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.
"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?"
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.
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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."
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"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."
IT projects rely on teams and each other to succeed. Describe a scenario were you lead your team to a successful outcome?
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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."
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"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."
Your customer wants you to explain the benefits of the Big Data model you developed, how do you communicate the insights they can use for their business?
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Everywhere you look in corporate America; you will find Big Data. It's fast becoming one of the most important facets of a business's operation. Big Data is used for data analytics and data management. If you want to know if your company is profitable or losing money, big data analytics can provide that. If you want to see what product sold best in a specific region of the country or world, big data analytics can provide that information. It's like having a dashboard with multiple screens in one that shows the performance of your company, people, processes, etc. Everyone talks about this concept, but very few can articulate the benefits of big data and how it can help a business. This is especially true for data consultants who are new to big data. Depending on the level of experience that you have, one of the most important areas that you should focus your response on is highlighting the insights that the customer is going to realize when they implement a big data solution.
The interviewer is interested in hearing about how you present benefits to the customer in a way that connects with the customer's pain and adds value to the company. Effective communication is key here. They might ask for a hypothetical scenario where you clearly presented a case for big data and it's benefits. It would help to mention that they would be able to calculate metrics for data gathered from multiple sources like social media, customer profile data, company website, etc.
"My expertise has been in Data Analysis, so Big Data to me was a pretty flat and easy learning curve. When you're working with large volumes of data, you need to make sure that the data is scrubbed (clean) so that the information can be interpreted by the organization so they can use that data to make better business decisions. I was able to do this by using data warehouse applications that broke down the data in smaller manageable groups that had relevant information about each customer or prospect. Based on my knowledge, there are a lot of benefits that a company can get out of big data. Here's a short list that I have compiled based on my experience:
1. Ability to acquire, extract, modify, analyze, and blend the data with various business intelligence tools in order to get the information you need to run your business.
2. You can evaluate risk by a portfolio of products or services.
3. Be able to customize customer experiences.
4. You can identify important information or performance data to improve decision making.
5. Real-time forecasting and monitoring across company-wide locations, divisions, and business units.
6. You can monitor sales and marketing campaigns, and track customer purchasing habits."
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"In years past when I worked with data management tools, it was systems like ETL and Data Warehouses that I used to compile and structure data that the business could use. These were typical Business Intelligence solutions at the time, but they weren't as robust as they are now. My responsibility was to extract and cleanse data so I could present it in a way that was easy to understand to a non-technical person. Having a strong analytical background helped me to analyze different forms of data so I could optimize and index data structures in order to present the many benefits that big data has to offer."
Big Data can be an efficient tool to monitor and grow a business, but can have challenges if not properly implemented. What challenges have you encountered while working with big data?
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Any implementation if not monitored and managed correctly can turn into a complete disaster. This is especially true of Big Data. When you're dealing with large volumes of sales data, customer data, even confidential data, it makes it that much more important to ensure that you mitigate risk at every level of the implementation process. Having prior experience with successful implementations in the big data space will give you a distinct advantage.
A hiring manager wants to hear about the challenges you had with past big data implementations. Managers know that implementations don't always go as planned, so they will be listening carefully to see if you own up to your mistakes or blame others for things that go wrong. It goes without saying, but you never badmouth your company, subordinates or colleagues. A good way to turn this question around is to give an example of a big data implementation that didn't go as planned, but that you were able to get it back on track by re-evaluating the process, the requirements and your team's ability and experience to get this implementation completed successfully.
"I have used Business Intelligence tools like ETL, Informatica, Tableau, QLIK, and Power BI. These tools have helped me shape my knowledge base and career path over the years. I enjoy working with data because it's fun to work with, and I get enjoyment out of it. It has been my experience that big data doesn't always work as advertised. I did have some set-backs on a couple of projects that I managed, and the way I was able to resolve some of the impending issues was I had to re-assess the overall situation, and after doing that, was able to figure out that there was miscommunication between team members and the understanding of the final delivery of the implementation. The issue was the data wasn't being analyzed thoroughly enough to use it as accurate data for the business."
