Atkins Program Director-Energy/Oil and Gas/Environmental Interview Questions | Glassdoor

Atkins Program Director-Energy/Oil and Gas/Environmental Interview Questions

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Program Director-Energy/Oil and Gas/Environmental Interview

Anonymous Interview Candidate in Denver, CO
Declined Offer
Negative Experience
Easy Interview


I applied through other source. The process took 4+ months. I interviewed at Atkins (Denver, CO) in October 2013.


Was approached by Atkins directly based on a mutual business association and met informally to discuss position to provide leadership in the Denver office where Atkins has limited or no presence in the competitive Denver energy market. After initial meeting, met with some staff in the Denver office (old PBS&J) for conversation and lunch. The supposed "hiring manager" for environmental services for the Western was located in Fort Worth and failed to make the scheduled conference call while I was in the interview. Interview was delegated to another program manager in another program who was located in Portland, OR.

Follow-up was abysmal, and in the end, a total waste of my time. The "Hiring Manager" (aka Western Regional Manager) never followed up on providing me basic benefits information (I had to ask repeatedly), never provided a job description (even though I was asked to write one and send it), called me 55 minutes late when we had scheduled yet another conference call, failed to come through on five requests for information, and above all, didn't have the authority to make me a salary offer without gaining approval from a Senior Vice President located in the Atkins North America HQ in Tampa, a person the "hiring manager" admitted he couldn't remember if he had ever met.

My reference check was done by the aforementioned program manager.

When I finally was contacted, I was told an offer letter was in the works, but the program manager, a peer, began negotiating with me on salary and what my expected billable time would be. Rule no. 1 of negotiations: Never negotiate with those who don't have the power to do so, especially in contract negotiations. When the offer letter finally arrived 5 days after I was told it would, there was a salary offer (at the very bottom of the range), but it was unsigned and had absolutely no benefits information/offer, no employee handbook to review, and no clauses that I might review with my attorney. The coup de gras was that the "offer" came from the aforementioned program manager (presumably a peer and only 1 year of actual consulting experience) with an additional request for my "current clients and dollar value of work, and my perspective client list and their value."

On advisement of my legal counsel, I countered with a request for a signed offer letter along with a requirement to receive the proposed benefits package, bonus and performance structure, and an agreement that I would provide client contacts (they had already spoken to some who I used as references). I received no response to my counter and after three emails and leaving two voicemails, and another voicemail to the aforementioned program manager in Portland, I received a call from the "Hiring Manager/Regional Program Manager telling me that Atkins was uncertain about being able to hire me without putting undue billable pressure on me. All this after Atkins let junior staff know that I was being hired to lead and develop business and mentor them in Denver.

Interview Questions

  • How billable can you be on Day One? Softball questions that seemed to indicate they didn't have any vision or direction.   Answer Question

Reasons for Declining

Atkins is in a major whirlwind and reorganization after acquiring PBS&J and the landscape seems to change daily. It seems like there is horrendously poor communication, lack of vision, and generally poor leadership in North America. I'm genuinely impressed with Atkins CEO Uwe Krueger, who is a leading mind in complex systems theory. Apparently, the ability to think at that level hasn't transferred over from London to leadership in Tampa and elsewhere within Atkins North America.

Several months ago, there was an article on Linked-In about the six signs that indicate why you might want to decline an opportunity. Atkins hit them all. I'd avoid them like the plague, or at least until they straighten out where they are going.

Total waste of my time.

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