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Varian Medical Systems Interview
Questions

28 Questions and Answers by Ryan Brunner

Published March 30th, 2019 | Ryan has over 10 years of experience interviewing
candidates in the healthcare, public service, and private manufacturing/distribution industries.
Question 1 of 28
At Varian Medical Systems, we do a lot of cross functional team projects. Tell me about a project team you've been on and your role.
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How to Answer
If you thought group projects ended in college, you were wrong! Most organizations have their share of project work as well as the day to day work. Walk the interviewer through a successful project where you played a big role and had large ownership.
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Top 25 Varian Medical Systems Interview Questions
1.
At Varian Medical Systems, we do a lot of cross functional team projects. Tell me about a project team you've been on and your role.
If you thought group projects ended in college, you were wrong! Most organizations have their share of project work as well as the day to day work. Walk the interviewer through a successful project where you played a big role and had large ownership.

Ryan's Answer #1
"At my company, I was selected to represent my department in a larger project team to implement a new CRM system. We met weekly, sometimes twice a week for about 12 months, My role was to make sure our old CRM system data converted into the new one and that it was organized in a useful way. I collaborated with IT as well as the project manager for the new system to make sure the data was useful and organized. When the new system launched, our old and rich data was there and useable so that we could maintain relationships we our customers seamlessly."
Ryan's Answer #2
"For example: "In college, we had to do a big project in my Marketing class where we created an advertising campaign for a local business. I was in a group with 4 people, none of which I knew very well. We started talking to figure out where people's strengths were and there was clearly a person who was more technical, one who was a really good presenter and communicator, a financial person, and me, the creative person. We all had our own lanes, but came together to help on the different pieces. We pitched our idea and the business we had modeled, actually wanted to implement the majority of our ideas."
2.
As the manager for this position, I'm wondering what inspires you to be the best you can be in your work? What can I do as your manager to help you feel inspired and empowered?
A common theme within the walls of Varian Medical Systems is the need to be inspired and motivated to succeed in the business of creating innovative solutions in the treatment of cancer. For this question, your interviewer is looking to hear two things: what your internal motivations are to succeed and what your manager can do to ensure that you are inspired in your work. Now is a chance to give your interviewer some insight into what make you tick as an employee and what you expect from your leader. Be open and honest with your answer here.

Ryan's Answer #1
"Personally, being inspired in my work stems from knowing my part in the overall success in achieving the mission of the organization. In looking to come here as a Customer Success Specialist, that would entail utilizing a combination of my sales and service skills to ensure that healthcare organization and physicians are taken care and treated respectfully. As an employee, I definitely prefer a leader that is approachable if I have questions or concerns while being open and honest with feedback given back to me. If hired for this position, you'll quickly find that I'm a no frills person that prefers up front honesty with no sugar coating things. You'll also find that I would take this same approach with you as we look to build the best sales and service team possible."
Ryan's Answer #2
"If you talked to my current manager, they'd tell you that I do my best work when I'm given an initial goal or direction and then given the freedom to run with the project or task. I'm a self motivated individual that loves to tackle projects on my own or by assembling a team of experts. From within, my heart has always had a close tie to the medical industry and I'd love the opportunity to bring my marketing skills to a fine organization like Varian Medical Systems."
3.
When is the most proud you've been of an organization that you worked for?
Through innovation in the industry, Varian Medical Systems has helped revolutionize the treatment of cancer for millions of people worldwide. This innovation has been a prideful venture for the organization and the leadership at Varian Medical Systems allows employees to celebrate these innovations and successes. For this question, your interviewer is ideally looking to hear that you take pride in the overall victories for the organization that you represent and that you are able to see the big picture on top of your day to day work.

