Budget is important for Dow and its success. What was the greatest cost-cutting measurement you accomplished at your previous employer?
How to Answer
If you are in a management type of role, you will often be asked to keep your eyes open for cost-saving opportunities. Assure the interviewer that you are capable of understanding the importance of this practice and give a strong example of a time when you have done so.
"I have been able to present cost-cutting suggestions many times to my previous employer. The one that I feel had the biggest impact was when I suggested additional warehouse staff. We had three various shifts and still an average of 100 hours of overtime per week. I presented to my employer that we hire one more warehouse employee for each shift, keeping the hours to just 120 regular vs. 100 hours of overtime pay (@1.5x) This recommendation saved the company $31,000 per year. They implemented this change across 15 warehouses the following year, amounting to nearly half a million dollars in savings per year."
"My biggest cost saving measure comes regarding productivity on my team. I was able to craft email copy that I saved as a template and could send out a dozen emails at a time, all personalized, to targeted audiences to set appointments. I was able to do this multiple times per day, while also making calls, and doubled my productivity. I shared this tactic with the team and saw it implemented across the board. While I was not in a managerial role, I was able to roughly double productivity, thereby preventing the need for new hires and surpassing our financial targets for KPIs and financial metrics."
How to Answer
Many interviewers will start off with this question, which could throw you off a bit. You've done all of this research on the company but have you prepared to talk about yourself?
The interviewer is looking for relevant information to the position for which you applied. Respond by mentioning your education, how many years of experience you have in your field, and be sure give some details about your most current position. Conclude your response with a statement about what you are looking for in a job at this time.
"I have a degree in Chemical Science from the University of Michigan. I have three years of experience in sales within the chemical industry. My most recent position was with Company X as an inside sales advisor, and I'm currently looking for a position that will allow me to grow into a leadership opportunity."
"I started my sales career in a large corporate setting, and there I received a promotion within only a few months. I decided that I wanted to stretch my wings and made the leap to a startup. I have had continued success there and am in my preferred sales territory; however, I feel that I may have outgrown the position. Right now there isn't an opportunity for a managerial position here, so I'm looking at outside opportunities, such as this one with Dow Chemical."
Dow Chemical has seasons of peak times where the workload is high. How do you handle a larger than average workload?
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How to Answer
The interviewer wants to know that you can handle the workload required of you in this position and that you will not become overwhelmed if/when workloads unexpectedly increase. When workloads increase, stress levels do too. How do you react?
"When I have a large workload on my plate, I do not stress over the tasks that are in front of me. Rather, I make a simple plan of which tasks are a high priority and which tasks are a lower priority. The higher priority tasks, I complete first. Through this system, I can focus on my tasks individually, rather than stress out by the multitude of tasks ahead of me."
"Here are some suggestions on how to handle a large workload:
- List your tasks and prioritize them
- Think of which tasks add to the company's bottom line, and start there (Closest to the money!)
- Exhale. Relax for a minute and collect yourself
- Organize your tasks by which ones you can complete independently and which ones you need help with
- Take sufficient breaks, so you do not exhaust yourself
- Communicate your struggles with your leadership or team"
What decisions did you routinely make in your last position?
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How to Answer
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 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.
"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."
"I regularly made decisions regarding pricing and discounts for customers. I had a standard set of criteria that I created, and I tried to let that guide me for consistency."
Writers for Dow Chemical Co. Answers and Questions
Rachelle Enns is an executive head-hunter and job search expert. Utilized by top executives from Fortune 100 & 500 companies like Fitbit, Microsoft, General Electric, Nestle, and more, she helps professionals position themselves in a competitive marketplace. Rachelle founded Renovate My Resume, a company that focuses on helping job seekers get their edge back. Renovate My Resume creates stand-out resumes, cover letters, LinkedIn profiles and professional summaries for new grads, all the way to corporate executives. Rachelle spends much of her time training career coaches, recruiters, and resume writers. She also holds interview workshops for students and interns, globally. For great tips and tricks, follow Rachelle on Instagram @_rachelle_e or @renovatemyresume.
Ryan Brown, is the creator of MockQuestions. He has over ten years experience creating interview questions. His website has helped over 10 million job seekers in their interview preparation.
First written on: 05/30/2018 Last modified on: 08/21/2018
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About Dow Chemical Co.
The Dow Chemical Co., commonly referred to as Dow, is an American multinational chemical corporation headquartered in Midland, Michigan, United States. As of 2007, it is the second-largest chemical manufacturer in the world by revenue (after BASF) and as of February 2009, the third-largest chemical company in the world by market capitalization (after BASF and DuPont).
Dow manufactures plastics, chemicals, and agricultural products. With a presence in about 160 countries, it employs about 54,000 people worldwide. The company has seven different major operating segments, with a wide variety of products made by each one. Dow's 2012 sales totaled approximately $57 billion. Dow has been called the "chemical companies' chemical company" in that most of its sales are to other industries rather than end-users. Dow sells directly to end-users primarily in the human and animal health and consumer products markets.