Disappointed!!!

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Disappointed!!!

Postby SlotCanyoneer » Wed Oct 10, 2018 2:00 am

I’ve been applying to every railroad around me, and some far away, for close to two years now. FINALLY got a nibble on one of my applications with CSX this past July. Got invited to an interview. Arrived on time and dressed neat. No three piece suit but a nice pair of slacks with dress shoes and a polo shirt. I thought it went fairly well. I mean I don’t think I blew the socks off the three guys that interviewed me but I held my own 😆 Not long after received the official “thanks but no thanks” email. Fast forward to a few weeks ago. Got an unknown call on my cell. I let it go to voicemail since I’m usually weary of those unknown calls. Then I see that there is a voicemail message. Turns out it’s Human Resources from Amtrak of all people!! They wanted to know if I was still interested in a position I applied for. This was not even an asst. conductor or passenger engineer job. It was for a “motor equipment Operator”. Basically a shop laborer that operates forklifts, adds sand to and cleans locomotives, does snow removal and general maintenance. I figured this would be right up my alley since I have quite a bit of forklift experience. Jump to yesterday. The big day of the interview at 10:30 am in the big city. Put on my best leather shoes, khaki dockers, tucked in long sleeve collared shirt with a belt. Braved an hour and 50 minutes of horrid rush hour traffic and still arrived 10 minutes early. Got asked a myriad of situational questions at a three person panel interview. Some weren’t necessarily the easiest of questions to answer but I handled it with grace. At least in my opinion. Wasn’t even 5 yet when I got the familiar email notification on my IPhone. Another “thanks but no thanks” 😞 Oh well! One day I’ll learn the secret of breaking through. I have a super solid work history. Been with the federal government for the past 11 years. I especially thought Amtrak would be impressed by that. The only other thing I can think of is that I did hire on with a local class 2 railroad 14+ years ago as a conductor. I beat myself up for it everyday, but at the time I didn’t want to do the on call thing. This never even came up in any interviews however. Any thoughts from anyone? I know there are a lot of posts like this. I guess the only thing to do is simply keep applying.
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Re: Disappointed!!!

Postby Wayside » Wed Oct 10, 2018 10:14 am

HR types are primarily focused on seeing things that will disqualify candidates. It's a negativity-based process designed to weed out people and reduce the number of applicants being considered. When you want to see problems, you see problems, even where they don't exist. The only 21st Century railroad interview for me that turned into a job offer was with a group of people with whom I would be working, with no HR people involved.

Assuming you keep trying, best of luck in the future.
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Re: Disappointed!!!

Postby SlotCanyoneer » Wed Oct 10, 2018 1:35 pm

You make a good point. I find these three people panel interviews a waste of time and resources. Especially for positions that are basically entry level like conductor, track laborer, coach cleaner, etc. In my opinion it should be a manager that is involved in the day to day operations on the ground, such as a trainmaster or yardmaster, that does the interview. Also you don’t need to ask someone who is going to be throwing switches and hooking up air hoses how they would build a space shuttle 🤣 But hey I’ve become jaded!! Lol. I wish I could have some input as to why I’m not getting hired. That could help me in the future. Has anyone ever called or sent an email asking that question after getting shot down? If so did they reply?
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Re: Disappointed!!!

Postby brim0628 » Sat Oct 13, 2018 10:02 pm

I just got hired by BNSF a few months ago. I also was hired by CN about 5 years ago but wasnt able to take the job. I believe they want someone who has worked outside, away from home and around heavy equipment. If they think you fit that bill then they will hire ya. And of course it also helps to have a military background. You also need to somehow harp on how safe you work. You can prolly count on a question along the lines of "tell us about a time you and a co-worker did not see eye to eye." And "tell us about a time you had to correct someone who was working unsafe"...Good luck in the future.
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Re: Disappointed!!!

Postby SlotCanyoneer » Mon Oct 15, 2018 9:33 pm

I’ve worked outside. Did that for eight years delivering mail. I’ve operated and worked around heavy equipment. Never been away from home very long and never in the military though. I think the interview itself is where I have been failing. That’s the only thing I can think of. All my job interviews prior have usually been quite simple. No situational questions. Basically yes and no questions. Some interviews where I have gotten jobs have felt like I was hanging around with some of my buddies lol. Basically joking and laughing. Very little formality. However after the CSX interview I figured Amtrak’s would be fairly similar so I prepared a bit more for it. Trying to recall what they asked and any similar questions that Amtrak would ask. Still no dice. I emailed Amtrak HR after asking if they could give a general idea of why they didn’t hire me. I didn’t expect an answer back and haven’t received one as of yet.
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Re: Disappointed!!!

Postby BR&P » Fri Nov 02, 2018 9:41 am

How times have changed since the days when the local Chief Clerk or Trainmaster did the hiring. All they wanted was warm bodies - if you could chew gum and walk, could see lightning and hear thunder, you'd start work this afternoon.
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Re: Disappointed!!!

