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How to GET a Project Manager’s job? – Part 2

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This article will focus on preparing for job interviews and answering questions. To learn more about CVs, applications, and cover letters, visit → How to get a job as a Project Manager? – Part 1

Following up on Part 1 of this series, let’s say you got a job interview. What should you do next?

STEP 1 – Do your research about the company and your interviewer

One of the most common questions organisations like to include in job interviews is “Why would you like to join this organisation?” or “Tell me what you know about this organisation”.

At a minimum, you’d need to be familiar with the organisation’s culture, services and products, mission statement, company values and latest news.

If you included a cover letter in your application, you probably have this information already, but if not, take notes; these could be potential questions during your interviews and can be a source for you to formulate questions at the end of the interview.

I like to go one step forward and also do my research on the interviewer. Research shows that people are more willing to hire someone they can identify with. And, considering I am a minority in the tech industry and the management world, I like to find one or two items my interviewer can identify with me. Did we study the same thing? Went to the same university for grad school? Or have we worked in the same company?

STEP 2 – Guidance on answering job interview questions

There are different types of questions you might be asked to evaluate if you are the best fit for the position and the company. These are to evaluate your strengths, values, and others.

There are plenty of ways to classify them, but here are some of the most important ones to consider:

Technical and skills questions: These will explore your knowledge and understanding of methods, methodologies, best practices or processes. They can also include questions to re-validate your credentials. An example would be, when did you get the PMP certification?

Strength-based questions: These are to explore what you can do well. For example, they can ask you about what is the thing you enjoy the most about project management.

Values-based questions: are to identify whether you share the organisation’s values and culture. These are particularly important for NGOs, non-profit organisations or organisations in the health industry. Some examples would be: “Give me an example of when you helped someone in need” or “If a supplier is pleased with you and they have a great relationship with you, and they ask you to get a trip on theirs – all expenses paid, what would you do?”

Motivational questions: These help to explore what motivates you. For example: “How do you see yourself in 5 years?” or “Why do you like the most about your job?”

Situational judgment questions: These are hypothetical questions to evaluate how you’d react in specific work situations and provide insights into your approach to project management. For example, they can ask you a question like “A client comes to you to tell you they are not happy with the progress of this project. What would you do?”

Behavioural questions: Behavioural questions refer to your past and previous experience. They will help your interviewer understand how you managed situations in the past that you can use in the future and what you learned from those experiences. These questions can start with something like “Tell me about a time when…”, “Give me an example of when…” or “How did you…?”

STEP 3 – How to answer behavioural questions?

When companies ask you to answer behavioural questions, they ask you for examples from your previous experience in the form of stories. There are two methods I recommend to create these stories:

Method 1: The STAR Method

The STAR method stands for:

S – Situation – The situation you had to deal with

T – Task – The task you were given to do or did

A – Action – The action you took

R – Result – What happened as a result / what did you learn

Here is an example using the STAR Method:

Question: Tell me about a time when you had to manage a difficult person

Situation – When I was a student at university, we had to do a presentation in a group. One team member constantly missed our meetings and had yet to respond to our messages. All of us were frustrated about the situation as this presentation represented 70% of our final grade.

Task – The rest of the team wanted to remove him from the group and the overall presentation, but I convinced them to let me speak with him first, and if his answer didn’t convince them, we could remove him from the presentation and our group.

Action – The next day, I waited for him, outside class. I told him we were considering removing him from the group as he failed to attend our meetings and didn’t respond to our messages. He said he was having a tough time at home and that the times of our meetings were clashing with his part-time job. He apologised for not responding to our messages but struggled to manage his current situation and felt terrible about sending something like that through an email. We decided to create a plan where he could work on this project outside his part-time job and school hours, and we clarified our expectations on what he would need to deliver for this project so he didn’t need to join all of our team meetings.

Result – As a result, we all got good grades on this assignment and are good friends now.

Method 2: The PAR Method

The PAR method stands for:

P – Problem or challenge – what was the problem or challenge that was put in front of you?

A – Action – What action did you take to resolve it?

R – Result – What were the outcomes of those actions?

Here is an example using the PAR Method:

Question: Tell me about a time when you had to manage a difficult person

Problem – During one of my projects in my previous role, there was a senior technical person who would show up late or not show up at all to our team meetings. In addition, the times he would show up, he had a bad attitude towards our team members or clients.

Action – I decided to book a 1-2-1 with him to understand if there was anything I could do. I asked him if he had a problem with any of our team members, clients, or even myself, as our team members took some of his actions as rude.

Results: He apologised as he did not intend to show up rudely in front of us or the client. He told me he was struggling to handle working from home and his four kids, as this happened during 2020, and all childcare was unavailable. I understood this situation and tried to come to a solution with him. He would meet with the client and work on the project on his own time, not necessarily during office hours. In addition, we included a junior developer who could take over some of his work. This was a great solution, as this team member was relaxed and on time to already committed meetings, and our junior developer learned a lot from him and this experience.

It is a good practice to get at least ten examples using any of these methods before your interview.

When should you use one method or another? If you have had several job titles and experiences, use the STAR method because it clarifies your role and responsibilities, which helps provide context to the interviewer on when this example happened. This method would be very beneficial, for example, for students. It is very common for students to have experience in different internships, part-time jobs, university projects, and others. In contrast, if you, for example, have been a project manager for the last fifteen years, using the PAR method will save you one step.

STEP 4 – Using the STAR or PAR Method

Having ten examples before a job interview is sufficient preparation for most people. But if you want to make sure you excel in that job interview or want to be extra prepared, a final step would be to match the job description with your skills and each of your examples.


The job description says: We are looking for someone with a strong sense of accountability and management of the end-to-end project lifecycle.

Match your skills – I am a project manager with over ten years of experience delivering end-to-end projects. For example:

S – There was a recovery project that nobody in the team wanted to take; they had terrible feedback from the client, an unclear scope and were way over budget.

T – After discussing it with my manager, I decided to take it over, I wanted to have the experience of a recovery project, and I wasn’t scared of a challenge.

A – I reviewed and clarified the scope with the team, understood pain points and sat down with the client to develop a clear scope until the end of this project, timelines, and recover the relationship with the client.

R – We finished the project within the new agreed timelines, and the client gave us another project, as we showed that regardless of how difficult the situation was, we could overcome those challenges.

I know doing this for every line of a job description can be time-consuming. Still, in my experience, you only have to do this exercise once, as you can use these examples for other job applications as most of them ask for similar if not the same, experience and skills.

That’s a wrap! Save this article for future job applications and share it with someone who might benefit from it. We are all in this together <3

Until next time!

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