Updated on August 21st, 2018 | Rachelle is a job search expert, career coach, and headhunter who helps everyone from students to fortune executives find success in their career.
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Palo Alto Networks is looking for reliable people. How many days were you absent from work last year?
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A part of being a diligent employee is to ensure that you are always on time and present when expected. It's great to even be 10 minutes early rather than just showing up right on the nose. Talk to the interviewer about your attendance.
"I had zero unexcused absences last year. In total, I took 12 vacation days out of my 15 allotted days. I was sick just 2, and a note from my Doctor accompanied those. Once I was late due to a terrible snow storm, and I always try to be 10 minutes early for my shift."
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"I am very committed to my employer and am only absent in events of sickness or the odd family emergency. I do my best always to be available and present when expected."
Do you demonstrate leadership qualities even when you are not in a leadership role?
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This question challenges you to think about how you act as a leader in your daily life. Even if you're not leading a team, you can still demonstrate the qualities of a leader!
Give an example of how you coached a coworker who was having difficulty preparing for a big presentation. Maybe you gave them confidence in their strengths by encouraging them, or maybe you offered some helpful hints. You can be a motivator and a positive communicator in any situation at work!
"I naturally take on a leader and mentorship type of role with my co-workers. In one instance, I had a new coworker who was having some troubles fitting in. I took her out for lunch and talked to her a bit about the workplace culture and semantics surrounding the various departments. I wanted her to stay and enjoy her employment with us, so I took the responsibility of ensuring she was settling in well. I believe there are always opportunities for leadership - you just have to keep your eyes open!"
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"Yes, I do demonstrate leadership qualities every chance that I get! I believe that everyone can be a great leader if given the right environment and opportunity."
Employers want to know that you have a methodical approach to problem-solving. Consider the skills and qualities that help you successfully face issues. Perhaps you have a keen eye for detail. Maybe you can see opportunity when others can only focus on the problem. Share your strengths as a problem solver, and your ability to come up with innovative solutions.
"I am a great problem solver because I do not allow stress to cloud my judgment and mute my creative side. I am a keen observer with a great memory which allows me to recall unique solutions or ideas."
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"I am a great problem solver because I am very analytically minded. I will walk through each step to a problem so that I can properly calculate any available options."
Have you ever taken the fall for a situation, where it was really not your fault, in order to protect a coworker?
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Taking the fall for a situation, to protect a co-worker, is a tricky situation. It can show teamwork, but it may not be the most honest thing to do. Talk to the interviewer about your thoughts on taking the fall for something you did not do.
"I do not believe in 'taking the fall' for people based on protecting them. Transparency is always a good idea, and if something went wrong, then it needs to be addressed to prevent it from happening again. When it comes to clients, I will apologize on behalf of the company for errors. In that case, I will do what it takes to protect the company's reputation."
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"I have taken the heat for a situation that was not my fault. Honestly, it wasn't anyone's fault, and I understand that sometimes the blame needs to land somewhere when corporate is looking for answers."
6. Do you think it is possible to be a good team member, yet disagree with the leader? The interviewer wants to know that you can be diplomatic in the workplace, even when you may not agree with your leader.
Show the interviewer that it is possible for you to be a good team member, yet disagree with the leader from time to time. Explain that you believe everyone is entitled to their own professional opinion, yet capable of maintaining respect for each other at the same time.
Show that even if you disagree with the final decision they make, you support the direction the team is heading. Here is an answer example: "I think that it is possible to be a great team member, even when disagreeing with the leader. It's all in how you maintain respect for each other despite the difference in opinion." Here is an answer example: "I do try my best to be a great team member, regardless of whether or not I agree with the leader. With that said, it's important to me that I see eye to eye with my leader."7. Why do you want to work for Palo Alto Networks? This question can be tricky because it requires you to know enough about Palo Alto Networks, to be impressed by what they do, and what they have to offer.
Prepare for this question through due diligence! Review the company website first. If Palo Alto Networks is more service or client focused, you can read reviews of customers and find out about their reputation. Sometimes you can even find articles or press releases to give you a brief on their latest accomplishments, innovations or company culture. Pinpoint the highlights.
