Interview tips for a Tendering/Proposals or Bid Manager Position

TenderingTendering, to give just a brief definition, can be described as the process of putting together a credible and convincing bid package/proposal in response to a client’s Request For Proposal (RFP), Request For Quotation (RFQ) or Request For Information (RFI) – that matches the clients request in order to win work for your business. The tendering process or role is called different things by different people and different companies, this includes proposals and bids.

Tendering, as I have come to discover, is an exciting, fast paced, highly demanding job but with its rewards and fulfilment when a contract is won and you can clearly see how you have contributed to the financial growth of the company. Due to the increase in demand for tendering jobs, there have been interests from a lot of individuals to progress into this kind of role.

So, you have applied for and been called to attend that interview for a tendering position. You really want this job but you are not sure how to prepare for the interview or what to expect. Well, as a Tender Manager, I have been asked by so many people for help on tips on what to prepare for so I decided to share a few questions from my experiences attending interviews for tendering positions.

Although these questions are focused on tendering, they can be applied to other areas of work so pick and choose as you please. Also see Skype interview tips here.

Tell me about yourself

This question usually comes up in most interviews, tendering or not, as employers are trying to know more about you, your professional and educational experiences. They are watching how you express yourself and trying to identify any similarities in your attitude with their expectations for the role. Basically, to see if you will be a good fit for the role and the company. What to do here is to go in depth but be brief. Give a summary of your experiences and education but don’t overdo it, there will be time further into the interview to go into much more detail about your work experiences. Leave out anything that is not relevant to the position or the question asked.

Why do you want the role?

There must be a reason why you want the role. Dig deep to explain that reason in a plausible way. Make your justification for wanting the role relevant to the needs of that employer. Here is hoping that you took the time to read and understand the job description and person specification. For instance, do not say you want the role because you want an opportunity to earn a higher pay package. This may be the real reason you are going for the position, however, something else hopefully should be motivating you to go for this position. Also, please do not say something like, you want the role because you want to manage other people when you are interviewing to be a part of a team of two, with the only other person being the Tender Manager.  You will most likely not get the job in this case, no one wants to be made to feel insecure in their position, read the brief!

 Can you describe the tendering process?

The interviewer is expecting you to give a brief but detailed description of the end to end tendering process. Make sure all the steps in the tendering process are covered and this does not need ages to explain. Make sure you cover and explain the key steps such as the receipt and review of ITT, Kick off meeting, business/manger reviews, qualifications, tender board, clarifications, submission and post tender submission clarifications and ofcourse contract negotiations and project handover if the contract is won. Don’t forget to discuss what you do when the contract is awarded or in some cases not awarded. The process is sometimes slightly tweaked to suit different companies and the different stages of tendering are called different things by different companies. However, it is the same underlying process, and if you understand the process, it should be easy and straightforward to explain.

Who would you normally invite to your tender meetings?

This would most certainly come up in most tendering related interviews. If not clear, then you need to clarify with the interviewer which of the tender meetings he/she is speaking about. This will enable you strategically explain and give a response to this question. In most tender reviews, you would be inviting the same set of people for each meeting, depending on how things work in your company. However, it is always good to ask to make sure your answer is in line with what the recruiter wants. Alternatively, you can choose one meeting as an example and speak about it. If you choose the Kick off meeting for instance, you need to explain that there should be a representation from each of the major departments such as the Legal team, engineering, finance, operations, HSE and so on. Who you invite depends on your company’s business lines and how they operate. However, these are key departments that need to be represented in all the meetings throughout and after the tendering process as they will have valuable input to what is submitted to the client. Remember to reiterate that you are responsible for giving people deadlines at these meetings and following up on all these deadlines. This will demonstrate that you take charge of these meetings and are responsible for chairing it.

How do you get people to work with you or cooperate when you need information?

This is another one that would most certainly come up at any tendering related interview. In fact, it is almost a guaranteed interview question for a tendering role. The conflict between people’s day jobs and having to help the tendering department is a challenging part of tendering which you as a Tender Manager need to find a way to overcome. The ability to manage these relationships largely determines how good a tendering manager or specialist you are. To answer this, you need to convince the hiring manager that you have excellent communication skills, are able to build relationships and also are able to help the other team to help you.

Can you give examples of previous tenders you’ve worked on?

This is a question only YOU can answer based on your work experiences. Try to give examples of tenders they you have done that are relevant to the activities of the company you’re interviewing at. There is no point giving examples that are poles apart. Except of course you do not genuinely have any relevant experience on tenders relevant to the company you’re interviewing at. In this case, try to speak about tenders that you have worked on that have been successful. At the same time, I think if you prepare yourself, then you can find a way to provide examples that can showcase tendering skills that are relevant to the role or the company.

Do you have any questions?

This is your opportunity to ask all the questions about what you would like to know about the company or the team you would potentially be working with. Please make sure that the questions are role or company related and well thought out questions. If there is anything that has been discussed during the interview that you would need more clarification on, then this is your opportunity to ask the questions in order to increase your understanding. Do not leave anything to chance even if you are desperate for a job. You want to go into a company where there is longevity and room for progression. Ask questions relating to what your goals are for wanting to work at that company.

I hope that these tips have been helpful towards landing your dream tendering job. If you need more personalised tips or have any further questions, please leave your comments in the box below and I will get back to you. Also follow us on Twitter @idyllconsulting or on Facebook: Idyll Consulting. Thanks for stopping by.


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