Bazaarvoice Interview Questions & Reviews
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QA Automation Lead Interview (Neutral Experience; Average Interview)
The process took 2 days - interviewed at Bazaarvoice in January 2012.
Interview Details – The interview process consisted of an HR phone screen, a technical phone screen, and, since I passed the technical screen, an on-site one-on-one interview with 5 separate people. I was given an itinerary of how the interviews were to go, but it was totally wrong.
During the course of the interviews, I had to do 3 white board tests, 2 of which were coding and one was test coverage related.
I felt that all interviewers were engaged in the interview and not just going through the motions as some have said on this site. Everyone was friendly. Most interviewers had worked there less than a year (some only 3 or 4 months). Several commented on the fact that I was wearing a suit to the interview, which I'm not sure if they were indifferent to it or it was a bad thing (evidently, no one in Austin wears suits to interviews). Not sure if I was being judged to "not fit in" with the culture due to my interview appearance. They seem to be very big on fitting in with their "culture". I am used to working for companies with very friendly and family like culture and have even worked at Startups before with a similar atmosphere as Bazaarvoice. You can tell they still operate like a Startup, including the long hours (that's why they have the free snacks and all).
Overall, I thought the interviews went well, although I know I could have done better in some areas. In the end, I did not get an offer. Honestly, after the interviews, seeing their offices, and reading comments on here, I was still very much on the fence if I would accept an offer; it would had to have been a really good offer. I already have a good job in a non-startup company with one of the best cultures I have ever worked in.
Interview Question – When you interview people, how do you determine if they have skills you are looking for? View Answer
Inside Sales Representative Interview (Positive Experience; Difficult Interview)
I applied online and the process took 3 weeks - interviewed at Bazaarvoice in January 2012.
Interview Details – There were several steps to the BV interview process:
To begin with, I applied online through the Bazaarvoice website. I was contacted within a few days by a senior recruiter for a phone screening.
The phone screening took about 30 minutes and was basically a review of my resume. I spoke with the recruiter about my background, experience, and interest in Bazaarvoice. This interview was not too difficult, and similar to phone screening at any other company. It is helpful to stress enterprise B2B sales experience as well as a familiarity with Bazaarvoice's products and customers.
After the phone screening came an on-site interview. I met with three individuals, all Director or VP level employees from BV's sales organization. The interviewers each had different styles, but for the most part they were informal and unconventional -- not just going over your resume, but probing and unusual questions to see if you could think on your feet. Coming into these interviews, know your resume well, but it may not come up. You'll impress them if you can highlight tangible results from your background, and if you can illustrate your passion for BV.
A few days after the interview, I was contacted to schedule the final round. This is the most daunting part of the interview -- essentially it is a role-playing exercise done by a panel. Unfortunately, there is not much "hard" info on the Bazaarvoice website, so filling in information gaps takes some time. I highly recommend reading their White Papers and Case Studies.
I was asked to prepare an account brief analyzing Apple as a prospective customer. They send you a PowerPoint template to use, but I decided *not* to use PowerPoint because it is incredibly boring. Although this was a bold move, the panel appreciated it. I spent about 10 minutes discussing my brief -- focusing on a modified SWOT analysis. This is a great opportunity to vet your strategy and bone up on the product line.
Next, I was showed and an email I had written (prior to the interview) that I would send to prospects. By very mindful of spelling, grammar, and punctuation here -- they are sticklers for that stuff!
The "meat" of the interview was a conference call with the panel, where they pretended to be prospects at Apple. To add an element of realism, the interviewers leave the room and actually call you from a conference room. I appreciated this, because I usually find role playing tasks lacking because you are staring your colleague in the face. Having them out of the room makes it feel a little more like an actual call.
I won't like, the mock phone call was difficult. They panel will do everything they can to shake your confidence and generally come off as unfriendly and/or apathetic prospects. Be sure to be in a "selling" state of mind. A key to getting through this call is being familiar with BV's product line *beyond* ratings and reviews. There was a short de-briefing after the role play to get feedback.
Within a few days I had an offer letter in hand.
Negotiation Details – I was able to negotiate, but there is not too much wiggle room. They have some range, but can not move on all fronts. For example, I wanted a bump in variable compensation, base salary, and stock options, but I was forced to choose one. That being said, they were able to increase your chosen variable significantly.
Senior Software Engineer Interview (Neutral Experience; Average Interview)
The process took 3 days - interviewed at Bazaarvoice in October 2011.
