Jonathan Treu provides interview tips for aspiring project managers

Jonathan Treu

October 6, 2021

Jonathan Treu provides interview tips for aspiring project managers

Jonathan Treu: To prepare for a career in the rapidly expanding project management field, candidates must stand apart in the interview process.

Project management is a rapidly expanding field on a global scale. A Project Management Institute study anticipated 33 percent growth, the equivalent of 22 million new positions, between 2017 and 2027.

Despite the increasing demand, competition for these roles, particularly with top companies, remains fierce. Jonathan Treu said candidates still need to focus on their skills, accomplishments, and personality while preparing for common interview scenarios and curveballs.

Jonathan Treu advises preparing for different interview techniques and styles

It’s always best to prepare for interview types of all styles, but Jonathan Treu advises there are a few to really focus on for project management roles.

The first is behavior-based interviews. With this style, prepare a mental log of major accomplishments, particularly those demonstrating project management expertise, at your prior or current jobs. A potential employer wants to learn how you have handled past situations you are likely to encounter again in the new role, Jonathan Treu says.

Many questions revolve around conflict resolution, managing pressure or stress, and pivoting when problems appear. For project management, focus on core areas of the job — team communication, budgetary issues, time management, and risk.

A project manager interview may also use the case technique or a combination of case and behavior. In a case interview, you are given hypothetical situations and asked how you will respond, Jonathan Treu explains. This assesses your ability to think on your feet and provides insight into first glances at company-specific issues.

Do not allow concern about hitting the perfect solution to keep you from looking at the overall process. Your interviewer wants to learn how you would approach the problem and how effectively you are able to convey the information. Communication is a top skill for a project manager, so focus on the details.

If you get lost in the process, Jonathan Treu advises falling back on the traditional STAR technique — it’s a solid guide for all interviews. Explain the situation back as you unfold your solution. Focus on tasks, actions you and your team would take, and the expected results.

Jonathan Treu examines interview staging

For a project management role, you need to embody professionalism, Jonathan Treu advises. For both an in-person or video interview, err on the high-end of the employee dress code at the company. For a jeans and t-shirt start-up, a three-piece suit may be overboard, but business casual conveys respect while still acknowledging the standard attire. Always research your potential employer on common job boards and websites for additional tips for candidates.

Video meetings and interviews bring with them additional considerations beyond basic attire. Dress appropriately, but also examine your video background and make sure it is appropriate. Project management is a demanding field, so you want to demonstrate you can work in a distraction-free and organized environment. Video calls are a major part of a project manager’s life in a remote role, so use your interview to show you have the ability to deliver in this capacity with clear video and impeccable audio.