Assure the interviewer that you are as concerned about safety as they are. In which ways do you put safety first? Talk about the importance of safety in the workplace.
"One of the reasons why Dow stands out to me as a potential employer, is your dedication to workplace safety. I feel that safety should be the number one consideration in this industry. It determines employee engagement, company profitability, and ensures a strong industry reputation."
"Safety is the most important factor in the workplace, in my opinion. When working with chemicals, especially! I have attended a variety of safety training including Decontamination, Responding to Chemical Emergencies, and CPR / First Aid."
What does success mean to you? Tell the interviewer how you see progress and be sure to tie your answer into the success that you plan to bring to Dow, should you be offered the role.
"I define success by my ability to reach the goals that are set out for me. On a personal level, the things I wish to achieve in my life. On a work level, the targets that are set out for me as well as the professional development that I seek."
"I define success by what we achieve as a team. The project, as a whole, needs to deliver on expectations before I consider the job a success."
Every company likes to hire those who are respectful of company resources and finances. Talk to the interviewer about a time when you have been able to stretch company resources.
"I have recently implemented a schedule that allows for ride-sharing rewards which have cut down on our company's fuel expense by $9000 per month. I am quite proud of this initiative because it is not only financially responsible but also environmentally friendly."
"This is a practice I often utilize to maximize company resources and optimize value to the clients. I recycle a lot of company materials to make the most of our resources. I also do this with people regarding cross training and sharing understanding across departments."
Have you ever taken the opportunity to present your employer with potential change? Talk to the hiring manager about a time when you took the initiative in the workplace.
"I was able to present and implement one specific change in the office this past year. It was a recycling program that I felt was very important, even for our smaller office. We had significantly less waste after my initiative was implemented and I enjoyed seeing others take pride in helping our environment."
"I always have my eye out for opportunities to improve procedures. I have taken courses in organizational behavior and effective management, so I often have ideas, big and small. Recently, I helped to implement a new customer management software. This implementation has greatly improved the time frame between customer touch points."
It is always best to support your reply with a real-life example. Talk to the interviewer about your level of attentiveness when it comes to details on the job.
"My co-workers would describe my attention to detail as very strong. I can very easily point out spelling discrepancies in communication and will notice the small things. I think big-picture as well but have always had a knack for details."
"Overall, my attention to detail is strong. My current supervisor asked me a few months ago to improve the detail in my documentation, so I have been avidly working to improve in that area."
To many employers, the number of years' experience is flexible - so long as you have the results to show for the years that you do have. Talk to the interviewer about your major career successes. This question is the time to sell yourself. Make no apologies for your lack of years!
"Although I have five years' experience vs. eight years' experience I can do this job well. In my previous role, I was outperforming colleagues who had 12 years of experience. To me, it's all about drive and ability to be a quick study. I have all of these qualities and more."
"Along with my five years working in this industry, I have worked near it my entire career, and I hope that my graduate degree gives me a little boost in experience over the required undergraduate degree."
You have likely gained many valuable skills in your career. Share with the interviewer which skills you value the most. Be sure to include capabilities that will potentially benefit Dow Chemical.
"In the past few years I was able to upgrade my education while still working full time. The biggest skill that I gained was my ability to multi-task as I worked the dual role of employee and student. I also have strong skills in a variety of Microsoft programs such as PowerPoint and Excel."
"Some skills that you could mention are: - Written Communication - Verbal Communication - A particular software program - Collaboration - Initiative - Ability to work autonomously "
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."
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"
A potential employer will often base their offer on your current salary. You should be transparent about your most recent earnings and be prepared to back up any salary requests.
"I am currently earning a base salary of $78,000 plus a car allowance of $900/month and health benefits. I am looking for a competitive salary in my next position."
"In my most recent position, I was earning below the average for my area of expertise. I am targeting a base salary of $92-$98K in my next position."
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."
It is essential to show the interviewer that you are a team player. Talk about a time that you were recently expected to achieve a goal in a team setting. How did you go above and beyond to ensure that your contribution was felt?
