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How To Prepare For Program Manager Interview

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How Do You Deal With Team Conflict

How to prepare for your Microsoft Interview: Program Management

What theyre asking: Like it or not, conflict is pretty much inevitable on a project team. And, its the project managers job to make sure things get resolved in an efficient and effective manner. Understandably, the interviewer wants to know how youll fix the issueand that you wont just sweep things under the rug.

How to answer: Chances are, you have some experience dealing with conflict already. Think about how youve approached those situations in the past, and then use that to inform your answer:

“Ive heard that there are three main approaches to conflict resolution: avoidance, defusion and confrontation. Typically, I utilize a combination of defusion and confrontation. First and foremost, I limit the interaction between the conflicting parties in order to get some separation and identify the root cause. Then, I facilitate one-on-one conversations in order to identify if theres a certain task or stressor thats causing the issue. At this point, the confrontation comes into play. Ill facilitate a problem-solving meeting where the conflicting members can talk about the issues, reach a compromise, and move forward. I also make sure to continuously check in on that matter moving forward, to ensure that the root issue has been addressed, resentment has been eradicated and a new conflict isnt brewing.”

You Will Be Using Qa And Qc For Ensuring The Quality Of The Final Deliverables Whats The Difference Between Them

Keeping the quality of project deliverables in check is highly important which is done using Quality Assurance and Quality Control .

QA involves the principles and processes to do the project work and sticking to these processes ensures the final deliverables will meet the expectations of the project. QA is done through seamless execution and development.

QC includes analyzing the final deliverables based on the laid down guidelines and leveraging inspection to check whether the outcomes meet the expected standards.

Suppose The Project Has Gone Off The Rails What Steps Would You Take To Get It Back On Track

Once you realize a project is not going as per the pre-planned time, budget, scope, or goals, the next top priority is to get it back on track. The project manager should be efficient enough to take the necessary steps to resolve the discrepancy between actual progress and planned progress. Your answer to this project management interview question may include re-adjusting resource management, finding the real cause of off-tracking, putting in extra effort, and more.

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When Youre Overseeing Multiple Projects How Do You Determine Which Is A Priority

Since program managers are responsible for several projects at once, they have to set priorities. This allows them to allocate funding appropriately, as well as direct their energy in the best possible way.

The hiring manager wants insights into your strategy. You need to clue them in to how you think, so provide details into what you assess when making a decision.


If I need to set a priority, my first step is to examine any dependencies. In some cases, certain projects have to reach specific stages before another can move forward, making this a critical factor. Beyond that, I examine several project facets, including the goals, budget requirements, level of risk, resource constraints, and potential strategic value. Additionally, Ill speak with the various sponsors and stakeholders to get their perspective. Typically, that process allows me to prioritize the projects in a way that yields the most benefit for the company.

What Is The Most Desired Skill That Is Required To Become A Successful Project Manager According To Your Experience Please Give Us A Couple Of Examples Regarding Your Past Projects

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If you are experienced in project management, you might probably know that there is no single skill that is enough for a successful career in the field. To be a successful project manager, you should possess multiple skillsets like leadership skills, communication skills, negotiation skills, and time management skills, to name a few. To answer this question promptly, you should be able to justify why you have chosen a particular skill. You can include a couple of examples to substantiate your answer.

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What Process Do You Use For Change Management Within The Program And Projects You Manage

A competent program manager must monitor for project creep, or the process where a project begins to go over budget, over deadline, or over capacity, often due to changes within the project. The goal of the question is to evaluate the candidate’s ability to monitor changes within a program or project and manage project creep. What to look for in an answer:

  • Understanding of project and program management best practices
  • Ability to monitor changes within a program or project effectively without side effects
  • Communication and leadership skills to keep all team members on task and target


“Within specific projects, I like to use a formal change management process that entails written assessment and evaluation of the change and then modifying the project scope. Within the program, I follow change management best practices of…”

Tell Us About The Main Phases Of A Project

  • Tell us about Project Life Cycle.
  • What do you know about project management?
  • What does it mean to manage a project?
  • What does a project manager do?

These are all the same questions.

One thing you need to know by heart is the Project Life Cycle in the industry you work in.

You also need to be able to visualize the work that happens in each phase.

And try not to confuse it with Project Management Process.

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How Will You Execute A Project With New Change Requests Coming In

Change requests are also referred to as CR are quite common in any project baseline. This involves tweaking any aspect of the project plan such as the timeline, resources, technology, scope, and requirements. These requests can be raised from the client or any other stakeholder, even the team members or the PM.


