Behavioral Interview Question: Tell me about a project you initiated. What did you do? Why? What was the outcome? Were you happy with the result?
Everyone needs to be able to manage a project no matter what industry you work in or where you are in the management hierarchy. And companies need to know that, if asked, you can work without direction. Questions that ask you straight whether or not you think you can handle a project are always going to receive a “yes.” So instead, it is quite likely you will be asked to describe a time you managed a project in your past. See also our list of the 15 Most Common Project Management Questions.
This isn’t a trick question. This is chance for you to share something about your past that will impress the employer. It’s an open opportunity to talk yourself up. But first – what if you don’t have a great answer? If you are currently in an entry level position try something like this:
“Honestly, I wish I had a good example for this, but it was primarily my role to take direction. While I took initiative whenever I could and worked independently, I wasn’t in a leadership position at my previous employer, and while I shared my ideas it was my job to take direction as it was given and run with it. However, I’m very comfortable with the ability to initiate projects as needed, and taking on that type of leadership role is something I’m eager to do.”
Don’t try to stretch any story. If you don’t have one, it’s better to say you do not but still make yourself sound like a great employee. Those that try to answer this by stretching the truth often stumble over their words and give a bad answer.
Of course, it’s better if you do have the experience, and then you can answer like so:
“Yes, I was lead on projects X, Y, and Z. Project Y was my personal favorite. Together with the project team I established, we created an action plan for the project and I divided the tasks up based on each team member’s skillset and preferences. We kept a log of the project as we went through – I actually used a survey I designed to monitor progress by requiring my team members to fill out the survey daily with their progress. The project was an incredible success. Our key results included A,B and C. I think if I had to do anything differently, it would be creating a more accurate action plan. Some of our deadlines were too late or too early, and while the project was completed on time it would have been better if the timeline was more accurate. Overall though I was very pleased with the outcome, and that’s why we started project Z.”
It’s okay to talk yourself up. Share your experiences. Wow them with your abilities. Use it as an opportunity to show that you are responsible, organised and a great leader.
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