[b]BLUF:[/b] Project management certification interview with two interviewees – How to prepare? Is there anything to do differently?

[b]Background: [/b]I am in the process of completing a part-time project management diploma and also applying for an IPMA - Level C certification. The same organisation operates the course and certification process.
IPMA stands for International Project Management Association ( I am under the impression that the IPMA is a more European based project management association, somewhat similar to the PMI.

As part of their certification process, I will be interviewed by two experts in project management (probably one academic & one industry based).
So in preparation, I will be making full use of the interview series casts.

In addition, I just found out today that we will be interviewed in pairs. So another student will be interviewed with me in the same interview for approximately one hour.

I have not had such an interview experience before, so I am wondering if others have gone through such a process? How was your experience?
Is there anything different (to the more traditional interviews) that I should be aware of?
What specific project management questions would you ask an aspiring project manager to assess their project management capabilities?

Your comments are much appreciated. Thanking you.

jhack's picture


How did it go?

No one here seems to have experience with this, and perhaps you could be the expert for the rest of us...


martinoriordan's picture

Hi John,

The interview is on Monday (9th June).
It is going to be different but I am looking forward to it.

I will do a follow up post after the interview to share my experience of it.
I might even do a WWWTALA…

erikko's picture

can you please post what happened in the interview say for instance excerpts

martinoriordan's picture

[b]BLUF:[/b] Awarded certification :D

Had applied for IPMA - Level C: Certified Project Manager.

There were a number of components to the certification:
- CV – MT style of course
- Complete a multiple-choice exam – along the same lines as the PMP
- Complete a self-assessment of my technical and behavioural competencies
- Report: Critique of a past project I had led – I gave a warts & all report with plenty of lessons learned

The interview was with two interviewers with two candidates simultaneously…
A week prior to the interview, I found out by chance who would be my fellow candidate. We had a chat & discussed how we were each going to approach the interview.

As for the interview… It was difficult. The interview was very much based on the CV and project report.
The interviewers would focus on one candidate for a number of questions then jump to the other candidate and back and forth…
This can be frustrating, as you have to concentrate and focus on the other candidate as well as the two interviewers.

I really felt I got the brunt of the more difficult questions, which was confirmed to me after the interview by the other candidate.
The interviewers appeared to have read my report in great detail and attacked / questioned every weakness in my PM abilities / knowledge / skills.
They questioned and probed my motivation / reasoning for any major / controversial decisions in terms of managing the project.

I have had some tough interviews in my time, both nothing as constantly aggressive as this.
But I guess most interviews probably don’t have a full critique of one of my past project!
I subsequently found I scored very well on the project report & I guess they wanted to verify its authenticity.

If I had to sit another such interview again, I would spend more time reviewing my project report & clarifying every decision I made & the reasoning why.
I only received the mail yesterday with the news of my certification. Thus the delay in posting. Delight to receive the certification, especially after the grilling during the interview.

Next on the list is the PMP…
But not till later in the year, it would be shame to waste the summer… But if it keeps on raining as much as it is now, I might as well start early! :lol:

pmhut's picture

In my opinion, from what you described, this whole verification process is excellent and it proves that you are quite a good Project Manager. Is there a chance you can write your IPMA experience in an article or a blog post. I'm interested to publish such an article on [url=]PM Hut[/url].

Again, I think that upping the standards and crushing the candidates for verification is the right way to go as only the selected few, such as yourself, will be able to make it. PMI's PMP is quite good, but its problem is that the audit process rarely happens, and most people tend to make it by just studying for the exam, and not enhancing their PM knowledge and skills through conventional ways. Check this [url= debate about PMP[/url] (check the article and its comments).

jhack's picture


Thanks for the update! Sounds grueling, and you must have handled it well. Congrats.


erikko's picture

your interview just proves how you handle your projects effectively. PMhut is right, you should make an article about your interview for reference of future Project Managers

martinoriordan's picture

Apologies for the delay in replying.
Between an extended vacation, transferring jobs & extended training, I have not been near my email / internet since June… It’s great been free… Anyway…

jhack: Thanks

pmhut: I would be glad to put an article together outlining my experience.
I’ll send a pm to you regarding the article…

erikko's picture

if ever the article is finished, can you please post it here