My claim is “Success in Interviews”…It is a TALL claim!

 

Why will you succeed in interviews if you demonstrate these qualities?

These qualities are required to perform your job well! As the interviewer will be convinced that you will do your job well, he/she will select you!

 

 

Lets get started…

 

Breaking into the SAP world is not easy! Interviews are an important part of the recruitment process. I have been involved in hundreds of interviews – both, as an interviewer and an interviewee.

 

Preparation will drastically increase your chances of success in interviewers.

 

In this document, we will discuss one of the most important topics for a Functional consultant – what to reply for a process question?

 

 

Situation: You are in an interview

Question:  How do you configure XYZ process in SAP?

or Explain SAP XYZ process?

 

 

Most important points you want to convey to the interviewer –

 

1. Business Process oriented thinking

 

2. Communication skills

 

3. ASAP methodology

 

4. Ability to map a business process in SAP

 

5. Active listening skills and engaging skills

 

6. Courage

 

added: 7. Useful links

 

 

Details:

 

 

1. Business Process oriented thinking: After getting the question “Explain XYZ process in SAP”. I have seen candidates jumping in to configuration details…transaction codes etc. etc.

 

Do not do that!

 

Take a breath…and explain what is happening in the business? Forget about SAP.

 

Your aim here is if you were to explain this process to the Manager of the concerned department, he would be in agreement with your business process explanation?

 

For example the Return process in SAP SD:

 

The customer is not happy with the goods it received, could be because goods are damaged or have some manufacturing defect. Customer wants to return the goods to the company and get a refund. In this business scenario, SAP Return process is used.

 

 

2. Communication skills: For a consultant, both ways of communication are important

– inward, understand what the business has to say, what is the exact requirement or challenge faced by business etc.

– outward, explain how the design will help the business, solve that particular issue, increase efficiency etc. etc.

 

 

Communication is not that easy…to put your idea clearly, boldly, succinctly comes from training yourself continuously in communicating and being very strong and confident in your particular module.

 

 

3. ASAP methodology: A candidate must demonstrate an understanding of the process of an SAP implementation. This knowledge makes the candidate stand out and gives him / her “extra points”.

 

Always make clear that

– In the Business Blueprint stage, we gather the requirements by having meetings with the business, prepare a document (called the Business Blueprint), get the approval from business.

– next, in the Realization stage, we do the actual configuration, custom developments (if any) in SAP.

– next the testing starts.

 

Again this way of thinking and communicating iterates the Process oriented thinking

 

 

4. Ability to map a business process in SAP:

 

Now comes your core SAP technical knowledge.

 

Main points:

 

i. Mentally have a prioritized list of the important technical settings (3 to 5 points maximum)

 

If you can align the important functionalities of your module with important settings in this process, that will be very good.

 

This list is your “anchor”, before ending your reply, check if the 3 or 5 most important points have been covered by you. If not, then explain the remain too.

 

For example, Return process SAP SD

 

3 to 5 important settings:

 

– Copy control (reference invoice to RE order)

– Pricing (freight charges, manual pricing)

– Billing block and credit note create with reference to RE order (not RE delivery)

 

 

ii. Explain business process, step by step and the associated SAP customizing / configuration

 

Follow the movement of material – from start (customer’s warehouse) to finish (quality inspection area in company’s plant)

Explain the flow of money

 

 

iii. Explain variations of the same process

 

Variations linked with the business scenarios will give you “good points”

 

For example, Return process SAP SD

 

Movement type 651 can be used to receive goods in QI

But if 653 can be used to receive goods in Unrestricted stock, which can again be sold.

Business scenario: Customer returns goods because it does not have space in its warehouse. The goods are of salable quality.

 

Reference can be set as mandatory

But if business does not have this requirement then return order can be made without reference.

Business scenario: After go live, for a period of 3 months, reference can be set as not mandatory, this way return documents can be created for reference invoices that were created in the legacy system before Go Live.

 

Pricing procedure used in the reference OTC cycle can be used in the RE process.

Or a new pricing procedure can be used for RE process.

Business scenario: If business does not want to credit the full amount, then a new procedure can be setup.

 

 

5. Active listening skills and engaging skills: During the discussion be very attentive to the comments by the interviewer. He / She might want to go into more detail of a point that you have brought up. Or he/she could give you a suggestion of doing certain things differently.

 

In these times, really listen to the input. Try to build on it – you might agree or disagree but important thing is to engage actively and showcase a clear understanding of the input.

