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Offline RVExotics

A reflection on the Interview
« on: Aug 08, 2008, 05:05 »
I had my interview yesterday. Thanks for various threads on this site, I knew the interview would consist of various behavioral questions, so I did a bit of research into those kinds of interviews and found some tips such as preparing 3-5 stories that could illustrate qualities like teamwork, leadership, difficult choices, etc. Before I went in for the interview, I prepared a set of 3 identical portfolios that I felt illustrated my qualifications for the job. Apparently, preparing portfolios like this is a somewhat uncommon thing. I can't say one way or another just yet how well it helps me, but I was thanked by all three of my interview panel for preparing them.

That reminds me, you may wonder how I knew my panel would consist of three people, thus how I knew to prepare three portfolios? Well, thanks goes to my inside connection who works closely with the person in charge of hiring, who happened to be one on the interview panel. If you're considering preparing a portfolio, I recommend you contact the head of the HR department, who will probably be in the interview him/herself, and ask how many will be there. If in doubt, prepare more than enough.

The interview began the way almost every interview I've had began - "Tell us a little about yourself, your oral resume if you will, about your life and what you've done. Then we'll get to the behavioral questions." So I went through my spiel about school, work, and my hobbies. Once I was finished, the lead interviewer (the person most in charge of hiring people), asked the first question. All three of them jotted down notes while I was speaking. With behavioral questions, they're looking for you to use an actual example that happened in your past and how you dealt with it. I have a tendency to go off into the hypothetical, so I had to constantly remind myself to stick with the facts rather than the 'what ifs.' Once I was finished, the second person in the line asked her question, then the last person, and the process repeated until I had answered roughly 6-8 questions. I did use the same example for two of the questions, because it just fit so nicely with the second question.

I tend to get very nervous before things like this, and I certainly was walking into the training building, but once I walked into the interview room I just focused on the task at hand. All three people on the panel were very relaxed and friendly, which helped ease the tension. I even managed to squeeze in a few jokes and get them to laugh on a few occasions. I always try to do that whenever possible for my part.

I certainly felt a lot more confident about it than I did with the POSS test (yikes), but now it's just a waiting game. I was told it could be 2-4 weeks before I hear anything. I'm hoping to hear something before 2 weeks is up, but from some of the posts here at nukeworker, the nuke industry isn't always the quickest and most efficient when it comes to things like these.

So that was my experience. I didn't think I was going to document it here like I did my POSS test, but when I searched here for interviews, I didn't find a whole lot and figured this might help someone. Oh, I dressed in a coat and tie. As cliche as it is, you only get one chance to make a first impression. I know I was the most dressed during my POSS test (I was the only one there in a dress shirt and tie) so maybe that helps.

Hopefully someone gets something out of this. I'll update once I get the nod either way.
« Last Edit: Oct 05, 2008, 10:07 by RVExotics »

JustinHEMI05

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Re: A reflection on the Interview
« Reply #1 on: Aug 16, 2008, 11:50 »
Thanks for the write up! Good luck!

I did a similar thing with the portfolios... but I felt like a chump when they gave them back at the end and one guy was "hate to see you waste your money on that fancy paper."  :-\ :'(

Got the job anyway.  ;D

Also, I wouldn't wait to hear from them. Exactly one week from the interview, I would start calling the senior person on your panel, IMO.  Maybe others can chime in, but I think its a good idea to show some further interest in the job by calling. Also, did you send a thank you note?


Justin
« Last Edit: Aug 16, 2008, 11:52 by JustinHEMI »

Offline RVExotics

Re: A reflection on the Interview
« Reply #2 on: Aug 17, 2008, 12:17 »
Ouch, that would be awkward if they handed the portfolio back. Fortunately in my case, all three of them kept them and thanked me for making them. Great to hear you got the job though!

It has now been a little over one week and I've learned through a friend who works there that I was placed in the "middle ground" area, the one where they're not absolutely going to hire me but they're not going to turn me down either. Apparently this middle area is where most of those they interview go. I have an inside connection, and through him I know I'm "still in the running," so I'm hoping his recommendation will be enough to push me above the others when they come down to making the final selections. I feel like I'm waiting on some sort of contest...

