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BART Interview

30 Questions and Answers by
Rachelle is a job search expert, career coach, and headhunter
who helps everyone from students to fortune executives find success in their career.

Question 1 of 30

Do you have experience in dispatch or radio communications of any kind?

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BART Interview Questions


  1. Do you have experience in dispatch or radio communications of any kind?
    • Depending on the role to which you are applying, it may be a significant asset to have dispatch or radio communication experience. Public transit, to operate smoothly, has many moving parts behind the scenes. These moving parts include dispatch so that everyone knows their place, where they should be, and when!

      If you do have dispatch experience, outline the type of equipment you have used and the volume that you can handle. If you do not have dispatch experience, discuss any experience with radio communication equipment. If you are new to your career, this question may not apply, but you should always show an eagerness and willingness to learn.

      Rachelle's Answer #1

      "I worked as a dispatcher for a commercial trucking company earlier in my career, for about four years. The equipment that I used included two-way radio and a GPS based computer program. I was amazed by how much work goes into the logistics of transportation and time-optimization for deliveries and driver schedules. Although dispatch is no longer a part of my career, I certainly have a strong appreciation for the profession and understand its importance."

      Rachelle's Answer #2

      "I understand how to use a two-way radio, and I have a solid understanding of GPS based computer systems. Dispatch is an important component of public transit, and I am eager to learn more."


  1. Although we have an excellent training program at BART, we are seeking to hire someone with an intermediate level of experience in our industry. With what types of transportation services are you most experienced?
    • Transportation types could include air, water, and land transport. Land transport could then include trains, buses, railways, and more. Take a few minutes to walk the interviewer through your experience, being sure to highlight the areas of transportation in which you bring experience.

      If you are new to the industry or your career in general, speak more to the transferable skills you offer, and express your interest in jumping to this industry.

      Rachelle's Answer #1

      "Your training program is well known to be the best in the industry, and I look forward to learning a lot from your skilled teams. I have worked in transportation for ten years; primarily in commercial transport and trucking. I have experience with the transportation of dangerous goods as well. This experience has equipped me for a career in public transit as I am well-trained to put safety before anything else. I am also sensitive to and keenly aware of timing and deadlines."

      Rachelle's Answer #2

      "My experience comes from my education in Transportation Planning and Infrastructure. I recently graduated from this program and excelled in coursework in transportation demand analysis, Geographic Information Systems, and policy analysis and implementation. This education is all-encompassing, and I feel well-equipped to work with all forms of public transportation services."


  1. When working with the public, emergencies can happen. How will you react to unexpected stress and pressure?
    • BART sees many passengers every day. With this type of traffic, emergencies are sure to happen from time to time. The interviewer needs to know that you can react appropriately and professionally under expected, high-pressure situations. Assure the interviewer that you can maintain your cool in emergencies, and while under stress. If you have a story to tell from a time when you helped during an emergency, be sure to bring this experience to life for the hiring authority.

      Rachelle's Answer #1

      "A few months ago, one of our passengers had a heart attack during the morning commute. Another passenger pushed the emergency button, so I pulled the vehicle over at the first safe opportunity, while also telling someone with a cell phone to call 911. I assessed the passenger in distress and kept them comfortable until paramedics arrived. Luckily, we covered this type of situation in my operator training. I believe that this training gave me the confidence to react swiftly and appropriately. You can see from this example that I can follow protocol, act quickly, and remain professional under stress and pressure."

      Rachelle's Answer #2

      "I understand that BART has guidelines, protocols, and formal training for many types of emergencies. I am a naturally calm and confident person who likes to help people so, for those reasons, I have every reason to believe that I would react appropriately and thoughtfully if faced with an unexpected situation."


  1. As a public transit operator, you will meet hundreds of new people every day. In which ways do you embrace diversity?
    • Diversity and inclusion are important topics at BART and the interviewer would like to know that you share a mindset of inclusion and equality. The interviewer wants to see that you understand the importance of acknowledging people different from you. This acceptance may come in the form of being kind to the people that you meet and treating everyone the same. Discuss how you embrace diversity in your personal and professional life.

