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Professional Registration Interviews
Question
Hi All, 

I am curious how the professional registration interviews have been going since March.
Are folks having any delays getting them scheduled, or are they quicker as a result of being remote?
Perhaps they are offset by also having more applications than normal.
Are there any technical issues surrounding the remote interviews itself. (time zones, meeting platform etc?) 
What software is being used for the interviews? (skype, msteams, zoom?)

Anyone with information in this regards feel free to share. 

Regards,
Nico
14 Replies
Hi Nico,
I had a good chat with the folk at the IET who organise the interviews on Friday so while I will not give all the details that we discussed I can probably answer all your questions.
As you are no doubt aware, the interviews are currently being carried out on-line via Zoom or equivalent, but at present the rate of interviews is about 60%-70% of what it was pre-lock down. There was also a gap between the cessation of face to face interviews and the on-line interviews getting going, which added a further delay overhead.
The preferred platform, as I understand it, is Zoom, though Skype is an alternative. I believe MS Teams is only possible for the IET if somebody else sets up the meeting so is unlikely to be an option. This does give rise to difficulty in some areas where candidates are working in the defence sector with encrypted computers and severe restrictions on the software that can be used, which means the interviews are a bit problematical.
The time zones are not an issue as any interviews that would have been face to face and are now on-line are in the same time zone anyway. The multiple time zone interviews are those that would have been carried out on-line previously anyway.
I don't think that there are significantly different numbers of applications at present. There was a big leap in numbers awaiting interview at the start of lock down with an increase of more than 100%, but this was more to do with the assessors stuck at home with nothing else to do and getting through their backlog.
The biggest problem in terms of delays is often the sector in which the candidate is working. I have two colleagues who submitted their applications at approximately the same time but working in different sectors - one has been interviewed and was awarded CEng over a month ago while the other is still waiting for an interview to be scheduled, and this is purely down to the different fields they are working in and therefore the availability of interviewers.
Hope this helps.
Alasdair
 
fox2319
1 Posts
I’ve recently had my interview. It was conducted using Skype and, aside from a minor technical glitch of my own making, everything went pretty smoothly. 

The interview itself was fine. I can’t compare it to the in person interviews as mine was originally scheduled for the week that the lockdown started. 
It is good to hear that the interviews went well, as we all adjust to the new norm in these unusual times. Hence, it is also important that we make provisions to accommodate these new ways of working.

In some ways, there are indeed benefits of having online interviews.

All the best! 
Tim Coker
36 Posts
I've done 2 interviews by Zoom now, with 3 more scheduled later this month. I was initially sceptical about doing interviews online but after using Zoom a couple of times for other reasons I felt it was much better than I had feared.

I prefer to interview in person, but this isnt feasible just at the moment, however Zoom is a really good alternative.

Tim
Hi Guys

I have done a number of these on line interviews and generally they go very well - I haven't suffered a connection failure yet. As mentioned elsewhere the only problem comes when candidates have to use their employer's software - often a modified version of Skype - when they don't know how to use it.
Not as good as Face to Face but in these strange times it is good to have a system that can be used reasonably well - will we ever get to Face to Face - I doubt it somehow.

Regards Jim W
StephenJK
6 Posts
Dear folks,  I had my CEng interview using Zoom and it all worked perfectly.  You will have a test call a week ahead of time for you to test your video, screen sharing etc.
I would have preferred an in-person interview because I think I can give better of myself and my personality type via that means.  However, needs must and unless you are prepared to wait potentially months/years for in-person to recommence (if they ever do) then on-line is here to stay.

I highly recommend practising the presentation to yourself/family several times.  It is very important to make sure you nail this and cover most of the competencies.  Somehow it feels alien to me doing this to a screen instead of in-person to people in the room where you can feel the energy (or lack of) so make sure you practise it.

Best regards, Stephen
Paul99
1 Posts
I am glad to hear that feedback. I have had a really bad experience applying for CEng and it is only in the last year or so that I have found a PRA who has been fantastic and supportive. I am now at interview stage and just waiting for a date. What i find strange is that I am well into my 50's can stand in front of a room of a few 100 people and am fine, I interview people in a  work environment and know what to expect, and have been interviewed for roles and competencies many times. So why I am so nervous about this? In a work environment I offer people the chance of a Mock interview and I find this helps people and prepare them, maybe the IET could do the same? All along I think I have found it difficult to understand what they want? I am told by colleagues that I operate well beyond the C Eng level, so I should fly through this, but I am not sure I will.......
Paul,
The problem with the IET offering practice interviews is that they have enough trouble getting enough trained volunteers just to do the interviews. Adding to the burden with practice interviews with trained people would stretch their resources to breaking point. Having said that, have you asked your PRA if he/she is willing to sit through a practice interview with you - or even just a practice run through of your presentation? Or failing that, a work colleague? I have done the same with a number of work colleagues and they have found the experience valuable, even though I have not been trained for such interviews.
I can understand the nervousness, as this interview is about opening up yourself to strangers, and you are not in control of the way the interview goes (unlike the work presentations or interviews). Just remember that the interviewers want you to be successful and will (I hope) do everything to put you at your ease. When I had my interview, I was very nervous when I went in to the room, but within a few minutes of chatting with the interviewers it was one of the most relaxed interviews I have ever had.
David Blake
62 Posts
Paul,

I fully agree with Alasdair and yourself regarding practice/mock interviews.  It can be awkward being interviewed by those you know or displaying slides to colleagues.  I have undergone mock interviews and also sat on interview panels for practice sessions.  I have never found however that colleagues want anything other than to help you.  Use a practice session to get the bugs out of your presentation and presentation skills - the actual interview will be far easier.  If you cannot find colleagues to help you, as a PRA I can listen and comment on your presentation with your existing  PRA.

