What You Wish You’d Known Before Your Job Interview

What you wish you'd knew before the interview

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Action Verbs

“A” Action Verbs in Action

  • Accelerated time-to-market for embedded software by 25 percent through use of appropriate software quality tools, improved debugging methods, and timely personnel training.
  • Accomplished shift from Large Quantity Generator status to Small Quantity Generator Status.
  • Accounted for more than 25 percent of company’s revenues.
  • Achieved profitability in highly competitive industry and significant growth of services in all market categories against 8 direct competitors.
  • Acted as co-facilitator for work group and partnered with facilitator to help coordinate group’s work.
  • Added four new customers, a new industry, and more than $1 million in revenue.
  • Address deeply rooted, beneath-the-surface systemic causes of organizational problems/conflicts that plague instead of merely tackling known symptoms.
  • Administer $2 million in contracts with City of Orlando to operate Visitors Bureau and Economic Development Programs.
  • Advised management regarding accounting processes, findings, and financial performance.
  • Aligned and trained management staff to focus on attaining world class service levels through quality feedback to staff utilizing Witness Monitoring System, top-level training programs and targeted interviewing/hiring specifications.
  • Applied global experiences and localized process to create relevance to Japan, which involved learning entire process and identifying high leverage points in Japan context.
  • Architected operational and financial business cases for outsourcing. Assessed effectiveness of 16,000-employee Symantec’s global payroll operations (APAC and EMEA).
  • Assumed and maintained P&L responsibility for administrative departments, including Human Resources, HRIS, MIS, Training and Development, Safety, Security, Internal Audit, Benefits and Compensation, Legal, Insurance, Travel, and Internal Investigations.
  • Assured programmatic and budgetary compliance of programs according to funding objectives.
  • Attracted 33 new corporate memberships over 12 months after corporate membership campaign design and implementation.
  • Audited corporate client reports of portfolio holdings and transactions on accounts containing equities, fixed income, and derivatives.
  • Authored paper for publication in New Jersey Association of School Business Officials magazine on implications of Sarbanes-Oxley Act to New Jersey School Districts.
  • Avoided $700,000 annual cost through negotiation of multiyear master lease agreement with U.S. Government.
  • Awarded U.S. patent for developing solution to common industry problem related to calibration; solution resulted in lower maintenance cost for customers.


“B” Action Verbs in Action

  • Benchmarked specifications for systems implementation.
  • Bolstered productivity and saved company approximately $10 million through playing key role in restructuring company; reengineered all financial processes and related systems; redesigned all related jobs, resulting in enriched staff development; reduced headcount from 1,500 to 1,000.
  • Boosted sales from $450,000 to $2.6 million.
  • Broadened target audience to include corporate travel managers, meeting planners and consumers.
  • Brokered US Treasury and European fixed-income cash, futures, and options, calculated risk, and executed trades on multiple trading platforms.
  • Brought strong management discipline and Asian-market expertise to role as board director who assumes operational oversight in absence of COO.
  • Built and implemented employee-owned development matrix for all management and call-center staff; selected, trained, and tested employee base to support continued educational and career objectives.


“C” Action Verbs in Action

  • Captured 57 percent of North American-served market.
  • Chair corporate-wide Software Configuration Review Board.
  • Championed development of software simulation and modeling methods to assist marketing in determining customer’s “voice” — procedure is now SOP.
  • Changed paradigm for district’s copy center in collaboration with Management Information Systems and transformed it from district-subsidized operation to one that has produced hundreds of thousands of dollars in positive cash flow for the last two years.
  • Cited as “best producer” by Director of Development, who said, “He always manages to strike a comfortable balance between encouraging and facilitating creative people like me and looking out for the needs of the company.”
  • Clarified and confirmed database specifications of end-users and offered additional suggestions or alternatives.
  • Closed $15 million contract negotiation that accounted for 45 percent of company orders in 2009; generated more than 50 percent of total company revenue.
  • Co-facilitated two sets of monthly meetings, one with full group of 18 provider representatives plus county representatives, and a second with key representatives from larger group.
  • Coached partners on internal company dynamics and steps for developing business and marketing plans so they could learn to write their own.
  • Codified rating system to concentrate rehabilitation impacts.
  • Collaborate with hospital and regional medical center in-house legal departments on regulatory compliance cases.
  • Combined technical and management skills while mentoring group members as they resolved complex technical issues and provided expert technical advice to management for business decisions.
  • Commanded contingency operations and established safety programs at three austere flying locales supporting UN operations; supervised 200+ personnel at each site and earned Outstanding Unit Safety Award.
  • Commended at project’s end and identified as invaluable contributor who provides “insight, clarity and definition.”
  • Communicated consistently and proactively with team members via phone and e-mail between meetings, coordinated meeting notes, and helped team members with individual work plans.
  • Completed successful name change and followed up by developing new branding platform, logo, and tagline that accurately captures and identities organization’s personality, values, and objectives and will articulate its mission and package it for savvy, heavily pitched funding audience.
  • Conceived and led initiative that saved $1 billion annually in industry settlement costs and eradicated costly customer error by eliminating manual customer input.
  • Conducted two all-customer surveys; reported results to internal partners with issue, cause, and resolution outline to significantly impact internal and external customer satisfaction.
  • Consolidated marketing-services organization in 45 days.
  • Constructed and presented sales forecasts and competitive analyses.
  • Consult with business and community leaders to respond to diversity concerns and issues.
  • Contributed to annual giving campaign’s success, exceeding $450K goal by $100K through increased marketing and e-giving technology implemented on website and through printed materials.
  • Convinced management to re-formulate existing local brand, refine its brand position, as well as redesign its graphics and packaging to align with its updated positioning, resulting in significant volume increase and long-term brand growth.
  • Coordinate all facets of the program, including curriculum development, teaching, training, volunteer management, staff recruiting, and grant writing.
  • Counseled three clients; conducted informational interviews with customers and staff members for VP of Environmental Health and Safety and provided feedback, resulting in defining new work processes to increase customer satisfaction and employee job satisfaction; collaborated with Art Museum Director’s team during major transition and change, resulting in on-time new museum opening with intact and cordial team; conducted workshops on Change Leadership.
  • Crafted decision memos at request of Prime Minister of Bangladesh and US President; laid foundation that influenced Congress to approve unprecedented buy-back of $400M aircraft program from Thailand.
  • Created organizational design and built effective teams; structured and led new Information Management Division, including Business Response Team, Quality Assurance Group, and Application Services Team.
  • Cultivate strong relationships with city, volunteers, and key constituents.


