Core Competencies _ Illustrative Examples

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					Core Competencies & Illustrative Examples
In this section you need to list the 3 – 8 things that you do better than your peers. You are trying to
answer the question: Why would a company be lucky to hire you as an employee? Are you particularly
organized, a great leader, a quick learner? Under each trait, list several examples that illustrate how
or when you were organized, a leader, or quick learner. Some examples are below. Feel free to add
more of your own or borrow some of these.

   1.) Leadership
          a. CWT – pool social
          b. Dance Marathon – corporate sponsorship, use $ figures
          c. UJC
          d. Senior Design Project Manager
   2.) Connect & Develop/Efficient Innovation/Leveraging Mastery/Ability to Reapply Previous
       Knowledge
          a.
   3.) Organization Building/Coaching/Mentoring
          a. Senior Design TA
          b. NGST High School Intern
          c. AFRL Interns
   4.) Quick Learner
          a. Various intern projects – you ramped up fast
          b. VIP Sensors
          c. APAS
          d. POST
   5.) Internally Motivated/Curious
          a.
   6.) Identify all relevant and critical issues in complex systems/synergistic solutions
          a. Graduate Design Project
          b. Business Process Class
          c. UJC
   7.) Project Management
          a. Senior Design Project Manager
          b. Observing Pat Biltgen
          c. PEST Project
          d. 8900 Project
          e. Entry Project Team
          f. AFRL ECO Project

Personal Positioning Statement
The Personal Positioning Statement (PPS) is a brief introduction of yourself and summary of what you
want to do in the future. Consider it your “elevator pitch.” The PPS is a great way to introduce
yourself to recruiters at career fairs or other similar events. An example is provided below.

My name is Chris Flaherty. I have a polymer engineering undergraduate degree and am currently
attending Georgia Tech in order to complete an MS in polymer engineering as well as an MBA. I was
motivated to pursue an MBA to increase my understanding of the financial dimensions of business and
enhance my leadership skills. In the past, I have had a variety of manufacturing related work
experiences with Procter & Gamble, General Mills, and ExxonMobil. In the future, I would like to
secure employment with a consumer products company that allows me to combine both my
management and engineering skill sets.

Special Note
When responding to interview questions be sure to use the formula below. It will keep you answers
short and to-the-point. This method of answering interview questions is recommended by Procter &
Gamble.

C-A-R: Context, Action, Results
 Context – Just enough background to frame the situation. You want to paint the picture of
   whatever the business challenge was that makes the result stand out. DO NOT overemphasize
   here, again the point is just for understanding
 Action – the thing(s) that you UNIQUELY did that without them, the results would not have been
   possible. Don’t focus on whether or not someone else could have done it if you weren’t on the
   project or on the team. Instead, focus on whether what you did was critical, regardless of who
   COULD have done it, because after all, you DID it.
 Result – Quantifiable and relevant. Ideally, results should drive back to dollars. If not, efficiency
   metrics are fantastic (eg, saving time). Finally, milestone &/or monumental delivery is important
   as well

Behavior Questions
Below is list of very typical interview questions. If you answer these questions prior to arriving for
your interview you will appear very composed and in control. It is best to answer these questions in
paragraph form. However, bullet point answers or even mental answers are better than nothing.
Several examples are below.

   1. Tell me about yourself.

       Notice that my answer combines the PPS statement with a summary list of core competencies.

       My name is Chris Flaherty. I have a polymer engineering undergraduate degree and am
       currently attending Georgia Tech in order to complete an MS in polymer engineering as well as
       an MBA. I was motivated to pursue an MBA to increase my understanding of the financial
       dimensions of business and enhance my leadership skills. In the past, I have had a variety of
       manufacturing related work experiences with Procter & Gamble, General Mills, and
       ExxonMobil. In the future, I would like to secure employment with a consumer products
       company that allows me to combine both my management and engineering skill sets.
       The best assets I have to offer your company are my ability to organize, learn quickly, and be a
       motivated self-starter.

