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SugarCRM Interview
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28 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 28

Talk about a time when things didn't go as planned on the job. What was the situation and what allowed your to persevere in that situation?

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SugarCRM Interview Questions

  1. 1.

    Talk about a time when things didn't go as planned on the job. What was the situation and what allowed your to persevere in that situation?

      As a professional in the tech industry, you have likely had a project that failed, a promotion that passed you over or a meltdown occur at some point in time. Realizing that your interviewer fully understands and expects that failure happens, talk openly and honestly about a situation where you experienced failure or failed plans. Most importantly in your answer, focus on how you overcame the particular situation and discuss lessons that you learned moving forward that you can bring to this role at SugarCRM.

      Ryan's Answer

      "A couple of years ago in my first role as a UI designer out of college, my team was tasked with coming up with a very short notice proposal for a potential high end customer. With a week turnaround time, I set right to spending my time gathering information on the company to build a mock design. When the proposal was submitted, I found out that the potential customer scoffed at my idea and the customer went with another organization's proposal for their use. The biggest piece of feedback that I got was that the UI design just wasn't conducive to the type of customers they were expecting. From that point forward, whether it has been with short notice or long-term products, I take the time to communicate with key decision makers from clients to gather information for making my design as user friendly as possible."

      Ryan's Answer

      "Last year, I was working on a large scale project that put me face to face with a key customer. After traveling onsite with the customer to spend time with them, I exchanged contact information with two of the key decision makers. In the weeks following, I was sending them follow up emails with our business proposals and was getting frustrated at the lack of response from the clients. After my manager had questioned the viability of the potential customer, I picked up the phone and called them directly. It turns out that their responses back to me were being sent to a junk email folder that I neglected to consider. I apologized for the mistake, took action quickly and we came to a great agreement on future business together. After having a laugh about it with my boss, I now incorporate diligent communication follow ups both by phone and email with customers while also regularly checking all email inboxes."

  2. 2.

    In your experience in software testing, would you consider yourself proficient in both testing and debugging processes?

      As a reputable provider of software, SugarCRM relies on their software testing engineers to both test and debug their products when necessary. Make your interviewer aware that you are knowledgeable on both processes by briefly explaining each process as you've worked on them in the past. Then, talk about your openness to working both testing and debugging processes if hired for this position.

      Ryan's Answer

      "Yes, I definitely would consider myself proficient in both testing and debugging software. My current role that I've held for four years since graduating from college has exposed me to both processes. In testing, I use known conditions and predefined methods to test for expected outcomes to find errors within the system. I utilize testing prior to new software rollouts. The debugging process happens to already released software that has had issues and comes with unknown conditions and unpredictable outcomes. In this process, my goal is to find the cause of the error to fix it efficiently and effectively to roll an updated program back out to end users."

      Ryan's Answer

      "While a majority of my career has been focused on software testing, I am very familiar with debugging processes as well. If hired for this position, I would take the time to focus on debugging processes to bring myself up to speed while being able to hit the ground running on testing processes."

  3. 3.

    What would you consider your technical specialty?

      Do you have any particular areas of interest or ability? Talk to the interviewer about your strengths and be sure to highlight any specific skills that you excel in. It's a great idea, if you can, to highlight particular skills that may be listed on the company's job posting/job description. If there is a related area of interest where you'd like to expand your skills, you can mention those as well.

      Ryan's Answer

      "Computing and Network Communications has always been a solid area for me. I have a big interest in how network communication improves our daily lives and our overall business efficiency. I see that you are looking for team members who are experts in network communications which is what caught my eye when I first saw your job posting."

      Ryan's Answer

      "I have been focusing my career on becoming a cloud integration specialist although I do have cross-platform app development expertise as well."

  4. 4.

    What experience do you have in the different types of software maintenance?

      As a reputable company, SugarCRM takes their software maintenance processes seriously and your interviewer is looking to hear that you are familiar with the four different types of software maintenance. Talk to your interviewer about any work you have done in the past with corrective, adaptive, perfective and/or preventative software maintenance. Use specific examples and make sure that your interviewer walks away from your conversation knowing that you understand the importance of proper system maintenance.

