Dear job seeker,
I will keep this page short and to the point. Here’s what I have for you today:
In the eBook, you will find multiple great answers to each of the following questions:
- Can you please tell us something about yourself?
- Why do you want to work as a program director?
- What goals will you set for yourself in this role, if we hire you?
- In your opinion, what role should a program director play in interactions with program participants?
- Tell us about a time when you struggled to build a relationship with someone important.
- Have you ever worked on a project that was a failure?
- Tell us about a time you had to comply with a policy or procedure that you did not agree with.
- What does integrity mean to you?
- Please describe a situation in which you were a manager, a leader, and a boss.
- How would you describe your management style?
- … and 15 other tough questions you may face in your interview for a job of a Program Director, including tricky scenario-based questions.
Check the sample to see how this eBook can help you:
Sample from the eBook
Q 1: Can you please tell us something about yourself?
Hint: Typically the first question you will get, an icebreaker. They do not specify what you should talk about—the choice is yours. And while some interview coaches say you should stay strictly work-related in your answer, I do not agree with their advice. You should simply focus on your strengths, while trying to make a good initial connection with the people in the room. What does it mean?
Your strengths depend on your situation in an interview. If you’ve been working as a program manager or project manager, or finance director for four years already, or if you had any other relevant job before applying for this one, or if you have a degree from some Ivy League university, it makes sense to talk about such things—your education and experience is your greatest strength.
But if the only position you had before was a part time role with KFC, or some side-hustle you did online, while focusing on your education, it doesn’t really make sense to talk about your working experience at length, while trying to get an entry-level program director job in some small organization (in big organizations the job is rarely entry-level).
In such a case, you should focus on who you are, your goals and ambitions, and perhaps your abilities and personal traits, strengths that make from you a good candidate for the role of a program director (leadership, communication skills, time management).
What’s more, it is always a good idea to share something from your personal life with the interviewers—whether you have a family, one or two hobbies you enjoy to do in your free time, and so on, just to show them that you have a life outside of work, and to demonstrate that you want to talk in an open and genuine manner in the interviews. That’s a good start on any given day…
– I come from Washington, and my main background is in project management. After earning my degree in business and management at XYZ university, I got a job with ABC corporation, leading small project teams for the past five years. Working mostly on mobile game development, in an agile environment, I learned a lot, experienced all kinds of challenges you can experience while managing a small team, and I enjoyed the process immensely.
But I progressively realized that I’d like to have a bigger impact on the local community, and started looking for job in non-profit, eventually finding your offer. In my free time I enjoy cycling in summer and skiing in winter, and reading biographies of successful people. I think that we will discuss the projects I’ve worked on later in the interview, but tell me if you’d like me to elaborate on my education or experience right now.
– My name is Michelle, I was born here in Calgary, and spent all my youth in the city. I always felt a bond with the local community, and hoped to work in education. After earning my degree in education administration, and later teaching for a few years, I got to know the problems and challenges we face here, and the expectations of the students. Thinking about my strengths in communication and leadership, I feel it is the right time for transition from teaching to education administration.
Program director looks like the most fitting position, considering the job description, and the kind of impact I’d like to have with my work. In my free time I enjoy baking and playing with kids—that’s the best relax for me. Is there anything else you’d like to know about my skills or experience at this point of the interview?
Q 2: Why do you want to work as a program director?
Hint: Try to talk mostly about things you want to bring onboard, plus about the role this job plays in your career journey. Let me explain.
Perhaps you have been working as a program manager or project manager for some time. You have a decent knowledge of their service, their field, or at least you are passionate about the field and see the potential, and you cannot wait to dive into it.
What’s more, you did your homework, and researched about the organization. You like their services, perhaps even see the meaningful purpose in the work they do, and honestly believe that with the right program director onboard, they can even improve their results.
Now the second part of the answer: the place the job has on your career plan. You should be able to explain how it fits either with the past roles you had (for example you worked as a program manager before, or budget analyst, or project coordinator), and the job of a program director is the next logical step, something your former jobs has prepared you for—or at least you hope so.
Or you can refer to the future. You’d love to spearhead the entire organization one day, or perhaps run your own non-profit, and nothing can prepare you for that future better than the job of a program director…
– I just feel the job is an excellent match for my strengths, as well as for my career objectives. I am passionate about planning the programs from scratch, and I would love to have a leadership role in one of the theaters here in the city one day, running the entire operation.