   2. What is your leadership style?
      I feel I have a very participative and incorporated leadership style. Before holding meetings or
      discussing items with team members I like to organize the topics to be discussed. I typically
      record what we know, what decisions we need to make, what information we need to know to
      make good decisions, and what our end goals are. Once this framework is established I prefer
      to include all team members in the decision making process. I feel that this inclusive leadership
      style is beneficial for several reasons. If those affected are participating in making the decision
      they are more committed, more understanding of the issued involved, more collaborative, and
   more social with their team members. I also feel that open communication leads to more robust,
   well thought out decision-making.

3. What is your Career Objective?
   I want to work in a situation that will allow me to combine my engineering training and
   business education. Ideally, I would like to work in a manufacturing setting within a consumer
   products firm. Eventually, I would like to assume operations management responsibilities or
   technical management responsibilities (over engineering and maintenance) within a plant
   before assuming the role of plant manager.

4. Tell me about a time when you had to take a leadership role.
   As an undergraduate student in polymer engineering at Georgia Tech I refounded a defunct
   campus organization, The Society of Plastics Engineers. Our school had recently converted
   from textile engineering to polymer engineering and we were in need of student organizations
   to provide polymer knowledge and job opportunities to students. In the role of founder and
   president I was responsible for chartering the organization which included writing a
   constitution, developing a meeting format, developing officer roles, maintaining relations with
   the department administration as well as SPE parent chapter members. One of the most
   enjoyable parts of this role was leaving a lasting legacy with the GT campus.

5. Give me an example of a time when something you tried to accomplish and failed.
   What did you learn?
   During my senior year of undergraduate study I took a position as a research assistant with a
   faculty member in my department. I was asked to study the behavior of certain molecules
   when they were combined and draw conclusion about the energy that was either produced or
   consumed. In the role I had to use a technology (microcalorimetry) that I was unfamiliar with.
   After a semester’s worth of work few conclusions could be drawn and my research partner and
   I were unsure as to whether or not the data collected was even useful. At the time we had the
   opinion that as long as we were diligently working things would eventually get better. In
   hindsight, I realized that we should have handled things much differently. We should have
   established a more concrete plan of attack before beginning any experimentation. We should
   have ensured we were professionally trained on the equipment. And finally, when we were not
   getting the results that we hoped to achieved we should have sought the advice of experts at an
   earlier point. This failure taught me that it is not honorable or wise to continue to be self-reliant
   without considering the alternative options at hand.

6. Give me an example of when you showed initiative and took the lead.
   Last summer I took a position as a systems engineer at a General Mills Yoplait yogurt
   manufacturing site. In this role I was responsible for the daily operation of two lines that
   produced “club” packs to be sold to retailers like Sam’s and Costco. In this role I was asked to
   create a rebuild schedule for all major unit operations within the plant. While working on this
   project I had to heavily research our preventative maintenance program for the equipment in
   question. I discovered that almost universally our PM program was inadequate in detail, often
   repetitive, and too consuming of man-hours for the benefits incurred. As a result I asked my
   immediate managers if I could look into revamping the 6oz line PM programs in addition to
   developing a rebuild schedule. As a result of my initiative my PM program created over a
   $100,000 cost avoidance and saved over 72 man-weeks of work.

7. Tell me about a time when you had too many things to do and you were required to
   prioritize your tasks.
   Currently I am pursuing a PhD in polymer engineering, an MBA through the college of
   management, doing research for my PhD thesis, and involved in extracurricular activities. I
   prioritize my activities by making any item that I have directly committed to imperative to
   complete – this includes class related items, research, and group activities. Next I focus on
   items that would be beneficial to me, my family, or my community. Next comes my family,
   friends, and other important relationships. And finally comes personal time for things like
   sleep, relaxation, vacation, and exercise. I ensure that all my commitments are completed
   before I take time for myself. The benefit of this type of prioritization system is that I always
   complete the necessary tasks. However the downside is that my personal health is the last item
   on the list to receive attention. I typically avoid any conflicts between these priorities by being
   the complete opposite of a procrastinator. Usually, as soon as an assignment is issued I make
   time to complete it. Therefore, when unexpected circumstances arise I’m already ahead of the
   game.

