Q 16 How Do You Assess An Organization’s Resource Capabilities
Answer: Planning and utilizing a firm’s resources is crucial for every PMO, so your answer should hint at your experience with the subject. To answer this program manager interview question, you should explain your planning capabilities alongside a past experience.
A sample answer to the program management interview question would be:
As a program manager, I can review the past endeavours the firm has partaken in. This can brief me about the firm’s capabilities and competency with the available resources. Plus I can avail of some tools to get a precise overview of the resources.
After analyzing the project’s resource requirement, I will gather a functional team, correlate the resources with the needs, arrange the resources, and then allocate them appropriately.
Additionally, try to narrate your past experience in the situation to allow the interviewer to get a better perspective of your capabilities.
Coding Interview Questions For Google Technical Program Managers
Coding questions are relatively fewer at Google interviews for managerial positions. However, you still need to be ready to face a few of them.
Check out for more.
How Do You Combat Scope Creep
Budget management and time management skills are crucial elements of a project manager’s job. Scope creep refers to any factors that might cause you to miss deadlines or exceed budgets. From your answer, interviewers should gain a sense of how you carefully manage staff, resources, and other factors to ensure your projects stay on track. Provide a real example in your answer of a major project you steered that had both large scope and some challenges that you couldn’t possibly have anticipated .
Go into detail about how you divided the project up into smaller parts that you could complete in advance and how you responded on the fly to client feedback that threatened to take the project over budget. Projects do need to change and adapt constantly due to client needs, market conditions, and other factors, so this example should prove your ability to use time management and superior communication to adapt to these issues and present finished projects in the agreed-upon amount of time.
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Item #2 Program Manager Methodology
In my experience at , Program Manager roles do not require knowledge of a specific Project Management methodology. However, candidates are expected to know one or more methodologies. You should read the job description and know if the company prefers Agile, Scrum, another methodology, or none at all. This is also a question you can ask during the interview if it is not clear in the job descriptions.
You canât be rigid in your approach. You have to show that you can work on multiple projects, interact with multiple teams and be flexible whenever it is required. Focus on examples that show a commitment to âgetting things doneâ as opposed to a singular approach.
Walk Me Through The Steps You Would Take To Implement A Program Successfully
Most candidates are familiar with the best practices and control processes to bring a program to fruition, explained Kumar Saurabh, senior engineering program manager, instructor and author of 27 Program Management Interview Techniques.
But to Saurabh, the greatest predictor of success in the role is structure, flow and clarity of thought in a candidates response. As you prepare for your interview, make sure to review your previous jobs and projects, and make sure youve crafted a compelling story that puts your experience and skills in the best possible light.
Tips: In addition to succinctly summarizing their process, top candidates also describe their previous work and link their actions and behaviors to outcomes, Saurabh added. Out of a hundred interviews, he estimates that only one or two candidates describe how they drive projects to meet company objectives, so taking that extra step can definitely set you apart.
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Q 13 Mention Some Of Your Recent Contributions Surrounding Program Management
Answer: The answer to this program manager interview question should be as detailed and personal as possible. You need to show how you have performed in the past and how it can help your upcoming endeavours.
While it is one of the most common program manager interview questions, there is no pre-defined answer. You need to articulate it as per your experience, but you can include activities like:
Establishing a PMO framework
Developing a functional work breakdown structure
Constructing time and resource-saving exercises
Synchronizing individual project goals to reach the organizational goal
Day 23 Practice Strategy Questions
Practice the following strategy questions, in this book, either on your own or with your practice partner:
Provide a response that is thoughtful, logical and addresses the companys objectives. For more examples of thoughtful strategy responses, refer to the popular blog, stratechery.com.
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Behavioral Interview Questions For Google Technical Program Managers
A technical Program manager is a highly functional and essential role where you will closely work with engineers, product managers, data scientists, and system designers. Behavioral questions will assess your ability to work well in a team and decide whether you are fit for the work culture at Google.
Recommended Reading:Behavioral Interview Questions for Software Developers
Day 2 Getting Familiar With The Product Design Interview
- Read about the CIRCLES design method in .
- Review the product design examples from to see how CIRCLES is applied.
Do the following pain point exercises in The Product Manager Interview:
- Childs 1st Birthday Party
- Best Handyman
- Finding Someone to Do Taxes
Do the following customer journey map exercises in The Product Manager Interview:
- Expedia Journey
- Learn about product design questions.
