Top Program Manager Interview Questions with Example Answers [2022]

Prepare for your Program Manager interview by going through these most asked Program Manager interview questions. Additionally, get access to sample answers and interviewer's expectations.

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  • Question: What is a project that you did not complete and deliver on time?
  • Question Overview: This question is designed to see how applicants handle failure. It's important to note that you don't have to have failed at a project to answer this question. You can discuss a project that was canceled or one that you had to scale back.

    Sample Answer: I once had a project that was supposed to be completed in six months. We ended up taking nine months. I was not able to communicate the delays effectively, and the client was upset. I learned that it's important to be honest and transparent with clients. I also learned that it's important to have contingency plans in place in case something goes wrong.

      What the interviewer is looking for:
    • - Applicant's ability to learn from mistakes
    • - Ability to communicate and admit fault
    • - Ability to take responsibility for failure

  • Question: Where do you see yourself in 5 years from now?
  • Question Overview: Program managers are responsible for the success of multiple projects. It's important to see if applicants have a long-term vision for their career and how they plan to achieve it.

    Sample Answer: I see myself as a program manager with a portfolio of successful projects. I want to be known as a leader who is able to take on new challenges and adapt to change. I want to be able to work with a variety of teams and clients, and I want to continue to grow professionally. In five years, I hope to have moved up in my company and have more responsibility. I want to be able to mentor other program managers and help them develop their careers.

      What the interviewer is looking for:
    • - Long-term career goals
    • - How the applicant plans to achieve them
    • - How the applicant will continue to grow and develop professionally

  • Question: How would you decide which MRI machine is better given the specs?
  • Question Overview: This question tests your ability to make a decision based on data. It's important to understand the difference between qualitative and quantitative data. Qualitative data is subjective and can be difficult to interpret. Quantitative data is objective and easier to understand.

    Sample Answer: I would look at the specifications of each MRI machine. I would examine the cost of each machine, the number of MRI scans it can perform per day, the length of time it takes to perform a scan and the cost of maintenance. I would also look at the quality of images produced by each machine. I would examine the resolution, contrast and signal-to-noise ratio. I would also look at the size of each machine and how much space it takes up.

      What the interviewer is looking for:
    • - Ability to interpret data
    • - Critical thinking skills
    • - Ability to make decisions based on data

  • Question: How would you design a system to prevent click fraud?
  • Question Overview: This question asks applicants to explain their analytical thinking and problem-solving skills. It also tests their ability to design a system that prevents click fraud, which is when a user clicks on an ad without buying anything.

    Sample Answer: I would start by researching click fraud. I would look at the current system and identify what's working and what's not. I would examine the root causes of click fraud and find ways to prevent it. I would look at the data and identify patterns. For example, I might notice that click fraud is more likely to occur on Mondays or that it's more prevalent on certain types of ads. I would then create a system that prevents click fraud based on these patterns.

      What the interviewer is looking for:
    • - Ability to identify and solve problems
    • - Critical thinking skills
    • - Ability to design a system to prevent click fraud

  • Question: What is the most challenging project you have worked on?
  • Question Overview: This question gives you an opportunity to see how applicants handle difficult situations. Great program managers have the ability to lead teams through tough times and come out on top.

    Sample Answer: I once managed a project that was in danger of failing. The client was unhappy with the progress and threatened to cancel the contract. I worked with the project manager to create a plan for improvement. We identified areas for improvement and created a new timeline. We also re-evaluated staffing needs and made changes. We then presented our findings to the client and they agreed to give us one more chance. We were able to deliver on time and within budget, and the client was very pleased with the final product.

      What the interviewer is looking for:
    • - Ability to manage a project through a difficult situation
    • - Ability to lead a team through a difficult situation
    • - Ability to manage a project through a difficult situation

  • Question: What is your greatest weakness?
  • Question Overview: This question is designed to see how applicants handle difficult situations. It's important to be honest, but also show how you've overcome your weaknesses.

    Sample Answer: I'm a perfectionist. I want everything to be just right. This can be a strength, but it can also be a weakness. I've learned that it's important to let go of the small stuff and focus on the big picture. I've also learned that it's okay to ask for help. I've found that my team is willing to lend a hand when needed.

      What the interviewer is looking for:
    • - Ability to be honest
    • - Ability to overcome weaknesses
    • - Ability to learn from mistakes and apply that knowledge

  • Question: What is your favorite product?
  • Question Overview: This question is designed to see if applicants are passionate about their work. It also shows how they think about products and services.

