Career progression can be a touchy subject, especially if you feel that your career hasn't progressed as well as you would have liked. Talk to the interviewer about your career progression and what you would like to see in the future.
Phillips 66 Interview Questions
Have you progressed in your career as you have expected?
Career progression can be a touchy subject, especially if you feel that your career hasn't progressed as well as you would have liked. Talk to the interviewer about your career progression and what you would like to see in the future.
"Overall, my career has progressed a touch slower than I would have liked. I have held a couple of positions that didn't offer the growth and learning that I was expecting; however, I have bounced back nicely. I feel that this particular position would take my career exactly where it should be for my level of education, experience and ambition."
"I love this question, and I can't imagine that there are very many people who can say that their career has progressed exactly as expected. And if they can say that, it tells me they haven't taken very many risks or disrupted the status quo. Because of my entrepreneurial approach in general, I'm open to new opportunities and willing to take risks in order, ultimately, to enjoy greater success. When you approach your career in that fashion, you never know where it will take you - except on to greater challenges and success."
"Everyone always wishes that their career would have progressed a lot further or a lot faster than it has. I am happy with the progression of my career, I never really pictured myself in the oil and gas industry but I am happy that my career progression has put me in the oil and gas industry as I like to be challenged with my knowledge."Kristine's Answer
Good start, but it seems the first two sentences may seem contradictory. I reworded your response slightly to help with clarity. If you envisioned your career progressing differently, you might mention it. You can also talk about what you would like to see in the future.
"I think many people would like for their career to progress further or faster than it has. Overall, I am happy with the progression of my career, though I never really pictured myself in the oil and gas industry. Ultimately, I am pleased that my career veered into the oil and gas industry, as I like challenges and learning opportunities."Was this answer helpful? Yes or NoThank you, your vote helps us display the best answers.
What can you tell me about the Phillips 66 vision and values and how they relate to your professional goals?
The interviewer wants to see that you've prepared for the interview and can speak generally about the Phillips 66 culture and how it meshes with what you're looking for. Show that you can speak to the specific vision and values that are unique to Phillips 66.
"I love that the vision of Phillips 66 is to provide energy and improve lives. At the end of the day, I do believe that that's what access to power does for people; it very simply and literally improves their lives. When this kind of vision is backed up by values like safety, honor and commitment, that's very meaningful to me. It indicates that Phillips 66 has the kind of culture I'm looking for."
"With values like safety, honor and commitment, I can see that Phillips 66 has the kind of culture and environment in which I can do my very best work. Taking a stand and making such a firm commitment to safety gives me confidence that the company values its employees and invests in best practices to keep them as safe as possible. Valuing honor and commitment is also important to me; that directly reflects on how Phillips 66 conducts its business and particularly how it treats its customers."
"I am impressed that Phillips values safety, honor, and commitment. I think that those commitments are important to allowing the employees to be able to achieve their professional goals in a supportive environment."Kristine's Answer
Great response! You can elevate your answer by reaffirming Phillips 66 has the type of culture and values that would allow you to thrive. I assisted with minor changes to assist with clarity.
"I am impressed that Phillips values safety, honor, and commitment. I think that those commitments are important in enabling employees to be able to achieve their professional goals in a supportive environment."Was this answer helpful? Yes or NoThank you, your vote helps us display the best answers.
When have you been asked to perform a function or complete a task in which you had little or no experience in doing?
Working in the oil and gas sector, you will often be expected to wear many different hats. The interviewer would like to know about a time when you were asked to take on a task for which you knew very little. Have you ever had to take on a responsibility or a role that you felt was over your experience level? Talk to the interviewer about a time when you have dealt with this type of situation. Include the outcome, and what you learned.
"My first management job was the scariest time in my career! I honestly didn't know if I was doing my job well. I led by instinct, took leadership workshops, and spent a lot of time reading books related to effective people management."
"I was once asked to train an employee on a new SAP system that I hardly knew. To prepare, I worked overtime, watching online tutorials so that the new employee's training time was well spent."
We work hard to keep a harmonious workplace culture at Phillips 66. Have you ever had a conflict with a manager? How did you resolve it?
The interviewer would like to know how you react to a conflict situation, and how active you are in attempting resolution. Use a real-life example if you can. If you are newer to your career, this could include a case of a conflict with a professor (perhaps you disagreed with a grade you received). How you behave in a conflict situation will be critical information for the interviewer.
