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Abt Associates Interview
Questions

27 Questions and Answers by Ryan Brunner

Published August 23rd, 2019 | Ryan has over 10 years of experience interviewing
candidates in the healthcare, public service, and private manufacturing/distribution industries.
Question 1 of 27
What would you consider your strong suit in the digital transformation of organizations that you could bring to our clients here at Abt Associates?
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How to Answer
This question gives you the opportunity to showcase what you feel will be your best skills if hired for this position and your interviewer is ideally looking to hear what unique aspects you can bring to their clients. This question remains very open ended for you to talk about process items or industry specific items, so make sure that however you answer that you are able to speak knowledgeably and confidently. Again for this question, researching Abt Associates and their clients can pay off big for this question.
27 Abt Associates Interview Questions
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  1. What would you consider your strong suit in the digital transformation of organizations that you could bring to our clients here at Abt Associates?
  2. Many organizations overlook some areas of their business that can benefit from a digital transformation. What is an overlooked area where you've seen a digital transformation make a huge impact during your career?
  3. If you were to join Abt Associates in this role, you will be counted on to lead projects. Talk about a time you had to lead a team of individuals. What leadership skills do you have that you will bring to the table here?
  4. How would you diffuse a conflict with a high level leader of a client here at Abt Associates if hired for this position?
  5. At Abt Associates, you will have the opportunity to work with high level executives and leaders from the companies we contract with. What experience do you have in working with people at these levels?
  6. What has been your favorite ad campaign ever and why?
  7. Part of our consulting business here at Abt Associates is advising clients on new technology and advancements in environmental engineering. When have you had to learn and implement new technology during your career?
  8. When a problem arises, what is your first reaction?
  9. If one of our clients here at Abt Associates was in need of a media release surrounding bad publicity that they had recently received, what steps would you take in getting that media release out to the public?
  10. What are some of the impacts that you've seen social media have on the advertising industry?
  11. What roles are you comfortable assuming in working as part of a larger team?
  12. Why is data validation important in your work and how do you make sure that you do it?
  13. In our world here at Abt Associates, our clients rely on real world analytical data versus assumptions and guesswork. What analytical skills would you bring to the table here for our clients?
  14. At Abt Associates we seek to hire those who think outside the box. When was the last time you made a suggestion for workplace improvement? What was the outcome?
  15. Market research is very important to our clients here at Abt Associates. Talk about a time that you used market research to conduct an effective analysis.
  16. What interests you in joining the business consulting world here at Abt Associates?
  17. In your point of view, what environmental issue will require the most attention in ten years?
  18. We value diversity at Abt Associates. When have you worked amongst a diverse group of people?
  19. What new technologies in communications would you be comfortable in implementing with the clients here at Abt Associates?
  20. At Abt Associates, how would you explain benchmark data to a client and its importance?
  21. What kind of people do you enjoy working with?
  22. What experience do you have working with artificial intelligence in the business world? Where have you seen it be successful?
  23. How do you stay organized and on track when working on a long-term project?
  24. What impacts have you personally seen social media having in the public affairs world? What aspects of social media would you use to help benefit the clients here at Abt Associates?
  25. In what ways would our clients here at Abt Associates benefit from your knowledge and services?
  26. Talk about a time that you successfully educated another individual or group in your area of expertise. What made your educational experience effective?
  27. Talk about a time that you utilized a creative solution to help with an environmental issue on the job. What resources did you use to help make the creative solution a reality?
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15 Abt Associates Answer Examples
1.
What would you consider your strong suit in the digital transformation of organizations that you could bring to our clients here at Abt Associates?
This question gives you the opportunity to showcase what you feel will be your best skills if hired for this position and your interviewer is ideally looking to hear what unique aspects you can bring to their clients. This question remains very open ended for you to talk about process items or industry specific items, so make sure that however you answer that you are able to speak knowledgeably and confidently. Again for this question, researching Abt Associates and their clients can pay off big for this question.

