Display to the interviewer that you can do more than the bare minimum. Show that you can react appropriately when you see that your employer has a need that goes beyond your usual day-to-day expectations.
PG&E Interview Questions
Give me an example of a time when you went above and beyond.
Display to the interviewer that you can do more than the bare minimum. Show that you can react appropriately when you see that your employer has a need that goes beyond your usual day-to-day expectations.
"Last week I noticed that my manager had not completed the schedule for the following week. Some of the staff were complaining that they didn't have their work schedule yet. Rather than going to my manager with the complaint, I offered to take on some of her workload so that she would have the time to complete the schedule. We worked together for a couple of overtime hours that day and were able to catch her up on everything. It felt good to help but also benefited me by way of organization."
"I often go above and beyond when it comes to helping new employees to feel comfortable and welcomed. In my current position, I like to take them under my wing and show them the ropes in our organization, and industry."
"In the morning, before the truck arrives in the city, I will often visit some of the addresses beforehand to see if they are inspectable or not. This saves the truck from having to visit these addresses when it could be at any addresses performing a possible deliverable inspection."Rachelle's Answer
Good work! It sounds as though this would be a beneficial gesture. Do you have more information regarding the measurable impact this gesture has on your employer or team members? For instance, time saved.Was this answer helpful? Yes or NoThank you, your vote helps us display the best answers.
Our industry is highly competitive. In your opinion, what are we doing right at PG&E? What could we be doing better?
Although the interviewer would like to know what they could be doing better, this is indeed not an invitation to do a deep dive into the things you do not like about PG&E. Keep your answer firmly focused on what PG&E is doing right. Offer a lighthearted suggestion for improvement. This suggestion could be mentioning a small change in their online job portal, or perhaps a stronger social media presence. Be sure to complete your answer on a positive note by complimenting PG&E and affirming that you want to work for them.
"I understand that this industry is very competitive; however, I have always seen PG&E as the industry leader. I enjoy how you relate to your customers through your marketing and branding efforts. It's all very relate-able content. If I could make one suggestion, I would comment on the user interface for your online job portal. I noticed that it isn't mobile friendly. With 67% of job seekers being mobile users, you would likely see a strong increase in applicants by making your job portal mobile friendly. Other than that, I like what I have experienced so far. I'm excited to have the opportunity to work at PG&E!"
"PG&E is doing so many things right, which is why I am so excited to be meeting with you today! I like the fact that your employees are so happy to work here. Your online reviews are solid. If I could make a suggestion, I would recommend a more robust website as so many customers are on mobile."
"PG&E is doing a great job during the pandemic helping people in need pay their energy bills. Areas of improvement are gas maps and gas service records. There have been times when I pull up a GSR to locate gas distribution lines and the information is inaccurate."Rachelle's Answer
It seems you have done your research on PG&E and your reply is thoughtful. When it comes to your suggested improvement, do you have any brief recommendations on how they could improve?Was this answer helpful? Yes or NoThank you, your vote helps us display the best answers.
Tell me about the most important skill you have gained in the past year. How will that skill help you succeed in this role with PG&E?
The interviewer wants to know that you continue to better yourself by gaining new skills and strengthening your existing skills. Discuss what you believe to be the most valuable skill acquired in the past year. Explain to the interviewer that you are excited for the opportunity to grow yourself, professionally.
"I think it is imperative to introduce new skills to my repertoire continually. This year, I am most excited about the coding knowledge I have gained. This knowledge has helped me to expand my abilities in more areas than I initially expected, and I hope to utilize my coding skills in this position with PG&E."
"Here is a list of transferable skills that you may have gained in your most recent work history:
- Writing new procedures
- Ability to quickly take and understand instruction
- Professional written communication
- Learning a new industry or trade
- Public speaking or presenting
- Delegating tasks
- Hiring, terminating, and on-boarding"
"Definitely has to be managing work through a Pandemic. Working from home sounds like fun and games until you’re actually doing it for nine months straight. It requires a lot of organization, time management, flexibility, adaptability, problem solving, and thinking on your feet. I think my biggest challenge has had to be taking existing tasks and transitioning it to a virtual platform, while still maintaining the quality and experience. For example, new hire orientation. This is an event I take pride in and it is important for me to give my new hires the best possible first impression of the company. It is a lot easier to do that while sitting in the same room. I looked at my program, closely evaluated it, and figured out ways to make it interactive, even through a screen. I opted to put my regular PowerPoint presentation on a more engaging platform like Prezi, I invited other stakeholders to jump in and participate in the zoom call throughout the day, and I even sent over DoorDash lunch as an added treat. This is just one example of how you have to learn to adapt and modify a task to fit this new dynamic."Rachelle's Answer
Right?! You said it! It's evident that you have worked hard to show up for your employer every day, despite the unique challenges of working from home. The example you provide regarding the new hire orientation is a perfect touch. This story allows the interviewer to engage in your day-to-day activities and picture you in action on the job. Well done :)Was this answer helpful? Yes or NoThank you, your vote helps us display the best answers.
