Our Podcast

BY Joel Junker

Episode 126 – How to Answer Interview Questions about Problem Solving and Project Management

Problem solving and project management are closely related, but they are not exactly the same.  Personally, I differentiate them this way:

Problem: I am getting one result when I am expecting or need a different one.

Project: I like quality guru, J.M. Juran’s, definition “a problem that has been scheduled for a solution.”

This podcast is not about how to solve problems or manage projects but rather how to answer questions about them in an interview and how to differentiate.  We would have to write a book if this post or podcast was about the topics themselves and there are plenty of other great books out there on each topic.

I often hear from JMOs transitioning asking for help in differentiating questions about the two subjects.  Once you listen to this podcast, you will have clarity on how to answer each question and even be able to modify answers that you have already created to them.

I explain why recruiters ask about your ability, experience or methods in solving problems and managing projects.  I also share what steps in each of these are similar and where they diverge.  You will learn to address what’s most important in your answer so you can keep you answer to about 3 minutes.  With such big and important subjects, you could talk for hours on each one, or at least 15 minutes, and you certainly do not want to do that.

In addition to this podcast, my colleague Rob Davis wrote an excellent blog post “Describing Projects and Problems” in September of 2019.  You can also read more about it in PCS to Corporate America, 4th Ed. pages 156-159.

I enjoy simplifying the interview process and hope this reduces stress and accelerates your preparation.  Please remember, my tips are my words and guidance.  Recruiters do not want to hire me, they want to hire you.  So, be you, use the guidance but make it your own.   Find your own interview voice.

To learn more about turning your JMO leadership skills into a successful transition and business success with Cameron-Brooks, visit our website and check out PCS to Corporate America. You can also follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn.

Joel Junker