      Ryan's Answer

      "Being familiar with all four types of software maintenance, my most used method of maintenance in my current role is corrective. Based on bug reports from end users, I work through coding and logic issues to resolve issues in a timely and effective manner. In the maintenance I perform, I never hesitate to pick up the phone and contact customers to hear first hand about what they are experiencing. By doing this, they feel like they are an important part of the process and it reflects well on me and my organization."

      Ryan's Answer

      "In my current role, I'd definitely say that a majority of the maintenance work that I do is adaptive maintenance. Working in banking software that is used around the globe, I help perform system maintenance for changes in currency on a pretty regular basis. This work requires research and talking with end users to help adapt the programs for their use. If hired here at SugarCRM, I also have experience performing perfective, preventative and corrective maintenance on software as well."

  5. 5.

    In a technical support role here at SugarCRM, we expect that you would be able to bring great customer service skills to the role. Describe your customer service philosophy in the support that you would provide.

      While your interviewer will be able to get great insight into your technical expertise during your interviewer, this one question will allow you the opportunity to describe how you will bring solid interpersonal skills to the role. Your interview knows that customers will rely on you to provide quick and sensible support for their needs, but the expectation to do that in a pleasing manner is of utmost importance. Talk from a high level about your feelings on why providing great service is important and give an example or two of ways that you have done that in the past.

      Ryan's Answer

      "To me, my job duties aren't fully satisfied if an end user leaves our conversation without a smile on their face. While any technical support specialist can handle the customer aspect of the job, few have the people skills to do so pleasantly for their customers. In any interaction that I have with a customer, I talk in a calm and boosting manner. If they are upset or mad about a situation, I reflectively listen and never place any blame back on them. By taking this approach, my customer surveys in my current position have been excellent for the three years I've held that role."

      Ryan's Answer

      "If hired for this role here at SugarCRM, you'll quickly find that my mantra in working with customers is speed with a smile. To do this, I need to be resourceful in providing them with an answer or triaging them to the correct person. I need to be knowledgeable in our product base to give them answers with confidence. And last, but not least, I need to be positive in all interactions with them."

  6. 6.

    As you reflect back on your career to this point in your search for a new position, what would you say is your ideal work environment or culture?

      While using this question as a key indicator on how you'll fit with the team and the organization at SugarCRM, it will be very important for you to research as much as you can on the work environment at SugarCRM so you can match your priorities to that environment. If you have the opportunity to speak with an employee at SugarCRM prior to your interview, that can shed valuable information. In the end, the culture and value of an organization are often a key indicator of long-term success in a job, so make sure that you reflect your values into what the company values.

      Ryan's Answer

      "As I begin this job search now 15 years out of college, I'm looking for an employer that promotes and encourages innovation, new ideas and collaboration among all members of the team. From what I know about SugarCRM from speaking with others, you sound like a perfect match for what I am looking for in a career."

      Ryan's Answer

      "With all of the companies that I have both worked for and consulted with in the past, I realize that a company culture is basically the personality of the company and I am looking for a new organization that really meshes well with my personality. I am a casual person that believes in hard work, teamwork and having fun on the job. As I embarked on a job search, I was so happy to see that SugarCRM was hiring because I believe our styles will fit perfectly together."

  7. 7.

    What is one thing that really tests your patience when dealing with your coworkers?

      While on the surface this question may seem like your interviewer is trying to get you to talk negatively about a situation, it is really more of a test to see what can potentially drive you crazy on the job in a team atmosphere and how you handle those situations. In your answer, be honest about your pet peeves when it comes to coworkers and do so in a positive light. Then, expand on your answer by talking about how you handle those situations.

      "As a person that values diversity and differences of opinion in the workplace, there aren't many things that grind my personal gears when it comes to my colleagues. The only real true test of my patience is a coworker that doesn't pull their weight in a team effort. When I've been in this situation in the past, I first seek to learn if the issue is a lack of training or knowledge. If it is, I take the necessary steps to help my colleague get on track. But if I find that it is due to a lack of effort, I talk to the person immediately in a professional manner. The sum is only as good as the effort of all of its parts and a team efforts requires everyone's maximum effort."

