SunPower (San Jose, CA) Photos
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- Comp & Benefits
- Work/Life Balance
- Senior Management
- Culture & Values
- Career Opportunities
I worked at SunPower (San Jose, CA) full-time (more than 3 years)Pros
SunPower has strong, positive company values. It seeks to attract top talent, and runs more like a high-tech, Silicon Valley company than a traditional manufacturer. It's great to work for the technology leader - SunPower has the highest efficiency panels by far - but this also makes things challenging, since the product is never going to be the cheapest. The employees are great, and salary and benefits are moderately competitive. The Key Performance Indicator system, while a little laborious, is applied consistently throughout the company and results in a clear common language about performance across all groups.Cons
Because it is a manufacturing company, there are many pressures from outside, such as supply chain issues, regulatory compliance, and dealer/distribution channels, in addition to the usual marketing and technology development. Sometimes these issues arise quickly and cause major changes in work (including a lot of overtime) and nearly impossible deadlines. The growth of the company and its various operations has meant continuing siloization, in spite of many attempts to address this. People have the right intentions, but there can be structural barriers to working together effectively. Unfortunately, a focus on keeping profitability as high as possible during a time when solar prices have been dropping has meant under-investing in some key supporting functions, such as training.Advice to ManagementAdvice
Continue to focus on aligning and optimizing resources across organizational barriers. Set consistent messages about talent development, career development, and personal work-life balance, and back them up with consistent, adequate resources. Continue ongoing communication efforts, and increase where necessary. Increase the use of professional project managers for major initiatives. Keep KPIs, but continue to streamline them by promoting best practices.RecommendsPositive OutlookApproves of CEO
Getting an Interview
Getting an Interview
- Application Details
I applied through a recruiter. The process took 5 days – interviewed at SunPower (San Jose, CA) in October 2014.Interview Details
Spoke with a recruiter for initial screen. Then I was scheduled to interview by phone with SunPower's CRM/BI Director on a Friday afternoon. While I was answering his questions, he continuously stated I answered his questions "perfectly". He was very complimentary about the depth and breadth of my answers. He mentioned he had interviewed other candidates who weren't able to answer his questions with the same level of expertise. At the end of the interview we talked about timing for me to start. He said he needed me there "as soon as possible". All I needed to do was interview by phone with his two team members. He made it sound like it was a mere formality.
After the weekend, I spoke on Monday evening with two of his team members. The first was the Salesforce Admin. He had been working there for about 6 years. He's also sharp and knows Salesforce well. My phone interview with him went extremely well.
Then I spoke with the Technical Architect. She was relatively new at SunPower. Her questions lacked direction and clarity. It seemed like she Googled some topics to discuss with me such as the definition of a Center of Excellence, and the steps of the Agile methodology. She became frustrated when I asked her to clarify one of her questions to me which was, "If we had to replace 1 million solar panels, what would you do?". She also asked me why I would want to be a Project Manager when I formerly served as a Director. I answered that I don't focus on titles, I focus on being part of a team and on our deliverables. She said she didn't need me to be there as a Director, that she wanted a Project Manger. I re-iterated that was the position for which I was interviewing, so we were in alignment. Although I thought the interview didn't go as well as it could have, sometimes those things happen. I apologized to her in case she was frustrated, but she said she "enjoyed our conversation".
I spent the next few days following up to get a status update, and was told later that week that although the Director liked me a lot, the feedback from his team members wasn't as positive so they were going to pass on me. That was shocking news, and it was the first time it's happened in 25 years of working in software.
I've been a Project Manager for 15 years, and I've been successfully managing Salesforce implementations for 5 years at over 10 companies. I've stood up two Salesforce Centers of Excellence that are still running as I left them.
I'm not sure what happened, nor why the Technical Architect had an issue with our interview, but I did see that a CRM Director's position was open at SunPower. Maybe she wanted that position and felt I'd be a threat for it, so she purposefully undermined my credibility for the PM position. C'est la vie.Interview Questions
No OfferNegative ExperienceDifficult Interview
- If we had to replace 1 million solar panels, what would you do? Answer Question
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SunPower won't keep you in the dark. The company makes solar cells, panels, rooftop-mounted tiles, and photovoltaic systems under the brands SunPower, SunTile, and PowerGuard. SunPower sells its solar products to dealers, distributors, and system integrators for residential and commercial projects. It also develops large-scale solar farms for utility companies to offer alternative energy. Europe accounts for about two-thirds of sales. The company manufactures more than 1,400 MW of solar panels at its plants in Malaysia, the Philippines, and the US; a new plant in Mexico is...