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Kimley-Horn Interview
Questions

28 Questions and Answers by Ryan Brunner
Published August 29th, 2019 | Ryan has over 10 years of experience interviewing
candidates in the healthcare, public service, and private manufacturing/distribution industries.
Job Interviews     Companies     Talent     Commercial Services    

Question 1 of 28

If you are hired for this position here at Kimley-Horn, what do you think the biggest hurdle for you would be from the start?

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Interview Questions

1.

If you are hired for this position here at Kimley-Horn, 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 Kimley-Horn 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 Kimley-Horn 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 Kimley-Horn. 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."

2.

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."

3.

What interests you in joining the business consulting world here at Kimley-Horn?

Anytime the question regarding why you want to join the company is asked, it is very important to do your research on the organization and the position you are interviewing for so you can match your skills and desires to the job. In your answer here, be sure that you also speak to the potential move to a consultative type role if this will be the first time for you with a consulting organization. Be sure to highlight your qualities that make you an ideal fit for the job.

Ryan's Answer #1

"At this point in my career, I feel like I have really maxed out my capabilities in my current role as the IT Director with my current organization. Over the past two or three years, I've found so much fulfillment in my work when I've been helping others and providing education to them that I've narrowed my job search down to the IT consulting field. The prospect of helping other IT departments grow and become more efficient under my consultation is an adventure that I would love to embark on here at Kimley-Horn!"

Ryan's Answer #2

"As I've grown in my role in the Training & Education department with my current employer, I've gravitated toward leadership development and succession planning with my organization and I'd like to bring these skills to work here at Kimley-Horn as this position fits right in that mold. Using my experience and knowledge, you'll quickly find that I have a great ability to work alongside and train the top level executives with your clients in a manner that is professional and effective at the same time. My experiences in both healthcare and manufacturing sound like they'd fit well with your client base as well."

4.

What roles are you comfortable assuming in working as part of a larger team?

Coming to work for a consulting business requires the ability to work as part of a larger team on the projects you will be heading. Teamwork in this setting requires versatility and your interviewer will be looking to hear that you have that versatility in your answer to this question. Many times, you will be taking the bull by the horns and leading the way. Other times, you will be the worker bee researching behind the scenes. You may be tasked with being the organizer of projects behind the scenes as well. Make sure that you highlight your ability to be flexible when working as part of a team here.

Ryan's Answer #1

"I am really comfortable working in any role within a team and I think my experiences throughout my career demonstrate this well. At many times in my career, I've been the legwork of team operations and have easily taken direction on projects and been able to hit pre-established deadlines. As well, I've lead many projects and have shown my ability to lead others in a team effort and the ability to delegate tasks and set milestones for projects. If hired for this position, you can be rest assured that I have the ability to be a key team players with your clients in helping better their business."

Ryan's Answer #2

"From a very young age in my career, I've always been a natural leader in a team based environment. My excellent communication skills, honesty, critical thinking and decision making skills have proven time and time again that I can lead others in the most effective way possible. And while being a leader comes naturally to me, I can easily let others take the lead on projects."

5.

What experience do you have in leading or overseeing the work of others? How will this be beneficial to Kimley-Horn if you are hired in a consulting role here?

In the construction consulting industry, you will be charged with leading the clients of Kimley-Horn in their construction endeavors. From your resume, your interviewer can likely get some sense of the experience you have in leading others. But, for this question, they are looking to hear from you directly both about your experiences that you have in leading and supervising others and your comfortability in doing so. However you answer the question, ensure that your interviewer leaves your conversation knowing that you have the ability to lead others into big projects.

Ryan's Answer #1

"From my early days as a foreman for a small commercial contractor to where I'm currently at with a large commercial contractor, I have many years of leading teams and delegating work among large teams of laborers. My big picture mind knows the tasks it takes to finish a project efficiently and my leadership style bodes well for motivating others and delegating work efficiently. In my dream of moving to a consulting role with Kimley-Horn, these skills would prove very beneficial for your clients."

Ryan's Answer #2

"If hired here at Kimley-Horn, I would come with many years of experience in leading teams of workers on the job site. Having been trained in the many leadership styles, I try to be as adaptive as possible to my audience. I can be a coach, a servant leader and a democratic style leader if the situation calls for it. If warranted with your clients, I can also provide the visionary leadership style necessary to see big projects through to the end."

6.

If hired here at Kimley-Horn, what transportation industries would you feel most comfortable working in? Which industries would you feel you need more education/experience in?

As consultants in the transportation industry, Kimley-Horn consults many different transportation industries. This can include rail, aviation, marine and road. For this question, your interviewer is simply looking to gauge your experience and comfort in working with different sub-industries within the transportation sector. Be open and honest with your interviewer in your answer while also keeping an open mind to transferring your skills over into new areas.