8. Tell me about a situation in which you had to deal with a very upset customer or co-
   worker.
   While in a reliability engineering position with ExxonMobil I instituted a new procedure for
   handling nip roll recovering and tracking. Previously the nip rolls, a critical component to the
   manufacturing operation, were not well tracked. Additionally, the nip rolls were not even
   consistently numbered. There were about 3 different numbering systems, none of which persist
   across all rolls. Part of my new tracking program required that all rolls be renumbered in a
   consistent, coded fashion. Several of the older mechanics were disgruntled about his change. I
   found the best was to handle this situation was to solicit their opinions and suggestions prior to
   instituting changes so they felt they were the cause of the change, not just forced to deal with
   the results. Additionally, I made sure to maintain open lines of communication throughout the
   process development and implementation.

   A similar situation occurred while I was in a systems engineering role at General Mills. In this
   position I was responsible for the operation of two yogurt manufacturing lines. During my
   tenure a specific piece of equipment was being updated incrementally over the period of about
   two weeks. Many employees were disgruntled about the updates because the equipment would
   not function ideally until all updates were completed. During this period I handled the negative
   attitudes by adopting a customer service attitude, always accepting suggestions, and
   maintaining open lines of communication. Additionally, the more frequently employees saw
   me on the floor trying to improve the situation the more they understood that I too was
   struggling with the same issues. I believe this created a sense of camaraderie which compelled
   the employees to have some self control in continuing providing me with negative feedback.

9. Tell me about a time when you delegated a project effectively.
   While at Georgia Tech I was involved with a community service organization, Dance Marathon
   @ Georgia Tech, which I helped found. My role within the organization was to be responsible
   for corporate sponsorship, finding prizes, food, drinks, and funding to hold our event. I
   delegated the responsibility of this role by splitting the most important items (securing big
   ticket prizes, food, drinks, and event funding) between me and my partner. This ensured that
   those with the most vested interest in the event being successful handled the tasks of greatest
   magnitude. Securing smaller items like door prizes I delegated to volunteers. Day of the event
   activities, like picking up donations and storing surplus items I also delegated to volunteers. I
   ensured that potential points where poor communication could disrupt our plans were handled
   by me.

10. Tell me about a difficult decision you've made in the last year.
   Over the past year I have had to decide how and if to further pursue my education. I was
   extremely distraught as to whether or not to enter a PhD program. I wanted to pursue a PhD
   program for several reasons (1) I truly enjoy “technical” education and (2) I feel that scientific
   higher education is extremely under represented by women. I feel that actions speak louder
   than words and therefore I wanted to set an example to young girls that scientific study is
   completely appropriate for women. However, I was not certain that I could pursue a PhD
   because I was sure I wanted to commit the time and agree to spending the next 4-5 years in
   Atlanta and it would have required some career sacrifice from my husband. Additionally, I was
   still very uncertain whether I wanted to spend a career in industry or academia. In order to help
   think through all my options I sought advice from my peers, husband, parents, and several
   professors. I also took both research, teaching, and industrial type positions so I could have first
   hand experience with the demands of each role. Finally, one of my academic advisors pointed
   me in the direction of the MBA program. I finally decided to dual enroll in the MBA program
   as well as the polymer engineering PhD program. Once my MBA is completed I can re-
   evaluate my situation and decide to follow one of several options (1) continue at Georgia Tech
   to complete my PhD work (2) continue my PhD work off-campus or under corporate
   sponsorship or (3) leave Georgia Tech, seek full-time employment and write my PhD work up
   to receive a masters in polymer engineering.




