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26 Questions and Answers by Tom Dushaj

Published February 17th, 2019 | Tom Dushaj is a business and technology executive and an accomplished author of the book "Resumes That Work".
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Question 1 of 26
The most successful Real Estate agents are highly motivated. What motivates you?
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How to Answer
Typically, employees find motivation in environments where they feel supported and encouraged. The interviewer wants to know how they could motivate you - even on the toughest of days! Be open with the interviewer about the ways you can stay motivated on the job, even when the going gets tough.
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1.
The most successful Real Estate agents are highly motivated. What motivates you?
Typically, employees find motivation in environments where they feel supported and encouraged. The interviewer wants to know how they could motivate you - even on the toughest of days! Be open with the interviewer about the ways you can stay motivated on the job, even when the going gets tough.

Tom's Answer #1
"It does not take a lot to keep me motivated. If I work in a positive environment with a forward-thinking team, I am a very happy employee. If you see me going above and beyond, a quick thanks or a little token of recognition of my hard work is good enough for me."
Tom's Answer #2
"I consider myself a self-motivated individual who is constantly striving to be better and do better. I draw inspiration from leaders in the industry and those around me to keep my motivation high."
2.
What is the difference between Asymmetric and Symmetric encryption and which one is better?
When comparing Asymmetric and Symmetric encryption, there are many things you need to be aware of. Not only will you need to know the difference between the two, but how they are used, and which one is better in a particular situation. It's important that you can articulate to the hiring manager examples of how you used both in specific situations and what you did to put an air-tight security solution in place that is impenetrable. Cyber Security has become one of the most important topics in technology today. Anytime you're processing credit card transactions through a payment gateway online, or at a brick and mortar retail store, you're dealing with vital consumer information, and hiring managers are going to want to hear how you keep these things protected.

Tom's Answer #1
"When I work with Asymmetric encryption, I always take into account that there has to be a private key and a public key for anyone sending a message. I have to adhere to a decryption policy for where and how the public and private is stored and shared. The way I view the differences between the two are the execution of asymmetric encryption algorithms is slower than symmetric encryption algorithms. Although the asymmetric encryption is mostly used for exchanging keys in a secure manner, it is used for establishing a secure channel over a non-secure medium such as the internet. The most common form of an encryption algorithm is Diffie-Hellman."
Tom's Answer #2
"In my current role I do work with Symmetric encryption. Since Symmetric encryption which uses a single key for encryption and decryption, I am responsible for monitoring the data transmission of those communication messages to prevent a potential intrusion or breach alert. As with many symmetric encryption algorithms, they execute faster, and are less complex than Asymmetric encryption, and are a preferred method of encryption communication. The most commonly used symmetric encryption algorithms are 3 DES, AES, DES, and RC4."
3.
How would your most recent manager describe you?
When you answer this question, draw from your last performance review and a piece of feedback you have received from your most recent boss or coworkers. You do not want to guess what your manager thinks of you. Solidify your answer by referring to the strong employment references you are able to provide.

Tom's Answer #1
"In my recent performance reviews and discussions, my manager describes me as a hard worker, motivated and consistent employee. I always strive to exceed expectations when I can. My current manager is happy to speak on my behalf as a positive reference as well."
Tom's Answer #2
"My last manager and I had a close relationship. She appreciated all of my efforts when it came to working overtime and taking my work home when required. I believe she would describe me as unique, reliable and energetic."
4.
Would you be willing to work over 40 hours a week?
Before answering scheduling questions, it's important to be clear on the interviewer's expectations. If you haven't had a chance to clarify their scheduling needs, now would be the perfect time to ask!

Consider asking, 'What are the scheduling expectations for this position?' If they expect you to work 12 hour days, it would be important for you to know that before you respond with, 'Absolutely! No problem!' You want to be sure that you can meet their expectations.

If it turns out their schedule expectations won't work for you, think about what you CAN offer and see if you can meet in the middle. It's much better to discuss these things in an interview than for you to commit to a schedule that won't work for you.

Keep in mind that, in most states, an employer cannot demand that an employee work more than 44 hours per week.

