By asking this question, the interviewer is attempting to understand the depth of your knowledge about a hosted cloud computing environment and your ability to plan and manage client's transitions to the cloud without causing any disruption in their business.
DAZ Systems Interview Questions
If a client is considering moving from an internal data center environment to our platform. What are the key issues you would recommend them addressing before making this move?
By asking this question, the interviewer is attempting to understand the depth of your knowledge about a hosted cloud computing environment and your ability to plan and manage client's transitions to the cloud without causing any disruption in their business.
"When transitioning to a hosted cloud environment, there are several things you need to consider. The first and most important is business continuity. You need to make sure that there is no downtime during and after moving to the cloud and that no data is lost or compromised. Another key consideration it the integrity of the data; you don't want it to be hacked or lost between the user and the cloud. Maintaining availability and access to the cloud is also important. Capacity planning is critical, and measures need to be taken to ensure there are enough computing and storage resources available to the users, and that additional resources can be provisioned or de-provisioned as needed. Finally, the company needs to be aware of any regulatory or compliance issues around data integrity and privacy when utilizing cloud hosting."
"The key considerations when moving to a cloud hosted environment center around data integrity, availability, and compliance. You need to take measures to ensure that the company's data is secure, can't be compromised when communicating with the cloud, and can be recovered if lost. Most cloud hosting service providers can assist with this through the transition planning and execution process. Having a good backup and disaster recovery plan is also important. Availability of the information, applications and computing resources is the next most critical issue. Selecting the right cloud hosting service provider is the first step. They should offer SLA guarantees and have contingencies in place when issues occur. Finally, it is the company's responsibility to make sure that they are in compliance with any regulations and customer privacy requirements when they move to a cloud environment. Again, although not primarily responsible, the service provider can assist in providing the guarantees and documentation necessary to address this issue."
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.
"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."
"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."
What questions do you have for me about DAZ Systems?
It's always a great idea to have questions ready for the interviewer. Review the company website and other online resources to ensure the questions you are asking are not mundane, or redundant. The last thing an interviewer wants to hear is a list of items you could have found the answers to from merely watching a video on their company site!
Here are some sample questions:
- When would you like to have this position filled?
- How long has this role been vacant?
- Is this a replacement search or a newly created role?
- What is your favorite part about working here?
- What is the company's primary goal for this position in the next 12 months?
- Is there anything from my background and experience that I can clarify for you?
- What do you see as the most significant change in this industry over the past three years?
- Is there any reason why you would not hire me?
"Thank you for asking - I do have a few questions. What is top of mind when it comes to filling this role? Also, what types of career growth opportunities would follow this position? And lastly, do you have internal candidates who are also interviewing for this position?"
As a Real Estate Agent you are expected to be available to your clients on evenings, weekends, and holidays. Are you comfortable with these expectations?
The life of a Real Estate Agent isn't a typical 9-5, Monday to Friday gig. Your clients' primary availability may be outside of 'regular' working hours which means that you need to be available for them during those times. Assure the interviewer that you have a full understanding of these hours requirements.
"I am very comfortable with the hours required of me to succeed in Real Estate. If I do need some time off, or a weekend away, I will plan far ahead. My cell is always on me, and my clients understand that they can book showings with me outside of typical work hours, no problem at all."
"I fully understand the time commitment associated with a career in Real Estate. I'm prepared to make the sacrifices necessary to have a solid career here at DAZ Systems."
IT projects rely on teams and each other to succeed. Describe a scenario were you lead your team to a successful outcome?
Here's a great opportunity to show the value and worth that you can bring to the organization. While you were managing a team, you can describe how you motivated and empowered your team so they could have ownership and accountability on the project. Your goals should be to illustrate how you recognized the team's achievements, and inspired them to work towards a successful outcome. Don't forget to provide examples of when you were able to meet deadlines, and overcome obstacles that might have delayed your project. Lastly, provide a purpose for the project, and how important their involvement is, and why it's important to have a successful outcome for the project.
