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skewter30

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So what should I expect during my interview.
« on: Jan 30, 2009, 03:59 »
Since most of you have been through the interview process before, I would appreciate an insight into what I should expect during an interview for Associate Plant Operator.

Other than the typical HR questions, what were you asked?

Is there anything you think I should be aware of or prepare myself for?  I am a very personable guy and I have no trouble articulating my thoughts.  I am just concerned that they are going to ask some technical questions that I am not prepared to answer.

Thanks in advance for your thoughts.

Offline 93-383

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Re: So what should I expect during my interview.
« Reply #1 on: Jan 30, 2009, 04:07 »
I've done several interviews in the last couple of weeks most of the questions are "behavior based" typically they start "describe a situation when _________, how did you handle it and what was the result"

Most questions are looking for your previous actions in response to stress, teamwork, difficult coworkers, problem solving, adapting to changes, integrity, etc.

I have not been asked many of the traditional interview questions you would find on sites like careerbuilder.com like,

-tell me about yourself
-what is your greatest strength
-what is your greatest weakness
-why should we hire you over other candidates
-why do you want to work here (well I've kinda got that one)

I've found the best way to answer the behavior based questions is to follow a simple format. Tell them a short story about a situation that fits the question, say what you did, say what effect your actions had try to put the results in a quantitative manner, amount of time money saved etc.
« Last Edit: Jan 30, 2009, 04:11 by 93-383 »

BoilerHP

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Re: So what should I expect during my interview.
« Reply #2 on: Jan 30, 2009, 04:10 »
I have done... hmm 4 maybe 5 interviews with Exelon... all of theirs were situation/behavioral questions.

I recommend you google "situational interview questions" or "Behavioral interview questions".

Good luck!

JustinHEMI05

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Re: So what should I expect during my interview.
« Reply #3 on: Jan 30, 2009, 06:48 »
Google STAR interviewing technique.

Justin

Offline Harley Rider

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Re: So what should I expect during my interview.
« Reply #4 on: Jan 31, 2009, 12:53 »
I've done several interviews in the last couple of weeks most of the questions are "behavior based" typically they start "describe a situation when _________, how did you handle it and what was the result"

Most questions are looking for your previous actions in response to stress, teamwork, difficult coworkers, problem solving, adapting to changes, integrity, etc.

I have not been asked many of the traditional interview questions you would find on sites like careerbuilder.com like,

-tell me about yourself
-what is your greatest strength
-what is your greatest weakness
-why should we hire you over other candidates
-why do you want to work here (well I've kinda got that one)

I've found the best way to answer the behavior based questions is to follow a simple format. Tell them a short story about a situation that fits the question, say what you did, say what effect your actions had try to put the results in a quantitative manner, amount of time money saved etc.

93-383 and everyone else on this thread hit the nail on the head. What I received was a panel interview (5 interviewers) behavioral type question format. I will say that the first question they asked me was "Tell us about yourself". The seminars and TAP classes I took in the Navy prepared me very well to answer this very important first question. They do not want to hear that you are this old, got 4 ankle biters, been married to your 3rd wife for 2 years (this time it's for real) and attend the first baptist church regularly cept for deer / football / nascar season. What they would like to here is: Thank you for asking Mr Smith. For the past  X years I have been in the following field performing the following position. During that time I supervised X personnel and was able to increase efficiency, productivity, reduce man hours, performed process improvement etc. I believe that I bring the requisite talents, skill sets, ability to the position you are hiring for based upon my prior achievements / performance. Basically, if they ask that question and you answer it well it will set a positive tone for the interview. Following that I was asked 4 questions that required specific examples of how I handled specific situations. I was told that if I answered in generalities I would be asked to clarify.

1. Describe a situation where you had to supervise a procedure that could not be performed as written.
2. Describe a situation where you delegated authority and how did you follow up to insure the task was completed correctly.
3. Describe a situation where you were given a task by a superior that you did not agree with and how you accomplished it.
4. Describe a process improvement that you implemented and how you measured the effectiveness.

There was a 5th question and that basically, in a nutshell, was tell us why we should hire you. Do not be modest because I think they want you to be confident in your own abilities. That is my expert opinion based on the thousands of interviews I have done, well two that I have done (radcon math) but it seemed to work for me. Good luck and be safe.