Tom's Answer #1
"I am available for full-time work which is preferably 8-5 Monday to Friday. I am happy to be a team player and work some overtime, as required. Will these hours meet your expectations?"
Tom's Answer #2
"If overtime is required in this role, I am happy to accommodate whenever I can. My only restriction is that I cannot work Wednesday nights as I have an evening course those days."
5.
Have you worked on application development projects, if so what technologies have you used, and what was your specific role on those projects?
Application development is a broad set of technologies, and it can apply to building applications using tools from several software brands. There are typically two categories of technologies within application development. The first is client-side scripting/coding using technologies such as HTML, JavaScript, jQuery, etc. The second is Server side scripting/coding using technologies such as PHP, ASP (Microsoft), Cold Fusion, Python, etc. The reason a hiring manager at Atos would ask this question is to see which category you fall under. They want to know if you're qualified to do both. Most consultants who have spent considerable time consulting on application development projects should have a solid working knowledge of both. The hiring manager might also ask about the application development lifecycle which is now more geared toward web application development. Almost all applications nowadays will be developed for the web. When you answer these questions, make sure you understand what they are asking before giving a full explanation.

Tom's Answer #1
"I've worked on several client-side coding projects in my current role, and in past roles as well. My preference and strength is client-side coding, but it doesn't discount the fact that I'm equally as strong on server-side coding. Most recently, I'm leading a team of web developers on a few projects. On one of our projects, we're using HTML, JavaScript, Ajax, and jQuery frameworks development tools to develop an e-commerce web portal to sell our company products globally. I Incorporated Magento as the shopping cart solution to make it easy to order using a credit card or other online payment options."
Tom's Answer #2
"Although I can work on both client-side and server-side, I'm mindful that web servers need to be addressed a little differently so both server-side and client-side can co-exist in harmony. As part of any development project, there are certain guidelines and standards that need to be followed to ensure the project is a success. My role is to be hands-on when it comes to identifying which web application frameworks to use for specific projects and to make sure the team is adhering to coding guidelines and standards like folder structure, file names, coding logic, file organization, classes and functions, and naming conventions. As with any development project, I do follow the web applications lifecycle model which covers; defining the application requirements, analysis, architecture design, team development, programming testing and bug fixing, and implementation."
6.
We're a company of innovative thinkers; we rely upon our innovative thinking to solve client problems. Tell me about a time when you came up with a breakthrough idea that was not obvious to others. Describe your idea and how you developed it?
Innovation is the cornerstone of any successful company. If you show me a highly successful company, I will show you people within that company that were innovative thinkers. Great examples are Steve Jobs from Apple, Bill gates from Microsoft, and Jeff Bezos of Amazon just to name a few. The hiring manager is posing this as a two-part question to see if your response is clear, concise, and related to the question. Stay on point with your response, because that's what they're looking for. Think about this question for a minute to dissect what they are asking. They are a company of innovators.....which means, will you fit into their culture and be able to come up with ideas that will be innovative. They will be listening attentively to how you articulate your message about your breakthrough idea. Walk them through how you came up with the idea, what your thought process was, how you got approval to move forward, and how you executed on the idea.

Tom's Answer #1
"I've always considered myself an Outside the Box thinker. Settling for the norm has never been my working style. I always work with the expectation that my idea will serve many purposes, and bring value to our customers. One example is when I came up with an idea to train the trainer at multiple locations via remote video conferencing. This idea was well received, and was implemented at over 50 locations worldwide. I came up with the idea because I was responsible for training multiple divisions and didn't have the budget to fly everyone in from multiple locations for the training sessions."
Tom's Answer #2
"I was working on implementing a friendlier looking graphical user interface solution for a financial services client. The inspiration came from the feedback I received from people at the client site complaining about processing transactions on a mainframe computer that wasn't much fun to work with or look at. They were used to the dreaded Green Screen on a mainframe, but my solution had a Windows look and feel which they liked quite a lot."
7.
Can you name some open source cloud computing platform databases?
By asking this question, the interviewer is testing your knowledge of open source cloud databases and trying to learn if you are familiar with and can offer options to your customers. The best way to answer this question is to name the databases you have knowledge of and recommending which one is best for your customer's requirements.