Know the company vision so that you can quickly tell them that your values align. Sharing your knowledge on the latest company related news is a great indicator that you have a vested interest in them. Here is an answer example: "I am impressed by your mission, and I love how much of an impact you make on the local community. Also, being ranked #1 as " Here is an answer example: "I want to work for Palo Alto Networks because you offer the growth, development, and leadership opportunities I have been looking for. I see a long-term fit here which is important to me."8. Tell me something about yourself that I wouldn't know from reading your resume. The interviewer would like to get to know you apart from what is written on your resume. You are certainly not obligated to discuss personal matters such as your kids, or relationship status, for instance. Stick with a couple of fun facts to show the interviewer that you are a real person, too. Your answer should be unique so that you are a memorable candidate for Palo Alto Networks!
Focus on special non-work related skills or hobbies. For example, you might share that you enjoy beat-boxing or making origami swans. Be prepared for the interviewer to stop you and ask you to perform your skill on the spot when its possible! (This will make you unforgettable!) Here is an answer example: "I am an avid marathon runner and have traveled to 10 countries in the last eight years to compete in a variety of races. I am a competitive individual and enjoy keeping fit." Here is an answer example: "I recently completed a computer programming course that I have not had a chance to add to my resume yet. I enjoy continued education and will take multiple courses throughout the year."9. At Palo Alto Networks, we seek to hire problem solvers. When were you able to resolve a workplace related problem? Problem-solving and dispute resolution are critical skills to possess. Display to the interviewer that you are capable of problem-solving within the workplace and that you will do so with Palo Alto Networks. Here is an answer example: "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." Here is an answer example: "I often solve small problems in the workplace related to merchandising. I am often researching new merchandising techniques to push out some of the older merchandise, to make room for the new."10. When you suffer a setback, how does that emotionally affect you and your work? Everyone handles the stress and disappointment of setbacks differently. Discuss with the interviewer how you typically cope with setbacks in the workplace. Here is an answer example: "Experiencing a setback is always disappointing, and can be a bit disheartening, but I understand that it happens from time to time. If I experience a major setback, I will take a few moments to debrief with my manager and discuss what I could have done differently. Then, I move on!" Here is an answer example: "I feel that most setbacks are directly related to missing a particular detail along the way. When I suffer a setback, my initial instinct is to go back through my project and find the weak link. This way, I can learn from the situation."11. Would you say you are a better verbal or written communicator? The interviewer wants to know more about your strengths when it comes to communication in the workplace. Discuss your preference with the interviewer, and support your answer. Here is an answer example: "I prefer verbal communication because I feel that with written communication, a lot can be misread due to lack of tone, fluctuation, expression and body language. I will always choose a face to face conversation whenever possible." Here is an answer example: "Being a millennial, I have grown up always preferring written communication via email, or text message. With that said, I am a strong verbal communicator as well."12. Workplace culture is important to us at Palo Alto Networks. What type of work environment do you dislike working in? Are you pretty flexible in your ability to work in most environments? Have you experienced a position where the atmosphere wasn't conducive to your productivity? Be sure to know the type of environment that is offered by Palo Alto Networks, before the interview. You should know that they Ranked #1 as "best place to work" in the Bay Area by SF Business Times in 2016! Here is an answer example: "best place to work" Here is an answer example: "Rather than focusing on the negative, try spinning your answer into a positive focus: "I do best in a supportive environment where there is room to grow, the ability to ask questions, and healthy co-worker relationships."13. We value our customers at Palo Alto Networks. How do you respond to customer or client complaints? Palo Alto Networks received the J.D. Power and TSIA "Outstanding Customer Support Experience" award in 2015, 2016, 2017. They also received the TSIA "Outstanding Worldwide" rating in 2015, 2016, 2017 for commitment to customer support. Their customer service is impeccable. If you are interviewing for a customer or client facing role, you want to show off your ability to deal with conflict and nurture client relationships. Give an example of a time you successfully helped resolve a customer's issue. Here is an answer example: "Outstanding Customer Support Experience" Here is an answer example: "I recently completed a course on customer service and dispute resolution, so I am confident in my ability to handle client related issues. Active listening and genuine empathy is always the backbone of my approach with customers."14. We have a strong team culture at Palo Alto Networks. How do you like to encourage ideas in others? Palo Alto Networks was named on Fortune Magazine's Top 50 companies changing the world and Future 50 lists in 2017. Their workplace culture is second-to-none and they aren't afraid to talk about the fact that their people are what got them where they are today. Talk to the interviewer about how you will continue to encourage your co-workers, and their ideas, should you be hired. Here is an answer example: "I like to encourage other people to be creative in their thinking and present ideas to the company, no matter how off the wall they may seem. Some of our most successful employees are ones who are confident in their ability to bring forward their unique ideas. I encourage participation through an open door policy and strong praise for those who show initiative." Here is an answer example: "I like to encourage ideas in others by holding brainstorm or storyboarding sessions with my team at least once per month. When employees feel involved and heard, morale is always higher."15. Tell me about a project you