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#1 JPO

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Posted 11 March 2016 - 03:54 PM

Hi!

 

I'm part of an interview group for a new potential QA manager.  I'm looking for questions other than the usual about the employee (tell me about you, why do you want the job, what do you know about us, etc.) and about the position (Explain your BRC experience, discuss how you handled situation X with product, Situation Y with customer, situation Z with supplier).

 

Not looking for esoteric new age-esque questions like "if you were a tree, what kind of tree would you be?" or the ever popular let's see if you can think outside the box clickbait questions like you read that Google/Microsoft?(insert company here) like "how would you measure this building using only this quarter as a measuring tool?"

 

Some good insightful food safety and quality related questions. 

 

Some insight: the company has every label enhancing certification under the sun (organic, non-gmo, fair trade, eco-social, you name it) and tends to market to the companies and consumers to whom this stuff is a major buying decision point.  Not currently GFSI certified, but building a BRC program from scratch right now. Primarily use contract manufacturers.

 

Help me Obi Wan Kenobi, you're my only hope!

 

JPO



#2 ChristinaG

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Posted 11 March 2016 - 04:40 PM

I don't have much more than very basic BRC knowledge, but I hope my ideas could help you out a bit!

 

Since your company is trying to build a BRC program, I'd ask something along the lines of "If you were starting a BRC program from scratch, what section would you approach first?" This can give you an insight as to how the QA Manager would work with your BRC team. I think asking them something like "Of the 7 sections of the BRC Standard, which do you believe would be the most difficult to enact?" would be beneficial, as well.

 

I would also ask about their experience with the labeling certifications you mentioned above (Organic, non-GMO, etc.), in addition to any experience they may have in working with contract manufacturers, and how they handled that from a QA perspective.

 

-Christina


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#3 BrummyJim

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Posted 11 March 2016 - 04:43 PM

"How would you go about building a BRC compliant FSMS? What are the key challenges and how would you resolve them?"

 

and

 

"How do you solve problems?".

 

The first addresses their understanding of the BRC standard and how they might work with the teams involved in achieving certification. The second gives some insight into how they see a problem; do they analyse why it is a problem, do they quantify it etc.



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#4 Anika

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Posted 11 March 2016 - 06:32 PM

My 2 cents:

 Ask about KPI or what sort of KPI's do they intend to focus on?

What they think CCP's should be

How they would face challenges coming from other departments(marketing, production)



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#5 JPO

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Posted 11 March 2016 - 09:54 PM

keep em coming...

 

(thanks folks)



#6 Wowie

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Posted 11 March 2016 - 10:13 PM

"How familiar are you with USDA (Or FDA, if this is an FDA facility) regulations, responding to NR's or MOI's, and communicating with IPP? " You could follow this up with a "Tell me about a time you had to work with your plant to resolve an issue identified by USDA/FDA". I love story time questions as an interviewee. It allows for at least a few brief moments for the interview to flow more like a conversation and can completely change the feeling in the room. To go along with that thought, "Tell me about a time you had a disagreement with another department. Who was involved, how did you resolve it, and how did that change the relationship going forward."  

 

"How do you facilitate the growth of food safety culture in your plant?"



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#7 Simon

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Posted 12 March 2016 - 07:37 AM

Where do you see the future of food safety & quality heading over the next five year's?


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#8 Tamale

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Posted 14 March 2016 - 07:54 PM

Try a competency based interview, it makes the difference. See the attachment, it has many examAttached File  list_of_competency_based_interview_questions_2021.docx   23.3KB   119 downloadsple questions.

 

Tamale



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#9 MWidra

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Posted 15 March 2016 - 06:21 PM

I would ask what are the most difficult challenges that the candidate foresees in moving your particular company into a GFSI certification.  Even if they are not fully familiar with BRC, which can be quickly learned, it tests their understanding of what having a GFSI certification means and it shows that they did their homework on your company.

 

I would ask what they consider to be the most important pillars of a quality management system, or a food safety management system, whichever they will be in charge of.  And if they are going to be in charge of both, ask what the difference is between the two and how they interact.

 

I'd ask how they would work/have worked to resolve a personality conflict between two key and talented individuals who do not always get along but need to work together.  Sometimes, that's harder than all the other challenges combined.

 

Good luck,

Martha


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#10 herdy

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Posted 16 March 2016 - 03:30 PM

I would approach it differently than most of these if you were trying to recruit someone who doesn't have experience in the qaqc of food industry... Are you hoping to get experienced applicants? I came into my position after being a food microbiologist and had to go through SQF and HACCP training so I would not have been able to answer these questions and I would recommend different ones.



#11 QAGB

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Posted 17 March 2016 - 06:52 PM

I would approach it differently than most of these if you were trying to recruit someone who doesn't have experience in the qaqc of food industry... Are you hoping to get experienced applicants? I came into my position after being a food microbiologist and had to go through SQF and HACCP training so I would not have been able to answer these questions and I would recommend different ones.

 

I agree; as I came from a food chemistry background prior to joining this side of the food industry. I understood what HACCP was but had no formal training, and I did not know exactly what is entailed in GFSI certification. I knew that it had to be a high tier certification, and I had done some reading, but you don't fully understand until you're actually waist deep in it.

