Why did you decide to apply with PepsiCo? Why not one of our competitors?
Most likely you do not care at all, and simply applied because they advertised a fitting vacancy. The employee turnover is high at PepsiCo (especially for manual workers and fork lift drivers), and they want to find some reason why you do not plan to join the ranks of employees who leave before the end of probation period. Something that will make you stay once you experience the first crisis of motivation, or realize how heavy the workload actually is.
You have a few options. One is referring to the brand of PepsiCo. You love Pepsi, Gatorade, the way they market their products, the ambassadors. Their name rings something withing you, something about their values resonates with your values, and you simply feel good about the idea of working for PepsiCo.
Another option is talking about a recommendation from a friend (can be real, but doesn’t have to). You know someone from the company, they told you good things about the working environment, or about the remuneration package. Of course they said the job was hard–but which job isn’t hard nowadays, at least when you want to earn a decent salary? Following their recommendation, you decided to apply.
One way or another, they should get an impression that you aren’t in an interview by a mare chance. You chose PepsiCo on purpose, and if they aren’t your first choice, they are definitely the second one on your list of favorite corporations…
Why did you decide for this position?
You can apply for a variety of jobs with PepsiCo, ranging from simple entry level jobs to engineering roles which demand high level of education and years of experience. And that’s exactly what you should refer to–education and experience.
If you lack it (nothing wrong with that), you decided to apply for an entry level job. You have heard great things about their training program (from the guy who recommended you the job), and considering your personal traits and expectations, you found it a good match.
Applying for managerial or engineering job, you should go with a different story. Explain how your previous roles and your education prepared you for the job with Fortune 500 giant. Again, they should feel that you didn’t decide by a chance, that you know what you are doing, and picked the right role, considering your level of education and experience.
Have you ever worked with difficult people?
This is one of the most typical behavioral questions you will get in your interview with PepsiCo. Let’s not hide anything: managers will expect a lot from you, and your colleagues, and it won’t be always easy to cooperate within the team, or please your superior.
But it’s your attitude that matters to the hiring managers. Ensure them that you have worked with all sorts of people before. But you understand that each of us has some pluses and minuses. We all had different childhood, role models, and look at life from a slightly different perspective (if not from a completely different one). What I try to convey here is sending a message of empathy.
Say that you try to accept people as they are, and always look for some compromises. Sure, you may have a conflict with someone, you may find it hard to cooperate with this or that person. But instead of dwelling on differences, you always look for a common ground, and a way how to eventually get the job done–though you may not be friends with all of your colleagues… That’s the attitude they seek in good job applicants at PepsiCo.
Tell us about as time when you failed.
You do not have to talk about some huge failure here, just as when you lost $100K when trying to open your own business–a plan which flopped terribly, or reached just 10% of desired sales volume in your last sales position.
The key is to simply show the interviewers that you can admit making a mistake, do not blame others for your poor results (that you can accept responsibility), and perhaps also that you can learn from your mistakes and failures.
Try to demonstrate these three things when narrating a failure from school, work, or even from your persona life. You should also avoid getting emotional when narrating the situation. Everyone makes mistakes and fails sometimes, but it’s important to be able to get over our failures without dwelling on them for ages…
How do you deal with conflicts at the workplace?
Another of the typical situation/behavioral questions you may get at PepsiCo, because just like in any big corporation, where everyone tries to make impression or gain some advantage over the rest, you will experience some conflicts. The key is to ensure them about a few things:
- First and foremost, that you avoid pointless personal conflicts that have nothing to do with work.
- You should also clearly explain that you do not mind admitting that other conflict party was right. Simply you do not try to be the victorious one at the end of every conflict.
- It’s also fine saying that you can get over conflicts quickly. You know that they belong to any workplace–just like good things and friendships do, and won’t be upset for a month, or avoid talking with a certain colleague for an entire year, just because you had a small internal conflict about something.
- If you apply for a managerial or leadership role, you can even praise constructive conflicts, that actually help you and your colleagues progress. If everyone agrees with everyone else, there’s hardly a progress…
Conflict belong to every workplace. Show the hiring managers at PepsiCo that you count with experiencing conflicts, and have a right attitude to them.
