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Author Topic: Interview questions:All the rope you need to hang yourself  (Read 19897 times)

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Offline metoo

Recently, I interviewed for an NLO position at my friendly neighborhood BWR.  It was a Behavior based/STAR interview.  I had studied here, and was ready for the tricky question that involved trying to see if I would consider voilating procedures, as well as the S.C.W.E. question, since this particular utility still had a scab on it's wounds in that area.  What I wasn't ready for was a question that went something like "At times the demands of the job require us to do things we might not usually do, tell me about a situation where you had to stretch, or lower your standards to get the job done".

That question took me by surprise.  Were they actually trying to see if I was flexible, or were they trying to see if I would break rules i.e. the end justifies the means?  While I still don't know what they wanted, I think my answer somewhat satisfied them, but I could have done better.  Those few points might have made the difference when it came to getting an offer.

Here's the question about questions.  What are some more examples of real life ways questions can or have been manipulated like the one I gave as an example.  If you know, please also say what the question is really asking. 

Please understand I'm not trying to give false or misleading answers, just trying to really understand what the question is asking, so I can better address it without feeling like I'm about to make my own noose.

Or............am I just reading too much into the question?

Fermi2

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That's the tricky question.

Mike

Offline guppy

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Ahhhh, what is the sound of one hand clapping, Grasshopper?
Keep honking.  I'm reloading.

Offline Marlin

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Was the scab over a procedural violation or malicious compliance? Knowing the history of the facility is always prudent for an interview. Shoulds, shalls and mays in procedures drive compliance standards unless the function is considered "tool box knowledge". This may have been a thought process question as much a black and white ethics question. Did you pull the thread to a conclusion?

Offline metoo

Thanks for the responses.   Marlin, here's basically how the NRC described the SCWE (scab) thing (quote sanitized):

  "there were numerous indications of weaknesses in corrective actions and management efforts to establish an environment where employees are consistently willing to raise safety concerns.  Some utility staff and managers felt that the company had emphasized production to a point which negatively impacted the handling of emergent equipment issues and associated operational decision-making.  Additionally, management had not been consistent in its support of Station staff identifying concerns and providing alternate views.  We found examples of unresolved conflict and poor communication between management and staff, as well as underlying staff and management frustration with poor equipment reliability.  The equipment issues stemmed, in part, from weaknesses in implementation of station processes such as work management and corrective action."    - Not my words, a quote from the NRC

There have also been cross-cutting issues dealing with having good procedures and following them.

I haven't read or heard of any malicious compliance issues.

Yes, it may have been just a question to see how I think. 

When asked the "tricky" question, I went with a nonnuclear power experience answer.  Why didn't I go with a nuclear answer to try to get all the points?  Because when I worked there before and now, the expectation for procedural compliance and bringing up safety issues was, on paper, and from the mouths of the upper management, the same.  While I do believe it's gotten much better (based upon conversations with mgmt., and worker friends that still work there), without some real time there on site, (and some retraining) I wouldn't be able to determine just where the culture currently sits with respect to what constitutes procedural compliance etc..  I didn't want my answer about "stretching or lowering my standards" experience that's over a decade old to be viewed through the lens of what procedural compliance etc. means today.  We had should/shall/may in place when I was there before.

I wasn't, and still aren't sure the question was a proxy for a procedural compliance violation question.

I can't say I pulled the thread to conclusion, although F/B I got from one of the SRO's that interviewed me (direct), and from another SRO friend I know in the plant (grapevine) was that I did very well during my interview, but the competition was very stiff, and they only hired half the EO's they originally were planning to hire.

I'm looking forward,  not looking back.   I'm scheduled for another test tomorrow, and if I pass it, will likely have another interview for a different job shortly.  I'd like to be able to better spot the "trick question", including understanding just what they're asking me.
« Last Edit: May 29, 2009, 08:55 by metoo »

Offline Marlin

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It sounds like you have a handle on it. Good Luck.

Offline bradley535

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Ahhhh, what is the sound of one hand clapping, Grasshopper?

I once asked my wife that... She slapped me.

Offline metoo

Wow!  What a waste of time worrying about twisted questions!   I want to tell you folks, I just had the interview of our (modern) lifetimes!  I got a former sub CO, who did enough of the HR stuff to make it legal, but most of the interview was a real Captain having a challenging conversation with someone who he was possibly  going to make an overture toward  for joining his team. 

I had five CO's during my Navy experience, some were better than others.  Two were real LEADERS!  That word, used in the  purest form, requires caps throughout.  This guy was a LEADER!  Great interview, Great Guy, and I hope to join his team.

The only wobble in the plan is I don't feel good today, and had a tough time with a test that on any other day of the year I could have smoked.  I passed the poss a couple months ago, and tests have always been a strong point of mine.  In fact, I know I smoked three out of four sections, but I just couldn't concentrate on the first section.  I probably should have had one more cup of Java before starting.   