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"A lot of technologies are used simultaneously in the implementation process of a big data project. One area that can't be overlooked is storage. My experience with implementations is that if you have the right infrastructure in place like software-defined storage, compression, duplication, and tiering; it can reduce the amount of space and costs associated with big data implementations. If you don't have these in place before you start the implementation, then you're setting yourself up for failure. I was involved in a project that was delayed for a few reasons. One was that the data wasn't validated, another reason was we were working with disparate data sources, and lastly, we came across organizational resistance (Insufficient alignment and lack of middle management understanding)."
6. Help me understand your standards for success in your last job. Please describe what you did to attain those standards, and if you fell short of expectations, what did you do to remedy the problem? If you look at companies of all sizes, you'll find different types of standards for each one of them. A smaller company's standards might differ from a larger one, and this could be based on processes, management and overall operations. They hiring manager in this case would like to hear if you value standards, and if you are involved in setting standards or following them. Ideally you want to explain that you have involvement with both. Start with some basic facts about the standards you have set, and how you have garnered support from leadership and have successfully maintained those standards over a long period of time. It's also important to talk about times you had challenges maintaining standards, and how you were able to remedy issues that came up, and regain the support of your teams. This shows the interviewer your human side, because everyone falls short of expectations at some point, but what you did to remedy the problem will be something they will pay close attention to. Here is an answer example: "There are standards that I follow which have made me successful. I start by putting together a winning team. The way that I select a team is I look for winning attitudes, and quality attributes that fit within our team dynamics. Each team member must possess a willingness to learn from failures, and the eagerness to practice and improve even under challenging deadlines. Each person on my team has to accept ownership of their role, and be accountable for their work. Lastly, each and every person on my team has to be respectful to each other." Here is an answer example: "When it comes to standards, there are many ways to measure success. For me, customer satisfaction is a very important measurable metric. It's my job to figure out what the client is looking for in order to ensure complete satisfaction. I admit, client satisfaction isn't always easy to measure, but once you develop a system that allows them to measure success, you will have a better idea of how to meet their needs. This is a common practice that I developed and use with all my customers. In rare cases where I fell short of my client's expectations, I always examine where things went wrong, and implement a change to immediately right the ship. It could be a number of things like budget, bureaucracy, unrealistic timelines, etc. I document all project cases so I prevent failures in the future."7. Why is this job with Datamatics Global Services right for you, at this time in your career? Discuss with the interviewer why you are looking to make a change, and how this particular role fits well with the changes that you are seeking. Be sure to give a more in-depth answer than the typical 'I am looking for growth' answer that so many interviewers hear. Be thoughtful and draw upon the research you have done on the company. Here is an answer example: "I have been passively seeking a new position for quite some time and haven't jumped on anything yet because I want to make sure it's the right fit. I feel that this job is right for me, at this point in my career, because it offers an opportunity for me to utilize my recent education in IT while giving me an opportunity to advance in my management skills." Here is an answer example: "This job is right for me at this time in my career because I am prepared and ready to take on a management position. I feel that your company would nurture my desire for growth and prepare me with the appropriate training."8. 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. Here is an answer example: "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." Here is an answer example: "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."9. In your opinion, is data a true asset for a business. Why or why not? Many companies still struggle with the idea that their data is a real asset when it comes to their business. The interviewer would like to know that, if a client asked you about the importance of their data, that you would give a well-thought-out and appropriate response. Share with the interviewer why data is indeed an asset. Here is an answer example: "Since acquiring data comes with a significant cost, I believe it is fair to say then that data is an asset. Data can give precious insight into a company's operations, financial strength, future scalability, and more. By properly analyzing data, a company can open itself to millions in growth. For these reasons, I absolutely consider data to be a true business asset." Here is an answer example: "It is interesting to me that this idea is still in question with some of the clients with which I work. I recently read a study claiming that 36% of businesses lack the tools needed to extract and analyze the information and data that they have. When a client asks me if their data is valuable, I always reply with a hearty 'yes!' It is expensive to gather data, but also more costly to never analyze your data."10. What decisions did you routinely make in your last position? The interviewer would like to know more about the types of decisions you are accustomed to making in the workplace. The way you answer this questions will give them a good idea of your level of experience, seniority, and ability to handle the decision-making requirements in this possible position.