“D” Action Verbs in Action

  • Decreased inbound volume into help-desk support systems by more than 20 percent by expanding and refining Comerica University program to encompass client base as well as internal associates, delivering Certified Equity Edge Expert program that trained clients to utilize online tools.
  • Define world area budgeting, forecasting, revenue, and profitability objectives.
  • Delighted management and employees by redesigning job descriptions, using a “Vision for Success” statement to illustrate successful job performance.
  • Delivered annual revenue of $1.5B annually across Europe/Middle East/Africa, accounting for 20 percent more revenue and profit than comparable operation in North America delivered.
  • Delivered presentations to American community on travel opportunities in Western and Eastern Europe, Africa, Asia, and North America.
  • Demonstrated product-knowledge growth and enhanced external customer contact through constant communication with some of the financial world’s most demanding and knowledgeable people – hedge fund managers, traders, and operations personnel.
  • Deploy excellent political skills and contacts to testify to New Jersey Education Finance Program task force and legislative committees about public education in New Jersey.
  • Designed E-Plan and managed software development, adaptation, and interface with regional and national hospital-provider market-share leaders.
  • Determine annual unit and gross-profit plans by implementing sales and marketing strategies and analyzing trends and results.
  • Developed 5-10 year strategies and plans, identified and exploited new business opportunities to achieve objectives.
  • Devised strategic marketing and sales plans to improve revenues, market share, and profitability.
  • Discovered and identified significant differences among team’s provider organizations, as well as types of clients each served, types of services provided, organization size, and varying funding levels that threatened interference with focus on work plan.
  • Dissuaded venture capitalists from canceling $25-million investment client needed for upcoming payroll.
  • Doubled annual subscription revenue in both 1997 and 1998, to $4M/year in 23-country Eastern European market; refined sales strategy, negotiated new rate cards in selected markets, and appointed and established in-country business coordinator to provide more effective, localized sales approach.
  • Drafted and responded to motions; prepared and responded to discovery related to a complex litigation case set for trial.
  • Drew from project experience and co-authored three-part series of articles, on marketing for consultants, which was published in online organizational-development magazine.


“E” Action Verbs in Action

  • Earned Boys & Girls Club of the USA’s Association of Boys & Girls Club Professionals Award of Excellence in Leadership, Award of Excellence in Innovation, and Award of Excellence in Program Development.
  • Educate employees and the public about how School District earns its money; speak frequently at local service clubs and professional conferences, serve as guest lecturer for classes at local universities, and appear as TV/radio guest.
  • Emphasize excellent customer service internally and externally; created new ways of communicating with customers that helped increase enrollment for various programs by 75 percent over past two years.
  • Enabled company to sustain itself through industry downtimes by developing preplanned marketing initiatives and clear marketing strategy that can be updated as company goals
  • Encouraged upward mobility of females and minorities in professional Boys & Girls Club positions across upstate New York and secured training funds to provide them leadership development opportunities and job-related training.
  • Engineered $US 50 million annual technology spend; obtained technology savings/expense reductions of $US 4.5 million, including $US 0.7 million in technology employee and consultant staff reductions.
  • Enhanced processes, procedures and controls, as well as MIS development, throughout Accounting and Finance Division.
  • Enlisted internal staff, including marketing, operations, and systems developers, to QA-test system without increasing staffing costs.
  • Ensure that entire School District focuses on maximizing use of resources — not how to spend the budget but rather on programs that will best meet student needs and improve student achievement, as well as enhance operating effectiveness and efficiency.
  • Entered into successful barter deals that included extensive activity with government bodies in Malaysia, Brunei, and Thailand, exchanging for rice, sugar, and wheat for the Philippines.
  • Escalated critical issues and implemented strategies for their timely resolution.
  • Established $1.4M annual revenue hotel business in region, representing 23 percent of all revenue from this market segment in Europe/Middle East/Africa.
  • Evaluated processes and implemented changes improving production and effectiveness as well as fiscal accounting procedures.
  • Examined markets and backtested trading theories using technical analysis of charts.
  • Exceeded plans for growth, achieving revenue of $100 million within two years while maintaining high profitability levels.
  • Excelled during more than 10 years as leader in Boys & Girls Club of the USA’s preeminent system of recruitment, training, and career education that develops mission-focused leaders for Boys & Girls Club movement.
  • Executed turnaround via non-cash acquisition of local equity, converting to wholly foreign owned; prepared thorough acquisition management analysis; neutralized and improved hostile shareholder relationships.
  • Expanded strategic alliance and public-relations activities.
  • Extended business field to China and Japan.


