Program management case study interviews have become a staple for a variety of companies. As program management roles become more attractive to highly talented and strategic thinking individuals, the demands on the role are increasing as well. As such, many corporations are employing a more tailored case study approach to interviewing candidates. Below we’ve outlined for you the most important aspects of this type of interview in hopes that your job search and interview process will be wildly successful. Good luck!
What Is A Program Manager?
As a program manager, you will be responsible for overseeing a group of related projects. The program manager is responsible for taking a high-level, strategic view of the entire program, which will consist of a group of related projects, and strategically guiding project managers to ensure they are effectively moving the project forward to contribute to the company’s overarching goals.
What Is A Program Management Case Study Interview?
The program management case study interview is meant to mimic a real-world scenario where program managers would need to decide on an individual project or a group of projects. A common case study might include an organizational goal that requires coordination from several business units. The primary case question or challenge would likely involve a program manager deciding how to redirect a certain project or potentially choosing a project to drop so that the combined program (or the set of projects) will continue to contribute to the organizational objectives. Program manager case study interviews are designed to test candidates on their ability to prioritize, problem-solve, and make decisions.
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What’s The Overall Process For A Program Manager Interview?
The interview process for a program manager is typically three rounds. The first is a recruiter phone screen, followed by a hiring manager phone screen and concludes with the program manager case study. This is typically the final round of interviews, and a hiring decision would be expected to follow.
The recruiter phone screen is mainly going to focus on company basics such as a question about your compensation expectations and some general information about the company and the expectations of the role. If compensation expectations aren’t significantly off and there are no glaring issues related to company / team culture, this part of the interview process should be straightforward and would only be expected to last 30 minutes or less.
Assuming the recruiter phone screen goes well, the next step will typically be a phone screen with a hiring manager. This call could last 30 minutes to an hour. The questions here will be mostly behavioral in nature with the possibility of a few scenario-based questions. This round of the process is likely going to focus on cultural fit within the team and a general knowledge check to ensure candidates have the minimum experience and educational requirements necessary for the job. Assuming this round goes well, candidates can expect to move on to the case study round, which would likely be the final round of the hiring process.
Case Study Interview
Candidates can expect to have approximately one hour per case and may see anywhere from one to three cases during this round of the process. The case study round of the hiring process will consist of approximately 5 – 10 minutes of introductions and then jumping into the case study. The case study will likely have a prompt that presents a key challenge or question the interviewer wants your help solving. The interviewer and candidate will work together through the case and plan to reach a resolution to the key case challenge or question together. This process, if done well, typically takes no more than 30 minutes, though some exceptions may occur for more difficult or lengthy cases.
Once the case is complete, the interviewer may ask one or two behavioral or scenario-based questions before opening it up for Q&A with the candidate. Candidates should take advantage of the 15-20-minute Q&A time at the end to ask key questions that will help the candidate make a decision, should they be offered the job. Importantly, most case rounds provide for a full hour of interview time, but if you move through the case quickly and do not have questions prepared to fill the entire remaining time, that is okay. The Q&A session at the end of the case should be utilized for high-quality, decision-driving questions, not simply asking questions to “fill time”.
Assuming you do well on this portion of the interview, you can expect to hear back from most employers within a week’s time as to whether you will be receiving a job offer or not.
Sample Case Study For Program Management Interview
An example case study that you may encounter is one about how Mavenlink helped BTM Global Consulting enhance utilization using resource management technology. The BTM team offers system development and integration services. The challenges faced by the case company are that their current tools were not meeting customization requirements as the company was growing. This shortfall was impacting overall productivity. The solution to the challenge is that the company switched to Mavenlink. The result is an increased utilization of 10% and enhanced project utilization by 15%. Resource allocation also improved from 4 hours to just 10 minutes, which represented another huge win for the company.
Importantly, as a program manager candidate, you want to highlight that you understand the quantitative and qualitative nuances of the specific case challenge, while also showing an ability to think strategically about the organization’s overall goals. It’s important as you work through the case that you show this ability as your role in project management is to make strategic decisions projects so that they align with the organizational objectives. So, showcasing a detail-oriented approach with the ability to see the bigger picture is paramount to casing success.
Program Management Case Study Interview Prep
When preparing for the program management case study, start here. Though all case studies are not created equal, understanding the fundamental concepts for how to prepare for a case study interview is a great place to start. Once you have a firm grasp of casing fundamentals, you should study up on the company you are interviewing with and try to understand the type of work they typically do. As a rule of thumb, the primary type of work that your company performs is a good indicator for what type of case you can expect.
If you are interviewing with an enterprise software company, you can expect an enterprise software-based case study. However, if you are interviewing with a traditional technology company like Google, you can expect something technology product related. Whatever the case (pun intended), understanding the fundamental building blocks of a case study interview is the most important aspect of prep. Once you’re familiar with this and have practiced casing, you should be prepared to tackle any case they might throw your way!
All in, candidates should expect an initial recruiter phone screen, a second phone screen with a hiring manager and a final round that consists of anywhere from one to three total cases. The process from start to finish could move quickly and be complete within a week or could take much longer, depending on the company. Regardless of the timeline, candidates should start working on program management case study interview prep immediately and we recommend starting here to learn the fundamentals of case study interviews. As always, we wish you the best of luck in your search and hope that you found this article helpful.