Executive development program interview questions shared by candidates
Tell me about a time that you didn't get along with your supervisor. How did you go about fixing the relationship with him or her while still managing to do your job well?
Was there any additional test during the 2 day interview? Any other math or logic tests other then the group project. Thank you!
No additional test on day 2. Focus is group project. Ability to work well with others, teamwork skills more important than coming in first.
What they want to hear: willingness to talk to your super and identify issues effecting relationship; being open to "opportunities" to improve, then incorporating this feedback into your work (ability to accept constructive criticism with positive attitude, incorporate feedback into your work successfully). Reality at NM: they don't "walk the talk". Many times the feedback addresses trivial matters, but they want to see compliance. Control game. Don't micro-manage while super micro-manages you. You're either part of the "in" crowd or not. In/not in not related to your capabilities as individual or leader. Most of sr. Execs are either NM-lifers or long-time employees. There's the NM way and the wrong way, independent of results. CEO never worked at any other company and embodies this attitude: sort of a passive-aggressive "with me or against me" mentality. If you're just starting out or early into your professional career, this is easier to adapt to. If you've worked for more advanced companies that demand critical thinking skills, ability to work together to find better way, the NM group think/get along attitude may be more challenging to accept. Crap ALWAYS flows down hill. But unless you're near incompetent, you are relatively safe as long as you play the game. "Relatively safe" b/c ongoing poor business results combined with extremely heavy debt load = ongoing layoffs, flat salaries, inability to obtain bonus. Tenure gives you more job protection, but no longer makes you invincible to job elimination. Unless you grew up in Dallas area and/or have strong ties to area, you should be aware that job security (incl. EDP members) will continue to get worse. Real chance that NM will have to file bankruptcy to cut debt load. Company won't disappear, but bankruptcy filing and re-org process is quite stressful. Vendors, customers wondering if company will continue to operate, colleagues very worried about job security, reality that almost all companies that go through bankruptcy emerge with new top management that may have very different operating mentality. EDP program may be eliminated in/after bankruptcy, and these positions are typically viewed by cost-cutting management as "low hanging fruit" (amongst positions that can be eliminated without hurting Company in short-term. 1. Will you be able to complete EDP program, b/c partial completement isn't real resume booster; 2. Since other metroplex retailers are hurting (Penny's, Radio Shak, Michael's, Fossil), not very easy to find another retail job in the area. 3. Sale of Company (only alternative to bankruptcy filing) will also result in job elimination, since acquiring company will eliminate non-essential jobs or duplicative jobs (meaning they will cut positions if they think they can consolidate your job into an existing position in acquiring company. Example: What if HBC buys NM (big if with debt load): They previously cut many non-store sales positions at L&T by merging jobs with existing positions in The Bay (The Bay and L&T are now the Department Store division with shared buying, planning, operations, tech, etc positions). HBC bought Saks. If they bought NM (more likely scenario is they wait for NM to enter bankruptcy, and then try to buy them on condition that much of the debt be wiped out). Anyway, would HBC keep separate management, buying, planning, store management, e-commerce jobs in Dallas and at BG in NYC in addition to the Saks team? Shorter version: will they maintain 3 merchandising, planning, -comm and tech groups, one each for Saks, NM and BG? NO WAY! They will merge as much as possible into existing NY group, move NMG e-comm over to HBC Digital group in Canada, consolidate all back-office jobs. Won't happen right away as they'll need time to transition ("integrate" NM into HBC). BG team will be first to go, since Saks is in same neighborhood; but Dallas will either disappear or turn into much, much smaller group. Not trying to rag on NM. Still a great name. But debt is too high and they can't pay it back. Before fall, 2005, NM had relatively little debt and strong balance sheet. But first buy- out added $4.5 billion in debt, and second added another $1.0-$1.5 billion to balance sheet. When the debt on your balance sheet is greater than your sales (particularly in retail industry), you're kinda up sh--'s creek. Don't panic, but you need to develop a Plan B quickly unless you have enough $$ that you don't have to work. And if you want to stay in retail, not many opportunities in DFW area (industry as a whole is weak with exception of Nordstrom and some specialty retailers). If your skills are readily transferable to another industry (you're in tech, HR, finance and some other areas), you have much better chance to find a company in another industry. If you're focused on buying, merchandising, merchandise planning, you need to develop back up plan pretty quickly.
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