“F” Action Verbs in Action

  • Facilitated Board of Directors and managed technical, marketing, operational, and financial teams.
  • Focused company’s resources on middleware product line connecting devices to the Internet without a PC.
  • Followed up Susquehanna Corporation corporate survey with focus groups to define specific challenges this geography was facing; facilitated senior leadership in crafting and implementing specific actions to address employee concerns; collaborated with Sales VP to clarify roles, define key competencies and performance standards, and create development paths so sales team could achieve standards.
  • Formulated basic strategy, prepared proposals for company products and services and provided business leadership to program management.
  • Founded consulting practice focusing on healthcare clientele requirements and delivering comprehensive management and business-development solutions to healthcare providers, suppliers, and group purchasing organizations.
  • Functioned in senior-management role at for-profit subsidiary of regional integrated delivery network conglomerate with operations in four states and revenue from eight for-profit firms exceeding $40 million.


“G” Action Verbs in Action

  • Gained international experience with manufacturing license, distributor and representative agreements with customers in Southeast Asia and South America.
  • Gathered extensive competitive data, audited competitors’ Web sites and positioning, conducted client interviews, clearly and concisely identified target market, developed flexible and cost-conscious marketing plan that employed various alternative resources, such as public-radio sponsorship, to reach target market.
  • Gave IBM competitive advantage by designing customer experience metrics to measure satisfaction, enabling IBM to become only company in the industry that could provide could Reduced expenses by $2 million yearly by relocating IT department to Houston and reducing headcount by 20; restructured department so that only three employees were required to maintain support for regional division; earned Outstanding Management Award for completing project ahead of schedule and transferring company’s systems seamlessly.
  • Generated 35 percent increase in annual subscription revenue to $27M in 1998, exceeding budgeted 25 percent growth by $2M.
  • Guided learning modules for faculty development and enhanced learning environments, including New Faculty Seminars, Learning Impacts of Instructional Technology, Creative Teaching, Classroom Assessment Techniques, and Managing and Assessing Group Projects.


“H” Action Verbs in Action

  • Hired, trained, and supported Account Executives in six r elated Midwest industries; hired and trained more than half of existing sales force.
  • Honored with company special recognition award for outstanding performance for Reactor Center project; earned second outstanding performance award for partnering pilot program forming alliances with three internal and external organizations to maximize efficiencies, resulting in 25 percent increased productivity and subsequent rollout to all US operations.


“I” Action Verbs in Action

  • Identified and implemented $100 million+ in expense savings.
  • Implemented IT cost-allocation model resulting in equitable redistribution of IT costs back through corporation and clearer understanding of departmental technology expenses.
  • Improved cash flow from a negative $13 million to positive cash flow by restructuring company.
  • Initiated capital funding in conjunction with investment bankers and venture capitalists.
  • Instituted project-management policies and procedures to create PMO model to control projects, resulting in standardized system to define, categorize, and track projects.
  • Integrated new Business Analyst team into organization, resulting in improved interaction between IT and its customers and alignment of IT initiatives with departmental goals.
  • Interacted with CEOs and top executives from various medical equipment, networking, software, and semiconductor companies.
  • Interpreted policy and applied federal and state laws to various employee-relations issues.
  • Interviewed lay and expert witnesses.
  • Introduced new Problem Management process focused on defect resolution using severity codes.
  • Invented and headed development of all core technologies, including ion implantation equipment, semiconductor process applications, and use of proprietary doping materials and chemicals.
  • Investigated allegations of discrimination, sexual harassment, and unfair employment practices.
  • Invited to serve three-year term on community-development committee.
  • Isolated and reduced waste streams within facility.


“J” Action Verbs in Action

  • Juggled multiple projects on tight deadlines covering numerous diverse areas.