Looking at your resume, it seems there are certain skills necessary for this position that do not stand out. How do you think you will be able to compensate for these missing skills?
Most job descriptions will have a long list of requirements. Hiring managers are aware that, to find a candidate that checks ALL of the boxes, can sometimes be impossible. Do not fret if you are missing some of the "nice to have" or even a couple of "must have" skills listed in the job description. Be open about your shortcomings and discuss with the interviewer how you plan to compensate for those.
"nice to have"
"Could you share with me which specific skills you feel are not standing out? I would be happy to give any clarification on those skills. If there are gaps that need filling, I am very willing to take additional coursework or training."
On a scale from 1 to 10, how honest are you?
Do you feel that you are a sincere person or do you have room for growth? This question could be a tricky question as nobody is always 100% honest. Answer to the best of your ability and back your reply by speaking about your ethics.
"I would love to give myself a 10/10 for honesty but truthfully - nobody is 100% honest all of the time. I will give myself an nine because I always do my best to be as honest as possible."
"I put a heavy focus on honesty and trustworthiness in the workplace, as well as in my personal life. Because I strive for complete honesty, I will rate myself as a 10/10. My values are solid."
What are your salary expectations?
The best way to discuss your salary expectations is to use your current earnings as an example. Be open, and honest. Transparency is the best choice when salary based questions arise.
"Currently, I earn a base salary of $45,000 per year plus a potential 20% annual bonus. Last year my earnings were $52,000, and I would like to stay in the same range or slightly higher."
"I am currently making $100,000 per year with two bonus opportunities. I am looking for compensation that is aligned with the role and provides an opportunity for growth."
PG&E has many different departments and growth opportunities. Where would you like to see your career go with us in the next couple of years?
PG&E wants to know that you think about the future and are actively working towards your career goals. Better yet, they want to know how working for them will help you to accomplish those goals! Take a look at the job postings available with PG&E. Perhaps there is a particular location or department to which you would like to transition. Talk to the interviewer about the ways you could see your career flourishing with PG&E.
"I noticed that PG&E has opportunities for management and new employee training. My goal would be to become a corporate trainer with PG&E because I know the industry well and have been told that I am a talented mentor and teacher. I believe there are many great opportunities for my career to flourish with PG&E and I look forward to spending many years with your company."
"I have some pretty lofty career aspirations, and after researching your organization and learning more about this position, I feel that this role fits with my future aspirations. I would love to see myself promoted based on my hard work and results, eventually managing my team."
"Ideally, I would like to stay within HR. I have been in an HR capacity for the last 6 years and I really enjoy the work I do and the relationships I am able to build with the employees I serve. This is why I eventually went back to school to attain my masters degree in HR management last year. In the next 5 years, I would love to grow into a more senior or management position. I do consider myself a natural leader, but it would be a goal of mine to attain the title and be able to become a mentor to another person or people and grow their skills like leaders I have encountered have grown mine."Rachelle's Answer
Very well said! It's clear that you have a strong path ahead of you in HR and that you have committed yourself wholly to this profession. Your future goals are specific and highly achievable.Was this answer helpful? Yes or NoThank you, your vote helps us display the best answers.
At PG&E we believe in continued education opportunities. What course or workshop would you take, if given the opportunity?
The interviewer would like to know that you have a keen interest in gaining new skills by continuing your education when the opportunity arises.
Tell the interviewer about any course that you would like to take, but be sure to keep your answer industry related. You should avoid saying that you want to attend a class on dog grooming if you are interviewing for a career in the utility industry.
It's also a great idea to ask the interviewer if, after reviewing your resume, they would suggest a particular course to fill any potential gaps in your skill set.
"I agree that continued education is essential. If given the opportunity to take any coursework, I would like to complete my Project Manager certificate. Being PM certified would help me to manage the aspects of our commercial utility projects more efficiently. Do you have a recommendation for any courses I could be taking to strengthen my skill set?"
"That is a great question, and I appreciate that you consider continued education options for your employees. If I could take any related coursework, I would choose to learn more about the future of electric utilities and organizational behavior. Are there any particular courses you recommend that I take?"