"Nobody enjoys conflict in the workplace; however, I have experienced it before. In my previous position, there was a miscommunication with my manager related to my work schedule. He accidentally scheduled me on a requested day off, and I felt disrespected. I reacted faster than I should have because once we discussed it, I realized he had made an honest mistake. I am a firm believer that with mutual respect, conflicts can resolve rather quickly. I learned to slow my reaction time."
"I pride myself on being able to maintain a harmonious relationship with those who are considered my leaders. Anytime my relationship with a supervisor hasn't been amazing, I've made a lot of effort to adapt, including trying to understand what the supervisor values most and delivering it, making sure to keep my cool at all times, trying to anticipate his or her needs and adapt to preferences, and also taking every possible leadership opportunity in order to show my worth."
"I don't have conflicts very often, the only real instance that I can think of was when I was in college, and the manager scheduled me for time when I was supposed to be in class. I talked to him about it and was upset at first until I realized that he hadn't seen the schedule update that I had sent him for my class schedule that had changed. He asked me to find someone that can swap shifts and I did, we ended up covering the schedule without anyone losing any hours."Kristine's Answer
Great answer! Your response will convince the interviewer conflict with managers is rare for you, but that you have handled it successfully. I reworded your response slightly to make it more concise.
"I don't have conflicts very often. The only real instance that I can think of was when I was in college, and the manager scheduled me at a time when I was supposed to be in class. I talked to him about it and was upset at first until I realized that he hadn't seen the schedule update that I had sent him. He asked me to find someone that could swap shifts, and I did. We ended up covering the schedule without anyone losing any hours."Was this answer helpful? Yes or NoThank you, your vote helps us display the best answers.
How would you describe your written communication skills?
Being a bright communicator, in written form, is an essential skill to master. Discuss any courses you have taken in communication, journalism, or writing. If you have a sample of your written communication in the form of a report of a work-related article, you can certainly bring that example with you. Talk to the interviewer about your written communication abilities and support your answer with a case or story.
Here are some words to describe your communication skills:
"My written communication skills are powerful. I often utilize written communications as a follow up to verbal communications. They provide a great resource for my FTE's and contractors to go back to, and reference, plus they might answer any questions that come up along the way."
"I have above average written communication skills. I am an experienced writer and have also written many successful quotes and RFP's in my career. I would describe my written communication skills as clear, concise, and thorough."
"I would say that I have really good written communications skills. There have been a lot of times where I have had to communicate with customers or vendors and I always make sure that I try to do so in an extremely thorough and professional manner."Kristine's Answer
Good answer! I revised it slightly for clarity. You may also mention any actions you have taken to improve your writing skills, like using grammar and spelling software such as Grammarly.
"I would say that I have strong written communication skills. There have been a lot of times where I have had to communicate with customers or vendors, and I always make sure to write in a thorough and professional manner."Was this answer helpful? Yes or NoThank you, your vote helps us display the best answers.
When have you had to make a split second decision? How do you react under unexpected pressure?
The interviewer wants to know how you handle pressure when an unexpected stressor arises. Being able to make quick decisions and think fast on your feet sets top-notch professionals out from the crowd. We all make a lot of choices every day, so start by telling the interviewer that you make a lot of quick decisions each day. Next, be prepared for a more significant example that will be sure to impress.
"In my current field admin role, this happens often! We handle a lot of contractor situations surrounding schedule and shift changes. Often, we have guidelines we follow, and there are also times when situations call for creative solutions. I make split-second decisions when resolving contractor matters, always keeping the best interests of the company in mind."
"My current position requires me to make tough decisions on a regular basis. I work well under pressure like that. With split-second decisions, I will always go with my initial instinct. Last week, I had two high-profile clients show up for a meeting at the same time. One client was late, and the other was early. I did not want anyone to feel bad for being late or too early, so I had each party placed in a different conference room. My colleague started the meeting with our early meeting while I met with the client who was late. It worked out well because I am no stranger to multi-tasking and I have great support staff."
"I work well under stress. I had a customer that received updates to their server, and we did not realize until all the employees were there that some of them were unable to access the data. After troubleshooting it, I found that some of the employees were not able to authenticate through the domain controller. I made a split decision to reboot the domain controller after letting the employees know that it would be unavailable. It came back up, and everyone was able to do their work."Kristine's Answer
Good answer! It's clear you understood that you were making an important decision that affected employees' productivity. To enhance your response, try explaining why you felt you needed to reboot the domain controller during business hours. Was it the only way to fix the problem? Make the interviewer understand why this situation was urgent. You can also discuss if you have to make split-second decisions regularly.Was this answer helpful? Yes or NoThank you, your vote helps us display the best answers.