If the job you are interviewing for requires you to be decisive and quick on your feet, you will need to be able to provide examples of how you have done these things in the past. If you worked in tech support, you faced problems that you needed to find solutions for on a regular basis. If you worked as a sales rep, you might have required to know how to negotiate and make decisions on prices and benefits you can give your customers.
You may have faced decisions that became so routine you didn't think twice! Refer to these types of decisions and be sure to highlight how these types of decisions have prepared you for a role like this one. Here is an answer example: "In my previous position I was quite often required to make decisions on staff scheduling as well as hiring and terminating. I feel that role prepared me quite well for a position like this one. I have well-honed decision-making skills and my intuition, when it comes to hiring, has been elevated." Here is an answer example: "I was responsible for planning the content calendar: emails, blog post topics, and timing, social media posts, in addition to actually executing the plans. That means everything from creating web copy, to choosing images, and the like. Also, I collaborate with management to decide what promotions and sales we will be running, and when."11. At Datamatics Global Services we seek to hire individuals who have ambitions of growing their career. Where do you see yourself in 3-5 years? Every hiring manager would like to know that their investment of time and training will pay off. Assure the interviewer that you see this position as a long-term fit. How does this role with Datamatics Global Services fit into your longer-term plans? Here is an answer example: "In 3-5 years I would like to see my career with Datamatics Global Services include a path towards a leadership role. I am very keen on paving a long-term career in the healthcare services realm and would love the opportunity to do that here." Here is an answer example: "One of the attractive points of working for Datamatics Global Services is that you care about the growth of your employees. I'm motivated to learn and am looking for a long-term fit. In 3-5 years I'd like to be grounded in the clinic, learn about this site, your patient base and earn certifications that would help the unit advance. Personally, I'd like to get involved in some of the local volunteer organizations. I speak Spanish, and I have an interest in urban outreach so it would be nice to do something formal in that context...health-education or fundraising."12. 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. Here is an answer example: "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." Here is an answer example: "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."13. In the healthcare services industry there are many emotions in a day. Have your emotions ever been in the way of your productivity? The interviewer wants to know if you consider yourself to be an emotionally driven person. Talk to the interviewer about your emotions and if they have ever affected your productivity at work.
