan/Charter?

4. Describe the process for issuing a contract change order?

5. List some of the Agenda topics for a project meeting?

6. At the Project Kick-Off Meeting, what groups will attend?

7. How would you verify charges to your project?

8. Explain the techniques for managing construction progress?

9. Describe the content of a Schedule.

10. Describe the content of an Estimate.

11. What experience do you have with Project Reports?

12. In monitoring contracts, the contract document is an important tool. What are the major sections of a construction contract?

13. Describe part of the activities in the contract procurement cycle leading up to contract award?

14. What is a procurement schedule?

15. What are the topics covered in the progress meeting with contractor?

16. Who is listed for distribution for the contract’s Monthly Progress Report?

17. Please outline your experience with oversight consultants, and highlight some of the techniques used to establish and maintain a positive and proactive relationship.

18. What is the difference between Notice of Award (NOA) and Notice To Proceed (NTP)?

19. What techniques can be used on project schedules to optimize activities and improve potential for maintaining critical project goals?

20. What is an example of an excusable delay?

21. Describe the criteria for substantiating a contract change?

22. The project estimate shows the expenses and remaining work will exceed the project budget. What actions will be undertaken?

23. After the design is completed, the construction estimate exceeds the budget. What actions will be undertaken?

24. Provide an example of you taking charge to influence a project?

25. Safety is a priority on projects. Provide an example of action(s) you/project team have undertaken to demonstrate this priority.

26. What type of presentations have you conducted. Please describe the topic, the audience and the outcome.

27. Describe your experience in managing a team including direct staff and indirect staff such as contractors, consultants and project support personnel.

28. What is your perception of the primary duties and responsibilities of a project manager?

29. How do you feel that your background, in terms of education and experience, has prepared you for the position of project manager?

30. What type of support should a PM expect from his/her Senior Project Manager?

31. What items need to be defined to adequately establish a project budget?

32. Describe your experience in utilizing Contract Documents in the management of Construction Projects.

33. Please tell us about a significant project you were recently involved with and describe how the quality process was integrated into the project. Was the project successful? Why or why not. Looking back would you do anything differently?

34. In managing a construction project, what risk factors are typically encountered, and what are ways they could be mitigated.

35. What administration activities need to be fulfilled during the course of a project?

36. What type of estimates are important in the management of a project from development…to design…through construction? Please be specific.

37. This position requires strong leadership skills. Describe a situation in which you played a leadership role in your current position.

38. What Leadership skills do you possess that will enhance your ability to perform as a project manager.

39. Describe the most difficult experience you’ve had in dealing with a project team member (F/A design consultant, Contractor etc.) How did you deal with the situation?

40. Please describe the challenges that will confront you while performing the duties of this position.

41. In project management, we are continuously learning and growing professionally… What aspects of your skill-set do you feel you need to develop further. Have you taken any steps to address that need?

42. Diversity is a core value of the organization. Please explain how you will demonstrate this value with the project team.

43. What Safety precautions need to be taken when working on or adjacent to an operating railroad, or on or adjacent to an active roadway.

44. Please describe your experience with negotiating scope adjustments and extra work claims.
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1 reply by Joseph Pangan
Oct 09, 2017 12:30 AM
Joseph Pangan
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Awesome long list. Thanks Henry.
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Oct 08, 2017 2:49 PM
Replying to Andrew Craig
...
Asking one about failures is making assumptions, better to ask about difficulties and challenges. It's more open-ended, allowing the candidate to speak to challenges and actions to get through.

Search through the forums; there are a couple existing and extensive threads on this same topic.
I agree in avoiding assumptions. Candidates could feel trapped answering questions like these. But you can perhaps ask if they have experienced such already to legitimize such questions. Such questions I think could give the interviewer the depth of the experience of candidates. We all had something we can consider as a blunder at one point in our careers. Haha.

Thank you Andrew.
Network:782



Oct 08, 2017 4:01 PM
Replying to Elizabeth Harrin
...
I've written an article about this with some interview questions you might find helpful: https://www.girlsguidetopm.com/10-killer-i...oject-managers/
Thanks for the reference Elizabeth.
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