Project Management Interview Questions, Answers (2024) for Manager, Coordinator, PMO Roles

By: Andrew Reed | Updated: 13 June, 2024
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project management interview questions and answers

Have you got a project management interview coming up in 2024? Want to give expert answers to those tough competency and behavioural questions?

Perhaps you are taking the lead and getting into your first Project Manager role? Or going to be part of a top performing team as coordinator or Program Office Support (PMO)?

Whatever post and whatever sector you are in from Civil Service to Finance, Banking to Management Consulting, this article will help.

We detail the most common interview questions likely come up including competency and bahavioural questions so you can be prepared. We also give you some top tips how to answer plus sample answers you can use as inspiration for you own.

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In This Guide:

  • Key Competencies to Show in Your Project Management Interview
  • Top 10 Project Management Competency / Behavioural Interview Questions
  • Sample Answer to Project Management Competency Interview Question
  • Change Management Interview Questions
  • Sample Answer to Change Management Interview Question
  • Project Governance Interview Questions
  • Sample Answer to Project Governance Interview Question
  • Sample Answer to Managing Risks and Issues Interview Questions
  • Project Manager Interview Questions
  • Project Coordinator Interview Questions
  • Project Management Office (PMO) Interview Questions
  • How to Answer to Project Management Interview Questions
  • How to Succeed in Your Project Management Interview

Key Competencies to Show in Your Project Management Interview

Project management is an essential skill required in almost all roles and sectors.

The key competencies you will be required to show in your interview are varied and include:

  • Exceptional planning and organisational skills enable you to manage resources, timelines, and budgets efficiently.
  • Time Management of course is essential as projects must be delivered to tight deadlines. In coordinator and PMO roles these skills are top of the list.
  • Leadership and communication skills are vital for motivating and managing your team and in fostering collaboration.
  • Sound problem-solving abilities help in addressing challenges and making informed decisions.
  • An ability to negotiate comes into play during stakeholder interactions and conflict resolution.
  • As you work in a change management environment, you also must be able to adapt and be flexible so as to react to changing circumstances.
Technical proficiency, especially having a qualification or knowledge of one of the top project management methodologies such as PRINCE2 certification for Government and Civil Service roles. Agile, Scrum and Waterfall are also excellent tools. Focus on one and become expert.

Top 10 Project Management Competency / Behavioural Interview Questions

Competency and behavioural interview questions explore how you performed in a situation in the past. These questions are great as they allow you to talk through examples of when you showed your project management skills effectively.

They can be a challenge to answer and we recommend the STAR formula or similar.

Working in a projects environment your task is to contribute to the successful delivery of a piece of work, a project. Whether you are in a support role such as PMO or at the top level as a Project Manager you will have a common goal, a clearly identified target delivery, which will be both time and cost bound.

Here are 10 common project management competency interview questions exploring your ability to deliver successfully.

Take a moment, reflect and see how you would answer these questions.

  1. Tell me about a major project you were involved with which delivered successfully and how did you contribute to its success?
  2. Tell us about the most difficult project you managed. What made it so difficult and how did you overcome those difficulties?
  3. Talk us through a project you managed which failed to deliver. What did you learn?
  4. Describe a time when you used your skills to persuade a manager or colleague to accept your recommendations.
  5. Can you provide an example of a time when you had to adapt a new strategy mid-implementation? What factors influenced the decision, and what adjustments did you make?
  6. Describe a time when you had to build a collaborative relationship in order to deliver a project successfully.
  7. Talk us through a recent change management project you were involved with. What obstacles did you encounter and how did you overcome them?
  8. Talk me through a business case you have produced or contributed to. What was the outcome, what did it achieve?
  9. Tell us about the challenges you faced when managing stakeholders in your most recent project. How did you resolve these challenges?
  10. Provide a specific example of a project you successfully coordinated. What did you learn from your experience?

Sample Answer to Project Management Competency Interview Question

Question: Please talk us through a significant project you participated in recently that achieved success. Describe your role in ensuring it was a delivered to plan.

Example Answer: In my previous role as project manager with the department of transport, I played a crucial role in delivering a major software implementation project. The project aimed to streamline the operations and enhance customer service in the lead up to the implementation. My primary contributions included a meticulous project coordination, ensuring that tasks aligned with the project schedule. I facilitated an effective communication strategy ensuing that  cross-functional teams had instant access to documents, timelines, goals, and updates. I actively identified potential risks, managed the creation of risks logs and devised mitigation strategies. These proved instrumental in keeping the project on track. Additionally, my dedication to detailed documentation and regular progress reporting enhanced transparency and accountability. This proactive approach, combined with adept problem-solving during unforeseen challenges, significantly contributed to the project’s successful delivery within the specified timeline and budget.

