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How to assess project manager skills and competencies


Have you ever thought of using a Project Management test to access your next potential project manager? 

There’s statistical proof that effective project management can ensure the completion of projects on time and within budget. Organizations must have the right project manager for their projects. 

But how can an organization ensure that they have a competent and qualified project manager?

Hiring managers and recruiters must know how to assess project manager skills and competencies to ensure they are the best fit for their organization.

In this article, we’ll explore how to assess project manager skills and competencies to ensure they are capable of leading teams and that their abilities match the requirements of the position.

What is a project manager skills and competencies assessment?

Project management skills and competencies assessment is an evaluation of the project manager’s abilities. It’s a thorough examination of their qualifications, experience, knowledge, soft skills, and core competencies to identify whether they fit the job.

A successful assessment helps organizations determine if the applicant has all the necessary skills to become an excellent project manager. It also helps employers identify gaps in the applicant’s knowledge and abilities, so they can be addressed before hiring the candidate.

Companies often give project managers between two to five projects at a time. A project manager skills and competencies assessment ensures the ideal candidate can handle the workload. 

Why are project manager skills and competencies important?

Project manager skills and competencies are essential for many reasons:

why are project manager skills and competencies important graphic

Ensures project success

Most project managers manage multiple projects simultaneously, with a few managing single projects. Project management skills are essential to ensure that projects are completed on time and within budget.

Effectively manage teams

Hiring project managers with the right skills also ensures that teams are managed effectively. Project managers need to be able to motivate their team, create a collaborative working environment, and provide guidance during project execution.

Minimize risks

Managing projects has risks, especially when dealing with complex tasks or tight deadlines. It’s critical to have a project manager who can quickly identify potential risks, develop strategies to address them, and determine ways to prevent them.

Save costs

Organizations that spend on tested and proven project management practices tend to save more money than organizations that don’t. Investing in project managers with the right skills and competencies can help an organization save on costs while ensuring successful projects.

Improve relationships with stakeholders

Project managers need to be able to build relationships with internal and external stakeholders. Effective communication, negotiation skills, and diplomatic handling of difficult situations can ensure all stakeholders’ needs are met while maintaining positive relationships.

A project manager with these skills and competencies has the potential to improve their connection with clients, vendors, and other key stakeholders. This creates better working relationships and leads to more successful projects.

Improve productivity and quality

One of the most significant benefits of project manager skills and competencies is the potential to boost productivity and quality. A project manager who understands how to effectively delegate tasks, manage resources, and motivate team members can make all the difference.

By having someone with these skills in place, organizations can increase their efficiency and improve the overall quality of their projects.

Manage change

A big reason many organizations invest in some sought of project management training is the need to manage change. Change is inevitable in most organizations, and project managers need to be able to handle it effectively.

Those managers who can identify potential risks and develop strategies to help mitigate them is invaluable when changes occur. 

Increase customer satisfaction

A project manager with the skills to ensure customer satisfaction is key to any successful organization.

They should be able to understand customer requirements, manage expectations and deliver quality results on time. Organizations can increase customer satisfaction and build loyalty by managing projects in this manner.

Gain a competitive advantage

With the right skills, project managers can better oversee projects and deliver better customer value. This makes the company stand out from the competition and increases its chances of success.

Organizations can gain a competitive advantage and increase their chances of success by having a project manager who understands the need for organization, collaboration, and communication.

What skills and traits are important for project managers?

Project managers need a wide range of skills and traits to be successful:


The project manager must have strong leadership skills to keep the team on track. They must motivate others, delegate work efficiently, resolve conflicts quickly, maintain a positive attitude, and build stakeholder consensus.

Leadership also means making difficult decisions when needed and remaining calm in challenging situations. The project manager must be a good listener, think critically, and have strong problem-solving skills.

Organizational skills

Since projects involve many moving parts, the project manager must have strong organizational skills. They must prioritize tasks, maintain a clear timeline, ensure the project stays within the budget, and manage resources effectively. 

They should be able to easily track progress and anticipate any delays or problems before they arise. The project manager should also understand the project’s milestones and objectives well.

Communication skills

Having well-connected teams often boosts productivity,  which shows how important it is for project managers to have excellent communication skills. 

They must be able to communicate their vision and goals of the project to the team. They should also be able to listen to any feedback or concerns from team members and stakeholders to address any issues quickly and efficiently.

Communication covers verbal and written communication and the ability to present complex ideas in an understandable way, as well as non-verbal cues and active listening. It also requires using the appropriate tools and resources to effectively communicate with team members, vendors, and stakeholders.

Time management

Time management skills are essential for project managers as it allows them to stay on top of deadlines and manage resources efficiently. They must be comfortable multitasking, setting realistic goals, breaking down tasks into smaller manageable chunks, monitoring progress, and ensuring are projects are completed on time.

