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Egon Zehnder International Interview
Questions

27 Questions and Answers by
| Ryan has over 10 years of experience interviewing
candidates in the healthcare, public service, and private manufacturing/distribution industries.

Question 1 of 27

What do you see as a potential hurdle you would have to overcome to be able to work with groups of high level leaders at our clients on their team development?

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Egon Zehnder International Interview Questions

  1. 1.

    What do you see as a potential hurdle you would have to overcome to be able to work with groups of high level leaders at our clients on their team development?

      The role that you are interviewing for at Egon Zehnder International will put you in front of high level leaders at the clients you will be working for and you will have to possess the confidence and ability to work with them directly on team building and promotion. Dig deep to think about what you believe your biggest hurdle will be in that situation and talk to your interviewer about your plan to overcome that obstacle. Make sure that your learning opportunity promotes your insight into the role that you are interviewing and potentially points out an area of inexperience that have that you see as a great opportunity.

      Ryan's Answer

      "In talking to another employee here, I understand that this role will have me working across a pretty broad spectrum of industries and I honestly see this as the only hurdle I will have to overcome from the start. As you can see from my experience, my professional experience has strictly been in the retail industry adn this role will really push me to learn healthcare, manufacturing, sales and other industries so I can speak knowledgably to the businesses of my potential clients. I have great research skills and would utilize this skill to get to know my clients and their businesses very well if hired for this position."

  2. 2.

    At Egon Zehnder International, you will have the opportunity to work with high level executives and leaders from the companies we contract with. What experience do you have in working with people at these levels?

      As a business advisory and consulting firm, Egon Zehnder International works with Managers, Directors, CEO's, CFO's, CAO's and leaders with other titles on all of our projects. Your role will likely involve working closely with these leaders. For this question, your interviewer will be looking to hear that you are comfortable in working with the leadership team of the organization's clients by having you talk about your experience. Make sure that the examples you provide include some details on how you worked effectively to get the job done with the leaders you worked with.

      Ryan's Answer #1

      "In my current role, I work directly under our Chief Financial Officer and sit on a couple of different committees that our Chief Executive Officer is on. Under the direction of my CFO, we have a great working relationship. I am comfortable approaching him at any moment with questions or to bring forward new ideas. He is aware of my strengths and respects my opinions on matters in my wheelhouse, so he never hesitates to come to me with important things. I think the keys to our strong relationship are the respect we show for each other and our open lines of communication."

      Ryan's Answer #2

      "Throughout my career, I feel fortunate to have had the opportunity to work with employees at all levels of the organizations that I've worked with. To me, working effectively with anyone requires a personal touch and a respectful approach. Whether I work with front line sales staff or members of the C-Suite, I take the time to get to know the person, their job and how I can best be of help to them in my role. This approach really helped me build a relationship with a Sales Executive that a few of my colleagues had struck out with in recent interactions."

  3. 3.

    An often difficult part about working for Egon Zehnder International and our clients is the need to be fluent and adaptable to the cultures of our clients. Why would you say that you'd be able to handle this aspect of the job with ease?

      In the business consulting world, organizations work with clients that all have different backgrounds, leadership styles, cultures, industries and motivating factors. Consultants hired to come in to these organizations have to possess a chameleon-like ability to ingrain themselves in a new company's culture. For you to be successful in the role that you are interviewing for, you must possess this same ability. In your answer to this question, be sure to point out your fluidity to adapt to new situation in your work by giving an example or two of a time you had to do this to give your interviewer a sense of your ability to be flexible with clients.

      Ryan's Answer #1

      "During my career to this point, I've been very fortunate to say that I've worked for one employer for over ten years and the experience that I've gained with them is a huge asset to me personally. But even though all of my relevant work experience is with the same employer, I've worked under six different department managers during my time there and each person had their own unique management style and expectations of me. As well, my organization has undergone three mergers in my time there and each merger brought a new and bigger organization to light with new values and culture. Whether it was a manager change or an organization change, I always prioritized openness and asking questions to get to know new processes better. I would bring this approach with each and every new client that I would work with in this role."

      Ryan's Answer #2

      "I would liken this role as a Client Manager to working with my customers in my current job. I approach each new customer with an open slated mind while getting to know their motivations, their needs and their expectations of me to help me get a better understanding of how I can best suit them. If hired for this position working with your clients here at Egon Zehnder International, this approach would be vital because of the variety of businesses and industries that I would be working with."

  4. 4.

    Would you say that you are a goal oriented person on the job? Why would you say that?

