Getting Ready for Your Portland General Electric Interview: Common Questions and How to Prepare

Interviewing at Portland General Electric (PGE)? You’re likely eager to make a great impression and land the job. While every interview is unique, there are common questions PGE tends to ask candidates. Understanding these typical questions along with tips to prepare can help you feel ready to nail your PGE interview.

What to Expect in a Portland General Electric Interview

PGE interviews tend to focus on behavioral and situational questions. Interviewers want to understand not just your qualifications, but how you’ll handle real-life scenarios you may encounter working for PGE.

Some examples of common PGE interview questions include

  • Tell me about yourself.
  • Why do you want to work for PGE?
  • Describe a time you went above and beyond for a customer.
  • Tell me about a challenging situation you faced in a previous job and how you handled it.
  • Describe a time you had a conflict with a coworker or supervisor and how it was resolved.
  • What are your greatest strengths and weaknesses?
  • Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

PGE customer service and call center roles may also ask questions specific to dealing with customers such as:

  • How would you handle an upset customer on the phone?
  • Tell me about a time you had to explain a complicated topic or process to an angry customer. How did you handle this and what was the outcome?

Technical and engineering roles are more likely to ask questions testing your technical knowledge and problem solving abilities such as

  • Explain concepts like AC and DC power, electrical circuits, conductors, insulators, etc.
  • How would you troubleshoot an electrical issue? Walk me through the steps.
  • Tell me about a time you solved a technical problem. What was the situation and how did you approach it?

Understanding the types of questions you’re likely to encounter can help you start formulating responses. But quality preparation takes more than just anticipating questions. Below are tips for an optimal PGE interview prep process.

How to Prepare for a Portland General Electric Interview

These tips can set you up for success in your PGE job interview:

Research the company and role. Study PGE’s website, press releases, news articles, and other sources to learn about the company’s mission, values, goals, challenges, initiatives, culture, organizational structure, and day-to-day work. For the specific role, understand the core responsibilities and qualifications. This helps you provide relevant responses tied back to PGE.

Practice answering questions out loud. It’s not enough to think about how you’d respond. Verbalizing your answers allows you to polish your phrasing. Ask a friend to conduct a mock interview. Tape yourself answering questions so you can evaluate your tone, pacing, clarity, and listen for “ums” and other fillers.

Prepare specific examples. Back up claims about your skills and experience with detailed examples. Use the STAR method (Situation, Task, Action, Result) to structure your examples. Quantify your results when possible.

Research your interviewers. Understanding who will interview you enables you to prepare tailored responses that resonate. Study their LinkedIn profiles or bios on the PGE website to learn about their roles and priorities.

Prepare smart questions to ask. Asking thoughtful questions shows your interest in and understanding of PGE. Avoid questions easily found the website. Ask about challenges being faced, new initiatives, company culture, management style, ideal employee traits, or day-to-day responsibilities.

Review common PGE behavioral interview questions. Ensure you have compelling talking points ready to address expected questions around areas like handling conflict, dealing with customers, overcoming obstacles, working on teams, etc.

Practice good nonverbal communication. Smile, make eye contact, sit up straight, and convey confidence through positive body language. Practice handshakes ahead of time. Avoid nervous gestures like fidgeting.

Get a good night’s rest. Being well-rested results in higher mental acuity and reduces anxiety. Eat a balanced meal so you aren’t distracted by hunger.

Following these tips will have you feeling ready to impress your PGE interviewers. Let’s look at some example responses to common PGE interview questions.

Sample Responses to Portland General Electric Interview Questions

Here are examples of how to effectively respond to typical PGE interview questions:

Question: Tell me about yourself.

Sample Response: As an electrical engineer with over 5 years of experience, the majority with Pacific Power, I was drawn to this role at PGE because of your focus on clean energy and commitment to sustainability. In my current position, I lead project teams designing solar infrastructure and battery storage solutions. I value collaborating cross-functionally to develop renewable energy strategies. I’m known for my communication skills, often explaining complex technical concepts clearly to senior leaders and other stakeholders. I’m passionate about PGE’s vision to move towards 100% clean energy by 2040. I would bring strong technical knowledge in solar, wind, hydroelectric and battery storage systems to help PGE continue innovating renewable energy solutions.

