tency areas: technical ones like risk and planning,
behavioral ones like stakeholder management and
communications, and contextual ones like life
cycles and organizational culture.
Next, jot down examples of what you can do
for an organization. Think about times in your
career when projects were difficult, challenging
or even failures. Here are a few areas that make
a project challenging or difficult:
Now bring everything together and produce
interview questions based on what you know.
If the job description highlighted resource management, highlight some excellent examples of the
processes and tools you use to manage this. Also
think about the behavioral aspects of resource
management, like choosing the right skills for the
team. There might be a contextual competency
too, like pulling the team together in a matrix
management organization. Bring in the challenges or difficulties you have faced with resource
management—areas like resource scarcity, skill
deficiencies and battles with line managers for
resource allocation. It is these stories that interviewers are really interested in.
A question like, “How do you manage conflicting demands for resources?” should have an
answer that first highlights that this is a common
problem on a project and that, yes, it happens to
you all the time. You then tell the story about how
you overcame the problem by drawing on your
technical, behavioral and contextual project management competencies.
Once you start thinking about common challenges in managing projects, it becomes much
easier to start thinking like an interviewer.
Lindsay Scott is the director of program and
project management recruitment at Arras
People in London, England.
Q: I’m not looking to change jobs, but I want
to become better at networking. Do you have
some steps I can start using today?
A: I think networking is one of the most underrated skills for project managers, so it’s great that
you recognize that you want to get better at it.
Networking is not just about meeting new people,
it’s mainly about sharing information, and that can
apply to people you already know, too.
The first thing you can do is think about networking in your current organization. The goal
here is to cultivate relationships that can help you
do your job better. Make a list of the five to 10
people whom you interact with most frequently
in your current role. It makes sense to start with
strengthening these ties. Next, think about who in
the organization could help you do your job better.
This might be someone in the finance department
who works on your project accounts or someone
in the project management office who can advise
on certain procedures. These are the new relationships you want to form, and all you need to do is
schedule a time to meet.
These are the simplest things you can do now. In
lots of ways, they are the easiest because there is a
mutual benefit in building a relationship. You get
to benefit from their expertise, and they appreciate
someone utilizing their experience: a quick win-win in networking. PM
Don’t travel down
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Networking is not just about meeting
new people, it’s mainly about sharing
information, and that can apply to
people you already know, too.