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Selection Process

After you have submitted your application and resume for a position, a TECO Energy recruiter will review your material and determine if your experience and skills match the position qualifications. If there is a match, you may be asked to participate in any of the following, depending on the position applied for:

  • Telephone Interview
  • Survey
  • Testing
  • Interview
FAQs
Behavioral Interviews
Testing and Assessment
  • Selection Process FAQ's

    Q. Are positions at all levels advertised to TECO Energy team members first? How long is it advertised to team members before being advertised to the public?
    A. Union covered positions are bid within the covered group first. The period is seven working days determined by the contracts with the IBEW and OPEIU. Non-covered positions may be marketed to internal team members first for the same seven-day period or may be marketed to both internal and external groups simultaneously. This decision is at the discretion of the hiring manager/supervisor and recruiter and is often related to market availability, skill set requirements, and applicant pool diversity initiatives.

    Q. How long will interview results be considered for the job applied for or for a similar job?
    A. Six months.

    Selection / Interviews

    Q. What types of interviews exist in the selection for excellence process?
    A. The types of interviews include:

    • Telephone screens (to determine qualifications, if needed)
    • Technical interviews (job content-based)
    • Targeted Selection interviews (behavioral-based)

    Q. What factors are considered when selecting candidates to be interviewed?
    A. The job will determine what to look for in applicants. The following factors should be considered: accomplishments, education, number of years of work-related experience, degrees, certifications, credentials, frequent job changes without career advancement, gaps in employment history and salary history. Creativity, writing and organizational skills may also be considered if applicable to the position. Motivational fit may also be identified in either a cover letter or objective statement.

    Q. Who is involved in selecting candidates to be interviewed?
    A. A recruitment professional presents qualified candidates to the hiring manager/supervisor. Qualified candidates are those internal and external candidates meeting the required skills. Together, they will determine which candidates move forward to testing and/or interviews. At times, other members of the department management or HR may assist in this selection.

    Q. How are interviewers selected?
    A. The hiring manager/supervisor along with the recruiter will be responsible for selecting an interview team. For entry level, non-exempt positions, an interview team may consist of two or three interviewers. For salaried exempt positions, three interviewers shall participate. The Targeted Selection (TS) interviewers must have completed the training program and must be of a higher position level than the applicants for the position. For example, when hiring a supervisor, there should be three manager level or higher employees on the interview team. If hiring for a manager, three directors or higher shall participate on the interview team. In the event a hiring manager has not been trained in TS, that manager may participate in the selection process as a technical interviewer and may attend consensus, but shall not be considered as one of the TS interviewers.

    Q. Is there a difference between internal versus external interviewing?
    A. The interview process is the same for both internal and external candidate interviews.

    Q. What are the guidelines for making a decision to promote someone from inside a department versus posting a job for others to bid?
    A. Natural progression promotions do occur within certain job families throughout our company. Recently, a number of lateral moves have been made in the interest of team member development and/or job enrichment. Lateral moves are not considered promotions.

    Assessments / Testing / Feedback

    Q. Has anyone measured the relationship between the management testing results and actual success within this company? Is it a valid measurement of success?
    A. First, the internal Testing and Assessment Group (TAG) determined what knowledge, skills, abilities and dimensions were critical to supervisory and management positions. Second, after the requirements have been determined, then the TAG sought out highly valid instruments. All assessments used at the supervisory and management level are “off the shelf” instruments. They have been designed by professionals using a national database of thousands of participants to ensure test re-test reliability and validity. Before these instruments are purchased, the TAG ensured general reliability/validity in nationwide studies. Third, the tests are then evaluated based on the performance and success of applicants in the selection process. We review how well the candidates perform on the test in comparison with their performance in the interviews and other parts of the selection process. We also review evidence of 360 performance in correlation to in-basket scores.

    Consensus

    Q. Please explain the consensus process.
    A. Consensus is the process of sharing behavioral data gathered in the interview process and discussing the rationale for each rating. The same rating criteria used in the performance management process is used in Targeted Selection. One interviewer starts by explaining what behavioral data he/she collected. The other interviewers ask clarifying questions and also present additional behavioral information. After discussion, the group comes to a shared conclusion for each dimension on each candidate.

    Q. What happens if the interview team cannot reach a consensus?
    A. Consensus is a required step in the selection process. Members of the interview team must be in agreement that an applicant is acceptable for hire. There may be times when more than one candidate is acceptable for hire. The hiring manager/supervisor is the person who owns the outcome of the decision. He/she does rely on input from the other elements in the process, including the interview team, ratings/consensus, critical dimension ratings, technical interviews and simulations/assessments.