      Ryan's Answer

      "As a person that values diversity and differences of opinion in the workplace, there aren't many things that grind my personal gears when it comes to my colleagues. The only real true test of my patience is a coworker that doesn't pull their weight in a team effort. When I've been in this situation in the past, I first seek to learn if the issue is a lack of training or knowledge. If it is, I take the necessary steps to help my colleague get on track. But if I find that it is due to a lack of effort, I talk to the person immediately in a professional manner. The sum is only as good as the effort of all of its parts and a team efforts requires everyone's maximum effort."

      Ryan's Answer

      "Having been raised in a rural farm setting, I have always been a stickler for being on time and holding meetings to set lengths of time. While watching people show up late for meetings has bothered me internally because of how I am wired, I don't let it bother me on the exterior. We are all very busy in our lines of work and showing up a few minutes late is only normal from time to time."

  8. 8.

    Do you have experience working with different CASE tools? If so, what do you have experience with?

      The world of software engineering has greatly benefited from advancements in computer aided software engineering tools. Because SugarCRM is at the forefront of the industry, your interviewer will be looking to hear which tools you have experience with. Make sure not to concern yourself with providing a correct answer here, but rather focus on your flexibility to learn new aides when needed while explaining what you have experience with.

      Ryan's Answer

      "In my current role, I regularly utilize both diagramming and web development tools. The diagram tools assist our software projects by outlining the system data and components in a graphical form for us and this saves us a great amount of time while also being very reliable. The web development tools greatly help me visualize site changes that I am making because I don't have a deep background in web development. If hired for this position, I'd look forward to learning other CASE tools for prototyping, quality assurance and maintenance."

      Ryan's Answer

      "During my career and in my experience with CASE tools, most of my experience is in the lower CASE elements that focus on coding and testing the software after initial development. CASE tools have certainly made life as a software engineer more efficient and effective and I'd look forward to learn any new CASE tools if hired for this position here at SugarCRM."

  9. 9.

    If you were confronted with a time where you wouldn't be able to meet a deadline here at SugarCRM, what steps would you take when you made that realization?

      At some point in any person's career, the inevitable happens and an important deadline needs to be missed. With your interviewer fully understanding this fact, they are solely interested in how you react to this situation and what you do to make the situation right. In your answer, focus on the refocused planning and communication needed while also avoiding blaming others for the situation. Your interviewer holds accountability as a desirable virtue, so be sure to take accountability for actions in your response.

      Ryan's Answer

      "In my current position, I am very used to handling multiple tasks and projects on a day to day basis. Last year, my team was tasked with what started as a low priority project. After assembling a team to initially discuss the details and set a deadline for completion with our management, the project unfortunately fell off the radar of everyone on the team with many more high priority projects coming up each week. As the initial project's deadline was within a week of being due, our CEO reached out to me for a progress report. I immediately took full responsibility for letting this fall off the radar and I ensured our CEO that we would have an updated timeline set by the end of the week. In doing this and completing the project to his satisfaction, this was really the tipping point in our department moving forward utilizing a detailed project management tracking system. To this day, I can't say enough about how appreciative I am about utilizing this awesome system. Moving forward, you can rest assured knowing that I take full accountability for my actions and do what is necessary to communicate new expectations and meet them fully."

      Ryan's Answer

      "Having been in this situation before, I would first sit down to gather all the facts possible in the situation. What was the deadline, why wasn't it met and what can be done are all important questions moving forward. From there, communicating to all key parties is extremely important and doing so in a timely manner is critical. In this communication, taking accountability and setting new expectations for delivery in a concise and tactful manner will most often put stakeholders at ease and allow for successful completion."

  10. 10.

    Talk about a recent successful project that you worked on that required you to navigate some troubled waters during the project. What were the roadblocks and how did you overcome them?

      While your resume and your past experiences can easily show your interview that you have the technical abilities for this position with SugarCRM, your interviewer needs some insight on your problem solving skills. This question allows your interviewer a chance to see how you handle adversity by using resources available to you. In your answer, talk about your ability to think critically and leverage people and resources to the advantage of beating a roadblock in your work. Make sure that your answer provides an example of a project that ended in success.