Time management also requires delegating tasks effectively, swiftly making difficult decisions, and prioritizing tasks according to importance.

People management

Teams are made up of people with different skills and personalities. Project managers need to be able to manage these diverse teams, build consensus, resolve conflicts quickly, and motivate the team to get the most out of them. 

This requires understanding individual team members’ strengths and weaknesses and recognizing how they can best contribute to the project.

Negotiation skills

Project managers must negotiate effectively with stakeholders, team members, and suppliers to achieve the best results for all parties involved. 

Negotiating means coming up with solutions that are fair, beneficial to everyone, and allow the project to move forward with minimal disruption. Using our Negotiation test can help find candidates with this essential skill.

Technical skills

Project management isn’t all about people; it also requires some technical skills. The project manager must understand the tools and resources they’re working with and be able to utilize them effectively to ensure the project stays within budget and is completed on time. 

They should also understand project management-related software such as Microsoft Project or Basecamp to track progress, assign tasks and monitor the team’s performance.


Projects rarely go exactly according to plan, and it’s essential that project managers can think on their feet and be flexible to adapt quickly to any changes or unexpected issues. They must be able to troubleshoot problems, develop creative solutions, and switch gears when necessary.

Critical thinking

Project managers must use their critical thinking skills to be able to make sound decisions quickly to keep the project on track. This requires analyzing data and making informed decisions based on their observations. They should also be able to anticipate potential risks and develop strategies for mitigating them before they arise.

8 Project manager skills and traits tests

It may sound daunting to assess the skills needed to be a great project manager. Luckily, there’s an easy solution. Try these eight tests to assess the key qualities, abilities, and behaviors required for successful project management.

8 project manager skills and traits tests explanation

1. Project Management test

This test assesses how proficient a candidate is in project management.

The first, and most important test to assess a potential project manager is the Project Management test. This test evaluates how well a candidate can manage projects while following concrete business goals.

It doesn’t evaluate project management methodology. Instead, this test focuses on how candidates:

  • De-risk, manage and estimate project schedules

  • Estimate and create project budgets

  • Communicate with all stakeholders through the project cycle

  • Deliver and manage high-quality work

Any candidate that performs well on this test has the essential skills to be an excellent project manager. They should be able to handle tight deadlines, manage teams, and communicate effectively. Use this test to narrow your list of candidates down.

2. Time Management test

This test evaluates the ability of potential candidates to manage time during the project cycle.

For the success of any project, time management is crucial. A candidate that can manage time effectively can free up resources, save costs, and deliver quality results.

Use the Time Management test to evaluate whether a candidate has the essential time-management skills. This test issues potential project managers with common workplace scenarios that check how well they can:

  • Reflect and communicate with stakeholders

  • Prioritize tasks

  • Execute tasks

  • Plan schedules

If a candidate performs well on this test, they have the necessary skills to prioritize urgent tasks, monitor outcomes, and reflect on their actions. These skills are essential for any project manager looking to complete their projects on time.

3. Microsoft Excel (General) test

This test evaluates a candidate’s proficiency in Microsoft Excel, a widely used spreadsheet program.

The Excel (General) skills test covers basic and intermediate knowledge of the program. It is ideal for recruiters looking to hire individuals with robust data analysis and problem-solving skills.

The MS Excel test assesses a candidate’s ability to:

  • Construct formulas: Measures the candidate’s ability to use formulas in the spreadsheet.

  • Create and format data: Evaluates the candidate’s capacity to create and format data in the spreadsheet.

  • Analyze and interpret data: It also assesses how well a candidate can analyze and interpret data using MS Excel.

Using this test, recruiters can accurately assess a candidate’s level of proficiency in the program and identify potential problems before they arise. 

This ensures that you’re hiring the right people for your project management team and reducing training costs down the line.

4. Google Docs test

This test evaluates a candidate’s familiarity with Google Docs, a cloud-based word-processing program.

The Google Docs test covers basic and intermediate knowledge of the program. It is ideal for recruiters looking to hire project managers with strong documentation and presentation skills. It also covers creating and formatting documents ready for print or web.

The Google Docs test assesses a candidate’s ability to:

  • Create documents: This measures the candidate’s capacity to create, edit, and format text-based documents.

  • Use formatting features: It evaluates the candidate’s proficiency using formatting features such as bullets and numbering.

  • Utilize collaboration tools: The test assesses the candidate’s familiarity with Google Docs collaboration features such as comments and track changes.

  • Review & present: It evaluates the candidate’s ability to review and present documents. This includes reviewing for grammar and punctuation errors and the ability to present documents in an organized and professional manner.

With solid Google Docs know-how, your new project manager can quickly and efficiently craft company documents and procedures to streamline the project cycle. A subject matter expert crafted this test, so you can rest assured that only the best candidates perform well on it. 

