Beginning to think its who you know, not what you know to get into the Rail Industry

Discussion in 'Railway Jobs & Careers' started by AndyN, 27 May 2015.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. AndyN

    AndyN Member

    Messages:
    79
    Joined:
    17 Apr 2014
    Location:
    Warrington
    I know nobody has a divine right to any job but you would think if you have done the job before, worked for the Rail Industry then you should at least be getting a Interview at the very least. Ive applied for Northern Rail as a Train Presentation Operative, in a nutshell, Cleaner, Not a Train Driver. Just logged onto Northern Rail and had 9 Knockbacks. Funnily enough the first time I applied for a TPO Job I got a Interview straight away and by my own admission didn't do myself justice so thought id try again. Ever since then I have had knockback after knockback, 9 times to be exact. Im awaiting 2 mor TPO responses from Allerton and Stockport but im at the stage now when the Unfortunatly on this occasion email. What I really can't understand is since my first interview I did a 2 Month stint at Leeds last year via Northern Recruitment Group as a Train Cleaner on nights, one and a half travelling at my own expense to get the current experience on my CV. In that time I passed the Northern Rail PTS and have a DEpot Safety Card. Now I obviously did this with expectation that it would at least get me a Interview and after that it is up to me but yet I still get the sorry but Unfortunatly on this occasion emaul after applying for the positions. Northern Rail did kindly reply to my enquiry and they told me due to the volume of applications they have to pick somebody who ffits every criteria, high standards etc. I just thought that with me working for British Rail in the past for 9 years and dealing with customers, current experience of the advertised position that I would fit all the criteria. At the end of the day that's why I put myself out travelling 1 1/2 hours per shift, to hopefully get me that interview but its not working out the way id hoped. This is a Train Cleaner Job im applying for not Train Driver lol. Anyway, I will keep trying but Im getting more convinced that getting in the Rail Industry is now who you know, not what you know. Anyone else had all these knockbacks before their perserverance finally paid off ??
    --- old post above --- --- new post below ---
    Just as I speak Ive gone onto my emails and been invited to take the online DSI Test for the Allerton Job. Took it before and passed so im keeping my fingers crossed that this may be a good sign.
     
  2. Simon11

    Simon11 Member Jobs & Careers Assistant

    Messages:
    985
    Joined:
    7 Nov 2010
    I can see a few potential reasons why:-

    -Since you haven't been getting many interviews, I wonder if the CV has been well written and has been tailor made for these roles. (I'm very happy to review your CV)
    -By applying for many roles, this could make you look desperate, rather than locations where you are nearby
    -They might likely have your previous interview performance in their notes, including that you have worked with them last year. How well did you performance?
     
    Last edited: 27 May 2015
  3. AndyN

    AndyN Member

    Messages:
    79
    Joined:
    17 Apr 2014
    Location:
    Warrington
    I only apply for the roles that are near to me, Manchester, Liverpool, North West Area, I don't apply to jobs further North as in Yorkshire way like Sheffield,York, etc. I took on the Train Cleaner position in Leeds purely to get the current experience on my CV, when given the opportunity I took it even though the travelling was a fair way and I was paying out of my own pocket but if it lead to a job then every penny would be worth it. While I was there I did everything asked of me. When I went for the interview at Allerton a year ago, I hadn't had a interview for a while so thought it would be like it used to be, dress smart, create a good impression and you stand a chance. The interview format is totally different nowadays hence me not doing myself justice at that interview but I know how to correct that now. I will carry on keeping my fingers crossed and keep trying.
     
  4. Tibbins

    Tibbins Member

    Messages:
    47
    Joined:
    24 Jul 2014
    Or it could be the fact that a lot of people want to be train drivers. So this means the train comanys can be picky as much as they want.
     
    Last edited: 27 May 2015
  5. 387star

    387star Established Member

    Messages:
    4,510
    Joined:
    16 Nov 2009
    If you read the original post it makes it pretty clear we are not for once talking train driving

    In terms of being Ex BR I get the impression private companies don't like candidates relying on this as it can come across over complacent and the railways have changed a lot for example a much greater emphasis on customer service
     
  6. AndyN

    AndyN Member

    Messages:
    79
    Joined:
    17 Apr 2014
    Location:
    Warrington
    Yes I understand this and always mention my time working on a mainline station interacting with passengers and customers on a daily basis.
     
