Back-to-Back Interviews

Today was a hectic day for attending 2 interviews in the afternoon, one @1pm and another @5pm. For these 2 interviews, I think I didn’t perform well despite the preparations that I had done. 😦

For the first interview, I have a clear idea of the job position (Program/Service Manager) with a US Pharmaceutical Company but kinda forgetful about it as it had been so long but I know that the Company is working on Microsoft Sharepoint and other Microsoft extensions (in Microsoft. NET). The person whom interviewed me is the IT Director/CIO. In the session, he asked me not to give ‘textbook-type’ or standard answers and it seems like he is expecting someone more creative/innovative. So when he asked me the first question ‘What do I want to do now’, I given a short pause and mentioned I will like to climb up corporate ladder!!!!!!!!! I know I shouldn’t have answered it that way but I had already done that since he wants an honest answer from me. I am thinking I should may have answered that I am looking for a job position that fits me rather than answered in ‘corporate ladder’ but being realistic, I am down-to-earth and take any opportunities that I can consider for any position within the Company. The other question that was asked is what do I dislike about work and I answered back that office politics and even gone down in providing an actual situation!!!! For this point, I can go on with answering office polities and the frustrations of getting around for information/slow processes for getting approval to get things done. I had asked about the expectations of the role this person needs to perform and again (probably I am too tired!!!), I forgot to ask about the career prospects of this job role!!!!! Sigh, I had gone through 2 rounds of interviews but this round, I am totally freaked out and I guess I am missing this opportunity 😦 Well, that is so much I have done and I can’t control the situation. For now, I take this session a very valuable experience for me and again to prepare me further!  For now, I am waiting for one week (Oct 23) to see if we can proceed further.  Leave all to fate.

The second job (CRM Consultant), actually this is a job role that I initially forgo but since I had already applied so I just turn out to understand the job scopes and expectation. The interview is a Director and it was in interesting session. He share with me on cases on when the vendor and customers are sitting down to understand user requirements for a solution (in which this customer may already have similar applications in place), what should a consultant do first. On his own view, he mentioned he will try to understand the user groups involved, the nos of users and to understand what the problems they facing with the existing applications. When a consultant is trying to sell the product, he/she needs to understand what are good points to ‘sell out’ to the customers but at the same time, to understand the weak points as well. Each CRM solution (be it be Microsoft CRM, Siebel CRM or SAP CRM) each application has their own strong points and it is important for a consultant to really understand the system. He also share with me that in order to sell a CRM solution, it is to make sure the users do not really know what CRM is. Users are able to use the system at ease, with less training (user usability is explained in this area) and user-friendly. This is the first time I saw the Microsoft CRM in action, integrated seamlessly with the other Microsoft extensions like Excel and Word. The way of adding new fields and able to generate reports (in Excel) in a ‘drop-and-drag’ approach is really amazing! I am now really like Microsoft CRM with user-friendly features and really, Siebel CRM is very hard to manage!

It was shared in the session that in most vendor-environments, vendors are facing the problems of scope controlling with Customers. In the initial scoping phase, Customer may not be provided complete picture/requirements for the project and when the project cost was approved and new changes may come along the way. Typically a Project Manager can refer to the scope document (SOW) to highlight on what on scopes and out-of-scopes but all these are in vain as Customers are now getting smarter and of course, in the thoughts of building long-time relationship with them. However, through the experiences this has to be control. One way is to enforce traceability/checklist in the user requirements, the consultant with the business user to go through each RFP (requirement) with the understandings (from vendor) and get the sign-off with him/her as well. The other session is between the project manager and the Customer to go through what in scope, out of scope, grey areas and definitely to enforce milestones/cutoff dates to ensure Customer come back with sign-off/agreement before the vendor moves on to the design phase. On flexibility, I felt that the development can start with minor developments but not to inform Customer about it.

Been reflecting on the past interviews, I realized that I had been too ‘text-book’ type in answering the questions and this is not myself. One has to be creative and confident to explain what he/she been experienced in her previous works. This time, I have to really improve my business communication to be more nature.


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October 2007
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