Resume that makes a good first impression gets your foot in the door, but you need to ace the interview to get the project. An interview with the client need not be a daunting affair if you play your cards right. This means positioning different skills attractively in front of the client by trying to understand what exactly the client wants from you. You don’t have to be a mind reader to do this; you only need to listen carefully, understand correctly, and answer confidently. Here are some things to keep in mind during a client interview.
• Project management methodology:
Presenting your project management methodology in a way that is agreeable to the interviewer, who could be a PMO director, COO or CIO, is crucial. The interviewer may have his/her own ideas about how to go about things, test, use input and deploy, or he/she may simply prefer consultants who are highly pragmatic in their approach. You should try to read the interviewer’s thoughts and adjust the manner in which you communicate your project management methodology.
• An understanding of key business issues:
Questions on industry and business knowledge are an essential part of your interview. Have a thorough understanding of the particular industry’s business problems as well as terminology before you go for the interview.
Technical skills and time management apart, the client will want to know how you react to feedback, interact with personnel, and manage the people working on the project. Demonstrate convincingly to the interviewer that you have effective soft skills.
Expect the client to ask you direct and candid questions, such as your willingness to work on weekends. You may also be asked to mention a previous project where you failed and what you learnt from this experience. Clients may also seek an insight into your soft skills by asking you to describe a situation where you dealt with a previous client diplomatically. Answer only after thinking the question and your answer through carefully, even if takes some time.
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