Preparation Tips to Crack an Interview for Mid to Senior Level ” product development” Professionals

Preparing for an interview may be something that as a senior professional, you may feel out of practice at. There are some tips and tricks which can help you in getting your dream job…Interviews have always been a nerve-racking experience. A situation where you are judged on your performance & experience for a job. Interviews are basically to understand what experiences you are bringing to the table and how you can help the organization to grow with your experiences and skills. Here’s a guide to reintroducing yourself to the process.

When it comes to senior professionals, we will be segregating to two parts – Executive and Managerial roles.

Few common questions:

·         Highlight Important Accomplishments-

If your interviewer asks you this question, consider yourself lucky. It’s the perfect opportunity to talk about your most impressive experience. First, it will give clues about what you value most. Were you most proud of closing a huge deal or building a great team? This will help indicate if you’re a good fit for the job and the culture. Everyone should have a set of 3-5 great stories prepared.

Your Greatest Accomplishments = Your Greatest Selling Points

For example, one story about a successful project could be used to demonstrate leadership, problem-solving, or ability to deal with conflict. The STAR framework will help you focus on the key details so you can tell a story that’s authentic, memorable, and concise.

The goal is to write out a few bullet points for each of the key aspects of your story (Situation/Task, Approach, and Results). This lets you focus in on your key themes without being too scripted.

·         Describe a situation where you were part of a failed project:

Find Strength in Your Failure. Admitting your failure is not a sign of weakness or inadequacy- contrary to popular belief. If you can show your interviewer how you were able to find strength and encouragement even in the midst of disappointment- he or she will be able to see how you will likely behave if dealing with similar situations when hired. It may reassure you to know that hiring managers don’t expect you to be perfect. They know that everybody fails.

They ask this question to understand:

• Are you someone who can learn from failure?

• Are you self-aware enough to acknowledge failure and weakness?

• Do you take smart risks?

• How do you view success, failure, and risk in general?

Before you jump into the STAR format, you must choose the right example to talk about. It is very important to select a failure example that will serve you well in job interviews.

Everybody fails — in big and small ways. The tricky part is to craft a failure example that highlights your strengths and smarts.

·         Tell me about a significant crisis you have faced?

You need to explain the context of the crisis without implicating yourself in its creation, and you should focus on what you did to sort the problem out rather than implying that somebody else had to come to your rescue. Show that your common sense, forward planning, use of initiative, interpersonal skills and problem-solving abilities help you to manage tricky situations. Employers are looking for evidence of a calm, practical approach under pressure.

Good examples are:

·         pulling off a big project on a miniscule budget

·         a contract falling through at the last minute; having to do the work yourself

·         how you dealt with client requests to meet tight deadlines

An unexpected event throwing your plans into disarray, and how you got things back on track.

Clearly explain how you identified the problem and reached a solution both professionally and quickly, and what the final positive outcome was. Keep in mind they are interested in determining how your actions and decisions will affect the business, so always describe a conclusion that shows you acting in a positive way for the company.

For Executives (majorly Architects)-

·         Brief us about your basic technical qualifications and expertise?

This is one of the common questions asked by the interviewer to summarize the technical skills and expertise to understand the actual fitment of the role with regards to technology and skill part. Here the candidates need to be prepared by listing down the expertise technology and skills which they have worked on and implemented in their projects. Recommending to add everything which they have worked for a very small period of time or know just basics. Here, the interviewer wants to analyze where they are as subject matter expert as.

·         What challenging situations have you faced and what solutions have come up with?

This question is sure to come up and though the interviewer asked how you dealt or solved the problem, he really wants to hear how you worked with a team of people to solve a problem. This is a problem-solving question that tests your critical thinking skills and is looking for two pieces of information: Your definition of difficult and how you handled the situation. You should have at least one of these stories ready to go that will make you look good. Your story should be one which puts you in a tough position where you analyzed and discussed the problem, reached a conclusion, and that you came out on top and it was a win-win situation for the company.

1. Look back to a problem that you were faced with.

2. Define the problem, the expected outcome, and possible solutions.

3. Then talk about the people you had to work with and what was expected of them and the how you tied it all together to reach your goal.

·         What is your proudest moment as a software architect?

Here the situation bets on the role of an Architect. When it comes to the proudest moment you can count on to your greatest contribution as an Architect for example –

1.     Guiding the project into a more flexible, scalable, distributed and complex platform.

2.     Clarity, from the day to day effort in clear design, so that “developers can understand the data model without much explanation.”

·         What is the most complex project you worked on?

As an Architect, you would always want to discuss complex projects, partly as primate ranking exercise, but also because we are always fascinated by what the architect learned as part of that project. Complex projects, whether success or failure, always come with a rich set of learning. Try to quote some complex projects to have worked with such as – Fast data streaming system, High Caliber system or some complex domain such as banking, financial, insurance etc. and what was your contribution towards the complexity whether it is that you were responsible to scale the system, optimize or bring in High Availability. This will give concise terms of bringing architecture to the project.

·         What is the most important soft skill for an architect to possess?

For this, most of the people end up answering it as – “Leadership skills” which is actually not the important skill which any architect to attain. One of the greatest skills that an Architect needs to adopt is “Communication Skills” – “Of the many soft skills needed to become a good architect, the ability to connect with people and communicate is the most important one.” The communication skills are needed to keep connectivity and have a strong teamwork but Leadership skills count for authority to control the crucial situations in projects.

For Managerial (Engineering Manager, Product Manager, Project Manager)-

·         What challenges are you looking for in this position?

The best to answer questions on challenges you are seeking is to discuss how you would like to able to utilize your skills and expertise if you are hired for the role. You can add as you are motivated to work on challenging situations and how difficult situations drive you to bring the innovative process to the team and work collaboratively. Point out some examples wherein you have faced some challenges and as a team how did you overcome it.

·         Tell me a suggestion you have made that was implemented in the project which you have worked?

“Implemented” is one of the greatest words for Managers. It actually shows how you come up with creative business ideas which will generate the biggest revenue for the company. Bring in some important pointers where your ideas have been shared with the management and they have further implemented in your project and seen the great result out of it.

·         What major challenges and problems have you faced and how did you handle them?

With this question, the interviewer is trying to understand how do you handle issues and problems. Can you figure out solutions and work out to resolve in lesser time? How good are you at problem-solving and crisis management? Do you love challenges and bring out solutions instantly without many difficulties. Try to project a few situations wherein you have to sort out some issues which were been on your team and made the project run undisturbed.

·         Describe your management style?

The best style for any managers is “Situation Style” as it is safe and you will manage according to the situation and any manager counts on for best situation handler.

These are few important tips which any senior professionals need to look into to land up-on their dream jobs. They are other kinds of questions which may include which will relate to behavioral, situational and decision making based questions. One of the major things to do while preparing for interviews is listing your own strengths and expertise along with relating real time examples which you have gone through and made a success.

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