      Success in business consulting is most often measured in the achievement of goals for clients and for this question, your interviewer will ideally be looking to hear that you are driven by goals and that you have the ability to set them as well. In your answer, give your interviewer the sense that you are goal oriented by giving an example or two of a time where you set and worked towards a goal as part of a team effort. Explain your part in the achievement of the goals and your ability to stay focused on the end result.

      Ryan's Answer #1

      "If hired for this position, one of the first things that you'll learn about me is that I am very driven to succeed in all that I do on the job. For me, personal drive definitely centers around goals and my desire to achieve them. I have the focus to set goals myself and to work towards goals that are set by my organization, my leaders or my customers and I would bring this ability with each client that I work with here at Egon Zehnder International."

      Ryan's Answer #2

      "I would definitely say that I am goal oriented in the work that I do on a daily basis. In project management, I work off of both time related goals and production related goals and these really drive my daily tasks and my delegation of responsibilities to other team members. If given the opportunity to come work for Egon Zehnder International, my clients would greatly benefit from my ability to both set and achieve goals with them."

  5. 5.

    Talk about a time you had to work with a very difficult person. What was the situation and how did you handle it?

      At some point in any person's career, they have to work with a colleague or customer who is extremely difficult. Rather than looking to hear the fine details as to why this person was difficult, your interviewer will be looking to gain insight into how you personally handled the situation and others like it to ensure that a sound relationship was fostered even when you faced difficult circumstances. In your answer, some key things to focus on are your ability to be tolerant, understanding and a great communicator in these situations.

      Ryan's Answer #1

      "In my current role, I have a customer that flies off the handle very easily if things don't happen just right and I learned this from my first interactions with him. In seeing this happen from the start, I have always maintained a calm demeanor when he was upset and showed empathy by asking questions about his expectations and how to fix situations for him. To this day, I expect difficulty from him when we work together and the years we've had a working relationship together have better prepared me for more clients like him in the future."

      Ryan's Answer #2

      "A couple of years ago, a close colleague of mine had a very abrupt turnaround in her attitude and performance on the job. She was very curt and abrasive in conversations when she was normally very talkative and friendly on the job. After noticing some concerns in her work, I approached her with an open mind and asked her what was going on to cause these things to change. I showed concern and approached her as a friend and this approach prompted her to tell me about some issues happening in her personal life. By taking this approach, rather than getting upset or even made with her, I showed her that I cared and valued her as a person and my approach helped her open up and turn her life at work back around to the positive side."

  6. 6.

    If hired for this role, what team building skills and techniques would you be able to bring to our clients here at Egon Zehnder International?

      Egon Zehnder International consults with a wide array of clients that spans across different businesses and industries. One things that every industry has in common is the need for effective teamwork and consultants with Egon Zehnder International are expected to bring a team building atmosphere to their clients. For this question, talk about your experience and techniques for helping to promote a high functioning team. In your answer, keep in mind that you will most often be working with high level leaders of clients and speak to your ability to create cohesiveness in teams involving these leaders.

      Ryan's Answer #1

      "Throughout my career, I've always held the belief that more can be done in a team based atmosphere. Even when working with bull headed leaders that want to do things on their own versus working with others, I think I bring a great deal of experience in convincing these leaders to be part of a greater team. For me, great teams that I've been a part of knew each other well and knew each others strenghts and weaknesses well. Because of this, I like to use fun ice breakers and activities to promote laughter and conversation at the start of meetings about new projects. As well, I always promote and discuss the importance of open lines of communication and I always stress that team members pick up the phone or send an email to always be in communication on progress made or questions that need to be asked."

      Ryan's Answer #2

      "If hired for this position here at Egon Zehnder International, my team building techniques that I would bring to the table for your clients would center around respect and trust as I've found these to be the biggest detriments of teams. Step one would be to promote an environment where every team member has a voice and the ability to be part of the decision making processes. Step two would be to create an environment where team members are honest and walk the talk towards a greater goals. Once these things are accomplished, a team can function to the highest of its ability."

  7. 7.

    Due to the nature of Egon Zehnder International business and services we may ask that you complete a full background check. Are you willing to comply?

      Many companies will ask for a background check before employing you. This due diligence could include a criminal record check, a credit check, a drivers' abstract, and education verification. The request will vary from company to company so you should always be prepared to comply with all requests. If there is a mark on your record, this is the best time to disclose that information.

      If you have a clean record: "I can fully understand why Egon Zehnder International would need to conduct background checks on all potential employees. I have a squeaky clean record and am happy to comply with any of your requests."

