What is a Change Manager
A Change Manager is someone who manages change (duh) in an organisation. This means different things in different organisations but most commonly a Change Manager will be responsible for the creation of change processes and overseeing their correct usage within the organisation.
The salary for a Change Manager is hard to pin down as it varies greatly on the responsibilities that are given to the role by the organisation. The average salary for a Change Manager is around £55,000. If you are reading this from the US (or you are planning on relocating there) you can expect to fetch a higher wage, the average in the US is around $90,000.
As you can see from this the role doesn’t pay as well as, let’s say, a Project Manager role. But it is still a highly sought after position and you need to really shine in your application in order to be considered.
That’s why in this article we are going to look at how to best nail the Change Manager (CM) interview. We will start by giving some tips on the interview itself, then we will look at the best way to answer CM questions – including what NOT to do. Then finally we will look at some of the more common questions you may be asked in your CM interview.
Ready? Let’s get started…
Change Manager Interview Tips
Lean heavily on your experience. This applies even if you have never held a Change Manager position before. A Change Manager is responsible for numerous things but primarily the management of the day-to-day change items and overseeing the organisation’s change policies. You don’t need to have held a Change Manager title previously to have participated in similar activities. When answering questions lean heavily into these experiences.
Know your audience. You should always research the organisation you are interviewing for. But what people don’t think to do is also research the interviewer and the hiring manager (if these are different persons). You want to impress the person making the hiring decision so you should research them specifically trying to understand what makes them tick and what they are looking for in a new employee.
Pepper your answers with technical terms. Change management has a number of technical terms, processes, systems, tools etc. For example when answering a question you can talk about how your team uses JIRA for defect tracking. Or you might talk about how you maintain a RACI matrix as part of your stakeholder management. These little things show the interviewer that you are well versed in the area and are not just full of fluff.
How Best To Answer Change Manager Interview Questions
Unless the question you are asked is a straight ‘up or down / yes or no’ style question then you are going to need to learn to describe, expand and elaborate on your answers. The best way of doing this is to follow the B-STAR technique for answering interview questions.
Answers using this method follow the below structure:
B – Belief – What are your thoughts and feelings with regard to the subject matter? – As a Change Manager you should have your own set of philosophies and change methodologies that you tailor to each situation.
S – Situation – What was going on? Briefly explain the scenario that was taking place. – Try not to spend too much time describing the situation. The bulk of your answer needs to be about you and what you did so keep the situation simple to understand and even simpler to describe.
T – Task – What was your role in the action? Most of the time it is best that you are taking an active rather than passive role in the encounter – You are going for a Change Manager role (presumably if you are reading this) so the situation you describe should have you involved with the management of change within an organisation.
A – Activity (or action) – What did you do? Detail the steps you took and why you took them. – This should take up the bulk of your time answering the question.
R – Result – How did everything end up? Try to use figures if possible (e.g. 99% of issues were resolved in first instance, Project failures reduced 50% etc.).
Remember though that the B-STAR technique is descriptive not prescriptive. You do not need to follow this flow strictly, go with what is best for your answers and that will allow you to put your point across and show your experience the best.
What You Should Not Do When Answering Change Manager Questions
Do not avoid the question.
Do not describe a failure (unless specifically asked).
Do not downplay the situation.
Do not overhype the situation.
Do not say you have no experience with the subject matter.
Do not reject the premise of the question.
Do not have a passive role in the situation.
Do not give a one-sentence answer.
Do not overly describe the scenario and miss the action.
Change Manager Interview Question & Answers
“I believe that it’s incredibly difficult to overcome a bad first impression. Because of this I always strive to never make one. That’s why for important meetings, or interviews like this, I make a clear plan of what I want to get from the meeting and outline the steps I need to take to achieve that goal.
So when I received the call about scheduling this interview the first thing I did was research your offices. As you are based in an area of town I am not familiar with I drove by here after work one evening just to make sure I knew the way. I also checked Google Maps to see what the traffic would be like at this time. Nothing worse than being late sitting in traffic after all.
I actually have a contact who works in your finance department, Claire, we were colleagues in the place I am currently working. I reached out to her to see if there was anything she could tell me about the interview process. We had spoken before about the company as a whole and how she talks about the company is one of the reasons I applied.
Following our chat I went through all of my work achievements and made sure they fully encompassed everything I have accomplished in my career.
I’m glad I took the time to prepare as I did because there was a lot of traffic so it was good I knew to expect that. Also talking with Claire helped jog my memory on a project we both worked on a few years back delivering a piece of financial software that I believe your company is in the process of deploying.”
Describe a time when you communicated effectively in a difficult situation
“I believe that proper planning and training is the most effective way to get out of most difficult situations. Sure you cannot plan for everything but if you prepare as best you can you will be happy to fall back on that preparedness when difficult situations arise.