Anyway, thank you for the tip. I've considered calling the guy, but I know how busy they are right now and didn't want to bug him. I'll reconsider giving him a quick call tomorrow, just to ask how things are going in the hiring process and when I might know something. Keep up the good vibes!  ;D
« Last Edit: Oct 05, 2008, 10:09 by RVExotics »

Offline dinutt

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Re: A reflection on the Interview
« Reply #3 on: Aug 17, 2008, 09:09 »
   8)  RV EXOTICS  it sure sounds like you did a fine job with the interview process with all the basis covered and your strategy in the interview you used..I too think a phone call to these folks lets them know you are serious and would like the opportunity to join their team.  (don't worry about them being too busy)  go for it ! it will make the whole process worth it for you in the end. best of luck and do keep us posted. Karma to you !!!!!!!  :)
Di

Offline HousePuke

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Re: A reflection on the Interview
« Reply #4 on: Aug 18, 2008, 12:37 »
RV EXOTICS good luck. 
I interviewed with Entergy (a different site though) last fall.  I got the call with a job offer for a different position than what I interviewed for.  I took it and it seems to have been a good choice.
Nice touch with the portfolio, I'll have to remember that one.  I went into the interview cold, but it sounds like the exact same type of interview I had.  They called me two days after the interview. 
Again, good luck ;)
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Offline UncaBuffalo

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Re: A reflection on the Interview
« Reply #5 on: Aug 18, 2008, 01:20 »
So that was my experience. I didn't think I was going to document it here like I did my POSS test, but when I searched here for interviews, I didn't find a whole lot and figured this might help someone. Oh, I dressed in a coat and tie. As cliche as it is, you only get one chance to make a first impression. I know I was the most dressed during my POSS test (I was the only one there in a dress shirt and tie) so maybe that helps.

Hey RVExotics!  Thanks for telling us your experiences!  I am never that prepared going into an interview, so loved your ideas about portfolios & prepared examples...I will incorporate those ideas next time.

One thing about the coat & tie.  I am a firm believer that it is possible to over-dress for an interview.  I always feel that dressing one step above what you would wear at work is a good rule-of-thumb.  (I'm not sure what position you are applying for, but you mention taking the POSS.)  I have always felt that they want to know if the auxiliary operator (and any other worker spending a lot of time in the plant) is willing to dive in and get dirty.  Therefore, when I have interviewed for operator or technician positions, I have worn Dockers & a polo shirt.  But you might very well be aiming for a control room position, in which case, the tie would be the weapon-of-choice (using the one-step-up rule).  Just my take on it.

Good luck!  :)

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Offline RVExotics

Re: A reflection on the Interview
« Reply #6 on: Aug 20, 2008, 09:43 »
Well, I don't want to speak with complete confidence too terribly soon, but after hearing a bit of inside news the other day from my insider friend, it looks like I will not be getting it this time. Such is life. Thank you all for your advice and input. It was invaluable for preparing me for this process. If I ever apply again, I guess I'll know not to put too much hope into it, even when it seems like a pretty sure bet.
« Last Edit: Oct 05, 2008, 10:12 by RVExotics »

Offline Smooth Operator

Re: A reflection on the Interview
« Reply #7 on: Aug 21, 2008, 07:32 »
You never know about an Ops department from one place to another. Someone, somewhere sets some arbitrary hiring standard that may or may not prove successful. Of course in the public hiring announcement its a general list of quals, but who knows how that gets applied behind closed doors.

Case in point. I know of a current class of STA candidates (SROs) who recently, all but 1, failed an NRC exam (8 of 9). I am pretty sure they were all engineers and all seemingly perfect candidates, on paper. I know one of the guys, very intelligent.

I also know a guy who repeatedly every couple of years applied for an STA spot and was rejected. Ex-Navy ELT, HP, self made guy, finished his BS and MS, but still, no spot. A poster child (nuke engineer) for Equal Opportunity failed out miserably, barely passed GF, IIRC. After so many rejections, the non-traditional learned individual moved on to better things, but I bet he still fumes everytime a bunch of traditional candidates with the right papers fail.

