Even though we all go through the recruitment process at least several times in our careers - with various results - there’s no denying it can be really stressful and overwhelming. Even more so if it’s for a position you would really like to work in. Like with all things, coming prepared can only help you, and since I can still remember my interviews with Netguru (pretty intense - but in a good way!), I’m happy to take advantage of this opportunity to give you some insight into what we ask our candidates.
Don’t forget that you’ll likely hear general questions
As you might suspect, there are some questions that need to be asked regardless of position the candidate is applying for. We want to get to know you as a person - what’s your current position like, what’s your background and experience, what skills you have acquired on the way. Sure, a big part of this is included in your CV, but it is really great to hear that coming directly from you. You also have a chance to highlight the part you think is the most relevant.
While I’m not going to go into detail on this one, there’s one piece of advice that I believe might come in handy: when describing situations from your current/previous job, remember that we are not familiar with its specifics. This is especially true if you’re coming from a different industry. Make sure you present it in such a way that we understand your tasks and how they relate to the skillset we are looking for - a sentence or two can really give us some much needed context.
The specific flow of applying for a PM position
Obviously, there’s also a more specific part of the interview - conducted by a representative of our Project Management team and aimed at checking if you’ve got both the skills and the knowledge you’ll need to thrive in this position. There is also certain number of tools we are using, You can see general list of top 10 tools in Project Management to check if you know some of them.
One thing we really need to see is how you approach and go about solving a difficult situation that’s prone to happen to anybody in this or similar position. Depending on your tenure, this may either be a situation you have gone through, or a hypothetical scenario described to you - in this case, we’ll make sure that you have enough information to take the required decisions. This is sometimes quite a puzzle to be solved, but bear in mind that those cases do not come with only one solution - the main goal is to check if you are quick on your feet, know what actions need to be taken by whom and when, and can correctly identify the risks of a given situation. Also - we know that at this moment you might know a bit about Netguru and our way of working, but have no insight into the details of our approach and procedures. As long as we see that you’re basing your responses on your best judgement and heading in a reasonable direction - it proves that you are the guy or gal we are looking for!
No matter if you’re applying for a junior, regular or senior position, you can be sure that, in addition to your skills, we’ll really need to know that you’re no stranger to Agile as a methodology. A little theory never hurt anybody, so don’t be surprised if you need to indulge us with a makeshift definition or two - not in order for us to check it against dictionaries or handbooks, but rather to see if you have a grasp of the concepts. We also love questions that check if you can apply that knowledge in real life - but that’s probably for the more experienced of our candidates.
The way we manage and run our projects is based on Scrum - so many of the questions we might ask here are related to this particular framework and its elements. If you are familiar with it - I really believe some potential things we might ask about are starting to occur to you. If not, well, if only there was some entry level primer on this matter which you could understand and benefit from regardless of your experience...
The final test - a conversation with your future team members
Once you’re past the first call interview with us, the next step is an interview with two of our PM leaders - the last test you’ll be subjected to before being invited onboard! They want to be able to get to know the most promising candidates themselves, and give the final thumbs-up if everything goes well.
In all honesty, the goal here is really similar to the first interview - get to know you as a person, see what you are like under a bit of pressure and what skills you have developed thanks to your career so far. While I won’t be discussing the questions in detail (we don’t want you to be THAT well prepared) - the scenario here is not all that different from the previous one. We’ll be inquiring a bit about your experience (especially the part that’s relevant from a project management standpoint), try to catch you off-guard with some more cases to tackle, and maybe add some methodological questions on top of that. If you got this far - you’re probably well equipped to get through this one too.
Getting a job as a PM isn’t easy, but it’s not rocket science
Yes! If you are seriously considering applying to a Project Manager position - I can hardly believe any of the above questions would be unthinkable to you. What you do not have to be afraid of is the type of questions people usually associate with IT and creative/abstract thinking, like How many windows do you think there are in Los Angeles. Unless you’ve got a background in statistics - then you’ve brought it upon yourself and we won’t miss that chance!
As a closing thought, it’s true that recruitment and interviews can be really stressful, so much so that many people even perceive the recruiters as hostile. That is not remotely true, as one of the biggest challenges here is to give the candidate an opportunity to shine and show their best selves. You may be sure that if you pass all of this, you will be ready to work with us and to lead successful projects.