 

The GFSI related questions are great for someone with more of a food production/QA background.

 

For applicants who have a somewhat different work history, I'd ask something along the lines of "how can you correlate your previous position(s) with this one? What can you bring to the QA Manager position here?" "If you're working on Project A (a complex project), and someone calls you about Project B (in which the deadline is tomorrow), and you have to deal with an issue on the floor, what would you do first?" or "If you have two tasks you're working on, and you feel you may not be able to meet a deadline for one or both, what would you do?"

 

For applicants with the QA work history in food, I totally like the GFSI related questions. I also like the questioning related to company culture change.  I've also been asked scenario-based questions about working with someone you may not agree with; like Martha discussed above. You end up sort of role playing with the applicant, and that can show you a lot about the applicant in a short time. As far as asking questions about multi-tasking, most anyone who works in Quality has the proper skill set. A question to ask is "If/When hired, what would be your process to get acclimated?" A lot of hiring managers want to know whether you will meet with the team and learn what each person does, or if you want to jump right in without getting a good understanding first. Another question would be: "How do you plan on communicating with supervisors and necessary individuals about issues, projects, etc.?"

 

As far as the management portion: "What does it take to be a good manager?" "What do you do in the event one of your employees is not doing their job properly?"

 

QAGB



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#12 Simon

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Posted 17 March 2016 - 06:59 PM

This quality manager better be good...they will need a stiff drink and a long lie down afterwards.

 

It will be interesting to hear the results JPO.

 

Regards,

Simon


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#13 Anika

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Posted 17 March 2016 - 07:38 PM

This quality manager better be good...they will need a stiff drink and a long lie down afterwards.

 

It will be interesting to hear the results JPO.

 

Regards,

Simon

:rofl2:



#14 QAGB

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Posted 17 March 2016 - 07:44 PM

This quality manager better be good...they will need a stiff drink and a long lie down afterwards.

 

It will be interesting to hear the results JPO.

 

Regards,

Simon

 

 

Hey, I'm just saying.  :biggrin: I've been asked all of those sorts of questions before. By far, the most difficult one was to role play having a "confrontation" with a manager I'd have to work with that may not share the same ideas.

 

QAGB



#15 Simon

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Posted 17 March 2016 - 07:50 PM

It wasn't your questions alone QAGB...if we compile a list of all ideas posted that is some interview.

 

The interviewee better dose up on :coffee:

 

Regards,

Simon 


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#16 JPO

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Posted 18 March 2016 - 01:31 PM

This quality manager better be good...they will need a stiff drink and a long lie down afterwards.

 

It will be interesting to hear the results JPO.

 

Regards,

Simon

Quality manager good.  Lots of relevant experience, background, skills and probing those points showed it was real and not just buzzwords found on the internet. 

 

Decision making about yes or no is above my position, but I was able to put the stamp of "not full of that which makes the grass grow green" on the applicant.



#17 Charles.C

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Posted 18 March 2016 - 03:51 PM

Hi JPO,

 

It's a bit late but I'm curious as to the Product/Process involved ? (I found the OP itself rather Obi Wan :smile:). Surely it is not irrelevant ?

 

The expectations so far seem a bit like an assessment of a FSMS but with respect to a Human Being ? I would fail many of them without even trying. :smile:

 

Regardless, many insightful and fascinating suggestions. :clap: :clap:


Kind Regards,

 

Charles.C


#18 Tony-C

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Posted 19 March 2016 - 04:01 AM

Hi JPO,

 

Some questions from various interviews I have conducted for technical roles some are product specific:

How do you make yoghurt?
What are typical parameters for pasteurization?
Describe how a pasteuriser works?
What are typical parameters for UHT Production?
What do you understand of the term HACCP’s?
What are typical Critical Control Points for yoghurt?
What is a decision tree?
What do you understand by the 3 packers rules?
What is ISO 22000?
What are the key elements of ISO 22000?
What is the difference between FSSC 22000 and ISO 22000?
What do you understand by the phrase GMP?
Why is good hygienic practice important in the factory?
What do you understand by the term COP?
What do you understand by the term COA?
How would you assess the shelf life of a product?
What is the purpose of cleaning?
What are the important stages of a CIP?
What caustic temperature and strength would you recommend for use on a CIP?
What are the key pathogens that could affect dairy products?
What are the biggest hazards in a food factory?
What temperature should a coldstore be?
What Quality checks should be made on a UHT milk filling line?
What is the purpose of ATP swabs and how do they work?
What is the purpose of pest control and what sort of hazards do pests create?
How would you proactively communicate quality standards in the factory?
What is the purpose of complaint investigation?
How do you see the role of QA Manager?
Why would we discipline our staff?
What is a KPI? Give examples
What do you think the key Technical KPI's are in a factory ?
How would you describe your management style?
What experience do you have of product development?
Who is the most difficult customer you have worked with over the past 10 years and why are they the most difficult to please?
What benefits would your experience bring to the role of QA Manager?
What is the purpose of complaint investigation?

 

My first question though might be:

can you keep your head when all about you are losing theirs and blaming it on you? ;)

 

Kind regards,

 

Tony






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