 

 

6. Courage: A consultant needs courage. Best solutions can be different from that practiced in the legacy system or the best solutions might take the client out of their comfort zone.

 

Disagreeing is not a bad thing. Do it in a respectful manner.

The “driving force” or motivating factor behind your courage should always be the value addition to your client. If some setting / customizing etc. will help business, then go ahead and voice it…be bold.

 

 

added 7. Useful links:

Below links help in emphasizing the importance of business process and how to learn these process through testing

Testing or looking into production data (transactions, master data,configuration etc.) will help understanding the processes of client business. This in turn helps in improving your quality of comments, replies in job interviews and client interactions.

Why implementation experience is HOT CAKE in SAP Job Market?

Test Case Preparation – A neglected  but significant skill

 

Success in interviews in based on two factors – preparation and luck. Preparation is in our direct control. During an interview general traits like Energy, Enthusiasm, Clarity, Communication should be at the highest level. One should have content at different levels of detail (a concept – very detailed, macro level)…choose the appropriate level of detail to express to the interviewer.

 

 

In this document I have explained the key success factors (what to say etc. – content) when faced with a process question. In a subsequent document, I will share how to prepare for these contents, what to do (on a daily basis)

 

 

I wish you enjoy this process of recruitment!

 

Thanks!

Typewriter

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51 Comments

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  1. Umesh Vaidya

    Dear Sir,

    This is a very important points  take care at the time of Interview for every SAP Counsaltant & This is also very good article.


    Thanks&Regards

    Umesh Vaidya

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    1. Typewriter TW Post author

      Umesh, Kamlesh,

      Thanks for your feedback!

      Candidates who prepare taking these points into consideration will stand out and increase their chances of success in interviews. Also, in the long run, this will help them in their careers.

      typewriter

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  2. Umesh Vaidya

    Dear Sir,

    Success in interviews in based on two factors – preparation and luck. This is a very important sentence in this blog for point of Interview…….


    Thanks&Regards

    Umesh Vaidya

    (0) 
  3. V.C. Tiwari

    Hi TW,

    Thanks for your great explanation always. We do agree that “Breaking into the SAP world is not easy” but i would like to say Its very easy if we put our effort at right direction. I remeber when i was taking training some years back, my trainer used to tell us  Do lot of R &D in your IDES system until and unless your system crash 🙂 .

    Regards,

    Tiwari

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  4. Srinu S

    Hi TW,

    Thanks for sharing your experience, it is nicely written and it is very helpful to many.

    Keep sharing 🙂

    thanks,

    Srinu.

    (0) 
  5. Subbarao Narnei

    Dear Mr.TW,

    Thanks for sharing such a wonderful content, which will be very much useful for interview phase (Mandatory process to get a job 🙂 ), I am sure this will helps many more.

    Regards,

    Subbarao.Narnei

    (0) 
  6. Colleen Hebbert

    Hi TW

    I’ve been meaning to read this for a while. Nice to see more blogs in Careers space about practical advise.

    In relation to communication being two way I would also see that as developing your listening skills. Interviews, like exams, can go poorly if the person does not listen to what the question is or what the interviewer in saying.

    For example, the Interview might ask “What is your approach” and the Interviewee answers with “Step 1 is blah; 2 .. 3 and so on”. The didn’t listen to the question and missed the opportunity to discuss ideas and demonstrate application but instead regurgitated configuration steps.

    Only a slight criticism here – you might want to have a look at the font sizes and settings. I found it hard to concentrate on the changes on each paragraph. I think it would be easier to read if you reformatting it to be consistent.

    Regards

    Colleen

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    1. Typewriter TW Post author

      Colleen,

      nice to hear from you! and thanks for your comments!

      Communication skills, active listening skills and taking the next step, engaging skills are very important. In this day of tough competition, a consultant has to showcase a solid understanding of the client requirements, it “pain” etc.

      In work, or in an interview, if you don’t understand the essence of the client’s question, comment and go off in a tangent, then the chances of success are very very slim…

      Even when you disagree, first you have to succinctly paraphrase client’s views and demonstrate that you have understood its point…and then go on to propose something “better”.

      All these qualities are the individual colors of a rainbow, which can be practiced “separately” and can be mastered “piece by piece” …but to the viewer (in this case the interviewer) it is the total experience…all colors mingled, leaving him/her with…YES…he is selected or….. 🙂

      tw

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  7. Simon Shao

    Thank you for sharing. The key word is Process! That’s why makes SAP consultant special, because we not only knows about the technology, but also the business.