      Ryan's Answer

      "A couple of years ago, I was the lead architect on a new software package that we were developing. As in any project, I was tasked with reviewing and approving the code the would be enveloped in the software. Because the final code impacted our potential clients and this was certainly a unique package we were developing, I proposed putting together a focus panel of existing clients to discuss potential needs out of a new system. My senior leaders were very reluctant to do this as they didn't want any word getting out about the program in its infancy. Knowing that we really wanted their feedback to start the coding process, I worked with our sales staff to build a list of our most dedicated customers. Then, I approached out leadership with this group and they approved without reluctance. After putting together the focus panel and gathering their thoughts, we built a phenomenal program that exceeded all of our sales and performance expectations."

      Ryan's Answer

      "I know that a large part of my success in the software architecture field is due to my ability to work collaboratively with others and provide mentorship to those on my team. On a recent project, I faced a design engineer that was very rigid in their ways and was unable to conform with new requirements for a system we were designing. In one of our first planning meetings, it became very evident that he would be unwilling to change in his ways. Being a person that wants to talk things out before escalating things further, I invited him to my office to talk one on one. I used a very educational approach to explain why we would be using the process we would be and I encouraged his participation in that approach. He hesitantly agreed. As we moved from design phase to the implementation phase, the engineer went right back to his old way of doing things and not embracing our new process. Rather than upsetting the entire project time, I immediately approached the engineer with a your either on board the ship or off the ship approach. Rather quickly, he asked that his seat on the team be reassigned to another engineer. In doing that quickly, our project was back up and running with success."

  11. 11.

    In Java, why shouldn't you use strings to store a password?

      While this may seem like a rudimentary question regarding your knowledge of Java, your interviewer is looking to ideally hear that you understand the principle differences between string and character arrays. Asking about the storage of passwords within a system gives you the opportunity here to point out the differences between the two. In the end, while explaining the differences, be sure to tie it back to the original question on why strings shouldn't be used to store passwords.

      Ryan's Answer

      "To store a password, character array is the obvious best choice because character arrays are mutable. If a string was utilized to store passwords, a definite security risk would be present to anyone that would have access to the memory dump from the system."

      Ryan's Answer

      "This question simply boils down to a string being immutable. Because strings are a sequence of characters represented as a single data type, the system requires garbage creation to fully get rid of it out of memory. In my time designing software, I have used Char array and its mutable features to store passwords for the security of our end users "

  12. 12.

    At SugarCRM, we rely on a full team effort to deliver top quality products to our customers. Tell me about a time that you worked well as part of a team. Are you comfortable in a similar role here?

      While this potential role with SugarCRM will require your to be an independent worker that can think on your feet, you will also need to work as part of a larger team that is working toward one common goal. Because of this fact, your interviewer will want to hear that you thrive in an environment where you work with team members from other disciplines than you are trained in. In your example, stress to your interviewer that you have excellent communication skills and that you fully understand that every person on a team plays a vital role in the organization's success.

      Ryan's Answer

      "Throughout my career, I've always enjoyed working as part of a larger team on the job and this personal enjoyment started with my love of and participation in team sports like baseball and basketball. Growing up playing sports, I learned that each team member brought a unique skill set that could help us achieve our goals. Through a great coaching staff that knew how to make these individual skills shine, this same philosophy holds true for a team that is looking to design a new software system. I know that my skills as an engineer are just part of the final product and I work very well with designers, architects, analysts and sales to help build the greatest system possible."

      Ryan's Answer

      "I am a people person by nature and my current role has me working very closely with our engineering and design staff on writing technical manuals for our products. While I certainly can handle long days at my computer in solitude, my desire to work hand in hand with others really sets me apart from my peers in this field. I have excellent verbal, listening and written communication skills that, if hired here at SugarCRM, your entire team would appreciate from my first day on the job."

  13. 13.

    SugarCRM embraces an Agile environment. Explain your experience in Agile methodologies and why you think it is important.

      The interviewer would like to understand the depth of your knowledge in Agile. The interviewer would also like to know if you work well with team collaboration, are responsive to stakeholder needs, and can work well with team defined milestones. Give a specific example of your experience.