Ryan's Answer #1
"For your clients here at Abt Associates, my ability to project a vision into a transformational strategy will greatly benefit everyone that I work with. The key to any digital transformation is buy-in from senior level leadership as they impact how the rest of the organization accepts change and becomes a steward for change. Implementing technological changes cause disruption and chaos and leading projects with a clear vision and strategy is a key to success."
Ryan's Answer #2
"Through the projects that I've worked on in technological transformations for business, I've always prioritized the final customer and their journey and how digitalization will impact them. Many times with organizations that I've worked with, the end customer or user gets lost in the thought process and I would be there for the clients of Abt Associates to ensure that their best needs are always taken care of."
2.
Many organizations overlook some areas of their business that can benefit from a digital transformation. What is an overlooked area where you've seen a digital transformation make a huge impact during your career?
Digital technology has the ability to impact any level of an organization, but oftentimes some levels get overlooked. For this question, your interviewer is looking to hear that you have the ability to look at these overlooked areas and find ways that a digital upgrade can impact them in a positive way. To be creative, don't leave any stone unturned in your answer.

Ryan's Answer #1
"In my current role, one unique thing that I accomplished was making our environmental services digital and online. This transformation had many moving pieces. One that I am proud of having a huge impact was automatic notification of supplies being low around restroom facilities. Not only did this save labor time of someone checking supplies, but it also kept both employees and customers extremely satisfied at our facilities."
Ryan's Answer #2
"A couple of years ago, I was working with a large distributor on revolutionizing their technology usage all across the board. The one area that their management overlooked was with their delivery and fleet of trucks. With changes made to routing tracking/efficiency and vehicle maintenance diagnostics, this organization was able to save tens of thousands of dollars just in the first year of implementation."
3.
If you were to join Abt Associates in this role, you will be counted on to lead projects. Talk about a time you had to lead a team of individuals. What leadership skills do you have that you will bring to the table here?
The ability to lead others in project work or any other aspect of a business comes down to the fine details and traits of being a great leader. The experience you have can come from many different areas and can include project management, supervising/managing or even mentoring others. When you answer this question, be sure to demonstrate your ability to communicate effectively, bring unity, lead by example and empower/teach others and talk about how you will use these skills if hired at Abt Associates.

Ryan's Answer #1
"In my current role, I've been asked on numerous occasions to lead finance projects for my organization and I always do so with open arms and an open mind. On a recent project, I pulled together a team that included members of sales, production and upper management. to make this project successful, it was up to me to know each team member's area of expertise and delegate tasks based on their knowledge. A great part of the teams success was due to my ability to lead in a manner that promoted communication among individuals who never had the chance to work together and I accomplished this through fun ice breaking activities with the team and regular email communications outside of our in-person meetings."
Ryan's Answer #2
"As you can see from my background, I have extensive experience as a Sales Manager and Director and I know that the skills I honed in these roles will transfer nicely to this position. I have always found that leading teams is best accomplished by leading by example and walking the talk that I put out to my staff. I feel that I've also developed great skills in mentoring and coaching my staff and I've been commended on these skills by both sales leadership peers and my team. In this role, I would bring this same approach when working with clients."
4.
How would you diffuse a conflict with a high level leader of a client here at Abt Associates if hired for this position?
Communications and Public Affairs professionals oftentimes have to persuade high level leaders that proposed communication and/or PR campaigns are the right thing to do. In these situations, times can often get heated when leaders like CEO's, Presidents and the like want things done their way and their way only. Talk about how you would take a calm and methodical approach in calming the situation down and ensuring that the leader sees your perspective on things. If you have an example of a time where this happened, be sure to talk about it and the positive result that occurred due to your diffusing of the situation.

Ryan's Answer #1
"I've always considered myself excellent in the skill of handling conflict in the workplace. When working with high level leaders of the clients of Abt Associates, the first important aspect that I would be is actually embracing conflict. This allows myself to learn more about the client and what their needs are. With that information, I would talk to the leader about my point of view, find a place of mutual agreement and move forward in our working relationship as an advisor to them and their needs."
Ryan's Answer #2
"In times of business conflict throughout my career, I never take the approach that I have to be winning or correct in any situation. In a consulting role like this, working with high level leaders, my goal is to find a resolution that works for everyone and makes a positive impact on the public. This approach allows me to listen to clients, learn more about them and create solutions that are a win-win for all involved."
5.
At Abt Associates, you will have the opportunity to work with high level executives and leaders from the companies we contract with. What experience do you have in working with people at these levels?
As a business advisory and consulting firm, Abt Associates works with Managers, Directors, CEO's, CFO's, CAO's and leaders with other titles on all of our projects. Your role will likely involve working closely with these leaders. For this question, your interviewer will be looking to hear that you are comfortable in working with the leadership team of the organization's clients by having you talk about your experience. Make sure that the examples you provide include some details on how you worked effectively to get the job done with the leaders you worked with.

