Questions to Ask at a Project Management Interview

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After years of attending classes and studying for tests, college graduates embarking on a career in project management feel proud of their accomplishment and excited about working a real job. Before getting hired with a firm, they must pass the interview. One of the best ways to demonstrate their interest in the position is by asking good questions during the interview.

Does the Company Support Employees Who Pursue Certification?

The Project Management Institute offers five different levels of certification for project management professionals. Asking this question serves two purposes for the job seeker. This question demonstrates that the job seeker holds a desire to grow in the profession and to continually develop his skills. This question also allows the job seeker to learn the company’s perspective on employee professional development and whether or not this pursuit would be valued by the employer.

Does the Company Embrace a Particular Approach to Project Management?

Different companies vary in the way they approach project management. Some companies hand projects over to project managers, empowering the project manager to lead the project with her own style and philosophy. Other companies require all project managers to follow the same process. If the company requires a particular process to be followed, the job seeker must be prepared to work within the confines of that process. If project managers lead their projects independently, the job seeker must be comfortable without a structure to follow.

Are Employees Dedicated to Each Project or is the Project Added to the Employees’ Current Responsibilities?

Project managers who share employees with their regular managers often run into conflicts with the employee not completing project tasks by the deadline. Some companies remove employees from their daily duties and assign them to the project full time. Other companies hire temporary workers to assist the employee with their daily duties allowing the employee time to focus on the project. The least supportive companies ask employees to complete project tasks by simply adding these tasks on top of their daily responsibilities. Depending on the response to the question, the job seeker needs to evaluate if this is the type of company she’d like to work for.

How Long Does the Typical Project Last?

Projects assigned to project managers can last for a few months or a few years. Project managers assigned to longer projects invest more time, energy and resources into the success of the project and experience greater pressure to succeed by management. Project managers assigned to shorter projects finish each project more quickly, experience greater variety and interact with more areas of the company through the exposure of each project.

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