"Last month our company asked upper management to complete a full inventory audit. There were 4 of us in total and so we broke the audit requirements into shifts. These shifts had to take place when the warehouse closed. In the end, there was one additional shift that nobody wanted to take. I volunteered myself to do that shift to show my dedication to my job and my co-workers. The gesture was appreciated, and the audit completed on time."
"My most notable contribution was my ability to analyze and predict market trends, and then create a successful marketing strategy. Before me, there was no one with a true marketing background on the team."
The interviewer would like to know that you can professionally handle an emergency situation. Have you ever encountered a chemical spill or other emergency situation in the workplace? Talk to the interviewer about how you reacted. If you have not experienced this, discuss how you feel you would respond in this type of situation.
"I have experienced a couple of different scenarios surrounding chemical spills. When situations like this occur, I am sure to rely on my training when it comes to chemical related emergencies. I feel well equipped to handle a situation like this in a professional manner."
"I am well trained for these scenarios and fully understand the risks that come with working for Dow and the chemicals industry in general."
Assure the interviewer that you are well equipped when it comes to handling an emergency situation in the workplace. Do you have any training when it comes to chemical safety, chemical spills, etc.?
"I have a spotless safety record in my work history, so I have not experienced a chemical related emergency at this point in my career. I have great amounts of training in emergency situations, as well as WHMIS and OSHA certified."
"I experienced a chemical spill in one of our warehouse facilities last year. A forklift operator accidentally pierced a container. In my current position, we have rigorous spill protocols. We followed those protocols and were able to avoid any injury and toxic exposure."
It is vital to research the company before your interview. You should learn who the company's competitors are. Discuss your findings with the interviewer and be sure to speak highly of Dow while answering this question.
"I have researched Dow and see that you truly are an industry leader in the chemicals arena. I read on your website that over the next ten years, you strive for each 100 percent support for the safe use of chemical technology among key stakeholder groups. I also appreciate that you work with nonprofits, businesses and government partners to develop cutting-edge, predictive toxicology and exposure modeling capabilities."
"From my research, I understand that your biggest competitors are companies DuPont and Monsanto. Your branding and positive reputation for giving back, and the fact that you have strategic partners for setting new regulations, is what sets Dow apart from its competitors. A good brand equals trust and with your strong branding comes a great deal of public trust in your product."
Give the interviewer a concise overview of your formal and on the job training related to chemical safety and proper handling. You can be brief when answering this question but be sure to give the interviewer confidence in your abilities.
"I am certified in chemical safety and currently hold a valid WHMIS certificate as well as a valid OSHA certificate. I am confident in the training I have received and understand the importance of caution and safety while working around chemicals and potentially toxic substances."
"As I am new to this industry, I have not taken any safety-related training related to chemicals. If you could suggest some specific training, I would be happy to get a head start while you make your hiring decision."
Proper shipping and handling of chemicals are of utmost importance to the success of most chemical companies. Talk to the interviewer about your experience in transportation of chemicals.
"I have experience in shipping and handling of chemicals by road transportation and air. I have been formally trained in Hazardous Material Transportation Act (HMTA) and have a spotless record when it comes to transportation safety."
"Because I am new to the chemicals industry, I do not have specific experience when it comes to the appropriate shipping and handling of chemicals. I am here to learn, and will do so, enthusiastically."
Talk to the interviewer about the most significant changes you have seen in the chemicals industry. Keep your answer positive by focusing on the changes that have been good for the industry.
"I feel that the biggest change in the chemicals industry has been the amendment to the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). These amendments have greatly assisted with the consistency of communication and expectations in the chemicals industry."
"The chemicals industry is always faced with new challenges as policy changes come all the time. The biggest challenge that stands out to me is increasing capital costs that cause knee-jerk reactions such as cost-cutting measurements that end up being poor decisions further down the road."