Even if I didn't pass the test, I enjoyed the interview, because I was asked real questions, by a real LEADER, and from there, we'll let the chips fall where they may.

ps.  Any of you who have had the opportunity to work for a real LEADER (as well as less than leaders), know the ecstasy you feel when you meet a real one.  Those who haven't had the experience, I hope you someday do!
« Last Edit: May 30, 2009, 05:17 by metoo »

Fermi2

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Wow!  What a waste of time worrying about twisted questions!   I want to tell you folks, I just had the interview of our (modern) lifetimes!  I got a former sub CO, who did enough of the HR stuff to make it legal, but most of the interview was a real Captain having a challenging conversation with someone who he was possibly  going to make an overture toward  for joining his team. 

I had five CO's during my Navy experience, some were better than others.  Two were real LEADERS!  That word, used in the  purest form, requires caps throughout.  This guy was a LEADER!  Great interview, Great Guy, and I hope to join his team.

The only wobble in the plan is I don't feel good today, and had a tough time with a test that on any other day of the year I could have smoked.  I passed the poss a couple months ago, and tests have always been a strong point of mine.  In fact, I know I smoked three out of four sections, but I just couldn't concentrate on the first section.  I probably should have had one more cup of Java before starting.   

Even if I didn't pass the test, I enjoyed the interview, because I was asked real questions, by a real LEADER, and from there, we'll let the chips fall where they may.

ps.  Any of you who have had the opportunity to work for a real LEADER (as well as less than leaders), know the ecstasy you feel when you meet a real one.  Those who haven't had the experience, I hope you someday do!

So based on one interview, without ever having worked for the man OR having a conversation with someone who had worked for him you've decided this guy is a real LEADER? No one would ever buy me off that quickly but if you say so....

Mike

Offline HydroDave63


ps.  Any of you who have had the opportunity to work for a real LEADER (as well as less than leaders), know the ecstasy you feel when you meet a real one.  Those who haven't had the experience, I hope you someday do!

ecstasy....  ::)

must have been the alpha male pheromones....  http://alphadominance.com/?p=773

Offline metoo

Re: Interview questions:All the rope you need to hang yourself
« Reply #10 on: May 31, 2009, 07:08 »
Mike,  It wasn't apparent by what I wrote, but I did a good bit of homework on the guy before I interviewed.  All you mentioned, and more.

Hydro and Oh No......   "Ecstasy"   - Bad word choice on my part.  When you add the defn's, it almost sounds like I play for the other team!  I'm sure my wife of 25 years would not be impressed.  I wanted to replace the word, but will leave it in for it's commedic value. 
« Last Edit: May 31, 2009, 07:33 by metoo »

Fermi2

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Re: Interview questions:All the rope you need to hang yourself
« Reply #11 on: May 31, 2009, 07:28 »
I never declare anyone a LEADER until they've actually led me. Lots of smoke blowers out there.

Mike

Offline LT Dan

Re: Interview questions:All the rope you need to hang yourself
« Reply #12 on: May 31, 2009, 07:41 »
I never declare anyone a LEADER until they've actually led me. Lots of smoke blowers out there.

Mike

And in here too.... :-\

Offline metoo

Re: Interview questions:All the rope you need to hang yourself
« Reply #13 on: May 31, 2009, 07:46 »
I never declare anyone a LEADER until they've actually led me. Lots of smoke blowers out there.

Good point.  I think you're in a position where you hire people based  (at least in part) on their perceived leadership ability.  Do you mind sharing what you use to determine who is blowing smoke, and who isn't?

Offline DDMurray

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Re: Interview questions:All the rope you need to hang yourself
« Reply #14 on: May 31, 2009, 08:25 »
ecstasy....  ::)

must have been the alpha male pheromones....  http://alphadominance.com/?p=773

I learned not to make decisions on somebody's leadership skills until I see how they respond to bad news.

DM
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T. Roosevelt

Offline HydroDave63

Re: Interview questions:All the rope you need to hang yourself
« Reply #15 on: May 31, 2009, 09:09 »
I never declare anyone a LEADER until they've actually led me. Lots of smoke blowers out there.
Mike

Good point.  I think you're in a position where you hire people based  (at least in part) on their perceived leadership ability.  Do you mind sharing what you use to determine who is blowing smoke, and who isn't?

Methinks an interview with BZ would go something like this:




JustinHEMI05

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Re: Interview questions:All the rope you need to hang yourself
« Reply #16 on: May 31, 2009, 03:21 »
That deserves a ROFLcopter  :P


Fermi2

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Re: Interview questions:All the rope you need to hang yourself
« Reply #17 on: May 31, 2009, 07:28 »
LMAO!!!! Come to SQN, work for me, we'll have a blast!

