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Second Interview as Safety Manager for a casting plant.


Nicholas Cerveny Bend, OR

I have a second interview for a vacant position for Safety Manager. I am reaching out in hopes to expand my base of knowledge and to build a network of safety managers in the future provided I get the job.
I was a trained Aviation Safety Officer and have over 5 years experience performing the duties of a safety Specialist. Since I got out of the Army, I have started my own business and have been going to school for Engineering. Next year is my senior year, however, I will not finish due to the GI Bill running out and my growing family. Also, I really do like Safety Engineering. I have confidence that I can produce a safety program that reduces accidents and is an example in the community.
If you happen to get this message before tomorrow, and have any interview "do's and don'ts" I would be very happy to hear them.
The reason's I would fail would from my inability to influence the management team, and an underestimating of time required to accomplish tasks.

Thank you, I found this site by happenstance and look forward to your reply.

21 May 2019 3 replies Mentoring



John Volpe Seaford, NY


First of all good luck with your second interview . Since you made it through the first one, your prospective employer obviously is interested in you . I have no experience in Safety issues but I do have a lot of experience in Risk Mamagement in financial institutions . I suspect there is a lot of commonality in both fields . If they haven't asked you already, please be prepared to give examples of how you were able to identify potential safety issues and how you were able to work collaboratively to eliminate potential risks and improve the overall safety environment while adhering to various regulatory requirements .

Second, I swould urge you to find ways to complete your engineering degree . I understand the cost issue and your desire to avoid debt and spend more time with your family but is it possible for you to complete your last year of engineering courses in the evening say over two years ? I also understand your desire to avoid going into debt but financing your last year of engineering school is a sound financial decision that will provide a positive return in the future . Plus some companies offer tuition reimbursement . This should be one of your considerations in deciding where to work .

Best of luck



Kent Watson Monticello, FL

Chief Nick, Have you called upon your brothers in the US Army Warrant Officers Association, Reston, Virginia. Good flock to be found in the aviation community with safety backgrounds. You may also want to tap into AAAA, because they have mountains of safety management resources (people, policy, and procedures). Aviation Warrants may be able to hand you over to current Safety and Standardizations technical experts at Fort Rucker, Alabama or Fort Lewis, Washington. Translation from military jargon to terms that most civilians understand helps to open doors. Best of Luck, Chief Warrant Officer Four Kent T. Watson, US Army, Retired 34 years and 7 months.


Jodie Prieto-Rodriguez Pittsburgh, PA


I applied for a job that had 6 interviews and each one I was worried about what to say to each interviewee. I applied to be a Safety Director for a Non-Profit Hospital in Baltimore. The Agency I was interviewing with wanted to conduct panel interviews in one fell swoop, yet couldn't manage their schedule to make that happen. After the second interview with the network Safety Director, they told me that I had won their endorsement and I just had to interview with other people associated with the Job, i.e. local Directors of other departments in the facility. I asked if there was any specific areas of interest that they would like to know, or any certifications they would like me to send beforehand; he let me know that they would likely asks the same questions, and some other interviewers may asks for further information on my resume items. He was correct about every other interview. The Interviewers asked some of the same questions; for some more information about questions other people asked; some of them quizzed me about certain aspects of Hospital Safety; and some asked me "why" I wanted to work there and what my short and long term plans are. Almost all of them asked for further explanation about my role as a safety officer in the military. That last question was the easiest to answer, as the Military builds safety checks and balances, and risk assessments into just about every aspect of our career. I was offered the Job; although I did not accept it; I was made a better offer the same week by a facility in PA.

Some of the Things I did right:

1. Expressed how I could add value to the organization through safety audits, conducted by interdisciplinary teams that focused on reducing variation and waste through process evaluation and data management. (approximate explanation)

2. Researched the mission, vision, values (MVV) of the organization and focused my answers during the interview to line up with the agencies aforementioned MVV. (shows that you are looking at professional and ethical conduct in how you execute your duties)

3. Dropped all military Jargon. Explained (only when asked), how the Military process works. The interviewers were more impressed with how we do 24 hour operations whilst being compliant with civilian medical regulatory requirements. This is a bigger deal than most veterans realize. When I was in Military corrections as a clinical manager, I had to abide by Federal corrections; CMS; OSHA; and DOD regulations. When I was an aviation Clinic Manager, we had to abide by FAA (American and German government); OSHA, CMS; and DOD regs. Each interviewee was impressed with our experience in managing multiple safety programs (mil and civ)
4. I believe in focusing on being a highly reliable organization (fixated on avoiding failure). I am a fan of the "Just Culture" algorithm, and I am familiar with the "Root Cause Analysis" process. The interviewers were quite happy with the fact that I was (and am) in the know about the most up to date accepted safety practices.

Things I shouldn't have done:

1. Assume I could "solve" their problems. A bit too much hubris, I should have toned down the Army "Can do" attitude. It gave the impression that I was promising to "fix" something that may or may not be broken.

2. To much emphasis on titles. When I transitioned, I was very much in the Sir's, Ma'am's. The interviewers would litterally say "its ok, call me (X)", I kept slipping and called them Sir's and Ma'am's.

3. Wore a Black suit and at another, I Wore a "hip" suit. I should have worn. Wear a conservative, yet stylish blue suit, white shirt, and appropriate tie.

Questions I should have asked them:

1. Opportunities for growth and professional development in the position.
2. The strategic goals for the organization.
3. Where they are and where they want to be in regards to safety.

I hope this helps. Please feel free to send me a message if you would like more information.

***Fun fact, I was a Army Healthcare Recruiter, stationed in Oregon. I used to goto Bend, OR frequently for our partnership with St. Charles Healthcare; OSU Bend; and the local community college. I've been to your last blockbuster and enjoyed the Ale Trail. I'm fairly jealous that you live in one of the best places in America, Good Luck, I hope the best for you!

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