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Thread: CN conductor aptitude test

  1. Default CN conductor aptitude test

    Hey everyone,

    I am very new to this, I just got an invitation to do the conductor aptitude test in Toronto next week.They didn't mention what the test was on but I researched around this site and googled some info.What kind of aptitude test should I expect? basic math, mechanical, reading comprehension? I also heard something about switch test and timetables I looked these up and found them.Would they use that test on a person who doesn't have experience in railroad? One more question about the following interview, what kind of questions should I expect? I would appreciate any kind of help thank you.

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    I know for sure there is a switching quiz, but from what I've heard from the guys who got interviews with CN was that it wasn't very difficult. I think people get too hung up on the aptitude tests. The tests aren't that hard, just pay attention to the instructions they give you, and do your best.

    If it is anything like what CP gives you, there will be a little bit of math, some mechanical reasoning, and lists of words that you have to compare to see if they are the same or different. I honestly think that the aptitude tests are just used to find out who can't listen to instructions and things like that. So like I said before, Listen to the instructions they give you and you'll do just fine.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SRY1202 View Post
    I know for sure there is a switching quiz, but from what I've heard from the guys who got interviews with CN was that it wasn't very difficult. I think people get too hung up on the aptitude tests. The tests aren't that hard, just pay attention to the instructions they give you, and do your best.

    If it is anything like what CP gives you, there will be a little bit of math, some mechanical reasoning, and lists of words that you have to compare to see if they are the same or different. I honestly think that the aptitude tests are just used to find out who can't listen to instructions and things like that. So like I said before, Listen to the instructions they give you and you'll do just fine.
    Oh ok thanks for the info, I think I wouldn't have a hard time doing aptitude that included math, mech and etc done it for other jobs many times. I always do well in these kind of tests but just never done a switch test but I think I'll be fine.Should I at least research topics about switches and anything relating to the conductor job just in case? do you have an example of a question that they might ask?

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    The switch test will just have a map of a fictitious yard. You'll be asked to move 'X' cars from track A to track F. It's basicly like a switching puzzle. They just want to see how many moves it takes you (pretty much another aptitude test.) I believe they get progressively harder, but as long as you take time to think about how to move the cars in the most efficient manner you'll do fine.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SRY1202 View Post
    The switch test will just have a map of a fictitious yard. You'll be asked to move 'X' cars from track A to track F. It's basicly like a switching puzzle. They just want to see how many moves it takes you (pretty much another aptitude test.) I believe they get progressively harder, but as long as you take time to think about how to move the cars in the most efficient manner you'll do fine.
    Seems like a fair quiz then after all, how about the interview ? what kind of questions they ask and what do you usually wear to these interviews a suit or casual clothing?

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    I can't really say what questions you'll be asked for the CN interview since you'd be hiring on out of Toronto, and I've only heard what the BC HR manager asks. But I would guess they are pretty much along the same lines, so they will just give you situations that you might come across on the railroad, and you have to tell them how you would solve it. I think they are mostly looking for a common sense approach. CP is a little different because their interview is all behavioral. Every question begins with "tell me a time when".

    As for what to wear, it's up to you, You could go dressed to the nines in a suit and all that jazz, or you could just go with a golf shirt and a nice pair of pants. I personally don't think you have to be all that dazzling. It's not like you are applying for a white collar 9 - 5 job. Just remember to be upbeat with your answers, and to ask them questions about the job as well.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SRY1202 View Post
    I can't really say what questions you'll be asked for the CN interview since you'd be hiring on out of Toronto, and I've only heard what the BC HR manager asks. But I would guess they are pretty much along the same lines, so they will just give you situations that you might come across on the railroad, and you have to tell them how you would solve it. I think they are mostly looking for a common sense approach. CP is a little different because their interview is all behavioral. Every question begins with "tell me a time when".

    As for what to wear, it's up to you, You could go dressed to the nines in a suit and all that jazz, or you could just go with a golf shirt and a nice pair of pants. I personally don't think you have to be all that dazzling. It's not like you are applying for a white collar 9 - 5 job. Just remember to be upbeat with your answers, and to ask them questions about the job as well.
    I agree with you, thank you for helping me out I appreciate it.This is all new to me, I was very suprised that CN got back to me didn't know much about the railroad industry and after reading posts all over this site I can see why they contacted and that I have a lot of qualities on my resume that they're looking for as a conductor.Glad I applied, I think I would love to do this!Whats the starting rate and whats the most a conductor can make after a certain amount of yrs?

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    I can't say what the starting rate for CN is because I don't know, but I'm sure there are others here who could fill you in. I do know that once you've completed your training with CN you get full 100% of the Conductor rate, where at CP you start out at 85%, and that only increases every 210 days. I also know that CN pays more than CP, and I'm pretty sure that people who work east of Thunder Bay make slightly more that people who work in the west, but don't quote me on that. You can always ask the people at the info session about wages though, they'll be happy to tell you.

    I will tell you though, that I heard a story from a conductor who was working the Vancouver waterfront yard and cleared about 7g's. (I think he might have been BS'ing but he said he was barely taking any rest at all, so he was working as much as possible.) The most common monthly wage(EDIT: could be every two weeks, I can't remember which) i have heard of is about $2700, but most of the conductors who have said this were just guestimating off the top of their heads, so take it with a grain of salt.

    And don't forget to come back to tell how you make out with your interview.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SRY1202 View Post
    I can't say what the starting rate for CN is because I don't know, but I'm sure there are others here who could fill you in. I do know that once you've completed your training with CN you get full 100% of the Conductor rate, where at CP you start out at 85%, and that only increases every 210 days. I also know that CN pays more than CP, and I'm pretty sure that people who work east of Thunder Bay make slightly more that people who work in the west, but don't quote me on that. You can always ask the people at the info session about wages though, they'll be happy to tell you.

    I will tell you though, that I heard a story from a conductor who was working the Vancouver waterfront yard and cleared about 7g's. (I think he might have been BS'ing but he said he was barely taking any rest at all, so he was working as much as possible.) The most common monthly wage(EDIT: could be every two weeks, I can't remember which) i have heard of is about $2700, but most of the conductors who have said this were just guestimating off the top of their heads, so take it with a grain of salt.

    And don't forget to come back to tell how you make out with your interview.
    Most defintely will come back to tell how it went and thanks again.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by freightliner View Post
    what do you usually wear to these interviews a suit or casual clothing?
    Here's a tip for you, and anyone else reading. Not specific to a job at CN, by any means. I have interviewed hundreds of potential employees in my previous jobs...

    Unless you're specifically told to dress casual - always dress up for an interview. Shirt and tie, jacket if you have a nice matching one. Don't wear jeans to an interview, ever.

    Here's why - if you have the exact same qualifications as 'the next guy', and you are better dressed... you will more than likely get the job over the others. You leave a better impression and they WILL notice. Even if you will never wear anything in that job cleaner than a pair of overalls with grease stains up and down - leave a lasting first impression by dressing the part for your interview.

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