Tell me about your education and how it relates to the oil, gas, or energy sector.
The interviewer would like for you to take a few minutes to highlight your educational background. You can mention your GPA, your major or minor and also any accolades and awards that you received during your university career. If you were involved in student-led clubs or other extracurriculars, you could mention that as well.
"My degree in Chemical Engineering has prepared me in a few ways. My degree came with a heavy focus on petroleum which included safety issue reviews such as blowouts, fire, and other hazards. I also learned a great deal about hydrate formation and decomposition, H2S, toxic gases, and safe transportation and disposal of petroleum wastes. I graduated with a 3.6 GPA and was also president of the Student's Union, rounding out my time with some leadership experience."
"I recently graduated with my Mechanical Engineering degree, where I focused my time on Mechanical and Industrial engineering applications. My GPA was a 3.8, and I made the Dean's List. My education has prepared me for a role with Phillips 66 in many ways including leadership, discipline and organizational skills."
"My degree is in Management Information Systems. I have been working at MPC for over five years with helping support their systems, and I have always been able to lend a hand to anything related to networking or operating system issues. I feel that my networking along with the oil & gas skills that I have picked up would be a big asset to Phillips 66."Kristine's Answer
Good start. In this answer, you should stay focused on your university studies or other ongoing education you have participated in since graduating. You can elaborate on your educational background by explaining the focus of your degree, such as designing information systems that improve business effectiveness. You could also mention any classes you took that introduced you to concepts relevant for the oil, gas, or energy sector.Was this answer helpful? Yes or NoThank you, your vote helps us display the best answers.
What do you know about Phillips 66's Strength Based Community Change programs?
Show the interviewer that you have an understanding of how the company provides value within the communities it serves. Try as well to relate Phillips 66's community involvement with interests of your own.
"I read a bit about the Strength Based Community Change programs, and I'm very excited about what I learned. These programs help more than 10,000 families in Los Angeles each year. From providing childcare and early childhood education, job training and parenting support, to language training, legal assistance and many other programs, SBCC strengthens individuals, families and the community. I would love to get involved and to help the program grow beyond Los Angeles."
"I love that Phillips 66 has joined the SBCC program in Los Angeles; I'd love to see the program spread even farther. Programs like SBCC help increase community engagement, build a sense of community and create a network of support, and I'd be proud to be part of such an effort. Making my community better is very important to me."
"The strength based community change program is a real great program that has helped tens of thousands of people and helps them by providing child care, education, training, legal assistance, and a lot more. I would love to be able to help with that type of outreach to the community."Kristine's Answer
Great answer! It's clear you have done some research about the program and would be happy to support it. To enhance your answer, you may mention the location of the program and any experiences you have that align with the values or mission of the program. For example, if you have served as a volunteer to help with the same target audience, you could mention it.
"The strength-based community change program is a great program that has helped tens of thousands of people by providing childcare, education, training, legal assistance, and a lot more. I would love to be able to help with that type of outreach to the community."Was this answer helpful? Yes or NoThank you, your vote helps us display the best answers.
Phillips 66 has a serious commitment to safety. How will you help us to uphold this commitment?
Safety is a vital topic in the oil and gas industry, and the interviewer would like to know that you are committed to helping Phillips 66 in their mission. Discuss the ways that you uphold safety standards in the workplace. Extra points if you can memorize the safety mission of Phillips 66.
"I read online that Phillips 66 has a range of programs related to safety, and I appreciate that safety is one of the company's core values. I will help you to uphold this commitment by delivering over and above expectations, completing my documentation fully and clearly, and by staying on top of industry trends and changes."
"When Phillips 66 establishes safety as one of its fundamental core values, that really resonates with me. Values guide me, and I understand the importance of a healthy environment and a safe workplace. I take to heart Phillips 66's statement that 'when each of us commits to operating safely and working in the right way every day, great things happen: No one gets hurt.'"
"Safety is huge and I am extremely impressed to see Phillips 66 has a serious commitment to safety. With MCP, we have to do 4 hazardous conditions a year so I am completely familiar with that process and I always try to do more if I see more than just the 4 around the building. I am committed to helping the business operate safely so that everyone can go home to their family at night."Kristine's Answer
Good answer! Your interviewer will see you have been committed to safety with your current employer. When you answer this and any question, you may mention your previous experience, but be sure to explain what you will do for Phillips 66. Then, the interviewer will be able to imagine how you may contribute to the company. I reworded your response with some suggestions as to how you could address your safety commitment to Phillips 66.
