This Guest paper was submitted for publication 4/27/13 and is copyright to David Harrison, © 2013.
This paper is an update of a paper originally published in 2008.
Published here December 2013.

PQQ = PreQualification
ITT = Invitation To
RFP = Request For

PART 2 | Introduction | Strategies and Tactics | Evidence
Content and Presentation | Post-tender Interviews | Summary

Post-tender Interviews

Mistake #23 - Snatching defeat from the jaws of victory

It is a mistake to underestimate the importance of the tender interview and oral presentation. In my own experience as a procurement consultant running the interview process, I have learnt one thing and that is to expect a huge gap in the performance of bidders at the interview. You just cannot predict the quality of a presentation or how well a bid team will handle a question and answer session.

I have had high expectations for some companies based on the quality of their written submissions but have been really disappointed at how badly they have come across at the interview. I know nerves can play a part but as an experienced interviewer I can usually put the bid team at ease and give them every chance to show their best if they are well enough prepared.

These are all examples that I have seen of the things that bidders just shouldn't do, such as:

  • Turning up at the wrong office
  • Arriving late
  • Bringing people who don't speak
  • Trying to take over the chair of the interview
  • Waffling and Bulls**ting
  • Leaving key people behind
  • Bringing the wrong people
  • Dressing inappropriately
  • Disregarding instructions
  • Over-running their time slot
  • Death by power-point

At times, my colleagues on evaluation panels and I have been delighted and surprised at how well some companies have performed at the interview. You are then left with a strong feeling that you really want to work with these people, not just because you like them but also because you are impressed with their capabilities and how well they understand the customer's needs.

There are things that bidders should do to give themselves the best possible chance of success. This is an area that I advise and coach bidders on but is a huge subject in its own right so I won't go into detail in this report. What is important is that you prepare properly, practice, be clear on the messages you want to put across and create a favorable first impression.

Content and Presentation  Content and Presentation

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