worked on where a conventional approach was not suitable. How have you implemented creativity in the workplace when a conventional approach was not suitable? Display for the hiring manager how you can think outside of the box when necessary. Here is an answer example: "In 2009 our economy suffered, and a lot of businesses were struggling to keep their doors open. At that time, a conventional approach was to take out additional ads on the radio or TV. Social media was starting to become a major advertising outlet - and it was free. I launched a social media campaign that was very successful. We were able to generate new and repeat business while coming in under our advertising budget." Here is an answer example: "I rarely take a conventional approach when it comes to my work. Conventional is often predictable and predictable does not equal great sales numbers."16. At Palo Alto Networks, we seek to hire those with a strong understanding of the computer, IT, and electronics industry. Walk me through your background and highlight your most relevant experience. The interviewer can see that you have previous positions which qualify you for this job with Palo Alto Networks; however, they want for you to go into further detail on the roles which you feel are the most relevant to the position at hand. This question also helps the interviewer to see that you understand the job description and requirements of the role. If you do not understand the position requirements fully, a question like this will make that transparent to the interviewer. Be sure you know your stuff! Use the keywords provided in the job posting/job description to keep the attention of the interviewer. Here is an answer example: "From my understanding of this position, you are looking for a professional who is skilled in network and enterprise security. I bring about seven years of experience in each of those skills - primarily from my jobs with Company A and Company B. In total; I have over ten years of industry experience which means a full understanding of your organizations' primary focus." Here is an answer example: "I feel that my current position is the most relevant to this particular role with Palo Alto Networks because we use similar software, and the business model is very similar. My current position aside, I have approximately ten years of related experience in cloud-based security which you mentioned as required skills for this position."17. We value honesty at Palo Alto Networks. Do you think honesty is always the best policy? Is honesty always the best policy? Talk to the interviewer about your thoughts on honesty in the workplace. Here is an answer example: "Sometimes full disclosure can damage someone's self-esteem. In reality, honesty isn't always best expressed in full. I believe it can be self-indulgent based on the person's intention. In those instances, honesty isn't always the best policy." Here is an answer example: "I do think that it's best to be completely honest in as many situations as possible. I understand there are some times when telling the full truth will not help either party but, for the most part, I do agree that honesty is the best policy."18. If we hire you at Palo Alto Networks, how can we motivate you on the job? Every employer should know how each staff member is best motivated. Talk to the interviewer about the variety of ways in which you are best motivated on the job. Here is an answer example: "I am best motivated through words of praise and recognition for a job well done. I do like to know that my efforts are being noticed. In my current position, we have a leaderboard, and I do like that concept because it creates a healthy bit of personal competition for me as well." Here is an answer example: "I am very much self-driven and self-motivated. As long as I am being treated with respect and feel appreciated, Palo Alto Networks will get the best work from me."19. What do you think our biggest business challenge is at Palo Alto Networks and how will you help? The interviewer would like to see that you have more to offer than just a warm body in a seat! What is this particular company's biggest challenge, and how do you think that you can assist? This question requires research on Palo Alto Networks, their business goals, and the competitive landscape. Here is an answer example: "After speaking with you further about Palo Alto Networks, and this role, I believe that the biggest challenge this company has faced is in hiring the right talent. I have a strong background in recruitment as well as management and do feel that I can assist with this hurdle. Having the right team players is imperative to a company's success and, if we can tackle that, I see great things happening." Here is an answer example: "When I applied to Palo Alto Networks, I knew exactly which gaps I would be able to help fill. I want to assist with refreshing your sales strategy. There are so many facts surrounding cybersecurity that we could make the sales pitch fun and interesting. I would also like to help train your new hires to make a stronger impact on your clients."20. We seek to hire ambitious and dedicated people at Palo Alto Networks. What is your definition of hard work? Hard work and dedication can be interpreted differently by everyone. To one person, another person's hard work could seem like slacking. Talk to the interviewer about how you interpret a successful workday. Here is an answer example: "For me, hard work means that I did what I could that day to exceed expectations. I come to work early and stay late if needed and I go over and above the requirements without hesitation." Here is an answer example: "I fully believe in the work smarter, not harder, motto. This means that I am efficient throughout the day, not allowing for distractions. Hard work means not only meeting the expectations of your employer but also exceeding them whenever possible."21. What is your current salary? 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. Here is an answer example: "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." Here is an answer example: "Although my current salary is $45K/year, I am seeking $52K in my next position. Because I work for a very small organization, they are not able to offer me a competitive compensation compared to the industry marketplace."22. We prefer that employees at Palo Alto Networks have some form of post-secondary education. Walk me through your education and how you feel it has prepared you for this role. You likely have your post-secondary education listed on your resume; however, the interviewer would like further details on your accomplishments, or experience in general.