Ryan's Answer #1

"As you can see from my experience, I've spent the last eight years working in logistics in the marine shipping industry. Being on the west coast, most of my experience falls within shipping across and up and down the Pacific Ocean. If hired for this position, I could be an organizational expert in marine logistics. I'd also have a lot of ability to utilize my knowledge here in both the rail and highway industries as well."

Ryan's Answer #2

"As you can see from my resume, I've worked for many years with large aviation transportation organizations like UPS and FedEx. During my time with those organizations, I've implemented many safety, security and efficiency measures and would love to continue consulting in aviation. While I don't have direct experience in road or rail, I'd love to take my skills to those areas as well with some training and direction."

7.

What are some of the bigger energy sustainability projects that you've been a part of during your career or training?

In looking to move to the consulting world at Kimley-Horn, your prior experience in energy sustainability projects will prove to be an asset for the clients that you will work with. Talk in detail to your interviewer about a major project or two that you were a part of. As you speak, be sure to reiterate that this type of project would be beneficial to clients that you will work with at Kimley-Horn.

Ryan's Answer #1

"With my current organization, I have traveled throughout central and South America to help design and build geothermal power plants for countries in dire need of efficient and environmentally friendly electricity. These projects have put me working with people from all over the world and I've learned so much great information that I can pass forward to the clients here at Kimley-Horn."

Ryan's Answer #2

"Solar energy has always been a passion of mine. I've had the opportunity to work with the installation of photovoltaic cells on the sides of large skyscrapers and the implementation of solar power towers in countries around the world. The power of the sun to create energy on earth is so powerful and I truly believe that our technology is just touching the surface of what we can harness. I would look forward to working with clients on new and exciting projects as we move into the future."

8.

Customer service is our top priority at Kimley-Horn. What is your customer service philosophy?

Because Kimley-Horn puts so much effort into their customer service reputation, the interviewer needs to be confident that your customer service values align with theirs. Be sure to research the Kimley-Horn website and take note of any keywords they use when it comes to their customers. Match your language with theirs.

Ryan's Answer #1

"I noticed on your website that you put a lot of value into your customers by actively listening to their needs. You also survey them regularly while staying on top of industry trends so that you can provide them with innovative new services. To me, customer service goes beyond friendliness and efficiency. You need to understand your customer's business needs and have the ability to analyze their future needs so that you can respond appropriately to their business landscape changes."

Ryan's Answer #2

"As overused as this phrase may be, 'Service with a smile' has always been my customer service philosophy. Very few people can resist a great smile and a friendly interaction! Friendliness warms customers up, makes them more inclined to work with you, and also diffuses a conflict quickly."

9.

Talk about some of the safety related projects you've been involved in during your time in the industry. What safety related perspectives would you be able to bring to the clients here at Kimley-Horn?

A constant in the transportation industry has always been to make safety a top priority. As technology and innovation has greatly changed over time, safety procedures and processes have also greatly changed. To hear that you will have a continual eye gazing at safety with their clients, your interviewer is looking to hear about a project that you worked on that centered around safety. On top of you example, talk high level about your safety philosophy and how you'll help bring that to the clients of Kimley-Horn.

Ryan's Answer #1

"During my time working in the highway and road construction industry, I've been a part of some great design implementations to make roads safer. By utilizing detailed traffic studies/forecasts and animated 3D design, I've been a part of the design of many roundabout applications that take away all dangers of collisions at busy intersections. In my mind, eliminating the risk of head on and t-bone type collisions is a top priority to help save lives and I'd bring this philosophy when working with clients here."

Ryan's Answer #2

"During my years in the rail industry, highway crossing was always a top concern when building new lines or re-routing existing lines. To design and build things from the safest place possible, a team effort was always necessary. I have worked with civil engineers and executives of short rail lines to create lines that make sense from both a logistical and safety point of view so it is a win-win situation for everyone involved, including the general public. It is very easy for some to lose sight of the general public, but I never do in my work and I would see to it that no client would either."

10.

At Kimley-Horn, 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, Kimley-Horn 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."

11.

If you were to join Kimley-Horn 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?

The ability to lead others in project work or any other aspect of a business comes down to the fine details and traits of being a great leader. The experience you have can come from many different areas and can include project management, supervising/managing or even mentoring others. When you answer this question, be sure to demonstrate your ability to communicate effectively, bring unity, lead by example and empower/teach others and talk about how you will use these skills if hired at Kimley-Horn.

Ryan's Answer #1

"In my current role, I've been asked on numerous occasions to lead finance projects for my organization and I always do so with open arms and an open mind. On a recent project, I pulled together a team that included members of sales, production and upper management. to make this project successful, it was up to me to know each team member's area of expertise and delegate tasks based on their knowledge. A great part of the teams success was due to my ability to lead in a manner that promoted communication among individuals who never had the chance to work together and I accomplished this through fun ice breaking activities with the team and regular email communications outside of our in-person meetings."

