A career as a signaller

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Defenestrate

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6 Aug 2019
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111
I have my first interview for a role in this industry in a few weeks time so I am starting to prepare for that.

One topic I’ve found in the past to be an awkward one is progression,
I am naturally progressive but I know sometimes that might not be what the manager wants to hear as they have just spent time employing you, why would they want you to move on in a few years.

does anyone know what’s the best way to play that topic with NR??

thanks.

From my recent interviews, the question(s) that would likely apply to your point are:
"Why do you want to work for Network Rail?", "Why did you apply for this role?", "Why do you want to leave your current position?".
My answer to all of those included points on progression - i.e. NR offer continuous professional development training (whereas my previous job barely did), and there are lots of signaller grades all over the country so if my circumstances changed there is always an opportunity to move on/move upwards etc.
You can talk about the potential of moving to signal manager or LOM type roles etc in the future, because that is reasonable - but if you expressly admit that your main goal is to get away from the job you're applying for ASAP to a mega money G9 role near your house, or a preferred "other" job then it doesn't look good.

I had similar hesitations when mentioning money, i.e. how the signaller job is better for my wallet. But, it was reasonable to say how getting the job would be a financial progression in my career...rather than "i only applied because i want to earn loads of cash". Underlying point is the same, but only one answer is reasonable in an interview!
 

Tom Quinne

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8 Jul 2017
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Do you still have Cognisco or whatever it might be called now? I remember spending far more time working out how a misplaced comma changed the whole meaning of the question than the technical content of the question.

“Yes I know you’re right, but you have to choose that one [the wrong answer] or it’ll say you’re not competent!”

No, it’s “Rail exam” now via connect portal but we have to back it up with evidence based competence.
 

NewtoNR

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Hi. My start date is confirmed as 1st January with signalling school due to start on 10th February. Will I be paid from 1st January?
 

TRain87

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1 Sep 2016
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Hi. My start date is confirmed as 1st January with signalling school due to start on 10th February. Will I be paid from 1st January?
Can't see it being 1st of Jan, all trainees are booked off for bank holidays! You'll start 2nd I'd say, but probably paid from.1st
 

High Dyke

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1 Jan 2013
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Really depends on the location.

Some grade 3s are potentially ‘busier’ than grade 5s in my experience due to traffic.
Indeed it does. For example the East Coast Main Line crossing boxes I sign have at least 16 trains per hour, running at 125mph. Today I'm elsewhere with 4 trains per hour, at considerably lower speeds. Both locations are Grade 3.

Do you still have Cognisco or whatever it might be called now? I remember spending far more time working out how a misplaced comma changed the whole meaning of the question than the technical content of the question.

“Yes I know you’re right, but you have to choose that one [the wrong answer] or it’ll say you’re not competent!”
Had that fun recently. I have been advised that where it mentions 'Control' in a question it's likely to be incorrect. However, as you mention, sometimes you need to put the wrong answer to pass the test. :rolleyes:
 

Dan 2513

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29 Sep 2019
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Uk
From my recent interviews, the question(s) that would likely apply to your point are:
"Why do you want to work for Network Rail?", "Why did you apply for this role?", "Why do you want to leave your current position?".
My answer to all of those included points on progression - i.e. NR offer continuous professional development training (whereas my previous job barely did), and there are lots of signaller grades all over the country so if my circumstances changed there is always an opportunity to move on/move upwards etc.
You can talk about the potential of moving to signal manager or LOM type roles etc in the future, because that is reasonable - but if you expressly admit that your main goal is to get away from the job you're applying for ASAP to a mega money G9 role near your house, or a preferred "other" job then it doesn't look good.

I had similar hesitations when mentioning money, i.e. how the signaller job is better for my wallet. But, it was reasonable to say how getting the job would be a financial progression in my career...rather than "i only applied because i want to earn loads of cash". Underlying point is the same, but only one answer is reasonable in an interview!

thanks for the reply.
That’s just about my normal answers too.
I trust your interview went well??

I just didn’t want them to think
“this guys going to move on in 6 months time.”
And not hire me because of that.
In all honesty I don’t think I would even if the opportunity came up that quick, I am a big believer in getting the foundations right before I build up.
 
