How do you keep your team motivated on a project?

In this question the hiring manager is trying to find out the value you place on a motivated team and how you keep the morale high on any given project.

A good answer could be:

I’m a believer that a motivated team can facilitate a successful project. On my last project I would debrief with my team at the end of the day. I try not to dwell on the tasks that went wrong and only mention it constructively as an area for improvement. To keep spirits high I would then turn the focus to the activities that went well and thank my team for their contributions. I also recognised and praised any stand-out co-workers whom have gone above and beyond.

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What is your favourite project management methodology?

In this question the interviewer is trying to test your knowledge of the many industry standard methodologies and their advantages & disadvantages, and whether you’re able to apply the right methodology for the given project.

The best way to answer it is to pick two opposing methodologies which you’ve used when delivering a project. Then state a positive attribute of both methodologies whilst placing a greater positive emphasis on the favourite methodology of the two.

For example for a project manager delivering an IT project a good answer could be:

I like the structured approach and the sense of control I get with the waterfall methodology, however in this industry changes to the specification are sudden so an iterative methodology like Agile is my favourite for technology projects.

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What are you looking for in a job?

To answer this successfully you need to understand the company well enough to link the job’s positive qualities to your own personal criteria.

Be careful not to say things which are inaccurate or not part of the job specification otherwise your answer could be used against you as ammunition.

For example, it’s counter-productive to say you are looking for a role balancing the project budget if the job description doesn’t involve any financial responsibility. Equally, don’t say you want to progress to a Programme Manager or Director because those opportunities are not common, unless the job description says-so.

A good answer could be:

I want to be part of a vibrant team whom I have a good synergy with. This makes it easier to share expertise and resources to achieve a common deliverable.

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Why are you leaving your job?

Don’t say anything negative about your previous or current company, manager or co-workers. A negative response will make the hiring manager think you’ll speak badly about them too.  Equally, don’t mention anything related to being under-paid, over-worked, under-appreciated, or give the impression that you’re job-hopping.

The best approach is to say something concise and positive. For a Project Manager Job a good response could be:

I really enjoyed working at my current company, for the last four-years I have delivered multiple projects from procurement to deployment, and I have developed many strong business relationships.  I am looking for more management responsibility, but the opportunity for growth in this area is limited. I feel leaving my job is the next step to achieving my goal.

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Have you ever worked as a Project Manager at a Digital Agency?

If you’re applying for a Digital Project Manager and you have limited experience an ideal answer could be as follows:

Project Management is my core competency and as a hobby I occasionally set myself personal projects. I hand code demo websites to sharpen my skills in HTML, CSS and Java Script.

I’ve always kept up-to-date with the changes in the web development industry too. When the industry started to move away from hand-coding to Content Management Systems I taught myself Drupal and Word Press.  I’m also capable of setting-up dedicated web servers and configuring SQL databases.

This mean I can better communicate with the Web Development Team at a technical level and give more detailed explanations to the stakeholders.

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What is your biggest weakness?

This is a question which comes up in all job interviews. Do not answer with a cliché response like “I work too hard” or “I’m a perfectionist”.

The best way to answer this is to select a weakness which isn’t a critical skill necessary for the job and then counter act it with a positive step you’ve taken to solve the problem.

An ideal answer for project management role is as follows:

In the past I used to struggle slightly with public speaking. A few years ago I went on an acting course where I built my self confidence. At my last workplace I did several presentations and no longer felt nervous and received lots positive feedback from colleagues and management.

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Why do you want to work here?

This is a question which comes up in all job interviews. Avoid answers like “I need a job” or “I need more money” or any response which benefits you.

The employer is trying to see how well you will integrate into the culture of the workplace.

I recommend you research the company’s website and publications first and find something unique which has compelled you to apply that fits directly with your personal beliefs, values or expertise.

A good answer could be:

I heard about your charity division which trains disadvantage kids into a career in software development. I personally give back to my local community too by volunteering my time to teach kids to code. In a way I felt your company and I share the same fundamental goals and values.

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Where do you see yourself in 5 years time?

This is a question which comes up in all job interviews. Your employer is checking your loyalty and commitment to the firm.

Give an answer which indicates a slow and steady career progression within the company.

An ideal in answer for a technical project manager could be as follows:

I hope to still be a project manager but more senior, and with more experience working on a more diverse range of IT projects. My long-distance plan is to ultimately become an expert in Agile Development and transition into a Scrum master and give mentorship to my scrum team and the other project managers.

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What are your strengths?

This is a question which comes up in all job interviews. The best way to answer this is to pick a strength which is a requirement for the job.

An ideal in answer for a technical project manager or business analyst could be as follows:

I have a natural ability to communicate effectively with all members of staff in a way they understand. For example I’m able to speak to the stakeholder or client in a non-technical lingo. Whereas I’m able to draw on my technical background and communicate at a more detailed level with the software developers; when resolving issues I am able to ask the technical team the right probing questions to help steer the project back on track.

Click here to download the complete “Interview Preparation Guide”.