“L” Action Verbs in Action

  • Launched pan-European UBT and Cartoon Central into 542,000 cabled households, generating $2.2M in annual revenue and establishing Cartoon Central as region’s No. 2 children’s channel.
  • Learned strategies and market terminology during simulated trading sessions with senior traders.
  • Led company-wide strategic team developed to redefine and align services and responsibilities of customer care and distribution operations groups; planned, developed, and implemented action-oriented meetings with 31 nationwide distribution centers; developed issue, cause, and resolutions for identified opportunities and implemented plans to affect changes to both customer-care and distribution operations.
  • Leverage clients’ competencies by providing a common vision and creating an energetic, inspired, and honest atmosphere.
  • Liaised with vendors and manufacturing department to ensure high-quality, yet low-cost, production methods.
  • Lowered customer tool cost $500,000 annually through implementing process changes.


“M” Action Verbs in Action

  • Maintained supportive, neutral posture and encouraged continuing collaboration and problem-solving strategies.
  • Managed successful launch of 3 Danish and Swedish customized entertainment networks.
  • Met goals ahead of schedule and assisted in strategic direction of product and business development.
  • Minimized wasteful spending and ensured consistency among schools by partnering with Facilities Division and Purchasing Departments to develop standardized furniture and equipment package for all new schools.
  • Modeled constructive group-member behavior to inspire team members to become active, constructive participants.
  • Monitored staff and program effectiveness to ensure residents received quality service at limited costs and free of liability by collaborating with board of directors to establish and implement policies and long-term plans.
  • Motivated 40-manager team; developed “zone concept” — implemented company-wide within a year — by dividing large team into smaller zones to focus on needs of those markets.


“N” Action Verbs in Action

  • Negotiated multi-million dollar aircraft upgrade proposals for company products and services supporting United Kingdom AH-64 Apache fleet.


“O” Action Verbs in Action

  • Obtained factual information concerning employee/management inquiries and/or complaints.
  • Opened channels of communication and encouraged team members to take active role in team development and accessing resources.
  • Orchestrated decrease in sales expenses by 20 percent while increasing sales productivity by expanding alliance partner network; increased hardware revenue by 9 percent to $4B.
  • Organized workforce and service flow for entire resort.
  • Oriented and trained new top-management team in product-line unique sales points and product sales strategies.
  • Outperformed peers in constructing online reports with Albuters and Infocast.
  • Overcame internal obstacles and ensured buy-in by product managers in new diamond technologies.
  • Oversee market development, financial management, and operational management.
  • Own, operate, and function as Senior Organization Consultant for international consulting/educating/training company specializing in improving individual and organizational performance.


“P” Action Verbs in Action

  • Participated in developing and implementing unique computerized claims system.
  • Partnered with team leaders to design strategy to address conflicting priorities in separate forum, ensuring that conflicts identified would be followed up with team, resulting in sharper focus on priorities at hand, gradual ease of tensions, and increased team-member cooperation.
  • Performed legal research and drafted legal memoranda regarding employment law, personal injury, contract disputes, trademark law, and environmental law issues.
  • Planned for and co-facilitated monthly meetings of 20+-member group, assisted client in initial steps to develop outcome measures, and helped create outline for policies and procedures manual.
  • Played key role in business development, branding, planning, marketing, and Web design.
  • Practice health-care law, representing academic medical center.
  • Prepared experts and witnesses in fast-paced legal environment of firm dealing with construction defect, personal injury, and employment law.
  • Presented program to Boeing senior staff and company president, CEO, and founders.
  • Preside over all board meetings and perform executive-director functions.
  • Priced options deals using Derivatech and Bloomberg; calculated delta and vega hedges.
  • Prioritized annual must-do projects, introducing new products and programs, managing group’s product life-cycle efforts in optimizing inventory of standard and non-stock standard SKUs, market segmentation, and professional development for staff employees.
  • Procured funding through private grant to continue counseling program.
  • Produced business results and market-share growth, as measured by unit case volume sold in this region where business size is almost 50 percent of the entire Japan business.
  • Project-managed automated work centers, an $18M, state-of-the-art automated manufacturing facility for clinical trials manufacturing and R&D.
  • Promoted appropriate integration of evaluation system with other systems throughout Division, including performance contracting, continuous quality improvement, and management information system.
  • Promoted regularly throughout tenure at company.
  • Propelled company to met forecasted numbers and achieve 20 percent growth year over year in an industry where average growth was 10 percent by developing three-year strategic business plan to support growth and by partnering with other executives to identify opportunities and implement business strategies.
  • Provided ongoing support in both business and marketing strategies.
  • Purchased online assets of Z-Web, as part of group, acquiring two portals and built new


“Q” Action Verbs in Action

  • Qualified new accounts and grew revenue within territory.
  • Quoted current bid/ask and market interests for FX OTC options by telephone and Reuters.