Ryan's Answer
"I'd have to say the moment I was most proud was two years ago when my organization won the prestigious Malcolm Baldrige Award for Quality. It had been a goal of my organization for many years and one of the key components was customer service and feedback. In the sales world, we had measured success factors in customer satisfaction for many years and had implemented many great new processes to improve in this area. To see it all come together with the award and helping in the success leading up to the honor was a very proud moment for both me and my department."
4.
Talk about a unique partnership that you have developed during your career. Why was it unique and why was the partnership important to the success of you and your organization?
Being a partner for life is one the four core values at Varian Medical Systems and their belief in creating significant partnerships falls both within the walls of the organization and outside of them to external customers. For this question, your interviewer is looking to gauge your ability to build strong partnerships by having you talk about a unique relationship you developed that help lead to success. Make sure to walk through the keys to building the partnership and explaining how the relationship led to something greater.

Ryan's Answer #1
"Being a firm believer that building strong relationships helps build a stronger future for both me and my organization, I take this philosophy in all aspects of my career as an engineer. Being a member of the IEEE, I was attending a national conference a couple of years ago and attending networking events. Having met and talked to a peer that was involved in the circuit board manufacturing industry, I knew that my organization was coming up on our current circuit board contract the next year. As we traded knowledge over the lunch hour at the conference, I explained my business and what our needs were of a potential new vendor. I knew of exciting changes coming down the pike and talked about those as well. After exchanging business cards and having an email conversation monthly, the contacts organization made a great proposal for our next contract and it was a true win-win situation for all involved."
Ryan's Answer #2
"When I took my current job seven years ago, it didn't take long to notice tension between my department and the production management staff on the floor. As an Equipment Maintenance Technician, I knew that a great working relationship was necessary between the groups and I didn't take any preconceived notions or past biases to heart. Right from my first day hitting the floor, I communicated regularly with the two Production Supervisors I would be working closely with. Looking back, just approaching them and getting to know them really opened up some doors that weren't open to my colleagues. A year or two down the road, I learned that a past tech in my department, who was later terminated, had really soured the relationship to an almost irreparable spot. I'm very thankful I took the open approach that I did to help mend fences between the larger group in both departments."
5.
Many of our projects have very strict timelines. Tell me about a time you missed a deadline or deliverable and how you handled it.
Everybody makes mistakes and it is best to pick a project where the missed deadline wasn't fatal and you were able to recover and learn from your mistake.

Ryan's Answer #1
"We had a new leader start recently. To get her up to speed, she asked for a number of different reports in a 2 day turn around time. She needed them for an executive meeting she was going to. One of the reports was very manual and with my other responsibilities, I just wasn't able to get it done in time. I went to her office and told her that I could have this complete tomorrow, but I wasn't able to finish it for her meeting this morning. She asked what I was working on and I explained my competing priority. She recommended that I come check with her to get help prioritizing in the future. I learned a big lesson that day about using your leader as an advocate for you. I should have come to her first. I've kept this in mind in other scenarios when I've had competing deadlines."
Ryan's Answer #2
"For example: "As a new grad, I remember in college, I had a huge project due in my economics class at the end of the semester. I made a schedule that would help me get all of the pieces of this project done in time, but part of my project required outside data that I needed from a different university. There was a delay in this data getting to me and it delayed some of the subsequent steps of my project. I ended up getting it just a few days before the deadline. As hard as I tried, I couldn't get it submitted on time. I was absolutely devastated. I called my professor who understood, but I got a reduced grade because it was late. I learned that I should have chosen a data source that was more readily available to me but also that I could have looped in my professor earlier who might have had another idea."
6.
For you, what are the keys to treating those that you work for in a respectful and dignified manner?
At Varian Medical Systems, treating others with respect and dignity are key components to their stance on diversity. The organization values individual differences and leverages the individuality of their team to achieve results. To get at the heart of your stance on being part of a diverse workforce, your interviewer is looking to hear what respect and dignity mean to you in the workplace with this question. In your answer, think about the little things that you do to promote respect between yourself and those that you work with and stress that this is your standard approach to working as part of a diverse team of individuals.

