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'Describe a time when you made a bad decision.' Siemens interviews in brief

Make predictions about possible interview questions, eg ‘What do you think are the advantages and disadvantages of agile approaches to project management as compared with PRINCE2?’

Siemens typically conducts video interviews, followed by face-to-face interviews as part of an assessment centre. However, the process can vary a bit from position to position.

Assessing graduates' skills and knowledge

Like many recruiters, Siemens is keen to assess whether you possess the right competencies. For some roles these will include technical competencies (specialist technical skills and knowledge of a particular area) as well as more general behavioural competencies.

At Siemens’ assessment centre you may have two separate interviews, one focusing on general behavioural competencies and one focusing on technical matters relating to the relevant job area. The latter could include giving a presentation as well as the actual interview.

Siemens’ technical competencies and functional competencies

Technical competencies are specific to the particular role you have applied to. Siemens doesn't provide lists of these so use the job description to work out what the role entails and if any specialist skills or knowledge will be needed. If you’re applying to the graduate finance and accounting programme, do you know what a management accountant actually does? If you’ve opted for materials engineering, how’s your knowledge of aluminium rolling?

Use this knowledge to make predictions about possible interview questions, eg ‘What do you think are the advantages and disadvantages of agile approaches to project management as compared with PRINCE2?’ or ‘How does an operations manager contribute to the bottom line?’.

Siemens’ behavioural competencies

Siemens behavioural competencies are the same across all graduate programmes. They are as follows:

It’s also worth keeping Siemens’ company values in mind, which are:

  • Responsible: committed to ethical and responsible actions
  • Excellent: achieving high performance and excellent results
  • Innovative: being innovative to create sustainable value

Use this knowledge to anticipate questions you may be asked. As a starter for ten, previous candidates have been asked to ‘Describe a time when you had to influence someone to your point of view’ (which explores your communication skills, and potentially also your motivation and initiative) and to ‘Describe a time when you made a bad decision’ (which could relate to any of the above competencies both in terms of the bad decision and also what you did to resolve the issue).

Think up questions along these lines:

  • Give an example of a time when you gave exceptional customer service (customer focus)
  • Give an example of a time when you helped to overcome conflict within a team (team working)
  • Give an example of a time when you came up with an unusual solution to a problem (initiative)
  • Give an example of a time when you set yourself a demanding challenge (drive and motivation)

What else will I be asked at my Siemens interview?

Expect to be asked about your knowledge of the company and why you have chosen to apply. For example, you could be asked:

  • What do you know about Siemens?
  • What research have you done about the company?
  • Why did you choose Siemens?

Use our advice on researching engineering employers to help you. As a starting point, you could find out:

  • What are Siemens’ core business units?
  • What joint ventures is it involved in?
  • What orders has it won recently?
  • What are its strategic goals?

Remember that with questions such as ‘Why did you choose Siemens?’ you need to link Siemens and your own interests/values/experiences together, not just spout facts and figures to prove how great you think the company is.

Also prepare to be asked for more detail about anything you have mentioned on your application, such as university projects or your answers to Siemens’ longer questions.

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