    Sample Answer: I love our new product line. I've been working on it for a while now, and I'm excited to see it on the market. The product is a revolutionary new way to manage inventory. It's going to save our customers a lot of time and money. It's also going to make our company more competitive in the marketplace.

      What the interviewer is looking for:
    • - Passion for the applicant's field of work
    • - Ability to analyze and evaluate a product
    • - Understanding of the applicant's industry

  • Question: What makes you the best candidate for this position?
  • Question Overview: This is your chance to sell yourself. Applicants should demonstrate their leadership skills, ability to work on a team, and how they'll make the company more efficient and productive.

    Sample Answer: I'm a strong communicator with a proven track record of working in teams. I'm also a creative problem solver with the ability to think outside the box. I've been able to lead teams through change and help them achieve success. I'm also an effective communicator and have experience working with executives. My experience in program management will help me lead your program management team and ensure we're working towards your goals.

      What the interviewer is looking for:
    • - Leadership skills
    • - Ability to work in a team environment
    • - Communication skills
    • - Problem-solving skills

  • Question: How will you write a code for B-trees?
  • Question Overview: This question tests your ability to think on your feet and solve problems. You'll be asked to write code for a B-tree, which is a data structure used to store information.

    Sample Answer: I would start by writing a function that takes in a number of nodes and returns the number of nodes in the tree. Next, I would write a function that takes in a node and returns the parent node. Finally, I would write a function that takes in a node and returns the left and right child nodes.

      What the interviewer is looking for:
    • - Ability to think quickly and write code
    • - Knowledge of data structures and algorithms
    • - Problem-solving skills

  • Question: What would you do if the PM's on your program were not delivering?
  • Question Overview: Program managers are responsible for the success of their programs. If a program manager is not getting the results they need, they must be able to identify and address the problem. This question asks applicants to describe how they would handle a situation where project managers are not performing.

    Sample Answer: I would first analyze the situation. I would look at the project's progress and determine if there are any issues with scope, budget or staffing. I would then meet with each project manager to discuss their progress. I would also meet with their leads to see if there are any issues that need to be addressed. If I find that the project manager is not meeting expectations, I would meet with them again and discuss ways to improve performance. If the issue is still not resolved, I would meet with their manager and have a candid conversation about the situation.

      What the interviewer is looking for:
    • - Ability to identify and address problems
    • - Communication skills
    • - Ability to lead in spite of resistance

  • Question: What is your experience with large scale implementations?
  • Question Overview: Large scale implementations are projects that involve multiple departments and multiple teams. They're often complex and require a lot of coordination. Great program managers are able to manage these projects effectively and ensure they're completed on time and within budget.

    Sample Answer: I've managed several large scale implementations in the past. I've learned that it's important to have a clear understanding of the project's scope. You must also have a solid grasp of the company's vision and goals. I work with each project manager to define parameters and milestones. I then create a communication plan to keep everyone on the same page. I also make sure we have a clear understanding of what success looks like. This way, we can identify if changes are needed along the way.

      What the interviewer is looking for:
    • - Ability to manage multiple teams
    • - Experience with large scale implementations
    • - Understanding of the importance of communication and collaboration

  • Question: What is the one feature of your email provider you would change and why?
  • Question Overview: This question is designed to see how applicants think on their feet. It's a good way to see how they approach problems and challenges. Applicants should be able to explain their thought process and how they would solve the problem.

    Sample Answer: I would change the way email providers sort messages. I'd like to see a feature that sorts messages by sender, date and subject. This would make it easier for me to find important emails quickly.

      What the interviewer is looking for:
    • - Ability to think creatively
    • - Ability to solve problems
    • - Critical thinking skills

  • Question: What is a software product that you like/don't like and how would you improve it?
  • Question Overview: Program managers are responsible for overseeing the development of software products. This question asks applicants to think critically about a product they use and how they would improve it.

    Sample Answer: I love the way the new version of X software is organized. I think it's a great improvement over the previous version. I would like to see more integration with other software products. I also think it would be helpful if there was a mobile app available.

      What the interviewer is looking for:
    • - Critical thinking skills
    • - Ability to analyze and assess a product
    • - Ability to communicate ideas and suggestions

  • Question: Design a refrigerator that uses modern technology with no consideration for cost.
  • Question Overview: This question is designed to test creativity and problem-solving skills. Applicants should demonstrate how they would approach a problem, and how they would determine the best solution.