Ryan's Answer #1
"To me, respect starts with effective interpersonal communications. For me, this includes being open to new ideas, reflectively listening to others, disagreeing with tact and dignity, asking a lot of questions and showing appreciation for the help of others. Once I've established a solid ground for communication, respect is further bonded through my ability to be open, honest and ethical in every interaction with my colleagues."
Ryan's Answer #2
"If you were to poll all of my previous coworkers regarding what my best quality was, I think that a common them would be that I'm respectful. I have a natural ability of being a bridge builder among a team and an ability of focusing on the needs of others first and foremost. Respect and dignity boil down to showing others that you care about them, their ideas and their opinions and my stance of knowing that I am not the final answer for most things is important in this aspect."
7.
Our focus here at Varian Medical Systems is to provide solutions in Oncology and the treatment of cancer. What knowledge or experience do you have in that arena and why does our mission interest you?
Passion and inspiration are a vital part of life at Varian Medical Systems and your interviewer is looking to gain insight on what your knowledge and/or experience is with cancer treatment and how passionate you will be working in the industry. You can draw on your knowledge from both your own personal experience outside of work or any on the job experience you have and then tie that experience towards the passion you would exhibit on the job. Be sure to research the cancer fighting solutions in radiosurgery, radiotherapy and proton therapy that Varian Medical System produces and talk to their importance in the treatment of cancer.

Ryan's Answer #1
"As you can see from my resume, my engineering experience falls solely in the electronics manufacturing industry outside of healthcare. But what I lack in direct experience working with equipment used to fight cancer I make up for in passion in helping tomorrow's physicians and care providers help fight the nasty disease. I recently lost my best friend to a brain cancer that was left untreated as it had progressed to far by the time it was discovered. His loss shook his family, friends and loved ones terribly, including myself. This alone would drive me to help create and design new and innovative products that would help survival rates of those diagnosed in the future."
Ryan's Answer #2
"Coming from the medical imaging industry, I'm obviously familiar with Varian's great radiation treatment and proton beam machines. I have a ton of respect for your stance in the market and would love to help represent this organization with Oncologists and cancer care staff in the region here. In my search for a new position, my top goal is to stay in the medical industry where I can do my part to be a difference makers in the lives of others. When it comes to field service, I would be able to train and be up and running in a short amount of time."
8.
In the medical device industry, there is a lot of industry jargon and lingo and many acronyms to learn to understand the business. What are some strategies you've used to acclimate quickly when you've started a new job in the past?
The medical device industry is highly technical. Even if you aren't an engineer, you still need to know very specific information about the product so you understand the business. There is a learning curve for any new employee, but the ones who can pick up things quickly set themselves up for success faster.

Ryan's Answer #1
"When I started my last job, I was hearing so much unfamiliar terminology my first week, so I started making a list and then when I had time to ask people or look things up, I'd add it to the list until I knew what everything was. My list became pretty extensive, so the HR person who does onboarding actually asked me if she could give it to new hires from now on because it was really helpful."
Ryan's Answer #2
"For example: "I love Google. In almost any environment, when you don't know something, you can start on Google and go from there. I take the time to research outside of work the elements of the industry that I don't know to get up to speed faster. By week 2 and 3, I'm have impressed the people I work with as contributing to the business."
9.
At Varian Medical Systems, giving back to the community is really important to us. What are you doing in your current position to give back?
Charitable giving is common in the medical device industry. The interviewer wants to see that you care about more than just a job but that you find joy and purpose in giving back to your community.