I believe that putting my excellent communication, planning, and management skills to a work of a program director will allow me to prepare for my future role. Having said that, I do not see the job of a program director here as a mere means to an end. I did my homework, learned what I could about your place, and I believe to have a good idea about the job. And I like what I saw, and can envision thriving in the role while helping you to thrive.
– I just consider it the best possible step in my professional career at the moment. I’ve worked in program management for three years, in the same service segment. I know the ins and outs of the field, the trends and pitfalls. But I’d like to get a leadership role, having a bigger impact on the eventual success of the program, and the entire organization. Role of a Program Director will allow me to have such an impact.
What’s more, I believe that my management style and leadership fits well into this type of an organization, and I can help you make something big happen.
End of the sample
These were just the first two questions. You will find 25 in the eBook, including difficult scenario-based questions. But that’s not all.
To ensure you will get the job, I included in the book six principles you need to understand in order to ace your interview for a job of a Program Director.
Without talking too much about them, let me show you another short sample from the eBook, the first success principle.
Sample no. 2
Principle no. 1: Do your homework
When you apply for a job of a bank teller, a custodian, a nurse, or a software tester (and for countless other positions), it is obvious what you will do in the office. In most roles you have the same responsibilities, and need the same skills and qualifications, regardless of your exact place of work. But program director does not belong to this group. The job title can mean a lot of things, and it can signify various levels of seniority.
As you can likely imagine, a typical day of a program director in a small radio station differs from a typical day of a program director working at a university, or one working for a big non-profit organization.
And while you need excellent project management and communication skills in all these instances (and will have to demonstrate them in every program director interview), you should show different expectations, and focus on different things while interviewing for each specific position.
Because if your interview answers indicate that you imagine managing a group of program managers and other staff members, while overlooking the program(s) from distance, but the organization expects their new program director to act as a stand-alone unit in the organization, and to have daily contact with the program participants (for example students), they will not hire you—regardless of your qualifications and track record.
It is pivotal to show realistic expectations about the job, and to be able to set realistic goals for your work. That’s impossible to do unless you do a good research, and understand what exactly they expect from their new program director.
Now, you should not rely only on the job description. Job descriptions are not written to reflect the reality of the job. They are written to attract the most talented or experienced candidates to apply for the offer.
And secondly, many organizations do not even write their job description in-house—they copy it from the suggested text from their HR/Recruitment software or online platform, making just minor adjustments. For these two reasons, you cannot really count on the job description to reveal the reality of the job. You need to look further…
Do your homework. Spend enough time reading about the organization. You should focus especially on the following:
- The vision and goals of the institution where you will work—what they try to achieve as an organization, and with their programs.
- The scope of operation, the hierarchy of employees (LinkedIn will help you here, just search for the name of the organization and see what roles people have in it). Will you work alone? How many subordinates will you have? Will you work on site, or travel extensively?
- Any compliance obligations you should be aware of in the given field (especially if you apply in NGO or some environmental organization).
- Things that make the institution unique, reasons why…………………………..
End of the sample
And that’s it. I do not want to waste your time with lengthy sales pages, or imaginary discounts and fake reviews, just like most people do on their websites, while trying to sell you something.
You have read the samples from the eBook, you know what it is about, and surely you can tell whether it will help you or not to get a job of a Program Director.
I sincerely believe it will. And you can read it easily in two to four hours, it’s 20,000 words. Only things that truly matter, no secondary content.
Plus, of course, like with everything else we sell here on InterviewPenguin.com, you have a risk free sixty days money back guarantee. If you don’t like this eBook for any reason, or no reason at all, just let me know (email me at matthew[at]interviewpenguin[dot]com) within 60 days, and we will give you a full refund.
- Brilliant answers to twenty five difficult questions you may get in your interview for a job of a Program Director.
- Several sample answers (two to six) to each question, so you can choose one that reflects your values and experience.
- Six principles of acing the interview, things you simply need to know in order to make the right impression on the hiring managers.
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That’s it. Your interview for a job of a Program Director does not have to be stressful, or difficult. You can interview with confidence, and give brilliant answers to all tough questions. Download the guide today, and succeed in your interview.
Your personal job interview coach
P.S. Send me a message if you have any additional questions. I try my best to answer all emails within twelve hours (matthew[at]interviewpenguin[dot]com). Thank you!