There are many reasons why CR comes in a project such as:

  • A change from the stakeholders end when they want a new feature or technology to be added or some changes in the aspects like the budget and timelines.
  • Regulatory changes that require the project needs to comply leads to changes in the planned project strategy.
  • In the middle of a project, the team members might feel that they need to take corrective measures to resolve an issue.

The key steps included while implementing change management are as follows:

  • Performing a comprehensive impact analysis of the CR on different aspects of the project.
  • Discussion with relevant stakeholders such as customers or sponsors. Letting all the stakeholders know about the insights from the impact analysis of a CR and seeking their approval after understanding the points.
  • After the approval from the stakeholders, the PM should prepare an updated project plan and get it confirmed with the sponsors.
  • Once the sponsor approves the updated project plan the PM should start implementing the change in the ongoing project.
  • Maintain a history of all the changes happening in the project after implementing the CR.

Whats Your Background Personally And Professionally

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Its important to get a snapshot of the applicant to bring their project manager resume into sharper focus. Knowing a bit about their life story can inform about their soft skills and how they might respond to issues at work, and whether they will fit into the corporate culture. The same goes for their project management experience. Staying at a single job for a long time can be either bad or good for project managers, but you wont know until you put their choice into context.

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What Is A Program Manager

Program managers are responsible for overseeing a companys projects, interconnected through a common strategic goal, and supervising the project managers who lead them.

They should uphold the three pillars of program management: communication, collaboration, and multitasking. It is their job to keep everyone on schedule, maintain communication between teams and top-level management, and adapt strategic goals as the projects move along.

Typically employed in educational institutions, program managers will be found throughout the public sector and in some larger private companies. Salary for this position is dependent on the company or organization, but can easily be upwards of $100k.

The Top 7 Project Management Interview Questions And Answers

Kat Boogaard

You have an interview scheduled for a project management role youre super pumped about. While youre excited to be moving onto the next step in hopefully landing the job of your dreams, you also have those inevitable pre-interview jitters.

What should you wear? What if you get lost on the way to the office? Andperhaps the most nerve-wracking question of allwhat the heck are they going to ask you?

Of course, you should prepare for those inevitable, standard interview questionsyou know, the ones like, Whats your biggest weakness? and Why do you want this job?

But, you also know that there will be plenty of questions related specifically to the position, such as your relevant skills and experience. The thought of answering those in a way that impresses your interviewer? Well, that makes your stomach drop to your shoes and your heart start racing.

Hey, theres no need to start huffing and puffing into a paper bag quite yet. Weve pulled together seven common project manager interview questionsas well as some quality answersthat you can use to prepare for your upcoming project management interview. Youve got this!

Ace the interview

Craft your responses with our handy worksheet.

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Whats Your Preferred Project Management Methodology

There are almost as many ways to manage a project as there are projects. From traditional methods like waterfall to hybrid methodologies, you want a project manager who understands the many ways to work. And more importantly, can they use the project management methodology that best suits the work at hand?

Faqs Related To Project Manager

Essential Project Management Interview Questions ...

Q: How do I prepare for a project manager interview?

A: To prepare for a project manager interview, you first need to have sound knowledge of your field and domain. If you want growth in the role of project management, you can even pursue a course on the subject.

Q: What are 3 critical skills a project manager needs to succeed?

A: The three most important skills that a project manager requires to succeed are leadership, time management, and team management. Apart from these three, there are other skills as well such as communication, critical thinking, and negotiation. Furthermore, the project manager also should use tools as per the project management trends.

Q: What are the five essential qualities of a project manager?

A: The five most important qualities of a project manager are Communication, Time Management, Leadership, Problem Solving, and Organizational Awareness.

Q: How do you demonstrate your project management skills in an interview?

A: To demonstrate your skills in an interview of project management, you have to emphasize your knowledge as well as experience, prove good communication skills, outline the organizational techniques, highlight customer satisfaction, and talk about various tools that are mostly used in project management.

Q: What are the 3 important traits of managers?

Q: What are the 5 stages of project management?

Q: Who can be a project manager?

Q: What are the basic roles of project managers?

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Pm Interview Question #: Can You Tell Me An Example Of How You Communicated A Failure To Your Team Manager And Customer

This project manager interview question will assess your risk management and communication management experience together. Bear in your mind that, failures, emergencies or critical points about a project must be communicated face to face. If face-to-face communication is not possible, then, you should choose a teleconference meeting or phone call.