Ryan's Answer #1
"In my current role, I work directly under our Chief Financial Officer and sit on a couple of different committees that our Chief Executive Officer is on. Under the direction of my CFO, we have a great working relationship. I am comfortable approaching him at any moment with questions or to bring forward new ideas. He is aware of my strengths and respects my opinions on matters in my wheelhouse, so he never hesitates to come to me with important things. I think the keys to our strong relationship are the respect we show for each other and our open lines of communication."
Ryan's Answer #2
"Throughout my career, I feel fortunate to have had the opportunity to work with employees at all levels of the organizations that I've worked with. To me, working effectively with anyone requires a personal touch and a respectful approach. Whether I work with front line sales staff or members of the C-Suite, I take the time to get to know the person, their job and how I can best be of help to them in my role. This approach really helped me build a relationship with a Sales Executive that a few of my colleagues had struck out with in recent interactions."
6.
What has been your favorite ad campaign ever and why?
With this question being so open ended, your interviewer is looking to gain insight into what you feel are important dynamics to consider when coming up with new advertising for a product or service. No matter what campaign you use, be sure to talk about the reasons why it resonated so much for you and the public consumers in general. Speak passionately about the sights, sounds or feels that you still get to this day from the ad campaign to really sell yourself to your interviewer.

Ryan's Answer #1
"In my eyes, you only need to look to the 1980's to find one of the most effective ad campaigns in history from the hugely successful Nike. Their 'Just Do It' slogan and campaign was simple and left a lot to interpret to the consumer. It appealed to athletes to give it their all and it appealed to the everyday working person to put their best foot forward. When the ad campaign was topped with the greatest athlete of the decade in Michael Jordan, history was made."
Ryan's Answer #2
"On a global level, I have always been inspired by campaigns that stand the test of time and hold true from generation to generation. While they don't sell the safest or healthiest product around, Marlboro's campaigns centered around the Marlboro man certainly helped boost them to the top spot in the tobacco industry. Rough, rugged and the epic cowboy of his time, Marlboro's print ads were simple, likely cost effective and still hold true in consumers minds to this day."
7.
Part of our consulting business here at Abt Associates is advising clients on new technology and advancements in environmental engineering. When have you had to learn and implement new technology during your career?
As a consultant, you must be well versed in changing technology in the environmental engineering field. As you answer this question, be sure to speak to your ability to both learn new systems/technologies while also being able to educate others on the advancements as well. If you have a particular time that you did this, be sure to let your interviewer know.

Ryan's Answer #1
"Over the last couple of years, my projects with major urban areas have incorporated roof gardens on buildings. Once believed to be incorporated in ancient Babylon, the rooftop gardens do a great job of absorbing CO2 and giving off oxygen while lessening the need for air conditioning in the buildings. During the process of learning about implementing the gardens, I trained many different contractors on our process for building and sustaining these gardens. I am very comfortable in the role of providing education to others and think I'd be a huge asset to the clients here at Abt Associates."
Ryan's Answer #2
"Having worked in the auto industry for many years, I feel very fortunate to have been a part of the design and implementation of the current electric cars that are on the market. As a leader of the program with General Motors, I was tasked with bringing new ideas to our design and engineering teams. I helped build great training programs for staff to help build buy-in to the new technology and to help put ideas into motion for new vehicles on the road."
8.
When a problem arises, what is your first reaction?
The interviewer wants to know if your reactions to problems reflect maturity and professionalism. How you react will significantly determine how you fit with the team at Abt Associates.

Perhaps your computer crashes, and you realize you may have just lost all of your hard work. Or maybe you are limited on time and have a deadline rapidly approaching. Demonstrate to the interviewer that you take a very methodical approach to problem-solving, rather than reacting in an impulsive way when a problem occurs.

