Updated on August 17th, 2018 | 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 28
What would have to change about your current job, for you to stay where you are?
How to Answer
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How to Answer
What is it that you are missing from your current opportunity? If given this new position, would you be receiving all that you need from this new opportunity?
Be sure to remain positive when you answer this question and avoid speaking poorly about your current supervisor or company.
"For me to stay in my current job there would need to be less 'on-call' work and a higher pay rate. Currently, I am on call 3 weekends per month and my current company does not offer a competitive pay rate for my level of expertise."
As you may know, there is some debate between PVC and copper for the use in water mains. Be sure to pick a side and then explain your answer.
"I prefer copper pipes as I feel that PVC isn’t always the safest choice. Many people are concerned that the chemicals used in the production of CPVC may cause health issues when exposed to heat. I find copper to be a safer choice especially when there will be consumption of water from those pipes."
This question is designed to find out what level of experience you have as a plumber.
If you have changed a toilet before you could say, "Yes, I have changed many toilets in my career as a plumber. The most challenging time was when...." and be sure to give an insightful or entertaining example.
If you have not changed a toilet before, you can say, "I have not had the opportunity to change a toilet as of yet but I am confident in my ability to do so."
"Yes, I have changed many toilets in my career as a plumber. The most challenging time was when...."
6. Have you ever installed a shower with multiple shower heads? How did you keep water pressure high? This question should be answered in detail but beware of talking for too long. Just the basics is all that's required. If the interviewer would like more detail, they will ask. Here is an answer example: "I have installed a his and hers shower before. I kept the water pressure high by adding a water storage tank to their home. This increased their GPM to a minimum of 10 which allowed for good pressure with 2 shower heads."7. What advantages are there for PVC water mains? Many plumbers prefer PVC over copper and vice versa. Despite your opinion between the two you can display to the interviewer that you are knowledgable in this area of plumbing work. Here is an answer example: "I feel that there are a few advantages to using PVC for water mains. For one, it is resistant to corrosion and abrasion. Secondly, it is less noisy. Thirdly, it is more cost effective than copper."8. Have you ever plumbed an office building? Do you bring residential and commercial plumbing experience? If you have plumbed an office building before be sure to talk a bit about it. Here is an answer example: "Yes, I have plumbed an office building. It was a part of a large commercial job I did last year. My biggest challenge with that job was learning the structural and mechanical differences between office and residential."9. How many years experience do you have plumbing? This is a simple answer that you can break down between your training, apprenticeship and total work experience since being a fully trained plumber. Here is an answer example: "Between my training, apprenticeship and work experience as a journeyman, I have 8 years' total experience as a plumber."10. We run a credit report and background check are you ok with that? Credit reports and background checks are very common in the trades, especially if the hiring company has a strong focus on residential plumbing and/or need you to be bonded.
If you have a strong credit report and clean background check there is nothing to worry about. (One single credit check will not dock you major credit points as many believe to be true.)
You could reply briefly such as: "I am absolutely okay with that. My credit and criminal background are clean."
If you have a bit of a marked past or poor credit now is the time to openly disclose that. Here is an answer example: "I am absolutely okay with that. My credit and criminal background are clean."11. What license do you have as a plumber? When answering this question, you can talk about the level of education or licensing that you do have but you can also talk a bit about any continued education that you'd like to gain. Here is an answer example: "I have a Certificate of Apprenticeship in plumbing. I would like to eventually gain further licensing and gain my Certificate of Qualification in plumbing."12. How many houses have you plumbed before? This question is asked so that the interviewer can find out what level of experience you have as a residential plumber.
If you have plumbed many residential homes in your career you could say, "I have plumbed many residential homes in my career. The most challenging time was when...." and be sure to give an insightful or entertaining example of your toughest job.
If you have not plumbed a residential home before you should answer this by discussing your most specific area of expertise. Here is an answer example: "I have plumbed many residential homes in my career. The most challenging time was when...."13. How long do you want to be a plumber? Answer this honestly. If you do not want to be a plumber for your entire career you could say "I have explored additional trades and would eventually like to become an electrician as well." If you are in this for the long term you could say, "My desire is to retire as a plumber. I really like this line of work." Here is an answer example: "I have explored additional trades and would eventually like to become an electrician as well."14. What do you enjoy most about being a plumber? Your answer can be a little bit personal if you are comfortable with that. This question is designed for the interviewer to get to know you a little bit better. What makes you happy to go to work every day?
