Degree from civil engineering, and previous experience as construction supervisor, or field superintendent, plays a big role in this interview. If you have both of them, the success and a new job contract is not far away… Experience notwithstanding, you will have to make a good impression, demonstrate your readiness for the job, and answer the questions for the hiring managers. Let’s have a look at some questions.
Tell us something about your experience in the field
Any relevant experience is a good experience. Talk about time when you coordinated or supervised building of all types of residential, commercial, and industrial structures, roads, bridges, power plants, schools, and hospitals.
Even when you only supervised a bunch of workers on a small construction site, and talked two or three times with architects and building engineers in the process, you actually gained a relevant experience for a construction manager. Everything is better than nothing.
When going through your resume, do not forget to stress the successful completion of building projects you worked on, and your role in the project. The key is to present yourself as a skilled manager, who understands the ins and outs of the job, and knows how to deal with all sorts of bodies involved in the construction business.
How do you imagine your typical day in work, if we hire you?
Job description should help you to understand the basic duties you’ll respond for. Tell them that you do not plan to spend all days in your comfortable office. Speak about going to the construction site, supervising the supervisors, talking to workers, and keeping a constant and close contact with all important members of the team.
That’s the attitude they look for in a perfect candidate for the job. You should simply demonstrate that you like to be on site, always keeping your eye on what’s going on, and how everybody is progressing, to make sure that you will complete the projects on schedule, and that laborers are actually working (instead of hanging around with a cigarette).
When managing a building project, what do you consider the most important thing for success of the building?
You can approach this question from a variety of angles. Good approach is saying that everything matters, from the first draft to the last brick, and you do not really consider something pivotal.
Then you can elaborate on your answer and say that you plan to oversee each step carefully, since each step matters. Another option is focusing on planning. The right plan, including both people and materials, is crucial for every success. That’s where everything starts at the end…
Third good option consists in talking about human resources. Each great building is a team effort. Some of the best building managers excel in one thing only: hiring right people to their team, and motivating them in a right way, to work as a team, and to deliver their best. Maybe you are, or want to be one of them?
If we hire you, you will manage this or that building. Knowing a bit about the project, what do you consider the biggest challenges you will face?
Obviously, the right answer differs from one project to another. However, the right attitude is always the same. Show them that you are aware of the challenges, and have an idea of how to tackle them.
Tell them how you plan to approach the challenge, and speak about it without fear, or hesitation. Many building projects came to a halt, and some are never completed, because their leaders could not overcome the challenges. And it can happen to everyone. But you should not be afraid of the challenges while talking to the hiring managers.
Describe a situation when you were under pressure in work.
The most common pressure building managers experience is meeting a final deadline. In reality, more than half of buildings will not meet the original schedule, and the managers are not always to blame. Sometimes the plan doesn’t work out, sometimes the weather halts the plans.
The key is to show the hiring managers that you do not crack under pressure, can prioritize your work, and have an ability to motivate your subordinates to work harder. You should demonstrate all of that while narrating a situation from the past, one when you had to meet a tight deadline, or faced some other form of pressure.
Describe a time when you struggled to communicate something to your colleague, subordinate, or to a customer. How did you manage to get your message over?
You’ll work with people of various levels of IQ, and various fields of expertise. It may easily happen that the two of you won’t understand each other.
You, as a leading figure in the project, and as someone with the right attitude to work, should be the one who steps out of his comfort zone.
Tell the hiring managers about a situation when you changed your language, simplified it, or used demonstration, pictures, charts and other tools, to get your message over. It doesn’t necessarily have to be the situation you experienced in work. Your attitude matters the most to the interviewers, not the particular situation you narrate.
Other questions you may get in your construction manager interview
- Describe a difficult decision you had to make in your professional career. How did making this decision affect you?
- Tell us about your biggest failure in construction business.
- Describe a time when you experienced a conflict of your personal and professional interests. How did you get over it?
- Describe a situation when you had to motivate someone in work (your colleague, your subordinate).
- Why do you think you can become a good construction manager?
- How long do you want to have this job?
- Why did you leave your last job/ Why do you plan to leave your present job?
- Describe a conflict you had with your colleague.
- Why should we hire you, and not one of the other applicants?
- Tell us about an obstacle you overcame as a manager.
- Tell us about a time when you demonstrated leadership.
* If you struggle with answers to the questions, or experience interview anxiety, have a look at our Interview Success Package. Up to 10 premium answers to 31 tricky scenario based questions (+ more) will help you streamline your interview preparation, outclass your competitors, and eventually get this great job. Thank you for checking it out!
Construction manager is a great position that offers a variety of working duties, and interesting starting salary. And while the job title doesn’t belong to the most popular jobs in the US, you will typically compete with a few other people for the job.
Experience (and your ability to speak about it in a right way) is often decisive. But you can also help your chances with good answers to interview questions, demonstrating right attitude to work, and readiness for the job. I hope you will manage to succeed, and wish you best of luck!
* You can also download a list of questions in a simple one-page long .PDF, and practice your interview answers anytime later:
May also interest you:
- Body language in an interview – What do your gestures and movements say about you? Can we control our non-verbal communication?
- Interview Success Package – Premium interview answers to all tricky interview questions.
- Work portfolio for an interview – Learn how to prepare a selection of your best works, and how to use it to show the interviewers the value you can bring to their team.