OpenBooks.com » Forum » General Discussions » Need some advice (probablby from Tomasz :D )
Posted on September 14, 2015 at 8:27am Post #1
Sooooooo I'm having an interview for an IT Project Manager position. What questions can I expect on it? Does these wacky 'how many tennis balls would fit into a school bus' questions really happen on interviews? What should I have in my sleeve facing the bad HR person trying to throw obstacles under my feets? Will the stories about problems and successes in my previous projects be enough?
Olso I found a huge typo on the site of company I'm applying to, should I be ballsy and point it out (as - let's say - proof of my thoroughness or sth like this?).

Help much appreciated <3 :D

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Tomasz Staniak

OpenBooks.com Team
Posted on September 14, 2015 at 9:47am Post #693
Well, it's difficult to reply for this as many companies have different expectations and honestly, Project Managers in Poland are highly deprecated and overrated. Usually this is a hypothetical position - I've been PM at couple of Polish companies and this was mostly just an add-on to other functions such as programmer, frontend dev, graphics artist and "informatyk". Also, most companies use HR processes as PR, showing their better sides, i.e. "we are highly agile, using SCRUM" which should read: we have daily standups, rest is pure waterfall so you might expect questions regarding issues you will never run into at their organization.

So to answer this: corporations may use wacky questions and companies such as Google and Microsoft ask them, but usually the programmers. Smaller companies may ask general questions such as "what's your fav management methodology and why". I remember that I was once asked what is SLI and CUDA when I was hoping to get as PM to one of the Polish computer hardware sellers.

Also I'm a little bit tired with Polish IT - it's usually mostly good marketing and PR. Even brilliant companies on the outside are mediocre on the inside but I guess this part of the experience and learning-experience, so skip this part.

As for the typo - you should point it out, I'd be very glad if you did because it would mean that you really have read what we posted. But it will depend on the HR person you will be talking to and their mood. Usually there is a question "what you know about us, have you been to our website?". Stories from your experience are highly recommended, especially because most of IT is "same old, same old". It's like with the saying: "10 years of experience in IT means 10 times the same year"

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Tomasz Staniak

OpenBooks.com Team
Posted on September 14, 2015 at 10:30am Post #694
Oh, and I remember my favorite counter-question, if a company claims to be agile and - especially - use SCRUM. SCRUM uses "sprints", sprints usually take a week or two (shouldn't take less or more) which should be unbreakable. That is if all parties agree what should be done during a sprint and what should be the output, all things that come in-between should be added to the backlog and included in the next sprint. You may break the sprint, but this is means taking responsibility of the outcome and taking "blame".

In corporations that is a big no-no, nobody wants to be held responsible and that's why SCRUM doesn't work usually. Especially in the long run - managers, marketers, product owners, other parties want something done "now", not in the next week.
And my counter question is: how do you approach responsibilty and blame when breaking the sprints?

Posted on September 14, 2015 at 12:05pm Post #697
Thanks!
I'm familiar with Agile-ish type of work and scrum too, so that probably will be fine. Let's see what the interview will bring * bracing myself * :D

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Tomasz Staniak

OpenBooks.com Team
Posted on September 27, 2015 at 7:58pm Post #719
How did it go?

Posted on September 29, 2015 at 11:04am Post #720
Not sure. Well, I felt it went good, but - as always - the most clever answers came after the interview.
It's not a big company so the CEOs were speaking with me, didn't ask about many IT or even PMing details. Their current PM was with them for a long time and went away because his mentor started his own company and invited him to work with him. So they mainly asked about how would I fit into their team and how would I copy with unsubordinated programmers.
They seemed pretty funny guys and we even shared laughter few times, I guess I was just myself. :P The question is if they are looking for a guy with some exp in doing PM work or going to hire someone with years of formal education, because I was kinda thrown into my current PM position so if they will choose the option #2 I'm screwed hard. :D
Anyway they promissed to let me know how much I screwed somewhere around end of september / start of october so I didn't sleep for two days already. Joking, I always sleep like a big, snorting baby. ;p
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