Keep in mind - almost everyone is an emotional creature to some degree, but there are other ways that you can describe yourself that have a more positive connotation. If you are passionate, you could choose to refer to yourself as:
- Warm Hearted Here is an answer example: "Everyone is emotional to a certain degree, and I would consider myself kind-hearted and open. A career in healthcare can be emotional at times; however, I choose to focus on the positives. For instance - if we are close to losing a patient, I will focus on the positive memories rather than the illness. This mindset has consistently allowed me to continue with a productive shift no matter the emotions that come my way. " Here is an answer example: "This is a great question. I think the right answer is, 'of course, but not for long'! We've all had those tough cases. A child dies, a patient yells at you, or you have to give someone a cancer diagnosis. Its professional to take a few minutes after an encounter like that and let those emotions come and go. I cope with these emotions by telling myself that it's not my story, its the patient's story. I think it's okay to be moved by someone else's experience, but I don't need to make it mine."14. Getting team members on the same page and committed to common goals has its challenges when you encounter differing opinions. Tell me about a time when you were able to influence team members to be more committed to a project? Team participation can be cause a rift between team members when the team does not see the same goals and expectations that everyone else sees. There are also personalities you have to contend with, along with miscommunication and different work styles. In order to get everyone to communicate and work together, there needs to be a common goal everyone if working together to achieve. The interviewer wants to see how you handle pressure managing different personalities, and how you get everyone to work together despite everyone having their own agenda and working style. It helps if you mention to the interviewer that you communicate to each member the importance of their job role, and that you make each team member feel important, and that their contribution is valuable. Here is an answer example: "I've found that tapping into an employee's commitment and resonating with them at many levels builds trust and shows that I am genuinely interested in their success. This approach has helped me garner support for my teams, and it has allowed me to paint a picture that they are part of something bigger than themselves. Presenting the challenge to the team, and having them step up shows accountability and the impact they can make on the team. Recognition for work performed is a big part of everyone participating and knowing they will get recognized not only by their manager, but by senior leaders as well." Here is an answer example: "Participation of any sort takes commitment and dedication. My consulting style has always been to make a connection with the team so they can see the importance of their contribution. Convincing the team to believe in the company mission, vision, and goals is important. The tact I take is highlighting the credit they will receive and attracting attention for their quality work. I pay close attention to these areas as they are important to foster team building."15. What is your knowledge of imputation? Would you kindly list different types of imputation techniques, and which method you find to be most favorable for your environment? There are multiple imputation methods that can be used for missing data. It comes down to the experience one has using imputation techniques. In most cases, your software by default chooses Listwise deletion. This, of course, all depends on why and how much data is missing. Another approach is imputation which means replacing data values with an estimate, then analyzing the data to see if imputed values were observed.
A question like this is posed to help the hiring manager determine your level of expertise with imputation. First, start with an overview of your knowledge with imputation and imputation techniques. They will probably be looking for something along the lines of mean imputation and single or multiple imputations. The way to answer this question with relation to mean imputation is to talk about Regression Imputation, Hot Deck Imputation, Cold Deck Imputation, Substitution, Stochastic Regression Imputation, and Interpolation and Extrapolation. If a question comes up about single or multiple imputations, it's going to depend on unbiased parameter estimates and accurate standard errors. Here is an answer example: "When I work on different types of imputation techniques, the goal I want to achieve is what missing information am I looking for, and what am I suppose to do with it. Every company has different rules about imputation policies, and how to handle missing data. In most cases, the software you use defaults to a listwize method of cleaning up unwanted, unused or missing data. It's important to look into how much data you are storing, and how much of that is usable data that the business can use. Some of the methods I use to determine single or multiple imputations are the following:
1. Hot Deck Imputation - (A missing value imputed from a random selection).
2. Cold Deck Imputation - (Same as hot-deck, but more advanced and selects from other datasets).
3. Mean Imputation - (Replacing missing values with predicted values).
4. Single Imputation - (Denotes that the missing value is replaced by a value)." Here is an answer example: "Working with missing data can be a challenge for most people, but I find this type of work very rewarding professionally. My role requires me to work with a team of data architects and consultants who provide me with data, and then I apply imputation techniques to cleanse the data so that the company can use it for managing and growing the operations. It is important that I obtain the best quality data before making it ready for the business to use. This is why I apply these types of imputation techniques.