    On-boarding

    Q. What background checks are conducted for new hires?
    A. Background checks include:

    • Social Security verification.
    • Statewide/county/federal criminal background check. We review all crimes (felonies, misdemeanors and adjudications withheld). Certain job descriptions in the energy industry can preclude applicants from selection due to crimes other than felonies. If a statewide criminal check produces a record, then county criminal reports are run to confirm disposition. If addresses not listed on the employment application appear on the Social Security verification, we check criminal history in those counties as well. We look for a seven-year history and measure any incidents by recency, severity and repeat offenses. If candidates are going out into the community or working with customer accounts, the criteria is the most stringent.
    • Sexual predator list. This is a separate search from the criminal report.
    • Motor vehicle registration check on all team members, but the level of acceptable records varies by job description. Meter readers, linemen, field engineering techs, special utility workers and any team members driving for the company need to have a fairly clean driving record—not more than one to three incidents during the previous five years. This will include management positions, some IT professionals and engineers, as they need to transport themselves between several locations in the normal course of doing business.
    • Education is verified at the highest education level claimed by an applicant. If college education is not a job requirement, we verify high school graduation or GED equivalent. Approximately 18 percent of Florida residents do not have a high school diploma. Applicants may be asked to provide a sealed copy of their diploma, GED or degree.
    • Previous or current employer, verifying at least one prior employment and prefer three years of history.
    • Credit reference, but very few job descriptions require this check.
    • Department of Transportation check is used to accommodate requirements for driving positions. This check confirms past instances of substance abuse with an applicant's previous employers.
  • Behavioral Interviews

    In our pursuit of the best candidate, in addition to testing and assessment, TECO Energy uses behavioral interviews for all positions. Though the number of interviewers may change for some positions, all candidates that come into our organization will have had to participate in at least one behavioral interview throughout the selection process.

    The foundation of our interviewing methodology traces back to the research performed by Tom Janz, who found consistently throughout his research that “the best predictor of future performance is past performance in similar circumstances.” One method of identifying an individual's past performance is to ask questions designed specifically to understand previous experiences.

    What is a behavioral interview?

    A behavioral interview is a structured interview, which means that all of the candidates that interview for the exact same job posting will receive the same questions.

    Behavioral interview questions are written in a manner that assists in predicting a candidate's future success based on their previous experiences. The intention of this interview approach is for the candidate to give specific examples of times they demonstrated particular skills or behaviors. Giving a vague or general answer is not what the interviewer is looking for. Instead, the interviewer is asking the candidate to describe a particular experience, project, team, task, etc. in as much detail as possible. Specifically, they are looking for the background to the situation or task, the actions that were taken and the result of those actions.

    TECO Energy utilizes behavioral interviews in order to compare candidates in a standardized and fair manner.

    Preparing for a behavioral interview

    Look through your resume carefully and think about each item listed and what particular skill(s) or aptitude enabled you to develop. The more concrete your examples, the better.

    For example, if you're asked, “What have you done in the past to contribute toward a team environment?” the interviewer is not looking for an answer such as, “I was involved in lots of projects that involved other employees in the company.” That response is far too vague. Refer to a specific incident or project, such as, “When I was overseeing the budget analysis project, I felt it was important to get different perspectives, so I invited employees from other departments to sit on the committee. It turned out to be a good idea. Their involvement really paid off. The project was successful and it has become a standard practice to involve everyone in these sorts of tasks.” Keep in mind that the interviewer is looking for enough real “evidence” to validate the experience that they found in your resume that qualified you to be candidate for the job.

    When coming up with specific examples, do not forget to consider experiences that may not have made it onto your resume. Generally, it is best to use examples related to your previous work experiences. However, for those individuals who may be rejoining the workforce, or joining the workforce for the first time, examples involving school projects/tasks, sports team experiences or any other organizational involvement will be just as sufficient. Be sure to use the most recent examples. The only types of examples we try to steer candidates away from using are those involving personal information.

    During the interview, if you need a moment to think of an example, say so. Interviewers understand. With your responses, be sure to include the following when answering your questions:

    • A specific situation or task that you performed or were involved with
    • The action you took
    • The results (i.e. what happened)

    Keep in mind there are no right or wrong answers. The interviewer is simply trying to understand how you behaved in a given situation. How you respond will determine if there is a fit between your skills/experience and the position you are interviewing for. Be sure to listen carefully, give clear and concise responses, and most importantly, be honest.

    Example questions

    The following are sample questions you may encounter in a behavioral interview. Keep in mind that they will vary depending on the knowledge, skills and experience required for the job:

    • Describe a situation in which you were able to use persuasion to successfully convince someone to see things your way.
    • Describe a time when you were faced with a stressful situation that demonstrated your coping skills.
    • Give me a specific example of a time when you used good judgment and logic in solving a problem.
    • Give me an example of a time when you set a goal and were able to meet or achieve it.
    • Tell me about a time when you had to use your presentation skills to influence someone's opinion.
    • Give me a specific example of a time when you had to conform to a policy with which you did not agree.
    • Please discuss an important written document you were required to complete.

    Helpful links to more information on behavioral interviewing:

  • Testing & Assessment

    TECO Energy engages in pre-employment testing to ensure knowledge, skills and abilities match organizational need.