      Ryan's Answer #1

      "I can fully understand why Egon Zehnder International would need to conduct background checks on all potential employees. I have a squeaky clean record and am happy to comply with any of your requests."

      Ryan's Answer #2

      "If you have a mark on your record: "I can fully understand why Egon Zehnder International would need to conduct background checks on all potential employees. I did have a charge against me approximately six years ago for a DUI. I have gained my drivers' license back since then, but I thought I should disclose that to you ahead of time."

  8. 8.

    In what ways would our clients here at Egon Zehnder International benefit from your knowledge and services?

      This question is your chance to talk about the unique skills and knowledge that you would bring to Egon Zehnder International and that is exactly what your interviewer is looking to hear. In your answer, keep your focus centered on how clients of the organization will benefit from the things that you bring to their table because Egon Zehnder International is client focused in all that they do. To be effective with this answer, be sure to do your research on the clients at Egon Zehnder International and think about how your experience will be beneficial for them.

      Ryan's Answer #1

      "As you can see from my resume, I have extensive experience in risk management in the healthcare industry. Having worked with some major players in the industry, your healthcare clients would benefit the most from the experience and solutions I could help provide them. Not to leave other industries out, I think my experience in the healthcare realm will also translate nicely to your clients in other areas of the private sector."

      Ryan's Answer #2

      "Having worked in accounting and tax law in a few different industries during my career to this point, I also have the unique experience of creating new organizational policies and procedures in my current role. In hearing more about this role, I think this experience would be very beneficial for your clients as I would be helping advise them in their practices and creating new policy would be crucial in that process."

  9. 9.

    Do you have any experience in 1:1 coaching of business leaders? If given the opportunity to coach leaders as a consultant here at Egon Zehnder International, what skills would you bring to the table?

      In looking to hire staff to work with the leaders of their clients, Egon Zehnder International may be considering candidates from many different backgrounds. For this question, your interviewer will be looking to hear if you have experience in working with and possibly coaching high level leaders in the business world. Talk openly about any experience that you have and, most importantly, talk about the unique skills that you would bring to the table if hired for this role at Egon Zehnder International.

      Ryan's Answer #1

      "After obtaining my MBA, I embarked on a career path that involved organizational development and corporate training in the healthcare and manufacturing fields. During my time in the healthcare industry, I was an integral part in coaching high level leaders and did get the opportunity to do so on an individual basis. In my training and experience, I believe that the key component of individualized leadership training is that it is customized to each individual to suit their needs. I have extensive experience in evaluating skill sets and developing individualized training to work on critical leadership skills. Last year, I developed an individualized training for my organization's new Chief Nursing Officer that was centered around having difficult conversations with staff. The new leader was highly equipped with all of the great skills for the position, but lacked the ability and confidence in this necessary aspect of the job."

      Ryan's Answer #2

      "During my experience working with and training leaders in the manufacturing industry, I think I have a great knack for working with Type A personalities and really reaching them and their needs. I am skilled at creating desired challenges for them to help develop and hone their skills like I did a few years ago with a newly hired Chief Operating Officer that struggled with interpersonal skills. My key with him was setting challenging goals in between our meetings and the plan worked to perfection. If hired for this role here at Egon Zehnder International, this ability would be key with the leaders I would be working 1:1 with."

  10. 10.

    If you are hired for this position here at Egon Zehnder International, what do you think the biggest hurdle for you would be from the start?

      For this question, you can showcase your research that you've done on both Egon Zehnder International and the role you are interviewing for by being upfront and honest about what you feel would be the biggest learning curve for you if hired for the position and giving your plan for how you would approach this hurdle. In your answer, make sure that you highlight your skills and abilities in making a molehill out of a mountain on your way to success in this role.

      Ryan's Answer #1

      "As you can see from my resume, most of my career experience is in the food industry. If fortunate enough to be hired for this position, the biggest area for learning for me would be the finance side of other industries like technology, telecommunications and healthcare. From day one, I would begin by thoroughly research the clients here at Egon Zehnder International and speaking with as many industry experts that I know through business networking. While learning the ins and outs of other industries is the biggest learning curve for me, I see it as a great opportunity for me to become more proficient and effective in the work that I'd be doing for you."

      Ryan's Answer #2

      "While this may sound funny to you at first, I think the biggest challenge for me from the start will be adapting to the great corporate lifestyle and culture here at Egon Zehnder International. When I saw this position being open for applicants and I did my research, I was extremely excited to hear about the flexibility and openness to the ideas of your staff members. I've been working for six years in an environment that is very opposite of an open culture for new ideas and for me personally, it will feel foreign for me to bring new ideas to the team here and have them be accepted."

