The views expressed in this article are strictly those of Max Wideman.
The contents of the book under review are the copyright property of the author.
Published here September 2015.

Introduction | Book Structure | What We Liked
Downside | Summary

What We Liked

To give you some idea of the content, the following are extracts from several sections.

Under Background[3]

Interviewer's question: Tell me about yourself.

Why this question is being asked: The interviewer would like to know about the professional you and understand your qualifications for the job.

Strategy: Focus on the professional you. The interviewer does not want to know about where you took your last vacation or what your favorite pastime is. Provide an introduction to your relevant experience, education, skills and knowledge that will be discussed more in-depth over the course of the interview.

Sample answer: I am a Public Accountant with ten years of experience in the field. I recently received my CPA. I've worked for Smithson Auditors in a senior capacity. Prior to that, I worked for Jacob Accounting. Supervisors have described me as a quick learner and a great team player."

[MW] Using this as a template, obviously it would not be too difficult to convert this into a specific project practitioner's situation. But note especially, the response is simple, straightforward and factual.

Under Personality/Motivation[4]

Interviewer's question: What do you know about our company?

Why this question is being asked: To learn if you have done your research into the company because you are especially interested in this position, or if you are just applying for any old job.

Strategy: You don't have to give the company history dating back to 1925, but do show an understanding of the core business, how the company operates and, if possible, what you know about the specific department you are interviewing for.

Sample answer: I have been following your company closely for the last several years. Your company became an innovator in the industry by adapting the use of cutting edge fulfillment technologies ..."

Under Experience[5]

Interviewer's question: Why was there a gap in your employment between [date] and [date]?

Why this question is being asked: The interviewer wants to get a sense of your work ethic and is concerned about the gap in employment. He/she wants to know if you were let go and why.

Strategy: Even if the reason leading to an employment gap was not your decision, frame the answer in a positive sense. Explain what mistakes you may have learned from and how it will make you a better worker in the future.

Sample answer: Unfortunately, I was let go due to downsizing. I did enjoy my year and a half at the company. It allowed me to learn more about the banking industry and demonstrate my skills. At the beginning, it was a little rough managing my time effectively but I did improve vastly and I look forward to bringing my improved abilities to the next opportunity."

[MW] We are not too sure about this specific answer; we think it could be improved. First of all, the question does not ask what you did either before the "gap", or during it. Besides, there are lots of good reasons why one has a "gap in employment" in the project management industry. For example, besides a downturn in the economy and the difficulty of finding alternative employment, maybe you were let go for "cause". The best response here is that you just didn't fit and were persuaded to "move on". You don't have to go into detail why you didn't like the company, or how they handled your dismissal, painful though this may have been.

More to the point, what did you do during the "gap"? Possibilities are that you went back to school, offered your services on the market as a consultant, or simply spent full time on your job search. Whatever you do, do not mention that you are looking for a less demanding job so that you can spend more time skiing or sailing or whatever. That will not impress an interviewer![6]

Hopefully, these examples give you a good idea of this book's content. Bear in mind that the Q & A's are all very generic and relate to corporate management in general. Obviously it is not possible to cover all of the potential questions that are specific to the management of the technology development involved in projects.

This book is well written in a clear and simple style. No supporting graphics or illustrations are necessary. The content is light and easy reading.

Book Structure  Book Structure

3. Ibid, p12
4. Ibid, p280
5. Ibid, p98
6. Believe it or not, I have had interviewees who have come to me doing just that!
Home | Issacons | PM Glossary | Papers & Books | Max's Musings
Guest Articles | Contact Info | Search My Site | Site Map | Top of Page