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Pakistan Railways Interview
Questions

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

Your background is not in rail transport. Tell me what skills and characteristics qualify you for this position, regardless of your lack of industry experience.

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Pakistan Railways Interview Questions

  1. 1.

    Your background is not in rail transport. Tell me what skills and characteristics qualify you for this position, regardless of your lack of industry experience.

      There are a variety of ways that you can be a good fit for a job; regardless of the industry from which you come. This question is your opportunity to discuss the transferable skills you bring to this position. Transferable skills can include safety training, mechanical abilities, customer service experience, and software capabilities, for instance. Be prepared to position yourself as the best candidate for the job, regardless of your direct industry experience.

      Rachelle's Answer #1

      "I come from a welding environment versus a rail transport setting; however, the importance of what I did in terms of accuracy and safety are the same that you ask for in your job posting. I put safety first, and I am highly technical and mechanically minded, no matter what the industry."

      Rachelle's Answer #2

      "It's tough to teach time management, troubleshooting, and safety skills; however, industry knowledge is something I can learn. I have begun to study the rail transport industry already and will have a firm grasp before my start date. If you have any suggestions on resources to gain further industry knowledge, I am happy to look into them."

  2. 2.

    Do you have any concerns around this role, or working for Pakistan Railways?

      The interviewer would like to know ahead of time if there is any reason for you to decline a job offer, should you be the successful candidate. If you do have hesitations, be sure to frame them as positively as possible. Ask smart questions, and gain clarification anywhere you need. If you do not have any concerns, that's great! You should still have a question or two prepared for the end of your interview to show engagement and thoughtfulness.

      Some questions you can ask include:

      - What was the biggest struggle for the person in this role, previously?
      - If hired, what do you believe will be my biggest hurdle in the first 90 days?
      - What is the most significant change your industry has gone through this year?

      Rachelle's Answer #1

      "You mentioned a high rate of employee turnover. I have a great amount of experience working with companies that need an overhaul related to employee engagement but would like to know what situation I would be facing. Do you have numbers or stats to share?"

      Rachelle's Answer #2

      "Thank you for asking! I do not have any concerns, but I do have a couple of questions. What do you foresee as the biggest challenge I will face, in my first 90 days of employment? I want to start strong and come prepared to meet these challenges."

  3. 3.

    How honest are you, on a scale of 1-10?

      The hiring authority would like to know that you are a sincere and honest person that Pakistan Railways can trust to do the right thing - even when nobody is looking! Giving yourself a rating from 1-10 can be a bit tricky since everyone has room for improvement. Be reasonable and give yourself an honest rating while backing your response with an example of your ethics and honesty.

      Rachelle's Answer #1

      "I value honesty and integrity very much. For that reason, I would rate myself as a 9/10 since there is always room for improvement, but I certainly try my best. I have never faced a discrepancy at work, or faced reprimand for acting dishonestly."

      Rachelle's Answer #2

      "When it comes to ethical issues, I always choose to be honest and truthful. For that reason, I give myself full marks! I have never faced an issue at work that tempted me to be dishonest. Integrity is all we have, and I am loyal to my employer."

  4. 4.

    Federal regulations require Pakistan Railways to conduct a series of background checks as well as random testing for drugs and alcohol. Are you able to meet these requirements?

      Of course, you are open and willing to undergo a series of background checks! Show the interviewer that you have nothing to hide and that you are fully eligible to work for Pakistan Railways. Due to the sensitive nature of rail transport, you will need to be able to pass drug and alcohol tests, as well as a criminal background check. Keep your answer straightforward.

      Rachelle's Answer #1

      "I am willing to comply with any background checks required of me, including criminal, credit, drug, and alcohol. I brought a recent police check with me today if you would like to take a copy for my candidate file."

      Rachelle's Answer #2

      "I am ready to abide by any federal regulations and any other needs of Pakistan Railways when it comes to checks on my criminal history or drug and alcohol use."

  5. 5.

    This role with Pakistan Railways requires union membership. How do you feel about being part of a unionized environment?