  11. 11.

    Being successful in consulting and working here at Egon Zehnder International requires the ability to work effectively with Type A personalities. What are your experiences in working with this personality and how did you make the relationships a success?

      To first understand this question, it is important that you know that Type A personalities are exemplified by being competitive, motivated, organized and goal driven, among many other traits. These traits often lead to success in high level roles within organizations and your chances of working with this personality type are high. Think of a time you worked with a typical Type A personality and explain the methods you used to ensure that you had a sound and successful working relationship. Make sure that your interview walks away knowing that you can work effectively with difficultly driven individuals with high expectations.

      Ryan's Answer #1

      "For the last six years, I have worked under your prototypical type A personality as my director. Being a self admitted type B, being under my new director was difficult at first. For me to be successful under her and for our relationship to flourish, I learned quickly that she liked me to regularly communicate timelines for projects and give updates when necessary as she was very time driven. As well, small talk and getting to know me personally wasn't a priority so our communications to this day are pretty succinct and to the point. In this role, I would feel very comfortable with working with high level type A's because of my firsthand experience."

      Ryan's Answer #2

      "If you haven't been able to tell during my interview so far, I am a type A personality myself. My personality has helped me become very successful as a Financial Analyst. Having had formal training in the different personality types, I know that I need to take a meticulous approach when working with other type A personalities. My current team is loaded with type A's and regular communication is key in ensuring that expectations are clear and timelines are being met. If hired for this position, I would know my place in working with leaders from clients and I can easily be both cognizant of my approach and have the ability to put my desire to be in the lead aside with them when needed."

  12. 12.

    This role will put you face to face with leaders of our clients and have you coaching them on how to coach performance related issues. What insight will you bring to the area of performance evaluation and development?

      In this role with Egon Zehnder International, part of your role would be working with clients on performance management and optimizing the performance of their staff. Be prepared to talk about any aspects of perfomance management that you have been a part of during your career as well as speaking about hte importance of the bigger picture of performance manageemnt in respect to teh performance of an organization. Another important thing to discuss is anything pertaining to coaching those that will be coaching others.

      Ryan's Answer #1

      "During my career, I have been involved in the creation of two different performance management system creations and both have provided a ton of insight to me looking to move into this role. I have been a part of creating effective evaluation tools that are used to drill down to the KSA's required for a particular job. This process entailed detailed job evaluations to help in identifying key performance measures for each job. The tool creating process also offered me the chance to design and create soem great feedback guidelines that hiring managers were trained on. I think this experience will pay off very well for your clients that are in need of creating or revamping their current performance management systems."

      Ryan's Answer #2

      "In my current role, I have worked with our management and leadership staff on education and training for a new performance management system that my organization began using two years ago. While the technical side of learning the electronic evaluation program was very important, our leaders found the background knowledge around the evaluation process even more helpful. During that training, we talked about the importance that effective performance management played in reducing turnover and boosting employee satisfaction and gave our leaders great tips and tricks to use with their staff. I'd love to bring these things here to work with teh clients of Egon Zehnder International."

  13. 13.

    Working with our clients here at Egon Zehnder International often involves some initial conflict with our clients. How would you rate your ability to handle conflict or disagreements in the workplace?

      When a consultant comes into an organization to help better an aspect of their business, there are many factors that can lead to initial conflicts with the consultant and their firm. Big egos not wanting a fresh new face and the fear of change are inevitable in this business and your interviewer wants to hear that you have the experience and ability to handle inevitable conflict that will come your way if hired for the position. While obviously rating yourself highly in this area, try to talk about a time where you handled difficult conflict on the job with ease.

      Ryan's Answer #1

      "In my role as a Project Manager with a large private organization, one of my first steps on any new project is setting a budget. Last year, I was leading the effort on a project focused on waste reduction in our manufacturing facilities. In the initial meetings for new projects, our CFO is always involved so she has a high-level overview of what the project will entail. In the meeting, she immediately berated me for the initial budget that I was proposing and vehemently insisted that the amount just wasn't correct or feasible. Rather than taking offense to her thoughts, I wanted to make sure that she, and the rest of the group, had a solid understanding of all that was taken into consideration for setting the budget. After I explained and showed line by line what the proposed budget broke down to, she was very thankful and didn't realize that team member labor was part of that equation. I think that my ability to understand why she was conflicted and my ability to keep a calm, cool head in that situation was vital and a perfect reason for me rating myself high on my conflict resolution skills."