Ryan's Answer #1
"When a major problem arises, my first instinct is to take a step back and absorb what just happened. I then go into "
Ryan's Answer #2
"I have taught myself to become much calmer with my first reactions when problems arise. Now, I will step back and review my options for solving the problem rather than allow myself to become frustrated."
9.
If one of our clients here at Abt Associates was in need of a media release surrounding bad publicity that they had recently received, what steps would you take in getting that media release out to the public?
This question allows the interviewer to see your step by step approach to working on a media release from start to finish. While they won't be looking to necessarily critique your processes you have used in the past, they'll more be looking to see that you have a process that covers all bases necessary to ensure that the media release performs as intended. If you have a time from your past when you did just this, you can use that specific example to reiterate what process you would use as a consultant with Abt Associates.

Ryan's Answer
"For any organization, press releases often require a swift response. But, putting releases out to the public shouldn't be done hastily without taking a methodical approach. When I had to do this recently with my current organization after a couple of bad customer reviews regarding safety went viral, my first step was to get a direct response from our President and Chief Operating Officer. Then, I drafted releases to both local media outlets and through our online and social media channels. A critical factor in this entire process was a fact finding process where I interviewed customers, gathered research and put great data out to the public."
10.
What are some of the impacts that you've seen social media have on the advertising industry?
Perhaps nothing has changed the advertising game more over the last 100 years than the advent of the internet, and now social media. Think back over your last five to ten years in the field and talk about the impacts that you have personally witnessed. Then, explain some creative tactics that you've been a part of to reach new and exciting audiences. At the end of your answer, make sure that your interviewer is confident in your ability to market on the latest and greatest platform today.

Ryan's Answer #1
"As social media has become more and more popular in recent years, we have certainly seen a significant shift in viewership of television and radio to social media sites and streaming media. Because of this, my current firm has had to greatly adapt. Knowing the demographics of sites like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram make me an expert on platforms to target for particular clients trying to reach a certain demographic. Last year, I worked with an auto dealership targeting the millennial generation and we used a combination of Facebook and Instagram ads that were strictly visual in nature."
Ryan's Answer #2
"The biggest impact that I have witnessed in recent years is the significant effect that social media sites can have on new product rollouts. Last year, I worked on a campaign for a beverage company that was bringing several new products to market. We started an incentive plan for consumers to help generate likes on Facebook and retweets on Twitter and the campaign was a huge success to help build brand awareness for the new drinks."
11.
What roles are you comfortable assuming in working as part of a larger team?
Coming to work for a consulting business requires the ability to work as part of a larger team on the projects you will be heading. Teamwork in this setting requires versatility and your interviewer will be looking to hear that you have that versatility in your answer to this question. Many times, you will be taking the bull by the horns and leading the way. Other times, you will be the worker bee researching behind the scenes. You may be tasked with being the organizer of projects behind the scenes as well. Make sure that you highlight your ability to be flexible when working as part of a team here.

Ryan's Answer #1
"I am really comfortable working in any role within a team and I think my experiences throughout my career demonstrate this well. At many times in my career, I've been the legwork of team operations and have easily taken direction on projects and been able to hit pre-established deadlines. As well, I've lead many projects and have shown my ability to lead others in a team effort and the ability to delegate tasks and set milestones for projects. If hired for this position, you can be rest assured that I have the ability to be a key team players with your clients in helping better their business."
Ryan's Answer #2
"From a very young age in my career, I've always been a natural leader in a team based environment. My excellent communication skills, honesty, critical thinking and decision making skills have proven time and time again that I can lead others in the most effective way possible. And while being a leader comes naturally to me, I can easily let others take the lead on projects."
12.
Why is data validation important in your work and how do you make sure that you do it?
Data validation can quickly be summed up as 'garbage in equals garbage out.' In essence, any good data analyst needs to ensure that the data they use is functional and relevant to what is being measured so be sure to reiterate that to your interview. Then, explain the ways that you have gone about validating data in the project work that you've done throughout your career. The clients at Abt Associates will need to rely on the fact that data is valid and important to the work that you will be doing with them.