      There are many bonuses' to being part of a unionized environment; however, there are some folks who do not wish to work in a unionized environment. It's essential that an employer checks for preference, so they can avoid any issues arising in the future. If this role with Pakistan Railways requires you to be part of a union, be prepared to discuss your willingness to join the union. You can certainly ask questions about their collective agreement, or what the union has done to collaborate with Pakistan Railways in the recent past.

      Rachelle's Answer #1

      "I have worked in a union environment for the past three years, and am willing to work in another union environment again. I appreciate the pay standards and workplace protections that come from being part of a union; two points that are very important when working in an industry like rail transport."

      Rachelle's Answer #2

      "Union environments are new to me; however, I am eager and open to learning more. If you could share with me a little bit about how active the union is at Pakistan Railways and what they have done to benefit the lives of employees and the company culture, I would greatly appreciate the additional information."

  6. 6.

    How familiar are you with the FRA (Federal Railroad Administration) and the part they play with Pakistan Railways daily operations?

      The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) was conceptualized by the Department of Transportation Act of 1966. Essentially, the FRA's primary mission is to enable the safe, reliable, and efficient movement of people and goods by rail.

      If you are hired by Pakistan Railways you will need to be familiar with the FRA and how to comply with their regulations, as they relate to your specific job title. Briefly describe what you know the FRA to be, and how they will impact your daily work operations.

      Rachelle's Answer #1

      "The FRA is one of around 10 US-based agencies responsible for the regulation of freight and transportation by rail. I believe that as a (insert your job description) the FRA will have a significant impact on the safety practices of my job in areas such as hazardous materials, operating practices, and train control."

      Rachelle's Answer #2

      "The Federal Railroad Administration is actively involved in limiting safety risks in the rail transport industry; impacting, I believe, every aspect of my job as a (insert your job description). The FRA's focus includes hazard identification, and risk analysis, which greatly reduces rail accidents and the consequences of hazardous events should they occur."

  7. 7.

    In the rail transport industry, reaction time is everything. How often do you create alternative scenarios to help you adjust to potential change?

      Situations can change on a dime in the rail transport industry, and the interviewer needs to see that you have the insight to always have a 'Plan B' in your back pocket. Talk to the interviewer about your ability to create a variety of potential scenarios and solutions. You may never need to take on these scenarios; however, it's vital for the interviewer to know that you can adapt your plan on the fly.

      Rachelle's Answer #1

      "Any transport job can be unpredictable and requires a great amount of adaptability. Recently we had a huge recall of a hazardous product that we were transporting. Our customer was trying to stop the shipment; however, we were unable to turn the shipment around as we had other clients who needed their delivery on time. We made plans with the client for a shipment return, which changed my work schedule significantly; however, that's to be expected in this industry. I always plan for schedule changes."

      Rachelle's Answer #2

      "Nothing is guaranteed to go smoothly in the rail transport industry; that is one thing I know for sure. I always create 'what-ifs' because I know that plans change quickly, especially where there are multiple decision-makers and safety variables between myself and the delivery. Plan B is always ready to go."

  8. 8.

    Stress is an every-day presence in the rail transport industry. How do you manage in the most stressful situations?

      With high-stakes situations being an every-day occurrence at Pakistan Railways, the hiring authority needs to know that you can keep your cool no matter what tasks come your way. Your ability to manage stress will directly impact your job performance. Think of some ways you have learned to deal with stress at work, and give a real-life example to the interviewer.

      Rachelle's Answer #1

      "I realize that the rail transport industry is high-stakes, so it's critical that I manage that stress like a pro. I tend to work best in stressful situations. For instance, the pressure of delivery deadlines drives me to work faster and smarter. I am resistant to stress because I choose to focus on the end goal rather than the small hiccups along the way."

      Rachelle's Answer #2

      "I do well under pressure or stress, but like most people, sometimes I need to take a minute to recalibrate under high-pressure situations that offer little relief. I know myself, and my stress triggers pretty well, so when I feel like there's too much on my plate, I will center myself, dig in and get through it, knowing I'll come out better on the other side."

  9. 9.

    Pakistan Railways works hard to offer competitive wages and employee perks. Besides your pay, what is the most critical factor when considering a job offer?

      It's time to think about what is most important to you when considering a job offer from Pakistan Railways. Financial compensation aside, Pakistan Railways wants to know what you value.