Despite inflation, a penny is still a fair price for the thoughts of many people

mlslstephens

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Re: So what should I expect during my interview.
« Reply #5 on: Jan 31, 2009, 09:19 »


-tell me about yourself
-what is your greatest strength
-what is your greatest weakness
-why should we hire you over other candidates
-why do you want to work here (well I've kinda got that one)

Just a little example of what 93 is talking about.  He is dead on with his insight.

The other day, my boss's boss brought an applicant by on a tour of the site.  The applicant and I were friends in the Navy.  Based on his skills, qualifications and resume, I was sure that he would get the job.  Unfortunately for him, his interview went poorly.  The managers that conducted the interview got my opinion (very positive) on the guy prior to the interview so they really thought they would end up hiring him.  However, when asked about his weaknesses, he told them that he didn't have any.  After several leading questions to direct him to a situation where he could talk about a weakness; he admitted again that he had no weaknesses.   They didn't hire him!

Moral of the story; come prepared to discuss both strengths and weaknesses.
Side note: Be careful when discussing weaknesses.  "I'm addicted to crack and I can't help stealing from my employer" is going to be tough to explain.  However, if you are weak at administrative skills but you can give ways in which you are improving in these areas, it will show a positive trait about yourself.

Good luck.

Fermi2

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Re: So what should I expect during my interview.
« Reply #6 on: Jan 31, 2009, 11:50 »
Mike,

Great point. Here's another example. Three years ago a friend of mine was applying for an NLO job. He'd a great guy and I'm certain he'd make a wonderful operator. I told him he could almost be assured he'd be asked something like "You're about to go out and do a job and your boss says hey, I want you to do it this way as next week we're going to start doing it this way and I think it's better". I've seen this question or something like it on virtually every interview I've been a part of. In fact a couple friends of mine and myself had conducted mock interview for him. The only CORRECT answer of course is "No, the way I was trained was to do it this certain way and the procedure reflects doing it the way I was trained so if you want me to do it your way then change the procedure first". It's pretty much a go no go question. You blow this one and it doesn't matter how well you do on the others.
So, Item One: The guy wants to bring his wife to Chattanooga in fact she insists on coming. I'm good with it except in my view her being there sort of takes his focus away from what he's REALLY there for. His interview is supposed to be at 2PM. She wanted to go to some sort of Home Appliances party so they didn't leave until 11PM the night before, it's a 6 hour drive. He got to my house at 5am, slept 4 hours then they went house hunting.

Item Two: He gets to the interview, and tells a joke!

Item Three: They ask him the question, and his answer is " Well if the Boss tells me to do it that way then I guess I do it that way?" They say what if you know his way is wrong and he says "He's the boss"

He told me how he answered it and I was about floored. In Fact I was home and got a call from one of the interviewers asking what the hell Mike? Needless to say he didn't get the job.
The sad thing is I know this guy well and his standards are very good. We're best friends but he lost focus and payed the price.

Now on the other side. We have a shift manager named Frank Soens. Ex Navy Officer, ex SM at Turkey Point and Salem, ex OPs Manager. He took a few months off from the industry and a friend of his recommended he come to Sequoyah. Now I was on the team that interviewed Frank and he NAILED it. First the guy is just plain smart, and second there's not anything he can't or won't question. Some guys come to you with an impressive background and end up not being very impressive. Frank actually exceeds his background. About 60% of the time we relieve each other and we work on side projects together. He's the real deal. Now during his interview Frank did two things that I found extremely impressive which were well and above the most impressive interview of which I've ever been a part of.

1: He asked questions, at the end of the interview he asked us 29 questions of his own. You could tell he wanted to make certain he was coming to the right place and that our standards of excellence were in line with his.(By the way to this day I tease Frank about how I started taking points off his interview after question 7).

2: When asked about weaknesses this guy who in my view is as close to a nuclear god as anyone listed 7 weaknesses and headed off the next question by telling us what he was doing about them then used as an example a situation where he received feedback from his boss about something he screwed up at one time and what he did with that feedback.

All in all, this guy, who probably would have gotten the job anyway came in absolutely focused and blew us so completely away we talked about his interview for weeks afterward. There's a lesson to be learned there for anyone.