Perhaps you graduated top of your class! Did you receive any special accolades or recognition during your time in post-secondary studies? You can also discuss a course that you found intriguing. Here is an answer example: "I have a Degree in Computer Engineering from DeVry University. I felt very prepared after earning my degree because the classes were incredibly hands on. I was able to learn a great deal about business management as well. These are all skills I feel would help me greatly in this position with Palo Alto Networks. Even though I worked part-time through my studies at DeVry, I was still able to earn excellent marks and graduate top of my class. I would bring the same level of engagement and enthusiasm to this role." Here is an answer example: "I understand that Palo Alto Networks prefers hiring those with formal post-secondary education. Although I have not completed my degree, my seven years of related experience has given me a great deal of knowledge. I am prepared for this role because my current employer has allowed me to take many courses and workshops related to our industry. This year I have taken additional training in cloud computing and network security."23. Do you have any questions for me about this role, or working for Palo Alto Networks? When the interviewer asks if you have any questions, you should always have at least one. By asking a question, big or small, you are showing the interviewer that you have insight, a thoughtful character and that you are engaged in this process.
Do not ask questions about compensation, days off, sick days, benefits, or the like. Your question should be related to your fit for the position. Take this opportunity to find any potential objections to an employment offer, and squash them! Here is an answer example: "I feel that you have given me a strong understanding of the requirements for this role and I thank you for that. Are there any hesitations when it comes to my suitability for this position?" Here is an answer example: "Other questions you could ask include:
- Can I clarify anything for you about my background?
- Is there any reason why you would not hire me for this role?
- When are you hoping to have this position filled?
- What is your favorite part of working with Palo Alto Networks?"24. If you are hired at Palo Alto Networks you may become privy to trade secrets and confidential information. Are you willing to sign a non-disclosure agreement? The interviewer would like to know that you are willing to comply with their non-disclosure requirements before you start working for Palo Alto Networks.
Your willingness to sign a non-disclosure agreement will tell the interviewer that you are not looking for a short-term employment situation where you can be frivolous with the knowledge that you gain. If you are not comfortable agreeing to sign a non-disclosure immediately, simply state your openness to reviewing the agreement. Here is an answer example: "Yes, I am willing to take a look at your non-disclosure agreement. Most agreements are very reasonable and since I plan to work for Palo Alto Networks long-term - this is not a concern for me." Here is an answer example: "I agree that non-disclosures are important in most industries and I am willing to sign one should I be hired at Palo Alto Networks."25. Clear and simple communication is a must-have in our industry. Tell me about your communication skills. When you are working with more complex products and services, it is imperative that you simplify your communication. Talk to the interviewer about your communication style and how it will benefit the goals of Palo Alto Networks. Here is an answer example: "I understand that Palo Alto Networks has built a culture of openness where your teams can bounce ideas off of each other. My communication style fits well with this. I put a lot of effort into keeping my communication style simple, engaging, and to the point. I enjoy collaborating with my team and participating in positive brainstorming sessions." Here is an answer example: "Here are some communication-related keywords that you can use when discussing your communication skills:
- Upbeat"26. At Palo Alto Networks, we are always looking for new ways of improving services. Do you have any suggestions for us? The interviewer is indeed not asking you to reinvent their wheel. The worst thing you could do here is speak negatively about Palo Alto Networks without any constructive feedback. If you do have a suggestion, keep it light and be sure to close your answer on a complimentary, and positive note. Here is an answer example: "I think that you are doing an impressive job at Palo Alto Networks and I look forward to coming to work with you. If I could make any suggestion, I would recommend more updates on the company blog. People are interested in what Palo Alto Networks has to say!" Here is an answer example: "I appreciate all of the hard work that Palo Alto Networks puts into the services and other creative solutions. My primary suggestion would be to include more digital downloads and worksheets related to your products on your company website. Customers greatly value free resources."27. As you know, we have a very high customer service standard at Palo Alto Networks. If you could sum up your customer service style in 3 words, which would you choose? Most companies rely heavily on their customer service reputation. Assure the interviewer that you will value their client base by providing the same excellent service they have come to expect from Palo Alto Networks.