"Anything! I have always had a love for learning and I believe that every and any skill is worth having because it differentiates you. If I were offered the opportunity at any training or workshop, I would take it. However, if I had to choose, I am especially interested in management trainings (how to be an influential leader, how to manage a team well, how to mitigate an issue between two people, training and development). Anything in that arena would be ideal."Rachelle's Answer
Your enthusiasm really shines through. I like the detail you provide (how to be an influential leader, how to manage a team well, how to mitigate an issue between two people, training and development). These specific mentions will help the interviewer gain a strong understanding of your professional drivers.Was this answer helpful? Yes or NoThank you, your vote helps us display the best answers.
"I would like to enroll in the Engineer Rotational Development Program, an 18-month program in partnership with Stanford University, which gives employees the opportunity to earn a PG&E Engineering Management certification. I would also be interested in a Project Management certification. Do you have other recommendations?"Rachelle's Answer
This is fantastic! You are very specific, and the interviewer should appreciate that you are so focused on growth and your future achievements. It's nice to ask for suggestions since perhaps the interviewer could offer you advice based on previous employee success (especially if the interviewer is from the HR department).Was this answer helpful? Yes or NoThank you, your vote helps us display the best answers.
If we hire you at PG&E, how will you make an impact in the first 90 days?
The interviewer wants to know that you already have a plan of action in place for your success with PG&E, should you be the chosen candidate. Show your initiative by preparing a 90-day success plan. If you are applying for a sales position, discuss how you plan to resuscitate dormant accounts, for example.
Be sure to address the needs that the company has outlined in the job posting or job description. For instance, if the job description mentions a "must-have" of strong communication skills, be sure to comment on how you plan to utilize your exceptional communication skills to see success in a short amount of time.
"In my first 90 days with PG&E, I would like to make an impact by excelling in my training and learning all that I can about the processes here. I want to develop strong relationships with my new coworkers and customers."
"In my first 90 days at PG&E, I want to make an impact by excelling in my trainings and really diving into the procedures this company has in place. I would also like to start building relationships with people on my team to create a support system and also fortify my familiarity with the company. No better way to do that than talking to people who have been around for a while."Rachelle's Answer
This is an excellent 90-day approach. By focusing on your training and getting to know the company and its people, you show the interviewer that you are ready to put in the hard work of building a solid foundation, ensuring long-term success.Was this answer helpful? Yes or NoThank you, your vote helps us display the best answers.
"In my first 90 days with PG&E, I would like to make an impact by absorbing as much information as I can in order to effectively execute my job."Rachelle's Answer
Learning your new role is very important! I recommend adding more detail by describing how you plan to approach your training, getting to know your role, and working alongside your new team.Was this answer helpful? Yes or NoThank you, your vote helps us display the best answers.
Would you say you are a better verbal or written communicator?
In which manner do you prefer to communicate - written or verbal? Discuss your preference with the interviewer and support your answer.
"I prefer verbal communication because I feel that with written communication, miscommunication can happen due to lack of tone, fluctuation, expression and body language. I will always choose a face to face conversation whenever possible."
"I like to leverage both methods of communications when dealing in business. Sometimes, situations call for verbal communications and other times, written. As a rule of thumb, I tend to practice verbal communications, with written follow up or vice versa. Utilizing multiple methods creates repetition and therefore, change."
How do you determine priorities when you have multiple projects due?
When you feel torn between multiple projects or tasks, how do you decide which one needs your attention the most? Assure the interviewer that you can be diligent when it comes to assessing your priorities.
"I will determine which project requires my attention by the number of hours we are behind and then the project size. I am comfortable delegating tasks when needed, but I am also aware that these times will require an additional commitment of hours from me. Never have I under delivered on a deadline."
"Assuming that the projects have different stakeholders, I interview each to determine the value of increased productivity, morale or revenue, decreased costs, and the overall impact."
The utilities industry is highly regulated. How do you stay on top of policy changes and trends related to our business?
The interviewer wants to see that you have a keen and sincere interest in the utility industry. Show that you see this as more than 'just a job.' Talk to the interviewer about a couple of ways that you stay in touch regarding industry trends and policy changes. It's also a great idea to ask the interviewer about their favorite industry resources. This question can start an informative conversation and potentially give you new resources for industry based knowledge.
"My go-to resources for industry related news would be utilitydive.com as well as waterworld.com. I prefer these resources because I can subscribe to daily inbox updates as well as their monthly newsletter. Their sources are strong, and the content is always fresh. What are your favorite resources for industry trends and related news?"
