A few weeks ago I got an interview for a job as simulation engineer in the aeronautics industry. It was going quite well during the technical questions (some C code, Python, and Linux) and previous experiences discussion, though I've always worked in the automotive industry.
At some point I had some "situations" discussion, and I received a refusal weeks after the interview because of my handling of those situations, even though all the rest was good.
The two main ones were this:
Just imagine you are working on some important simulation system and a client call you at 8 pm. He's kind of upset because your simulation tool doesn't work at his place. If it does not work tomorrow at 8 am he'll give up on your company and it will lose hundreds of millions. What do you do?
I thought it would be some kind of test to see if I would work illegal hours, or if I was not going to ask my manager/team lead about that and rush head down, but he said that if I tried to call him or other manager, it would be impossible to join. As the figure of hundreds millions seemed huge to me, I replied I would still try to reach any other manager, or eventually try to fix it as last resort, spending overnight at office (they have some time to do this as they sell worldwide, they said).
You are working with another person on a project, but she/he needs to go to China for some task and will not be available for the next 3 months. All of sudden, there is an emergency: You have to finish your project in 30 days and after a week you realize you didn't even do 10% of it. What do you do?
Again it seems to be a verification of capacity to communicate. I replied that I would firstly contact my manager as soon as I got the 30 days delay, though he would know already as he is organizing the team and giving out tasks. Eventually, if he can't help, hire some contractor, and then try to delay the delivery with client or call back the coworker.
Are there any huge red flags in what I replied?
Maybe I need to clarify some elements:
- The company is huge, tens of thousands of employees, so it is not a startup which could ask employees to work 20 hours a day exceptionally.
- @Richard said that I lacked initiative and @pip that I should have been more careful of such requests instead. I clearly said that I would work as soon as I got the news for both situations, but the problem was detailed as an impossible case. Basically they made me understand that I could not do the job in time.