Tom's Answer #1
"There are three main open source cloud computing databases. They are Couch, Lucid and Mongo. These differ from proprietary databases based on there being no licenses required to use them and the ability of the IT community to make revisions in them to improve their performance. Of these, I believe (insert the name of the one you recommend here) is best suited for most client's needs. Not only does it have the features they require, but they won't have to pay any licensing fees, and they can upgrade it at any time."
Tom's Answer #2
"The three main open source cloud databases are Couch DB, Lucid DB, and Mongo DB. For most situations I recommend (insert the one you recommend here.) In addition to having experience with this open-sourced cloud database, I have also worked with Oracle and SQL. This has given me a good perspective on the differences between these such as licensing requirements, scalability, reliability and stability of the platform. I'm comfortable recommending this one to my clients, but if you'd like, I can also discuss either open source or proprietary cloud databases with them."
8.
Listening to our clients is absolutely essential to understanding their business and technology needs. Tell me about a time when you're listening skills helped exceed their expectations in the delivery of the project?
It's easy for a client to overlook small details, that's why they hire IT Consultants so they can stay in the know. IT Consultants typically take a deeper dive into a clients operation from a technology and business perspective. One of the biggest reasons that clients look to IT consultants is to look at their organization from an outsider's point of view. Having a vantage point into client operations, and how they do things tells the client that another pair of eyes sees things they might have missed. It's important to recognize that a client is relying on your expertise to give them a perspective that an internal employee would normally not see. Some of the areas you might want to address with the client is how they run their operations, and even have them rate their current level of expertise with all their technologies. This will reveal a few things. One of the most important is where you need to navigate and lead the interview discussion. Asking questions like what do you like and dislike about your current operations. Offer up that you like the challenge of solving problems, and working in different types of environments, and perfecting your craft.

Tom's Answer #1
"I've worked with many clients at different levels of an organization, including executive level management personnel. Being a good listener is an absolute requirement, and getting the opportunity to collaborate with clients and help solve their problems is very rewarding for me. It's important for me to show clients that they are getting the highest value possible for their money. When I have conversations with clients, I sometimes find that they don't know what they don't know, and I find that this is a good base level start because you're starting from scratch and identifying problems as you walk through their environment from top to bottom. My basic qualifiers start with technology, and how they use it. Here's a basic outline of questions I posed.

1. What platform do you run your ERP or enterprise software? Windows, UNIX, Linux, etc.? The reason I ask this questions is after I find out what they are using, it's easier for me to suggest a software solution. After explaining the pros and cons of their current set up, I recommend a solution that will help solve their problem.
2. What database are you using to store your data? SQL Server, Oracle, Sybase, BD2, etc. The reason I ask this question is to see if they are up to date with current versions, and the capacity of data and where it resides. I also ask whether their data is On-Premise or in the Cloud. Depending on the responses, I would be able to make suggestions on efficient ways to work with that data."
Tom's Answer #2
"My prior work has taught me that asking the right questions at the right time is very important. When I do discovery with a client, there are a number of questions that I ask to arrive at a few core problems they are facing. Let me give you an example of what I ask, and why.

1. Walk me through your current process, and highlight an area where you are experiencing pains and challenges? The reason I ask this is to build trust with the client, and get them to talk extensively about their problems, and how you can propose a solution.
2. Is it your belief that a software application will be able to solve these problems for you? I ask this question to see if they think they need a software solution, or is it just a process fix that can be achieved by process and productivity improvements, along with process re-engineering."
9.
As I understand it, the network is the most vulnerable part of a company's IT infrastructure. What is your opinion of this and how would you define the threat and risk to a company in terms of network security?
This is a 'set the table' question which provides the interviewer with an overview of your knowledge of and perspective on network security.

Tom's Answer #1
"The network infrastructure is the most vulnerable part of the IT system because it is the easiest part to access. Since all the company's data is transmitted via the network, hackers focus on this to get the data for malevolent uses. This is the threat to the system. The risk is the company's responsibility to secure their users' and customers' information or be subject to fines, injunctions or even shut down. Measures need to be taken to minimize both the threats and the risks related to network security. I am well versed in these and can expound on them if you would like me to."
Tom's Answer #2
"I agree with you that the greatest threat to a company's IT infrastructure is the network. Hackers target the network because it is the easiest part of the system to access and because all the data is transmitted over the network. It's the data that hackers want and can cause the most disruption with. The risk to the company if the data is compromised is the loss of business, fines and injunctions and the possibility of being shut down. While the threat associated with network security will always remain, the risk can be minimized through prudent network security practices and procedures."
10.
What are your salary expectations?
The best way to discuss your salary expectations is to use your current earnings as an example. Be open, and honest. Transparency is the best choice when salary based questions arise.