Ryan's Answer #2

"As you can see from my background, I have extensive experience as a Sales Manager and Director and I know that the skills I honed in these roles will transfer nicely to this position. I have always found that leading teams is best accomplished by leading by example and walking the talk that I put out to my staff. I feel that I've also developed great skills in mentoring and coaching my staff and I've been commended on these skills by both sales leadership peers and my team. In this role, I would bring this same approach when working with clients."

12.

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 Kimley-Horn."

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 Kimley-Horn, my clients would greatly benefit from my ability to both set and achieve goals with them."

13.

Part of our work here at Kimley-Horn entails obtaining buy-in from clients on energy conservation. How would you sell energy conservation ideas to clients?

As Kimley-Horn moves into the future, part of the work that they do will be selling companies on the need to be more energy conscious and efficient. For this question, your interviewer will be looking to hear your tactics for educating clients on the importance of sustainability in their operations. The reality is that many clients don't have energy conservation at the top of their minds and your job will be to convince them otherwise. Be sure to speak passionately about this aspect of the job.

Ryan's Answer #1

"As you can probably already tell from our conversations so far, I am very passionate about sustainable energy and the need for every organization and person to keep that in the front of their mind in all of their efforts. I would approach clients with statistical data that proves the positive facts that sustainability projects can achieve. I understand that the clients here at Kimley-Horn are driven by data and I would be able to deliver that to them."

Ryan's Answer #2

"Being a firm believer that utilizing energy on the earth in a wise way is the right thing to do, my approach with clients here at Kimley-Horn would be to take an educational approach that is empathetic to the environment and even their own pocketbooks. What most organizations don't realize is that while costs up front can sometimes be a little higher to implement energy savings programs, it doesn't take long for initial costs to be negated due to cost savings down the road."

14.

Talk about a time that your thoroughness in inspecting a construction site helped identify a critical issue. What did you learn from that situation?

As a consultant overseeing major construction projects for clients, your inspection skills will counted on and be vital to the success of the clients of Kimley-Horn. Your interviewer is looking to hear that you are detailed in your inspection processes by having you talk about a time that your detail helped spot an issue and correct it before it was too late. Be sure to pull any lessons from that situation that you carry forward with you to this day that will help you in this consulting role.

Ryan's Answer #1

"With the current contractor that I work for, I am charged with final internal inspections of finished facilities. Being that a large portion of our business is new school construction, I take great pride in being thorough for the safety of the students and the staff. Last year, I flew to Kentucky to spend a few days onsite of a project that was finishing up. Upon inspecting the air conditioning unit and associated duct work, I noticed that the power supply was not sufficient enough for the main unit. Other inspectors may have quickly looked past this item as an oversight, but I immediately called in our project manager to have the issue taken care of the next day. I've found that the small things often get overlooked, so I take any time necessary on a site to go over every minor detail like this."

Ryan's Answer #2

"Having worked in residential construction for many years, I know the common areas where building mistakes can be detrimental to the home or building years down the road. Based on my experiences, I recently inspected a new home with several differing roof surfaces. The rain gutter system was putting all of the water into two spots and I knew this would cause major issues for the foundation of the house falling major rainfalls. To test my theory, I simply used a hose overnight to run water through the two main drainage areas to prove my point to the builder. Within days, the subcontractor was back onsite to reroute the gutter system to multiple exit points."

15.

Talk about a time that you utilized a creative solution to help with an environmental issue on the job. What resources did you use to help make the creative solution a reality?

As an environmental engineer/expert, being creative and innovative should be a part of your soul and DNA. For this question, your interviewer will be looking for your ability to use education and/or research to come up with a creative solution to an issue. Be sure to speak in detail about the steps you took to put a creative plan into action and don't forget to talk about final results as well.

Ryan's Answer #1

"During my time working for the state of New Jersey, I was tasked with water cleanup projects to help save natural lakes and ponds that were subject to major pollution from nearby factories. To first help sustain life in the waterways, I researched and attending some training on biofiltration systems. With the training I underwent, I utilized a strain of cabbage in the ponds that effectively filtered and destroyed many of the VOC's in the ponds. This allowed life in the waters to thrive while we searched for more solutions on the contaminants."

Ryan's Answer #2

"Last year, I worked hand in hand with mechanical and design engineers on new wind turbines that would dramatically decrease the killing of birds and bats in the areas where wind farms currently existed. I utilized my knowledge of bird flight patterns and flight control to help convince the team that vertical turbines were the best route to take. While a little more costly to produce and get up and running, the lessened effect on the local ecosystems were well worth the efforts."

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