Regards

David

 
Hi Guys

It is a shame that anybody should feel that nervous about these interviews. I have just completed two interviews today and whenever I interview I always do my best to put the candidate at ease. I usually have a an informal chat to start off with, explain the process and promise them that we won't be offering them a job today. If a candidate remains nervous it can be difficult but as you appear to be used to interviewing yourself - I would suggest that you know what the pressures are. The PRI is little more than three Engineers discussing what and how one of them does his job.

A mock interview could be quite misleading as none of us are the same and we all have our own methods to get where we are going. Make sure your presentation is as informative as possible and get a colleague to quiz you on it first and change it if it makes sense to.

Good luck, enjoy and stay safe.

Regards Jim W
With regards to the comments Jim has made, it is quite true that none of us are the same and that a mock interview will never be the same as the real one, but it does give the opportunity to hone the presentation. A presentation that has been practiced will show it in the interview and add to the picture of your professionalism.

 
StephenJK
6 Posts
Paul99:
I am glad to hear that feedback. I have had a really bad experience applying for CEng and it is only in the last year or so that I have found a PRA who has been fantastic and supportive. I am now at interview stage and just waiting for a date. What i find strange is that I am well into my 50's can stand in front of a room of a few 100 people and am fine, I interview people in a  work environment and know what to expect, and have been interviewed for roles and competencies many times. So why I am so nervous about this? In a work environment I offer people the chance of a Mock interview and I find this helps people and prepare them, maybe the IET could do the same? All along I think I have found it difficult to understand what they want? I am told by colleagues that I operate well beyond the C Eng level, so I should fly through this, but I am not sure I will.......

Hi Paul,
May I say, with respect, that I think you are thinking about your interview the wrong way.  Rather than thinking of it as an ordeal that you must endure, why not think of it has an ideal opportunity to convince them of how good you are and that you are worthy to be granted the CEng? This mindset has always been my approach to these sorts of situation.  Like you, I am in my early fifties and deliver presentations to customers all the time.  I was confident, cheerful and chatty with my interviewers and they were likewise very friendly.  I was respectful to them and not at all conceitful and I answered their perfectly reasonable questions to the best of my ability.  Indeed, at the start of the interview, they even said to me to think of this as a chat round a table, over a coffee, of three engineers.
What they want to see from you is that you adhere to the competencies in your work.  If you can convince them that you do so then you will be fine.
That said, I am awaiting my result.  What will be, will be.  However, I certainly won't have failed through lack of confidence or ability to explain myself.
I do a lot of YouTube so if I pass I plan to make a set of videos of my CEng journey to help others.

Warm regards and good luck, Stephen

 

Andy Millar
1750 Posts
Alasdair Anderson:
With regards to the comments Jim has made, it is quite true that none of us are the same and that a mock interview will never be the same as the real one, but it does give the opportunity to hone the presentation. A presentation that has been practiced will show it in the interview and add to the picture of your professionalism.

Also, if you get for example a PRA or Mentor to give the interview they can spot when, to give a very common example, you are talking about the project and not talking about yourself. And, as with one I've just been involved with, where you are underselling yourself and giving the wrong impression - in that example the applicant had prepared a nice solid (boring) presentation to show they complied to standards, thought about ethics, managed a project budget diligently, all good low level competency stuff, but they'd completely missed setting the scene that they'd recently headed up a major innovation project which is now held up as an exemplar in their industry! (If they ever come here and see this I know they won't mind me saying all that.)

A work colleague or other professional friend can help you come across better in terms of presentation skills, but a PRA or Mentor can advise whether you are coming across in line with what's being looked for against the standard.

Most applicants will - hopefully - only do this once in their careers. So as with all engineering you might find it good to run some lab tests first! Even if, like all lab tests, they're not quite the same as the real world.


I totally understand why applicants would feel nervous about the interview. Just as I've similarly seen director level job interviewees who've been nervous about job interviews because they've worked for one company for a long time and this is their first interview for 25 years - it's a good old primeval reaction to the unknown. But as Stephen says, enjoy it being a chance to go and be proud about what you've done to some fellow engineers. 

AND it's a chance to put right any misconceptions the panel may have made on your application. That's also a very important point: go in with the attitude that from the questions they ask you'll be able to work out if there any concerns and answer them to ease your application along. So rather than it just being a bureaucratic paper exercise behind closed doors (which would be scary!) you've got a chance to actually engage with the process.

Cheers,

Andy

Hello Nico and others,

I've just been through the process and can offer the following information:
  • The time between application submission and being sent to the pre-interview assessment panel was 6 weeks.
  • The application spent 3 weeks with the pre-interview assessment panel before it progressed to interview.
  • The time between passing the pre-interview assessment panel and holding the interview was 11 weeks.
  • Interestingly it only took 2 weeks following the interview to get the result.
All in all I would say there was no delay and the whole process was more or less within the 22 week window originally stated by the IET as the target.

For the interview itself we used zoom with camera on my personal computer which worked very well. For the presentation I just shared my desktop. I am in a different time zone but only +1hr and the interview was around midday so this was no problem.

Paul: about the interview itself, I didn't do any mock presentation but I shared the slides and my notes with the same PRA who helped with my application and he gave some useful feedback. I made sure the presentation covered all the A and B competencies (as per the guidance notes) and practised it for timing. As Stephen mentioned, my interviewers were friendly and put me at ease, and I hope I hid my considerable nerves. It was however more than a chat round a table because you have to answer with reference to the UK Spec, know the competencies and have examples to hand, so preparation pays. Nevertheless it was enjoyable once the presentation was done.

Good luck if you haven't been through it already!
 

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