I wouldn't take your possible rejection personally. My class of EOs is about 50/30/20 Navy/College types/Technical non-nukes and everybody is doing fair if not better. You may just of clashed with the culture of that plant.

Offline dinutt

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Re: A reflection on the Interview
« Reply #8 on: Aug 21, 2008, 08:35 »
Rvexotics you sound so disappointed not much I can say other than sorry :(  it seemed to have gone south on you... but you did have a good learning experience out of this and sometimes if you try too hard at anything it ends up this way, disappointed and discouraged...I think the guy that  was conducting your interview didn't even have your job teaching on his mind and went on with the interview.as planned You obviously passed the POSS test which in the industry seems to be a challenge to pass at alot of sites so this may not be the place (location) for you to be at Try  others and maybe find out the areas of which you need to improve on that took place in your interveiw they felt needed some attention and guidance for your next venture (or do you even care at this point).above all keep looking  keep your confidence.Also are you certain you didn't get this position inside contact or not  ??? keep us posted and best of luck....
Di

Offline RVExotics

Re: A reflection on the Interview
« Reply #9 on: Aug 21, 2008, 10:11 »
I will certainly update as soon as I get the final say. I believe their last round of interviews will be next Thursday, so I'll probably be notified shortly afterward. There's still a small glimmer of hope as far as I know, but I'm trying not to get my hopes up too much about it.

The only part during the interview where I might have faltered, and there is nothing I could've done about it, is when one of the interviewers asked if I had ever worked any physical labor jobs since the AO position would require some. I said that no, I hadn't officially worked any jobs like that since my jobs up to that point were teaching (no physical labor, just lots of mental labor!) and working at Wal-Mart. I did immediately follow up with the fact that the hobbies I choose to do almost all require me to perform some amount of physical labor: the animals I raise (5.5' 150lb birds, not easy to manage), hiking, canoeing, biking. I guess I probably shouldn't have initially approached the answer to that question in the negative, but I was just being honest. I guess I should've worked a landscaping or greenhouse job a summer or two ago.

That probably raised some questions about my ability to cope with physical labor because of my stature (5'10" 145 lbs). I may look kind of small, but if I can haul an adult emu kicking and flailing across a 2 acre pen and dump it into a trailer...well I can haul some pipes or tubing around a power plant! hah 

So on that note, who wants to buy some supplemental AFLAC health insurance? ;)
« Last Edit: Oct 05, 2008, 10:15 by RVExotics »

PapaHotelSailor

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Re: A reflection on the Interview
« Reply #10 on: Aug 22, 2008, 03:38 »
ANO is coming here to Pearl Harbor to interview me and some other Navy nukes on September 3-5. I have been told by the AOps that those of us who are getting out of the Navy soon are interviewing for those 5 remaining positions you talked about. The rest of us, maybe 5 more, are interviewing for next year. As far as us Navy guys go, we all have between 6 and 9 years operational experience, and we are all working with the nuclear side of the shipyard for now, but we have no college degrees. I hope these dates will give you a better idea of when to expect an answer. Most of all, as naive as it sounds, since you are the competition.... I wish you success.
« Last Edit: Aug 22, 2008, 03:46 by PapaHotelSailor »

Offline Frau

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Re: A reflection on the Interview
« Reply #11 on: Aug 22, 2008, 04:29 »
The only part during the interview where I might have faltered... is when one of the interviewers asked if I had ever worked any physical labor jobs since the AO position would require some. I said that no, I hadn't officially worked any jobs like that since my jobs up to that point were teaching (no physical labor, just lots of mental labor!) ... I guess I probably shouldn't have initially approached the answer to that question in the negative, but I was just being honest. ...