“R” Action Verbs in Action

  • Ranked in top 1 percent of 300 officers; won Army Maintenance Effectiveness Award.
  • Re-engineered process management to improve overall productivity and operational cost efficiency by relocating plant and revising plant layout; reinforced cost-reduction program.
  • Realized $80 million in cost savings by implementing suggestion system.
  • Rebuilt Websites and set up new Web services producing more than $50,000/month.
  • Recommended and prepared project proposals to optimize business and production needs, thus facilitating corporate and divisional strategy.
  • Recruited to fill Director position as a result of outstanding job performance and timely delivery of initiatives while providing consulting services; implemented processes, standards and quality controls that increased organization’s operational maturity; planned and managed $2M annual budget.
  • Recruited executives to establish 1st distribution sales office.
  • Redesigned HR business processes, leveraging manager self-service via PeopleSoft.
  • Reduced machine inventory from $8 million to $2 million; created policies around use of trials and collaborated with Sales VP/Director to implement these policies.
  • Refined salary systems for all levels of employees with compensation programs that included stock options, 401(k), commissions, stock savings plans, bonus plans, and executive SERP plans.
  • Reinforced sales process implementation, focusing on step-by-step sales process, opportunity management, territory management, account management, sales strategy/target account selling, and development of business partner network.
  • Reorganized cooperating broker program and registration process to maximize profitability.
  • Represent clients regarding employment-related issues that typically arise in hospital and medical center settings.
  • Researched and implemented CRM system.
  • Restructured process management and network marketing of retail stations.
  • Reviewed and restructured health-benefit program without reducing benefits to employees; reduced cost from more than $2 million for 225 employees to just over $1.5 million for 600+ employees while improving claims payments and ability to introduce several wellness programs.
  • Revised European-designed products for introduction into US market.
  • Revitalized events and programs to reflect new organizational image; infused programming with latest technology and hottest speakers.
  • Revolutionized customers’ trade capturing processing for reducing intra-day trade risk; spearheaded real-time trade managing system on aggressive deadline schedule and collaborated with cross-functional teams, including system developers, marketing, QA, end-users, to determine system flow and implementation.
  • Rolled out program in two months.


“S” Action Verbs in Action

  • Satisfied clients by building effective professional and personal relationships with key external/internal stakeholders and boosted brand-new Merrill Lynch HR Effectiveness practice by wearing multiple hats — project manager, budget forecast/actual, and relationship manager — and by completing all projects on time and on budget.
  • Saved company $600,000 in first six months through alliance with another provider.
  • Secured $8M during funding freeze to save critical programs; secured 33 percent funding increase.
  • Selected by Vice President to turn around HMO subsidiary that lost $11.3 million in 2003 and delivered $2.4 million profit within 12 months for largest heath insurer in Florida with $4.5 billion in annual revenues and 2.4 million members.
  • Settled lawsuit (filed before my employment) pertaining to hotel acquisition.
  • Shared P&L responsibility for five-state market area.
  • Shifted manual procedures to automated procedures and processes, thus saving company more than $500K in a six-month period.
  • Sold, designed, and managed solutions projects with average total margins of 50 percent in one year.
  • Solicited, developed and maintained large national accounts, such as MGM, Target, Sears, Dillard’s, Kohl’s, The Limited, Tommy Bahama, Steve Madden, and Venus Swimwear, among others.
  • Solved problem for South Jersey Hospital Authority, which owed contractors hundreds of thousands in sales taxes on Moorestown Hospital construction but did not have sufficient funds to pay them.
  • Spearheaded three-year renaming and re-branding process, bringing diverse stakeholders together, delivering multiple presentations, and successfully synthesizing input from various groups.
  • Specialized in Change Leadership consulting for a client list that included GenonSys, California Division of Wildlife, California Department of Motor Vehicles, Boeing Aircraft Corporation, Napa Valley Hospital, and more.
  • Standardized advertising to reflect focus-group input and ensure delivery of key messages; produced brand standards manual including print and Web content standards, and logo positioning requirements.
  • Streamline operations of New Jersey’s first Charter School District in collaboration with other members of the Superintendent’s Cabinet through eliminating unnecessary bureaucratic procedures.
  • Strengthened business-unit relationships and ensured timely delivery of quality deliverables.
  • Submitted application packages and recommendations to principals for employment consideration.
  • Succeeded in helping client complete plan, remove barriers to collaboration, and stay on track and partner together to fulfill their mission to clients.
  • Supervised 50 IT professionals with annual operating budget of $5.3 million and $2.6 million capital budget for customer base of 2,000+ employees.
  • Support all US and overseas manufacturing operations, as well as sales and marketing business units, in the areas of US and foreign government import/export trade and customs regulations, risk management analysis, duty-planning preference programs, and policies and procedures.


“T” Action Verbs in Action

  • Taught Group Work Skills in videoconference course involving Arizona State University and Indiana State College.
  • Tested management facilitation and project-management support for six business units simultaneously, as well as testing more than 57 applications.
  • Took ownership of region in entrepreneurial manner and performed without supervision.
  • Tracked and collected data-reporting program financial performance.
  • Trained trainers in Marketing 101, Marketing Research, and Membership by Design for Boys & Girls Club of the USA professionals.
  • Transferred Chicago Stock Exchange systems to SIAC in New York and orchestrated business and systems-recovery initiative.
  • Transformed management information into efficient reporting, greatly improving firm’s reporting process.
  • Transitioned health insurance from expensive district-subsidized, self-funded plan to fully insured plan following year-long School Board deadlock.
  • Traveled extensively to assist clients and consult experts and local counsel with case analysis, claim management, and case preparation.
  • Troubleshot and repaired financials that were in disarray following rapid turnover of three executive directors in three years.
  • Turned around P&L bottom lines of jewelry industry in Japan.


