SWR Interview date set!!

Discussion in 'Railway Jobs & Careers' started by Chris1978, 7 Oct 2019.

  1. Chris1978

    Chris1978 Member

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    So I receive a call today inviting me in for a interview for a commercial guard position, this is great news as I had previously completed the assessments but then received a email stating there were currently no more vacancies and they would not be interviewing me at this time which left me very disappointed. So I'm excited to get this news as well as being a bit nervous.

    I have 2 weeks until the interview and I want to be as prepared as I possibly can be, I will study up on the company but what I would really appreciate here is can anyone give me a idea of the competency based questions you get asked in this interview so I can have some answers prepared, like I say I really want to be as ready as I can be.
    Any other advice will be very much appreciated.
     
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  3. MiNi

    MiNi Member

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    Where is your depot going to be. Oh & well done.
     
  4. Twotwo

    Twotwo Member

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    Haven’t gone through a guards process but ill assume it’s about customer service, problem solving, working under pressure, safety, following rules and procedure, lone working and working with others, working with difficulty people and why do you want to be a guard.

    Good luck.
     
  5. Chris1978

    Chris1978 Member

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    Fratton. Thank you, I know the interview is quite intense so just hoping I can be prepared.
     
  6. Chris1978

    Chris1978 Member

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    So can anyone give me any idea of what questions to expect and what knowledge of the job and company they will expect me to have?

    I've been told that they expect you to know the entire job spec of a commercial guard and also that at the end of the interview they take you down to the ticket hall to actually engage with people to see if they need help. That seemed a very unusual thing to be part of a interview, especially as at that point you wont really be able to be very helpful.
     
  7. Monty

    Monty Established Member

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    This is an opportunity for you to shine and demonstrate how you have done your homework for this role. Things they are looking for are:
    -Who runs SWR (parent companies and who the MD is).
    -The area the company serves, including the areas they may not be relevant to the depot you applied for.
    -Current plans for the franchise, investment and new trains etc.

    The competency based questions tend to be the ones that most people struggle with. You'll need to be prepared to give detailed answers drawing from your own experience. The common questions asked are:

    Can you given example when you have had to work to a set of rules and safety was a factor?

    Give an example when you've had to work as part of a team.

    Give an example of when you have had to plan an event.

    Give an example when you've had to resolve a conflict.

    There are others of course, once again what they are looking for are detailed answers from your own experiences, doesn't have to be work related either can be something you have done either at home or as a hobby. But it's advisable you spend some time think about potential examples you could give.

    I think 'entire spec' of the guard's role is probably a bit of a stretch but they do want to research the role and find out about what's involved and what is expected of a guard. But this ties in with the 'doing your homework' when you research about the company.

    As for the last part, now I joined when it was South West Trains 13 years ago and this short session you spend in the booking office hall was not part of the recruitment process. For what it's worth I think it's wrong and doesn't give the employer a fair impression of the candidate. That said I don't know the criteria for this -test- so I don't entirely know what they are looking for.

    My advice is to perhaps practice with the National Rail enquiries app on your phone and be prepared to give out basic train time and platform information to passengers.
     
    Last edited: 9 Oct 2019
  8. Chris1978

    Chris1978 Member

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    That's fantastic information, thank you so much for your help, this is exactly what I was looking for on here and now I can do my homework and hopefully be as ready as I can be. I plan to study up and have comprehensive notes which I will obviously revise and even on the day I plan to get there extra early so I can have a coffee at the station and do some last minute revision on my notes which of course I can also do during the train journey there.

    I agree the ticket hall situation in my opinion doesn't give a accurate assessment of a candidate but I guess it does give a idea of their communication skills, how they deal with pressure, how much prep work they've done and their ability to think on their feet and use common sense. End of the day they can do whatever they see fit as part of the recruitment process cant they and I get that they want to make sure they have the best possible candidates.

    Thanks once more, this has been a great help.
     
  9. Monty

    Monty Established Member

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    No worries, hope it goes well for you and let us know how it goes. :)
     
  10. Chris1978

    Chris1978 Member

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    So interview went well, far more relaxed than I was expecting, I went in prepared for some sort of intense grilling but it wasnt like that at all. I did a lot of preparation studying company information and the job spec and preparing answers for a long list of possible interview questions, this helped tremendously as I was able to give quick well thought out answers to most of their questions. They mentioned the ticket hall thing but apparently they've stopped doing that which was a relief!
    They seemed impressed and the vibe felt good, of course after the interview I started thinking of things I could have said or asked or things that I did say that maybe I shouldn't have or said differently, but that's always the way with interviews isnt it.

    Anyway less than a week later and I get a call from SWR recruitment telling me I interviewed really well they were very impressed and I had passed the interview! I'm now waiting on confirmation of a start date for my training they said most likely January.

    So a big thank you to anybody on here that has given advice it was a big help and allowed me to be far more prepared which obviously paid off.

    They told me to expect to hear about a start date within a month - can anyone tell me how soon after passing the interview can I expect to start? I'm hoping for January that would be ideal.
    Also how in depth is the medical? I'm assuming it's just a standard work medical assessment? I'm not concerned about it as to the best of my knowledge I'm in fairly good shape with no health issues.
     
  11. Monty

    Monty Established Member

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    Congratulations, well done!

    The medical is fairly standard and they will test your eyesight (inc for colour blindess) and if I remember correctly my hearing was also tested, they are likely to ask for your medical history too. They will also test you for drugs and alcohol (I've been told they don't actually screen you for alcohol when they do medicals, just when they do random screenings at depots. But personally I think it's not worth the risk and you should assume they will test for it anyway).
     
  12. MiNi

    MiNi Member

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    Very well done chris. Great news.
     
  13. Culthero

    Culthero Member

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    Well done Chris

    I am in the same position as you - awaiting course dates so may see you in the New Year
     
  14. Chris1978

    Chris1978 Member

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    Well done to you too mate. Have you been waiting long for your course dates? I was told I should hear within a month but the person in recruitment didn't sound too sure.
    Which depot will you be based at?
     
  15. Monty

    Monty Established Member

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    I've been told there are 22 guards courses next year (10 is the norm) so you bound to get a some idea of your start date soon.
     
  16. Culthero

    Culthero Member

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    I’m waiting for Fratton

    Monty - thanks for the course updates - looks like it will be early in New Year with that sort of number

    can’t wait to get started
     
  17. Chris1978

    Chris1978 Member

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    Same depot as me.
    I really want to get started too, hoping for a January course, I want to get out of my current job asap and a Jan start should hopefully allow me a cheeky week or more off around the Christmas/New Year period before starting hopefully.
    I have some holiday booked late May early June but hopefully that shouldn't get in the way of a January course, I even told them I'd be willing to look into changing my holiday plans if it was a issue as getting started with SWR is my priority.
     

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