1. Multiple Imputation - (Estimates the values multiple times).
2. Regression Imputation - (Involves replacing missing values with a predicted value).
3. Stochastic Regression - (Same as regression, but adds a common regression variance to the imputation)."16. Great communication skills are critical when working as an IT Consultant. Walk me through a time when you were successful in communicating with a person that was difficult to work with, and under difficult circumstances? Throughout corporate America, you'll find your garden variety of different personalities from strategic thinkers, passive aggressive profiles, and of course your ego maniacs. Dealing with difficult people is an art. There's a few ways you can learn to adapt to an environment, culture and difficult circumstances without compromising the success of the project. First, start with the common issues that a difficult person will present to you. He/she will likely try to take credit for the work you completed, or blame you for missing their deadlines. An easy way to handle this is to explain that even though they blamed you, you have no ill will towards them, and actually offered to help with their project so they could get caught up. Another approach is to summarize the issue, then explain that you communicated with the other person and spent time with them to solve the problem. Here is an answer example: "I've worked with all types of personalities, and have found that a diplomatic approach has worked best for me. The first thing I address with the other person is the blame game. Learning why you are blamed gets you once step closer to resolving the problem. In this case the client was having issues meeting deadlines which caused other departments to also miss their deadlines. I immediately focused on a problem, how to solve it, and started by showing my willingness to get along and help get the project back on track." Here is an answer example: "It's extremely important to me to avoid getting upset or venting about the person who was difficult to work with. I had an instance where a client was rude, and verbally abusive, and didn't give me access to servers, and software that I needed to complete my work. I kept my cool and was polite the whole time. I demonstrated how they would see immediate results and a turn-around of their project if we could all work together and I could have access to certain files and folder to get my work done, and they agreed."17. When dealing with data, in your opinion, is it better to have too many false positives, or too many false negatives? Please explain. There has been much discussion and speculation about false positives and false negatives, and not all data scientists are in 100% agreement with what is interpreted as a false negative and false negative. Let's say for example you were diagnosed with not having a disease, but after numerous tests, it was verified and confirmed that the disease was in fact still present. That would be considered a false positive. If on the other hand you were diagnosed with a disease, but found out later that you didn't have a disease, which would be considered a false negative. In this type of interview situation, the hiring manager is looking for two things. Your opinion and explanation about false positives and false negatives when it comes to dealing with data management.
Data results can be misleading at times, and you need to be able to explain why this is the case, and in your opinion how the data is viewed negatively or positively based on whatever tests were run to arrive at the result from the data. It would help to offer your perspective to the interviewer on the way you determine whether you think it's better to have too many false positives or too many false negatives to sort out. Here is an answer example: "The way I approach false negatives and false positives is to form a null hypothesis which leads you to try and reject it, thus giving me a positive result. I know that data scientists don't like the notion of swapping hypothesis, but they do give us situations where arriving at a false negative is not ideal. I've heard cases where false positives have had bad outcomes because of how the data was analyzed. Everything is not so Black and White. There are examples that have a hypothesis that cannot be switched due to the nature of science and law, which shows that errors are interchangeable. It comes down to how you design and research your study." Here is an answer example: "Although false positives and false negatives have been debated on probably every topic available, it has been my experience that having too many false negatives over false positive results have been better for our work environment. Especially when you're dealing with something as sensitive as data. There are times when I run QA or validation tests on data, and depending on what we're looking at, we could get a false positive or false negative. That's why having too many false negatives helps weed out the false positives."18. 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. Here is an answer example: "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." Here is an answer example: "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."19. Explain what the difference is between Data Mining and Data Analytics, and tell me how you have used both in your recent projects? Data Mining and Data Analytics go hand In hand in the world of big data. Data Mining is used to find patterns among large datasets, while Data Analytics is used to test hypothetical models on particular datasets. Over a period of time, you acquire skills that companies see as valuable to their organization. It's these skills that set you apart in the market. As you hone these skills over time, you become good at many different soft skills that accompany the technical skills. Here's where you can use a combination of these skills to articulate a compelling message that explains the differences between Data Mining and Data Analytics.
