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Vault: A GREAT job search resource

For people who work in career services, one of the leading names in publishing and web resources for job search resources is Vault. Vault isn't really a job posting board (although they do post some jobs); they are more famous for the industry career guide books -- i.e. Vault Guide to Case Interviewing; Vault Guide to Resumes, Cover Letters, and Interviews, Vault Guide to the Top 50 Banking Employers, amongst many, many others. These books are usually the leading source for a lot of different realms that come with searching for new jobs.

You can access all of these guides online through the UM Career Center at their Vault Library.

Beyond the books, Vault also maintains a resource in which actual employees of different companies write honest but anonymous testimonies about what its really like to interview and work at a company. See examples:

Microsoft (Program Manager)
Expect numerous rounds of interviews. Microsoft will keep interviewing you until a group says "yeah, we're interested". If you keep doing well on your interviews, they'll continue to "source you out" to groups. But don't expect to get placed quickly - unless you are a true expert in an area that has an opening that fits you perfectly. I interviewed in this last round, over 20 times. My final interviews consisted of one that was 9 hours long (non-stop), and the final one was 11 hours, with time for lunch (but you were interviewed during lunch - so I had just 10 minutes to gobble-down my food at the end - then I was off to the next one). I interviewed with Devs, PMs, Testers, Dev Leads, GPMs, and finally a PUM who's really the person who tries to convince you to come to Microsoft (you know you're doing well at that point). Most of the questions today are not about "solve this crazy problem", or "how many toasters can you fit in the Empire State Building". Instead, they want to know how you might have handled a tricky situation in your past; how you would handle a particular problem. Some will still give you a problem, but expect you to get up and show that you can attack it, and get to some conclusion.

Royal Dutch/Shell Group (Geologist)
Shell continues to have one of the most bizarre interview processes in the industry. One question I was asked was "What do you think of manned exploration of Mars?" This is supposed to give the interviewee an opportunity to show creative thinking with no preparation. In another previous Shell interview I was asked "What do you think about tourism?". I have no idea what weight these questions are given, but the thing that seemed to get me hired the first time was a series of essay questions I answered where I related experiences with selling bananas in the Caribbean. Apparently the answers they valued were those demonstrating creativity and out-of-the box thinking. Those stories were apparently circulated at Shell among my managers because I was often asked about it. Shell's campus recruiting is often followed up by a full day 'interview' at a Shell location, which is a day of exercises in teamwork, analysis, and thinking skills.

L'Oreal (Product Manager)
There are numerous interview rounds at L'Oreal. However it seems to be different for every person. I had colleagues that interviewed with the CEO and others that only interviewed with HR. Some went through 5 rounds while others went through 2. You should be confident and curious. If they give you a product and ask you to talk about it, feel free to open the product up, play with it, if it is a jar or cream you can touch the cream. L'Oreal is all about "magic and passion" and they want smart people who are passionate about marketing. Show whoever is interviewing you that you are unique with amazing talents and drive. In marketing they look for people who are creative and analytical (50/50). Understand the difference between the divisions within the company in terms of brand positioning. Each of the 18 brands has a position (distribution, price, target market, etc...) and L'Oreal wants you to understand that...Read more

Maersk (Management Trainee)
I went through a 3-round process. First, all applicants to ANY job in Maersk must take the Wonderlic Logic and Reasoning test. Second, the Predictive Index personality assessment is given to applicants. Between the 1st and 2nd interviews with a recruiter and the trainee program manager, I was required to write letters to each interviewer describing why (a) Telling Maersk about myself, and (b) the qualities that made me worth hiring for the management trainee program, and I had to provide 3 references. (MISE) The 3rd interview was an all-day affair, I was interviewed in 2 sessions by 2 vice-presidents at a time.

Toyota Motor Company (Specialist)
1) Explain a time where someone else held your work from being completed. (The key to answering this question is working in a team, using consensus-based decision making, and the importance of meeting deadlines).
2) Explain a time where you had to lead/accomplish a situation with little instruction or ability (The key to answering this question was how do you pick up cues on what is to be expected, how do you ask questions and follow-up with folks who may forget about your project, and following up with others).
3) Name a time where you were involved with a task or assignment that involved a lot of tedious work. (They key to answering this question is how reduce waste in your work through time management and prioritizing).
Other Possible Questions:
4) The Toyota triangle includes three factors: Quality, Cost, and Safety. Which would you consider the most important attributes? (The key to answering this question is Safety because your consumer and respect for others comes first. Then quality, making sure you make the best parts to further safety and keep customers satisfied. ... Read more

Vault also maintains several other resources including Industry Employer Guides, Career Topic Guides, 53 Occupational Profiles, Industry Research, Company Research, an Internship Database, and the "Vault Electronic Water Cooler". These are all great, well-informed, and useful resources. I recommend checking them out!

Posted by kkowatch at July 2, 2008 09:19 AM


Those looking for more information on the
Predictive Index assessment
mentioned in this posting may visit

Posted by: steve@predictiveresults.com at July 21, 2008 06:41 PM

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