11. Where do you see yourself in 10 years from now?

12. Tell me about a time when you were forced to make an unpopular decision.

13. Tell me about a failure and how you dealt with it.

14. Describe a situation in which you were able to use persuasion to successfully convince
    someone to see things your way

15. Give me an example of a time when you set a goal and were able to meet or achieve it.

16. What is your typical way of dealing with conflict? Give me an example.

17. Give me an example of a time when you motivated others.

18. Describe a time when you were faced with a stressful situation that demonstrated your
    coping skills.

19. Give me a specific example of a time when you used good judgment and logic in solving a
    problem.

20. Tell me about a time when you had to use your presentation skills to influence someone's
    opinion.

21. Give me a specific example of a time when you had to conform to a policy with which you
    did not agree.

22. Tell me about a time when you had to go above and beyond the call of duty in order to get
    a job done.
     23. Give me an example of a time when you had to make a split second decision.

     24. Tell me about a time when you delegated a project effectively.

     25. Give me an example of a time when you used your fact-finding skills to solve a problem.

     26. Tell me about a time when you missed an obvious solution to a problem.

     27. Describe a time when you anticipated potential problems and developed preventive
         measures.

     28. Please tell me about a time you had to provide negative feedback to a friend.

     29. Describe a time when you set your sights too high (or too low)

     30. Tell me about a time you did a research project and the steps. What would you have done
         differently?

Actual Interview Questions That I Have Been Asked
Below is a list of actual interview questions that I have been asked to respond to. Note the similarity
between these questions and several of the behavior questions listed above. Answering these questions
in paragraph form prior to interviewing will prove to be a huge help.

1.   Describe an instance where you set your sights on a high/demanding goal and saw it through
     to completion, despite obstacles.
         As an undergraduate student in polymer engineering at Georgia Tech I refounded a defunct
         campus organization, The Society of Plastics Engineers. Our school had recently converted
         from textile engineering to polymer engineering and we were in need of student organizations
         to provide polymer knowledge, industry knowledge, and job opportunities to students. In the
         role of founder and president I was responsible for chartering the organization which included
         writing a constitution, developing a meeting format, developing officer roles, maintaining
         relations with the department administration as well as SPE parent chapter members. One of
         the most enjoyable parts of this role was leaving a lasting legacy with the GT campus.

2.   Summarize a situation where you took the initiative to get others going on an important task
     or issue, and played a leading role to achieve the results wanted.
         Last summer (2006) I took a position as a systems engineer at a General Mills Yoplait yogurt
         manufacturing site. In this role I was responsible for the daily operation of two lines that
         produced “club” packs to be sold to retailers like Sam’s and Costco. In this role I was asked to
         create a rebuild schedule for all major unit operations within the plant. While working on this
         project I had to heavily research our preventative maintenance program for the equipment in
         question. I discovered that almost universally our PM program was inadequate in detail, often
         repetitive, and too consuming of man-hours for the benefits incurred. As a result I asked my
         immediate managers if I could look into revamping the 6oz line PM programs in addition to
         developing a rebuild schedule. As a result of my initiative my PM program created over a
         $100,000 cost avoidance and saved over 72 man-weeks of work. My results focused the
         maintenance management on the opportunity for improvement that could be achieved by
         properly structuring the PM plant’s PM program. Additionally, my work laid a foundation for
        the maintenance department and other systems engineers to follow while developing PM
        programs for the Go-Gurt and multi-pack lines.