      Rachelle's Answer #1

      "I too am a minority so, I appreciate it when someone else reaches out to learn about me and my culture. I fully recognized the needs and the difference in the needs of others. For me, embracing diversity encompasses culture but also gender identity, age, and more. I am sensitive to and very accepting."

      Rachelle's Answer #2

      "I appreciate that BART is so open when it comes to conversations around diversity and inclusion in the workplace. I celebrate those different from me and take every opportunity to learn about what makes them unique. I recognize that everyone has a story, whether that be related to gender identity, sexual orientation, or heritage, for instance."


  1. Do you have your air brakes or Q endorsement?
    • This question is highly targeted and will have a response of either yes or no. The interviewer would like to see you elaborate a little bit on your reply, either way.

      If you do have your air brakes or Q endorsement, discuss when you obtained this driving credential. Be prepared to present any certificate or proof in your interview as the hiring authority may want to take a copy for your candidate record.

      If you do not have your air brakes or Q endorsement, be sure to express to the interviewer the steps you are willing to take to gain that credential.

      Rachelle's Answer #1

      "I do have my air brake endorsement, and have so for the past eight years, along with my CDL (commercial drivers' license). I brought proof of endorsement with me today, and you are welcome to take a copy for your records."

      Rachelle's Answer #2

      "I have not yet earned my air brakes certification; however, I am currently in the process of completing the training. My coursework comes to an end this month."


  1. How would you go about asking for a change in the workplace if you did not like the current approach?
    • Many public transit jobs are government-run, managed by the city in which you work, or backed by a union. The interviewer would like to know that you can professionally navigate the landscape when it comes to asking for change at BART or even making suggestions and recommendations. Discuss how you would approach asking for a change in the workplace if you were unhappy with the current situation. Show that you are confident enough to approach a subject but also professional enough to know how to go about it. If you have a specific example of a time when you did ask for change, tell the interviewer about the action that you took.

      Rachelle's Answer #1

      "As the lead dispatcher in my current company I felt that the hours we were asked to work were become less reasonable every week. When I first started the job, I would bank around five overtime hours per week. Now, on average, I am asked to work at least 15 overtime hours per week. Of course, I comply as often as I can, but it is not in anyone's best interest to have overexerted employees. I approached our union rep about my concerns, and we crafted a plan to have a productive conversation around the issue. My suggestion was to hire two new full-time employees to equal the 45+ hours of overtime banked every week. The request is still in review; however, I feel great about the way I handled my concern."

      Rachelle's Answer #2

      "When I first joined my last employer, I noticed that the company did not have a workplace harassment and bullying policy. Coming out of university and being very sensitive to the diversity and inclusion conversation, I felt I would bring a fresh perspective to my employer. I requested a meeting with the management team, where I brought up my concerns, along with concrete examples that I had seen in our work environment. The leadership team thanked me for my concerns and for being so alert and sensitive to potentially bigger issues over time. As a result, they granted me the title of 'Diversity Liaison' where I am an appointed safe place for anyone feeling uncomfortable for any reason."


  1. What do you know about the BART training program?
    • You will find information on the BART website, by researching online, or simply by asking! It's essential that, before taking any job, you understand how dedicated the company is when it comes to equipping you to do your job. Do your research, and if you have any questions for the interviewer, this is an excellent time to ask!

      Some questions that you could ask about the training program include:

      - How long is the training?
      - Who will be training me?
      - Will I be paid during the training period?
      - What are the expectations of me once training is complete?
      - Is training performed both in the field and in a classroom setting?

      Rachelle's Answer #1

      "I read on your website that your training consists of two weeks in-class training, one week job shadowing another operator, and another week of supervised fieldwork. I understand that I will be required to pass my driving test by at least 85% along with additional testing such as language skills and physical health. I took some time to read through the employee reviews on Glassdoor and noticed there was a common theme surrounding the fact that your training is some of the best in the industry. I found that very exciting to read."

