What many candidates don’t realise is that interviews can be just as nerve-wracking for the person on the other side of the table. If you’re interviewing for a project manager role in 2018, the best way to get over any pre-interview nerves is to be prepared. Moving away from the usual job interview questions, there are a few specific questions you should be asking in 2018 to make sure you are hiring the right project managers to help your company to flourish.
What task do you spend most of your day on?
There is no right or wrong answer to this question, but it will tell you a lot about their project management style and if it will work for your company. If the majority of their day is spent on the phone, then you will know they are a proactive individual who likes to tackle things head-on rather than wait for a response by email. If they say they spend most of their day with their nose in a spreadsheet, then you will know they are highly analytical and will be most comfortable handling budgets and keeping projects within deadlines. This can be a powerful question that will tell you a lot about their project management style
What kind of training have you done?
Some people learn about project management on the job, through apprenticeships or through training. There is no right or wrong way to learn, it’s all about what works best for your business. If they have done a project management course, check that it is a reputable one through a provider like Training Bytesize. If they have done on-the-job training, look for evidence that they have a complete understanding of the process by probing about which specific areas of project management they have come across.
How do you manage difficult people?
Project management is a role that relies on being able to work well with other people, even if relationships are sometimes strained. At times of stress, or when things are falling behind or going wrong, you need someone who can keep the peace and ensure everyone keeps working towards the same goals. One issue that many project managers face in 2018 is that people are communicating more than ever across different devices, this can make it difficult to ensure communication is centralised and consistent. How they respond to difficult people will make a big difference in how they overcome obstacles.
What was the best and worst part of your last job?
Even if they are coming from the worst job in the world, it’s interesting to see how people react to this question. They have an opportunity to trash their previous employer, or take the high ground and look for positives in a role that perhaps wasn’t right for them. You can tell a lot about a person by how they speak about past employers. It will also tell you if they are going to be a good fit for your team by the types of response they give you. If they didn’t like the management style and you have a similar style, this might raise alarm bells. If they really liked being able to choose the projects they worked on but you need someone who is excited to get stuck into every project you can give them, then this might be another cause for concern. This question is valuable as it not only tells you how loyal they are as an employee but also tells you what they are looking for in a role.
Which part of your CV are you most proud of?
If you want to find out what someone is passionate about, give them free reign to talk about something they are proud of. Unlike the classic “tell me about yourself” question, asking them to elaborate on something they are really proud of will open up the floor for them to talk about their passions, rather than just their professional achievements. Project management is something that requires passion to remain engaged and committed, so you want to make sure you are hiring someone who is excited about their role and takes pride in their work. See some CV tips here.
Social media and the internet may make it seem like there is more information available to us than ever before. But when it comes to hiring decisions, we still have to rely on a series of well-thought-out questions to pull out the information that is most valuable to us.