A very important question that might come from an interviewer is how much data do you analyze, and how do you manage that data without risking a security breach. Large scale big data projects use tools like Hadoop as a repository for this data. The reason I mention it is the hiring manger might ask what repository you use to store it, and what your level of confidence using this tool is. Here is an answer example: "Data Mining and Data Analytics data is compiled by a number of different sources throughout a company. This data comes into the organization in many different forms from different formats, platforms, media, etc. It comes in different shapes, sizes, and venues like social media, social activity reports, customer surveys, emails, weblogs, sensors and bots related to the Internet of Things. I take this data and put it in the correct silos of a data warehouse, then break it down into data points that have relevant and usable data that the business can understand and use it to make business decisions. I was responsible for a data mining project that needed data to calculate operational expenses within the marketing group. They needed to know what it cost the Marketing department to run lead generation campaigns, and what the customer acquisition costs were." Here is an answer example: "To me, comparing and contrasting two things like Data Mining and Data Analytics is an exercise that I enjoy a lot. I'm very passionate about data in general. Let me give you an example of these two, and how I used them in my current and past projects. Let's examine the difference between the two, and my experience using both. The Data Analytics process goes into the following steps: Project Definition, Data Collection, Data Analysis, Statistical Analysis, Data Modeling, and Deployment. The Data Mining process is a little different. The steps are Problem Definition, Data Collection, Data Analysis, Statistical Analysis, Data Modeling, Verification and Validation, and Insights. Now for my experience: In a recent project, I collected data from our websites to look at patterns in user behavior and website traffic for all our pages. This data was helpful to the Search Engine Optimization team so they could focus on redeveloping pages that were getting inquires and orders."20. When designing a machine learning model, what in your opinion is more important, model performance or model accuracy, and why? Machine Learning as we know it is revolutionizing the way we buy, the way we live, and the way we work. Companies everywhere use machine learning models to improve the way they do business. It helps companies make more precise business decisions based on the data they have. When developing a machine learning model, one has to rely on data that can be used to develop new products, and provide insights into business operations and decision making processes.
Interviewers ask this question because they are interested in a few different things from you. The first thing is your opinion on the importance of model performance and model accuracy. Your opinion should not heavily discount one over the other since they're interested to hear if you have worked with both, and why you have a preference over one or the other. Give an example and explanations of why you think one is better than the other, and detail the features, processes or techniques that you feel work better for you or the company. You could mention that model accuracy is used for identifying relationships and patterns between variables in a dataset. Model performance can also be mentioned as calculating current values based on a prediction and comparing the model's performance. Here is an answer example: "In my opinion, I believe that model performance and model accuracy have an equally important role to play in Machine Learning. When I work with model accuracy, I understand that the better the data is the better the outcome of the results will be. This data provides better predictions and insights that deliver more business value, and by optimizing model accuracy, it mitigates cost as well. I find this to be important at many levels of the organization because while there is a point of diminishing returns, the value of more accurate models corresponds to profit increases for the organization. When I use the Machine Learning model performance method, I start with a baseline model, and then I determine if the model skill is relative, and then assign a score to it. This method, in my opinion, is slightly better, but not by much. The biggest reasons are; mean outcome values for a regression and classification problem, and better input and output for forecasting." Here is an answer example: "Predictive models as a whole are exciting to work with since you're dealing with both model accuracy and model performance. In my career working with data, I find that a machine learning model is directly correlated with the quality of the data provided by the sources in a company. As mentioned earlier, I believe both methods provide value to an organization. Some of the data quality issues I've come across using model accuracy are missing or erroneous values in a data set, categorical values that don't work well with textual values, data dimensions that are required to be reduced due to size, and lastly issues with scaling values and features.""21. Datamatics Global Services seeks to hire those with strong problem solving skills. When were you able to successfully resolve a problem in the workplace? Problem-solving and dispute resolution are critical skills to possess. Display to the interviewer that you are capable of problem-solving within the workplace. Talk about a time when you were creative, proactive, and displayed the leadership qualities required to resolve a workplace issue. Here is an answer example: "In my most recent position we had a consistent problem with employees showing up late for their shifts or calling in sick at the very last moment. Rather than the typical documenting and reprimanding style that management usually takes, I decided to track the results of an accountability reward system. For 180 days, my employees were rewarded for coming to work 10 minutes early. Also, for every month with zero sick days, a bonus was added. In the end, we awarded those with perfect attendance a $600 bonus. The bonus' cost us less money, in the end than the cost of lowered productivity due to absent employees. The program was a success, and upper management chose to keep it implemented for another six months. We will re-assess in December, but it seems to be working very well." Here is an answer example: "I was working in a clinic where the primary population was low income. We had a lot of concerns with patients not showing up for appointments when expected. The staff wanted to start double-booking patient time slots. Instead, I got permission to spend a day in a highly-rated clinic serving the same population. Instead of scheduling, they had these 'drop-in mornings' with a common waiting room. I took these methods and incorporated them into our setting. We did that twice a week, and it completely solved our scheduling problem."22. 