Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Railroad Hiring Myths

  1. You gotta know someone. We thought you had to have a close friend or family member who worked for the railroad to get your foot in the door. This is NOT TRUE. They are looking for people with a proven track record of three things: Shiftwork, Safety Awareness, and Stability. They prefer people who have had physically strenuous jobs in outdoor conditions. Also, if you have had any criminal charges in the last seven years, forget it. And if you do drugs or have an alcohol problem-- do everyone a favor and forget it. But if you have worked under difficult conditions, with a demanding schedule, and you have an excellent safety record, you have a great shot at getting hired.
  2. You need to attend a railroad academy. Also untrue. They do not care. Even if you have zero knowledge of trains-- even if you have never even BEEN on a train-- they do not care. Some have even said that they PREFER a blank slate-- because it is easier to start from scratch than to have to correct errors picked up from another training program. What they DO want is someone who they can train. Show that you are a quick study.
  3. Being a "rail fan" or showing a lifelong passion for trains will score points with the interviewer. This is NOT true. They are NOT looking for railfans or "foamers" to drive their trains. Railfans have sometimes in the past had a track record for contributing to accidents because they are sometimes distracted by being close to a novel piece of equipment. If you have had a lifelong passion for trains, keep it under wraps-- during the interview AND at work (if you are hired). People lives-- and millions of dollars of cargo and rail equipment are at stake. You must not be distracted. You must be detached and professional at all times.

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