      Perhaps your answer focus' on health benefits, work-life balance, company culture, career growth ad development, or even continued education opportunities. Whatever your answer may be, you must give the interviewer a clear idea of your career goals and what you need to gain from your next employment opportunity.

      Rachelle's Answer #1

      "Aside from a fair wage, I put a value on generous health benefits. I have a family of four, and having support for unexpected medical expenses would be an incredible addition to my compensation package. Could you share with me a bit about the benefits package here at Pakistan Railways?"

      Rachelle's Answer #2

      "I value the opportunity for promotion and career growth. I am missing out on future opportunities in my current job because they rarely promote from within the organization. This reason is why I am eager to know how Pakistan Railways helps build up its employees for promotion and growth."

  10. 10.

    Pakistan Railways employees are always busy, with critical tasks. Talk to me about what hard work looks like, to you.

      The hiring authority knows that 'hard work' can mean something completely different from one person to another. To one person, another person's hard work could seem like slacking. Talk to the interviewer about what hard work means to you. Be sure to express your ability to work hard and keep up with the pace at Pakistan Railways.

      Rachelle's Answer #1

      "My mom would always say, 'the early bird gets the worm,' which I agree with, but I think hard work goes beyond that. Being a hard worker means that you are invested in the goals and targets of your company. You don't leave your job until it's done 100% right. You also don't just leave your job the moment you walk off the site. It's always with you; thinking of ways that you can improve your performance the following day."

      Rachelle's Answer #2

      "Hard work includes the mental effort that I am putting into my deliveries. Working hard means striving to be a leader, and an example, in everything I do. I want to comfortably contribute to safety, process, and overall culture in everything that I do."

  11. 11.

    Pakistan Railways values team synergy. Tell me about the type of people you enjoy working with.

      Company culture and team harmony are essential topics for Pakistan Railways. First, because these factors directly impact employee retention. Second, because happy environments are proven to be safer, overall.

      Talk to the interviewer about the types of colleagues that you most appreciate working alongside. Keep your answer positive and avoid speaking poorly of someone from the past.

      Traits you might like to see in your colleagues could include positive, encouraging, reliable, conversational, collaborative, or passionate.

      Rachelle's Answer #1

      "I enjoy working with individuals who work hard and love what they do. Being surrounded by those who value safety makes me feel great. Also, I appreciate those who are reliable and show up when and where expected."

      Rachelle's Answer #2

      "I work best with people who have a strong work ethic and value precision. Every delivery goes smoother when you have dedicated people on your team!"

  12. 12.

    Pakistan Railways needs reliable team members who can adhere to our schedules. How many days were you unexpectedly absent from work last year?

      Depending on the role for which you are interviewing, there may be expectations for you to be on call 24-7, or be available to come into work within just a couple of hours' notice. Pakistan Railways may ask you to work double shifts, evenings, weekends, and holidays. Assure the interviewer that they can rely on you to show you to work when expected.

      Rachelle's Answer #1

      " My parents raised me with an old-fashioned mindset where you go to work unless it's an absolute emergency. The last sick day I took was about three years ago. I expect dedication from my teammates so that I don't have to cover for their shifts for fickle reasons. I deliver the same level of respect and reliability at the same time."

      Rachelle's Answer #2

      "I have had zero unexcused absences in the last two years. In total, I took eight vacation days out of my ten days holiday time. I always try to be 10 minutes early for my shift. When you call my references, they will attest to the fact that I am highly reliable."

  13. 13.

    Successful communication between departments is key to success at Pakistan Railways. How do you encourage healthy communication in the workplace?

      The hiring authority at Pakistan Railways would like to know that you lead by example when it comes to communication efforts on the job. Breakdown of communication in the rail transport industry can have dire effects on deliverables, reputation, and safety. These reasons are why clear communication is essential in your job.

      Rachelle's Answer #1

      "Many customer and delivery issues stem from poor communication. When we have a delivery issue in my current role, I work with my team to explore what happened, and how we can prevent it from happening again. We often role play and discuss ways that we could have reacted better. This practice has greatly improved our customer reviews."