3.   Describe a problem situation where you had to seek out relevant information, define key
     issues, and decide on which steps to take to get the desired results.
         While in a reliability engineering position with ExxonMobil I was asked to study our current
         procedures for nip roll recovering and handling to identify ways of improving our tracking
         methods. In order to become qualified to institute a new procedure for handling nip rolls I had
         to gain an understanding of current procedures. For approximately two weeks I gathered
         information by interacting with members of the maintenance staff and store room personal to
         fully understand the current procedures and their deficiencies. Previously the nip rolls, a critical
         component to the polymeric film manufacturing operation, were not well tracked. Therefore,
         their lifetimes could not accurately be predicted. Thus, they were only recovered after a
         dramatic failure. Additionally, the nip rolls were not consistently numbered. In fact, there were
         about 3 different numbering systems, none of which persist across all rolls. The central benefit
         of my new tracking program required that all rolls be renumbered in a consistent, coded
         fashion. That way nip roll movement could easily be tracked in order that data could be
         collected and trends extrapolated.

4.   Describe an instance where you made effective use of facts to secure the agreement of others.
        While functioning as a systems engineering for General Mills in their Carson, CA Yoplait
        manufacturing site I performed a packaging overuse study. Several points along the production
        line were unanimously recognized as sites where waste frequently occurred. However, because
        the frequency of rejected material at each point varied greatly there was no consensus on which
        waste site was most costly. Over the course of the summer I used PLC counters to determine
        the frequency of waste occurring at each site. Combining the frequency data with cost per unit
        data I was able to rank the overuse points in terms of their negative financial impact on the
        plant. I was able to convince my immediate supervisor and other members of the engineering
        group that our number one priority for instituting focused improvement studies should be to
        reduce the waste incurred at the site ranked number one on my list.

5.   Give an example of how you worked effectively with people to accomplish an important
     result.
        In the spring on 2003 I was initiated into Lambda Sigma, a sophomore honor and service
        society. During our first executive meeting the following semester, each exec member was
        asked to present one idea he or she would like to pursue over the next year. Various projects
        were outlined. The largest undertaking and most far-fetched plan was to instate a dance
        marathon (to benefit Children’s Miracle Network) on Georgia Tech’s campus. Many of the
        projects discussed at this initial meeting never took root. Yet, the idea of dance marathon had
        been planted. Over the next semester myself and a few dedicated Lambda Sigma members
        worked to formulate plans, procure funding, and delegate tasks. Dance Marathon was born
        from a brainstorming session held in a local campus eatery and has developed into an annual
        large-scale campus philanthropy project.

6.   Describe a creative/innovative idea that you produced which led to a significant contribution
     to the success of an activity or project.
         As a requirement for graduation from Georgia Tech’s College of Engineering, a senior
         capstone project related to the student’s major must be completed. The purpose of the capstone
         class is to demonstrate the students’ ability to apply engineering design methodologies to solve
         a practical problem of the students’ choice. Early in the semester I suggested our group focus
         on using our polymer engineering knowledge to improve prosthetic quality and/or function.
        Cursory research led me to suggest that we develop a volume-changing prosthetic sock. An
        initial survey of lower limb amputees and prosthetic-related literature determined that the
        dominant inadequacy of current prosthetic sock designs is a failure to appropriately manage
        residual limb volume fluctuations. As a result, my group and I developed a prosthetic sock with
        a revolutionary volume-managing gel system designed to maximize prosthesis fit and comfort
        while minimizing amputee prosthetic device interaction.

