BNSF Conductor Interview, Is this for real?

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  • #1279

    okrail
    Member

    Aside from this forum, I haven’t been able to find much current info on the interview process. Most posts on this site are fairly positive, but I did come across a blog entry from a few years ago that didn’t shine a good light on the process.

    For those of you who have been to an interview, would you mind chiming in?

    http://rochelletrainpark.com/wordpress/?p=11

    My questions:

    Is this typical or did this guy just have a bad experience? He makes it sound absolutely like a joke.

    I’ve heard about the “Scare Speech” and I know that pay is reduced the first year and benefits start sometime later.

    What are they currently saying about pay/benefits. What’s a realistic first and second year pay?

    I currently work outside all year, away from home driving all over Oklahoma as an electrical/maintenance tech. The biggest change for me will be the on-call shift work, but I’m willing to do that for something new and more rewarding. Are the working conditions horrible for a new hire? I know it has a lot to do with seniority.

    I know the railroad economy seems to be growing again because of the number of jobs posted, so is the fear of constantly being furloughed a reality more so than working for any other company?

    #3232

    Railroadess
    Member

    I read through your link…

    This guy obviously has a very bad perspective on things. BNSF is very upfront and honest about the job. They didn’t lie about a single thing. They give you the average income rate and explain that you can’t go into this job without training first. Why would a company pay you the full rate of income WITH benefits when you’re brand new and training? This guy seems to be pretty ignorant or understanding of how the system works- not only with BNSF but with many other companies as well.

    It’s plain to see that pay always starts lower during the first year. Everyone has to work their way up. Of course once your first year goes by, you can be considered a little bit more “seasoned” into the system so your pay will probably increase. According to my approximate calculations for the entry level position I applied for (not a conductor), minus some taxes, the first year would amount to somewhere around $30,000… with the second year being a possible $35,000. This is an estimation of course. BENEFITS are not included for the first year.

    BNSF give you and overview of the income and benefits should you decide to stay with them. They’re essentially giving you a goal to work for. After all, they want their employees to stay with them as long as possible; they don’t want people that are going to wimp-out within the first year.

    Working conditions of course are not always pleasant for some people, but it depends heavily on your perception and ability to adapt. Working conditions for newbies are not horrible, but if you have a big problem working night shifts (22:00-06:00) for the first couple of years, then it’s not for you. Keep in mind though that you will have chances to bid on different shifts; plus you never know when someone with seniority will want to take their 3 weeks vacation.

    I know nothing of furloughs and the RR, and it wasn’t mentioned much at our hiring session. It’s probably not a huge issue with the RR as far as I know. Someone with more knowledge of furloughs can surely elaborate on the subject.

    Overall, I believe the review contained in your link is extremely negative and distorted.

    Good luck!

    #3233

    okrail
    Member

    Thanks Railroadess, I’m pretty good about sifting thru internet material and weeding out truthful info that has value, but this was about the only full account of the interview day’s activities that I could find. I’ve read many of your posts and others, and I also have Sean’s book, which have been tremendously helpful.

    I have applied for a conductor position that closes in the next few days. I haven’t even been invited to an interview yet, but I’m trying to get info on what to expect so I’m not so ignorant about he position and process. I have a decent job now, but I’m at the top of my pay scale with no opportunities for advancement without tremendous amounts of higher-ed to get a job that would only put me behind a desk after someone moves on or retires. Yuck!

    The first year’s pay would be a bit of a pay cut for me, but nothing I couldn’t manage. My wife has health insurance where she works, so I could just move under her plan during the transition. Needless to say, I have a fairly good idea of how to shuffle things around in my life to make changing jobs a bit easier.

    #3234

    Sean Martin
    Member

    Good luck!

    #3235

    Railroadess
    Member

    Don’t expect to be invited to an interview until the listing closes. Sometimes the listings close early of course, which is a sign that there’s a lot of people you’re competing with. Once the listing does close, that is when they start looking at everyone’s applications/resumes and see who best matches what they’re looking for.

    I could estimate that you will wait about 1 week or 2 weeks at the most until you get an e-mail. (They send e-mails whether they invite you or not). That was how long it took for me to receive anything in my e-mail; so it may be different based on what company it is.

    I don’t have a lot of experience out in the “Real world” yet, but in preparation for it, and based off of the experiences I have so far, I can tell you that planning ahead is the key to making a smooth transition. In this case, your transition from your current occupation into a RR conductor’s lifestyle.

    If you want more information about exactly what a Conductor’s job entails (besides the basics listed in job apps), I would recommend asking Sean or any other veteran conductor that you may know.

    GOOD LUCK TO YOU! :)

    #3236

    Sean Martin
    Member

    All you gotta do is “google” ‘railroad conductor job description’ or something like

    that if your looking for what the job entails..

    #3237

    Freewood
    Member

    I couldn’t even finish that blog. The guy is an Asshat. My orientation was pleasant, they went over each slide, even furlough and answered all questions we had.

    Two train masters were in there and two HR ladies and neither of them had something smart to say or a joke to pitch. One train master was the head of the yard and the other had came in late due to an accident in the yard, he was up over 24 hours, but told us he loved every minute of his career.

    My guess is that, during that time, they didn’t need anybody, or vary few, and they just had to hold an orientation and interview. They do that sometimes.

    #3238

    okrail
    Member

    Thanks for the replies. I was betting on that blog not being very representative of how thing really are, now it’s confirmed.

    But now it’s time start looking again. The posting I had applied for (my hometown terminal) has closed and I got my “Thanks, but no thanks email” yesterday.

    Most of my last 10 years has been dealing with field work on maintenance of radio telecomm and remote sensing and control stations. So there are other options that I should be qualified to do.

    #3239

    Sean Martin
    Member

    You may want to check out ‘signalman’ job listings with the RR.

    #3240

    pacgrewes
    Member

    Hey everyone, I just received an e-mail from BNSF for an interview for conductor trainee in S.Sioux City,Nb. on 01/05/2011. According to the email they want my criminal past (which I don’t have); my driving record (which I do have). Do I need to have physical copies of these documents to present to them or just write it out on the application form provided by BNSF. Also I’ve read where some companies want you to bring copies of your application> If you apply on line where do you get these copies of your application??? Anyone out there have any insight,please let me know!!! thanx, pgw

    #3241

    Jimmie
    Member

    They print your application and bring it to the interview since there is no way to print it off from the bnsf website like you can with UP. At the interview, they will allow you to make any changes to your application if needed. Just make sure you have your id or dl, ss card, a blue or black pen, and some #2 pencils. BNSF will do their own criminal background check and check your driving record based on your dl number and ss number “IF” they choose to hire you and you accept the job offer. They won’t waste time doing this to all applicants that they don’t hire or someone turning down the job offer.

    #3242

    pacgrewes
    Member

    Thnx, Jimmie apreciate the insight, and thnx for responding. dave

    #3243

    Sean Martin
    Member

    Good luck!

    #3244

    alynchjrbnsf
    Member

    hey anyone im railroad switchman for shortline rr in longview tx who has a interview with the bnsf 1/6/2011 at 8am, ive been waiting on this chance for 3yrs does anyone has any insight and advice for me because i really want this job!!!!!!!

    #3245

    Freewood
    Member

    Show up early, and do everything the email tells you. Oh yeah, dress nice too. You obviously have a trump card over a lot of applicants since you are prior RR. There is no “right advice”. Think safety when answering all questions.

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