"Teams respond in different ways based on how their manager leads. I found this to be true in many cases when I manage teams. I feel that effective collaboration and leveraging the appropriate resources is important to reach a goal or target. I strongly believe that building strong relationships with my team and stakeholders separates me from mediocre managers. Igniting a passion in my team has helped me show them that anything is possible when you work together as a team to achieve a successful outcome. It's not difficult to envision a goal if you nurture a belief in your team, and trust their capabilities. Case in point, I was tasked with creating and documenting a sequence of events for our IT Project Management team so that projects could be assigned more efficiently, and everyone from the project management team would get task notifications to complete before the next phase of a project could be assigned to another project manager. This resulted in projects starting and completing 40% faster, and with an established sequence in place, this was easy to follow and maintain for the department manager."
"There was a particular instance where my team and I were assigned a project to re-write the functionality of a module from our enterprise software. Our goal was to develop new features in the manufacturing module so it could perform real-time data analytics and the plant manager could track inventory levels, and error rates in the production environment. I made sure that my team was well prepared and understood what needed to be done for this to be a success. This initiative resulted in timely reorders when stock was low, and it also reduced error rates by 70% which also resulted in cost savings to our bottom line."
In Real Estate, timing is everything. How do you determine priorities when you have multiple projects due?
When you feel torn between multiple projects or tasks, how do you decide which one needs your attention the most? Assure the interviewer that you can be diligent when it comes to assessing your priorities.
"I will determine which project requires my attention by the number of hours we are behind and then the project size. I am comfortable delegating tasks when needed, but I am also aware that these times will require an additional commitment of hours from me. Never have I under delivered on a deadline."
"I determine priorities based on project value and receptiveness of my client. The most engaged clients generally get my attention and the fastest turnaround."
How would you convince a company that is still undecided about whether or not they should continue managing their own data center or move to a hosted cloud?
Being able to convince potential clients to join DAZ Systems's cloud services is a key skill that hiring managers are looking for. By asking this question, the interviewer is attempting to determine your knowledge of a hosted cloud and your opinion of the benefits.
"There are several benefits to moving to a hosted cloud. The key benefit is cost, based on the ability to only providing the resources you need. You can scale up the resources during peak business periods and then de-provision them when they are no longer needed. This is difficult in a self-managed data center environment. Other advantages include more secure data and backup, built-in disaster recovery, more flexible software licensing by using Software as a Service (SaaS) and it is platform and OS agnostic. These features provide the organization with greater flexibility. The final benefit is increased productivity. The company can focus on its business rather than running an IT department."
"Hosted Cloud service providers provide an organization like yours several benefits. The key benefit is cost savings. Moving to a hosted environment allows you to 'rent' your computer resources and only use what you need. This includes compute, storage and even software, using the SaaS model. You pay for what you need when you need it, then put it back on the shelf and don't pay when you're not using it. Other advantages include focusing on your core business vs. running an IT department, being platform and OS agnostic, and being able to use the most productive or popular technologies. Finally, you will be operating in a secure computing environment with SLAs, backups and disaster recovery included with the services."
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.
"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"
"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"
The way we approach clients in our business is we identify client needs and recommend solutions to their needs. Tell me about a time when your knowledge and expertise allowed you to make a recommendation to resolve a problem or address a pain point?
The is a classic example of the hiring manager asking you to role play your response. The way it works is the hiring manager asks you to role play as the consultant, and he/she is the client who asks you to give them a pitch about why your company is a firm that they need to work with. There are a few ways to make this role play work in your favor. Here are a few examples you can use in a response. 1. Act as a problem solving adviser that can find and recommend solutions quickly, 2. Tell the client they have accessibility to you and other team members as needed, 3. Point out the benefits that they will get when they hire your company, 4. Share some examples of successes from companies of a similar industry, size or market.
"I've been a firm believer that the customer is always our highest priority and that I need to be the eyes and ears of the customer. With that said, there some examples I can share that will hopefully resonate with you. I typically ask what solutions have been proposed in the past, and how they have worked. Are there metrics to track the success or failure of past efforts? Having data to review helps me understand the process and approach previously used. Knowing the team makeup, and what methodology they used will also give me a deeper insight into what they were thinking. I like to conduct a voice of the customer survey, which I believe adds tremendous value to this campaign. Lastly, it's important for me to analyze the cause & effect relationships from the customer surveys, because It reveals a lot of underlying issues like task failures, root cause problems, and how good or bad the data is."
