Holly explains the Interview and assessment process

Flow chart


Application form and sifting

When applying to be a train driver you will be asked to complete an application form. In some cases you may also be asked to complete other tests such as a Situational Judgement Exercise or a telephone interview. Before submitting an application you should gather some information about what the role entails, the type of skills you will need and the type of environment you will be working in. Train driving is not for everyone so you should be sure this is the job for you before applying.

Assessments and interview

If your application is successful you will be asked to undertake the train driver psychometric assessment. This consists of a range of assessments that assess your cognitive skills, psychomotor skills (hand coordination) and your behavioural preferences. The aim is to identify candidates who do not have the underpinning ability to be a safe train driver. The assessments can be carried out in one day, but typically employers split the assessments into two stages. Stage 1 usually consists of the paper and pencil assessments, while stage 2 usually consists of the computerised assessments and a behavioural preference assessment. The table below sets out the criteria and assessments that you will undertake.

CriteriaDescriptionPsychometric assessment
Attention Selective attention - The ability to differentiate between different sources of information and attend selectively to them, for example distinguishing and attending to alarms. Divided attention - The ability to switch attention between sources of information, for example lineside information and in-cab information and perform different tasks in parallel, for example making train announcements while on the move.Paper Group Bourdon Test of Everyday Attention Occupational (TEA-Occ)
Vigilance The ability to attend and respond to stimuli which occur relatively infrequently and over extended periods of time.WAFV Vigilance test
Memory The ability to learn, recall and apply job related information in appropriate time limits, for example learn new information in training; remembering instructions from signallers; applying specific rules and procedures. TRP1 Trainability for Rules and Procedures Test (part 1)
ReasoningThe ability to solve problems and make decisions, for example fault diagnosis; understanding and interpreting information from instrumentation. TRP2 Trainability for Rules and Procedures test (part 2)
Perception The ability to anticipate elements in a traffic environment and make a correct decision about how to respond given the speed and distances involved, for example identifying a landmark cue before a station and starting to decelerate. ATAVT Adaptive Tachistoscopic Traffic Test
Reaction time A quick and adequate response to simple and complex visual and acoustic stimuli and the associated quality of performance. WAFV Vigilance test
Hand coordinationThe ability to make appropriate and controlled movements in response to decisions about complex stimuli. 2HAND Two hand coordination test
CommunicationThe ability to read, listen, understand and respond appropriately, and effectively convey information orally and in writing. Foreign language skills (only applicable to cross-border drivers operating in Europe) - The ability to communicate in the language indicated by the infrastructure manager concerned on critical safety issues. Their language skills must be such that they: can communicate actively and effectively in routine, adverse and emergency situations; can cope with practical situations involving an unforeseen element; can describe; can keep a simple conversation going.Multi-Modal Interview (MMI) Written Communication Test – this is an optional assessment that only a few employers use.
Behavioural aptitudesThe underpinning behavioural preferences required to be a safe train driver.Situational Judgement Exercise (SJE) Multi-Modal Interview (MMI)

You will be given practice materials to help you become more familiar with most of the tests and have a go at completing them. You only have two attempts at the assessments and so it is important to use the practice materials.

Employers may also carry out additional assessments, so don’t be surprised if you are asked to undertake assessments that are not listed here.

You will also be asked to undertake a company specific interview. This interview looks to assess specific skills, values and behaviours that are relevant to the employer. This is typically a face to face interview either with a panel or sometimes the manager of the depot that you will be working in. This interview typically takes place once you have passed the assessments, but in some cases this interview can take place in between stage 1 and 2 of the psychometric assessment or can take place before you have undertaken the assessments.