Question: Why do you want to work for PGE?

Sample Response: I’m committed to your mission of powering communities with affordable, reliable, and clean energy. As an Oregon resident, I take pride in PGE’s values and leadership on sustainability. I’m impressed by initiatives like partnering with customers to install smart thermostats and EV chargers that reduce emissions. After speaking with employees at PGE’s career fair, it was clear there is a collaborative, team-oriented culture here. And PGE’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion aligns with my values. I would be excited to join a company making a real difference in Oregon while providing meaningful careers. This opportunity is a strong fit with my technical expertise in transmission and distribution systems, passion for renewables, and desire to work for an innovative, purpose-driven company improving lives.

Question: Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

Sample response: In 5 years, I hope to be an established contributor on the electrical engineering team here at PGE, managing significant projects to upgrade Portland’s grid with smart infrastructure enabling distributed energy sources. I aim to be a respected leader viewed as an expert in modern grid technologies and renewable generation. I hope to have led initiatives expanding access to community solar and battery storage in low income neighborhoods. And in 5 years, I plan to have earned opportunities to mentor junior engineers, helping them maximize their impact here. Longer term, after gaining expertise here I would welcome opportunities to take on more management responsibilities and help guide PGE’s strategic energy roadmap and community engagement efforts. Most of all, I see myself as a key part of PGE’s progressive mission to decarbonize Portland’s energy supply through innovation.

Question: Tell me about a time you had a conflict with a supervisor and how it was resolved.

Sample Response: Early in my career with Pacific Power, I was assigned to a project team designing a 500 kW solar installation for a large commercial customer. We had responsibility for the full system design, equipment specifications, permitting, procurement and construction management. The project manager and I disagreed on which solar panels to specify from different manufacturers. I advocated for a newer technology with higher efficiency, while the PM wanted to use traditional panels we were more familiar with, even though efficiency would be lower. I pushed back respectfully, presenting a cost/benefit analysis showing long-term cost savings from the higher efficiency equipment. However, the PM was unwilling to take the perceived risk of using newer technology. I expressed my opinion but ultimately needed to defer to his decision as the team leader. In the end, the project was a success. I learned the importance of considering perspectives other than my own. While I might disagree, the team leader gets the final say. Going forward, I work to surface concerns early and compromise when needed rather than debate every point. This has led to healthier team dynamics and better outcomes.

Question: How do you stay up-to-date on the latest trends and technology in the electrical utility industry?

Sample Response: Staying current on industry technology is crucial, so I make ongoing learning a priority in several ways:

  • I read industry publications like Power Magazine, Transmission & Distribution World, and Renewable Energy World cover-to-cover each month to learn about new technologies and trends.
  • I attend key conferences including Distributech, Solar Power International, and the IEEE Transmission and Distribution Conference to hear directly from technology innovators and utilities implementing new systems.
  • I follow thought leaders and vendors in the sector on LinkedIn and Twitter who frequently share insights on emerging technologies.
  • I participate in industry associations including the IEEE Power & Energy Society and American Solar Energy Society.
  • I regularly meet up with former colleagues and fellow engineers in the field to exchange industry news and insights.
  • Within my own utility, I volunteer for strategic planning committees and working groups focused on grid modernization, so I’m aware of roadmaps and initiatives.

Staying continually engaged across these channels ensures I have a pulse on where the industry is headed and emerging technologies I should evaluate.

Question: Tell me about a time you had to explain a complex technical concept or process to someone without a technical background.

Sample Response: When I was consulting for a solar firm bidding PPA’s, I ha

GE (General Electric) Aptitude Assessment Test Practice


How to prepare for a GE interview?

For the GE interview, we recommend preparing 12-15 stories ahead of time that can be flexed to answer any kind of behavioral question you’ll see. Answering with a story connects your experience to the answer and is much more memorable to an interviewer who is interviewing multiple candidates in the same day.

How hard is it to get a job at GE?

Is it hard to get hired at GE? Glassdoor users rated their interview experience at GE as 71.2% positive with a difficulty rating score of 2.86 out of 5 (where 5 is the highest level of difficulty).

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