Another example: Mike NaVLI4 came in straight out of the Navy to interview for training. He impressed us so much both Ops and Training wanted him and I was assigned to ensure he stayed interested in us while the job offer was being processed. Now I wasn't at Mike's interview but I can tell you this, I met Mike in the training center lobby the day of his interview and from the moment I shook his hand he gave off an aura of quiet confidence that we nukes all seem to be able to sense. He looked like he had his shit together and more importantly he gave an overall impression of having it together too. The team noticed it. It's ok to have a bit of quiet swagger when you're about to be interviewed so long as it's not cocky. Mike hit it perfect, everyone who came into contact with him noticed it, and when he spoke I was told it added a lot of credibility to his answers. Valuable hint or tip. Be confident and be an active listener. Mike and Frank were both they asked questions based on items brought up in the interview, they were flexible, never looked surprised and just went out and did it. It showed and we have a better organization because we hired them.

Now I know they're both veterans and had impressive accomplishments but the key point here is those accomplishments did not get them their jobs. The way they handled themselves and the focus they brought to the interview is what sold us. There was no doubt from the first handshake these guys had a mission, not just a goal to get a job with TVA and when the final decision was to be made they'd make certain if the decision was negative it'd be because we ran out of money to hire or the world ended.

Mike


JustinHEMI05

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Re: So what should I expect during my interview.
« Reply #7 on: Jan 31, 2009, 11:51 »
Nice anecdote. Just goes to show you need to be prepared to answer these situational type questions. You really cannot walk into one of these interviews cold. I think that must have been the case with a sharp friend out of the Navy, in that he went from "everyone likes him" to "his interviews are not going well" at my company. My guess is that his interviews were similar to your friends, not prepared to answer these types of questions. He finally did get hired at TMI though as an NLO.

Justin

mlslstephens

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Re: So what should I expect during my interview.
« Reply #8 on: Jan 31, 2009, 12:07 »
Mike,
Thanks for the kind words.  The truth of the matter is that you helped me a great deal in preparing for my interview process.  That is why I'm a huge fan of this website. 

Offline dagiffy

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Re: So what should I expect during my interview.
« Reply #9 on: Feb 01, 2009, 12:04 »


1: He asked questions, at the end of the interview he asked us 29 questions of his own. You could tell he wanted to make certain he was coming to the right place and that our standards of excellence were in line with his.(By the way to this day I tease Frank about how I started taking points off his interview after question 7).

2: When asked about weaknesses this guy who in my view is as close to a nuclear god as anyone listed 7 weaknesses and headed off the next question by telling us what he was doing about them then used as an example a situation where he received feedback from his boss about something he screwed up at one time and what he did with that feedback.



Regarding the above, I've been formulating some of my own responses in kind. Did he have them written on a 3X5 card or just pull them from memory, one after the other?

Offline Creeker

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Re: So what should I expect during my interview.
« Reply #10 on: Feb 01, 2009, 12:40 »
I would not recommend bringing any aids to your interview... ie 3x5 cards, etc...   I can't quite put my finger on why... But I'd have the questions thought out before hand. 

Offline Bleyse

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Re: So what should I expect during my interview.
« Reply #11 on: Feb 01, 2009, 06:44 »
I brought a standard sized legal pad inside of a folder with questions on it for after the interview.  I asked the panel the questions and I took notes on their responses.  They told me as we were finishing up that they were impressed that I bothered to ask questions and that they were really surprised that most people they had interviewed didn't even bother asking any.

I got the job and I'm almost finished with NLO training now.
« Last Edit: Feb 01, 2009, 06:46 by Bleyse »

Offline Creeker

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Re: So what should I expect during my interview.
« Reply #12 on: Feb 01, 2009, 09:51 »
Can't argue with success... On second thought, that sounds pretty good!  But I like the legal pad better than the 3x5's.

BoilerHP

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Re: So what should I expect during my interview.
« Reply #13 on: Feb 01, 2009, 10:20 »
I would not recommend bringing any aids to your interview... ie 3x5 cards, etc...   I can't quite put my finger on why... But I'd have the questions thought out before hand. 