      Rachelle's Answer #2

      "I know that your training program is four weeks long and the working hours during the training program are 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday to Friday. From what I have read, the first six days of the training program are focused on bus driving. During that time, I will be required to pass a Class II road test. I read that there will be several homework assignments for me to take home and complete. Before being on my own, I will complete another two driver evaluations and a written exam. I appreciate that your training program is so thorough as I will, no doubt, feel very confident in my driving skills once the program is complete."


  1. How would you handle a passenger complaint?
    • Public transit is, essentially, customer service. When you work with the public on this level, it's essential that you handle every situation appropriately, quickly, and with the utmost care. Bad reviews stay forever (thanks, Internet!) so it's crucial to BART that you handle any passenger grievance carefully.

      Most people recommend taking the following actions:

      - Stay pleasant, positive and professional
      - Carefully listen to their issue
      - On behalf of the company, give a sincere apology
      - Keep neutral and avoid becoming defensive

      Discuss what you would do, step by step, to handle a passenger complaint.

      Rachelle's Answer #1

      "If faced with a passenger complaint, I would first make sure that I had a full understanding of the situation and what went wrong. I would apologize on behalf of BART and ask the passenger what I could do to make the situation better. There is value is making people feel heard and important."

      Rachelle's Answer #2

      "I worked in customer service while attending university and received a fair amount of training when it came to customer complaints. I would handle passenger complaints at BART with the same care and attention. The steps include stop, make eye contact, listen, repeat back, and resolve. If the situation were more serious than a general complaint, I would escalate the concern to my direct supervisor."


  1. What do you know about BART and the people we serve every day?
    • It is imperative to the interviewer that you show excitement for the job. Part of this excitement is engagement in the interview process. Essentially; that means coming well-prepared and well-researched. Imagine going on a first date, and they know nothing about you? That's how offended an interviewer would be if you knew nothing about their company before attending an interview. Perform research on BART through a search engine and their website. Check out any awards they may have received, any news surrounding growth and infrastructure development, and of course, check out employee and customer reviews. You should know around how many people they serve every day, how long they have been in business and other key talking notes.

      Rachelle's Answer #1

      "I know that BART has been around since (enter year), and that you serve around (#) passengers per year. The reviews that I have read from customers consistently say that they appreciate the ease of use and affordable transit passes. Other compliments online included mentions of your clean environment and helpful staff. "

      Rachelle's Answer #2

      "I have been a passenger of BART for four years now, taking the train everywhere I go. My first-hand experience tells me that you serve thousands a day that are getting to work, school, and their extracurricular activities. You serve passengers from all walks of life, and all ages. I especially appreciate that you (mention a recent award, innovation, or mention in the news)."


  1. Are you prepared to present your driver's abstract from all jurisdictions that you have been a licensed driver in the last two years?
    • If you are interviewing for an operator role of any kind, BART will likely require you to present your drivers' abstract. Each company you talk with will have specific requirements as far as how far back they look into your driving history, and in what region; if you have relocated recently. The best thing to do is to keep your response short and concise! Of course, you are willing to present whatever documentation they require for your employment records.

      Rachelle's Answer #1

      "I have brought with me today, an original copy of my drivers' abstract for the last three years. I have lived in this region since 2005 so everything you need will be available here, in this state. Is there anything more I can provide for my candidate file?"

      Rachelle's Answer #2

      "I recently moved here from (name region), so I took on the task of ordering the past two years of driving history from that area, as well as the past six months here, in (name region). If there is anything further that you need, I am happy to comply."


  1. What do you know about public transit rules, regulations, and safety compliance?
    • Rules and regulation surrounding safety and public transit use will change depending on the region in which you are interviewing. The hiring authority would like to know that you have at least a basic understanding of the industry before being hired. If you are new to the public transit industry, it is entirely acceptable for your knowledge to be limited. In this case, it is more important that you show a willingness to learn more about the industry.

      Rachelle's Answer #1

      "I have worked in public transit for fifteen years and am very familiar with the rules and regulations for operators and other employees in this industry. I know that BART will have its own set of regulations laid out which I am more than happy to begin learning. Safety and compliance are topics of utmost importance to me."