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    1. Typewriter TW Post author

      Simon Shao

      Very true! key word is process! Business process

      For a functional consultant, his/her work experience in industry (domain) is very important, which he/she goes back to mentally when discussing with the client.

      Technically (in SAP) we think in process, for example picking then pgi then goods are in transit etc. But we have to tie this with the business process – in the warehouse, the pick list is printed, then the fork lift driver goes to the pick location(s) and gets the pallets to the door etc. etc.

      If that domain experience is missing (business process knowledge and first hand work experience), then it might reflect in the solutioning and also be transparent to the client.

      TW

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  8. Ezhil Arasu

    Dear Sir,

    Thank you so much for your explaination to get the succes in interviews..

    I am the new learner in sap and i hope to get the great future by following your words.

    thanks again:)

    (0) 
  9. ' MoazzaM '

    Hi TW Typewriter

    These are indeed very useful tips and techniques. I’ve also been interviwed many times and I always try to keep in mind all these points. One obstacle which I had to face a couple of time is understanding the interviwer. English is medium of communication in most of the interviews but as you know speaking style or accent varies. Arabic people or chinese/japanese speak English in their own accent and sometimes its difficult to understand what they are saying and we have to ask them to repeat the question. Though it leaves negative impression but there is nothing we can do for it unless we are very expert to understand their own accent. What do you say about this?

    Thank$

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    1. Typewriter TW Post author

      Moazzam,

      Thanks for this interesting point!

      Asking / requesting to repeat the question is no negative! If the interviewer feels that you are alert and attentive (point 5: Active listening skills), and a particular question is not clear, that is OK. Moreover a candidate should ask, rather than assuming and giving vague answers.

      I work with non-native English speakers, I paraphrase the main points in client discussions. Also I use examples, to confirm my understanding.

      In general, it is good to interact (ask, comment, assess – give the advantages and disadvantages) with the client. This gives a good feeling to the client too – his point has been understood, the consultant is evaluating, bringing his experience to the table.

      It is a functional consultant’s duty to clearly understand the requirements and this includes, asking the interviewer for clarity about a specific point. (point 6: Courage)

      In the interview process, if the interviewer is angry for the reason that you ask for more clarity, then it might not be the best company to work for!

      TW

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      1. ' MoazzaM '

        Hi TW

        Sometimes interviewer being judgmental assumes that this guy can’t understand English. They think they are speaking well and the interviewee is not capable to listen them. In this case I think your last two sentences are applicable 🙂

        Thank you for sharing your views on this.

        Thank$

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        1. Typewriter TW Post author

          Hi Moazzam,

          We should always remember that “the interview process” is not a perfect (flawless) system. We are all humans and mis-evaluation, bias etc etc. could always crop up! So, don’t be too happy or too sad with either a positive or negative result. The key is to keep giving interviews 🙂 and keep learning from each experience.

          In the document, I have touched upon communication not being easy and has to be continuously developed (point 2: communication skill). Ultimately, every interview or every day at work should increase our value (as SAP professionals) and if someone is judging…then that is his/her problem. As we should and will take the good and walk on!

          added: some times interviewers purposely make things ambiguous and unclear, to test the reaction and response of the interviewee. I have experienced this and comments in point 2: clarity in this document

          success in interviews – part 2: Essentials

          Again the key words are proactive, fast-thinking: structuring, discarding the unnecessary, communicating clearly and putting your point boldly.

          TW

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        2. Typewriter TW Post author

          ‘ MoazzaM ‘

          Few days back, I asked a client for more information about a process I was mapping into SAP. He got irritated, while replying to my questions…but I kept asking until I was clear. I could have let it go and be in the comfort zone. May be by asking him, my “image” in his eyes goes down. But I did not care because of two reasons:

          1. I am a functional consultant and need to know the process clearly, in order to give a good design

          2. This is a principle I have to stick to, for life.

          So, we need to show courage and be out there…because we own it to the profession!

          TW

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          1. ' MoazzaM '

            Hi TW

            Thanks for tagging me. I am going through same situation these days. I have joined consultancy now and I am deployed on a textile implementation project. Two SD guys left this project in BBP and realization phase. Now I am new in this project and have to ask lot of things from client but they get irritated because of the fact that they have already shared processes with two SD guys. Those two SD guys mapped the processes according to their knowledge and I am seeing many improvement areas in system. This is why I am asking client again and again all processes and I have taken them in confidence that with little effort of yours I’ll map the system in a way that you won’t face any issue in long run. This the best a functional guy can do.

