Shell job interview: Some tips shared
Did someone from Shell call you up today to inform you that you’re short listed for an interview at their HQ in the Shell House, Damansara next week? Feeling anxious and unsure what to prepare? Relax. First of all, you should be grateful because not every one will get the opportunity to attend job interview with Shell. I am not saying this just because I attended one 4 years ago, but I’ve heard many classic stories from the people who had the opportunity to attend interview with Shell and shared their interesting experience of either succeeding or flunking it before.
Just a short note to say that once you’re successfully screened for face to face interview with Shell, your academic credentials and results will almost play no part in determining whether you’re suited to be part of their team. During this interview and assessment session, your personality, inter-personal skills, presentation skills, communications, your ability to influence people, maturity and ability to work in a team will be assessed and if they prevail, you can be welcome to the family.
I know there are quite a few types of job interviews at Shell; the most typical one is perhaps what they call it as ‘Assessment Day’ where the job candidates and a group of assessors will spend a whole day together for a series of different assessments. Our interview started at 7am and finished at 6.30pm, so you can look forward to a very long and tiring day ahead.
The assessment was divided into 4 main sections, separated by a lunch hour session in the middle. The first session called for your ability to address a certain issue covering more of general issue and knowledge. It was geared towards assessing your presentation skills, really. I was initially given a sheet of paper that consisted of information about a few related issues, e.g. the environment, the state of education in Malaysia, employment and so on. Can’t remember exactly what the topics were. Together with other 6 candidates for that day, each of us needed to pick just one issue and we were given about 20 minutes to prepare. The presentation, attended by 2 assessors, lasted between 40 minutes to 1 hour.
The 2nd interview session involved a role play session between us and another 2 different assessors. These assessors are managers and executives normally picked by the HR department from different areas e.g. finance, HR, off shore operation, sales and trading, procurement and so on. We were given a role e.g. the CEO of Shell Group to play while the other 2 people would act as 2 of your right hand people (e.g. VP Sales and VP Operations). Our task was to attend to problems raised by your two subordinates, make decision and advise them. For example, your VP Sales complains to you that a group of people are planning to stage a nationwide protest against the oil companies, so as the CEO what would you advise them to do? Yeah, this task could soak your brain out.
Even the lunch hour also involved you sitting and dining with your interviewers. But in this case, the atmosphere was much more relaxed. Here you can take the opportunity to candidly ‘hentam’ those interviwers who gave you hard time before.
Past lunch hour it was back to business.
The next session was another play role session but it involved the candidates working as a team. The 7 of us we were given an assignment to analyze a location (one location for each) if it is suitable for mining activity. Then, during a meeting role-play, we needed to discuss together about the pros and contras of choosing your location, and which location finally would be chosen by the team. The task determined which one of us had the most outstanding influence and leadership skills as well as showed how we reacted when we were in a heated exchange and argument. About 5 assessors would sit aside and observe our discussion, and wrote down their assessment on us. This was fun.
And finally, it was the normal face to face interview that lasted about 1 hour for each person. By this time, most of our energy was already on the warning level; we’re so tired waiting for our turns that one of us had to use the ‘F’ word to describe our despair. And on top of that, I had to drive back to Penang immediately after the interview and return back to work the next day!
So hopefully the write up can give you some ideas on how to prepare for Shell job interview. My advice; if you’re short listed for Shell interview, do not simply prepare exactly the same and do not expect similar interview session. Normally, an organization will shuffle and tweak their recruitment and assessment session from time to time to suit the latest needs. Furhter, 4 years have gone since my interview. Try your best, and good luck!
On the other note, you’ll be informed of the results within 2 weeks regardless whether you’re successful or not, and work reporting can take as long as 6 months period. As for me, even though I was informed to be successful a week later, it took them 1 year before officially offered me a place! Unfortunately I chose to stay with where I worked because of the relocation and family commitment. By the way, I can tell you that I had to endure a painstaking experience of declining a fantastic job offer by Shell (but now I have no regret) which came together with nice perks e.g. company car, mobile phone and so on!
If you have interesting experience attending job interviews either with Shell or other company that you can share, do drop a line here; we can give more Shell job interview tips and facilitate better interview preparation by candidates.