Ryan's Answer
"Thoroughness in data analysis is extremely important and an important piece in being as detailed as possible is data validation. My customers are reliant on the fact that data I provide is accurate and a true representation of what we are measuring. To ensure my data is valid, I have written scripts utilizing Python and I have also used the simple steps in Excel even to validate data. While sometimes time consuming, this is a necessary step in any data analysis and is not something that I take lightly."
13.
In our world here at Abt Associates, our clients rely on real world analytical data versus assumptions and guesswork. What analytical skills would you bring to the table here for our clients?
In the business consulting world, an organization like Abt Associates is contracted to come in and help a business where they have usually failed in the past. With past failures comes the need for critical analysis of a business and/or process and your job will be to help facilitate this process. Prior to your interview, think about your experiences in data analysis you've had so far up to this point in your career and translate those experiences to helping the clients of Abt Associates. Be sure to talk about the importance of different programs you have used to assist in data analysis and talk about the importance of communication in the data collection process.

Ryan's Answer #1
"Working as a Financial Manager over the past 10 years, I have become very experienced and thorough in my use of KPI's to demonstrate key areas like gross profit margin, liquidity ratio and days in accounts receivables. For the clients I'd be working with here at Abt Associates, I'd be able to use real data from their organization to help provide solutions that are customized to their needs. On top of KPI analyses, I'm very willing and open to using any other unique tools of the trade that the team here at Abt Associates uses."
Ryan's Answer #2
"Coming from a software background, being analytical about implementing new systems and processes was vital to receive buy-in from other department that I worked with and my analytical skills in my current world would translate nicely into the consulting world. I have always had a creative mind in demonstrating how new and improved systems can impact workflow and production. I am very proficient in creating and presenting wireframing models, which are extremely analytical and important in this world here at Abt Associates."
14.
At Abt Associates we seek to hire those who think outside the box. When was the last time you made a suggestion for workplace improvement? What was the outcome?
The interviewer would like to know if you are an engaged employee; offering suggestions and providing more profound thought when it comes to processing improvement in the workplace. Give an example of a time when you suggested an improvement in the workplace. It can be big or small! Did anything significant come out of your suggestion?

Ryan's Answer #1
"Last year I made a recommendation for our office to incorporate a recycling program. We were going through a lot of single-use coffee pods. It bothered me how wasteful it all seemed. I presented a spreadsheet to my supervisor comparing the single-use pods vs. investing in a built-in coffee machine. The savings over two years were significant, and my boss has now presented my idea to our head office. It feels nice to be heard in the workplace, so I continue to keep my eyes out for opportunities for process improvements."
Ryan's Answer #2
"I made some recommendations for change in our CRM system. The suggestions were surrounding how items received documentation and how outstanding tasks became highlighted. Our head office made the changes and a lot of people in our office commented on how much they liked the changes."
15.
Market research is very important to our clients here at Abt Associates. Talk about a time that you used market research to conduct an effective analysis.
When a company is looking to launch a new product or dig into their consumers, market research is required and this position with Abt Associates will likely require you to be a market research expert with their clients. Your interviewer will be looking to hear that you understand when market research is a necessary step in the analysis process and that you know how run an effective research campaign. In your example, walk through the steps you took to gain insightful knowledge on consumers.

Ryan's Answer #1
"Earlier this year, I consulted with an online retailer that was looking to expand its product line into new health and beauty products that were all natural. To get as quick of a turnaround as possible on a limited budget, I started an online survey research campaign. After a meeting with leadership of the retailer, we targeted women in specific age categories and used specific social media and email channels to obtain survey responses. Within a month, the retailer had great data to work off of to launch products that would hit the market and take off quickly."
Ryan's Answer #2
"During my time conducting market research, I have utilized many channels to conduct effective research. I've conducted focus group, utilized social media and have conducted phone surveys. One that comes to mind is a couple of years ago when I conducted focus groups for a new beverage that a large company wanted to release. I had a team of people finding people to participate in the groups. I started the focus group out with a blind taste testing to get initial feedback on the drink against its potential competition in the market. Then, I unveiled the product packaging and labeling to get feedback from the consumers. In the end, our client received great feedback that helped them tweak some things prior to the product launch."
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