            Thank$

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            1. Typewriter TW Post author

              Moazzam,

              When you get time, please share short description of process and the improvements. This will be beneficial for so many. Thanks in advance and good luck!

              TW

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  10. Azarudheen A

    Hi TW,

    First of all thanks for spending time to explain about your experience being a interviewer and interviewee.

    After 6 years of experience in manufacturing industry, myself now thinking to enter this SAP world – time to break the ice bars. Thanks for your information and lets see.

    Thanks

    Azar

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    1. Typewriter TW Post author

      Azar,

      Domain experience plays a vital role in understanding the processes of clients / companies. This will be your strength.

      Which module are you targeting for?

      All the best!

      TW

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      1. Azarudheen A

        TW,

        Good morning!

        First of all lemme introduce myself then it would be easy for you to suggest the right module.

        1. DOMAIN Experience


        I have sound knowledge in supply chain areas like Materials Management including Logistics planning, purchasing(direct, indirect, Sub contracting, Job order etc.,), Material Planning, Production planning, BOM Management, Engineering to release and Engineering change management.

        2009 to 2011(Hyundai)        Purchasing & Material Planning(MRP)

        2011 to 2013(BMW)             Material planning, Production planning & WM

        2013 to till Date(DAIMLER) MRP, BOM Management & Engineering Change Management

        2. SAP Experience

        I have been working as a super user say business expertise in the above mentioned areas and also worked in implementation & upgradation project in previous companies. Also with the interests in SAP I have myself completed twice/thrice configurations using study material with the help of IDES especially in MM & PP in last two years.

        3. Project Management

        I have been in project management with one full cycle implementation also having working knowledge in areas like business requirements gathering, business spec preparation, functional spec preparation, timeline preparations, test case preparations, UAT, fit GAP analysis and post GOLIVE monitoring.

        Now I got a call from one of the top automotive giant in heavy machinery as a  business  expertise and support analyst in PP-BOM & Engineering 2 release functions.

        Am interested to switch over but only one thing I am not sure in the topics like customization, RFC’s, IDOC and some technical touch points. I don’t want to waste my money in doing courses & certifications.

        Need your valuable inputs to proceed further.

        Many thank in advance.

        Regards

        Azarudheen A

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        1. Typewriter TW Post author

          Azar,

          You have good experience! You can go for PP or MM. As you are getting a job from a top automotive company, I suggest you grab this golden opportunity!

          While working, you will get and work on customization, reports, IDOCS (interfaces).

          Great opportunity! Go for it!

          TW

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  11. Aziz Dohadwala

    TW,

    finally got around to reading ‘Success in Interviews’ so late in the day for two reasons. (a) its been a crazy month and (b) after finally getting a job, I dint want to think about interviews for some time.

    So, while I am still not thinking interviews, finally read it and I am so glad I did. Some very valid pointers. A way to constructive preparation apart from the normal, ‘read up your work’, ‘go over your cv’, etc.

    the only thing I would add is to point 6. Courage. If you have to disagree, learn to do it in a diplomatic manner. Firstly, if your interviewer is the aggressive kind, he/she will not be offended and secondly, it shows of your communication skills in a very direct manner.

    Great read.

    -Aziz

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    1. Typewriter TW Post author

      Aziz,

      Your point about disagree in a diplomatic manner is a good one!

      SAP being a small world…we donot want to burn our bridges with anyone.

      TW

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    2. Typewriter TW Post author

      Aziz, members,

      6. Courage: Evaluating this step further, I think courage is needed for growth. It takes courage to step out of your comfort zone, to take one the difficult assignments (like Credit management, TOR 😉 etc.), to deal with difficult and demanding customers etc.

      Applicable for all these points, these are necessary for success in interviews and (as a constant commitment) for success in a SAP career.

      TW

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  12. anjan kumar

    Thanks a lot TW Typewriter for showing the right way of executing the things so that the things can fall into its places.

    Clear cut points to go for an interview.

    Again thanks on behalf of everyone in need for this useful content.

    Take care of your health.

    (0) 
    1. Typewriter TW Post author

      Hidayathulla,

      Thanks for highlighting this point…it plays a key role at work.

      I have seen some people who will seldom use the work No. The will just give their opinion which is different from yours. For example –

      I think this road leads to Rotterdam.

      other person: This road leads to Amsterdam.

      No is avoided, and it is some kind of technique. Interesting 🙂

      TW

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  13. Venkat Pulavarty

    Hi TW,

    I see a very few professionals like you would come to these community forums and share their rich experiences. All my appreciation to you.

    Good luck,

     

    (0) 

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