      Rachelle's Answer #2

      "I fully understand why BART would need to have strict rules surrounding public transit use, and compliance. If you could direct me on where to learn more about the regulations in our area, I would like to gain a head start on my learning."


  1. How will your education help you to succeed in this position with BART?
    • Your education might be on your resume; however, the interviewer wants you to take a minute and bring that educational experience to life for them.

      Some areas where you could focus on include:

      - Awards or accolades you received
      - Specific classes where you excelled
      - Scholarships and grants you earned
      - Volunteer work while attending school
      - Clubs or groups with which you were involved
      - Your grades, or where you placed in your graduating class

      Because this is an open-ended question, it can be easy to ramble on. Try to structure your response carefully to avoid a long-winded answer that confuses the interviewer. Be sure to tie in your educational experience with qualities and soft skills mentioned in the job posting.

      Rachelle's Answer #1

      "I had an excellent post-secondary experience and am happy to have earned my degree in Operational Management. My education will help me to succeed in this role with BART as it provided me with a full understanding of how to manage many moving parts from the delivery of excellent customer service to emergency management, safety protocols, and maintenance needs. During my time in university, I played team sports, which also taught me a great deal about teamwork, training hard, and upholding a healthy level of competition both internally and externally."

      Rachelle's Answer #2

      "I recently graduated with my Diploma in Administration. The coursework that I took included accounting, supply chain management, and basic financial management. I graduated top of the class, all while working part-time. I learned skills such as organization, prioritization, and stress management. All of these skills will add to my success here at BART."


  1. BART requires a security clearance check, positive references, and a medical examination before offering employment. Are you willing to comply?
    • The answer should always be that 'yes!' you are willing to comply. If you want the role with BART you need to be prepared to have your background checked in all possible ways. These steps are very typical in the public transit industry. Answer in a way that assures the interviewer that you are willing to take any background checks they require.

      Rachelle's Answer #1

      "I completely understand the need for a variety of background checks, and you have my expressed permission to look into my work history, do a criminal background check, and ensure that I am physically able to do this job without injuring myself or others."

      Rachelle's Answer #2

      "I appreciate the hard work that goes into ensuring all new hires are qualified to be in a public service role. I am happy to comply with any background checks that you require."


  1. At BART we strive to be the best transit agency in the world. How will you contribute to this goal?
    • The hiring authority wants to know that you understand and respect their goals as a company while bringing the enthusiasm required to succeed in your role. When everyone works towards one common goal, extraordinary things can happen! Discuss what you know they do best, and how you will contribute.

      Rachelle's Answer #1

      " While preparing for this interview, I read that your mission statement is to (insert company statement). I will help you to achieve this by (list three actions that you would take). It's important to me that my company be successful and gain positive customer reviews since my livelihood also depends on these factors. I take pride in my work and appreciate that BART does the same."

      Rachelle's Answer #2

      "I plan to contribute to your goal of being the best transit agency in the world by being an engaged employee, keeping myself trained on the latest news and approaches in the industry, and continually seeking out ways to make the passenger experience more enjoyable. Many people spend hours a day commuting on BART trains, so it's important that I acknowledge this, and make their experience exceptional every time."


  1. BART oversees transit operations by use of computer-generated displays, and voice communications. Do you have experience in these areas? If not, do you consider yourself technically savvy?
    • In most roles with BART you will be asked to communicate with your teammates and complete your duties, using a variety of tech and equipment. In the public transit industry, routes are computerized, everything is timed, and many tasks are automated. Be prepared to discuss your ability to learn these systems quickly.

      Rachelle's Answer #1

      "In my current role, we use a lot of technical equipment; primarily Motorola solutions including two-way radio, call handling software, dispatch consoles, video surveillance, and other network monitoring tools. I am confident in my ability to learn the tech used at BART and will apply my existing knowledge as well."

      Rachelle's Answer #2

      "I am technically savvy and, although I am new to my career with limited knowledge of the tech used in public transit, I am sure that I will be a fast learner. I pick up on new tech all the time. If you would like, I am happy to get ahead of the curve by watching online tutorials on the equipment most commonly used here at BART."


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