Ryan's Answer #1
"At my company, we are close to an elementary school and volunteers are needed to read to the students each week. I volunteered immediately and have been part of this program for 2 years. Sometimes it is hard to leave the office each week because I'm so busy, but each time I go there, it is so rewarding. "
Ryan's Answer #2
"For example: "My company didn't have a robust volunteerism program and we are pretty small, so I actually started a school supply drive to benefit schools in our community. This isn't something our teams were used to doing, so it took some promotion, but in the end, we ended up with a huge amount to donate. The schools were so pleased and it really boosted engagement at our office."
10.
Here at Varian Medical Systems, we actively promote a culture of giving through many great programs that impact lives in a positive way. In what ways have you given back during your personal life or career?
Varian Medical Systems promotes giving and donation programs in many ways. Their partners in giving program lets staff support their favorite charities by matching donations as an organization. The organization promotes and organizes cancer walks, food drives, blood drives, toy drives and helps provide global outreach to those in need around the world. For this question, your interviewer will be looking to hear that you have the same giving mindset by having you talk a bit about things you've done in the past. If you are young in your career or haven't done much to this point, be sure to reiterate to your interviewer that you'd love to help out where you could if hired for this position.

Ryan's Answer #1
"I feel very fortunate to have participated in some great charity and giving back activities throughout my career. With my current employer, I have organized a back to school supply donation campaign for students that come to school with insufficient supplies needed for their education. I've also helped organize book drives in the inner-city schools as well. In reading about some of the efforts that Varian Medical Systems put forward, I'd love to be a part of those if hired for this position."
Ryan's Answer #2
"Through high school and college, I really appreciated the community service I was able to participate in. As you can see from my resume, I've spent time at the local food pantry gathering donations and sending out to families in need. As part of my program in college, I also helped organize and participate in a fun run to benefit the local children's hospital. I feel fortunate to be raised by parents that felt it was important to help others whenever necessary and I never take what I have for granted because of my upbringing."
11.
Doing well by doing the right thing is one of our core values here at Varian Medical Systems. Have you ever encountered a time where doing the right thing was difficult during your career? How did you overcome that difficulty?
Whether it was delivering honest, but bad, news to someone or owning up to a mistake in your own work, we've all had a difficult time in doing the right thing during our career. For this question, your interviewer is looking to gauge your moral compass by having you talk through a situation where doing the right thing was difficult and having you talk about how you overcame that situation. In your answer, try to hit on the importance of having integrity in all that you do and the overall importance of doing things right versus taking shortcuts.

Ryan's Answer #1
"Last year, I was working on designing a prototype for a customer and in that design process, I asked to borrow some expensive equipment from the customer that would help during my design process. Having a great working relationship with them up to that point, they let me take it with me back to my office. Later that week, realized that I had lost one of the pieces. I retraced my steps to every place I could remember and searched through my car several times, still to no avail. Immediately, I did the right thing and called my contact with the customer right away and owned up to my mistake. While it would've been easy to place blame elsewhere, I am a firm believer in forgiveness for honesty and doing what is right. The customer, while upset initially over the phone, wasn't hesitant to forgive me for the mistake and we maintain a great relationship to this day."
Ryan's Answer #2
"For this question, I'll go back to the time that I was monitoring personal usage of company equipment as the IT Manager of a small organization. We had pretty strict policies regarding personal usage of company phones and emails. I close colleague of mine was blatantly violating several of the policies and after a first warning from me, the issues still continued. The easy thing to do would've been to turn a blind eye, but I'm not about that whatsoever. Wasted time and company resources effect everyone in the end and I didn't hesitate to approach the colleague's leader with the issue at that point for them to handle disciplinary action from there."
12.
In the medical device industry, it is important our teams are cohesive so we can continue to drive excellence. Tell me about a time you gave feedback to a peer?
The interviewer wants to know that you aren't shy about giving feedback to your peers to help them succeed. True leaders show their true colors by mentoring and supporting colleagues, not just by supporting and training direct reports. Show the interviewer that you care about the development of others are aren't afraid to give feedback.

