Top 25 PMP® Interview Questions And Answers You Must Prepare For in 2018
Interviews will make even the foremost assured people nervous. Especially, if it for an accountable position as that of a Project Manager. But, don’t worry. you'll be able to facilitate yourself and convey down your nerves by anticipating the queries and being prepared for them beforehand.Pramod Kumar Srivastava
Introduction to PMP®:
PMP ® (Project Management Professional) is an internationally recognized and valued certification offered by PMI (Project Management Institute) for project managers all over the globe.
The course is designed to help project managers — both new and experienced, to enhance their skills and further the career in Project Management. Alongside introduction to the basic of Project Management and its usage, this course gives an overview of concepts like process groups and project triangle in Project Management.
Why is it important?
Leading and directing projects is a difficult yet highly significant task in project management. For this, project managers require impeccable skills and knowledge relating to the field which is the prime focus of PMP® training. Furthermore, a PMP certification signifies the competence of a project manager enabling him to be a trusted and skilled employee for handling important projects.
The phases of an interview:
Here are the three major phases of an interview,
Phase 1: Invitation
When you apply for jobs at the organizations you aspire to work with, the first step from the employer’s side is ‘reviewable’. After reviewing your resume, if you are believed to be a good fit for the position, you receive an invitation for the interview. The invitation can be sent in various forms like e-mail, phone call, message or even a letter. However, each of them is kept professional and the same is expected from the candidate. Be sure to revert to the invitation professionally and promptly.
Phase 2: Meeting
The next phase is the face-to-face interview on the decided schedule. The main aim of this is to estimate the capabilities of the candidate and understand their personality. It is essential to make a good first impression on the employer by being punctual and professional. Highlight your strengths and very politely, accept your weaknesses. Be confident and positive but don’t over-do it.
Phase 3: Follow-up
The last and certainly not the least important phase is “Follow-up”. Not least because these phases can either make or break the opportunity. It is essential to adopt a professional way of communication for a follow-up. You can either drop a mail appreciating the time provided for interviewing you, expressing gratitude for the opportunity or simply give a phone call thanking and enquiring about the job.
Basic Interview Questions:
Here’s a list of topics for the basic and personalized type of interview questions on PMP®
Based on domain knowledge and personal experience:
About Industry and Market,
1) What are the current challenges in the industry today? Suggest possible solutions.
In this question, you need to analyze the current trends, challenges related to them and suggest a solution or two based on your knowledge and expertise. The key here is to convince the employer that you stay abreast with the changing trends of the market.
About Team Management,
2) What were the failure points in your last project? How do handle the team during a crisis?
This is asked to test your abilities as a team leader. Answer humbly by stating the pros and cons of being a team manager and how you decide to make the most of every situation. Tell your employer that you intend to grow with the company which you believe can happen with the overall growth of the team.
About career goals,
3) What are your career goals in the Project Management field for the next 2 years?
These questions are asked to understand your stability and commitment to the job. Answer honestly and be clear about your goals. Make sure the goals aren’t too unrealistic.
Tricky Interview Questions:
Here are some tricky and difficult interview questions one can expect from an employer,
Note: For personalized questions, the answers provided can be modified based on your own experience and job history.
1) What was the most challenging project you have handled? Tell me about it.
The most challenging project I’ve handled till date was the production of xyz product which involved 14 months of tenure. It involved 120 working employees at the plant and about 25 at the office. Handling things was difficult due to shift changes and large capacity. Alongside this, I was assisting my colleagues in two other projects. It was a hectic period but the project was successfully completed on time which makes it one of the major achievements for my career as a project manager.
2) What are the knowledge areas you need to focus on while handling a project in order to get the desired results? Name a few.
• Resource Planning
• Market Survey
• Cost management and optimization
• Risk management
• Quality control and planning
• Process improvement
3) Explain the key differences between a project, a program, and a portfolio.
4) What is Fishbone Diagram? What is it used for?
Fishbone diagram is a tool that allows us to perform an analysis for a certain event. This analysis uses the cause-and-effect approach.
It is used to discover the root cause of an issue so as to eliminate the problem from its core. It is also called Ishikawa diagram or cause and effect diagram.