Interview Details – The phone interview was straight forward. I was asked questions on my resume, work experience etc. I was called for an onsite interview which was scheduled a week out from my phone interview. Onsite, I had around 6 one on one interviews which took up most part of the day. The interviews themselves involved puzzles and algorithms and was told this is their technical interview. I was not once asked anything about technology or even related to programming concepts. I was surprised to be asked puzzles and such for a senior level job. I did not get a good feel for what they were looking for.
Interview Question – something to do with a math algorithm on contiguous sets Answer Question
Operations Lead Interview (Positive Experience; Easy Interview)
The process took 3 days - interviewed at Bazaarvoice in September 2011.
Interview Details – I first had a phone interview with a recruiter who set-up a call with the Director, which after liking how it went asked me to come in for an on-site interview. On-site interview: 3 (2 mgrs & Dir. again) 1:1 for 30 min each.
The first interview we reviewed my resume, and told her about myself. She started out informing me the questions would not be typical questions, if not mistaken would be culture related or something to that effect. I’ve never heard an interviewer say that, so just moved on answering her questions. Smooth it seemed to me, but as she wrote and wrote, I went back to what she said in the beginning. Maybe she was looking for something specific, or how I gave my answer? Then she asked another question, same gave example and she wrote. This time I noticed during the question, or the seconds/breaths in between, she would quickly glance at the clock on the wall. I thought, "Darn! I should have given this example instead, or was it too short of an answer? I didn’t know if it was my answer or how long/short it was and her wanting to finish before the next Manager comes in. How she looked at me and the questions came out just didn't match-up. At the end she asked if I had any questions. I asked, "What kind of person, or team do you like working with that would make your job easier?" She said that their team was "crazy", and mentioned two people in particular. That they needed someone that will be able to come in and fit right in, and (this is the kicker to me) "who is not easily offended." I looked at her with a smile, and the "ahh" look on my face all the while thinking, "Easily offended? What exactly does that mean? Someone says sexist or racist jokes, or just a prankster?' Then I quickly refocused. She continued with how this team sticks together, covers each part when someone is out, will do interviews too when needed, just overall get whatever needs doing done and is expected doing it without being asked nor paid extra to do it. I even want to say that said something like "work more with less" or at least I left with that in my head. And the thought and feeling that she/they were looking for someone to "fit in" within their team, which made me feel that was REALLY important to the team.
The second interview was a manager who was a man who seemed laid back. The interview was just about the same vibe. Start with reviewing my resume, and then him beginning with questions. Then after the last questions, he looked at the clock again and said that he wanted to leave enough time for me to ask him any questions. Asked same question as I asked previous manager, which gave same sort of responses but he gave me the impression he was looking to help from not being overloaded even though he can handle it. He looked at the clock again, and we said our good-byes. When he left I noticed I had about 5 mins left until the Director interview. Wow, again almost right on the dot of 30 mins as stated.
Then came the time I finally get to meet the Director. After our phone interview I felt really calm. She asked questions about different managers I had in the past, best and worst. Giving the impression of seeing what type of management styles I have worked with and liked the most and least, and how I reacted to those questions. After me being questioned, I asked what she wanted to improve in her management style. She admits her shortcomings and is working on them, sign of a good manager and someone I would have liked to work with. But, it just wasn't in the cards. I believe I wasn't only being hired by her, or she made the decision, it was a group/team decision. Didn't fit into what they were looking for.
However, body language and vibes (your gut) can help you a lot in interviews. They all seemed to be just going through the motions. It is as when you apply for job only to realize they already had someone in mind for the position and just had to as normal job posting. Now even if this wasn't the case this time, this interview process just left me second guessing and questioning the interview process. I understand I could have done better, so learn what I can from this experience and build on it. It could have simply boil down I didn’t "fit in" with their team/company dynamic, or thought my personality was not what they were looking for to sit at the cool kids table. You just have to fully understand each company is different in what makes them successful. Lesson, be prepared for not so "normal" interviews which they are not only looking at your resume but how you personally can fit into their company culture.
Interview Question – Who was you best/worst manager and why? Answer Question
Product Manager Interview (Positive Experience; Difficult Interview)
I applied through an employee referral and the process took 1+ week - interviewed at Bazaarvoice in May 2011.
Interview Details – First came a phone screen.
Then onsite interviews with several team members.
Next I was presented a problem to solve/discuss in a presentation format to a panel
Interview Question – If you were going to beat BazaarVoice, what would you do to compete? Answer Question
Negotiation Details – BV believes in overshooting expectations eliminating the need for a lengthy negotiation process.
Software Engineer Interview (Negative Experience; Average Interview)
I applied online and the process took a day - interviewed at Bazaarvoice in June 2011.