Recently while working on a major software deployment at my current employer I was tasked with being the ‘Go-live Day Coordinator’. This meant that I had to communicate with the IT team, the business team and senior stakeholders all throughout the deployment. We took the servers down for 4 hours to deploy and 2 hours to test before release.
During these 6 hours it was my job to receive status updates from the IT teams and to facilitate the communication between IT areas. I also needed to communicate with the business team doing the testing so that any issues were raised through the IT team for fixing and then back for retesting. All of this had to be done without delay otherwise we would not meet our 6 hour target. On top of this it was expected I provide hourly updates to senior management.
In order to prepare for this I needed to establish a communication strategy. We use Teams within the organisation so I created a number of new Team groups so that information could flow through. I also established a backup WhatsApp group for the IT team and the Testing team – this came in handy when all of our systems went down partway through the activity!
Even though the whole 6 hours felt like one long continuous hectic process we were never hindered by a lack of communication. All information was provided as and when it was needed thanks to the effective planning that took place earlier. At the end the deployment was completed successfully and on time.
Have you ever had to work to an extremely tight deadline? How did you navigate that?
“I don’t think anyone likes deadlines, I know I don’t. But I do appreciate their importance in the workplace in how having a deadline provides structure to how we work.
As a Project Manager deadlines are kind of my thing. Deadlines, Cost and Quality are my primary motivators. I like to ensure that all my projects are properly planned so that there is no stress about the deadlines.
However that is obviously not always possible. There was a recent project that I was handed very last minute. The previous project manager had abruptly left the business and had seemingly let the project run without direction for a number of months prior to this.
I was given control of the project and told the deadline was just 2 months from now. I immediately knew this was not possible given the current status. But I persevered.
First thing I did was re-validate all of the assumptions. I found out that the deadline was not a fixed deadline of 2 months but was told under no uncertain terms could it extend past 3 months. That bought us some respite but not enough.
Next steps was to re-examine the requirements. This was a new product launch and the initial project design was to go live with the full product spec on Day 1. I took this back to the project sponsor and drilled down to which requirements were critical for Day 1 launch and which requirements could be delayed to a subsequent ‘Phase 2’ launch.
With all of this done I had a plan that would get us there. I just needed a motivated project team. I again linked in with the project sponsor for his support in both bringing in new team members (who I had a close working relationship with) and to re-affirm to the remaining project members and all stakeholders the importance of this project and it’s deadline
This seemed to be the spur that everyone needed as we were off to the races so to speak. The project was delivered on time and to the required quality with the remaining non-critical features being added to a month after. I also raised with the PMO team that this situation could have been avoided had there been a requirement on the previous project manager to provide status updated into the project sponsor in a more formal setting.“
Tell me about a time when you have identified an opportunity for improvement within your processes?
“I am always looking for ways to improve my processes both in work and out of it. I feel that if we are not looking to improve, to optimise then we will stall and eventually get surpassed. Better to be ahead of the pack than overtaken by the pack.
Recently in my current role I was tasked with reviewing and documenting the process for one of our business areas. These teams worked in customer complaints and were primarily responsible for gathering information about our customer to input into the complaint file.
This was a purely manual process and involved the team going into various systems and pulling the relevant data to input into a spreadsheet.
In order to perform my task I shadowed a few colleagues over the course of a week to better learn how they perform their function. From here I noticed a number of things that could be improved.
Firstly the team had to manually check a folder to see if any new complaints had arrived. I suggested that an automated solution could ping an email to the Team Leader to advise when a complaint had arrived and could – if it was wanted by the business – automatically allocate to a team member.
Secondly I noticed that the systems the team would gather data from all had various data feeds coming in and out. My suggestions were to interact with this feed for the complaint so that the data required for the complaint files were automatically shared with the team meaning that they did not need to go into each system. I had a further suggestion that would compile the data into the complaint file but after further analysis I deemed this to not be feasible with the current resources available.
Once I was complete I delivered the documented process maps to the business area and filed my suggestions with the relevant programme manager, who took my suggestions and formed a project that delivered on all of my suggestions and took an action to look at further resource to implement my compilation idea. The successful delivery of the project reduced the time it took to complete a complaint file by 50%.
Tell me about a time you have had to manage a difficult stakeholder
“Difficult stakeholders are unavoidable when you have been in the industry for any amount of time. It is just one of those things that you need to be aware of, not everyone is going to be on the same page or have the same goals as you and you will need to handle these people appropriately in order to deliver on your goals.
Whenever I find someone being difficult or not giving me the level of support I require in my projects I tend to do 2 things. Firstly I make sure that I fully understand the issue and therefore my colleague’s concerns and secondly I approach my colleague to discuss potential remedies to get things back on track.
