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25 job interview questions to expect in the mining, oil, and gas industry

Peter Nicholls

Get ahead in your application with insider tips on how to prepare for graduate job interviews in the mining, oil and gas industry.

There are countless questions that you might be asked when pursuing a graduate role in the mining, oil, and gas industry. The challenge is to figure out which ones to prepare for. Fortunately, we’ve been able to take some of the guesswork out of this process by basing the following list on feedback given to us by graduates who have actually been recruited by major organisations in the mining, oil, and gas industry. After reviewing the list, read on to hear some tips from these grads about how to respond to even the most difficult questions with confidence.

The top 25 questions

Open questions

  1. Why did you study your chosen discipline?
  2. What are your strengths and weaknesses?
  3. What can you bring to the company?
  4. Can you tell us about any jobs you’ve had before?
  5. What are your hobbies?
  6. What do you consider to be your biggest achievement so far?
  7. What kind of work environment do you like best?  

Organisational knowledge questions

  1. Why do you want to work for AEMO?
  2. What do you consider to be the biggest challenge facing Shell Australia?  
  3. What do BP’s five values mean to you?
  4. Can you tell us what you know about Rio Tinto’s involvement in mineral processing?
  5. What does the sustainability policy at South32 mean to you?
  6. What do you think Wood can offer you as a graduate?

Behavioral questions

  1. One of Rio Tinto’s core values is integrity. Can you describe a situation in which you’ve demonstrated integrity?
  2. At BP, our values include courage and excellence, especially when confronted with difficult situations. Tell us about a time when you had to deliver results in the face of major challenges.
  3. As you know, at Wood, we prize teamwork and leadership. Can you tell us about a time when you resolved an interpersonal challenge by drawing on those qualities?
  4. One of our four core values at South32 is togetherness. What’s your approach when you’re confronted with a challenge that requires you to draw on the skills of your colleagues?
  5. What would your approach be if you had to work in a team at Woodside with somebody difficult?
  6. Caltex Australia encourages its employees to be accountable. Can you tell us about a time when you made a professional mistake? What did you learn from it?

Technical questions

  1. Describe a procedure to identify deformation of high walls.
  2. How do you apply safety principles in your engineering work?
  3. How are different types of oil categorised?
  4. What is carbon capture and storage? How does it work?
  5. What is the difference between associated and non-associated gas?
  6. Which common gases are often found in coal mines following a fire or explosion?

Tips from our insiders

Don’t underestimate the value of authenticity

“Be true to yourself. Believing in your own abilities brings confidence naturally. Be genuine. Be prepared for behavioral questions. Think of times in your life that you can use as examples to apply to specific behavioral questions.”
Graduate, Sydney, Caltex

Become an expert in the organisation

“You can best prepare by really understanding the organisation as much as possible and importantly, how you can contribute to achieving its key priorities. Being honest and realistic is appreciated, don't try and put on a false persona. You don't need to have a completely clear view of what your future looks like, but have the passion and show that you are willing to commit to the organisation by believing in what they stand for.”
Graduate, Brisbane, Rio Tinto

Master the STAR method

“Use the STAR method for answering behavioural questions. Consider other types of leadership (e.g. personal) in addition to team leadership.”
Graduate, Melbourne, BP

Prepare a range of examples that you can draw upon to answer behavioral questions

“Ensure you have a wide variety of experiences and situations ready to discuss, ideally in a STAR format. There is a significant focus put on matching candidates to the company's culture.”
Graduate, Perth, Woodside

Know which issues are affecting the overall oil, mining, and gas industry

“Read up on the oil and gas industry and the different parts of it in which Santos operates (for example, production, development, and exploration).”
Graduate, Adelaide, Santos

Take an​ organisation’s culture seriously

“Read up about the company culture. Often that can be the difference between a candidate who makes it and a candidate who doesn't.”
—Graduate, Perth, Shell