40 PMO Interview Questions (With Sample Answers)

Indeed Editorial Team

Updated 5 February 2023

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Many organisations hire project management office (PMO) managers to oversee teams, allocate resources and define company standards. While interviewing for this position, the hiring manager may ask you about your abilities to perform these tasks. Reviewing possible interview questions can help you properly demonstrate your qualifications and increase your chances of obtaining a job offer. In this article, we discuss 40 PMO interview questions that a hiring manager might ask you and share sample answers to help you form your own.

Please note that none of the companies, institutions or organisations mentioned in this article are associated with Indeed.

General PMO Interview Questions

When meeting with a hiring manager, you can expect them to ask general PMO interview questions first. These prompts have a more universal appeal rather than being specific to the PMO manager position. They not only allow you and the hiring manager to become acquainted with each other but also help you provide an overview of your basic qualifications, personality and work ethic. Your answers may determine the course of the rest of the interview by helping the hiring manager know what other questions to ask. Here are some general PMO interview questions to consider preparing for:

  1. Tell me about yourself.

  2. How did you hear about this position?

  3. What is your most notable professional achievement?

  4. Why are you leaving your current job?

  5. Can you explain the employment gap noted on your resume?

  6. Tell me about a time when you encountered a stressful situation.

  7. Why do you want this job?

  8. How would a former supervisor describe your strengths and weaknesses?

  9. Where do you see your career in five years?

  10. How do you define success?

  11. Why do you want to work here?

  12. What do you know about our company?

  13. What would you like me to know about you that is not on your resume?

  14. What makes you different from other candidates applying for this position?

  15. What are your salary expectations?

  16. Do you have any questions for me?

Related: 19 Essential Project Management Skills To Master

Questions About Background And Experience

Once the hiring manager gets to know you through basic interview questions, they may transition to questions about your background and experience. While the hiring manager is likely meeting with you because your resume demonstrates that you have the appropriate qualifications, you can use the interview to elaborate. Your answers confirm that you have relevant experience and help you differentiate yourself from other candidates. Here are some questions about your background and experience that you might hear during an interview for a PMO position:

  1. Describe the role of PMO people management programmes in your work.

  2. What is the largest PMO organisation you have managed?

  3. How different is it to manage a PMO you have built instead of managing an existing PMO?

  4. What resource management capabilities have been essential to the PMOs you have managed?

  5. What PMO tools have you used in past roles?

  6. Do you have any experience with creating PMO software?

  7. What PMO certifications do you have?

  8. What project management experience do you have?

  9. Tell me about a time you managed conflicting priorities.

  10. How familiar are you with outsourcing personnel and supplier management?

Related: A Step-By-Step Guide On How To Manage Projects (With Tips)

In-Depth Questions

In addition to understanding your background and experience, a hiring manager may want to assess your abilities as they relate to the open position. Prompts about your approaches to problem-solving and project management can help a hiring manager determine whether you are a good fit for the role. Here are some in-depth questions that you might hear while interviewing to be a PMO manager:

  1. How would you resolve a project delay due to budgetary restrictions?

  2. Describe your process for optimising projects to ensure adherence to deadlines.

  3. Why would an organisation want to have a PMO?

  4. What does a successful PMO look like?

  5. What methods do you use for determining an organisation's resource capacity?

  6. What characteristics would an effective PMO have within our company?

  7. Tell me what you would do if your team members are resistant to a new policy.

  8. How do you address dissatisfied clients?

  9. Describe the differences between projects, programmes and portfolios.

  10. How would you apply a fishbone diagram to your work?

Related: 11 Important Aspects Of Project Management (And 5 Stages)

Interview Questions With Sample Answers

Here are some PMO interview questions with sample answers to help you better understand how to communicate relevant skills to employers:

1. What is your understanding of a PMO?

Employers ask about your understanding of a PMO to confirm that you not only have the appropriate skills but also understand the importance of PMO managers. You can give a general description of a PMO, which guides the activities of all project teams and ensures the consistent use of process strategies. You might also research the company to provide a more detailed answer as to the PMO's role within the organisation.

Example: 'A PMO, or project management office, is a department that establishes and enforces expectations for project management. As a PMO manager, my goal is to define guidelines, measure deliverables and ensure teams meet deadlines. While PMO responsibilities vary across organisations, my understanding is that Creative Blue Technologies relies on its PMO to oversee three departments developing unique web applications.'

Related: Programme Management Vs Project Management (Definitions)

2. What major challenges did you encounter during your last PMO manager role?

When answering this question, you can acknowledge that the PMO manager role presents challenges like a high-intensity work environment. Try to recount a specific example of how you managed a challenge and what skills you used. Your answer can demonstrate that you have the motivation to do a good job and persevere through obstacles.

Example: "In my previous PMO role, a team member alerted me that their team did not implement standardised processes for identifying risks. The negligence resulted in quality issues occurring halfway through the project. To reduce losses and ensure customer satisfaction, I intervened by evaluating the team's performance and providing the necessary feedback. I prevented the problem from recurring in the future by ensuring all teams implemented risk management processes at the beginning of projects."

Related: What Is Digital Project Management? (With Skills And Tips)

3. Describe the process of setting up a PMO.

While some companies have existing PMOs that they want candidates to manage, your new role might require you to set up an entirely new system. If you have set up a PMO before, you can explain what tools you used and the results of your efforts. Those with no experience in this area can describe the methods they would use. Your answer also provides insight as to how you might optimise an existing PMO and gain the proper support from various departments.

Example: "In my past role, I set up a brand-new PMO by first defining its objectives. I gathered insights from different departments and supporters to understand the expected goals. Then, I acquired the appropriate mandates from the organisation's supporters, identified the tools teams were to use, allocated resources and established standardised guidelines for projects. While building a good foundation for a PMO is important, I find it just as important to gain ongoing support to ensure its success. Successfully gaining support involves consistently evaluating performances and receiving and giving feedback to team members."

Related: 9 Project Management Types For A Project Manager

4. How do you communicate ideal practices within a team?

When asking this question, hiring managers often look for candidates to identify specific communication methods. You can identify how you explain ideal practices to teams and describe how you get team members to accept your guidance. Consider keeping your answer broad, as PMO managers tend to have a wide-ranging focus rather than involving themselves in individual projects. In some cases, it might be appropriate to describe a time when you provided training to individual team members as it can demonstrate another facet of your leadership skills.

Example: "I understand teams can be stuck in their current ways and hesitate to accept new strategies, so I encourage them to accept my guidance by providing proof of its effectiveness. I also facilitate a positive work environment by accepting suggestions and delivering feedback in an approachable manner. As for specific communication methods, I hold regular meetings, provide project managers with progress updates and conduct training sessions."

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