"My recommendations would be based on what the customer wants and how well they articulated the deliverable. If, for example, the client wanted something that resembles a ketchup bottle, but the team delivered a salt shaker, that would indicate a miscommunication of what the client requested. My approach would be to closely dissect the customer requirements, then build a mock-up of what they requested, and have them review for approval before going to the next phase of development. After this phase is approved, I would do testing and debugging before presenting it to the customer. Mapping the customer journey is a visualization process a customer goes through and tracks each step along the way with the vendor, so everyone is on the same page."
What part of this career brings you the most stress?
Stress can often be a regular part of the day to day work experience. Talk to the interviewer about which areas of your career are the most stressful. Ensure that your answer does not include a factor that would make you appear unfit for the position. (IE: a bus driver should not find driving to be the most stressful part of the job).
"The part of my career that brings me the most stress is when the schedule is running behind due to lack of hustle on my teams part. I like to be on time with my schedule to ensure that my clients are assisted properly."
"I probably bring myself the most stress because of my drive and desire to be/do the best I can be. I manage this by focusing my energy on productive activities that are good for my career."
What is the differences between 'scalability' and 'elasticity' when speaking in terms of cloud hosting?
If you are asked this type of question, the interviewer is attempting to confirm that you really understand the concepts of cloud hosting. They may also be genuinely trying to clarify this information for their own benefit. You should answer the question as clearly and succinctly as possible.
"Scalability is a characteristic of cloud computing which is used to handle the escalating workload by escalating in proportion amount of resource capacity. Using scalability, the service provider can easily and quickly add resources when the requirements are being raised by the client. On the other hand, Elasticity is a characteristic that provides for the concept of provisioning and de-provisioning a large amount of resource capacity dynamically. It is usually measured by the speed by which the resources are coming on demand and the usage of those resources. Scalability often refers to a permanent increase in resources whereas Elasticity is temporary, based on fluctuating demands or business activity."
"That's a great question. People often confuse the concepts of scalability and elasticity. Scalability refers to the ability to easily increase the IT resources used by the organization. This is accomplished by using technology that can be increased quickly and with no disruption in service or downtime. Another characteristic of scalability is that it is typically permanent, and based on the growth of the organizations business. On the other hand, elasticity refers to the ability to dynamically add (provision) or remove (de-provision) IT resources based on fluctuations in business cycles or customer activity. Service providers in hosted clouds accomplish this by having "standby" resources on hand which can be turned on or off as needed. These resources are typically shared by multiple clients, who are only billed when they actually use them."
How can DAZ Systems motivate you on the job?
Every employer should know how each staff member is best motivated. Talk to the interviewer about the variety of ways in which you find motivation on the job.
"I am best motivated through words of praise and recognition for a job well done. I do like to know that my efforts are noticed. In my current position, we have a leaderboard and I do like that concept because it creates a healthy bit of personal competition for me as well."
"I am very much self-driven and self-motivated. As long as I am being treated with respect and feel appreciated, you will get the best work from me."
A client of ours wants to discuss a possible divestiture of some of their company locations. What are some key points during a consulting discovery that you want to understand to determine if our firm can potentially assist them?
This particular hiring manager is asking you to give a scenario where their client has approached them about a divestiture of some of their locations, and they want to make sure they make a sound business decision for this client without having negative consequences on their business. As a consultant to this client, they would be looking to you as a trusted advisor and consulting firm that can help them through this process. It's important to note that the interviewer wants to know what key points you plan to discuss to determine if they could be a client or not. Your answer should drill down into how you conduct a discovery call and how it relates to the impact it will have on their business after a possible divestiture. I advise highlighting your analytical skills and how you were able to come up with a few options for them to choose from will greatly improve your response.
"When a client puts their full faith and trust in me, I feel honored. Performing a divestiture is a time-consuming task, and it takes a team of people to make this transaction happen. It starts with monitoring the portfolio to see which locations or business units are profitable, and which ones are ripe for a divestiture. As an IT consultant, I always look at the technology implications first, then the business drivers for perspective. Performing a divestiture comes with legal obligations and corporate valuations that need to be addressed as well."