Change Management Interview Questions

Working with projects means you will be working with change. This can be a challenging environment as you will face resistance. Your interview questions will explore your own attitude to change and your ability to manage, support and deliver change effectively.

Here are some typical change management interview questions including competency questions:

  • Can you describe a specific change initiative you led in your previous role? What were the key challenges you faced, and how did you overcome them?
  • When managing a change project, what factors do you consider, and what strategies do you employ to address potential resistance?
  • Give us an example of a change project you were involved with which did not result in an improvement. (competency based)
  • What key milestones do you envisage leading up to the successful implementation of a change project?

Sample Answer to Change Management Interview Question

Question: Can you give us a example of when you experienced change in your own department or role? What was most difficult for you to deal with?

Example Answer: I am comfortable with change. In fact, in my current role, our department underwent a restructuring initiative to improve efficiency. The change meant that I had to adapt  to a shift in responsibilities and new reporting structures. Navigating the change required a steep learning curve and effective communication to understand new workflows. However, I must say that I enjoyed the process, I was able to take on and learn new skills and working with a new team was very rewarding for me. What made it easy was that I proactively sought clarity, engaged in relevant training and communicated openly with colleagues and supervisors. Ultimately, embracing the change and being proactive allowed me to successfully integrate into the revised departmental structure.

Join Interviewgold today and get instant access to expert answers to project management interview questions including detailed STAR answers. Plus build your own winning answers using the easy online competency answer builder.

Project Governance Interview Questions

All projects however big or small must follow a proper governance. Simply put this is all about ensuring that the project is run well, that proper planning, frameworks and policies  are in place. How risks, issues and changes are managed are a key part of governance. It also provides a structured and organised approach to delivering the project ensuring that proper steering, accountability and transparency is in place.

Here are some interview questions related to project governance for all levels:

  • What is your understanding of project governance and why is it important?
  • Imagine you join an existing project team as coordinator and find that proper governance has not been adopted. What are the first steps you would take?
  • Imagine I am a new junior member of your project team, how would you describe to me what a project milestone is?
  • Tell me about a major engineering project you were involved with which delivered successfully and how did you contribute to its success?  (competency based question)

Sample Answer to Project Governance Interview Question

Talk us through an example from your experience where effective project governance played a pivotal role in the success of a project?

Sample Answer: In my previous role as a project manager within the education sector, effective project governance played a pivotal role in ensuring success relating to an IT development project. I initiated the project and established a robust governance framework that included clearly defined roles, responsibilities, and decision-making processes. I arranged regular steering committee meetings which were held to review project progress and make strategic decisions. During the implementation, a significant scope change was proposed by a stakeholder. Thanks to the established change control procedures within our governance framework, we were able to thoroughly assess the impact, obtain the necessary approvals, and implement the change without derailing the project.

Join Interviewgold today and get instant access to expert answers to project management interview questions including detailed STAR answers. Plus build your own winning answers using the easy online competency answer builder.

Managing Risks and Issues Interview Questions

Within any project the management of risks and issues is key.

Both in a project coordinator and Project Management Officer (PMO) roles, as well as project manager you will be tasked with explaining how you deal with these. Be ready to answer how about identifying potential threats and opportunities, assessing their impact and likelihood, and developing strategies to mitigate or capitalise on them.

Here are some interview questions exploring risks and issues management.

  • Talk through your experience with developing and implementing an effective Risk Management Strategy.
  • How would you prioritise risks in this project that we are recruiting for?
  • Describe a project you were involved with which was at risk of failure. How did you manage that risk? (competency based question)
  • Talk us through the methodologies you use to manage risks and issues during a project. (competency based question)
  • Can you provide an example of a specific risk that you identified during a project, how you assessed its potential impact. (competency based question)

Sample Answer to Managing Risks and Issues Interview Question

Question: Can you share an example of a project where unforeseen risks arose. How did you deal with them?

Sample Answer: In a recent complex software development project that I was the Deputy Project Manager for, unforeseen risks emerged during the testing phase. I identified a critical system vulnerability that had the potential to compromise data security. This unforeseen risk posed a threat to the project timeline and overall success. To address the situation, I immediately informed my manager and I helped convene an emergency risk assessment meeting involving key stakeholders, including IT security experts. Our project governance plan, which included a predefined protocol for handling critical issues, proved invaluable. Working with my colleagues, I implemented a swift and targeted mitigation plan that involved isolating affected systems, deploying a temporary fix, and developing a comprehensive solution. Communication was paramount. I kept stakeholders informed about the issue, steps taken, and anticipated impacts. This transparency fostered trust and allowed us to manage expectations effectively. Ultimately, by adhering to my project governance protocols, collaborating with experts, and maintaining transparent communication, we successfully navigated the unforeseen risks and ensured the project’s ultimate success.