    Some tests require candidates to receive a minimum score in order to participate in later phases of the selection process. All tests used by TECO Energy for selection have been validated and shown to be reliable through extensive research.

    For more information about a particular test, preparing for a test, or testing accommodations, please visit the following links for more specific information:

    Preparing to Take a Test

    Before the Test
    1. Pace yourself. If you choose to prepare for your test, review the material (books, practice problems or a study guide) in several relatively short periods rather than a few long periods. Studying in several 30 to 60-minute sessions allows you to absorb the material more easily than if you were to review large quantities of information at once.
    2. Relax. The best preparation is to relax. Just be yourself. Try and make sure to get a good night's sleep before the testing session and drink caffeine in moderation. Also, you should bring any visual aids needed.
    3. Be positive. The tests are not designed to trick you or be unnecessarily difficult. In fact, if you've taken other tests in school or at work, you'll probably find these very similar. Start with a positive attitude and don't give up. Remember, each question counts the same as any other question. If you can't answer one, don't be discouraged, move onto the next question. Begin each section or test with the same positive attitude. No one is expected to get every answer right.
    4. Arrive on time. It's important to arrive on time for your test. Late candidates will not be admitted to take their test(s).
    When You Arrive
    1. Relax. Stress or tension will cause you to forget what you know or to think irrationally. You can reduce stress by preparing in advance, avoiding others who are stressed about the test beforehand and making sure you understand what to expect.
    2. Read the directions carefully. Sometimes we assume we know what type of question we are answering, but many times test takers get answers wrong because they did not read the directions. An example of this would be the differences between mark all that apply, answer only one, and mark the one that does not belong.
    During The Test

    After the test has begun you will be relying on the information you studied, but sometimes you may we come across questions you aren't prepared for. For such situations, we have put together some general test taking strategies that may be helpful:

    • Complete the easiest questions or sections first. Begin the test by identifying and completing the areas in which you are strongest while remembering to mark the questions you skip. Don't spend too much time on any one question. Since all questions have the same value in scoring, it is always to your advantage to complete as many questions as you can.
    • Mark questions you skip for easy relocation. If you don't understand the question or don't know the answer, mark it on your answer sheet with your pencil and return to it later. Surprisingly, one of the most common mistakes made by test takers is spending valuable time on a test item that cannot be readily answered. You'll likely have better results if you mark that item, continue on, and come back to it later, time permitting. Marking your answer sheet when you skip an item can help you keep track of where you are on the test, saving valuable time.
    • Read each question carefully. After reading each question, make sure you understand it clearly.
    • Try not to make RANDOM guesses. Narrow down for the correct response. It is best to eliminate at least one wrong answer before guessing. If you are given four choices and randomly guess, you only have a 25% chance of guessing the right answer—or a 75% chance of guessing the WRONG answer. Further, if you can eliminate just one wrong answer you have boosted your chances to 33%. Obviously, if you can eliminate two wrong answers your chances have gone up to 50%. When all else fails, and you must make guesses:
    1. Be aware of key words: “always,” “never,” “all,” or “none.” Consider these options carefully.
    2. Trust your instincts. Usually your first guess is right.
    • Be aware of being tempted to pick wrong answers. Sometimes answers are created to deter you from the right answer. At first, they appear to be the correct choice but are not. Take your time to work through the problem if it involves numbers and to read actively if the question involves grammar and spelling situations.
    • Leave time for review. If you complete the test before the time is up, don't stop working. Review your answers, but don't look for patterns in the responses. The tests have been developed by experts and don't necessarily have the same number of “A,” “B,” or “C” answers. If you find that you have answered mostly “A,” for example, trust your instincts and don't assume that it must be wrong. Research has shown that many people who change answers during review, change right answers to wrong ones. Changes should be made only when you are certain the original answer is wrong. You can also use any extra time to make certain your answers are marked darkly and clearly. Be sure all your changed answers are erased completely and there are no stray marks on the answer sheet.
    • Listen for time warnings. This will help you to verify your pace.
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    Strategies for Various Question Types

    True – False
    • If any part of the statement is false, the entire statement is false.
    • Words such as “always,” “never,” “all,” and “none” are often, but not always, signals that a statement is false.
    Multiple Choice
    • Read the entire question and try to answer it before looking at your options.
    • Even if you think you know the answer be sure to read through all of your options.
    • If you are uncertain, begin by eliminating answers that are wrong, increasing your chances of being right.

    Accommodations

    In compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), if you have a disability that you feel requires special arrangements, you must let your TECO Energy recruiter know prior to testing. We cannot retest candidates if the matter is brought to our attention after testing. Candidates that need a special testing arrangement may need to produce professional documentation of the disability prior to the test administration.

    If you need more information regarding TECO Energy's accommodations or policies, contact the recruiter and ask them to put you in touch with someone from the Assessment Department.

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