Project Management Q&A – Interviewers Looking for Free Advice

Sometimes when I’m being interviewed for new freelance positions, I can’t help but think the interviewers are looking for free consulting advice based on some of the questions they ask. Any advice on the best way to deal with this situation? I work as a PMO Consultant.

You get a scenario based question in the interview and you can’t help but think that sounds a little too specific. They’re looking for insights into how you might manage that, to see if you’re right hire for them or are they just ‘fishing’ for some good ideas on how they can best solve that particular problem.

I hear about this situation quite frequently and often you suspect this might be the case on your ‘gut instinct’.

How to Deal With These Types of Questions

The best way to deal with it is to keep your answers high level and not to get into the specifics. You can explain that you’re giving the high-level answer based on the scenario given, after all, PMOs are pretty unique to each organisation and you don’t want to make too many assumptions about the context you’ve only been given in a brief interview!

If the interviewers keep pushing for more details, a good piece of advice from a friend of mine, a PMO Consultant herself, is to reveal a few of the killer questions you typically ask in this kind of scenario that drives the direction of solving the challenges. It’s often enough to demonstrate that you have the right kind of experience for the engagement without giving too much away.

Offer Your Services After the Interview

Going a step further, as a Consultant, is to close the deal with an offer to come back in and see them on a short-term engagement, where you’ll be happy to take them through exactly how to solve the challenge they have by working with them. It’s about giving them enough without giving them the benefit of your hard won experience for nothing.

Your Experience

Has this ever happened to you? Let us know how you responded and what the outcome was in the comments below.

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