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  1. What kind of preparations or any helpful tips should be done/handle ahead for going in interview for junior project manager position or project manager position? ( A person who has no PM experiences like advancing career or a fresh grad)
  2. What are the most common questions for such kind of interviews?
  3. What kind of aspects that employers focus on such kind of a person ( no PM experiences or a fresh grad) for Project Management role?

PS: Some job descriptions welcome for fresh grad for junior project manager role.

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If the aspirant can't cite any project management experience, I'd boot them out the door. Doesn't have to be a formal project, but everyone who has filled out a PMP application has learned that much of your experience has prepared you for project management. –  Mark C. Wallace Oct 24 '12 at 12:22

4 Answers 4

Some example:

  • "Could you tell us about the projects you were involved in?"
  • "What was your role in that project?"
  • "Could you give an example of a project where you had to change something in order to deliver in time and on budget?"

Almost all the PM interviews in which I was involved in, were about the experience in the first place, then about the personality and the lexical knowledge. I risk that nobody will hire a product manager without experience. It is simply against common sense. In his answer to another question, David mentioned that Most PMs are born from the employee population - I experienced the same -, so if you have PM ambitions join the company in a different role, learn about how projects are done, get a good mentor, get involved in a couple of small projects and get the experience and practical knowledge.

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like you said [nobody will hire a product manager without experience], no chances for fresh grad and people who wants to advance career? –  kitokid Oct 24 '12 at 9:01
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Usually, I don't answer a question with a question, but there are exceptions. Let's say you are about to build a house and I'm new in the construction business. Would you trust me with your money and let me drive the construction of your new home? It is not about fixing a pipe, or painting a wall, but the whole deal? Or, would you pick somebody with a validated (e.g. through references, or networking) experience to do it? If you start from the bottom, you'll learn how the organization operates, you'll have excellent inside and outside connections and a stressless learning period. –  Zsolt Oct 24 '12 at 9:57
  1. Good hiring practices evaluate knowledge, skills, and abilities. To prepare, you need to be able to demonstrate knowledge of PM things: the types of processes you would stand up to control your project, things like a risk process or quality process, a way to select staff, a way to procure materials you may need, a way to control costs and schedule, e.g., earned value and critical path methods. If you took classes in school in PM, you would want to highlight what those classes were and perhaps your grade(s). To demonstrate skills and abilities, you need to focus on those things you can transfer to PM. While you may not have formal PM experience, if you have management experience, such as with a job you held during school, cite those because many skills you grow with that transfers to PM. Also, do not minimize your project management experience. PM is a function of work. You have way more experience than you think. We begin managing projects at like age 5. Highlight projects in school or extracurricular activities and discuss what went well, what failed, and what you learned.

I will skip #2.

  1. Too many of us put too much weight on experience. Experience does not hold a ton of validity in hiring, but despite this it is heavily weighted. However, if you scored an interview and you are new to this, then you can assume that they are not requiring some level of experience and the role is consistent with that. It might mean the project is on the simple side, with only a few resources and not a lot of money. Critical thinking is one of the highest levels of validity in predicting performance. This is consistent across many 'thinking' type jobs. So, above everything else, demonstrate your ability to think critically, to analyze, to theorize, to problem solve. Demonstrate that you are smart.
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Although I see it a bit differently, I like your answer –  Zsolt Oct 24 '12 at 15:51

Having no professional experience with project management is not as having no experience at all. If you have no experience at all, the best you can hope for is an intern position, not a junior one. What you'll be asked for, in case you are fresh grad, is to relate some of your university experiences to a project management role. So be prepared to answer question about university projects, that involves a group of people, and volunteer experiences.

Also you may be asked what project management techniques you know. And of course, that may be practical questions like you are going to miss a deadline and you do not have enough resources, what you are going to do?

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Management Blog has an extensive treatment of how to interview, including sample questions, things to avoid, and the underlying principles that lead you to choose questions. He has a very structured process that leads from the job description to the interview to the selection. Not PM specific, but it should be easy to adapt.

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