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Program Manager Interview Questions

The job of a program manager is challenging and loaded with responsibilities. This particular field presents ample employment opportunities and you will get a general idea about these in the program manager interview through the list of the most probable program manager interview questions given below.

Here is a list of the program interview questions and answers:

Question 1: Tell me the exact difference between program management and project management.

Answer: These two terms are often confused, but there are certain differences between both the terms. The interviewer just wants to test if you know the exact distinction between the two. Program management refers to management of several projects simultaneously, . On the contrary, project management involves managing only one project. One more important difference is that project managers deal directly with the resources; while program managers deal with project managers and the upper management or stakeholders.

Question 2: What are the primary functions of a program manager?

Answer: This appears to be a simple question, but it becomes very difficult for many candidates to describe the primary functions of a program manager accurately. Therefore, prepare yourself for this basic question and answer precisely, and to the point. It is advisable to first mention the main aspects of program management. They are governance, management, finance, infrastructure, and planning. As far as the the principal responsibilities of a program manager are concerned, you can mention that a program manager undertake many tasks, but some of them are -

  • Tracking the changes in customer end-user demand volumes against the contract manufacturer's capabilities
  • Forecast management i. e. to help ensure any unusually increased customer product demand quantities
  • Backlog management i. e. to ask questions regarding backlogs and related issues
  • Shipping management

Question 3: Explain your current position. OR Explain your career to date. (OR both the questions are asked)

Answer: You can answer both the questions, just make sure that you do it within five minutes. The interviewer wants to test the same. You should be able to gather information about your career and mention the salient points in brief. It would be an added advantage if you would be able to explain this session in a crisp and clear manner. Since a large part of program management involves taking complex information from multiple sources and communicating it to stakeholders in a way that is easy to understand, this question is very important.

Question 4: If you are given a task that involves implementing a PMO (program management office), how would you go about it?

Answer: This question is purely meant to test your logical thinking. You are required to know the ins and outs of program management office and understand the need for it, to shape how to best implement it, and then implement it in phases. However, any logical relevant answer can be appropriate.

Question 5: How do you go about managing risks? How would you ensure the whole team can get into the risk management process?

Answer: An understanding of the risk management process and its importance is a must for answering this question. Home work is what is expected here.

Question 6: How would you go about building a team?

Answer: For answering this question, you must know the importance of a team in an organization. Good teams always make programs successful and accurate. You can say that you will motivate and encourage your subordinates in the team so as to achieve your goals. Mention that you will apply various factors together to build a good and balanced team.

Question 7: What are your long term career goals? Where do you see yourself five years from now?

Answer: This question is asked to see how serious and goal oriented you are . The interviewer wants to check whether you possess career planning ability, short term or long term. Never say that you have not planned anything foryour future. It is in fact a good opportunity for you to describe your career plans and what you wish to do in the near future. You can convince the interviewer about how aspiring you are in this field. An interesting way to answer this question is that you can tell the interviewer where you started from and where you stand today in your profession Make sure that you do not start a long story, but are specific and to the point. The basic idea that you want to get across to the interviewer is that you have a plan. For every qualification that you possess, try to identify the next logical step for that position and use it as your answer. Try to avoid job titles and focus on job experience and responsibilities.

Question 8: If you had no direct authority over a colleague, how would you go about persuading them to support one of your proposals?

Answer: This is a tricky question that tests your influencing ability. Your answer should reflect that you know how to influence your co-workers or subordinates. There are several ways to influence a person . You just need to give an example of how you would manage to have an impact over that particular colleague so as to persuade him or her to support one of your proposals.

Question 9: When the projects are running over a long duration and you also need to include AGILE projects within your program, do you feel stressed?

Answer: Here you must know all the technicalities related to AGILE and program management. Then only, you would be able to answer this question confidently. However, it is better to give your honest opinion about such a situation. It is fine if you say that you personally do not think there can be any conflict between AGILE and programs, if proper planning and management is carried out. However in your answer, make sure that you present it in a reasonable, and intelligent manner.

Question 10: What do you feel your weaknesses are?

Answer: The interviewer simply wants to find out where you need improvement through your answer. Instead, tell them of a weakness that could actually be your strength in this job. It is advisable to keep your answer short and to the point.

These are the most frequently asked questions in the program management interviews. Try to speak of how you completed your previous projects on time and under budget.

Also tell them how you increased sales revenues of your previous or current company. If you refer to this list of questions and answers when you appear for the interview, you could be selected.

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