"A divestiture is not easy, especially if it means a location is closing and people might lose their jobs. Several considerations need to be accounted for including severance, identifying who the new buyer of that location will be, and the possible benefits of divesting. Managing the transition does present a challenge, but I have extensive hands-on experience managing this process through its entirety. I've seen companies divest for many reasons, but it always comes back to the strategic focus of the company, and where they can be most profitable."
Tell me something about yourself that I wouldn't know from reading your resume.
The interviewer would like to get to know you apart from what is on your resume. You are indeed not obligated to discuss personal matters such as your kids, or relationship status, for instance. Stick with a couple of fun facts to show the interviewer that you are a real person, too. Your answer should be unique so that you are a memorable candidate!
Focus on unique non-work related skills or hobbies. For example, you might share that you enjoy beat-boxing or making origami swans. Be prepared for the interviewer to stop you and ask you to perform your skill on the spot when it's possible! (This will make you unforgettable!)
"I am an avid marathon runner and have traveled to 10 countries in the last eight years to compete in a variety of races. I am a competitive individual and enjoy keeping fit."
"I am bilingual in Spanish and have some proficiency in French and Italian, too. I also am a huge Harry Potter fan and could pretty much quote each book to you."
Our clients have high expectations of our work, tell me about a time you worked with challenging time constraints, but were still able to exceed client expectations.
If I only had more time. I hear this all the time. It's a fact of life in the business world. Being prepared for situational questions that ask about project planning, resource planning, expectations, delivery, and how you anticipate distractions will show the hiring manager that you have meticulously planned and know each step in the process. Your answer should reflect the steps you take to resolve a problem, or minimize risk so problems don't occur. Walk the interviewer through one of the steps in the process, and detail how you address time constraints specifically, and how you are able to still meet client expectations. Detail this response with how you set up a project plan, the step-by-step approach, and why everyone needs to follow the process in order to avoid delays, and to deliver on time.
"Almost every project will have time sensitivity challenges and deadlines that need to be met. I am very mindful of these things, and take the appropriate steps to ensure projects are planned properly with the appropriate amount of resources, technology, and approvals throughout the process. The way that I start and execute on a project is always with a project plan that serves as a roadmap for success. If I am to avoid time constraints and other challenges, I clearly identify the deliverables, and follow through on the most efficient way to produce them. In order to avoid distractions, I take a close look at design and test times, project risk, team focus, and management involvement so that we minimize delays from the executive level."
"When I start a project, there are a number of tasks and milestones that I consider very carefully. The most important one is identifying risks up front to avoid surprises. I take a systematic approach to each step and phase of the project. It has been my experience that setting quality expectations in advance sets the tone for a much more favorable outcome for the project. Keeping a focus and not deviating from the original plan is important for meeting milestones and expectations. I understand that changes happen, and change management needs to be addressed if this happens. If or when change happens, we refocus the project using rapid application development RAD to stay on schedule so the delivery date of the project doesn't change."
How do you approach vendor and purchasing management in your role in business processes and operations?
There are many different definitions of a 'Cloud' in the IT industry. In order to make sure we are on the same page can you provide your definition of a cloud hosting environment and describe its components?
Tell me about a time where you made a great recommendation that you think would have greatly benefited your client, but they just didn't like it. What approach did you take to convince them?
There are times when you need to consider a broad range of options before recommending a solution. What was the situation, and did the solution help the client?
As a business process and operations expert, how do you approach a situation when a project is failing to progress and is not meeting its deliverables?
As part of the IT team, how do you approach your role in the implementation and roll out of new software and technical programs?
How do you approach your role in business processes and operations when your department or the Project Management Office (PMO) is operating smoothly or there are no pending improvement projects in the queue?
Can you explain to me the basic characteristics of a hosted cloud?
Have you worked on application development projects, if so what technologies have you used, and what was your specific role on those projects?
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?
Describe to me your ideal employer.
How do you ensure that you are meeting your clients' needs when it comes to their property wish list?