Postby gp80mac » Fri Nov 02, 2018 12:24 pm

SlotCanyoneer wrote:I’ve worked outside. Did that for eight years delivering mail. I’ve operated and worked around heavy equipment. Never been away from home very long and never in the military though. I think the interview itself is where I have been failing. That’s the only thing I can think of. All my job interviews prior have usually been quite simple. No situational questions. Basically yes and no questions. Some interviews where I have gotten jobs have felt like I was hanging around with some of my buddies lol. Basically joking and laughing. Very little formality. However after the CSX interview I figured Amtrak’s would be fairly similar so I prepared a bit more for it. Trying to recall what they asked and any similar questions that Amtrak would ask. Still no dice. I emailed Amtrak HR after asking if they could give a general idea of why they didn’t hire me. I didn’t expect an answer back and haven’t received one as of yet.


Or it could simply be that they had candidates with even more experience apply for the same position. Doesn't mean there's something wrong with you - just that they picked someone else.

The only red flag I can see (From your limited info in these forums) is that you have had several jobs - Class 2, forklift, USPS... I don;t know your age or how long you stayed at each - but that may be giving them a bit of concern.
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Re: Disappointed!!!

Postby Wayside » Fri Nov 02, 2018 1:18 pm

gp80mac wrote:The only red flag I can see (From your limited info in these forums) is that you have had several jobs - Class 2, forklift, USPS... I don;t know your age or how long you stayed at each - but that may be giving them a bit of concern.


That's another one of those HR easy/no-brain elimination criteria -- rank the candidates by the number of jobs thay've had.
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Re: Disappointed!!!

Postby scottychaos » Fri Nov 02, 2018 2:40 pm

Wayside wrote:
gp80mac wrote:The only red flag I can see (From your limited info in these forums) is that you have had several jobs - Class 2, forklift, USPS... I don;t know your age or how long you stayed at each - but that may be giving them a bit of concern.


That's another one of those HR easy/no-brain elimination criteria -- rank the candidates by the number of jobs thay've had.


I agree that most of the time, and for most fields, too much job-hopping is probably seen as a negative..
and that is probably the case here..

but in some fields, staying in one place for too long is now seen as a negative!
The IT/Computer field is one of those..
You are actually looked down upon, and with a bit of suspicion if you stay in one job for 10 to 20 years..it's sometimes seen as lazy or lacking in ambition.
changing employers every 3 to 5 years is now *expected* and normal in that field..

its a weird world..

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Re: Disappointed!!!

Postby BR&P » Fri Nov 02, 2018 3:42 pm

scottychaos wrote:but in some fields, staying in one place for too long is now seen as a negative!
The IT/Computer field is one of those..
changing employers every 3 to 5 years is now *expected* and normal in that field..

its a weird world..

Scot


I agree. Our son is an IT guy and it's normal to change every few years. Usually with a significant salary increase each time.

I don't think that applies with a railroad job, but as has been said, when you get HR types involved, all bets are off. I concur with those above who said it would make more sense to involve the supervisors who actually oversee the work the applicant will be doing. But fortunately I don't have to worry about that stuff any more! :wink:
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Re: Disappointed!!!

Postby SlotCanyoneer » Fri Nov 02, 2018 3:44 pm

gp80mac wrote:
SlotCanyoneer wrote:I’ve worked outside. Did that for eight years delivering mail. I’ve operated and worked around heavy equipment. Never been away from home very long and never in the military though. I think the interview itself is where I have been failing. That’s the only thing I can think of. All my job interviews prior have usually been quite simple. No situational questions. Basically yes and no questions. Some interviews where I have gotten jobs have felt like I was hanging around with some of my buddies lol. Basically joking and laughing. Very little formality. However after the CSX interview I figured Amtrak’s would be fairly similar so I prepared a bit more for it. Trying to recall what they asked and any similar questions that Amtrak would ask. Still no dice. I emailed Amtrak HR after asking if they could give a general idea of why they didn’t hire me. I didn’t expect an answer back and haven’t received one as of yet.


Or it could simply be that they had candidates with even more experience apply for the same position. Doesn't mean there's something wrong with you - just that they picked someone else.

The only red flag I can see (From your limited info in these forums) is that you have had several jobs - Class 2, forklift, USPS... I don;t know your age or how long you stayed at each - but that may be giving them a bit of concern.


I’m only 36 years old and have been with my current employer for 11 years 😂. Haven’t done much job hopping lately. Just have done multiple things with them.
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Re: Disappointed!!!

Postby DutchRailnut » Fri Nov 02, 2018 3:49 pm

sometimes there is just that one thing that a railroad will say hell no . think about what it could be .
Driving history , Criminal background check, medical ???
If Conductors are in charge, why are they promoted to be Engineer???

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Re: Disappointed!!!

Postby gp80mac » Fri Nov 02, 2018 9:23 pm

So you've been with the gov't for 11 years. Why in the hell would you want to hire on with CSX? I'm genuinely curious.
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Re: Disappointed!!!

Postby SlotCanyoneer » Fri Nov 02, 2018 11:33 pm

gp80mac wrote:So you've been with the gov't for 11 years. Why in the hell would you want to hire on with CSX? I'm genuinely curious.


I understand your questioning why. Especially with the recent changes in management and such. It wasn’t so much that I wanted to specifically work for CSX, however I live in New England and CSX is the only class one freight RR. So when I saw an opening I applied since job openings for them don’t come up around here very often. It was also within a reasonable distance from me. Only about a 45 minute drive. Which I don’t consider bad.
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Re: Disappointed!!!

Postby BR&P » Sat Nov 03, 2018 7:28 am

Nothing ventured, nothing gained.
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