When using keywords to describe your customer service style try to avoid overused terms such as 'friendly'. If there are keywords you see frequently used by Palo Alto Networks on their website, in their job postings, or in their job descriptions, you can draw on those as well. Here is an answer example: "I have heard great things about the customer service provided by Palo Alto Networks, and I look forward to joining your esteemed team. If I could sum up my customer service style in 3 words, I would choose attentive, personalized, and energetic." Here is an answer example: "Here are some traits that many hiring managers look for when determining your ability to provide great service to their clients:
- Ability to Handle The Unexpected
- Positive / Positive Language and Outlook
- Timely"28. We have multiple avenues for career growth. Where would you like to see your career with Palo Alto Networks take you? Interviewing, hiring, and onboarding is an expensive and time-consuming process for Palo Alto Networks. Since there are likely many career opportunities available to you at Palo Alto Networks, be prepared to discuss how you would like to see your career grow. This shows the interviewer that you are engaged in this process and interested in becoming a long-term fixture in their organization. Here is an answer example: "I was browsing your online job board to see what types of growth opportunities were available with Palo Alto Networks. One role that stood out to me was the IT Department Manager position. It seemed that this could be a very natural step in my career once I have grown with you for a couple of years. I'd like to learn more about what I can do to prepare myself for a role like that." Here is an answer example: "In my current position, I have had my sights set on the senior leadership position in my department. If I were to join Palo Alto Networks, my goal would be the same. I plan to take a few leadership workshops in the coming months to help get me there."29. At Palo Alto Networks, we like to develop Subject Matter Experts (SME's) in multiple fields. If you could sum up your knowledge to one area of expertise, what would it be? Everyone has their strengths and areas of expertise. The interviewer wants to know what your is. Talking about your strong suits is not bragging, but it can still be tough to pump your tires. Think about times in the recent past where your manager or co-workers have come to you for answers. Do you seem to have the answers when it comes to a particular subject? Perhaps you just completed additional education or certification in a specific area. Discuss an area where you think you bring above average industry knowledge. Here is an answer example: "I have spent a few years sharpening my knowledge and expertise in enterprise networks and security. In my current position, my coworkers will often come to me with questions relating to this subject. I am always happy to help, and if I do not know the answer, I will research until I have found one." Here is an answer example: "If I could sum up my knowledge in one area of expertise, I would say that I am a subject matter expert in cybersecurity. I am very passionate about the subject. With that said, I do enjoy continued education in a range of subjects."30. Our industry is a competitive one. In your opinion, what makes Palo Alto Networks stand out from our competitors? It is vital that you thoroughly research Palo Alto Networks before your interview, as well as their competitors. Be prepared to talk about their competitive landscape and why Palo Alto Networks comes out on top. You can keep your answer brief but be as specific as you can. Show off the research you've done! Here is an answer example: "I fully understand that this is a competitive industry. You get one chance to impress your customers, so first impressions are everything. When I looked online at the industry reviews, Palo Alto Networks seemed to have many more positive reviews than any competitor. The fact that you serve 86 of the Fortune 100 companies is an amazing fact in itself. You obviously have the lions share of the market." Here is an answer example: "After researching Palo Alto Networks, I think that the verbiage you use on your website and your social media content has the most positive and customer-centered message. That was a real stand out to me as well as the fact that you serve over 48,000 customers in 150+ countries across multiple industries"
Author of Palo Alto Networks, Inc. Answers and Questions
Rachelle Enns is a job search expert, executive headhunter, career catalyst, and interview coach. Utilized by top talent from Fortune companies like Microsoft, General Electric, and Nestle, she helps professionals position themselves in today's competitive digital marketplace.
Rachelle founded Renovate My Resume and Executive Resume Solutions, two companies focused on helping job seekers get their edge back. She helps everyone from new graduates looking for their first placement, to CEO's who want more out of their career.
Rachelle coaches students to executives on how to master the toughest interview questions and how to handle the most bizarre interview situations; all with confidence and poise.
Rachelle trains other career coaches, recruiters, and resume writers, globally. A big part of her job is also spent coaching HR professionals on how to bring the human touch back into their interview and hiring process.
First written on: 05/31/2018 Last modified on: 08/21/2018
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