    Sample Answer: I would start by researching the latest technology in refrigerators. I would then consider the cost of the technology and how it could be incorporated into a refrigerator. I would also consider the cost of the refrigerator and how it could be reduced to make it more affordable.

      What the interviewer is looking for:
    • - Ability to think outside the box
    • - Creativity
    • - Problem-solving skills

  • Question: How do you handle resistance?
  • Question Overview: Program managers must be able to lead teams through change. This question helps you see how applicants handle resistance and how they encourage teams to embrace new ways of working.

    Sample Answer: Change management is crucial to making certain a company moves forward in positive ways. As a program manager, we must see that all our project managers are on the same page and understand how to enact change. I believe we should execute in a phased manner. First, I share data-driven research to show the benefits of adopting new technologies and processes. This can help lessen resistance or hesitation. Then, I implement in a pilot environment, perhaps choosing one or two project teams to start. Throughout implementation, I maintain a mentor-like relationship with project managers and teams, rather than dictate orders. I believe this facilitates productive improvements across the organizations.

      What the interviewer is looking for:
    • - Ability to lead in spite of resistance
    • - Understanding of change management and its implementation
    • - Importance of company culture when introducing chang

  • Question: How will you explain OOP to kids?
  • Question Overview: Object-oriented programming is a programming paradigm that uses objects. It's a way of thinking about the world and how to solve problems. This question tests your ability to explain complex concepts in a simple way.

    Sample Answer: I would start by explaining what an object is. I would tell them that objects are like people. They have names, and they can do things. I would then explain that objects can be thought of as a collection of data and functions that work together to achieve a goal. For example, a car is an object. It has data like color, make and model. It also has functions like start, stop and drive. I would then explain that objects are like people in another way. Just like people, objects can be put together to make something more complex. For example, a car is made up of many objects like the engine, wheels and seats.

      What the interviewer is looking for:
    • - Ability to simplify complex ideas
    • - Communication skills
    • - Ability to explain technical concepts in layman's terms

  • Question: What are the efficiencies in your current role?
  • Question Overview: Program managers are responsible for ensuring projects are completed on time and within budget. This question asks applicants to explain how they achieve this.

    Sample Answer: I have a great team of project managers who are very efficient. They're able to complete tasks quickly and accurately. I also have a great relationship with my project leads. They're able to work with me to identify inefficiencies and eliminate them. For example, we've been able to reduce the time it takes to complete a project by 20%. We did this by streamlining our processes and eliminating unnecessary steps.

      What the interviewer is looking for:
    • - Applicant's ability to identify and eliminate inefficiencies
    • - Ability to manage multiple projects and programs
    • - How the applicant manages resources

  • Question: What percent of your projects have been successful?
  • Question Overview: Program managers are responsible for the success of their programs. This question asks applicants to share their success rate and explain how they measure success.

    Sample Answer: I define success as completing projects on time and within budget. I also look at whether we're meeting our strategic goals. I measure success by looking at the quality of deliverables and the satisfaction of our clients. I also examine how well we're utilizing resources and whether we're meeting our schedule and budget goals.

      What the interviewer is looking for:
    • - Applicant's ability to measure success
    • - How the applicant defines success
    • - Critical thinking skills

  • Question: What impact have you made in your current role?
  • Question Overview: Program managers are often responsible for overseeing multiple projects at once. This question asks applicants to describe their biggest accomplishments and how they've positively impacted the company.

    Sample Answer: I've made a significant impact on our company's bottom line. I've streamlined our processes and improved our efficiency. I've also helped to reduce costs by eliminating defects and reducing rework. I've also increased revenue by improving client satisfaction.

      What the interviewer is looking for:
    • - Impact of applicant's work on company goals
    • - Impact of applicant's work on projects and teams
    • - Impact of applicant's work on individuals

  • Question: Tell me about a time when you made a mistake.
  • Question Overview: This question is designed to see how applicants handle mistakes. Great program managers are able to admit their mistakes and learn from them. They are also able to communicate their mistake and what they learned to others.

    Sample Answer: I once made the mistake of not communicating effectively with my team. We were working on a project that was behind schedule and over budget. I was so focused on the details that I didn't realize the team was feeling overwhelmed. I should have been more open about the challenges we were facing and how we were going to overcome them. I learned that it's important to communicate with team members about the big picture, as well as, the details.

      What the interviewer is looking for:
    • - Ability to admit a mistake
    • - Ability to learn from a mistake
    • - Ability to communicate a mistake and what was learned