Last edited:

Garion

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5 Jun 2019
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6
Hi all. Does anyone have any useful information about the Godnow Bridge vacancy? I’ve never seen a grade 1 which doesn’t appear to be a crossing keeper role. It says ‘fixed rate salary’ - does this mean there won’t be any way to uplift that as there usually is with other grades? I’m just trying to work out if it’s viable to apply for it, as it is very local but somewhat less than I’m on now. Thanks.
 

Tomnick

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10 Jun 2005
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Hi all. Does anyone have any useful information about the Godnow Bridge vacancy? I’ve never seen a grade 1 which doesn’t appear to be a crossing keeper role. It says ‘fixed rate salary’ - does this mean there won’t be any way to uplift that as there usually is with other grades? I’m just trying to work out if it’s viable to apply for it, as it is very local but somewhat less than I’m on now. Thanks.
Godnow Bridge is a crossing keeper’s job. Overtime (including booked Sundays), night premium and the rest should apply as normal
 

Defenestrate

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6 Aug 2019
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111
thanks for the reply.
That’s just about my normal answers too.
I trust your interview went well??

Yes, the latest one resulted in an offer which i quickly accepted...but i had numerous other interviews and failures beforehand - i think many people do - fortunately i was able to learn and improve, without getting too downhearted!

I just didn’t want them to think
“this guys going to move on in 6 months time.”
And not hire me because of that.
In all honesty I don’t think I would even if the opportunity came up that quick, I am a big believer in getting the foundations right before I build up.

I think more red flags would be raised if you kept insisting that this was your job for life. Having the opportunity to progress/change is normal, and even if you do mention that in an interview, perhaps explaining that doing the signaller role would give you an excellent knowledge of NR, and the safety aspect etc, should you move into a different area within the company.

Saying that, my major focus was nailing the 8 NTS questions with solid, relevant and complete answers - the career type questions felt like a warm up!
 

Rammie

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14 May 2018
Messages
8
Could someone settle an argument between a few of us?

When applying for a Signaller job from the street everyone that answers the 70 odd questions gets through to the next online question stage dont they?

Those selected to interview will be a certain number of the top scoring applicants.
 

Peterperfect

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5 Apr 2018
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88
Could someone settle an argument between a few of us?

When applying for a Signaller job from the street everyone that answers the 70 odd questions gets through to the next online question stage dont they?

Those selected to interview will be a certain number of the top scoring applicants.

The 70 questions. You get 1 mark for each you can answer. Obviously off the street some cant be answered so you dont get the points for them.

I dont know anyone who never got to sit the online tests.

Highest 15-20 from online tests get sent to hiring manager to shortlist. Usually 5 or 6 per vacancy for interview.
 

Peterperfect

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5 Apr 2018
Messages
88
Hi All,
Anyone on here starting at York tomorrow? (21st October)
Good luck. You will be snowed under with new things to learn. Dont worry stay calm and keep your head in the books and not the bar at night and youll be fine.
 

Rammie

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14 May 2018
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The 70 questions. You get 1 mark for each you can answer. Obviously off the street some cant be answered so you dont get the points for them.

I dont know anyone who never got to sit the online tests.

Highest 15-20 from online tests get sent to hiring manager to shortlist. Usually 5 or 6 per vacancy for interview.

Thanks, do you know if the answers to the questions ever get read? I remember when I first applied, years ago from the street. That if I couldn’t answer a question I just put “Not Applicable” in the box so I was able to complete the questionnaire. In my interview they just had a printout of my CV to hand.
 

Peterperfect

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Thanks, do you know if the answers to the questions ever get read? I remember when I first applied, years ago from the street. That if I couldn’t answer a question I just put “Not Applicable” in the box so I was able to complete the questionnaire. In my interview they just had a printout of my CV to hand.
You cant leave an answer blank. Your right to put in N/A to ones you cant answer. Cant say if they do or not read them but having applied many times I know by expanding my answers for the ones I could give examples of it started to get me interviews.
 

Habitat

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17 Nov 2016
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York Marriott Hotel to Signaller school
I've had a look on Google maps, 30 min walk.
I'm driving to the hotel and was thinking about taking my bike.
How have you guys travelled to York school before?
 

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