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Why this matters:

Companies look to construction managers to ensure safety, and that takes consistent and thorough coordination. A candidate’s ability to communicate effectively and oversee a team is essential to safety, and also to every other aspect of a project’s success. They need to be able to take initiative in implementing clear safety plans that will not have room for error.

What to listen for:

  • Knowledge of safety protocol and laws according to national and local regulations
  • Clear and detailed organizational plan to communicate with team members
  • A commitment to the importance of safety on a construction site

Why this matters:

A construction manager has a lot on their to-do list at any given moment, but it’s imperative that they are highly knowledgeable regarding all aspects of construction, especially laws and building codes that are subject to change. A construction manager’s commitment to ongoing education indirectly impacts the safety of everyone on-site.

What to listen for:

  • References to recent publications, handbooks, or other updates of the latest in the field
  • Examples of initiatives that the candidate is taking to self-educate
  • A clear commitment to their knowledge of construction

Why this matters:

Construction managers can oversee a great variety of projects, sometimes working as leaders of entire building developments while other times managing sites within larger projects. Different types of work require varying skill sets, so it’s important to understand where this candidate’s experience is in regard to the level of work that will be required.

What to listen for:

  • Examples of the candidate’s previous work, including the size and scope of past projects
  • Experience in leadership roles, particularly with managing teams
  • An understanding of the type of work that will be expected for this project

Why this matters:

Construction managers need to demonstrate confidence and quick thinking when problems arise on-site. Problem-solving takes attention to detail, confidence, and flexibility under pressure. Teams look at construction managers to find the answers to questions so that a construction site can run smoothly.

What to listen for:

  • Confidence in their ability to solve problems quickly under pressure
  • Approaching conflict with empathy and sensitivity to the team members involved
  • Strong interpersonal communication in conflict approach

 

Why this matters:

Construction managers lead the team and liaise between collaborators of many different backgrounds. They need to be excellent communicators, and this can include facilitating difficult conversations. The answer to this question will showcase the candidate’s ability to communicate smoothly under pressure, especially when a discussion requires mediation.

 

What to listen for:

  • Demonstrated confidence and adaptability
  • Examples of applied communicative problem-solving skills in various types of situations
  • A willingness to learn from any past mistakes and improve in the future

Why this matters:

Construction managers are expected to lead calmly and effectively under unpredictable circumstances. They should have experience with problem-solving while balancing a lot of moving parts, and that means also managing their own bandwidth. An ideal candidate will already have coping strategies for the emotional challenges that come with coordinating a team.

What to listen for:

  • Demonstrated ability to manage multiple tasks at once while remaining calm
  • Strong communicative response to work stress and challenging personalities
  • Experience with adapting to the aspects of a construction site that are subject to change

Why this matters:

The leadership of a construction manager can set the tone of a workday, and an entire project. Construction workers and project collaborators look to the manager not only for organization and instruction, but also motivation and reassurance. The ideal candidate will know how to promote working conditions that boost morale and foster teamwork.

What to listen for:

  • Demonstrated initiative in team building with construction projects
  • Experience with implementation of strong interpersonal skills
  • A commitment to the overall morale and well-being of their team members

Why this matters:

Someone managing schedules, meetings, and tasks of an entire construction site should be organized, and that starts with self-management. The systems that a construction manager uses — for example, to-do lists, calendars, other organizational programs — will impact the project. A strong candidate should be able to explain which systems they use, and why.

What to listen for:

  • A clear system for organizing tasks and time
  • Attentiveness to the details of scheduling, including checks and balances that reduce the likelihood for errors
  • Practices and plans that align with the overall project

Why this matters:

Construction managers oversee a lot of workers and collaborators on-site, but they are also expected to answer to other project leaders. It is imperative that they have strong communication, negotiation skills, and experience with problem-solving, even and especially when dealing with a difficult personality on-site.

What to listen for:

  • Demonstrated interpersonal communication skills for conflict resolution
  • Experience with problem-solving under uncomfortable circumstances
  • Clear strategies for approaching a conflict with an employer or project leader
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