Top 5 interview questions for Project Manager and Business Analyst roles
Business Analysts (BAs) and Project Managers (PMs) roles are constantly evolving. With current pandemic, it has become even more pertinent to keep up with changes to stay relevant and competitive within the market. This is especially so within the banking and financial sector where there is much technological disruption.
How is the market looking like?
Singapore's businesses are making a major push towards digitalisation this year, prompted by the COVID-19. Take the retail space as an example which have been gravely hit in terms of sales and value today. To curb further losses, about 600 retailers have signed up to join online platforms such as Amazon, Lazada, Shopee and Qoo10, helped by an e-commerce booster package that was launched in early April this year.
Digitalisation has become a must-have capability for businesses including banks and financial institutions. Consequently, the demand for manpower have been increasing. The need to minimise movement and the safe distancing measures put in place have compelled some SMEs to accelerate the adoption of digital solutions, be it to optimise their processes, diversify their sales channels, or make it more efficient and safe to work remotely.
Are more people joining the gig economy?
Many businesses are beginning to embrace a more cost-effective contract model to employ staff on a shorter-term basis to complete specific projects. This is especially prevalent within this space as most projects that are currently in place now would only require a specialist for a certain period of time.
In addition, if you are looking for career progression, you have the option to negotiate new terms - especially if you have niche skills that are in high demand. Freelancing within a niche role can hand the power back to the candidate.
We spoke to Subashini Loganathan, Recruitment Consultant of Huxley Singapore, to find out what are the 5 top questions project managers and business analysts would get in an interview.
- Introduce yourself
This may seem to be an obvious question in all interviews, but the points you decide to share and elaborate with your hiring manager is crucial.
Try out the ‘Situation, Task, Action, Result’ (STAR) framework. For example, employers might be looking for proof of problem-solving skills, analytical ability and it would be good to provide some examples of your strengths within these areas.
- Can you name the tools that are helpful for Business Analysts? Are you familiar with project management software?
There are several software tools that you will need to be well-versed in to do the job. Below are some that you should be familiar with, and now is the time to upskill if you haven’t already done so:
- Competency in Microsoft applications including Word, Excel, and Outlook.
- Describe your familiarity with SQL queries.
- PRINCE2, Change Management Course/familiarity, PMP certification
Some hands-on skills that project manager jobs will require include:
- Excellent planning, organisational, and time management skills.
- Experience leading and developing top performing teams.
- A history of leading and supporting successful projects.
- How can you handle and manage the difficult stakeholders? How would you work with a difficult stakeholder? Tell me about a time when your stakeholders didn’t agree on a project. How did you proceed?
As a professional, stakeholder management is key. Showcase your strong stakeholder management skills during the interview by sharing your experience in dealing with different departments or teams such as your front office colleagues, or others. Bring up examples of working with internal and external stakeholders to run compliance initiatives.
Share some examples of how you’ve dealt with difficult situations- for instance, in situations where a breach of regulations is detected, share how you would go about dealing with it.
- How do you deal with difficult team members? How would you motivate a team during a project?
A good way to begin is to describe a project you were involved in with your team, and how perhaps a colleague differed on your approach to the assignment. It would be good to go about explaining how you were still able to create agreement out of conflict, and move the project along.
The hiring manager’s main aim here is to find out how you work with others—how you work on team, which is so essential to just about any job these days.
- Describe the most challenging project you have worked on and why? Describe a situation you were struggling to meet an important project deadline? What did you do to resolve the situation?
One of the main challenges that Project Managers and Business Analysts face are poorly defined goals, and not being able to identify what their key stakeholders and customers desire as an outcome. During the process of ‘Requirement Gathering’, if the goals and objectives of a project are not clearly defined, the project is doomed to fail. Therefore, business analysts and project managers can opt to use planning software and team-collaboration applications to define precisely the goals of the project and the obligations of each team member. Share with the hiring manager how this solution has helped you resolved the problems you faced, and it can highlight your ability to be calm and tactful in tackling challenges at work.
Still nervous about the interview?
Take the time to collect yourselves mentally to leave a confident impression in the conversation. As far as possible, think about questions that you would like to ask the company as well in a conversation. If it eases your nerves, try writing them down and having them beside you throughout the interview so you are fully prepared.
We’re happy to advise and support you in the introduction of video-based job interviews and also be here to provide you with other tips for your career aspirations. Feel free to reach out to us via the contact form below for a confidential conversation.