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Project Management Job Interview

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Get That Project Management Job: 

Master the Project Manager Resume and the Job Interview

By George T. Edwards
2012 Edition

Extract of General job interview Questions and answers

2.1 Tell Me About Yourself

Despite the deceptive phrasing, "Tell me about yourself," isn't a polite request for your life story. The question you really need to answer is, "Why should I hire you?" Knowing this, your goal is to craft a convincing statement that will make the interviewer want to know more about you and what you can do for the company. You can count on having this question in your interview, so you must have a two-minute well-rehearsed answer.

This question should be answered in two parts. The first part is a 20-second summary that introduces you at a high level. If you have a summary at the top of your resume with your skills and experience, you can start with that. For example,

"I am a project manager with x years of experience. I have been involved in XYZ projects for z years. My experience has been mostly around xx projects. I have a XYZ certification and my academic background is xxx." You can then add some statements about your personal qualifications. For instance, "I am a results-oriented person who interacts well with people. I like to set goals and keep them."

The second part will start with a mini-biography that should include your academic background, positions you have had, prior employers and projects you have worked on. Those elements are the framework to show that you have the skills and experience for this particular job.

As you describe your jobs and positions, you must highlight the work you did that is relevant to the job at hand. You should also highlight the use of certain skills that were mentioned in the job ad or job description and mention promotions and successful projects in which you participated. Don't get into much detail on a single job or project. Keep it at a high level.

To prepare, you must develop a response tailored to the specific employer and address its interests, goals and needs. You should revise, refine and rehearse your script until you can deliver it flawlessly - with energy, enthusiasm and confidence.

Your two-minute statement must show you to be a positive, contributing person, and it really depends on your own experience. Here is a simple model:

"My academic background is in business management, and my first job was doing xxx for and yyy company. In that job, I learned to work in a team and was promoted to zzz. I went on to work for XZY where I was responsible for xxx and started using project management methodology. It was at that job where I learned (insert job description item here) and was very successful at it."

End with the question, "Is there anything I have mentioned that you would like me to go into in more detail?"

This is a great way to talk about what the other person would like to hear. If the interviewer asks you to just continue, take your history into the job that most closely relates to the job you are applying for. "OK, let me tell you what I did in the project XYZ."

2.5 Why are you so interested in our company?

If "money" is your honest answer, you will probably be passed over. The question is an attitude indicator that may strongly influence the interviewer's image of you. Your answer also indicates how much you have researched the company.

This is one of those questions that require you to make connections to what you have done. You can use the company or the industry to show that you have already done the same kind of work, and that working for this company or industry would not be too different from what you have done before (at least in your eyes).

The best answer to this question involves talking about some specifics of the company, and you can only do that if you have done some research on it. A good source of information is recently published press releases. No matter how bad the prospects are for a company, their press releases will have a positive spin. That spin should be part of your response. A good answer is:

"In doing research for this position, I looked at the company information and it seems that things are looking good because (insert press release spin here). The industry itself is in line with the kind of position I would like. "

It is much more difficult to gain insight and outlook for a private company. You might find some information, but nothing really insightful. You could say:

"I am interested in working for a growing company like yours, because in a growing company my contributions will be easily recognized. Also, I can contribute in more than one area, and I think there would be opportunities to wear more than one hat."

Notice that you are not only answering the question but also sending strong messages about your willingness to contribute and your ability to be versatile. Both are sought-after traits by hiring managers.

This is a great opportunity to ask a good question:

"What do you think attracts people to work and stay here?"

2.0 desription

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Includes: The role of the project manager * How to write an outstanding resume for project managers *  Behavioral interview questions * Project management questions and answers * Information technology project management questions and answers * Microsoft Project questions and answers * Easy to read guide to the PMBOK

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