"Safety is hugely important, and I am extremely impressed to see Phillips 66 has a serious commitment to safety. With MCP, we carry out four hazardous condition checks a year, so I am completely familiar with that process. I always try to do more if I see more than just the four checks around the building are needed. If I were hired, I would be fully committed to helping Phillips 66 operate safely so that everyone can go home to their family at night."Was this answer helpful? Yes or NoThank you, your vote helps us display the best answers.
This role requires extensive knowledge of pipeline systems and oil well machinery. How well do you understand this complicated equipment?
To fully understand pipeline systems and oil well machinery, you will need to have many years' experience in the industry. Briefly discuss with the interviewer how comfortable you are on these topics. Be sure to list any courses that you have taken on these topics.
"I have studied pipeline systems for some time now, and have worked in the oil industry for approximately eight years. There are always new things to learn, as the industry is ever-evolving; however, I would rate my knowledge at an intermediate to advanced level. If there is any coursework that you recommend I take before starting with Phillips 66, I would be happy to comply."
"I am newer to the oil and gas industry; however, I have taken some coursework including fundamentals of offshore and onshore pipeline systems and am confidently in my knowledge base. I am currently working toward my Pipeline Operations Certificate which includes studies focused on corrosion theory, measurement fundamentals, and inspection techniques."
"I have worked in oil and gas for over five years, so I have a pretty good understanding of it, but there are always things to learn."Kristine's Answer
Good start. While you have an impressive 5 years in the industry, you downplay your experience and knowledge. Try revising your answer to more clearly state your level of knowledge and familiarity with pipeline systems and oil well machinery. You want your interviewer to feel confident you have the background and expertise needed to thrive in the role.Was this answer helpful? Yes or NoThank you, your vote helps us display the best answers.
What can you tell me about Phillips 66's commitment to customer service across all of our business segments?
Show the interviewer that you can speak confidently about Phillips 66's commitment to its customers. You can find a great deal of information about this approach on the Phillips 66 website; you don't have to go into a lot of specifics, but just show that you've taken the time to do some introductory research.
"From service stations and retail outlets to providing chemicals, specialty products and other solutions, it's clear that Phillips 66 has a long history of valuing its customers and operating with their best interests in mind. For more than a century, customers have depended on Phillips 66 for their oil and gas needs. It's refreshing to see a company that's been around so long and that has such a strong legacy of putting its customers first."
"Phillips 66 branded fuels and services are some of the best known in the world. Your global brands reinforce your commitment to offering superior quality products and to putting the needs of the customer first. From asphalt and crude oil to real estate and other specialties, Phillips 66 has established a reputation for caring about its customers and consistently providing high quality products."
"Customer Service is huge, businesses wouldn't be in business without the customers. When I was in college, I was Assistant Manager at one of the largest Phillips 66 stations. It taught me a lot about customer service at a young age and those lessons have helped me become the person I am today. Customers need to be treated the way that yourself would want to be treated."Kristine's Answer
Great answer! Your interviewer will be impressed by your prior work experience with the company and that it shaped your value of customer service. I reworded your response a bit to help with clarity.
"Businesses wouldn't be in business without customers, and Phillips 66 knows this. I've seen your company's commitment to customer service first-hand. When I was in college, I was an Assistant Manager at one of the largest Phillips 66 stations. It taught me a lot about customer service at a young age, and those lessons have helped me become the person I am today. I learned that customers should be treated the way that you would want to be treated."Was this answer helpful? Yes or NoThank you, your vote helps us display the best answers.
What is API gravity, and how is it calculated?
API gravity is American Institute Petroleum gravity. In short, it is a measure used to determine the weight of petroleum liquids compared to water. Here, the interviewer is not looking for you to give a math or physics lesson. They want to know that you are aware of basic terms and what they mean. Keep your response brief, and easy to follow.
"I understand there is a specific formula used to find the gravity of petroleum liquids from the specific gravity, also known as SG. The formula is: API gravity = 141.5/SG - 131.5. I also know that is the API gravity is 10+, it is classified as a light oil which will float on water. An API gravity under ten will sink and then becomes categorized as heavy oil."
"What I understand about API gravity is that it's a measurement that calculates the gravity of petroleum liquids compared to water. This calculation is how oil becomes classified from light, medium and heavy for example."
"API gravity is how heavy petroleum is compared to water."Kristine's Answer
Good start! In your answer, you should also mention the formula used to find API gravity.Was this answer helpful? Yes or NoThank you, your vote helps us display the best answers.
What can you tell me about the four major areas of Phillips 66's business?