The following can be a good sample answer for this project manager interview question.

This answer shows that the project manager approaches the failure of communication systematically. First, he reports to his manager. If his manager would not accept the situation or propose alternative ways with the project team and customer, he could have changed the approach to the team and customer respectively.

After getting the approval of the manager, he speaks with the team first and then communicates to the customer respectively.

What Makes You A Good Project Manager

It is not really about the list of traits and attitude.

It is an opportunity!

You can show that you did the homework. You learn a bit about the company to know what they value.

You can see it in the job description. You can contact other PMs from your network.

Dont you have connections in companies that you potentially can apply to? Thats a mistake!

However, here is a trick:

Many companies use pre-screening calls. Usually, someone from recruitment asks you several questions.

All you need to do is to ask one question from your side:

What do you value the most in the candidate for this role?

Guess what!

Recruiters do discuss this with the leadership of a company. They operate from the What kind of person we need?

Most likely you will hear a mantra that was repeated many times in that company.

That is your answer to this question. Elaborate on it and do add a relevant story to back up your strengths:

Claims without a proof are useless.

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What Are Interviewers Looking For In Project Managers

Project managers work across industries and in so many contexts that each role is a little different from the next. Make sure you look closely at the specific requirements and responsibilities in the job description for the role youre interviewing for. At the same time, there are some more universal qualities interviewers are looking for, including:

Sometimes an interviewer will ask you directly about these skills and qualities, but you should also be prepared to demonstrate them throughout your interview. Here are some common questions youre likely to get in a project management interviewplus advice on how to showcase your strengths in your answers and examples of what that might sound like in practice.

List Of Project Manager Interview Questions: Personal Questions

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Employers want to know that you will fit in with team members. Personal questions help employers better understand your personality, work habits, interests, and passions.

Project Managers come from a variety of different career and educational backgrounds, and it’s rare that any two PMs have the same story. This is your chance to tell your story and show how you differ from other candidates. You can also explain why this specific organization and job role are so appealing, as well as hinting at your overall career goals. That’s important because both sides should be mutually exploring whether there’s a fit here.

Some personal interview questions you may be asked include:

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What Is Your Work Style

It is another question to check if you fit in with the companys culture. It also indicates whether you are self-aware to communicate your work style. Though it sounds vague, this question provides an opportunity to show how you can be an asset to the company. You could talk about your emphasis on speed and efficiency, how you like to work collaboratively, your way of communication, etc. Further, you can mention how you organize your day and how many hours you work.

How Do You Begin A Newly Assigned Project

Through this question, the interviewer is essentially trying to check your clarity of thought. He/she wants you to describe the important first steps you need to take to ensure the success of a project. A good manager would try to understand what of the project before how. What it means is your first try to understand what is the objective or purpose of the project before diving into how to achieve the goals of the project. Hence, anything on the above lines would get you some brownie points.

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Leadership Interview Preparation For The Microsoft Tpm Role

You may be asked standard Microsoft Technical Program Manager interview questions such as describing past experiences of leading a project, collaborating with cross-functional teams, handling difficult associates, and more such behavioral questions.

When answering such open-ended questions, use the STAR or CAR method to structure your responses. We have covered these methods in detail in the article.

What Projects Do You Not Want To Work On

How to prepare for a job interview

Other versions of this question:

  • What kinds of projects interest you the most? Why?
  • Do you work better with introverted or extroverted people?
  • Tell us about a project that you didnt find enjoyable.

Everyone would like to believe they can handle every project, working with every type of person, but the reality is that most project managers have strengths and weaknesses, industries, and types of projects they excel at, and those they have no experience with.

If your interview subject tells you that they love working on everything and are an ace at every type of project: Theyre probably bluffing and dont actually know what theyre talking about, and theyre unwilling to communicate weaknesses.

You dont want to bring either trait into your organization.

Good candidates are honest. Are they more of a software development person? Do they thrive with creative media campaigns? Would they rather take a ride in a cement mixer than work on a construction project?

Look for a candidate who lets you know what they like and dislike youll know their strengths from the outset as well as areas they need to grow into.

WHAT TO LOOK FOR: The industries and project types your candidate has experience with to determine which of your upcoming projects theyll best align with , as well as a willingness to admit where they lack experience.

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