I don't think that this has anything to do with the fact that you might not get a job with ANO. The AO job is not that strenuous at all. Yes there is some walking, some light lifting, some big valves to operate, but you're not a pipe fitter or a member of maintenance rigging and building things. The AOs operate plant equipment and do surveillances on it. I don't know how it is at ANO, but here at VY we are also on the fire brigade. Which means yes there is a need to be fit, ( hauling some tools around, wearing 50lbs of gear, and possibly, if the need be, dragging your partner out of danger), but adrenalin helps with a lot of that stuff.
I have a feeling it's because you don't really have the background that the Ex-Nukes do, hate it as you may. Teaching science is great, being able to cope with environmental stress, also great. But if you can't listen to a pump and know that something doesn't sound right, or know that when you operated a certain valve or breaker that the expected results weren't there, well then you can't class yourself as being equally qualified. Now please don't take this the wrong way, I know  plenty of people who are AOs here with me that had no Navy background that can do the job just as well as the rest of us. But then you also have the ones, who haven't a clue, but are here because they can score high on tests. Which means we need to watch them, and make sure that they truly understand the results of their actions.
Just a quick question though. Why were you intrested in the job to begin with? And why would you put all your eggs in one basket (but the senior hiring person knew I had forfeited my teaching position and is still making me wait for the final word until well past the time I could possibly get another teaching position) for a complete change of career move? I guess that's two questions. Either way, best of luck with whichever path you choose. Plants are on a hiring frenzy right now. So if you don't get in this class there is one right around the corner. We hired an AO for a class that doesn't start for another 8 months. You never know what is going through the Ops Management brains. Here's one tip though, Don't give up!  ;)
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Offline RVExotics

Re: A reflection on the Interview
« Reply #12 on: Aug 22, 2008, 08:38 »
PapaHotelSailor,
Thanks for posting that. It gives me a better idea about what to expect the next time around. I completely understand where they're coming from and know why ex-Navy nukes would be a great asset. The guy I know who works there seemed to think they would place a lot of value in someone being local to the area so that they wouldn't spend a fortune on training someone who would just leave as soon as he/she was licensed. I guess maybe he was incorrect about that. I wish you the best of luck as well.

Frau,
You bring up some great points as well. I can only imagine how much hands on experience a Navy nuke would get during service. I know I'd be completely unqualified compared to them. I would hope that they wouldn't only try to hire ex-Navy people though, at least to get some diverse backgrounds in the plant.

You asked why I was willing to put all my eggs in one basket, as it were? Had I not had the person I knew there who seemed to imply it looked pretty rosy, I wouldn't have tried it this time around. The simplest answer as to why I was willing to risk so much would be income. I have a lot of student loan debt and whatnot, and an AO salary even starting out would've allowed me to erase it within two years easily, as opposed to the 4-5 years I'm looking at. Ultimately, that would lead to house building or buying sooner, etc. I have talked at length with my friend about what AOs do, and ROs, and have seen the simulators at the plant and find it all fascinating. I just think it would be a challenging, exciting job that would have some pretty nice rewards.

If I don't get it this time around, I'm going to try again in January, and then again in May. If I still don't get it by that point (persistence has to count for something!) then I'll just return to my teaching career.

Again, thank you all for your input.
« Last Edit: Oct 05, 2008, 10:17 by RVExotics »

Offline HydroDave63

Re: A reflection on the Interview
« Reply #13 on: Aug 23, 2008, 12:12 »
Some of the supplemental staffing contractor companies such as Volt, Bechtel and Fluor have positions called Engineering Aide, that does a bunch of para-techincal work to free up engineers. Might want to poke all 3 of those to see who staffs in your area.

PapaHotelSailor

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Re: A reflection on the Interview
« Reply #14 on: Aug 27, 2008, 01:59 »
Let me clarify my last post. Entergy reps will be here from the 2nd through the 5th. there are about 30 people interested, but only 2 are interviewing for jobs at ANO. The rest of them are interviewinf for positions in the NE. I am interviewing for next summer, and the other guy is available in January. Both of us are Arkansas natives, He is from Harrison, and I am from southern Arkansas. So, there isn't as much competion for you as I originally thought. Once again, Good Luck, and maybe we will see each other next year.

The other thing I wanted to tell you was, after talking to the rep who will be conducting interviews, ANO tries to hire 50% navy 50% technical degree workers.
« Last Edit: Aug 27, 2008, 02:03 by PapaHotelSailor »

 


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