Totally agree, they want to know how you think and articulate as you analyze the situation in which you are discussing. It is like giving a speech or presentation, it takes away from the "preparedness" of the event on your part. Make note cards... just in your head ;)


I brought a standard sized legal pad inside of a folder with questions on it for after the interview.  I asked the panel the questions and I took notes on their responses.  They told me as we were finishing up that they were impressed that I bothered to ask questions and that they were really surprised that most people they had interviewed didn't even bother asking any.

I did the exact same thing, I knew the area well but certainly had more detailed questions regarding operations and the position it self. They actually asked me some questions regarding the area and if the location of the plant is really where I want to be in the interview it self. I think this was in part to see who actually really wanted the job and did further research on the site as well as the surrounding area (just my theory). I always felt like the interview is for them to get to know me in more detail and for me to get to know the company in more detail... make use of this chance. I started having questions pop into my head a fairly long time prior to the interview, I began to write these down in the note pad so I would not forget them.

Also, Broadzilla had a Nobel Prize worthy post there.
« Last Edit: Feb 01, 2009, 10:21 by BoilerHP »

Fermi2

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Re: So what should I expect during my interview.
« Reply #14 on: Feb 01, 2009, 10:27 »
Thanks,

I hoped I helped at least one person make it through an interview and get a job.

Mike

Offline Preciousblue1965

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Re: So what should I expect during my interview.
« Reply #15 on: Feb 01, 2009, 11:43 »
I think I am going to have to get some help from you guys in the future.

I just watched "The China Syndrome" for the first time last night(ok cue the unkind words, the overabundance of those who would want to smite me for this, and the downward shaking of heads).

After watching that movie, I started to get the operations itch again.  I wanted to be that guy in the control room.  Incidently, the guy who was reading the radiographs really stuck out since I have to read radiographs on numerous occasions for the job I do now.  So I may be calling on some of you guys for a little help in the future.
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Fermi2

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Re: So what should I expect during my interview.
« Reply #16 on: Feb 01, 2009, 12:41 »
Well I'd love to help you. The Operations itch is a hard bugger to get rid of. I'm actually working towards getting out of the industry within the next couple years as I'm bored and have other things I want to do. But every now and then something thrilling happens and I know it'll be tough to get that adrenaline rush elsewhere!

Mike

skewter30

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Re: So what should I expect during my interview.
« Reply #17 on: Feb 02, 2009, 03:47 »
OK I forgot to ask.  Is this a formal dress code interview.  I am not familiar with the industry.  Dress pants and sprts coat or full suit?  I am leaning towards the suit.

Fermi2

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Re: So what should I expect during my interview.
« Reply #18 on: Feb 02, 2009, 08:03 »
Ask them. You can never go wrong with at least a tie.

Mike

JustinHEMI05

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Re: So what should I expect during my interview.
« Reply #19 on: Feb 02, 2009, 11:36 »
Yes, don't be afraid to call up HR and ask. At least some nice slacks, a buttoned/collared shirt and a tie. I recommend flat front khaki pants and a chambray shirt (interestingly, very similar to what many plants wear in ops:)), add in a color coordinated tie. Make sure your shoes and belt match. Suit might be overboard but I doubt it could really hurt you, you would just be more uncomfortable. They want you to be comfortable and you should try to be comfortable. So if you ask and they say shirt and tie, no need to overdress as it doesn't get you brownie points. good luck!

Justin
« Last Edit: Feb 02, 2009, 11:37 by JustinHEMI »

Offline dagiffy

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Re: So what should I expect during my interview.
« Reply #20 on: Feb 03, 2009, 12:32 »
I had my interview and POSS today. Since I flew from the west coast to NY it took me all day to get there. My flight was supposed to leave at 8 a.m. It was delayed until 10:30, which of course meant I'd miss my connection by wide margin in Wash DC. I told the ticket people, hey, I have a big test and an interview first thing tomorrow morning. I can't be pulling into town at 1 a.m. and get 3 hours sleep. Get me on another flight please. So they did. I ended up leaving at 11:30, stopped in O'Hare, delayed again because they couldn't find a crew for our plane. I ended up landing in Syracuse at 9 p.m., another 45 mins to get my rental, and another hour to drive the 50 miles to the hotel. I got about 4 1/2 hours of sleep after traveling 12 hours, getting to bed after midnight.

