Field Services (GE Power & Water) assessment


Thread Starter

field services

can any one give some hints about the suggested questions in the assessment, and what i should concentrate on in this interview or assessment?

"Provide on site technical direction and leadership during installation, startup, commissioning and maintenance to customer owned power generation and industrial facilities (Power generation includes customer owned utilities, marine drives, industrial power plants and nuclear power plants utilizing gas and steam turbines; Industrial facilities include power generation, marine, petrochemical, paper, steel, automotive and transportation industries)"

thanks very much for help, all of you
field services,

I've thought long and hard about replying; hope this helps. Most of what is said is applicable to just about any job interview/assessment, but GE Power & Water has some unique aspects that should be known.

You will be asked some technical questions, but, really GE will provide training (quite a lot of it will be on-the-job training) for their equipment and methods, a lot of which involve extensive use of the Internet and web-based applications.

On the subject of on-the-job training, that doesn't really mean formal training. It really means that you will be expected to work your way through problems using your experience and knowledge and various forms of documentation (drawings; manuals; web-based support) to solve problems and learn new things. They won't really tell you that, but you should be prepared for it. It's a very large part of the experience, having to work through problems and new circumstances without much formal training.

Since the hiring managers and personnel people who might be doing the assessment (interview) may not have much field experience, the questions will likely be about you describing you strengths and weaknesses, and how you will handle certain situations. They will probably ask how you will handle adversity (difficult customers, to be specific), and possibly describe any such encounters you've had and how you handled them.

As a representative of GE you will be expected--by the Customer and the Customer's personnel--to know everything about the GE equipment on their site. That can be intimidating, and not an easy task. That kind of knowledge comes with experience, but in reality, most GE field service people don't stay in the field very long, and if they do, they usually do so with another company that doesn't require the kind of time away from home that GE does. Remember: GE call their personnel department 'Human Resources.' A resource is something that can be "sold", or in GE-speak, is billable. To get the most from their resources, they have to be "sold"--billable--as much as possible. So, there is great pressure on management to keep field service personnel (resources) working on assignments in the field as much as possible.

You will likely be asked about the amount of time you will be expected to be away from home, working at Customer's sites in the field. Will you be comfortable with 90% or more travel (meaning you will be away from home/office more than 90% of the year)?

There may also be some questions about working overtime. If you've ever been on a job where the OEM has field service personnel on the site for some kind of outage or commissioning or troubleshooting you should have noticed, or you can think back to, the fact that the site personnel didn't really care about how much the OEM person had to work--they just wanted the problem solved or the commissioning finished in the shortest possible time. It can be very stressful. Although there are laws and policies preventing excessive overtime, when the job has to get done you can't say, "I have to leave now; I can't work any more hours today."

Again, GE pretty much presumes that everyone can handle the technical aspects of the job with the formal training they provide, and with the web-based support they make available to field service people. They will most likely be interested in what kind of an individual you are, some of you work history and experience, and whether or not you can work for extended periods of time away from home under stressful conditions. They will also be very closely listening to your answers, how much you talk in some cases, how little you talk in other cases, how confident you are, and how competent you seem (they can only look at the papers you've provided, and rarely contact references, and don't really test candidates for technical or fundamental knowledge).

So, try to keep your answers brief and to the point without volunteering too much. Be honest, but don't admit to not knowing too much. You can say you've had limited experience with [this or that], but that you feel confident and competent to be able to gather as much information as is available and to use GE's support resources to work through any issue with a successful result. You should appear cool and calm, and be honest about your strengths and weaknesses--without being boastful or self-deprecating (meaning, don't belittle yourself or be too modest when you don't know everything about everything--nobody does). A confident and competent person will indicate they aren't expert at everything and can work through unfamiliar equipment, new concepts and problems and still come to a successful result using all the available "resources", human and otherwise.

Lastly, as a GE employee you need to be able to derive a lot of personal satisfaction from the work you do and the quality of work that you do. As a field person, your manager has very little knowledge of you or how well you perform, or even what you do in some cases, except when Customers complain excessively or write very complimentary letters. As long as you are working and generating income as much as possible (assigned and billable, in GE-speak) they are pretty much happy, and won't reward you excessively in your annual salary review (because that's what you and every other field services person is expected to do, right?). That's why it's important to be able get as much personal satisfaction from the job and not to expect too much positive feedback (or even negative feedback except in really rare situations) or too much in the annual salary increase.

You also need to be getting as much experience and knowledge as you possibly can, because, if the past experience of hundreds of people is any indicator, you will likely be looking to parlay your GE knowledge and experience into more money at a "stationary" position somewhere in the not-too-distant future. Unless you thrive on spreadsheets and budgets, in which case you will likely advance in GE, albeit it a slow pace.

GE is a great place to get a lot of experience--not all of it will be pleasant or marketable. They employ some of the brightest and best talent on the planet, mostly in the "factory" and engineering design disciplines, and if you're fortunate to work with any of them it will be of great benefit.

Just remember: GE are in business to make money. You are a resource they will use to make money. You will be paid reasonably well, in some cases, very well if you earn overtime. But, there is no such thing as a free meal in this world. You should be always looking to learn as much and glean as much as you can, because when times are hard they will also decrease resources very quickly to save the money they so dearly want to have and keep.

The best field service personnel I have worked with weren't necessarily the most knowledgable about their manufacturer's equipment; they understood basic engineering fundamentals and could read P&IDs and drawings, and they had a very good grasp of systems and how systems work together to produce torque (which is what more turbines do--using various systems to do so). Using their fundamental knowledge and ability to analyze conditions and situations they could work their way through just about quandary or even unfamiliar equipment because they knew what was supposed to happen and what was necessary for that to happen. The best ones also understood how their Company's equipment was configured and operated, but, behind that was a solid understanding of engineering and equipment fundamentals and systems they used to work through situations and problems quickly and successfully

Best of luck!

Write back to let us know how you fare.

khalil gaser

thanks very much for your help. i think that will be very helpful

thanks more and more for your attention
khalil gaser,

You are most welcome.

Do consider how much you will be working away from home.

And, most of all, I was very reserved about the training you will receive. If it's mechanical training you're interested in you will likely be very pleased with the training once you get into the field.

If you are going into the controls side of the business, the training you will receive will be minimal at best. Most of what you will "learn" will be by trial and error in the field. They give you training on the control system, but the <b>DON'T</b> teach you how turbines operate, and what should be happening when. And, the HMIs are needlessly complex and horribly documented.

There are a LOT of wives' tales, myths, and legends, and some plain false beliefs that you will encounter if you go into the controls end of the business. Be a good critical thinker, learn how turbines operate (how to read the application to understand how turbines operate), and take advantage of every opportunity you have to work with someone who has experience with turbines and can teach you how they work--especially, what happens during a start-up and during a shutdown, how droop speed control works, how to tune FSR for starting and shutdown.

And use those critical thinking skills to sort the chaff from the wheat. Don't believe everything you hear, especially if it sounds too simple, or just plain hokey (yes; that's a real technical term, just not a good one!).

Anyone who answers your question with, "That's the way we've always done it," doesn't know what they're talking about. They're just regurgitating something someone else told them and they didn't run it through their critical thinking process and have never thought it through thoroughly for themselves.

Best of luck; again, let us know how it turns out.