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November 01, 2000  |   Comments (0)   |   Post a comment

36 Questions for a Prospective Bus Driver

Asking the right questions during a hiring interview can help to identify qualified candidates and improve your driver retention rate.


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Transportation managers need to be better prepared for hiring interviews than the candidates they’re considering. But often this isn’t the case. The manager meets the candidate, asks a few routine questions about his background, driving experience and aptitude for the position and then gets back to his real job: managing the transportation program. Many supervisors are content to ask the same routine questions because they don’t have a comprehensive inventory of questions to draw from. To that end, we found a list of questions published by the transportation departments at School Districts 10, 12 and 13 in St. Stephen, New Brunswick. The districts operate approximately 160 school buses and hire 25 to 30 new drivers each year. Steve Evans, assistant transportation manager at School District 10, said a committee of 20 transportation employees put together the list of questions in preparing a handbook on the selection and training of drivers. Evans said he typically chooses 10 of the 36 questions for use during the interview. The main goal is to determine whether the candidate has the proper interpersonal skills and attitude as well as the ability to drive a bus. Here are the questions, not necessarily in any particular order. Some are directed at applicants with no bus driving experience, while others are meant for candidates who already have driven a school bus.

1. What attracted you to this position?

2. Are you willing to work as a substitute driver in all areas of the district?

3. Are you regularly available to drive, even when called at the last minute?

4. How do you plan to adapt to many different bus routes?

5. Have you ever had to control and discipline a group of children between the ages of 5 and 18?

6. What techniques do you plan to use in order to maintain control of the students who you will only drive for a few days on a substitute basis?

7. How would you handle a phone call from an angry parent accusing you of treating their child unfairly?

8. Do you feel it is important that bus stops and schedules be regular and on time? Why?

9. What specific skills have you acquired or used in previous experience that relate to this position?

10. You have a school bus tipped over on its right side with the front door obstructed. There are K-12 students on board, some of whom are seriously injured. What is your first priority? What is your follow-up plan?

11. Are you prepared to undergo an intensive training program that may take a minimum of six days?

12. We recognize one’s financial needs must be considered, but beyond this, what attracts you to this position?

13. What experience do you have operating a large vehicle?

14. If you were to encounter icy conditions, how would you handle the situation?

15. How would you handle a situation on your bus in which a student attempted to or did physically harm you or another student?

16. Would keeping a schedule or being on time on a bus run be of any importance, in your opinion?

17. You are leaving school at the end of the day. It is the last run and a fellow driver cuts you off. Will this affect your schedule? How will you react?

18. What is the most difficult situation you have been faced with involving another person? How did you deal with it?

19. You have come upon a serious accident where it is apparent there may have been loss of life. How would you deal with your bus? The students?

20. In our school system, a formal bus pass signed by a school official must be given to the driver before a student who is not normally your passenger can ride on your bus. A strange student boards your bus and insists he always goes to his friend’s house whenever he wants to. How would you handle this?

21. You have entered a busy intersection and a passenger vehicle cuts in front of you. What would be your response?

22. A student changes seats several times. You have asked him to sit still without success. What would be your response?

23. Have you ever had a strong disagreement with another person (adult or student)? How did you handle this conflict?

24. What would you consider good judgment when dealing with children?

25. Do you know a bus driver you believe is very good at his job? In what way do you feel that he is doing a good job?

26. What kind of things would you do to prepare to drive a school bus?

27. Why do you want to make a career of driving a school bus?

28. What do you like about the children that you have been transporting?

29. What characteristics do you possess that make you a good bus driver?

30. Give an example of a difficult problem you have experienced with a student or students on a bus run. How did you handle it?

31. A person you do not know comes to your bus to pick up a kindergarten student on your K-2 run. The student does not seem to know them. What would you do?

32. Do you practice defensive driving? On a daily basis, what are the techniques you practice?

33. In the event of a serious accident, what procedure would you follow?

34. What specific skills have you acquired that you feel have made you a better school bus driver?

35. Have you had time to prepare for this interview? If not, why not? If yes, how?

36. Is there anything you would like to add about yourself that you feel we should know when considering you for this position?


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