- Understand the product design framework, CIRCLES.
- Observe how others answer interview questions with CIRCLES.
- Practice two parts of the CIRCLES framework:
- Listing solutions
- Reporting customer needs .
Google Program Manager Interview Questions
Anonymous Interview Candidate in Mountain View, CA
I applied through a recruiter. I interviewed at Google in Oct 2021
I was reached out by a recruiter on LinkedIn, followed by a call with the hiring manager. The hiring manager outlined the job and its responsibilities and asked me about my experience. This was an informal call and not an interview call. I was scheduled for three interviews the following week. First one with another person on the larger team, second with the hiring manager and the last one with the hiring manager’s manager. In my first call the interviewer seemed very uninterested- kept yawning and stretching which made me also uninterested in the process and threw me off my game. the other two calls were comparatively better but by this time I had already given up.
Putting It All Together
Ultimately, by embracing the tips above, you can show those program manager interview questions whos boss. Just make sure to practice your answers ahead of time, ensuring you can discuss your capabilities with ease. That way, youll showcase yourself as the amazing candidate you know you are, increasing the odds that youll get the offer when all is said and done.
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How To Use This Guide
I would suggest reading the whole thing! To save you time, Ive tried my best to put everything into immediately actionable things so that youll know exactly what to work on.
In addition, this resource assumes that you dont have too much time every day as many people can only prepare during off-hours, But Im always a big believer that if you are focused on the right thing, youll have a perfect work/life balance.
Even if you are somewhat familiar with this topic, Im pretty sure youll find some new weapons to add to your arsenal as things have changed a lot over the past few years.
Project Manager Interview: General Tips
Keep these tips in mind as you prepare for your project manager interview.
Be prepared to think on your feet: Project management sometimes requires making sound judgement calls in limited time. Practice responding under pressure by having somebody you trust ask you different situational questions.
Ask questions at the end: Though this is a common tip for all interviews, itâs especially important for project management interviews.In projects, your ability to ask the right questions can be the difference between success and missing key goals. Come prepared with a list of questions you want to ask. You can also take notes during the interview on points you want to clarify.
Read case studies: If youâre feeling stuck, try finding some case studies about projects that went well, and didnât. This can help you learn from other peopleâs experiences, and jog your inspiration to know what to talk about in your own interview.
Interviewing remotely: Remote interviews have their own challenges. Watch the video below for tips.
Recommended Reading: When To Send Follow Up Email After Interview
Final Thoughts: Program Manager Interview Questions
Its important that as you interview and meet with program manager candidates that you think about the impact theyll have on your overall team. During the interview, use the above program manager interview questions to determine if theyll mesh with their direct reports, and be able to get the most from the resources they have available.
To simplify the process at your company, download our Definitive Guide: 101+ Interview Questions to Hire Quality Candidates Faster to streamline your interview process today!
Q 1 Explain A Bit About Yourself And Your Reasons To Become A Program Manager
Answer: The project manager interview question aims to dig out your necessary details and motivations. Start by briefly explaining about yourself and share 1-2 short reasons behind your intentions to become a program manager. Refrain from mentioning factors such as money, but keep the answer accurate and straightforward.
An ideal answer to the latter part of the program management interview question would be:
I have always been a strategy-driven person, focusing on how I can perform better at everything I do. I find the program manager role best-suited for a person as driven as me. The role is ideal for me to capitalize on my knowledge and skillset.
I have invested several years of my career in the domain, which has helped me gain valuable insights into the industry. Plus, leading a team of esteemed and driven individuals is also a goal of mine. I believe the role can help me perform at my best while catering to my individual goals too.
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Good Questions To Ask At The End Of A Program Manager Interview
When the sun begins to set on your program manager interview, theres a good chance youll be able to ask the hiring manager a few questions of your own. This is a critical opportunity that you shouldnt pass up. Not only does it make you seem more interested in the job, but it also lets you learn more about the role and the companys culture.
Sometimes, youll be able to choose some questions on the fly. If you dont learn something important during the interview, consider asking about it. But, if that doesnt happen, we have your back. Here are five good questions to have in your back pocket.
Have You Ever Had A Project That Did Not Meet The Deadline Or Budget
No one is perfect, and as long as you have a good explanation for why a past project wasn’t delivered on time or on budget and you can illustrate how you learned from your mistake this answer should show that a candidate has the ability to grow as a PM. One way to answer this question without necessarily admitting a mistake of your own would be to think back to a situation when a client might have wanted to add a new feature sometime over the life of the project that would increase the cost or time to complete the project.
