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Gartner Consulting Interview
Questions

27 Questions and Answers by Kelly Burlison

Published February 7th, 2019 | Kelly Burlison, MPH, is an experienced professional
with over ten years of experience interviewing in the health care field.
Question 1 of 27
Gartner Consulting seeks to hire those with strong problem solving skills. When were you able to successfully resolve a problem in the workplace?
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How to Answer
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.
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1.
Gartner Consulting 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.

Kelly's Answer #1
"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."
Kelly's Answer #2
"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."
2.
How do you approach your role in business processes and operations when your department or the Project Management Office (PMO) is operating smoothly or there are no pending improvement projects in the queue?
This question is very important to the interviewer, as it is important for them to know that the candidate understands that someone in the role of business processes and operations should be constantly looking for opportunities to improve their department and the PMO. Anticipating improvements and changes that can be made when operations are not in a state of flux will allow staff responsible for business processes and operations to work more effectively work project teams to make improvements to processes in order to eliminate waste and reduce variation. The candidate can successfully answer this question by providing examples of how they took initiative to make changes in their department or PMO when they were not specifically assigned a task or faced with a problem that needed an immediate solution.

Kelly's Answer #1
"If there are no immediate needs for improvement in my department or in the PMO that needs my attention, I look at the 'parking lot' of improvements that I maintain and determine what I have the capacity to take on at the time. Throughout the year, when requests or improvement projects that are not immediately needed are received, I put them on a parking lot to be addressed later. So, when there is additional time, I am able to prioritize the parking lot and choose an improvement project based on needs, capacity within my team, and the capacity each department has to take on an improvement project. I find this method very effective for continuously improving the department and PMO, and I can use the same or similar method at Gartner Consulting."
Kelly's Answer #2
"In times where there are no improvement tasks or projects, I do not rest on my laurels. Instead, I take the opportunity to assess the various areas within the IT department, the PMO, and the company, by speaking with leadership to determine what improvement projects we can start during these down times. I find that these down times are much easier to implement new processes or streamline existing processes, because staff members are not already overburdened with a project, and they are more willing to take on change. In order for me to be a successful Business Process and Operations Manager, I feel that I must always be finding ways to help my colleagues improve, and I will always take the initiative to get a project started when my workload is less in order ensure I am contributing in my position as much as I can."
Anonymous Answer
"When my projects are running smoothly, I don't take it as the time to sit back and relax. Instead, I view it as an opportunity to make significant progress in my work. I often use this lull to review and update finished work, explore areas of my work that were not high priority previously, or embark on the next phase of my project. I am a big believer that there is always more work to be done, even if that means learning something new by understanding a colleague's work."
Rachelle's Answer
Fantastic answer - very well said. Any interviewer should appreciate that you always take the opportunity to improve rather than sit back and relax.
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3.
Tell me about a time where you made a great recommendation that you think would have greatly benefited your client, but they just didn't like it. What approach did you take to convince them?
It's a challenge when you have to deal with a company that has different opinions and management styles. Depending on whom you are working with, and their role and responsibility, you will likely have to craft a compelling value proposition to clearly show that your recommendations will yield a return on their investment in a relatively short time. Consultants know this all too well. Push back from the client comes from managers who either don't understand the idea, concept or solution, and how it will help the organization. This type of interview question is asked to see how you handle rejection from the client, and if you recommend another solution that might work better. In addition to a compelling value proposition, provide a similar example that you recommended to a client that worked very well and had a good return on their investment.

Kelly's Answer #1
"When someone doesn't like my ideas or recommendations, I don't take it personal. I show empathy towards people who may disagree with my ideas or recommended solutions. I understand that some people may not be clear about how the technology or solution works, and how it may benefit them. When it comes to change, it is sometimes difficult to implement change since people like the way they work, and get used to a certain routine at work. One of the approaches that I used to convince them that my recommended solution would benefit the company was to highlight the areas that directly benefited them, and how it would make their daily tasks easier to manage."
Kelly's Answer #2
"Another way I was able to convince this client that they need my recommended solution was that I gave them ownership and involvement in the project very early on so they could see first-hand where they would be able to realize the benefits that directly apply to their department. I made them feel they were an important part of the process. As an outsider (consultant) telling them how I could improve their operations, I know I had to be respectful to their concerns. I avoided confrontation, and took a non-intrusive approach to learn how they worked so I could document and show them exactly where they benefited from my recommendations."
4.
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.

Kelly's Answer #1
"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."
Kelly's Answer #2
"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."
5.
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.

Kelly's Answer #1
"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."
Kelly's Answer #2
"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."
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