      Ryan's Answer

      "The majority of my experience has been in an Agile environment. For ten years I have been personally responsible for leading agile teams, and I have helped define team goals and milestones. This approach is important to me as I see how Agile methodology helps employees deliver better products in less time. In my current role, team productivity increased by 34% once we introduced an Agile environment, and our on-time project rate skyrocketed another 18%."

      Ryan's Answer

      "I especially want to work for SugarCRM because I have friends who have worked here before with really positive feedback on their experiences. I am looking for a positive work environment where I can stay for a long time to come."

  14. 14.

    Here at SugarCRM, we strive for continuous delivery and continuous deployment with our software. Are you familiar with these processes in your current work?

      In the industries that SugarCRM works in, updates to software are vital to end users for them to stay at the forefront of their business. To ensure that updates happen as quick and smoothly as possible, SugarCRM utilizes continuous delivery and continuous deployment for their customers. For this question, talk about what you know about these processes as a software architect, why they are important and what experience you have with them.

      Ryan's Answer

      "In my current role, we utilize a 100% continuous deployment process with our end users when we role out new changes to existing software. We use automated testing in our process to validate that code changes are correct and able to be deployed without issue. Once validated, changes are automatically rolled out to our end users. Having once utilized a continuous delivery system, I am very appreciative of working in an environment utilizing continuous deployment as it negates any need for human intervention in the roll out."

      Ryan's Answer

      "In my current position, we've slowly grown from a continuous integration process to a continuous delivery process. I love the automated testing process when we are looking at rolling out new changes to existing software and my role as the architect for our projects puts me in the drivers seat for sending out these changes. If hired for this role here at SugarCRM, I'd be very intrigued at learning and working with continuous deployment practices as well."

  15. 15.

    If you were faced with a situation that you didn't know the answer to or understand, what would your next steps be?

      Work as an IT support specialist in the software industry could potentially put you in a situation to handle a question or issue that leaves you scratching your head. While explaining to your interviewer that you have the ability to take a methodical approach to getting a problem solved with the help of others, make sure not to lost sight on what is important to the customer. Talk about how you will put the customer at east by considering their needs as part of your process.

      Ryan's Answer

      "In times where this has happened in my current role, I have explained to the customer that an advanced issue like theirs needs to go to one of our subject matter experts to ensure that they get the best support possible. I explain that I am going to put their call on hold and reach out to the department that I need to. If possible, I connect them immediately. If not possible, then I walk through our protocol of submitting a help desk ticket to the appropriate group while explaining to the customer that our expectation is a 24 hour turnaround. I am very appreciative of these protocols because they set very easy to follow standards for our customers and help to avoid unnecessary follow up calls."

      Ryan's Answer

      "My first step would be to ask for help from my lead in the department or my supervisor. I would let the customer know that I would be putting them in contact with another person that has more expertise on their problem and doing so was best to help problem solve in this case. If hired for this role here at SugarCRM, would that method meet the expectations of the department?"

  16. 16.

    Would you say that you are a goal oriented on the job? What would I be able to do as your manager to help you achieve your goals if hired here at SugarCRM?

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  17. 17.

    This role with SugarCRM is highly technical. What is your understanding of this position and the responsibilities that come with it?

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  18. 18.

    What SDLC models are you familiar in working with?

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  19. 19.

    Tell me about a time that there was a delay in the project and how did you handle that delay?

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  20. 20.

    How do you stay organized and on track when working on multiple projects or duties at the same time?

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  21. 21.

    Software technology continually changes. How do you stay current on new technologies and sharpen your skills?

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  22. 22.

    What unique values can you bring to SugarCRM in your user experience design skills?

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  23. 23.

    What do you feel are the primary features and benefits of the Java programming language?

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  24. 24.

    What do you consider to be a good litmus test for when you would automate a test process for a new system versus testing manually?

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  25. 25.

    Tell me about your problem-solving skills. Do you enjoy analyzing and solving complex problems?

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  26. 26.

    Give an example of a time that you used a universal design practice in your work as a UI or UX designer. Why was it important to do this?

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  27. 27.

    What software analysis and design tools do you have familiarity working with?

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  28. 28.

    If you were asked to review a colleague's code that they had written, what key things would you look for?

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