Project managers earned a median salary of $105,000 in 2011, according to the Project Management Institute. With that kind of salary and the increasing need for managers for team projects, it’s not surprising that more project managers competing for jobs.
If you’re in the market for a project management job, these interviewing tips will help you stand out in the crowd and land that coveted position.
Be open to a new methodology
Whether you’re interviewing with a small business or a large company, project management methodology may be different from what you’ve been trained to follow. Before the interview, research the people who’ll speak with and the company executives, including the head of project management, the CIO, and the COO, to see if you tell ahead of time if they prefer a certain methodology, such as PMI or Agile development.
Distinguish between project management and people management
When you’re preparing examples for your interview, be sure to have some examples of both project management and people management. Although both are involved in the process of project management, the two really are separate things. You want to show you make a distinction between the two.
Before your interview, think of times when you’ve dealt well with the “hard” side of project management – budgets, deadlines, etc. – and times when you’ve dealt well with the “people” side of project management – interpersonal issues, motivation, etc.
Get familiar with the business
Before you interview for a project management position, get familiar with that particular business. Of course, business know-how is essential for project managers, in general, but if you’re shooting for a project management job in a new industry, research is even more crucial.
Chances are that your skills are easily transferrable between one industry and another, but you need to be prepared to show that to the person who is interviewing you with solid examples. Doing lots of pre-reading about the industry for which you’re interviewing is the best way to make this happen.
Prepare your “about me” pitch
Because project management can be such a broad field, preparing your “about me” pitch is even more important for project management interviews than other types of interviews. You may even want to write out your answer to the classic “tell me about yourself” interview opener.
Also, be sure that you tailor your pitch to the type of business with which you’re interviewing. That way, you’ll show right off the bat how your experiences and credentials line up with the business.
Be ready with examples
Before you walk into any interview, be prepared with examples. You don’t want to stumble around when asked for examples of successes or failures – questions that will inevitably be asked in an interview. In fact, it’s a great idea to keep written examples of your project management experiences so you can refresh your memory before an interview.
As you’re checking for examples, consider the times when you provided a fix that saved a project from slipping away from its deadline and times that will show you are a team player.
Know what you’re looking for
As a project manager, goals are what you deal with every day. This means you definitely need to think through your career and job goals before you walk into an interview. You’ll inevitably be asked about your career goals and how this job would get you towards your goals. Again, it’s just best to be prepared with specifics for questions like these.
Becoming a project manager or moving jobs as a project manager can involve some tricky interview questions, for sure. Using these six tips to prepare for your interview can help you pull it off and land the perfect job.