Interview Details – Phone screen. Some basic software questions followed by a time limited canned puzzle.
Interview Question – Given an array, find two numbers that equal the sum of X. Now describe the big-O notation for the algorithm you designed. View Answer
Content Analyst Interview (Neutral Experience; Average Interview)
I applied online and the process took a day - interviewed at Bazaarvoice in May 2011.
Interview Details – I was emailed after submitting online. The initial email was inquiring about my education experience (they prefer college grads). I then did a skills test. I went through very quickly. It seemed to me that the pay scale was very low ($10/hr) for a position that required a degree and skill. I pay my babysitter $10/hr...
Interview Question – No acutal interview for me, just the diagnostic test. Answer Question
Inside Sales Interview (Negative Experience; Easy Interview)
The process took 2 weeks - interviewed at Bazaarvoice in January 2011.
Interview Details – Brief phone screening interview with recruiter. I don't think the recruiter and hiring managers communicate about the resumes until after you've put considerable effort into their skills/screening test. This is really bad since as a candidate you spend precious time on their project and there might be something in your resume the hiring manager doesn't like.
After the screen you are asked to reply to an hypothetical email from Fry's Home Electronics, Director of Internet Marketing. The director tells you that they are not interested and have concerns about negative reviews and the overall ROI. You are supposed to also call and leave a few "creative" voice-mails to receive a call back. You very quickly will receive a response if they are interested or not. If not you will have engaged this entire process without ever speaking to a member of the sales team.
This is very convoluted and lacks information needed for the sales cycle. They provide no instruction, details, common objections, red-flags, or anything a professional sales person would use to build scripts and sell a solution. I was left wondering what creative means? I'm sure they get some great idea generation from this VERY TIME CONSUMING process. It's unfortunate because I believe there is a big disconnect from recruiting and the understanding of the sales process. Again, you are dealing with a very socially branded company; however, the information is very lacking. You have no choice but to try to guess their process.
This experience left me wondering if the company operated this way as well. I find it tough to believe because of such an innovative idea. However, I would not waste my time with increasing a companies value proposition by jumping through their hoops. Until their process is generated around finding qualified candidates stay far away unless you have an inside track.
I marked the interview as easy. This isn't an interview. It is difficult and time consuming.
In summation the process is broken.
Sales Director Interview (Neutral Experience; Difficult Interview)
I applied through other source and the process took 1 week - interviewed at Bazaarvoice in October 2010.
Interview Details – Phone interview with recruiters, one on one with manager and team members, group presentation. Good process for those they want to work through the process. Others I have spoken to said they are very unresponsive if you don't ring their bell. If you make it through this process you can make it through almost any other interview.
Interview Question – Tell me how you would show ROI to a customer or prospect? View Answer
Negotiation Details – No. They do not negotiate. The process is long and BV claims that once you are done you are in which is not true. BV is stuck on culture (so was Jim Jones) and if you do not fit in they will let you go no matter how good or experienced you are with no warning or process as HR is only for recruiting at this point. If you have a good job now think hard before you accept a position at this cool aid culture. They are on a hiring frenzy and overall corporate high due to early successes. CEO has a great vision and means well but his lieutenants are doing him no favors and his cultural model will not scale. Finally, people who have been there a few years are clicky and look down upon the new people. Stock offerings are small and dilution has and will happen. Salaries are lower than industry average.
Implementation Designer Interview (Positive Experience; Difficult Interview)
The process took 3 days - interviewed at Bazaarvoice in September 2010.
Interview Details – This was one of the most challenging interviews I've been a part of. Although I didn't get the position the whole process was still worth the experience and practice.
The first phone interview with the requiter was quick and easy. I was then given a test project to work on. I was asked to redesign and write html/css for an ecommerce product page's Rating and Reviews section (which is their product). After spending about 15-20 hours on it I turned it in was was one of the ones chosen for an interview. I then had 3 one-on-one half hour interviews. I had to defend my design decisions in great detail. The director was pretty strict and wanted very thought out answers, no fluff. I also had to speak CSS code for an on the spot test. They wanted me to speak on several problem solving stories from past experiences.
Although my communication skills didn't quite win them over, it was a good exercise. I'd advise you not only need the portfolio and skills but have your best salesman attitude and design critique vocabulary ready.
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Pros: “Very smart coworkers. One source stack. We open source as much as possible. Game room, beer, catered lunches, events all the time. Leadership is very open and has regular listening sessions…” “Very smart coworkers. One source stack. We open source as much as possible. Game room, beer, catered lunches, events all the time. Leadership is very open and has regular listening sessions with employees. All managers have open door policies. Top equipment for employees.” – Full Review