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Analyst Interview

Northridge, CA

I applied through a recruiter and the process took 2 months - interviewed at PEAK Performance in April 2011.

Interview Details – Originally, I was contacted by email that went into my spam box from an in-house recruiter. First, there were two phone interviews with the recruiter. The 1st focused most on my education and the 2nd mostly about applicable work experience. The odd thing was, I was repeatedly asked "if I was still interested." I was told little about the job except the narrow but vague JD emailed to me.

Before the hiring manager would grant me a phone interview, I was required to subject to 3 different aptitude tests. 1) an intelligence test, 2) problem solving and mathematical aptitude, 3) a personality test. After analyzing the results, the hiring manager conducted two separate phone interviews with me.

The 1st phone interview with the hiring manager was very like the ones from the recruiter, yet questions of interest held little relationship to the JD. The follow-up phone interview asked me many related questions to what the hiring manager wanted to ultimately accomplish with this new position and how my skills, education, and experience would support that. However, this description was so much bigger than the JD stated. I was asked again, if I was still interested.

Before the hiring manager would interview me in person, he insisted that I submit to a complete background check. My first in-person interview went well focusing on this dream job, not described in the JD. I was informed it went well, but there was still doubts regarding my skills surrounding the job stated in the JD.

So, this lead to follow-up emails from the hiring manager. The emails asked me to prove my abilities doing rough analytics on sample work. After replying to these emails theoretically, I was brought in for a day of three interviews: One with a very intelligent and amiable HR exec. The second with a competent and friendly co-worker. The final one was with the hiring manager who stated he still had misgivings, yet made me a low offer to come in as an independent consultant for a 30 day trial period. If this worked out, I would be made a significantly higher offer for employment at the end.

Interview Questions

  • How could I explain why customers migrate from loyalty segments. Could I prove this statistically?   View Answer
  • How would I approach satisfying a fortune 500 companies analytic questions that were beyond the scope of standard business reporting? How long would it take?   View Answer

Negotiation Details – Starting two days later, I showed up and was set at a computer to do on-line training modules to learn the business reporting program. After two days, I was assigned a project with only my co-worker to answer questions. Every encounter with the hiring manager was only met with criticisms about my work on the project. No training or coaching was offered. I muddled through it noticing only after the fact that I had made a few errors. I corrected them and resubmitted my work. Without any prior knowledge of the business, the business systems, or the data, I was constantly asked to defend my work. I could not confidently say it was flawless.

Before the end of week two, I was assigned a big project utilizing qualitative logic, reasoning, and creativity that would be based on rigorous qualitative analysis. No one in the company could do this type of work. It was nearly impossible to explain it to them. I had done some tutoring in Grad School, which ultimately came in handy. After two days, the hiring manager was demanding results. I was only part way into the extensive data prep. He could not understand the depth of the analysis or that it could take weeks to prep the data sets. None existed. They all had to be pulled from different sources transformed and merged. The fact that I had only been in the business for two weeks without an in-depth understanding of the data myself, did not keep him from telling me that I lacked confidence.

At the beginning of the 4th week, I had completed the first project and had substantial initial results on the second. The hiring manager was frustrated by: the fact an error was detected in my first project and when presented with advanced regression matched with many intertwined dependent and independent variables that he could not comprehend. So he then told me that there would be no offer.

I had always assumed he understood the basics of the analysis need to answer the required questions. But in his 15 years as a car salesman and no college education, he only understood two dimensional static business relationships. He was only used to the all the common financial reporting concept, he mistaken as analysis.

Given I had no training and no coaching, I was surprised to be able to produce so much. Then again, the amount of my compensation was about 1/4 of market rate. I really wanted the job he described to me in all of our conversations. My daily work was as stated in the JD. I had to do all the advanced work in my own time. It was a good experience non the less.

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