      Rachelle's Answer #2

      "I show my co-workers the importance of communication through my willingness to ask questions or seek clarification. I do not pretend to have an answer just to look smart. By creating an environment where it's safe to ask questions or ask for clarification, our customer service has improved, we have more on-time deliveries, and fewer workplace accidents."

  14. 14.

    Pakistan Railways values problem-solving and troubleshooting skills. Tell me about a time you solved a significant issue in the workplace.

      Problem-solving and troubleshooting are fundamental skills in the rail transport industry. The interviewer wants to see that you are capable of problem-solving and troubleshooting in a high-pressure or high-stakes environment. Discuss a time when you solved an issue at work that had the potential to become a significant problem. Talk about the steps that you took, being sure to discuss the positive outcome in the end.

      Rachelle's Answer #1

      "Recently, it was clear that our operational and field staff felt taken for granted and disregarded by the corporate office. Not only did they feel devalued due to budget cuts and layoffs, but morale was also low from some issues surrounding our union's collective agreements and recent changes. Rather than just let these feelings fester, I decided to listen to the ops staff and then bridge the gap with corporate and the union. By sitting down and having a conversation, and laying out a more effective way of delegating work, promoting those who worked hard, and helping our operational and field staff to feel more job security; everyone walked out feeling better about the job, situation, and their coworkers."

      Rachelle's Answer #2

      "I problem solve quite often at work, primarily with customer resolution. Just yesterday, I worked with a transport customer who was unhappy with a significant delay in their shipment. Through patient communication, I was able to resolve the complaint and create another returning customer."

  15. 15.

    Do you have experience working with trains containing hazardous material or restricted shipments?

      Pakistan Railways transports hazardous materials regularly such as gasoline, chemicals, and flammable materials. The interviewer wants to understand better the experience that you bring when it comes to moving highly sensitive shipments. Discuss the breadth of your expertise by giving details such as what you have transferred and how often, being sure to highlight your success and safety record.

      If you do not have experience working with shipments that are restricted or hazardous, be sure to express the fact that you are safety conscious and comfortable working in a potentially dangerous work environment.

      Rachelle's Answer #1

      "In my current role we move dangerous shipments regularly. Before joining the rail transport industry, I worked in road transportation where we moved trucks of gasoline and highly flammable goods. I am TDG (Transportation of Dangerous Goods) certified and have had zero accidents throughout my career."

      Rachelle's Answer #2

      "I recently obtained my TDG certification and am ready for further safety training when it comes to hazardous or restricted shipments."

  16. 16.

    Describe your overall experience working around and operating heavy equipment.

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  17. 17.

    At Pakistan Railways we do everything as a team. Have you ever had difficulty working in a team environment?

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  18. 18.

    Explain to me the role of a freight conductor. What do you feel are the top 3 skills a freight conductor at Pakistan Railways should possess?

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  19. 19.

    In this role with Pakistan Railways you will be responsible for the safe and efficient operation of trains and the movement of customer freight from one destination to another. How will you contribute to our reputation for safety and excellence?

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  20. 20.

    Explain to me the responsibilities of a train dispatcher. In your opinion, what is the most critical component of a dispatch position?

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  21. 21.

    Walk me through your experience supervising crews, and facilitating schedules or loading and unloading duties.

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  22. 22.

    Do you have experience collaborating with dispatchers, yardmasters, engineers and other train crew?

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  23. 23.

    Do you have experience working on an on-call basis? Are you willing and able to comply with an on-call schedule?

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  24. 24.

    Working for Pakistan Railways can be physically demanding. Are you able to lift 50-85 pounds, work in confined or enclosed spaces, and spend much of your day bending, kneeling, and climbing?

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  25. 25.

    How do you maintain familiarity with scheduled trains, destinations, times of arrivals, and departures?

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  26. 26.

    Which aspect of working within the rail transport industry is most exciting for you?

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  27. 27.

    Have you ever been terminated from a position?

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  28. 28.

    Talk to me about your most recent performance evaluation. What was one positive, and one area for improvement?

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  29. 29.

    Name for me some specific characteristics that make you a functional problem solver.

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  30. 30.

    Working in rail transport can be stressful due to high-stakes safety issues and a lot of moving parts. What advice would you give to a colleague who seems to be cracking under pressure?

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