Train Driver Assessment Centres: The Criteria Based Interview CBI

Train driver

Applying for a train driver job in the UK? Learn the key areas of preparation and likely questions to be asked in the criteria based interview (CBI).

The criteria based interview or CBI for short is yet another one of the mandatory elements of the assessment process which a candidate must go through in order to gain a trainee train driver position with a UK train operating company. While there is no set order to the tests, the CBI is often the last stage of the assessment centre section of the process, given that many of the other tests will have already eliminated a significant proportion of the intake.

What is the Criteria Based Interview (CBI)?

This stage of the process is made up of two parts: the first part of the process gives candidates 25 minutes to answer five pre-set questions in a written format. After 25 minutes, the answers are taken away and subsequently made use of as the basis of the interview. It is important to write clearly and concisely; this is as much a part of the test as it is to help the interviewer to prepare the questions for the interview.

The second stage of the process is the interview itself. This interview is typically a one-to-one affair and lasts for around an hour. The interview will be based around the answers given in the written section of the test, although candidates are free to explore alternative examples where appropriate.

What Questions Will be Asked in the CBI?

Fortunately the questions being asked in the criteria based interview follow a formula designed to assess the key competencies of a train driver. As such, a little preparation and foresight can help a candidate to improve their chances of passing the test. Questions and areas of interest to prepare responses for include the following:

  • An understanding of the nature of working in a health and safety critical environment
  • Times when a candidate has had to follow rules and procedures
  • Examples of when a candidate has worked alone
  • How a candidate feels about working shifts
  • Times when a candidate has had to be creative
  • An understanding of good customer service
  • Examples of previous training undertakings

As such, the preparation should focus at this stage upon the preparation of concrete examples of the core competencies in action, rather than considering more general questions such as why you want to be a train driver or research on the company. You will not be asked to give a run through of your CV or academic qualifications at this stage.

In answering questions, be concise and calm at all times. The interview takes place over the course of around an hour and the interviewer while often being polite will push candidates to give as detailed a set of answers as possible. Under no circumstances should an interviewee feel pressured into a “flap” or to start to contradict themselves; remember that the ability to maintain control under pressure is one of the elements being assessed.

While the criteria based interview is a tough process in itself, the fact that the interview is designed to assess a set list of criteria means that it is possible to be well prepared for the assessment. If you find yourself invited to the CBI stage of an assessment centre, think about the core competencies of the train driver role and prepare a number of examples of how you can demonstrate these competencies in action in a detailed and yet concise way.