Offline xobxdoc

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Re: Interview questions:All the rope you need to hang yourself
« Reply #18 on: Jun 01, 2009, 01:10 »

ps.  Any of you who have had the opportunity to work for a real LEADER (as well as less than leaders), know the ecstasy you feel when you meet a real one.  Those who haven't had the experience, I hope you someday do!

This sounds like one for Penthouse Forum, not Nukeworker

Offline retired nuke

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Re: Interview questions:All the rope you need to hang yourself
« Reply #19 on: Jun 01, 2009, 01:58 »
This sounds like one for Penthouse Forum, not Nukeworker

Nah, sounds like Beavis and Butthead in any episode that contains Todd.....
Remember who you love. Remember what is sacred. Remember what is true.
Remember that you will die, and that this day is a gift. Remember how you wish to live, may the blessing of the Lord be with you

Offline HydroDave63

Re: Interview questions:All the rope you need to hang yourself
« Reply #20 on: Jun 01, 2009, 02:28 »
This sounds like one for Penthouse Forum, not Nukeworker

especially with the

 
... I did a good bit of homework on the guy before I interviewed.  All you mentioned, and more.

maybe a lil "Fatal Attraction" goin' on there?  :P


Offline xobxdoc

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Re: Interview questions:All the rope you need to hang yourself
« Reply #21 on: Jun 01, 2009, 02:38 »
Reminds me of the Simpson's episode where Smithers was describing his fantasy of Mr. Burns flying through his window in a nightgown.

Offline NukeLDO

Re: Interview questions:All the rope you need to hang yourself
« Reply #22 on: Nov 09, 2009, 06:03 »
Yes, its an old topic, but since I just went through an interview, I thought I'd post my experience.
Had a phone interview today with a company looking to hire their next generation of SRO Instructors for their new plants.  Was warned up front that the interview would be behavior based and take 30-45 minutes.  Did a lot of company research and read up on the STAR interview technique.  Printed off a bunch of questions and made notes.
Well, when it came down to brass tacks, I felt wholly unprepared.  Simply reading, thinking about my responses to potential questions, and making some notes wasn't enough.  They need to be practiced, out loud, with someone.
Got the first softball, but by the fourth or fifth question I was flustered, and it showed.  Spent the whole drive home today thinking about what I should have said vs. what I actually said.
But, nothing ventured, nothing gained.  I learned a alot from the interview and know what to do different the next time.
The company promised to get back with me within about 2 weeks and let me know. 
Once in while you get shown the light in the strangest of places if you look at it right

Offline Creeker

Re: Interview questions:All the rope you need to hang yourself
« Reply #23 on: Nov 09, 2009, 08:48 »
It's a good thing to learn for the guys breaking into the business, and have phone interviews ahead and face to face interviews ahead.  Write down all the example interview questions that you find on these forums, and then write down answers.  Practice them out loud, and come up with real life adventures to back up your answers ahead of time.  It's no fun when you're struggling during the interview to come up with yet another different example to show how you reinforced the 2-minute drill in a leadership role.  That stuff needs to be thought out ahead of time.  Then, as you go through interviews, and other surprise questions arise, add them to your repertoire, and you'll continually improve. 

You can also build your list of questions to ask them!  My first phone interview with Wolf Creek was somewhat embarrassing when they finished asking me questions, and suddenly asked what questions I had for them.  I had nothing!  I punted a minute, by asking some lame question about golf courses in the area, and that gave me a minute to think up a couple reasonable questions.  I followed up with a question about technical training programs on site, and could hear the relief in the interviewers voice as he said "Now, that's a good question!" 

JustinHEMI05

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Re: Interview questions:All the rope you need to hang yourself
« Reply #24 on: Nov 10, 2009, 12:36 »
Yes, its an old topic, but since I just went through an interview, I thought I'd post my experience.
Had a phone interview today with a company looking to hire their next generation of SRO Instructors for their new plants.  Was warned up front that the interview would be behavior based and take 30-45 minutes.  Did a lot of company research and read up on the STAR interview technique.  Printed off a bunch of questions and made notes.
Well, when it came down to brass tacks, I felt wholly unprepared.  Simply reading, thinking about my responses to potential questions, and making some notes wasn't enough.  They need to be practiced, out loud, with someone.
Got the first softball, but by the fourth or fifth question I was flustered, and it showed.  Spent the whole drive home today thinking about what I should have said vs. what I actually said.
But, nothing ventured, nothing gained.  I learned a alot from the interview and know what to do different the next time.
The company promised to get back with me within about 2 weeks and let me know. 

Except you are going to call in exactly 7 days, correct? :)

 


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