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Project Manager Interview Questions

As an experienced Project Manager, you should expect questions exploring your historical career and especially delving into projects you have delivered previously and recently. The interviewer will be keen to hear about the types of projects, budget size, teams you managed and ultimately what the end result of your effort was. Of course, you will talk mostly about successful projects however no project runs smoothly and be especially ready to talk about the obstacles you encountered and the challenges you faced and overcame.

Below you will see more questions specific to Project Manager level positions.

  • As Project Manager how would you encourage your staff to deliver against goals and targets?
  • What process do you follow when managing change requests which you have found particularly useful?
  • In your experience what aspects of the Agile methodology have you found to be superior to other project management tools?
  • As Project Manager, how would you build quality into your team and into the project itself?
  • Imagine you are a couple of months into a 6 month project and it is about to overrun on costs. How would you deal with this most effectively, what steps would you take?

Join Interviewgold today and get instant access to expert answers to project management interview questions including detailed STAR answers. Plus build your own winning answers using the easy online competency answer builder.

Project Coordinator Interview Questions

A project coordinator plays a pivotal role in project management, facilitating the smooth execution of tasks and ensuring efficient communication among team members. The interviewing panel may ask questions exploring your ability to schedule meetings, manage timelines, complete project documentation and communicate with team members and others.

Here are some typical project coordinator interview questions:

  • For this project coordinator role, we are looking for someone who is skilled with project administration especially the management of risks and issues. Please talk me through your relevant experience.
  • What governance procedures do you follow when communicating with team members?
  • What steps do you take to ensure that performance, quality and customer service is maintained during organisational change?
  • Can you describe your recent experience in coordinating project activities so as to ensure proper outcomes?
  • How do you manage competing priorities in a project management environment? What tools do you use?

Join Interviewgold today and get instant access to expert answers to project management interview questions including detailed STAR answers. Plus build your own winning answers using the easy online competency answer builder.

Project Management Office (PMO) Interview Questions

Managing the project office is a key function and for larger organisations, there will be a dedicated team involved in ensuring that this function runs smoothly. For a small company or project this function may be part of the Project Managers role and here is a small selection of potential interview questions.

  • What is the key function of a Project Management Officer as you see it?
  • What core skills would you say are essential for an excellent PMO Manager?
  • As PMO how would you go about creating a comprehensive risk register for our engineering project?
  • I see you are an experienced PMO Analyst which is exactly what we need. What do you regard as the benefits of a well-managed programme management office?

Join Interviewgold today and get instant access to expert answers to project management interview questions including detailed STAR answers. Plus build your own winning answers using the easy online competency answer builder.

How to Answer to Project Management Interview Questions

Project Management Interview Questions and Answers

In your interview answers the recruiter will be looking for evidence of your experience, skills and qualifications. Here are some top tips to perfect answers:

Answer Competency and Behavioural Questions: Whatever level you are at you will need to give examples of projects you worked on or managed. This is the best way to give evidence of your experience. We recommend using the STAR method for answering and you can learn about it here. Make sure the projects you talk about are recent, complex and relevant to the role you are being interviewed for. This will score best marks.

Key Skills Required:  You should expect both competency based and behavioural questions exploring key skills such as leadership, working together, communication, problem solving, negotiation and planning and organising among others. Once again, the best way to show skills when answering is to refer to examples of project work delivered. Detail the actions you took and within that mention the skills you have both used and acquired.

Project management qualifications: In addition, expect questions exploring your training and accreditation and how you have used them when successfully delivering projects. For Project Support roles, questions exploring your ability to set up and manage a PMO, to deal with risks and issues logs and to manage change requests are all common.

Experience working as part of team: Your teamworking ability and experience must be shown clearly. Talk about the teams you have worked with,  the contribution you have made and how you have performed effectively.

Ability to develop and lead a team: Building and developing teams is a vital skill for any project manager and your interview answers will need to show that you can do this competently.  You will need to show an understanding of how the different attitudes and needs of individuals are crucial to developing an effective team mentality. Show how you have helped maximise the abilities of each team member although there may be a wide variation in skills and level of knowledge and experience. Talk about your experience of Diversity in recruitment and your ability to motivate a team to deliver a project on time.

How to Succeed in  Your Project Management Interview

project management interview questions

Getting into your next project role can be a challenge. It is a competitive sector and your interview skills will need to be top notch.

This is where InterviewGold will help.

With our online interview training program you will learn how to answer the trickiest project management questions including competency and behavioural questions with ease. Plus you will get expert sample answers including detailed STAR templates all proven to boost your chances of winning the job.

Best of all, it is tailored to your target career. Log in select your sector and then select your role and get accurate questions and answers plus tons of top advice.

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About the Author |
Experienced interview coach with Anson Reed and co-author of the bestselling interview guide Top Answers to 121 Job Interview Questions. With over 20 years experience of recruiting and leading large teams Andrew is well placed to know just what is required to secure a job offer.
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