"It is tough to keep up on the ever-changing policies in this industry. I have set up google alerts for particular keywords. Also, I meet with a mentor once a month who had a long-time career in the utility industry. During our meetings, we discuss the industry in great detail. I look forward to these meetings because I learn so much!"
"I have to be honest, it is tough to keep up with industry related news and updates. One way I do this is by setting up google alerts. Google does a good job at sending me constant updates that pertain to my area or topics of interest. Sometimes, I will receive utility related updates, especially during the fires that were happening earlier in the year."Rachelle's Answer
It can be tough to keep up with all of the content being thrown our way daily :) Rather than begin with hardship, I recommend starting your answer with the actions you take and ending with what you have learned by remaining in-the-know. I have provided a slight tweak for you below.
"One way I keep up with industry trends and topics is by setting up Google alerts. Google does a good job of sending me important updates that pertain to my areas or topics of interest. For instance, during the fires that were happening earlier in the year, I was able to remain in-the-know thanks to these Google alerts."Was this answer helpful? Yes or NoThank you, your vote helps us display the best answers.
"My current company sends out a weekly newsletter outlining notable news in the energy industry. I read through this every week to get an idea of the different names, policies, and standards in the industry. I also follow many different utility and energy companies on Linkedin to receive news updates. I would also be interested in any resources you could suggest since I am interested in learning more."Rachelle's Answer
Wonderful answer! You sound very eager to learn and keen on staying up-to-date on your industry.Was this answer helpful? Yes or NoThank you, your vote helps us display the best answers.
Have you personally used the services of PG&E? If so, what was your overall experience?
The interviewer would like to know if you have had the pleasure of experiencing the products/services of PG&E first hand. You should always have some personal experience with the company before going to your first interview. If you are not a customer of PG&E then perhaps you could call their office to inquire about their utility services. This way, you can comment on the customer service that you received. Big or small, be prepared to say YES - you have experienced PG&E first hand.
"I have been a customer of PG&E for three years now. My experience has been a positive one. I specifically recall last year when my invoice was incorrect. I called the customer service line, and the representative was helpful and friendly. I have recommended PG&E to my friends and family in the past."
"I have not been a direct customer of PG&E; however, I did call into your customer service department a couple of weeks ago to discuss the possibility of changing my services over to you. Unfortunately, I am on a contract with one of your competitors until the end of November. My experience with PG&E was great so I will be switching over to you as soon as I am able."
"I have been a customer of PG&E for 3 years now. The service has been phenomenal. The one thing that stands out to me is the transparency this company offers to their customers. I appreciate the constant updates I receive via email and notifications of potential power outages so that I can plan accordingly. Unfortunately, this is not the type of communication that many companies have with their consumers which creates a lot of animosity and frustration. I truly think PG&E is a pioneer in this."Rachelle's Answer
Good! You have many positive things to say about PG&E. Your personal experience with the company and its service levels is a great touch. To keep your answer positive, you may want to omit the 'unfortunately...' portion of your response and stick with the great things you have experienced with PG&E.Was this answer helpful? Yes or NoThank you, your vote helps us display the best answers.
"My girlfriend's apartment uses PG&E electric and gas, and I have only heard and experienced positive things. The prices are affordable and we've never had any issues with the service."Rachelle's Answer
It's great that you have had a positive experience! If this positive experience is one of the reasons you are interested in joining PG&E, it may be nice to add that into your final statement. I have provided an example below.
"My girlfriends apartment is supplied with PG&E electric and gas, and I have only ever heard and experienced positive things. The prices are affordable, and myself and my girlfriend have never had any issues with the service. This reliable and affordable service is another reason why I would be proud to work for PG&E."Was this answer helpful? Yes or NoThank you, your vote helps us display the best answers.
Why do you want to work for PG&E?
Interviewing, hiring and onboarding are expensive and time-consuming tasks for a company. Assure the interviewer that you have a specific interest in working for PG&E. Come prepared with examples of why PG&E is your top choice. This example could include commenting on individual industry awards and accolades that PG&E has achieved in the past. Perhaps they are well known for their community outreach efforts or their strong workplace culture. Make your answer engaging and genuine.
"It's important to me that I work for a socially responsible organization. I like that PG&E has implemented a new water conservation program as well as the fact that you donate many dollars and volunteer hours to local charities. You are a company with heart, and I put a great deal of value on that."
"The primary reasons your company stands out to me include your focus on employee development and continued education. You have a strong reputation for nurturing the human resources that you have. I would be so grateful to work here."
