I have an Apprenticeship interview with the Committee and I need advice!

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice' started by MorganJ, Mar 28, 2007.

  1. MorganJ

    MorganJ New Member

    Messages:
    3
    Hello. My interview is going to be in about 5 days, and I'd like to ask some of you experienced Journeymen (or experienced apprentices) for advice.

    What are some key points I should be sure to mention, and not to mention?

    If my job history (retail) doesn't have much to do with experience with the Plumbers union, what are some ways I can swing that to my favor? Such as communication (considering I'm not sure if even that will help.)

    What are some REALLY good things I can know about the company, that I could mention during the interview that will make me stand apart?

    Any advice you guys or girls can give me will really help me out. All help is always appreciated.

    J,
  2. billsnogo

    billsnogo wannabe plumber

    Messages:
    32
    Location:
    brooklyn park mn
    Is this in Minnesota? I am going for my third attempt in three yeears in five days also! I wish I knew, as I have placed in the 90's for the first two attempts out of 300+ applicants.
    If so, they will call you into a room with ten people that will watch you while one of them will ask you ten questions. It will be over before you even knew what happened.
    They will ask:
    why do you think you will be a good plumber
    where do you see yourself in ten years
    if your journeyman says you are wrong, and you disagree, what will you do
    What edjucation have you had
    what are your two biggest accomplishments
    what is your current work
    what do you think a plumber does
    how did you hear about this program
    What are your hobbies

    I can't think what else, but just answer them honestly.

    ps.
    I work for a large bank balancing atm's, and I think that is a major hit against me having a desk job :(
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2007
  3. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,874
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    interview

    I think the biggest question would be, "Why do you want to be a plumber?" Answer that question honestly, if you really know the answer, and it might make a difference.
  4. MorganJ

    MorganJ New Member

    Messages:
    3
    ^Definitely

    geniescience - Ahh... I read the entire two pages. Interesting. I know what NOT to do once I become an apprentice lol.

    billsnogo - Wow thanks for the help. But wow, the third time? That sorta makes me a little nervous. I'm really going to have to sweep these guys off their feet :( . Once again thanks for your help! I appreciate it.

    Keep the posts comming you guys, the more help the better. I really appreciate it.
  5. Been there done that.


    From an inside source of the union back in the day......


    They cherry pick the ones who have excelled or performed above and beyond their call of duty in whatever profession they are in.

    Like the lead man at a bread company (being union going into union shines the door sill)

    Also showing a high attendance rate with very little health problems.

    If you're track record is choppy going into the apprenticeship, you'll find yourself working another profession trying forever to get into the door.

    If you watched "The Apprentice"........it's pretty much what they want....top of the line.

    That first and second year is painful on the wage earning.......better hope you have a backup plan if you get in and end up spending more time on the bench than working. < That will have you on prozac.
  6. son -in -laws

    Around here,,,,I have heard that the sons
    and son in laws and cousins of people already in
    UNIONS get preferrential treatment

    and of course they dont have to kiss ass like
    the non-related apprentices have to...


    its like that everyhwere I suppose...
  7. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,874
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    apprentice

    and of course they dont have to kiss ass like
    the non-related apprentices have to...


    If I had had to do that I probably would never have made it.
  8. billsnogo

    billsnogo wannabe plumber

    Messages:
    32
    Location:
    brooklyn park mn
    So they tend to not use the 1st and 2nd year apprentices much? Maybe I would be better off then non-union. I really need at least an average of 35 hours a week. :(
  9. Randyj

    Randyj Master Plumber

    Messages:
    1,047
    Location:
    Alabama
    I KNOW that I would have never made it. Thank God all I had to do was take an open book test and pay $125 to get my license... of course, I had to have documented experience to get in the door. I doubt I could get a union job...not with my attitude. I want things right and don't suck up to some drunk boss who always needs a shave and another beer.
  10. kordts

    kordts In the Trades

    Messages:
    551
    Location:
    exurban Chicago
    Your hours and bosses depend on your local situation. Usually, unions don't take apprentices just to let them sit on the bench. Even if a shop is union, drunk foremen don't usually make them money and they don't last, if a guy makes money for the shop, they usually overlook his foibles. I told the board I wanted out of the factory and into a craft where I could see what I did at the end of the day and feel like I made a difference. I didn't know anybody in the union but scored high enough to get in.
  11. MorganJ

    MorganJ New Member

    Messages:
    3
    lol No no, the topic is way misunderstood. I mean, I want to BECOME a Apprentice. I'm not even an Apprentice yet. That's what my interview is about.