- What was a challenging project you have worked on and how did you manage it?
- Whats the biggest mistake you have made on a specific project?
- Have your colleagues or your manager ever challenged your decisions?
- Describe a time the customer was not happy with the result and did not accept the project. What did you do to resolve conflicts?
- What was your most successful project?
- What was the last project that you worked on?
- Have you ever had a project that did not meet the deadline or budget?
- Tell me about a time when your stakeholders didnt agree on a project. How did you proceed?
- Talk about a time when you had to persuade or influence someone to achieve a goal.
- What was one of the biggest mistakes you have committed in your past projects? How has it impacted your approach to work?
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What Are The Critical Skills Of A Successful Program Manager
The goal of the question is to evaluate the candidate’s perspective on the necessary skills to succeed in the position. What to look for in an answer:
- Understanding the full scope of duties and responsibilities of the position
- Ability to identify critical skills and abilities of a successful program manager
- Ability to adapt their experience to benefit the job and company
“Having been a program manager for several years, I relate my success to several critical skills. To narrow down, I would say the top three abilities are organizational, analytical, and communication skills. All of these skills are essential to be successful in the role.”
Q 9 If You Need To Wrap Up A Project Within Six Months What Would Your Plan Be
Answer: The interviewer wishes to evaluate your readiness to undertake a time-limited task, so an apt solution for this program manager interview question would be:
I believe scheduling is critical for completing any project to start the process with it. An unplanned issue can cost valuable time, efforts, and resources, so it is better to plan for such occasions beforehand. While taking precautions for every market shift is not possible, with proper research, you can avoid the majority of them.
A schedule states the upcoming activities’ sequence so that they can be performed as expected. With a six month deadline, we need to prepare a schedule accordingly. Who will handle what duty, what resources will be needed, and what time should be consumed in what activity should be specified in the schedule.
The schedule does not have to be extraordinarily bold or precise simple and sound planning can prepare an effective schedule. The following points can be included in your answer to the program management interview question:
Proper overviewing of the project
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What Sort Of Project Management Software And Tools Do You Use
Unless the information is included in the job posting and it’s certainly worth looking you won’t know exactly which project management tools are used at different companies. So you should aim in your answer to illustrate a breadth of different tools and programs that you have experience using. You would like to include industry-standard communication and PM tools like Microsoft Project, Trello, or Basecamp since there’s a good chance their organization will at least use one of them. This will also show your overall technical skills and proficiency.
- What project management software do you prefer?
- Whats your preferred project management methodology?
- Do you have budget management experience?
- Have you managed remote team members and outsourced resources?
- What are the different kinds of project management tools you have worked with?
- What is your strategy for prioritizing tasks?
- What experience do you have with process development?
- Whats your proficiency level with ?
- What are the steps you take to assess the risks of a project? How do you work to manage them over the projects lifetime?
- Describe how you schedule projects and establish timelines.
- What is the first thing you do when assigned a new project?
How Did You Go About Recommending A Tech Stack For A Recent Project
Asking this question reveals two things. In a broad sense, a candidate reveals their technical depth and ability to pick up technical concepts . They also divulge key skills such as how they communicate engineers, as well as how they push back against things they dont think are right.
Tips: Make sure to explain the positives and negatives behind your choices for the tech stack. Also, take the opportunity to show off your soft skills by explaining how you would sell your decisions to others within the organization.
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How To Answer Program Manager Interview Questions
First, dont confuse program managers with project managers or product managers. While the job titles look ridiculously similar, and the roles do have quite a bit in common, they arent actually the same. Technically, they all oversee projects, but the niches can vary.
Product managers focus on products. Project managers might work in any niche, depending on their employer. But their work tends to focus on the project at hand, and not on the big strategic picture.
Program managers usually oversee a group of projects , and each one is connected by a common element, like a single company goal. Additionally, they are responsible for guiding strategy, keeping everyone moving toward the right target.
MIKE’S TIP:While some duties are alike, there are nuances to each role.
Now thats out of the way, but before we go over the program manager interview questions, lets pause for a moment to talk strategy. You need the right approach. That way, if the hiring manager asks you something unexpected, you can adapt.
Start by doing some research.
The program manager job description is a great place to start, as it spells out what the company considers must-haves. Couple that with a look at the companys mission and values statements, and you can find out a lot about the skills and traits the hiring manager wants to find.