The interviewer would like to know if you are willing to expand your industry knowledge through further professional development and coursework. Talk to the interviewer about any additional education you may have been considering and assure them you are interested in the professional development options they may be offering. Dow offers daily on-the-job learning, participation in global cross-functional project teams, mentoring, classroom training, cultural training, online learning, and participation in employee networks.
"I am very dedicated to my professional development and am happy to attend any coursework that you may recommend. If I could choose any related coursework, I would choose further education on leadership and team engagement."
"GLP and Quality Assurance are topics of interest to me. I appreciate that Dow emphasizes the professional development of their employees by offering global cross-functional project teams and online learning opportunities."
Discuss with the interviewer your longer-term career plans and how they fit into the career path being offered by Dow. Assure the interviewer that you are looking for a longer term fit.
"I am looking for a long-term career path which is one of the reasons I applied to work with Dow. I like that you have opportunities for advancement within your team and that you offer professional development coursework. If hired, I would seek to work my way into a leadership role with Dow."
"I plan to have a long-term career in the chemicals industry. My education is geared to this as I recently graduated from Chemical Engineering. I would be happy to enjoy a long-term career with Dow."
It is critical that you spend time researching Dow and it's workplace culture before your interview. What did you find impressive about their culture? How do you see yourself fitting in? When you research Dow you will see that they have a solid focus on creating a workplace that thrives on continuous employee development, proactive career feedback, health and wellness offerings, flexible work policies, and a mindset of inclusion.
"I am impressed with the culture at Dow. There are many great reviews online, and I have spoken with one of your current employees whom I know. I like that you have strong performance incentives in place for your employees and offer a safe and comfortable workplace for all. Your zero tolerance employee discrimination program is inspiring as well."
"I have conducted a great deal of research on Dow and the workplace culture that you discuss on your website. From my understanding, you boast a workplace culture of tolerance, diversity, and transparency."
When you start a new position, it is essential to set a goal on how you will make a positive impact quickly after being hired. Tell the interviewer what your impact goal is, should you be the successful candidate.
"When we were speaking earlier, about sales targets in this position, you mentioned that most new sales professionals hit their KPI's after 120 days. If hired today, my goal would be to exceed my KPI's after the first 90 days. I plan to make a positive impact very quickly."
"If hired today, I would first work on obtaining all of the industry certifications and training that Dow needs me to complete. This will enable me to work independently, and gain traction in my new role."
Being able to face a challenge or stressful situation, and still gain some accomplishment, in the end, is very satisfying. Talk to the interviewer about a time when you were able to come out on top despite being faced with an obstacle.
"In my career, so far, I feel that the most difficult accomplishment for me to achieve were the three back-to-back promotions in my current company. Because promotions are granted based on results, I had to put in a lot of overtime hours, and hustle, to get there."
"My proudest accomplishment to date was completing my Degree in Chemical Engineering while also being a single parent to two young boys. The level of dedication that I had to give to both my family and my education was very tough. I couldn't be prouder of myself for never giving up."
How you face unexpected difficulty can say a lot about your character. Talk to the interviewer about a time when you have encountered an unexpected challenge. How did you handle the situation?
"The biggest unexpected difficulty that I have faced was my unexpected lay off during the last recession. I had to adapt to a new economy and search deeply for other skills and opportunities. I was able to earn enough to avoid financial strain and am quite proud of my ability to be versatile when required."
"I faced unexpected difficulty last year when Company X swiftly acquired our company. With nobody aware of the change, it was emotional chaos in our offices for some time. I chose to remain calm, avoid jumping to assumptions and continued doing my job as usual. This approach helped me to get through the situation."
Have you been asked to change your priorities on a dime? How do you react to this kind of shift in priorities? Assure the interviewer that you can respond professionally when it comes to sudden changes.
"In my current role, our schedule is changed on a regular basis and always at short notice. I have been able to adapt very well to these frequent, sudden changes."
"In my current position, I have to respond to sudden change on a regular basis. This situation always occurs when my clients need changes to their projects, and it often happens right before the deadline. I am accustomed to situations like this and welcome the challenge!"
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."
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.