    Any takers?
  12. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,874
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    apprentice

    When I went through it, and maybe it still is there, an apprentice was hired "for the duration", and did not go from company to company. We stayed with the same employer all the way through, but other locals may have different policies.
  13. smart guess?

    my guess is that looking at the big picture from the longest possible timeframe and perspective, the "Examiners" will be thinking mostly of your "Chances for Success" in the profession. Their goal is to accept people who will stay in the business, remain honest, and train other apprentices too. In the short term, whether you can handle a job that puts your body into action every day will be a big concern too, in my Guesstimation. You need core body strength, in your torso, don't you? And you are not doing anything physical on a daily basis, are you? Hmm...

    i am saying this from having seen similar situations in other "Selection Committees" some of which I have been a member some of which I have heard about from its members.

    The goal for any selection committee is to let people in, who are going to succeed in the path chosen. For the duration meant in the longest possible timeframe imaginable.

    Your discussing this with the committee, openly, is one good way to make them all hear that you have thought about all this.

    David
  14. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,874
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    apprentice

    But then you could have a situation like New York City years ago, where they took in a lot of apprentices, but they turned very few of them into journeymen so as to not dilute the pool, and kept all the "old timers" working.
  15. Cass

    Cass Plumber

    Messages:
    5,980
    Location:
    Ohio
    Post back with the results.
  16. The Goal to become a Master Plumber, is the only real goal. Nobody has a desire to become an apprentice if it means remaining at that level.

    I think the problem hj mentioned would not be a reading, of my post, if you see every little phrase as being meant to describe the Master Plumber role and never the apprentice role. The goal of becoming a Master Plumber, is the only goal I meant to discuss.

    Summary:: Becoming a plumber (instead of dropping out), remaining a plumber (instead of leaving the field), remaining honest (instead of ...), and training new people (instead of working alone or only with other master plumbers).

    How to get the regulators to open the valves to let more people move up from the first level (apprentice) to the next, is another discussion, and imho, it is not the kind of discussion that today's examiners will want to have in this acceptance exam. Will you become a plumber if they let you in? Will you stay a plumber? Will you remain honest, (Code, business practice, conduct, etc.)? Will you help the profession?

    David

  17. No. What I'm saying is you do not make a whole lot on the hour....

    Also, you are at the bottom of the pile. Not always do they have use for minimal knowledge apprentices all the time. If the construction industry turns down like the slump it is in now....what happens is there are too many hands and not enough work, the ones with the most experience stay busy like there is no slow-down and the others have to wait it out.

    You can be the most advantageous or willing to work.....but your knowledge background is the only thing that will keep your hands moving.

    Of course the pay is going to be low in the beginning; has to be fair to the top earners so there is a big difference in what you bring home.

    When I entered the union I switched from new construction to service....that keep me busy even though the wage was slightly less.


    I watched new construction plumbers that had been with the union for years.....couldn't find work, had families and was forced to become travelers because the local work was only going to be there for the taking by the ones who had been there the longest.

    I watched some guy milk out his sub pay which is your money used as unemployment wages while your sitting on the bench and have to leave his family to work 13 weeks, 7 days a week, 10 hour days....4 states away.

    Only to be laid off and back on the bench till the next tour comes around.

    I know a family of pipefitters that on average is laid off on the bench.....4 months a year. Both have families and they also have sub-pay to draw from while on the bench but that nonsense starts to work against you because whenever your hands move in your profession, you are learning 9 times out of 10.

    An idle mind can ruin your effectiveness to be sharp when you work the next time.....and you have to work at the drop of a dime or you get skipped on the bench.......no matter how rough the job.


    Some may think I'm making this up. I'm not. I'm speaking from personal experience and being inside those 4 walls of a union wasn't as glamorous as the trimmings are made out to be.

    I've seen a union destroy a non-union shop because of the money it took for the company to join. Being union forces you to raise your rates because the union does not give discounts to newbies in the biz.

    I've been told that the union I belonged to now has ridiculous health insurance, they have a turnover rate worth mentioning that those like myself wake up and see the forest from the trees and know there are much greener pastures without me as an employee supporting a couple hundred thousand dollars worth of my hard earning wages to belong.

    You control where you want your personal success to be.
  18. billsnogo

    billsnogo wannabe plumber

    Messages:
    32
    Location:
    brooklyn park mn
    Rugged, thank you for clarifying. This advice and insight is very much needed for noobs like me. :eek:
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2007
  19. billsnogo

    billsnogo wannabe plumber

    Messages:
    32
    Location:
    brooklyn park mn
    MorganJ, how did it go?
    Mine went okay. Not great, not horrible. I should know in about three weeks my ranking #. I hope 3rd time is a charm rather than three strikes and I am out to find a non-union shop. :eek:
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