Top 21 Program Manager Interview Questions In 2021 [With Answers]

It has been an established fact across the industries and various business fraternities, that in order to achieve success a big long project must be divided and segregated into several flexible projects or programs. This division not only ensures efficiency in operations and cost but also maintains the productivity level of employees. A project or program is usually managed and supervised by a head of operations or a senior manager, who usually goes by the name of the Program manager.

It is an extremely crucial position and a program manager is usually tasked with developing business strategies, assess and evaluate their impact upon the organization, and also watch out for the smooth implementation as well as execution of the programs assigned. A program manager usually earns a hefty salary and lucrative benefits as well as incentives. Therefore, considering the importance and earning opportunities, a candidate must prepare sincerely for this position, which can be done by referring to the previously asked interview questions.

21 Best Interview Questions To Study

1. What Are The Possible Reasons For A Project Exceeding Budgetary Requirements?

Being a program manager you will be required to set budgets and oversee that it does not exceed the limit.

Sample Answer

Sir, budgets are set for the reference and consideration of program managers, however, the real implementation of it might differ and change as per the situations and circumstances prevailing in the market. There are several reasons for an increase, such as:

  • Legal changes
  • Political factors empacting the project
  • Labor escalation
  • Inflation, etc.

2. Explain In Brief The Three Types Of Deviations?

This is an important job-specific interview question and tests your knowledge in relation to the field of standard deviation and its management.

Sample Answer

Sure, sir, these are:

  • Direct Material Deviation:
  • Direct Labor Deviation and
  • Factory Overheads’ Deviation

3. How Do You Handle Employees Not That Productive or Negligent Towards Their Duties?

Being a program manager you will be tasked with handling and managing the employees that are deployed on the project. Through this question, an interviewer wants to know about your strategies and procedures using which you can effectively manage employees.

Sample Answer

It is common to have one or two employees that are pretty negligent and lethargic in executing their duties in a project. In order to ensure success and maintain the overall profitability of the project, it is crucial to managing them. If I encounter such a situation, I always, first of all, try to understand if there is anything that is genuinely bothering them and hampering their progress. If there is a genuine reason I would try to remove it, and if there is not, I would give a stern warning to become serious, or else you will be fired from the duty.

4. Name The Common and Widely Used Program Management Software.

The business world moves in and around technology. There is not even a single sphere, which is untouched by software and allied techniques. Hence, it is necessary for you to refer and even use management software. An interviewer through this question wants to know about your tech-savviness.

Sample Answer

Sure sir, these are:

  • Hive
  • Trell and
  • Smartsheet

5. What Is Your Understanding Of Program Charter?

This question tests your knowledge and understanding of the several practical procedures and documents required in program management.

Sample Answer

Sir, the Program charter is a written document that contains all the key details pertaining to the program to be executed. It contains strategy as well as all the goals and objectives which are to be achieved through the project. It is an exhaustive document and usually requires the signature of the sponsor of the project and also the major stakeholders.

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6. What Are The Steps Involved In The Development Of A Program?

The establishment and development of a program is a lengthy process and involves a series of steps. A program manager must be aware of all such steps as there will always be questions based on them.

Sample Answer

Sure, sir, the steps involved, arranged in chronological order are:

  • Gathering the raw data through questionnaires, surveys and other relevant forms and documents
  • Analysis of the data gathered
  • Development of stretagies as well as goals and objectives of the program solely based on the data analyzed
  • Define the budgetary requirements for the program
  • Present the case strongly in front of the directors and management, so as to obtain their approval
  • Hire requisite personnel and move towards the execution stage.

7. Explain The Technique Of WBS In Program Management.

WBS is an important program management technique and you must prepare for it in detail, as there are high chances that there will be a question in this regard.

Sample Answer

Sir, WBS stands for Work Breakdown Structure is an extremely important technique for management as well as the implementation of the program. In this technique, the entire project is broken and divided into mini fragments, with unique plans being made for each fragment. Every division is headed by a senior manager, who is usually a subordinate to the program manager and is responsible for the smooth execution of his own division. The technique of WBS is influenced by the ‘delegation’ of powers and works well in executing long projects.

8. When Can You Start?

This is a common interview question using which an interviewer wants to know about your primary date of joining. Though immediate starters are always preferred, try to answer this question genuinely, considering your own personal situations and circumstances. A generic answer must be highly avoided and you are seriously requested to control your emotions as well, as this question in no way guarantees your selection. Prepare for this question in-depth by referring to our famous article on this topic.

9. How Do You Minimize Possible Program Risks?

This question tests your knowledge and understanding of the various risks and their management, associated with the execution of a program.

