Toughest Questions I Faced In EHS Job Interviews

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I have faced so many interviews, so many interviewers and so many weird interview questions. And I can proudly say that I’m an experienced person in this regard so much so that in first three minutes of any interview I can tell what are all the question that I’ll have to answer in next half an hour or so. But all this I have learnt the hard way. So let me share my experience with you by listing out the 5 most difficult questions I have faced so far. Tell me if you agree or if you can relate. Happy reading!

Number 1: “What subjects you studied in your college?”

Sounds simple? I thought so too. But it wasn’t. For me, at that time, it was the least expected question. Well, I tried to answer and could recall four subjects, but it wasn’t enough for them. And in my defense, it had been 5 years since I left college.

So, now what? Well, now I keep a screen shot of my college syllabus in my mobile whenever I go for an interview. True story.

Number 2: “Why did you choose EHS field?”

You know very well why you chose EHS field. If you are an Indian, then most probably the reason is some people told you that there is a huge scope in EHS field and you can get a good high paying job in no time. The other reason might be that you ended up in this field by an accident which is actually my case.

So, what do you do when you are asked this particular question in interview? You lie!! But what to say exactly? Will you try to be sensitive? You will probably say that you care about people and you want to do something which actually makes difference, and you like to spread awareness about Health and Safety. Okay. But my favorite answer to this question is “I’ve been concerned about Safety, Fire Prevention and First Aid since my college days and I thought this was something which can really make me happy and satisfied with my career path.” So result? I’m still waiting for my phone to ring.

Number 3: “What are your technical skills?”

You cannot say in interview what your skills really are. You cannot say what you want to say. You say what they want to hear. You cannot say that you are good in Accident Investigation when clearly the job profile demands Fire Management Skills. So you try to remember the list of requirements given in eligibility criteria, and read it aloud. Do you feel happy with you answer now? Do you think they are impressed? Well, it totally depends what are the follow-up questions from their side. Because now they are going to ask you technical questions about each skill you just mentioned. Do you think you will be able to answer all their questions now? Because they will not stop until they find something you don’t know. Yes, you will lose the chance to get this job but you will surely get an advice from them: “It’s easy to say that you know something, but it takes a lot to actually develop a skill. So don’t say you know something until you have enough experience in that area.”

Number 4: “How many hazards are there in this room?”

Answering to this question should be a piece of cake for anyone who belongs to EHS field. But try to answer this question when you are sitting in a huge cabin with comfortable chairs, good furniture, no visible loose wiring anywhere, and just the right temperature. What do you say? Do you say that there aren’t any hazards? Because that means you have learnt nothing so far in your EHS field and you don’t know how to identify hazards. So you start speaking nonsense like, “Oh, there is computer that can catch fire. Oh, you are sitting on a chair and you can fall down. Oh, there is a stapler, you can get cut injury.” Yes, that’s what you do. You attempt the question because that’s what we were taught in our college. “Leave no question blank.” But do you think you will get the job with how you responded to their question? No. Even you wouldn’t want to hire yourself.

Number 5: “How do you convince a worker to wear PPEs? Try it on me.”

I think it’s a good question and you should answer to it honestly, but at the same time you shouldn’t forget that these people sitting infront of you can be your future boss. So even in this hypothetical situation you cannot use dominating or harsh language. So you, in your mind, search for the best suitable answer and say that, “I will make you understand how important it is to wear PPEs. So wear them without fail.” Then you look at the interviewers and you know this is not the answer they are looking for, so you keep going, “Then I will give you examples of some accident cases, so you will know that PPEs save life”. To this interviewers say that, “Yes, these all things, you are saying, have been done, tell us something more, apart from training, work instructions, supervision etc.” Now, what do you answer? Nothing! And that’s how your interview ends with this mind-blowing suggestion, “Be tough and innovative. EHS people should be tough and innovative”.

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