Service Management Job Interviews

I recently delivered a Managing Across the Lifecycle class to a group of students in Northern California. The Managing Across the Lifecycle class is presently the capstone class in the ITIL certification program. When students have secured enough credits in the ITIL certification scheme, complete the Managing Across the Lifecycle class, and successfully pass the exam that’s given in conjunction with the class, they earn the ITIL Expert credential.

Earning ITIL Expert is a significant accomplishment. When people earn the ITIL Expert credential they are usually either positioning themselves for better opportunities with their current employer, or they are positioning themselves to compete with others in the open job market for higher-level service management positions. In either case, the ITIL Expert credential is definitely something that gets the attention of hiring managers in organizations that value ITIL.

There’s one minor problem though. Simply earning the ITIL Expert credential does not mean that the person is adequately prepared for a job interview leading to an ITIL Expert-level position. Someone that holds ITIL Expert might get the job interview, but once in the interview they might not be able to make a compelling case as to why they’re more valuable than any other candidate.

This is exactly why when I deliver the Managing Across the Lifecycle class, I treat it more like a job interview than a traditional training session. Once students have completed enough ITIL classes and exams to qualify them for Managing Across the Lifecycle, they most likely have the theoretical understanding of ITIL necessary to be ITIL Experts. Sometimes what they lack is the ability to make use of that theoretical understanding to solve real problems in organizations. That’s how I see the Managing Across the Lifecycle class, and because of that, I take a scenario-oriented approach to the class that is both similar to what they might experience on the exam and similar to what they might expect in a job interview.

As I was delivering this Managing Across the Lifecycle class, once of the students asked, “what type of interview questions would be asked of someone applying for an ITIL Expert-level job?” That’s an excellent question that I will address in this post and a series of posts to follow this one.

In most cases, someone applying for a service management job, at any level, should expect to participate in a behavioral event interview. A behavioral event interview is a job interview that seeks to determine an applicant’s suitability for a job by assessing their past experiences, competencies, and performance. In other words, the interviewer (or interview panel) will ask the applicant to describe situations where they used specific capabilities or behaviors relevant to the job. Typically, the applicant that makes the best case that their prior behaviors are in line with what the interviewer is seeking will be offered the job.

Notably, ITIL Intermediate and Managing Across the Lifecycle exam questions are very situational and are somewhat similar to the types of questions that might be asked in a behavioral event interview for a service management role.

The good news is being good at behavioral event interviews is a skill that can and should be learned and practiced. Over the next several weeks, I will post a series that gives sample questions that applicants might expect in a behavioral event interview for service management roles from foundation-level to expert.

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