For example, recently I was working on a project that would automate a key data gathering task within the process. This task was performed by 2 teams within the organisation and the lead SME of the teams was assigned to my project.
After some time I found that the SME was not participating in project meetings and any actions they would pick up would go incomplete or be delivered very late.
I spoke to the rest of my team individually as well as some contacts I had in the wider department. I learned that there was a rumour going through the two teams that once the project was delivered that the organisation was going to fire the 2 teams as they would no longer be needed with the new automation process going live.
This was not true however. Our actual plan once we delivered the project was to train these colleagues on a different process where more resources were required. I approached my senior manager to discuss a change to our communication strategy so that a notice could be sent to all impacted parties.
Once the communication was confirmed I approached the SME to explain the situation and remind them that the project still required their 100% focus. Thereafter the SME was much more involved in meetings and all actions were delivered on time. The project ending up a success and the teams were successfully trained on the new project with no colleagues being let go.“
What are your weaknesses?
“I have never worked with <insert tool or software> before and I see that it plays an integral role in your organisation. I have worked with <insert other tool> before and from what I hear it lacks a number of features present in <tool>. I look forward to the opportunity to use this new tool as I hear great things about it, I have also found a crash course online that I would look to take to get up to speed as quickly as possible…should I be offered the job”
Tell me about a time when you have made a mistake in a project
“I hate making mistakes – I suppose everybody does – that is why I always advocate for proper planning. I am a ‘measure twice cut once’ type of girl. When a project is planned correctly the risk of mistakes by any one person are greatly reduced. However on the occasions that a mistake of mine does ‘slip the net’ I always immediately highlight it to the project/workstream and take steps to remediate the fallout.For example, back when I was Change Manager at [REDACTED] my project team were in charge of delivering an important piece of work to the business every Tuesday morning. This piece of work took my team 1 day to produce. One such week – after a bank holiday – the report was going to be delayed until Wednesday (as my team needed the Tuesday for production since Monday was a non-working day).The mistake that I had made was that I had not communicated this delay to the business area expecting the report and as such there were a team of people without any work to do.Upon learning of my error I immediately contacted the team lead of the business area and explained the situation, taking full blame for the error and apologising for the inconvenience caused. I listened to the lead talk about how their team used the report and between the two of us we devised a temporary solution. My team would deliver the report in 4 stages, so as opposed to receiving one full report the business would now receive 4. This would allow them to start work on the first stage while my team continued to produce the remaining stages.Had I not took responsibility and sought out how to rectify the situation then the entire team would have lost a full day’s production, in the end they only lost 1.5 hours, of which the Team Lead advised me they used to complete mandatory learnings anyway.Once the situation was resolved I went back plugged the gaps in my RACI matrix and communication strategy so that this issue would not present itself going forward. I also took the time to take a couple refresher courses on LinkedIn with regard to stakeholder management. I can safely say failure to communicate will not be an issue for me again!”Check out our full post on how to answer this question
What You Do Understand By Change Management?
Briefly Outline The Roles Of Change Managers?
What Is Meant By Change Failure?
Describe a time when you struggled to persuade your team to modify your goals or delegate tasks differently. What happened?
How do you measure the results of a modification you made? Give an example of a time you successfully modified a regular procedure.
How do you react to the standard “this is how we do things” response to a request for change?
How would you announce an unpopular decision?
How do you explain to team members that they need to immediately alter a process?
What are the 7 R’s of change management?
What are the 5 key elements of change management?
Describe A Change Manager’s Daily Routine?
What Qualities Should A Change Manager Possess?
Share A Major Challenge That You Faced In Your Last Role And How You Handled It?
As A Change Manager, Tell Us An Area Of The Job That You Find Extremely Challenging?
As A Change Manager, How Do You Analyse Change Impact?
What Techniques Have You Utilized When Prioritizing Changes?
How Can Change Managers Analyse Existing Gaps Between The Current State And The Business Goal?
What Activities Can Facilitate Smooth Implementation Of Change Across The Organization?
Outline The Objective Of Change Management
Briefly Explain How You Would Perform Planning, Implementation, And Management Of Change For A Project.
Briefly Explain The Strategic, Tactical, And Operational Levels Of Change.
What are some of the most important skills for a change manager to have?
How well do you handle stress while managing multiple changes at once?
Do you have experience working with large budgets as a change manager?
What makes you an ideal candidate for this change manager position?
What do you think is the most important thing to remember when managing a large-scale change?
Do you have any questions for us?https://careerbuildingjobs.com/10-questions-to-ask-at-the-end-of-an-interview-and-6-that-you-shouldnt/