The interviewer would like to see that you've done some research and can speak confidently in general terms about the specific markets/business areas in which Phillips 66 operates. This is your opportunity to highlight any research you've done in preparation for the interview.
"I've done a bit of research, and I know that Phillips 66 operates in four major business segments: refining, midstream, marketing and specialties, and chemicals. I can also tell you that Phillips 66 is one of the largest refineries in the world and that in sum, Phillips 66 offers unparalleled stability and reach."
"Phillips 66's refining business has a a global refining capacity of 2.2 million barrels of crude oil per day, which is astounding. In addition, the company's midstream business is essential to the value chain, whether related to crude oil, feedstocks or refined and specialty products. On the direct-to-consumer front, Phillips 66's marketing division delivers gasoline, diesel and aviation fuel through brands consumers trust like Phillips 66 and Conoco. And, last, the chemicals division allows scientists to develop everything from specialty chemicals to proprietary plastics. It's an exciting collection of business operations!"
"Phillips has four business segments, and they are refinery, midstream, chemicals, and specialties."Kristine's Answer
Great start! You introduce the four major areas. To enhance your answer, elaborate on the areas, explaining something about each of them. E.g., "The company's midstream business is essential to the value chain, whether related to crude oil, feedstocks or refined and specialty products."Was this answer helpful? Yes or NoThank you, your vote helps us display the best answers.
If you were hired today, what would you accomplish first?
When you start a new position, it is essential to set a goal on how you will make a positive impact quickly after being hired. Tell the interviewer what your impact goal is, should you be the successful candidate and hired at Phillips 66.
"My first priority would be soaking up as much information about culture, process and KPIs as possible. I'd embark on a 'listening tour' in order to engage in deep conversation with my team and with my colleagues to discover the greatest current needs and how to prioritize them based on company goals for the quarter. Overall, I would strive to meet or exceed all KPIs for the business quarter as efficiently as possible."
"If hired today, I would start with analyzing all quantifiable data from the last month, quarter and year to identify any challenges and set a plan to address them. I'd also look for team and company strengths in order to capitalize on or expand them in order to increase the company's bottom line. Overall, I'd be looking for patterns that help me make an immediate contribution to the team and the organization."
"My first goal if I was hired would be to start by learning the systems and where I could be an asset to each person in the department with my ultimate goal to be making the company look good. It may take a little bit of time to get everything down, but some of the immediate things I could start doing is checking the servers for good virus protection, checking storage, and learning what each person does in the organization."Kristine's Answer
Excellent answer! You will convince your interviewer you are ready to hit the ground running and will make an impact quickly.Was this answer helpful? Yes or NoThank you, your vote helps us display the best answers.
What is the difference between a leader and a manager?
The interviewer would like to know that you understand what makes a leader genuinely stand out. Just because you are a manager, that does not mean you are a leader.
A real leader is someone who makes others want to jump on board with their mission and follow them. A manager is just someone who has people under them. To be an excellent leader, you should offer a balance between the two. You need to be able to have people buy into your vision but at the same time, show authority when necessary.
"A manager is someone who has a team of people who answer to them. That person simply has the responsibility of 'managing' the team's work. A leader, on the other hand, is someone of influence and, I believe, anyone can be a leader - no matter their job title or position."
"To me, leadership is a mindset versus a title. A manager is more of a job title. Anyone can possess leadership skills, but a great manager will have leadership skills along with the ability to direct his or her team to success."
"A manager is someone that has people reporting to them, does reports, and reports to higher management. A leader is someone that is an influence for the team that is always doing what is needed and persuades the other employees to follow suit."Kristine's Answer
Great answer! You clearly explain the key differences between a manager and a leader.Was this answer helpful? Yes or NoThank you, your vote helps us display the best answers.
What have you done to improve your oil and gas knowledge in the last year?
When given an important assignment, how do you approach handling it?
Do you feel performance should be rewarded over experience?
What type of work environment allows you to be the most productive?
What strikes you as unique within Phillips 66's efforts around diversity and inclusion?
Why is this job with Phillips 66 right for you at this time in your career?
Why is it so important that Phillips 66 engage in sustainable business practices and then report their results?
Which is the leading publication or resource that you use for up-to-date news on the oil and gas sector?
What questions do you have for me?
What is OPEC, and why does it matter?
Tell me about a time when you witnessed unsafe behavior in the field. What did you do?
Using the STAR method, tell me about the most significant problem you faced and solved.
Phillips 66 operates in many countries. Are you eligible to travel and work around the world?
Do you think it is possible to be a good team member, yet disagree with the leader?
With which industry-related computer programs are you most familiar?