Can you Answer These Primavera P6 Interview Questions?
You’re looking to augment your team with someone who is capable of using Primavera P6 Professional. An interview is going to be part of your recruitment approach, but what should you ask them? It’s important to get a feel for whether they do have Primavera project scheduling skills so you can be confident they will be an asset to the team from day and be able to perform the role adequately.
Whether they are joining the team as a project manager or project scheduler, or in some other capacity where Primavera skills are essential, it’s important you find someone who is a good fit for the team.
Here are 10 Primavera P6 interview questions that you can use for hiring a fantastic candidate for your team.
Tip: If you are getting ready to be interviewed for a role that includes being able to demonstrate that you can use Primavera, then you can use these questions as part of your prep so you’re ready for whatever the hiring manager asks!
- Tell me about your experience with Primavera.
This is a good, straightforward opening question that allows the candidate to set the scene. They can talk about their past experience with Primavera P6 Professional, Unifier or EPPM and you’ll get a sense of how they have used those tools in practice on previous projects.
You want to find out what they have used and in what capacity. The Oracle Primavera tool set is broad and varied, and not all past projects will have required your candidate to use all the features. Try to gently prompt the candidate to explain their role in using the tool and how they used the product. Specifically, it’s important to confirm that they have hands-on experience and didn’t simply work in an environment where professional schedulers used Primavera and they only had to provide updates in another format.
- How do you create a WBS?
This is a good question for making sure the candidate really understands the basics of project scheduling and that they have a grounding in the theory of putting tasks together. A good candidate will talk about working with subject matter experts and the broader project team to identify the work required to deliver the project, and then breaking that down into work packages for the WBS.
They should be able to articulate this part of the planning process beyond the technical skill of entering the data into Primavera.
- Tell us about a time where you’ve had to use resource levelling.
Putting tasks into order is one thing, but allocating people to tasks and then checking no one is overloaded is another part of the skill of scheduling. By asking for a specific example, you can learn a bit more about how the candidate approaches the people aspects of scheduling and resource leveling.
For example, they may talk about how they discussed task priorities with team leaders to make people available for the work, or led a negotiation on task dates to allow for work to be rescheduled within the critical path so that resource utilization was optimized.
- How would you use an S curve?
Test the candidate’s knowledge of scheduling theory by asking them to explain an S-curve and how it would be used for project performance tracking.
- Here’s an example report from Primavera. What does this tell you about the project?
Use a real project (as long as the report doesn’t show any confidential data) and share a report with the candidate. That will help them see the kinds of reports and complexity of projects they would be dealing with if they got the job.
Listen to what they explain about the project from the report. Hopefully they can comment articulately on project performance, tracking and future likelihood of success, depending on what you have shown them. Look for answers that show reflection and justification in the response.
- How would you analyze a schedule?
A quality schedule increases the chance of project success, and ideally candidates should have an idea of what to look for in a valid schedule. Bonus points if they have experience working with schedule analysis tools like Deltek Acumen Fuse.
- How would you deal with a schedule where data is missing?
This is a good follow-on question to the one above on schedule analysis, because sometimes schedule validation throws up missing data. As a project manager or scheduler, it’s your role to go out and find the missing data to plug the gaps and improve the validity of the schedule. So it’s worth knowing how your candidate would deal with that.
They may respond about working with the team to identify the missing data and then completing the schedule and running schedule validation again to ensure the changed version is a better quality. They may talk about escalating issues and taking management action to address problems. As long as they can explain what they would do, that’s a suitable answer. If your internal process is slightly different to their response, that is fine as you can share the process you expect with them once they are hired.
- Tell me about a time when you’ve had to explain project controls to someone.
This is a communication question that tests their ability to explain project methodologies to people who perhaps don’t live and breathe project scheduling in the same way as the team does. Most project managers will have come across people who are resistant to governance and project controls, and yet need to work alongside the project team in some way.
This question will give you an insight into the candidate’s interpersonal skills and how they engage and educate stakeholders and colleagues within the business.
- Can you share an example of when you’ve used reflections?
Reflections in Primavera P6 Professional allow you to experiment with schedule changes before making the changes ‘live’ in your real schedule. They are a good way to check out what your schedule would look like if various scenarios came to pass.
Not all candidates may have used this feature, but it’s a good question to ask because it allows candidates to talk about schedule modeling, their past experience, how the changes were welcomed by the stakeholders and more.
- Describe a time when you had to pick up someone else’s schedule. What did you do to get up to speed? What did you look for?
In most projects where you are hiring someone with Primavera P6 Professional skills you’ll be expecting them to start work on something that someone else has started. They may not (yet) be creating a project from scratch, so they need to be able to work on their own initiative to understand how a schedule was put together and be able to use it going forward.
This question gives the candidate the opportunity to talk about how they asked for help in the past, how they learned about scheduling and what they do differently now.
Remember, Primavera P6 Professional is easy to learn with the right training. Our online self-paced video class, for example, is a perfect stating point. If you have found a great candidate who doesn’t quite have the levels of Primavera experience that you would like, we can get them up to speed in a few days. Good luck with finding the right candidate for your role!