5) What is a risk register?
It is a register maintained with a purpose of documenting potential risks and necessary actions that need to be taken during the crisis.
6) What is experience with failure? How do you handle failures? Describe a situation
In my experience working as a project manager, there was one incident that I vividly remember which can be termed as a failure — it was software development project where we were developing an app to help our client communicate with their customers better. After deployment, the client called me up saying several complaints kept coming in regarding the failure of webpage/homepage. Within one hour, I called up my team and started working on fixing the issue. The client was furious but we managed to deliver the results quickly which avoided the situation from getting worse.
7) What do you know about CMMI?
It is a process improvement training program that uses an approach of clearly defining the organization and project goals for improvement.
It stands for “Capability Maturity Model Integration”.
8) State a few techniques that can be used for defining scope?
• Product breakdown
• Requirements analysis
• Systems engineering
• Systems analysis
• Value analysis
9) How do you encourage your employees and ensure proper growth and development?
By mentoring, coaching and providing feedback about their overall work on a daily basis. I value growth and creativity which is why I ensure the team members stay motivated by reminding them of their strengths and help them get better at handling/overcoming their weaknesses.
10) Describe one quality you believe is a must to become a good project manager?
According to me, being proactive is one the most important quality a project manager must possess. His/her ability to identify and handle weak points, deviations and potential risks could save the team from flunking with the project.
11) Explain Peter Principle with an example
According to the Peter Principle, an employee raises his/her incompetency with time. Let us say, an employee is a good performer. His performance has been increasing consistently and noticing this, the boss decides to promote the employee. However, the performance doesn’t continue to increase after promotion. The reason behind this is that the employee might have reached his level of incompetence.
12) If you have been handed a project that is in the execution phase and you need to understand the quality management part to analyze potential risks and suggestions, which of the below would you refer to?
a) Issue log
b) Contact previous project manager
c) Go through the quality management plan
d) Review quality reports
13) Define one factor you believe is necessary to include in cost estimation:
According to me, it is Contingency. Contingency is the amount set aside for circumstances where expenses of the project may increase due to unexpected situations. It gives the project a sense of stability and helps handle risks efficiently.
14) If you are working for a consumer goods retailer and ready to develop the assumption log for building a new retail store. What is the first step you take?
a) Review the project business case
b) Refer a risk register
c) Discuss cost management
d) Conduct an improvement training program
15) Whilst requesting a quote from a client for a defined scope, which contract type is should be used?
For a well-defined project scope, the fixed-price contract is suggested.
16) What is the Risk Breakdown Structure?
The Risk Breakdown Structure is the hierarchical representation of risks involved in a project based on the categories.
17) Tell me something about Expert Judgment?
It is a tool used in the Monitor and Control Project Work process.
18) When is it ideal to use a cost-reimbursement contract?
Cost-reimbursement contracts are the best choice for projects with a constantly changing scope. It allows changes in the project and works as a good option while hiring an outsider to help with the completion of the project.
19) How is attribute sampling different from variable sampling?
The attribute sampling uses a pass/fail method as a basis to measure the quality of a product. And, variable sampling measures quality on a continuous scale.
20) Define one factor that should always be present in a control chart.
A control chart should always have limits. The upper and lower limits help in identifying and estimating the risks while keeping a check on the process to avoid it from going out of control.
Having discussed the phases of an interview and questionnaires, here we have listed some quick interview tips to help you ace the interview,
• Be punctual and show up on time.
• Be ready to talk about your achievements — both personal and professional.
• Keep a check on your language and avoid using fillers.
• Go through the job description and find key requirements you can talk about.
• Listen carefully and take time to gather your thoughts before answering.
• Dress and behave professionally.
• Avoid interrupting the interviewer.
• Carry all the essential documents.
• Do a brief research on the company and understand their needs.
• Thank the interviewer for his/her time and be polite with criticism too.
We have tried to gather all the essential information required for the interview but know that PMP is a vast topic and several other questions can be asked too. Prepare for the interview based on the type of industry you are applying for and some of the sample answers provided here vary with the type of industry. All in all, be honest and positive as it outshines all other qualities.