In this video, Jim discusses the importance of the interview process, which is typically the final deciding step in the qualifications-based selection process used under the construction manager at risk (CMAR) project delivery method.
- If being solely based on qualifications is not foreign enough to a construction company, having to submit to a formal detailed interview process which will be the final basis for who gets selected is really foreign. I have colleagues, marketing and business development specialists that teach entire courses on how to handle this interview process because once a contractor's been shortlisted based on their qualifications, this is often the final deciding factor. You don't want to blow it and come across unqualified or unprepared during the interview.
Remember that you're asking a project owner to hire your company to build their project before there are even any design documents. It's pretty important to instill some confidence at this point. You also have to be ready. Typically a contractor's going to receive a notification that they've been shortlisted and a request to schedule an interview usually within about a week. The notification might also contain information on who the owner expects to be present at that interview and what type of information they want presented.
Using the example I started describing earlier of the CMRA project proposal, the unique work that I mentioned involves underwater diving work needed to evaluate existing conditions and determine construction approaches. It's a good bet that the interview will consist of very specific questions related to this work. They don't want to know that you know how to do a construction project. They want to know that you know how to do this specific project. The way I always advise the handling of these types of interviews is to tell the contractor to control the interview as long as possible.
Don't walk in expecting to submit yourself and your team to a bunch of questions because that's too unpredictable. If your notice included a list of people that the owner wanted present at the interview, get them prepared. Every project and owner is different, but I do believe that it's best to go in with a prepared presentation that answers the questions that they asked and shows them front to back how you're going to manage their project. You always want to provide information on your scheduling and your cost controls.
This is important to an owner. If this is a cost plus project or if there are aspects of the project pricing that rely on cost reporting, show them how you intend to accomplish the transparency that they're looking for. If they asked for specific people, make sure those people are there and that they've been prepped. If they're going to talk and they're going to be part of the presentation, make sure they convey the information that you need them to convey. Again, you want to control this process as long as you can or as long as permitted.
Don't run over time. If you've been given 30 minutes to make your presentation, do not take 40 minutes. Many owners are going to view that as an inability to keep a schedule. The successful contractor will be the one that gives a presentation that answers all of the owners questions and shows them that you can do this work and meet their needs. Yes, there is going to be a question and answer period, but ideally you want to have answered all of their questions during your presentation. That way your answers are clear and concise.
They're rehearsed and it shows that you really understand their project. The unsuccessful contractor will be the one that does not include requested information in their presentation, doesn't bring the people that the owner asked for, or that gets surprised with questions that they can't answer during the interview. Don't let this happen to you. Be prepared, come informed, and keep control of the process with a great presentation.
- Payment and procurement methods
- The design-bid-build method
- The design-build method
- Construction manager at risk (CMAR)
- Integrated project delivery (IPD)
- Selecting a project delivery method
- Procurement laws
- Delivering the best value to the owner
- Qualifications-based selection
- Changes in the way you are paid