You could answer something like this: "The thing I enjoy most about being a plumber is being able to solve serious problems for home owners. The relief that they feel once their issue has been fixed is great and it makes me feel good to know that I helped them out."
You could also answer in a more concise was such as, "Every day is an exciting challenge because there is always something new to learn. That is what I enjoy most about being a plumber." Here is an answer example: "The thing I enjoy most about being a plumber is being able to solve serious problems for home owners. The relief that they feel once their issue has been fixed is great and it makes me feel good to know that I helped them out."15. If a customer complains their house has too little water pressure, what steps would you take to fix this problem? Be sure to answer this question by including the troubleshooting steps you would take in this instance. Here is an answer example: "If a customer was complaining of low water pressure then I would first do some troubleshooting to find the source. I would check all of the taps in the home to ensure that they all have the same flow level. I would then check the shut off valves and look for water leaks. Once the issue was sourced, I would fix it from there. Prior to starting the job, I would refer to the customer and let them know what needed to be done."16. If you installed a copper pipe next to the shower head, and realized you ran out of fasteners, knowing this will create a problem ten years down the road, what do you do? If you have run into this problem before you can certainly let the interviewer know about what you did when that happened. If you have not, it is best to answer this question in a "what if" manner rather than just saying that you don't know. Here is an answer example: "what if"17. What are the advantages for installing steel plumbing underneath a sink? In what cases would you do it? If you have never worked with steel plumbing, you can certainly let the interviewer know that you haven't but be sure to talk a bit about what you do know. Here is an answer example: "I have personally never used stainless steel plumbing underneath a sink. If I were to, it would be in instances where it is more cosmetic. For example, on a clawfoot tub or wall mounted sink. What I do know about steel plumbing is that it is chrome plated brass in order to avoid corrosion."18. Do you have any experience installing water based heating systems? If you have not installed a water based heating system you could reply like this: "I have not had the chance to install a water based heating system although I do bring some knowledge in that area through research and a basic understanding of the plumbing concepts required for the job."
If you do have experience installing water based heating systems you should talk about how many you have completed. Be sure to display some of your knowledge on the topic. Here is an answer example: "I have not had the chance to install a water based heating system although I do bring some knowledge in that area through research and a basic understanding of the plumbing concepts required for the job."19. Do you have your own plumbing equipment? You will likely have some of your own equipment but perhaps not all of it. And, that's okay to admit!
If you do not have all of your own plumbing equipment you could answer like this: "I have a few of my own tools, mainly everything that is needed for a basic plumbing job. How do you feel about providing the more complex tools?" This way, you can gauge the interviewer's willingness to assist you with equipment.
If you do have all of your own equipment be sure to say so but also ask if they prefer you use their equipment or provide your own. Here is an answer example: "I have a few of my own tools, mainly everything that is needed for a basic plumbing job. How do you feel about providing the more complex tools?"20. How long has it been since you've had a leak with copper piping? This is a good time to talk about your level of customer service and troubleshooting skills. If you have had a leak with copper piping, what did you do? How did you handle it? Here is an answer example: "I did experience a leak with copper piping about 2 years ago. This was incredibly unusual for me to see and I was sure to fix the issue by performing an external solder."21. Who taught you mostly what you know in plumbing? You can get a bit personal when answering the question but be sure to remain on topic. Here is an answer example: "I was first taught about plumbing from my father who was also a plumber. He had me working with him on small jobs ever since I was a kid. Of course, I also learned a great deal from the supervisor I worked under during my apprenticeship. So between my dad and my supervisor, I would say I have been taught a great deal."22. Is there any other trades you are looking to learn? If you do not have an interest in gaining an additional trade, that is okay. You can answer in a way that expresses interest in other trades without feeling like you need to master them. Here is an answer example: "There are many trades that I would be interested in learning but the one that I find most fascinating is electrical. Being an electrician would have been my other trade of choice, asides from plumbing."23. What is the worst thing you had to do as a plumber? When you answer this question be sure to remain in a positive mindset. Treat this "worst thing" as your "best challenge" and the interviewer will see you as a problem solver rather than a complainer when a job becomes tough or unsavoury. Here is an answer example: "worst thing"24. Have you ever installed PEX plumbing in a concrete floor? This is a good opportunity to showcase some of the more complex jobs you have completed.
