Written by Brad Egeland
Are you ready to spread your wings and seek out a new project management job in your organization or perhaps another company? Maybe you’re looking at a contract position for the next 6 or 12 months. Whatever you’re doing…you’re looking for a change. And you’re probably hoping for more money. If it’s important to you and you really want this change, then put enough effort and thought and preparation into it to give it a fighting chance to happen. With that in mind, I will present what I consider to be my top five can’t miss project management interviewing tips. Read these and think about your own tips…and please feel free to comment and discuss.
Experience trumps certification. Certification is nice, but experience trumps certification. If you have certification of some kind…PMP, CAPM, PPM, APM, etc….then play it up. But not at the expense of real project management and project management-related experience and successes. When the interview is over, that’s what the interviewer will take away more than the certifications that appear after your name.
Quantify anything you can. Whenever possible, quantify. Never say, I led a successful project to replace an organization’s accounting and reservation software with a new system. Say, I led a 12-person team on a highly successful $170,000 project to implement a new accounting and reservation system for a $25 million timeshare resort corporation in eight months, coming in 4% under budget and one week ahead of schedule. Include the numbers…they mean a lot to the interviewer and make a huge impression on him that you really know what you’re talking about and that it was a very important project success.
Ask questions about the PM infrastructure. Ask some key questions about their existing project management infrastructure. Ask about the project management office (PMO), if one exists. Ask about the PM leadership in the organization. Ask about the methodology used, ask about level of experience for the average PM, ask about how projects are assigned, etc. Interviewers remember the candidates who ask questions and they often like to hear themselves talk and share knowledge.
Ask questions about the types of projects and relate your experience. Be sure to ask some specific questions about the types of projects that roll through their organization and look for ways to inject your own relevant work experience. It ties you to their typical projects in a positive way – and that makes a good impression on the interviewer.
Show problem solving expertise. Interviewers know projects are troublesome. Anytime you can relate detailed problem solving experience to something that comes up about a project during the interview will help you. Specific info will legitimize you.
Summary / call for input
The bottom line is this – if you’re serious about making a move to a new PM job, then do it right. There’s a big difference between sending off a few resumes and finding one you really want for your next position. And once you have that hard-to-land interview, you need to make every second and every effort count. Because then you’re likely one of only two or three candidates they are looking at for the job. These five tips can help give you the edge you need.
Readers – do you agree with these? Did you find these tips helpful? Please feel free to share your own thoughts and tips and let’s discuss.
About Brad Egeland
Brad Egeland is a Business Solution Designer and IT/PM consultant and author with over 25 years of software development, management, and project management experience leading initiatives in Manufacturing, Government Contracting, Creative Design, Gaming and Hospitality, Retail Operations, Aviation and Airline, Pharmaceutical, Start-ups, Healthcare, Higher Education, Non-profit, High-Tech, Engineering and general IT. Brad is married, a father of 11, and living in sunny Las Vegas, NV. Visit Brad’s site at http://www.bradegeland.com/.