PLM Job Interviews: The Hiring Manager’s Perspective
Developing and acquiring new talents is core to every manager’s responsibilities. When it comes to hiring new talents to fulfill given roles for a new PLM initiative or function, it boils down to appreciating the required expertise and experience in context of established and changing parameters. More importantly, hiring managers need assess how the new candidate shall fit in the wider picture as business change program or function mature.
PLM is a multi-disciplinary subject matter; therefore, any PLM related role is likely to be multi-disciplinary. Hiring managers must therefore appreciate the PLM context into which any required role is expected to fit in, how the context is likely to change, aligning to sourcing and other business strategies. During job interviews, hiring managers are likely to explore how candidates respond to a range of technical and business requirements; exploring their experience in adapting to new context, their ability to learn and re-engineer business processes, implement and maintain digital platforms in context of emerging IT standards.
In this post, I explore questions typically asked by hiring managers during PLM job interviews, how they are likely to assess candidates, and what differs with any other job interviews.
Different roles will obviously refer to different expectations: from junior to experienced roles, from technical to business knowledge, from strategy to implementation expertise, from management to solutioning experience and industry specific experience.
Hiring managers are likely to link interview questions to the context, a specific project and / or department, OEM or service organization, IT- or business-driven function, etc. Some interview questions will relate to skills and behaviours, from problem solving to strategic thinking, expectation and stakeholder management, supplier-client relationship management, etc.
Below are a number of generic questions which are likely to be asked in PLM job interviews; these shall obviously vary and be adjusted based on the context, type and seniority of the role. All questions are not expected to be relevant for every PLM job interview at once:
In your own words, share your definition or interpretation of what PLM is about; and how did you come to such definition?
Using a recent experience of yours, describe two or three typical challenges which related to your involvement in solving a business or PLM implementation related problem.
Which PLM technologies and industry processes are you the most knowledgeable, how did you gain this knowledge and use it on a recent project?
When you operated as a solution architect (or any relevant role) during a recent project, what were the top-3 rewarding feedback that your manager or your end-customer provided?
From your perspective, what are the best keywords or short sentences which characterize you? … Then, same question from the perspective of someone who worked with you (a peer, a customer, etc.) and how they perceive you.
Using an example, describe a situation when your ability to analyze user needs and technical requirements helped you or your team create an effective PLM solution architecture or make an informed decision to benefit your client or company.
Can you elaborate on decisions that you had to make or contribute to, what were the required trade-offs and how did you influence the outcome?
Provide an example of when you set expectations and monitored the performance of subordinates. What guidance and direction did you find most effective? In your experience, what is the key to developing a robust PLM roadmap? Please illustrate with an example and what was your contribution.
In context of your current role (or the role that you are applying to), elaborate on your views regarding the latest trends (tools, technology, industry, vendor-specific, etc.) and how are these affecting your work?
Provide context and share an example illustrating when you went above and beyond the "call of duty".
How do you keep current with the latest PLM strategies and technology trends?
What were the top-3 lessons learned from challenging projects that you were involved with? Elaborate on your personal involvement and role.
What type of business change did you observe or drive during a previous project, how did that positively or negatively affect the outcome of the PLM implementation? Provide a tangible example which relates to your level of influence.
If you had to present a new PLM roadmap a couple of months from now to business users, what would be your approach to put this together?
How would you put this in context of the wider data continuity perspective and integration with other enterprise platforms, from ERP to MES, etc.
Many PLM job interviews questions are most likely not different form other job interviews. What is perhaps unique to PLM is the variety and range of questions which might apply due to the versatile nature of the PLM-related roles.