      Ryan's Answer #2

      "From my call center days, I think I developed great conflict resolution skills where I would rate myself an 8 out of 10. Handling customers who were upset about a product or service they received required a calm tone, an educational approach and the ability to not take things too personally. If hired for this position, I would be able to bring this same approach to the client of Egon Zehnder International."

  14. 14.

    Change management is an important aspect of consulting our clients here at Egon Zehnder International. Have you participated in a change management process during your career?

      Due to many factors, change is inevitable adn unavoidable for businesses today. Because of this, Egon Zehnder International is often sought after to lead change management processes for their clients and the role that you are interviewing for will help facilitate this process with clients. Prior to your interview, think about particular change management processes that you have been a part of and be able to speak to your ability to lead others in making necessary business changes. Make sure to talk about the importance of having a vision, developing a plan and measuring progress as part of the overall change process.

      Ryan's Answer

      "In my leadership role with my current organization, I have been part of an ongoing change process to optimize our staffing ratio to meet production needs. After being part of a careful analysis process and researching industry standards, we implemented a plan to heavily reduce our administrative staff while bolstering production staff and this was a huge change for our organization. My role in the implementation of the process was to gather data and put together a presentation for our Board and Senior Leadership. As well, I helped prepare both internal and external communications that went out regarding our upcoming changes. As things stand today, we have been in continuous review of new processes and things are going great! This involvement has helped prepare me for helping others manage significatn change in their business processes."

  15. 15.

    In our world here at Egon Zehnder International, our clients rely on real world analytical data versus assumptions and guesswork. What analytical skills would you bring to the table here for our clients?

      In the business consulting world, an organization like Egon Zehnder International is contracted to come in and help a business where they have usually failed in the past. With past failures comes the need for critical analysis of a business and/or process and your job will be to help facilitate this process. Prior to your interview, think about your experiences in data analysis you've had so far up to this point in your career and translate those experiences to helping the clients of Egon Zehnder International. Be sure to talk about the importance of different programs you have used to assist in data analysis and talk about the importance of communication in the data collection process.

      Ryan's Answer #1

      "Working as a Financial Manager over the past 10 years, I have become very experienced and thorough in my use of KPI's to demonstrate key areas like gross profit margin, liquidity ratio and days in accounts receivables. For the clients I'd be working with here at Egon Zehnder International, I'd be able to use real data from their organization to help provide solutions that are customized to their needs. On top of KPI analyses, I'm very willing and open to using any other unique tools of the trade that the team here at Egon Zehnder International uses."

      Ryan's Answer #2

      "Coming from a software background, being analytical about implementing new systems and processes was vital to receive buy-in from other department that I worked with and my analytical skills in my current world would translate nicely into the consulting world. I have always had a creative mind in demonstrating how new and improved systems can impact workflow and production. I am very proficient in creating and presenting wireframing models, which are extremely analytical and important in this world here at Egon Zehnder International."

  16. 16.

    Let's say you were working with a client that was facing a decision of cutting production to limit risk in their market. What would be some of the steps you would take to help them analyze their situation?

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  17. 17.

    Being successful in the consulting industry requires adaptability and the ability to learn a business fast. What would be your approach to help you learn the ins and outs of a new client?

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  18. 18.

    A key component to success here at Egon Zehnder International is building solid relationships with new clients. How do you effectively get to know new people and lay the groundwork for a long lasting relationship?

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  19. 19.

    Do you have any experience in succession planning? If so, in what areas do you have specific experience?

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  20. 20.

    How do you stay organized and on track when working on a long-term project?

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  21. 21.

    Talk about a time you had to use conflict resolution skills in a business setting. What was the situation and the outcome and how did you positively influence that outcome?

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  22. 22.

    We value diversity at Egon Zehnder International. When have you worked amongst a diverse group of people?

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  23. 23.

    HR is a continually changing field in every industry. If hired here at Egon Zehnder International, how would you ensure that you stay up on new trends in the field to best help our clients that span across multiple industries?

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  24. 24.

    What knowledge do you have of differing leadership styles and how would you work effectively with each in this role?

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  25. 25.

    What do you think is the key quality for a great business leader and how would you promote and educate this quality with our clients here at Egon Zehnder International?

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  26. 26.

    If you were to join Egon Zehnder International in this role, you will be counted on to lead projects. Talk about a time you had to lead a team of individuals. What leadership skills do you have that you will bring to the table here?

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  27. 27.

    When have you contributed to an effort to obtain a corporate goal?

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