Tom's Answer #1
"Currently, I earn a base salary of $45,000 per year plus a potential 20% annual bonus. Last year my earnings were $52,000, and I would like to stay in the same range or slightly higher."
Tom's Answer #2
"I am currently making $100,000 per year with two bonus opportunities. I am looking for compensation that is aligned with the role and provides an opportunity for growth."
11.
What are the various ways to inform employees about information security policies and procedures?
Anyone in IT leadership that is responsible for establishing and maintaining company policy and procedures for security needs to ensure that there's a system in place for monitoring corporate computers and mobile devices to protect against email viruses, malware, and data breaches. You'll find that hiring managers tend to spend a bit more time on this question because they want to gauge your level of confidence on how you implement these practices across the company and the way you communicate the procedures to all employees. The experience you share with the manager will be a reflection of your capabilities and will show that you can think outside the box. It's not uncommon for a manager to ask you to talk at length about communicating effective ways to identify phishing emails, transferring confidential files securely, password management tips, and applying privacy and security updates for all employees. This helps the manager see the level of detail that you go through to protect your company's employees.

Tom's Answer #1
"If you look at statistics on how attacks were established. You will find that over 50% of attacks came from employees within a company that inadvertently allowed access to a hacker, or simply disregarded company security policy. At my last company, I was directly involved in writing the security policies and procedures, as well as setting guidelines and conducting training sessions with employees to teach them to detect phishing emails and similar scams. I demonstrated in detail what a phishing email looks like, and what to look for when they receive one, and the procedure to follow once this type of scam is identified. I created an email account so that anyone who received these phishing emails,l could send them straight to that account."
Tom's Answer #2
"During my security training sessions with employees, I explained the importance of cyber security, and pointed out the risks of an attack and the negative impact it could have on our organization if personal employee or company information is compromised. As part of the training sessions, I discussed in detail the use of and management of strong passwords, and how to use unique characters when selecting new passwords. As a way of making sure all employees were adhering to our security policies, I set quarterly reminders for everyone to change their passwords. I also had everyone apply updates to their systems and privacy settings."
12.
In your opinion, what has been the most exciting use of artificial intelligence this year?
The interviewer would like to see that you take the time to learn about the artificial intelligence industry and learn about the latest breakthroughs in AI technology. Show off your knowledge by discussing the details of an exciting event in AI this year.

Tom's Answer #1
"I have been reading a lot on smart city schemes and am fascinated with the plans for self-driving, autonomous, shared vehicles. I have also read that; in this smart city, robots would take on tasks such as mail delivery. Once the structure is there, cities will be able to build on the concept but making it their own, and customizing needs based on population, and existing infrastructure."
Tom's Answer #2
"I am keeping tabs on the breakthroughs this year in robotic workforce plans, and find this entire concept to be very exciting. According to one article I read from Washington Post, people are anticipating that nearly 1/3 of American jobs will be taken over by the robotic workforce in the next 15 years."
13.
Describe a situation where a project you were managing failed. What did you learn about this failure, and were you able to salvage or turn it around?
As much as we don't like to think about it, sometimes projects fail, and in some cases for reasons beyond our control. Hiring managers realize things do go wrong and projects have to get back on track and show a successful outcome quickly. The more complex the project, the higher the chances are that the project might fail. This question focuses on your ability to bounce back from failure, and what you did to turn it around. Give some thought as to how you might explain why the project failed, and outline the steps you took to turn it around. It is important to list what exactly happened, what lessons were learned, and what you do now to safeguard future projects from failure.

Tom's Answer #1
"I was a consultant managing a project with five other team members, and our goal was to develop a loan application app to qualify a buyer for a mortgage. I noticed that we were not able to meet deadlines or present mock designs of the app when the client requested it. I later found several flaws in our methodology and approach which led to delays and cost over-runs. I had to take a step back a re-evaluate exactly what went wrong, and quickly make corrections. Here's what I did to turn it around, and the educational journey it took me through.

1.) Take a step back and evaluate how you arrived at this point
2.) Temporarily stop the project
3.) Figure out why the project is failing
4.) Set up a turn-around (war) room
5.) Draft an agenda to go over findings, from quantitative reports to team member interviews
6.) Re-assignment of team member tasks and roles
7.) Gather all notes and project collateral
8.) Set clear objectives, and ask each team member to provide you a work list with specific tasks they are responsible for on the project, and their understanding of the team goals"
Tom's Answer #2
"A failed project can be humbling, and eye-opening at the same time. If not managed and executed properly, it can go horribly wrong. That's why when I put together a team for a project; I religiously follow a methodology that works flawlessly. I've learned to become good at this methodology after a failed project a few years ago. It also made me good at spotting where projects go wrong, and where I needed to make immediate changes. Let me break down what I learned about the failed project, and what I did to turn it around:

1.) What did I learn from the process
2.) How did it affect me and the team
3.) What were the key issues that caused the failure
4.) I found that the key issues were.....Complexity, External Influence, Financial, Organizational, Technology, and Scheduling"
14.
What type of manager brings out the best in you?
The interviewer wants to see that you are self-aware and understand the type of manager or employer that brings out the best in you. Some individuals prefer a close working relationship with a lot of accountability while others prefer space and autonomy. If you are unsure of the management style of the interviewing company, try to leave your answer as open as possible. You can certainly ask the interviewer to describe their management style.

Tom's Answer #1
"I have worked with a wide range of personalities and management styles with great success. If I could express a preference, I feel that I am best in an independent and autonomous environment. Can you describe the management style here?"
Tom's Answer #2
"Here are some management styles:

- Directive Autocrat
- Permissive Autocrat
- Consultative Style
- Persuasive Style
- Inclusive
- Democratic Style
- MBWA (Management By Walking Around)
- Laissez-faire
- Mentorship Style"
15.
What are the benefits of automating IT operations through the use of Artificial Intelligence?
The better you understand the concept of AIOps, the better you will be able to explain its benefits to the interviewer. Show that you are aware of the benefits related to automating IT operations through the use of AI.

For a business, some of the benefits include:

- Better use and disbursement of resources
- Improved storage management
- Elevated capacity planning capabilities
- Ability to detect anomalies faster, and more accurately
- Boosted threat detection and analysis

Tom's Answer #1
"Although there are many critics since AIOps is somewhat in its infancy, I believe that the benefits include the ability to detect better and analyze IT threats. Also, AI is allowing us to better plan around those potential threats, and detect anomalies faster."
Tom's Answer #2
"There are a plethora of benefits to automating IT operations using AI. What first comes to mind is the ability to streamline operations, and better use and disperse resources. The implementation of AIOps will also significantly help when it comes to timely threat detection."
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26 Atos Interview Questions
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Interview Questions
  1. The most successful Real Estate agents are highly motivated. What motivates you?
  2. What is the difference between Asymmetric and Symmetric encryption and which one is better?
  3. How would your most recent manager describe you?
  4. Would you be willing to work over 40 hours a week?
  5. Have you worked on application development projects, if so what technologies have you used, and what was your specific role on those projects?
  6. We're a company of innovative thinkers; we rely upon our innovative thinking to solve client problems. Tell me about a time when you came up with a breakthrough idea that was not obvious to others. Describe your idea and how you developed it?
  7. Can you name some open source cloud computing platform databases?
  8. Listening to our clients is absolutely essential to understanding their business and technology needs. Tell me about a time when you're listening skills helped exceed their expectations in the delivery of the project?
  9. As I understand it, the network is the most vulnerable part of a company's IT infrastructure. What is your opinion of this and how would you define the threat and risk to a company in terms of network security?
  10. What are your salary expectations?
  11. What are the various ways to inform employees about information security policies and procedures?
  12. In your opinion, what has been the most exciting use of artificial intelligence this year?
  13. Describe a situation where a project you were managing failed. What did you learn about this failure, and were you able to salvage or turn it around?
  14. What type of manager brings out the best in you?
  15. What are the benefits of automating IT operations through the use of Artificial Intelligence?
  16. Many of our clients have been subject to repeated attempts to access their network from unauthorized sources. One type of attack we often see is brute force logins. How do you recommend they defend against this type of attack?
  17. How would you explain machine learning to someone who does not know the industry?
  18. Can you describe the difference between a Black Hat, White Hat and Grey Hat hacker?
  19. In Real Estate, timing is everything. How do you determine priorities when you have multiple projects due?
  20. Many companies are new to the cloud computing environment. How do you brief them about what security aspects come with a cloud?
  21. IT projects rely on teams and each other to succeed. Describe a scenario were you lead your team to a successful outcome?
  22. Why is this job with Atos right for you, at this time in your career?
  23. As part of the IT team, how do you approach your role in the implementation and roll out of new software and technical programs?
  24. There have been several virus attacks recently, what have you done to protect your organization from these cyber attacks?
  25. Give me your opinion on Blockchain technology, and how do you think it will revolutionize cyber security?
  26. What are the benefits of leasing a private data center vs. building one from scratch?
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