Lesson: if you are depending on air travel and you are going cross country, ask the HR to have you flown out two days before. They'll pay one night of hotel, but it's worth it if you have to pay the other night yourself so that you'll be rested and focused. The POSS started at 7:30 sharp, and I was pretty much toast from the day before. I couldn't get out of my own way on the first section, short math. I did pretty well on the next three sections, then the 5th was long math, and by this time I was in gear. So if I didn't make it, that first section is what got me.

The interview was conducted by 3 people. Their positions at this plant were called chief reactor operator, shift manager, and then there was an HR person. I got the following questions, and only these: why do you want this position? What training have you had that would apply to this position? Tell me about a time you were told by someone over you to do something that was against the rules. Tell me about a time that you were told to do something you didn't agree with, but wasn't against the rules. How did you go about that?

As soon as I answered the last question, they asked me if I had any for them. So I broke my legal pad out and asked about 7 questions, writing the answers down. I knew afterward I wouldn't remember what they said very clearly. When they had finished, I decided to risk asking them a final question: can I tell you why you should hire me? They said yes, and so I did. From this site I was far more ready than I would otherwise have been, and at the end I kind of had to create the opportunity to share what I did. The bright side is that next time I'll be much better at this.

This all took place on the 2nd. We were told they'd email us our POSS results by afternoon of the 3rd, and should know of their final decision in a week to 10 days. That's my first experience interviewing in the nuke industry and I have to say I've never experienced anything quite like it.

Fermi2

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Re: So what should I expect during my interview.
« Reply #21 on: Feb 03, 2009, 02:31 »
Good Job, Good Advice.

Mike

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Re: So what should I expect during my interview.
« Reply #22 on: Feb 03, 2009, 05:31 »
I agree!  It's your first interview, and it can be downright intimidating sitting across from people you don't know, hoping your striking the right note, and trying not to wave your hands around while answering their questions.
I took the POSS test as a prereq for license class, and was pretty sure I did horrible on it, but passed! 
And, don't read anything into the way they respond to your questions.  It depends on the group.. When I was interviewing right before I left the Nav, I went to a job conference and one the players was Wal-Mart.  And the talk of the conference was the games those guys played...  Stone faced, frowns... (I was thinking... Are you serious?  You guys are Wal-Mart for heavens sake!) Some companies/interviewers do it for a reason, some just get their kicks...  When I interviewed for my I&C position at Wolf Creek, and the operator position at Turkey Point, they were much more interactive and responsive... But don't read too much into their response (or lack of response) to your answers.  It sounds like you were as prepared as you could be!

Bill

JustinHEMI05

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Re: So what should I expect during my interview.
« Reply #23 on: Feb 03, 2009, 08:34 »
Excellent! Keep us posted!

Justin

heavymetal atom

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Re: So what should I expect during my interview.
« Reply #24 on: Feb 03, 2009, 01:10 »
I was part of the same group of nine mile point NLO candidates as dagiffy.  I was interviewed by an HR rep, RO, and ex-SRO.  The questions I was asked were similar to the ones which dag listed but slightly different.  I had more situational questions, about 9 or 10, so I was glad that I already had some past experiences filed and organized up top in preparation for those.  After they had finished their questions I asked if we had enough time for me to ask some.  They said yes and I asked about 4 or 5 of my own.  After giving me some very good answers they went on to explain the position, it's upward mobility, the area, the company and it's emphases, etc.  In the end they explained a lot more than what my original questions covered, which was very nice.  I felt confident and relaxed during the interview and I think that they could tell.  I even cracked a few mild jokes to lighten the mood a bit.  Because of this I felt very good about how it went immediately afterward.  However, in retrospec I do realize some things that I could have done better.  One example is that I don't think I "tooted my own horn" as much as perhaps I should have.  I feel like anyone can talk a big a game, and it's often the people who are the most incompetent who talk the biggest.  I tend to prefer to let my personality, attitude, and character, color people's judgement of me, rather than what I say I can do or who I say I am.  However, that probably isn't the best approach for a 30 minute interview. 

I completely agree with dagiffy's sentiment that the experience was excellent and I'll be even more ready next time.  For those preparing to interview in the near future I would advise you to be ready to play yourself up, perhaps more than you're even used to.  If you're like me and prefer an indirect approach then come up with some past experiences and past successes which will demonstrate your ability, character, and potential for future success with their company.  That's what I plan on doing for next time anyways.               

 


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