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Interview tips for project and programme managers

Feb 08, 2022
Interview tips for project and programme managers

If you are looking to progress within your role or move to a new opportunity, it is now more important than ever that you are preparing for interviews. 

See our best tips for project and programme manager interviews below:


Suss out the reporting lines:

The easiest way to suss out the level of a PM is to recognise who reports to them and who they report to. If they report to a Programme Manager, they are a PM (Project Manager) If they report to the head of department, they are likely a Programme Manager.

PM’s should be managing multiples resources of things like BA’s directly.

Back up your competency with examples:

You can relate most competency questions back to a few examples (and you should always have an example).

The best ones include dealing with difficult stakeholders, turning around a failing project, a time you failed on a project and what you learnt from it.

All competency questions will come back to examples – ‘tell me a time you are proud of’ or ‘what would you of changed’ or ‘tell me about a front to back delivery’…etc.

Know your projects:

If it is on your CV you have to know it front to back. Budget, timeline, resources.


If someone asks for your achievements a ‘delivery’ is not one of them! A ‘delivery’ is your job, an ‘achievement’ is something that wouldn’t have happened without you.

When did you take initiative? Did you put a new roster in? When did you go above and beyond?

Budgets and tools:

PMs should have control of their budget so you need to know what the budget is and how you manage it.

You also need to make sure you are structured in how you track your budget – think of tools you have used – for example, Jira etc.

Stop talking:

PM’s are concise – interviewers will not reply straight away when you answer. Don’t drone on. They are pretending to be difficult stakeholders to see how you react to the situation.

Be hands-on:

Firstly, say ‘I’ not ‘we’. You ran the project, don’t make it seem like the team ran it for you.

However, you need to be ‘hands on’. A good PM will have examples of how he gets stuck in when needed with aspects, like requirements.

However, you also don’t want to be getting in the way. You need to say you will trust people to do tasks.

The best PMs I have worked with always say “the hardest thing about being a PM is trying not to get too heavily involved and doing everything yourself”

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