"The first thing that attracted me has to be the position. Based on the job description, this is a position that I believe will challenge me, teach me new skills, and allow me to demonstrate my current skills in ways that I am not able to in my current role. Aside from that, I would be very fortunate to work for an industry leader. I assume that because PG&E is such a force to be reckoned with, departmental expectations and individual performance is held to a high standard. I would love to be a part of such an influential company."Rachelle's Answer
Another great start! One recommendation is that rather than leaving general statements, try digging into their meaning so that your answer feels personalized and specific. For instance, challenge you in what way? Which new skills will this role teach you? Which current skills do you want to demonstrate? How is PG&E a 'force to be reckoned with' in comparison to other utility companies? We have a guide to answering, 'Why do you want to work here?' -https://www.mockquestions.com/articles/How to Answer: Why Do You Want to Work Here?/, you may find it helpful:Was this answer helpful? Yes or NoThank you, your vote helps us display the best answers.
"One of the main reasons I want to work for PG&E, other than my general interest in the utility and construction industries, is because of all the great things I have heard from employees. From what I have heard and read, there are many opportunities for career advancement and the possibility for mobility within the organization. As a young person, the prospect of mobility within the organization sounds appealing."Rachelle's Answer
This is an exciting prospect, indeed! You are off to a great start, and I encourage you to dig deeper into these details. For instance, what type of advancement have you heard of, or what type of career progression would you like to see? We have a guide on 'Why do you want to work here' if you are interested in exploring this question even further. Here is the link: https://www.mockquestions.com/articles/How to Answer: Why Do You Want to Work Here?/Was this answer helpful? Yes or NoThank you, your vote helps us display the best answers.
What are your greatest strengths? How will these skills benefit PG&E, if hired?
Reviewing the job description and the company website will give you some direction on which qualities PG&E values most. Share your most valuable strengths. You can refer to the list of responsibilities within the job description to gain a better understanding of what strengths PG&E will value most from you.
Explain how your strengths will help you to accomplish the job-related tasks and, better yet, help you to exceed company expectations. Try to offer unique advantages that will set you apart from other candidates. Avoid generic terms.
"I have exceptional loyalty when it comes to my clients and employer. I am also quick to solve problems, which helps me handle customer issues with ease. These strengths will help me to build exceptional relationships and maintain customer satisfaction."
"Some great strengths to mention are:
- Tech Savvy
- Flexible in Schedule/Availability
- Persistent and Determined
- Eager for Knowledge/New Skills"
"As an HR professional, I learn things very quickly and I will research what I do not know until I feel like a subject matter expert on the topic. I understand the importance of being a reliable resource for employees, so I always try to be on the top of my game with both internal processes and current state laws and regulations. Additionally and equally as important, I think that one of my greatest strengths is my ability to work with just about anybody. I build relationships with people very easily, and I always try my best to be an exemplary team player. I am an advocate of knowledge transfer, so I am always willing to help or train my team members in my strong areas, and I look for the same advice when I am in need of counsel. I hope that I join a team that will foster this type of collaboration."Rachelle's Answer
Fantastic answer! You have many coveted strengths, and you make it very clear how these strengths will benefit PG&E should they hire you. Compelling and well said.Was this answer helpful? Yes or NoThank you, your vote helps us display the best answers.
"I would say my three greatest strengths are my communication abilities, my ability to solve problems, and my attitude."Rachelle's Answer
Good start! These are very positive and important strengths to have. Next, I recommend that you provide examples of these strengths in action. Then, discuss how these strengths will benefit PG&E, should you be hired. We have a guide to answering 'What are your greatest strengths' if you would like to explore the topic futher. Here is the link: https://www.mockquestions.com/articles/How to Answer 5 of The Most Common Interview Questions/Was this answer helpful? Yes or NoThank you, your vote helps us display the best answers.
Why do you want to pursue a career opportunity in the utilities industry?
Sometimes our customers do not understand their bill and they will reach us with questions. Tell me about your communication skills and how you would respond to an irate customer.
Have you progressed in your career as you have expected?
Describe your leadership skills.
Would you be willing to work over 40 hours a week?
How do you manage a large workload?
How do you handle stress?
Do you have experience in corrective discipline and terminations?
How can we motivate you on the job?
How do you respond to feedback?
When do you best demonstrate yourself as a leader?
Do you have reliable transportation?
Tell me about yourself.
What would you do if a client asked you about a product or service and you were unsure of the answer?
What questions do you have for me?