Be sure to talk about the steps you have taken while completing a job such as this.
If you have not completed a job such as this one you can certainly say that but perhaps you could offer your opinion on how you would do it, if given the opportunity.
For example, if you have installed PEX plumbing in a concrete floor: "I have had the opportunity to install PEX plumbing in a concrete floor a few times in my career. It can be challenging and the best tip I have learned for a job like this is to create a plan for any plumbing supply or drainage piping which may interfere with PEX tubing layout."
If you have not installed PEX plumbing in a concrete floor: "I have not had the opportunity to install PEX plumbing in a concrete floor however I have watched many tutorials on how to properly do it. I think with some minimal guidance that I could most definitely take on a challenge like that." Here is an answer example: "I have had the opportunity to install PEX plumbing in a concrete floor a few times in my career. It can be challenging and the best tip I have learned for a job like this is to create a plan for any plumbing supply or drainage piping which may interfere with PEX tubing layout."25. How does your family feel about you being on call? Often times a potential employer will ask about your availability to see if it suits the needs of their organization. Being a plumber will often mean 24/7 on call for emergency plumbing needs. How do you feel about this?
If you have all the flex in the world with your schedule, you could reply: "My family understands the potentially late or random hours required of a plumber and we are all prepared for that commitment."
If your schedule is not as flexible, you could reply: "I have been on call from time to time throughout my career as a plumber. I am willing to be a team player and do my share however; my family prefers that I am not on call all of the time. How often would you require me to be on call?" You can chat further from there. Perhaps they only ask for one weekend per month from you, etc. Be careful not to rule out the position entirely before finding out all of the details. Here is an answer example: "My family understands the potentially late or random hours required of a plumber and we are all prepared for that commitment."26. Do you want to own your own plumbing business in the future? It is okay to answer this question with a yes, or a no - but you should remain honest to what your long term goals really are. If the answer is no, you could say "So far, in my career, I have not had a desire to own my own plumbing business. It really hasn't been on my radar." OR, if the answer is yes, you could say "I have thought about owning my own plumbing business in the future but would like to gain more knowledge in plumbing and business operations." Here is an answer example: "So far, in my career, I have not had a desire to own my own plumbing business. It really hasn't been on my radar."27. If a customer needs a new toilet installed, you remove the old one and find the floor to be rotting all around the toilet, what do you do? When you answer this question be sure to give details on your work and what you would do. Also mention any contact with the customer that you would need to be having. Here is an answer example: "If I removed a customers' old toilet to find that the flooring was rotting the first thing I would do is report that matter to the client. I would want their approval prior to taking on a big job like that. After their approval, I would then go and properly fix the flooring prior to installing the new toilet."28. If I were to ask a previous supervisor about your performance, what would they say? Would you receive a positive reference from all, or most, of your previous supervisors? Now is the time to speak highly of your quality of work and the feedback that you have received in the past. Here is an answer example: "I come with strong references from all of my previous supervisors. If you asked any of them about my work, they would collectively agree my work is clean, I am reliable and put customer service first."
Author of Plumber Answers and Questions
Rachelle Enns is a job search expert, executive headhunter, career catalyst, and interview coach. Utilized by top talent from Fortune companies like Microsoft, General Electric, and Nestle, she helps professionals position themselves in today's competitive digital marketplace.
Rachelle founded Renovate My Resume and Executive Resume Solutions, two companies focused on helping job seekers get their edge back. She helps everyone from new graduates looking for their first placement, to CEO's who want more out of their career.
Rachelle coaches students to executives on how to master the toughest interview questions and how to handle the most bizarre interview situations; all with confidence and poise.
Rachelle trains other career coaches, recruiters, and resume writers, globally. A big part of her job is also spent coaching HR professionals on how to bring the human touch back into their interview and hiring process.
First written on: 03/02/2014 Last modified on: 08/17/2018
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