  7. 387star

    387star Established Member

    Messages:
    4,510
    Joined:
    16 Nov 2009
    Isn't getting into the rail industry the hardest thing you will ever do.. Keep at it

    I remember how hard my interview was to do a pretty menial job when I joined the rail industry three and a half years ago
     
  8. AndyN

    AndyN Member

    Messages:
    79
    Joined:
    17 Apr 2014
    Location:
    Warrington
    Well it certainly is nowadays. I got straight on the Railway from leaving school. My Grandad who had a high up position had not long retired from the Railway and was connected so as the title of the thread says, I think a lot of it is who you know. But yes, I will keep trying. Hope it pays off eventually
     
  9. 83G/84D

    83G/84D Established Member

    Messages:
    2,818
    Joined:
    28 Oct 2011
    Location:
    Not too far from goongumpas treacle mine!
    I wonder what the draw of railway work is? Perhaps people who have joined the rail industry recently can say what the appeal is?
     
  10. Economist

    Economist Member

    Messages:
    207
    Joined:
    24 Feb 2013
    AndyN, I may be wrong but quite a few of the companies I have applied for in the past (not just on the railway) have a 6 month rule where if you don't get a role you have to wait six months to re-apply. Not sure whether this is true with Northern but it is a possibility if all 9 applications have been to them.

    I don't know if you would consider other TOCs but if you were to apply to one of those then you may stand a better chance. Rather than applying separately for all locations I'd be tempted to focus getting to interview for one and depending on who interviews you, asking if they'd consider recruiting you for other locations too.
     
  11. E&W Lucas

    E&W Lucas Established Member

    Messages:
    1,340
    Joined:
    21 Jan 2010
    And there is your answer. If Northern employ you directly, within a certain time frame, they will have to pay the agency a fee for "introducing" you. Standard practice in any industry.
    --- old post above --- --- new post below ---
    Complete B******T!
    It's the most transparent selection process I've come across.

    I got a trainee driver job despite knowing no one, and I moved onto one of the more desired driving positions, in a very short time, again knowing no one.
     
  12. TDK

    TDK Established Member

    Messages:
    4,126
    Joined:
    19 Apr 2008
    Location:
    Wrexham
    If your CV is anything like this post with the mistakes, poor grammar and structure that is the reason and nothing to do with what or who you know, sorry to criticise but you really need to work on your presentation to even be considered for any job nowadays.
    --- old post above --- --- new post below ---
    I would say the majority of applicants for railway jobs are enthusiasts and that is without doubt the draw!
     
  13. HilversumNS

    HilversumNS Member

    Messages:
    232
    Joined:
    30 Apr 2015
    Being someone who has reviewed candidates for various job roles, I have to agree with TDK. If I saw a CV or covering letter like this, it would almost immediately go in the NO pile. Only if my brief glance at the experience section caught my attention would I consider it any further.

    The last role I vetted CVs for, I was one of three people doing so, and we probably interviewed 4 out of 20 of the agencies proposals. Most were rejected on lack of suitable experience, but a few due to presentation of CV.
     
  14. red2005

    red2005 Member

    Messages:
    740
    Joined:
    9 May 2009
    Location:
    north ish
    It's certainly not a " it's not what you know it's who you know environment" mate! In fact it's the complete opposite given that the paper sift is arguably the most difficult part of the process for any job on the railway!

    Gone are the days where you could get a job on the railway because you are my dad's best mate's cousins best mates sister! HR have a massive say in it these days!

    Don't be bitter and make claims like that buddy!......be proactive and get your application/CV up to scratch! As I bet that's what the problem is (no offence meant) remember when it comes to applying for these jobs where lots go for them small things on an application form make a big difference!

    This isn't BR buddy you're dealing with a completely different animal!

    Good luck mate!
    --- old post above --- --- new post below ---
    if you can't see what the appeal is despite being on a rail forum you obviously haven't done enough research!
     
  15. Bodiddly

    Bodiddly Member

    Messages:
    573
    Joined:
    7 Feb 2013
    Location:
    The people's republic of Inverness
    Off the record, TOC's have their reasons for employing certain people. There are so many government schemes out there for employers to take someone off the street and train them up as they can claim back training costs, wages etc. It makes more sense to do this for financial reasons. Also (and no TOC will ever tell you this) rail companies don't seem very keen on employing ex-railway workers. Why employ a potential hard line trade unionist or someone with experience in the railway who actually know their rights when you can employ someone who has given their eye teeth to get into the role and will take any flak thrown at them from the managers?
    Railway firms are swamped with applications for each and every job. People see it as a good career move with a relatively secure job so the rail companies do have a good selection of candidates for the post advertised.

    Keep trying for every post you see. It doesn't smack of desperation, it actually says to a potential employer you are determined to get a job.
    It may feel harsh for members to mention your grammatical errors but it is a very fair point. With the amount of applications and CV's landing on the desk of HR for every job all it takes is for one or two stand out errors to have that application binned. There are web sites you can visit which will help you understand where you may be going wrong with your covering letter and help you sort it. It is difficult to get a foot in but the rewards can be massive. I know several people who have climbed the internal ladder and have landed great roles within the company. Getting in is by far the most difficult thing to do. Good luck!
     