“U” Action Verbs in Action

  • Updated Employee Handbook; wrote and implemented policies and procedures for smooth business operations.
  • Use strong presentation skills to speak frequently at events on behalf of School District to tout the Districts’ smoothly operating business and support functions to school communities and the public.


“V” Action Verbs in Action

  • Verified trades and hedges; reconciled daily accounts.
  • Visited college campuses to screen and interview prospective math, science, and language arts teachers.
  • Volunteered to take on name-change project for 100+-year-old organization and teamed up with CEO to help move project forward.


“W” Action Verbs in Action

  • Won Individual Achievement Award of Excellence for performance.
  • Wrote arbitration briefs and responses to EEOC charges
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How to Gain Competitive Advantage

Here is the session that I put together for York University students to help them to know:

  • What it’s really like to work in the Big 4 (the four largest international accounting and professional services firms), healthcare, banking, public and private sectors, healthcare, banking, public and private sectors
  • Strategies for getting your foot in the door
  • Valuable tips on how to stand out as a candidate
  • How to effectively network to build mutually-beneficial relationships

Gaining Competitive Advantage Slide Deck

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Intercode: hvPEXn$Qn1,k2rz2iV2$ozSaOvjhvikZdrso1:VlLZr1t1w1wp1D@QO-bIf!1wt3uueeYIo1oeuu

Type: ENTJ

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CIO Interview Questions

Executive Management

1. What do you look for in new talent?

2. What shortcomings have you experienced with your management style?

3. How do you adapt your management style during an economic downturn?

4. Can you give me an example of a time where you had a significant disagreement with another executive? How did you resolve the situation?

5. What non-monetary incentives do you use to retain key performers?

6. Can you give me an example of a project that you sponsored which failed? What did you learn from the experience?

7. Can you give me an example of a time you influenced corporate strategy? What was the result?

8. How do you deal with staff who are more interested in office politics than the interests of the company?

9. What criteria do you use to terminate staff for cause?

IT Management

10. How do you use metrics to manage IT? What are some common metrics pitfalls?

11. Do you view business as a customer or a partner of IT?

12. How do you deliver IT cost transparency?

13. Can you describe a time when executives made unreasonable requests to IT? How did you manage it?

14. How do you balance tactical business demands with the need to stick to a long term strategy?

15. What project are you most proud of? Can you give me a example of a project you were involved in that failed?

16. Who do you most admire for their management style?

17. When do you require a RFP as part of the procurement process? When is a RFP too much?

18. How do you ensure a fair and competitive procurement process?

19. How do you manage sudden increases and decreases in budget driven by economic conditions and company results?

20. How do you ensure that IT line managers are involved in strategic IT planning?

21. How do you create a IT strategy for a organization with weak finances? How about a company with deep pockets?

22. How will you market IT to your peers on the executive team and to the CEO?

23. Can you give me an example of a long term IT strategy you successfully implemented?

24. How do you stay abreast of what your competitors are doing in the IT space?

25. How do you scale IT projects for faster delivery?

Projects and Delivery

26. What percentage of IT projects meet time/cost/quality targets?

27. Why do IT projects fail?

28. What do you look for in a project manager?

29. What are the benefits of having a PMO?

30. What project management methodologies are you familiar with?

31. Can you describe the software development lifecycle (SDLC)?

32. What information is contained within a requirements document?

33. What types of projects are best delivered by the agile project management methodology?

Technology and Architecture

34. What is Enterprise Architecture?

35. How do you stay current with emerging business and technology trends?

36. How do you align IT with business strategy?

37. What are the top 5 challenges facing IT organizations this year? What are the top 5 opportunities?

38. Are you familiar with the concept of the technology hype cycle?

39. Do you feel that any recent technology trends are all hype?

40. Do you see any trade-off between innovation and standardization? Can you give me an example?

41. How do you approach the buy vs build decision?

42. What area interests you most — applications, data or infrastructure?

43. If you could have a executive dashboard that displayed any 5 IT metrics — what metrics would you choose?

44. How do you ensure that networking, computing and storage resources can be quickly and cheaply scaled to meet business demands?