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? When you're in a position of trust with a client, they lean heavily on you for advice, guidance, and direction. This is a great opportunity for you to explore multiple options that will yield a desirable result for the client. The client will expect you to present options that not only fit within their budget, but meet their business requirements. Some examples might be one or more of the following; Sales Pipeline Development, Product Order Status, Invoicing, Production, Accounts Payables/ Receivables, Project Management, etc. The solution could be a software or hardware solution. Thinking outside the box will give you an advantage. Start with a high level business requirements approach from a strategic level, and drill down to operational and tactical levels if you really want to understand where the customer is coming from, and where they want to be in the future. Here is an answer example: "As an IT Consultant, I regularly keep up to date on new technologies in software, hardware, networking, security, and programming. It goes without saying that any consultant would have to fully understand a client's business needs before making any recommendations. In one particular case, i had a meeting with the COO to learn what the business drivers were, and why he thought they needed a new software solution. I learned that their sales organization didn't have a CRM to track and manage customer and sales data. I researched three Customer Resource Manager (CRM's) that met the client's qualification, and after a 30 day trial period, I suggested one that met their needs. After implementation, the client was able to view a pipeline of sales activities, customer order data, closed sales, sales reps activities, which is exactly what they wanted." Here is an answer example: "When I build relationships with clients, the first thing I think of is to help my client improve their performance and growth which can result in increased sales and increased value for the business and stakeholders. I start by conducting onsite research, monitoring day to day operations, and analyzing data to learn their business. I take it a step further to learn where manual intervention is needed, and whether a solution will be technology-based, personnel/resource based, or process based. I found that the requirement was personnel/resource-based and that they needed a team of programming experts, along with business analysts and project managers. I suggested bringing in a team that I knew would be able to handle the task of building an application to support their warehousing distribution business."23. When have you shown a willingness to learn a new method or new approach to solving a problem? Being flexible, and able to handle change is a skill that all employers desire to see. Discuss with the interviewer your ability to approach a problem using new methods. Give a recent example but make sure to spend more time highlighting the resolution rather than the problem. Here is an answer example: "When our facility came under new management last year many new methods and policies came into place. I was able to learn some exciting new approaches to our challenges in patient care and customer management. I quite enjoyed the process." Here is an answer example: "It's funny; they say people in medicine are 'lifelong learners'. But on top of that, we're in this digital revolution, and everyone has to learn new software all the time. I'm finally getting old enough to realize that its difficult to be constantly adapting. I think my 75-year-old aunt telling me how to use my iPhone helped me appreciate that it's all about humility. Not WHO is teaching you, but if you are willing to learn. In the medical context, I just took an updated CPR course, and it went from the 2:15 compressions to continuous compressions and I had to adapt to avoid my past way of thinking."24. What is pervasive business intelligence, and what does it mean to you? Pervasive business intelligence, or Pervasive BI as it's often referred to, is a business' practice of empowering employees by allowing open access to information, and essential responsibilities around decision making. This practice is known to generate beneficial results for companies and also supports a positive company culture. Datamatics Global Services knows that by making it easy for you to find information, the better you will be able to do your job. Talk about the term Pervasive BI, and what it means to you. Here is an answer example: "To me, pervasive business intelligence means that information is widely spread through a group of employees, allowing them to have access to business data and intelligence, freely. I believe that PBI is an excellent practice as it fosters a positive workplace culture and helps employees to feel empowered." Here is an answer example: "I was recently reading an article on pervasive business intelligence, where a popular survey showed that over 80% of senior employees and leaders wanted data and business information to be more accessible to them, in the workplace. The concept may be a new conversation to many, but it's an important one."25. Tell me about a time that you were assigned to manage a data analytics project. Walk me through the step-by-step process that you used to kick-off this project? Everyone has their own unique style of managing and kicking off a project. What we'll examine here is a commonly used step-by-step process that most people use as part of their preparation to get a project started.