  16. AndyN

    AndyN Member

    Messages:
    79
    Joined:
    17 Apr 2014
    Location:
    Warrington
    Obviously when I apply for the Jobs I check my grammar. On here im typing as im thinking.
     
  17. Flamingo

    Flamingo Established Member

    Messages:
    6,817
    Joined:
    26 Apr 2010
    Just to say, I am amazed at how the selection process new starters go through has changed in the past five years. There are so many hoops to jump through, the only advantage that family of rail-staff would have is they might be able to get a better insight into what information and answers to give on the application form and various interviews involved.

    Things rotate a lot more around "Psychometric" type analysis, I believe, and with the numbers involved, I believe on-line forms are scanned by computers for particular key words or phrases in an initial sift.

    Again, to echo others, it might be worth the OP getting their CV professionally updated. If the previous approach has failed so often, a new approach is needed.
     
  18. AndyN

    AndyN Member

    Messages:
    79
    Joined:
    17 Apr 2014
    Location:
    Warrington
    Thing is I got a Interview the first time I applied and all the knockbacks have been since so don't think there was much wrong. I would even be prepared to travel and meet up with someone on the inside, Human resources etc, show them my CV and Applications and see if they can give me any pointers or where my applications could be tweaked or improved. Ive tailored my CV to a Railway Application.

    Going back to what someone said on the thread before about the draw of the Railway. Well for me I loved my years on the Railway when with BR and most importantly in the days of Employment Agencies taking up over 90% of the job market, not knowing whether your working next week if not needed, the security of a full time job, with a recognised Rail firm with all the benefits, free travel, pension scheme, job security etc etc etc sells itself.
    --- old post above --- --- new post below ---
    What I struggle with in the modern day job environment is the moving of job to job with Employment Agencies. All I want and I mention this in my application is a permanent full time job, preferably with the Rail Industry, where I can spend the rest of my working years with.
     
  19. robert7111a

    robert7111a Established Member

    Messages:
    1,396
    Joined:
    24 Apr 2014
    Location:
    PTSO or platform depending on the weather
    I see a lot of negativity in this post and I sincerely hope for your sake there are no NR managers reading this.

    If you have been knocked back "9 times", then surely there must be a reason? Anyone can clean a train but its more than whether or not the person can actually do the job. The person spec is important. I don't know the specifics of this job but at minimum, I'm guessing the TOC want somebody who is reliable, turns up on time and does the time without complaining.

    Perhaps you need to have a look at your own personal spec and see if you can work out for yourself why you haven't been successful.

    There is also the possibility that you are overqualified for the job which NR fear might command a higher salary if they took you on

    I vet many CV's and interviewed many people in my time so I have some idea of what I'm talking about
     
    Last edited: 28 May 2015
  20. AndyN

    AndyN Member

    Messages:
    79
    Joined:
    17 Apr 2014
    Location:
    Warrington
    I always stress on my applications that I am Honest, Hard Working and Reliable which I am. No Negativity is meant on my part, Im just trying to get pointers of people in the know maybe of things I can change or tweak on my applications.
     
  21. HilversumNS

    HilversumNS Member

    Messages:
    232
    Joined:
    30 Apr 2015
    I'd start with having the CV looked over. It's like what you wear when you arrive for an interview, 1st impressions and all that.

    I get my CV reviewed regularly, as I'm an IT contractor, I'm often updating it and applying for work. I know my CV inside out, so I see what I believe is there, others can see what's actually there.

    Simon11 has offered to do so, and I am happy to give it a once over too. Perhaps Robert7111a would check it over as well. We can give you our opinions, which you can then implement as you wish or not.
     
  22. AndyN

    AndyN Member

    Messages:
    79
    Joined:
    17 Apr 2014
    Location:
    Warrington
    Private message me your email address and id be quite happy to send it to you for review
     
  23. kelv

    kelv Member

    Messages:
    248
    Joined:
    20 Feb 2015
    Location:
    cheshire

    As someone that is applying and getting nowhere so far :

    The Pay & Work conditions are good when compared to many other occupations, and compared to say manufacturing it appears a much more stable working environment.
    I worked in Engineering for years and working conditions & pay were rubbish, as for job stability it just didn't seem to exist, with a lot of large engineering firms now gone the labour market was such that they could offer less and still get skilled people, even just firing folk off after 6 months trial to get another in and thus never having someone permanent.
    Another thing was that guys who had been at places and able to draw their pension would offer to do the work for less as a top up.
    You'd think that with the lack of apprenticeships in the last 20 years things may have looked up for those 'time served' but a lot of wages are the same as 15-20 years ago, sometimes having to do shifts for what was day rate back then, and having to run more machines so working harder. It's a strange environment compared to everything else and often people who havent experienced it struggle to comprehend how you can be treated so worthlessly in a job (treated like at school a lot of the time).
     