45. What do you look for in a chief architect?

46. How do you balance time to market with quality?

47. What are the principles of master data management?

48. What makes a good / bad user interface?

49. What are some typical gaps in business processes? How do you fix these gaps?

50. How do you get the business to buy in to a long term IT strategy?

51. What is the importance of open technology standards?

IT Service Management

52. How is high availability measured?

53. What is the difference between incident and problem management?

54. What metrics best measure quality of service?

55. How do you ensure help desk service excellence?

56. What does continual service improvement mean to you?


57. How do you sell security initiatives to the business?

58. What do you think about security convergence?

59. What are the biggest security threats to an organization like ours?

60. How do you strike a balance between information sharing and information security?

61. Does the business need to involved in security? How?

62. What kind of information is contained in a security incident response plan?

63. What is the relationship between information security and change management?

64. What are the key laws governing information security?

65. Can you give me an example of a security incident that occurred in your organization? How did you manage it?

66. What are the most important standards related to information security?

67. How does security governance relate to corporate governance?

68. Are you familiar with the security concept known as defence in depth?


69. What is your approach to interviewing?

70. How do you ensure that procurement is highly competitive and fair?

71. How do you strike a balance between economies of scale and vendor lock-in with outsourcing partnerships?

72. Do you have experience negotiating with outsourcing partners?

73. How do you think IT sourcing will change in the next 10 years?

74. Can you give me an example of a time that one of your vendors did not meet their commitments? How did you resolve the situation?

75. Have you ever initiated legal action against a vendor or partner? Has a partner ever initiated legal action against you?

76. Do you have experience with process outsourcing? What processes did you outsource? How did it go?

77. What are the risks of outsourcing? How do you mitigate these risks?


78. Give me an example in which you developed untapped potential in your staff.

79. How do you ensure that business partners with IT — for example: ensuring that business provides diligent requirements?


80. What is the role of the CIO?

81. Who reports to the CIO?

82. What are some of the key challenges for the CIO?

83. As CIO who are your top five stakeholders?

84. Do you think CIOs make good CEOs? Why / why not?


85. What is the primary focus of IT governance?

86. What is the CIO’s role with respect to corporate governance?

87. Who is typically involved in IT governance activities?

88. Do you have an IT governance program in your current organization?

89. What metrics and measures of IT are of interest to the board of directors and shareholders?


90. From what you know about our company — what percentage of our revenue do you estimate can be directly attributed to IT?

91. From what you know about our company — what do you think the budget of our IT department might be?


92. Can you think of a mission statement for me now — that embodies what your approach would be in this role?


93. How does technology empower employees to do their jobs ?

94. Can you give me an example of a time that you applied out-of-the-box thinking to solve a business problem?

95. What technologies will transform the business world in the next 5 to 10 years?


96. What should a organization such as ours do to protect our intellectual property?

97. How has the legal landscape changed in the past 5 years (from an IT and information security perspective)?

98. How do privacy laws affect a company like ours?


99. Are you a risk taker?

100. What is the worst business mistake you have ever made? What did you learn from the experience?

101. What are your long term career goals?

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Hours Spent

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Agenda for Entrepreneurship & Consulting Panel Discussion at York University

“To get what you want, you have to help other people to get what they want”  – Zig Ziglar

Management positions in: Financial Services, Government, Energy, Consulting, Telecom, and Software
Degrees: B. Sc. (Computer Science, York), MBA (Schulich)
Certifications: Project Management (PMP), Audit (CISA), Governance (CGEIT)

* If you have big enough “why”, you will figure out “how”
* One must realize that all who have accumulated great fortunes first did a certain amount of dreaming, hoping, wishing, desiring and planning before they acquired the money
* Practice the Law of Attraction (see The Secret)
* Progressive Improvement as opposed to Postponed Perfection

* Simplicity is the evidence of the most advanced teachings
* You can’t tell a wrong thing to a right person

* The harder you will work, the more luck you will get
* Life is not about answers, it is about finding a way to take to get there

* Governing a great nation is like cooking a small fish – too much handling will spoil it
* The ability to identify and focus on the few necessary things is a hallmark of great leadership
* A true leader takes on the small tasks, not as grunt work, but because he is willing to do it
* He, who knows, doesn’t speak. He, who speaks, doesn’t know.
* Leader is best when people barely know he exists, when his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will say: “we did it ourselves”
* Use “we” instead of “I”
* Make small changes, not the big ones
* Leadership = visibility + presence

Choosing Business
* Segment, product or industry doesn’t matter – could be high tech or matches
* “Over the next 10 years, the US economy will create 10 million new millionaires. Two of the strongest emerging industries where the growth will occur are wellness and network marketing”    – Paul Zane Pilzer

Assessment Criteria for the Business
1. Little or no upfront investment
2. If things go the worst way possible, are you still comfortable?
3. Inventory management costs
4. Do you need credit to start/run your business?
5. Quality of management team
6. Quality of the product
7. Space to grow

* Assess the level of spin of the audience, and spin yourself up or down to match
* Choose level of details that you share based on level (e.g. senior management vs. professional)
* Learn and practice NLP

Presentations / Public Speaking / Facilitation
* Do the homework
* Find out what are the strong feelings of people in the audience/group as they would be driven by them, no matter how rational people seem like
* Align direction of the conversation with the strong feelings of an individual/group

Tolerance for Ambiguity
* Get comfortable with making decisions when you have 40%-70% of information that you need to make one
* To reduce ambiguity, apply the applicable framework
* If you have no idea what to do, start doing something, and frequently adjust your course along the way

* Find out which of your traits of character are dominant, and which ones are not, and therefore need extra effort (Astrology, Myers Briggs –,, etc)

* Bring value in the beginning of customer engagement, before the deal is closed
* Once you are in, you are expected to perform from the first day
* Make your recommendations pragmatic, this way they have a better chance of bring implemented

Next Steps
* Average American reads 1 book per year finishing it by 60%, average CEO reads 4 books per month
* Read at least 2-3 subjects in each subject/core competency (presentation, facilitation, leadership, etc) to give you diverse perspectives on the subject
* Do you not only have the goals, but a proven vehicle to achieve them?
* How do you go from success to significance?