Sample Answer

In order to minimize and manage the possible instances of risks, a program manager must always conduct a risk audit of the designed program charter. He or she must brainstorm and analyze the various possible risks that could arise during the course. These risks must be duly noted in a risk register and also the strategies must be developed which will mitigate those risks. This way, whenever a risk materializes, there will always be a ready-made template to manage that situation.

10. What Is Your Best Strength Making You Perfect For This Role?

This question is just another variation of the regular strength-weakness-related question. In response to this question, you are required to share the strength which matches and relates to the work profile mentioned in the job description. Any general strength, such as detail-oriented, hardworking, excellent communication skills, etc. can also be used in the answer but in a customized manner. Refer to our famous article for better insights.

11. What Motivates You To Work?

There are always some factors and situations that motivate an individual to work hard and achieve his or her goals and objectives in life. These factors are always on the radar of an interviewer as these help him to analyze as well as examine your overall personality and attitude. A perfect answer to this question is always influenced by your own personal situations, circumstances, and desires, hence always avoid any generic answers. Refer to our exclusive post enriching your mind with ten unique sample answers.

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12. How Do You Prioritize Between Multiple Projects?

Being a program manager, you will always be assigned more than one program or project to be executed and finished. Thus, it is necessary that you have a proper prioritization technique that will help you in achieving your goals and objectives in a time-bound manner. This could be done with effective prioritization and an interviewer is simply interested in knowing your technique. In case you are wondering for answers, refer to our exclusive post having ten unique sample answers.

13. Which Is Your Favorite Animal?

This is a master personality evaluating question and has the ability to even examine your future aspirations as well as goals in life. For the unprepared candidates, this might be just another interview question but a veteran candidate always knows the amount of extra effort to be put in. An ideal answer to this question can improve your chances of selection considerably and thus we recommend you to give a targeted preparation for this interview question by referring to our dedicated article.

14. Why You Chose To Work With Us?

This is a common interview question usually asked to enquire about the level of seriousness as well as the commitment of the candidates. The official website of the organization is the best source for its preparation and all the major achievements, accomplishments, and historical facts must be noted from it. Post this, frame a beautiful answer compiling all the noted data with your own personal interests of joining the company. Prepare in-depth for this interview question by referring to our famous post.

15. Procurement Plays An Important Role In Program Management. Please Share The Procurement Procedure.

This question tests your knowledge and understanding of the principles of procurement and its management.

Sample Answer

Yes sir, I completely agree with the statement. Effective procurement will not only help an organization in increasing the profitability of the project but also helps in attracting better agencies as well as materials. There are various steps involved, such as:

  • Initially an RFI (Request for Information) is issued and details are ascertained as well as contemplated
  • Tender documents are created to be floated in the open market so as to attract bids
  • The interested parties bid on the tender documents and the lowest bidder is checked for quality and inspections are made
  • The procurement process concludes by handlign and awarding of the project to the lowest bidder.

16. Name and Explain Any Two Types Procurement Contracts Used Widely In Programs.

This question tests your knowledge and understanding of the various types of contracts used.

Sample Answer

Sure, sir, these are:

  • Item Rate Procurement Contract:In this contract the agency specifies the rate against each item which is sought to be procured. This is a more detailed plan and requires a lot of time and resoruces from the contractor’s end.
  • Fixed Rate Procurement Conract: In this contract, a contractor is entitled to bid only a fixed percentage, above or below the estimated tender amount. No item rates are required and the percentage mentioned would be applicable for all the items.
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17. Program Management Is A Stressful Role. Are You Up For It?

Through this question, an interviewer basically wants to understand whether or not you are ready to work in a challenging working environment often hectic and stressful. This is a basic requirement from the employees and you are expected to manage the programs quite efficiently. Always extend a serious and positive answer to this question. In case you are confused and need a better explanation for an in-depth preparation, refer to our famous article.

18. What Are Your Salary Expectations?

This is a common interview question and any answer given by you must be based on diligent research.

19. How Do You Handle Project Failure?

Through this interview question, an interviewer requires you to tell how you manage and handle the failure of a project. For a better explanation, refer to our exclusive post.

20. Mention Your Weaknesses.

This is a typical strength-weakness-related interview question and you are expected to share a genuine response. Please prepare sincerely for this interview question by referring to our exclusive post.

21. Do You Have Any Questions For Us?

It is a common habit of the interviewers to close an interview session by asking this question. Whenever you encounter this question be assured that your interview has ended and there will be more questions that will be asked from you. This question gives you an opportunity to ask a few questions from the interviewer in regards to the organization, its working culture, work ethics, etc. Skipping this question would not come in handy for you and can severely deplete your selection chances. Hence, always ask a few questions from your interviewer based on the model questions as mentioned below:

References

  1. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/1362361320981319
  2. https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/05da/d8dc13d3b16932070ee01a6654f82540355d.pdf