  24. Timpg

    Timpg Member

    Messages:
    50
    Joined:
    30 Jan 2014
    Location:
    Ipswich
    Agree with you on this one, I'm an ex engineer, one of the lucky ones to get an apprenticeship with a ship repair company, unfortunately it went bust as did the second engineering company Iv worked for in the past. I completed four years at college to get my qualifications, and a further 10 years fully qualified to finally find out there's no more engineering in my area!! Money was crap, worked my butt off, no sick pay!! Had enough and had to make a change. I kept applying for over a year with my FOC and finally got a job as an mso ( shunter ). Can honestly say it's the best move I ever made, just wishing I can one day make driver!
     
  25. HilversumNS

    HilversumNS Member

    Messages:
    232
    Joined:
    30 Apr 2015
    I'm an IT contractor and my day rate is not dissimilar to what it was 15 years ago too. Fortunately, 15 years ago we were on silly rates, until the dotcom crash.
     
  26. Greenback

    Greenback Moderator Staff Member Moderator

    Messages:
    15,337
    Joined:
    9 Aug 2009
    Location:
    Llanelli
    I don't mean any disrespect, but as someone who has worked in recruitment, I've lost count of the number of CV's and applications I've seen where people say that they are hard working, honest and reliable. It's become so common that I'm afraid that to many managers and HR people it's become meaningless.

    You really need to make your application stand out from the crowd these days. I don't know how you can do that, but in my experience what recruiters are looking for is examples of what you've done in the past, how you've done it and how your experience is relevant to the role you're applying for. It's not enough these days to say I've done the job or this type of work before, you need to go into detail about things like the equipment you've used, the shifts you've worked and how you handled unusual situations. That will reveal more about you and hopefully give you a bit of an edge over other applicants.

    I'm sorry if you're already aware of this. It's not my intention to teach granny how to suck eggs, I'm just trying to offer up some suggestions!
     
  27. Greaseball3220

    Greaseball3220 Member

    Messages:
    50
    Joined:
    2 Sep 2013
    Keep plugging away at it OP, it's like the lotto in the sense that you've got to be in it to win it, these boards are magnets for heroes and bullsh***ers as well so don't let them put you off.

    I've family in the railways who joined in the BR days, I know times change etc, but it's ironic that years ago no one wanted or thought about being a Train Driver ( or any railway job ), it had an image deficit in the same way people joked about the sandwiches in the buffet cars.
     
  28. kelv

    kelv Member

    Messages:
    248
    Joined:
    20 Feb 2015
    Location:
    cheshire
    Exactly my situation mate (started apprenticeship in 85) I was at Royal Ordnance when it got privatised and shut down by British Aerospace, I've hiked around the world to find work going as far as New Zealand. Been working self employed as a locksmith over last 12 years but if the phone doesnt ring then you dont earn, the wages are still rubbish in engineering and its all continental shifts nowadays... which holds little to no appeal.

    9/11 was something that affected my work as I was making wings for airbus & all the airlines put orders on hold in the panic that followed meaning lots laid off.


    It was a trade i never wanted either, wanted to be a draughtsman and it was all lined up for at the end of my apprenticeship until they announced the factory was closing and my contract was only for 4 years, so I got stuck with a trade I'd never wanted at all. It got me around the world and paid well abroad but here its underpaid with little to no job security or satisfaction.
     
  29. amateur

    amateur Member

    Messages:
    378
    Joined:
    23 Feb 2014
    I have all that kinda BS on my CV. I also have "cam work effectively as a team player and on own initiative blah blah blah " ....took me a hell of a long time to write it when I first did it,

    Do you suggest omitting that stuff, and just tailoring it to that particular role. I use STAR anyway for most application forms.
     
  30. Greenback

    Greenback Moderator Staff Member Moderator

    Messages:
    15,337
    Joined:
    9 Aug 2009
    Location:
    Llanelli
    I never much liked CV's written in the third person, and the majority of my colleagues felt the same way. As far as we were concerned the applicant is supposed be giving us information about their life, so it should be in the first person. That being said, a good recruiter should base any decision on the information contained in an application and/or CV, not the style it's written in.

    I think that writing something that reflects what you have actually done in a previous role is far more effective than generic statements like the ones you refer to. It will depend on the role being applied for, as well as previous roles, but I'd generally advise against using any phrases that don't tell the person reading the application anything specific. Speaking as someone who has read thousands of CV's and applications, I can say with some authority that decision makers want to see something that they can use in making that decision. Phrases like 'honest, reliable and hard working' or 'good team player' lose their impact very quickly and soon become meaningless.
     
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page