Top Links
* Very short overview of almost every management framework –
* Overview of business school essentials –
* Non Profit Board of Directors
* Business Networking (“Hi, I’m a student at XYZ. I am interested in your industry, can we get together for coffee at the time of your convenience, and I would ask you a few questions?”)

Recommended Reading
1. The Trusted Advisor (ISBN: 0743212347)
Book Summary:
2. Management of the Absurd (ISBN: 0684830442)
3. You are in Charge, Now What? (ISBN: 1400048664)

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John P. Kotter – Leading Change

In this context, John P. Kotter lists the most general lessons to be learned from both (I) the more successful cases and (II) the critical mistakes as follows:
I. Lessons from the more successful cases:
1. Establishing a sense of urgency
* Examining market and competitive realities
* Identifying and discursing crises, potential crises, or major opportunities
2. Forming a powerful guiding coalition
* Assembling a group with enough power to lead the change effort
* Encouraging the group to work together as a team
3. Creating a vision
* Creating a vision to help direct the change effort
* Developing strategies for achieving that vision
4. Communicating vision
* Using every vehicle possible to communicate the new vision and strategies
* Teaching new behaviors by the example of the guiding coalition
5. Empowering others to act on the vision
* Getting rid of obstancles to change
* Changing systems or structures that seriously undermine the vision
* Encouraging risk taking and nontraditional ideas, activities, and actions
6. Planning for and creating short-term wins
* Planning for visible performance improvements
* Creating those improvements
* Recognizing and rewarding employees involved in the improvements
7. Consolidating improvements and producing still more change
* Using increased credibility to change systems, structures, and policies that don’t fit the vision
* Hiring, promoting, and developing employees who can implement the vision
* Reinvigorating the process with new projects, themes, and change agents
8.Institutionalizing new approaches
* Articulating the connections between the new behaviors and corporate success
* Developing the means to ensure leadership development and succession
II. Lessons from the critical mistakes:
1. Not establishing enough sense of urgency – A transformation program requires the aggressive cooperation of many individuals. Without motivation, people won’t help and the effort goes nowhere.
2. Not creating a powerful guiding coalition – Companies that fail in this phase usually underestimate the difficulties of producing change and thus the importance of a powerful quiding coalition.
3. Lacking a vision – Without a sensible vision, a transformation effort can easily dissolve into a list of confusing and incompatible projects that can take the organization in the wrong direction or nowhere at all.
4. Undercommunicating the vision – Transformation is impossible unless hundreds or thousands of people are willing to help, often to the point of making short-term sacrifices.
5. Not removing obstacles to the new vision – Sometimes the obstacle is the organizational structure: narrow job categories can seriously undermine efforts to increase productivity or make it very difficult even to think about customers. Sometimes compensation or performance-appraisal systems make people choose between the new vision and their own self-interest. Perhaps worst of all are bosses who refuse to change and who make demands that are inconsistent with the overall effort.
6. Not systematically planning and creating short-term wins – Creating short-term wins is different from hoping for short-term wins. The latter is passive, the former active. In a successful transformation, managers actively look for ways to obtain clear performance improvements, establish goals in the yearly planning system, achieve the objectives, and reward the people involved with recognition, promotions, and even money.
7. Declaring victory too soon – Instead of declaring victory, leaders of successful efforts use the credibility afforded by short-term wins to tackle even bigger problems.
8. Not anchoring changes in the corporation’s culture – Change sticks when it becomes “the way we do things around here,” when it seeps into the bloodstream of the corporate body. Until new behaviors are rooted in social norms and shared values, they are subject to degradation as soon as the pressure for change is removed.

Finally, John P. Kotter writes, “There are still more mistakes that people make, but these eight are the big ones. In reality, even successful change efforts are messy and full of surprises. But just as a relatively simple vision is needed to guide people through a major change, so a vision of the change process can reduce the error rate. And fewer errors can spell the difference between success and failure.”

To get this amazing book:

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Canadian Area Codes

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Some more books to read – Advice of Change Management Guru

John Carter “Leading Change”

William Bridges “Managing Transitions: Making the Most of Change”

Henry Mintzberg – various books

Peter Block “Flawless Consulting: A Guide to Getting Your Expertise Used”

The Blog of David Maister

Also consider grandfathering provision for CMC certification

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