* Special tip: You can download the full list of questions in a one page long PDF, and practice your interview answers anytime later, even when offline:
Tell me a time when you had to be a leader.
Surprisingly you can get this question while interviewing for any job with PepsiCo–even one in which you would not expect to need a quality of a leader. At the end of the day, leadership does not mean to manage someone, to give orders…
It’s about being the first one to suggest an important change, follow a rule while others hesitate, go by an example with your commitment and attitude to work, and similar things. You can talk about a situation from work, school, or even from your personal life, or a sports club.
Remember that your attitude matters to the interviewers, and not the particular situation you narrate…
How have your experience prepared you for this role?
Mark my words: everything relates to everything, and you shouldn’t be ashamed of your past experience. Even if the only thing you’ve ever done was flipping burgers at McDonald’s, you actually learned a lot of things you’ll benefit from in your job with PepsiCo.
First of all, you learned basic working routines–to arrive to work at a certain time, and to leave at a certain time. Then of course there is customer service, you had colleagues you cooperated with. Sometimes you had fun and another time a conflict. The same will happen with your colleagues at PepsiCo, regardless of the position you try to get with the company. And you had your responsibilities every day.
Anything you did, be it volunteering only, has prepared you for your future role. It’s just about finding the connection and presenting it to the hiring managers… Obviously if you had a similar role before, and took care of duties you’ll take care of in PepsiCo, you can narrate them in your interview.
Tell me about a time when you didn’t have enough information and you had to make an important decision.
We have a separate article dedicated to this question here. Let me pick two sample answers from it:
I faced this situation every day in my job of a call center operator. We were making cold calls, and I had very little information about the prospects. I had five different versions of a short sales pitch ready, one minute long each, each fitting a different group of people. This depended a lot on their life situation but also emotions and priorities. Logically I did not have the information about the customer, and had to decide which pitch to use on a call. My strategy was to try to deduce as much as possible from the few initial words of the prospect–whether they were in work, at home, how they felt on a given day. I choose one of the pitches, and when I wasn’t sure, I went with the most successful one statistically. At the end of the day you can’t hesitate on such a call. Saying something is better than not saying anything at all.
I can’t recall such a situation from either my work or my personal life. I have been always good in setting criteria for my decisions, and in finding relevant and important information. Surely, it happened that I did not find all the information I needed, but in such a case I simply decided according to the information I managed to find. In my opinion this is the only reasonable way of making decisions.
We often work overtime here. How do you feel about the proposition?
You can forget about a 40-hour week at PepsiCo. Almost everyone works overtime. It seems to be the part of the company culture, though some former employees say that “PepsiCo squeezes you dry like a lemon, and when you have nothing left, and cannot stand it anymore, you simply leave or they fire you.”
Maybe there is some truth in that statement, but you should also realize that PepsiCo has over 250,000 employees. It’s impossible to maintain a unified company culture in an organization of that size. Some teams are better and some worse…
Anyway, you should ensure the hiring managers that you are ready to sacrifice something for the company. If others work overtime, why wouldn’t you? If other are mad, why would you not be?
At the end of the day, an experience from a Fortune 500 company always counts on the resume. If you cannot handle the workload after some time, you will simply leave. But with a better resume, and better chances to get hired in other huge corporation–so you can work overtime again…
Do you have any questions?
You do not have to force a question. If everything is clear, and if you have a good feeling from the interview, you can simply thank them for their time, and ask about the next steps of the recruitment process.
On the other hand, if they weren’t transparent about the salary offer, shift patterns, line of responsibility, or even their expectations, you should ask them about it. Do not sign an employment agreement unless you are sure what’s inside. Many people paid a high price for trusting a corporation just because it was big, and they thought nothing shady was going on inside…
Ready to ace your PepsiCo interview? Not yet? Check the following posts to continue your interview preparation:
- Guide on how to overcome interview nerves – Do not let your anxiety to silence you in the worst possible moment. Get rid of it and show them your very best.
- Salary negotiation tips – Maybe they will squeeze you dry and then spit you out, but you can at least get paid some decent salary while they do so. Learn how to negotiate it in an interview.
- McDonald’s interview questions – Learn what to expect in an interview with the most famous chain of franchise restaurants in the world.