signal maintenance operative interview 2021

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Dannycondon

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Hi there,

I currently work for network rail but a internal vacancy has come up for the above position, can anyone give me any pointers on what to brush up on besides the safety aspect of the job, ive already done the PTS pre training in advance, but im wondering if there is anything else I could be doing or if there is any other courses that would help me in getting this position& what type of interview questions they will ask that relates specifically to this post, all suggestions will be most helpful as im panicking a bit beforehand and don’t want to mess it up !
 
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LCC106

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In the absence of any replies is there anyone at work you can ask about it?
 

TSG

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Somewhere in the South of England
OK, caveats first. It is a very very long time since I had an interview to get into the S&T, and it would have been very different then, and I wasn't coming in the way you are. Somehow I have so far avoided having to interview anybody either, so frankly what follows is my best guess, anecdote and hearsay. That said, I've been S&T for longer than I care to remember.

Of course you'll have the usual STAR competency type questions, tell us about a time you had to work under pressure etc. There's bound to be the safety vision thing too.

An obvious question is along the lines of 'what is the signalling system for' (I was asked that and I'd guess it still matters). If you have a basic idea of what interlocking, points, signals and track circuits/axle counters are that may help you.

Signalling is mostly electrical. I've heard of apprentice candidates being given a 3 pin plug and told to wire it up (doubt they'd do a practical). If you understand Ohms law that might help you.

I have heard people from PWay moaning that they went for an S&T interview and were grilled on PTS or COSS or something basic. I think I know why. Signal techs typically have a lot of courses to do and a lot of competencies to maintain, a lot more than just about everybody else. They can't and won't ask you about those because you aren't a technician yet, but they may try to assess your ability to learn and retain knowledge, perhaps from PTS pre-training or maybe something else. If a candidate doesn't know the few competencies they already hold inside out, they have little chance of keeping the details of 3 types of point machine, 4 level crossings, 3 interlockings, etc etc etc etc in their head. Sounds like you may have some kind of technical background so that might help you.

They are bound to ask questions exploring your suitability. Sounds obvious and I don't know what they'll ask but it may be worth pointing out what they'll be looking for. Signals techs tend to do a lot of shift work. Often they are the only 24/7 infrastructure staff, doing nights/earlies/lates, so they will want to know about your attitude to unsocial hours probably. Some people think it sounds like a great job until they find themselves standing around in pissing sleet at 4 am. Bear in mind that there are not a lot of indians to chiefs in signals. Typical team is operative/technican/team leader so they are not just looking for an operative. They will want someone who can progress to leading the team.

I wish I could be more help but I guess its better that the replies so far. Good luck.
 

Ladder23

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29 Oct 2015
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For me, (I applied for S&T when I was a Pway operative) it was a very simple interview.. I was asked about my electrical & signalling experience, which was nil. All I really had to offer was that I was keen to learn new skills and I wanted something “new”.

I explained how I felt I had come far in pway, and I was at a point where I didn’t feel like I could progress much more hence why I wanted a new path.

I was asked what the functions on a test meter were used for, for example DC voltage and AC voltage, again I had no clue and told them I wasn’t going to guess because I had never even seen one, they appreciated the honesty. I was successful and had a call the next day to welcome me a offer. I say this because I personally don’t think you should worry to much about what you do and don’t know, just be honest and make sure to emphasise on the fact you want to learn, good luck!!
 

Kelvin97

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26 Mar 2021
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For me, (I applied for S&T when I was a Pway operative) it was a very simple interview.. I was asked about my electrical & signalling experience, which was nil. All I really had to offer was that I was keen to learn new skills and I wanted something “new”.

I explained how I felt I had come far in pway, and I was at a point where I didn’t feel like I could progress much more hence why I wanted a new path.

I was asked what the functions on a test meter were used for, for example DC voltage and AC voltage, again I had no clue and told them I wasn’t going to guess because I had never even seen one, they appreciated the honesty. I was successful and had a call the next day to welcome me a offer. I say this because I personally don’t think you should worry to much about what you do and don’t know, just be honest and make sure to emphasise on the fact you want to learn, good luck!!
Hi, can i ask where you are based? I am awaiting a job opening for an operative position in the south east
 

Ladder23

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29 Oct 2015
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Wow nice! Due to covid, everything is pushed back but hopefully not long wait now till the job is advertised. Can I ask how long you've been working for NW?
Around 6 years now!
 
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