7.   Provide an example of how you assessed a situation and achieved good results by focusing on
     the most important priorities.
         During the past year I have had to decide if and how to further pursue my education. My
         primary concern was whether or not to enter a PhD program. I wanted to pursue a PhD
         program for several reasons (1) I truly enjoy “technical” education and (2) I feel that scientific
         higher education is extremely under represented by women. I feel that actions speak louder
         than words and therefore I wanted to set an example to young girls that scientific study is
         completely appropriate for women. However, I was not certain that I could pursue a PhD
         because (1) I was unsure I wanted to commit the 4 to 5 years necessary to complete the degree
         and (2) it would require a career sacrifice from my husband. Additionally, I was still uncertain
         whether I wanted to spend my career in industry or academia. In order to help think through all
         my options, I sought advice from my peers, husband, parents, and several professors. During
         my undergraduate career I also took research, teaching, and industrial type positions so I could
         have first hand experience with the demands of each role. I finally decided that in order to
         make a sound decision I needed to prioritize my desires so that those most heavily weighted
         would be satisfied. During the prioritization process I discovered that I valued my industrial
         experiences far more than my research experiences yet I greatly enjoy the challenge that
         academic pursuits bring. As a result, I decided to dual enroll in the MBA program as well as
         the polymer engineering PhD program. Once my MBA is completed I can re-evaluate my
         situation and decide to follow one of several options (1) continue at Georgia Tech to complete
         my PhD work (2) continue my PhD work off-campus or under corporate sponsorship or (3)
         leave Georgia Tech, seek full-time employment and write my completed PhD work up to
         receive a masters in polymer engineering. I feel my prioritization of my desires lead me to
         make a sound decision that also provides flexibility in case my desires evolve or change.

8.   Provide an example of how you acquired a technical skill and converted it into practical
     application.
        Several times during my undergraduate career I needed to learn how to use pieces of software
        to effectively complete an assignment or solve a problem. Last summer at General Mills I
        learned how to use Active Factory, a software tool that places tags in the PLC controls of
        various programs that control machine functions. With these tags the activity of the machine
        can be tracked and counted. This data was necessary in determining the most costly points of
        overuse along my packaging lines. Similarly, in my senior year I had to complete a senior
        design project that involved injection molding. Because my group had no resources available
        to run trails on actual injection molding equipment, I had to learn how to use Mold Flow
        software to effectively model our experiments and derive results.

They Don’t Teach Corporate in College

The book, „They Don‟t Teach Corporate in College‟ by Alexandra Levit , suggests answering these
questions prior to starting the job search and interview process. These questions will aid you in
understand your self and your desires, which in turn will help you make a better employment decision.
Examples are listed below for many of the questions.
My Skills – What do I do better than most of my friends?

There should be overlap between this question and the core competency section.

      ID critical decision points
      Effectively communicate complex information

My Values – The principles, standards or qualities I considered worthwhile or desirable.
   Reliable/Dependable
   Enthusiastic/Engaged
   Macroscopic View/Big Picture/Understands Significance

What would you be compelled to do even if you never got paid for it?
   College Dean

What would my peers have to say about me?
   Peer comment 1
   Peer comment 2

How do I prefer to work?
   Fast paced
   Urgent environment
   Collaborative
   Multiple responsibilities

How am I most effective?
   When I can take ownership of a project/process.
   When I have some responsibility over strategy.

What is my definition of success?
   Respect from my peers and senior leaders
   Reputation

What drives me?
   Challenges
   “Unsolvable” problems
   Open ended problems

Where will I be in 10 years?
  

Personnel Mission Statement – what do I hope to accomplish in my career? What kind of person do I
want to become?
   

Five Most Important Business Accomplishments

You should be able to list your most important business accomplishments. If you have not had
significant business experience you can list contributions to clubs, religious groups, academic groups,
or projects. The accomplishments so be along the lines of “During my intership at ExxonMobil I
increase the effficiency of machine 1 which resulted in a $10,000/year savings.”

      Accomplishment 1
      Accomplishment 2

Questions for Interviewer

When interviewing you should always have a few questions for the interviewer at the end. The
questions demonstrate to the interviewer that you are sincere in your interest and have done some
research ahead of time.

      Could you describe the culture at _______ company?
      What made you choose to work for _______ company?
      What is the biggest challenge you have to overcome to get your work done?

Myers-Briggs Personality Type

There are many free Myers-Briggs personality tests available online. It is worth your time to take the
assessment and then do some online research about your personality type. I am an ESTJ and some
information regarding typical ESTJ‟s was copied from the internet and pasted below.

      ESTJ, extroverted sensing thinking judging
      “Guardian/Supervisor”

				
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