5. Communication test

This test evaluates a candidate’s understanding of communication basics and their ability to communicate effectively with colleagues, customers, suppliers, etc. 

Communication is the foundation of a successful project management team. Use the Communication test to ensure you hire the best possible project manager to lead your next project. This test assesses a candidate’s ability to: 

  • Use professional communication etiquette: This measures the candidate’s ability to communicate professionally with stakeholders. 

  • Understand and express ideas clearly: It evaluates the candidate’s understanding of organizational language and their capacity to express ideas clearly. 

  • Adapt communication style: The test also assesses how well candidates can adapt their communication style according to different scenarios, cultures, and audiences. 

  • Listen and understand non-verbal cues: Non-verbal communication is important in any setting, and this test measures the candidate’s ability to understand and act upon non-verbal cues appropriately. 

  • Summarize messages: When a project manager is presented with multiple messages, it’s important that they are able to summarize the key points quickly and accurately. The test evaluates a candidate’s ability to do this. 

With top-notch communication skills, project managers can eliminate misunderstandings, fine-tune project schedules, and stay on top of details.

6. Critical Thinking test

This test assesses a project manager’s ability to think critically and make informed decisions.

The Critical Thinking test measures a project manager’s ability to consider available data and resources, analyze the information at hand, and use logic and reasoning to devise an appropriate solution for any situation.

The test involves:

  • Solving syllogisms: A syllogism is a statement in which two ideas are combined, and the conclusion is drawn from the premises. Syllogisms can help assess a project manager’s capacity to draw logical conclusions from arguments presented.

  • Recognizing assumptions: Project Managers must identify assumptions made to make informed decisions. Assumptions, or unquestioned beliefs, are only sometimes obvious and can cloud judgment.

  • Comprehension of cause & effect relationships: There are often multiple causes for a given effect in project management. The ability to identify relationships between cause and effect is critical when making decisions that can have significant impacts on projects.

  • Interpretation of sequences & arrangements: Project managers must be able to interpret the order of different elements in a sequence and recognize how each part affects the whole.

This assessment measures the project manager’s ability to think critically and make informed decisions in various problem-solving scenarios. 

7. Problem Solving test

This test assesses a project manager’s ability to think strategically and develop creative solutions for any problem.

Do you want to learn if your candidate has excellent problem-solving skills? The Problem Solving test evaluates a project manager’s capacity to identify potential problems, analyze the situation, and develop innovative approaches to solve those problems.

The test involves:

  • Developing and adjusting schedules: A project manager should adjust schedules according to the current needs of a project. They should also be able to anticipate potential delays and develop strategies accordingly.

  • Designing workflows: Project managers need to understand the processes involved in a given project and how different tasks are linked together. Developing efficient workflows and optimizing existing ones is beneficial for any project.

  • Interpreting data and using logic: The test assesses the ability to analyze data accurately and use logic to develop practical solutions. This includes understanding the impact of different variables on a project, as well as being able to analyze trends and develop strategies accordingly.

  • Analyzing textual and numerical information and drawing conclusions: Project managers must be able to read and interpret numerical and textual information to draw relevant conclusions for any given situation.

This assessment is excellent at identifying candidates who can tackle complex issues and find practical solutions. Recruiters use this test to gain invaluable insight into how the potential project manager solves problems.

8. Leadership & People Management test

This test assesses a project manager’s ability to lead and manage teams effectively.

When hiring a project manager you must find one with solid leadership skills. The Leadership & People Management test evaluates a project manager’s capacity to maintain morale, motivate team members, and ensure everyone works together towards the end goal.

The test evaluates a project manager’s ability to:

  • Delegate tasks and responsibilities: This evaluation looks for a candidate’s ability to assign tasks and duties to the right people to ensure that assignments are completed efficiently.

  • Provide guidance and feedback: The test assesses the project manager’s capacity to provide timely and constructive feedback to team members to help them improve and perform at their best.

  • Recognize and reward achievements: A successful project manager can recognize and reward team members for their hard work and achievements.

  • Accept ideas and opinions: The assessment also looks at the candidate’s ability to accept and act on ideas from team members and their openness to different perspectives.

With excellent leadership skills, your project manager can successfully take projects from start to finish. Working with a leader will also benefit their coworkers, subordinates, and other key stakeholders.

Pair this test with these 53 leadership interview questions to find the best candidate for the role.

How we can help you find the best project manager

We understand the importance of finding the right project manager to lead your team. Our custom-designed pre-screening assessment tests are created to accurately assess a candidate’s skills and competencies so that you can make the best hiring decision for your organization.

With our tailored evaluations, you can select the ideal project manager who can guarantee your team’s success. Sign up for your free plan now and see the difference in your team’s performance.


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