The main purpose of an interviewer asking these questions is to understand better your approach to a data problem and what your process is to ensure the success of the project. A good way to get this started is to understand the objective and goal of the project. Before you start the data modeling process, you'll need to have a complete and accurate dataset and make sure that the entire team has specific tasks for what they will be doing throughout the data modeling exercise.
During the interview, you will likely be asked what tools you will use as part of the step-by-step process, how you will validate the data, and the method you will use to track the output results. Here is an answer example: "Managing a project can come with challenges if you don't take the right steps to prepare and execute properly. There are certain steps I take to ensure that the preparation is done even before kick-off is underway. The pre-prep of a project is a very important step before the actual kick-off. The main elements of the project pre-prep are having the right team members in place with the appropriate skills, and communicating tasks, deadlines, milestones, and clear objectives. Once that is done, I proceed to the data analytics modeling steps. Here's how I prepare, and the steps I take to ensure a successful project kick-off.
1. Define expectations and results - (Requirements gathering sessions with identification of expected results).
2. Team assignments and responsibilities - (Clear vision and outcome of project, and assessment of team capabilities).
3. Project Management - (Monitor and manage project with clear milestones).
4. Organizational Management - (Establish processes, activities, change requests and deliverables).
5. Data Governance - (Management of data quality, security, performance, team, integrity, and priorities)." Here is an answer example: "There's something special about kicking off a project. Being able to oversee and deliver a successful project is very rewarding. It's not only seeing the project through to its completion but managing it after it's kicked-off. Yes, I do have a process that I follow, and I do monitor the project from the infancy of the concept phase to the realization of what the project will look like when it is delivered to the business unit. I feel it's important to see the vision and realization of how the project will come together even before it gets started. I've had this unique skill for a long time, and it's helped me start and complete a number of projects with data at the center of them."
Writers for Datamatics Global Services Answers and Questions
Tom Dushaj is a business and technology executive and an accomplished author of the book "Resumes That Work". Tom has vast experience providing solutions to Fortune 500 companies in the areas of Information Technology Consulting, ERP Software, Personnel Management and International Business Operations. His work experience includes Personnel Administration, Recruiting, Interviewing, Project Management, Career Counseling, as well as Manufacturing and Quality Assurance Consulting. You can find Mr. Dushaj's full profile at https://www.resumebaron.com
Rachelle Enns is a job search expert, executive headhunter, career catalyst, and interview coach. Utilized by top talent from Fortune companies like Microsoft, General Electric, and Nestle, she helps professionals position themselves in today's competitive digital marketplace.
Rachelle founded Renovate My Resume and Executive Resume Solutions, two companies focused on helping job seekers get their edge back. She helps everyone from new graduates looking for their first placement, to CEO's who want more out of their career.
Rachelle coaches students to executives on how to master the toughest interview questions and how to handle the most bizarre interview situations; all with confidence and poise.
Rachelle trains other career coaches, recruiters, and resume writers, globally. A big part of her job is also spent coaching HR professionals on how to bring the human touch back into their interview and hiring process.
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