Ryan's Answer #1
"I noticed my peer was really struggling with her communication with another leader. He would get very anxious and even out of breath when he was telling me about what was going on. One of the times that he was venting to me, I listened, but then asked a few more questions to probe deeper. Through my questions, my colleague was able to think of a few different strategies to try when working with this person in the future. The power of the question is very powerful."
Ryan's Answer #2
"For example: "We had bi-weekly team meetings and we do a lot of brainstorming during that time. One of my colleagues came across really negative and would shoot down people's ideas really quickly. This really deflated the energy in the team. I asked him to go for a walk with me and I told him how his behavior was being perceived. He was caught off guard by this feedback. However, because we were walking and our bodies were moving, it helped him to calm down and hear me. At the end, he thanked me for pulling him aside and talking to him about it and I could tell at the next meeting that he came with an attitude that was different and more open."
13.
What is a work accomplishment you feel very proud about that you'd like to share?
Everybody has that shining moment in their career that they look back on and feel good about. Share a work accomplishment that is significant to you and let the interviewer hear the passion in your voice.

Ryan's Answer #1
"I have been selected to the President's Club 3 years in a row. The first year I was selected, I am especially proud of because I was given a territory that was performing really terribly. I didn't know if I'd be able to turn it around. With focus, dedication, and a close eye on numbers, I was able to make really great strides in that region and it is still a high performing area for the company."
Ryan's Answer #2
"For example: "I'm really proud of the fact that 3 of the people who reported to me have moved on to leadership roles within my company. Coaching and mentoring people is really important to me and I spent a lot of time with these individuals talking to them about what it would take to get to the next level. They were like sponges and listened, and then did exactly what I knew they could do. Teaching others is something I have a great passion for."
14.
How do you want to grow your career within the medical device industry?
The interviewer would like to hear that you would like to stay with the company as you develop new skills. Tell the interviewer your long term goal, but make sure it aligns with where the company is going.

Ryan's Answer #1
"I noticed at Varian Medical Systems, you have offices in over 20 countries. This is really exciting to me. I'd love to be in this role for several years, but then think about how I could use the skills I've learned to work in one of your global locations. I'd love to work overseas for a few years and then come back to a leadership role."
Ryan's Answer #2
"For example: "One of the elements of Varian Medical Systems that I really love is the career growth opportunities. I'd love to take the knowledge I'll gain in this role and move to the sales organization to be the person in front of clinicians, showing them the great things our devices can do. When you are selling something you believe in, it doesn't really feel like selling, it just feels like helping people."
15.
At Varian Medical Systems, we strive to make a positive impact on the lives of the millions that rely on our innovations. Talk about a time you had a positive impact on a colleague or a customer. How did you do this and how did it make you feel?
In the world of cancer treatment and therapy, patients and their families are seeking life altering treatments and Varian's goal is provide those treatments and save lives. For this question, your interviewer will be looking to break down the philosophy of having a positive impact to you as an individual. In your example, think about a time you went out of your way to make a positive difference for someone and talk about your thought process in doing so. Most importantly, talk about why it was important for you to do so and paint the bigger picture of your desire to be a positive influence on others that you work with.

Ryan's Answer #1
"Last year, I noticed that a colleague on my team had been slowly letting important tasks slide and miss deadlines all while seeming very disengaged and not very talkative at work. Over lunch one day, I asked her if something at work had been troubling her and at that point, she really opened up about some medical issues going on in her family. In wanting to boost her spirits, I quickly put together an office gathering at a restaurant after work the next day in support of her after gaining her permission to let our team know what was going on. She was so appreciative of me and the whole team's efforts to lift her spirits in knowing that others cared about her so much."
Ryan's Answer #2
"Just a few weeks ago, I was on a service call to a great customer that I had worked with for many years. Having gotten to know the receiving and warehouse staff very well, we always took five to ten minutes to catch up when I was onsite. When I arrived that day, I quickly noticed that the roof over their loading dock had collapsed due to the weather. When I arrived in the building, the staff were quickly rushing around to get things moved for shipments coming in and I wasn't hesitant to help wherever I could. I quickly asked the supervisor what I could do to help until the engineer I was meeting arrived. He put me to work out on the dock helping to pick up scrap and clear a lane for trucks to arrive. I went about my business when the engineer arrived. While completing my work, the shipping supervisor came and personally thanked me for the help I provided. Looking back, I'd do this again in any situation."
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