ferren
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Airline job interview

Wed Jan 02, 2019 2:45 pm

Hi all,

my friend (ex-military transport pilot) is currently looking for a new job and told me about one job interview (relatively large EU-based LCC) that I personally find very problematic...
There was a group of candidates monitored also by the psychologist. They were asked to humiliate another candidate. If they accepted or rejected, they did not pass the test.
The correct response was something between...but it was not later properly communicated to the candidates.

I think it is very amateurish and naive, I think that all candidates were intelligent enough to understand the reasoning (find a team player). But it is a test, everybody knew that it is a test, so all options can be valid.

My question is, is it a normal job interview for an airline? Use the same "tricks" on the pilots as on the small childs :-)
 
aviationjunky
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Re: Airline job interview

Wed Jan 02, 2019 3:08 pm

I was personally at an interview once where the head boss took us to lunch, and anyone that salted their fries before tasting them were excused.

I've never heard of humiliation as part of an interview, but then again, it really all depends on the company.
LAS is Life
 
Jetmarc
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Re: Airline job interview

Wed Jan 02, 2019 3:17 pm

I'm not sure about the humiliation part, but I know airlines like to use group exercises to judge if a candidate is a team player vs somebody that is aggressive and condescending or is timid and doesn't participate. (Meaning, can you show leadership skills without overreaching or being dismissive? Or do you not do anything at all, be passive, not speak up and get overlooked? They want somebody in between, a person who participates, getting along with others, supports others, communicates well, push/pull ideas, etc.) In a lot of these exercises, the answers aren't important (your point being that all options are valid), rather, it's how you handle the scenario and participate in the task...

A few scenarios I've had include finding 10 different uses for an item (ie: a slotted spoon), prioritizing a list of items to bring on a deserted island, deciding what key product to cut from the company.

I think the point of your friend's interview was to demonstrate leadership/CRM skills. Do they humiliate their coworker (and turn out to be an aggressive Captain that FOs are afraid to question?) Or are they passive and not willing to criticize or challenge when somebody makes a mistake? Or can they do it such a way that doesnt cause conflict? They want somebody that can demonstrate leadership and communication skills without being a power tripping jerk or somebody that is afraid to point out a mistake.
"Sucka, I'm gonna send you out on Knuckle Airlines. Fist Class!!" ~ Mr. T
 
ferren
Topic Author
Posts: 15
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Re: Airline job interview

Wed Jan 02, 2019 4:16 pm

I understand what they want to get, but i am questioning their methods. This completely lacks some finesse, it is like a hit a head with brick. they will get both false positives and false negatives.
 
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PPVLC
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Re: Airline job interview

Wed Jan 02, 2019 5:18 pm

I was part of the interviewing panel a few times, most of the questions are thrown just to see how the candidate reacts to them. Someone above mentioned the salt on the chips before tasting them as a no no, I think this shows how stupid a boss can be and I wouldn't want to work for someone like that, and if the candidate thinks he needs extra salt because of whatever reason, or the candidate knows the restaurant and knows they serve their chips without salt? I once heard a colleague saying that a candidate wasn't good because he went to the loo before going directly to the interview and this showed he was insecure of himself, I told her that I'd prefer a candidate to do their business in the loo rather in front of us. Some people think they are very clever, that's the problem, corporations are full of this bunch now. We can't forget that not only the candidate needs to fit the company but also the company should fit the candidate's needs, it cuts both ways.
Cabin crew L188 707 727 737 767 A300 DC10 MD11 777 747
 
747Whale
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Re: Airline job interview

Wed Jan 02, 2019 5:29 pm

EU airlines may do this: these are not things found in the US.

Cathay used to hold a cocktail party in which the spouse was expected to attend, and she'd be met and observed during the party; it was part of the interview process.

In the US, psychological exams are given as part of some interview processes, but not all, and their worth is questionable. l don't know any professional pilot that would put up with humiliation as part of the interview process. A typical interview consists of several parts. There's often a phone interview prior to the in-person interview. In some cases there is an online cognitive test prior. Usually the phone interview is short without a lot of detail, a review of the applicant's information, a quick talk about the company, a few questions, done.

At the interview site, there's usually a written test which can be long or short, involving ATP (airline transport pilot) type questions that might be found on the FAA written exam, or on international operations, etc. Some airlines will have a cognitive test (referred to as the "cog" test), psychological screening, etc, These are not complicated. Usually timed, they may ask word problems, mathematical problems, etc. The psych test often has a long list of questions that asks the applicant to evaluate himself, or to make a choice. If you had to kill your mother or brother, which would you kill first? I am an honest person (scale of 1-5). It's okay to tell a small lie (scale of 1-5), etc. There are a. number of versions.

A HR interview takes place; it may be strictly human resources, or is often a combined interview with airline representatives (check airmen, chief pilot, etc). Sometimes the technical interview is held separately. I've done both. The HR portion asks HR type questions. A popular gotcha used to be "You are in your hotel room and you answer a knock at the door. At the door is the captain, wearing a dress, inviting you to dinner. What do you say?"

The correct answer is "Yes, ma'am," showing that you're open minded enough to realize that it's not a man standing there, but that airlines hire women...this used to catch more people off guard than it does today.

The technical portion will be about operations, regulations, decision making, etc.

At some point in the interview process is the simulator check; it may be a simulator that the applicant has flown, or it may be an aircraft that neither the airline flies nor the applicant. It depends on the airline and what's available. I did a sim portion on an interview once, in a sim that none of the check airmen conducting the interview had ever been in, and I'd never flown. I did a sim check for one airline in a simulator that was a non-motion, generic desk-top type sim. I've had a few interviews in which I've been tossed in the airplane and taken for a checkride on the spot, in piston airplanes, turboprop, and turbojet equipment. I've also had an interview or two in which none of that happened, and all I was asked was "when can you you start?"

Humiliation has no place in the interview process. Airlines which play such games are far from progressive, but relics of inward-turned pompous self-righteousoness. It's inherently stupid and proves nothing. I can absolutely guarantee I'd thank they for their time and catch the next shuttle to the airport. I've done it before.

Some years ago I interviewed for a large operation. The interviews were held in a convention center with a hotel attached. At one point I was invited for a one-on-one interview while others were starting panel interviews. The interviewer lead me to a hotel room, where my papers were on the bed; a chair on each side, and thus was the setting. I thought it cheesy, especially for such a large operation. After a while, the interviewer asked if I had any questions, and I said I did; "I understand that you're charging people to work here? I had no mention of this in our correspondence." I was told that yes, the airline did this, but only for inexperienced pilots; they instituted a training bond and new-hires would pay...but not me as I had enough experience that the bond didn't apply to me. Was that a problem, he asked?

Yes, it was. I thanked him for his time, and made my way to the lobby, where I caught a shuttle back to the airport, and home.

Other interviews; I've been taken to very nice dinners several times, met with the chief pilot in most cases, sometimes had logbooks reviewed (but hardly any more...there comes a point when no one seems interested), and have sat through a lot of group and individual interviews, sim checks, tests, etc. Never any humiliation. I did get thrown out the door of an airplane in flight once, though it wasn't an airline. I was in a hanga rand approached by two jumpmasters who said "we dont' trust anyone who works here and hasn't jumped." One threw a parachute rig at me and said "get in." When I hit the ground someone threw another rig at me and said "do it again." So I did. Not a typical interview, not an airline, but aviation, where at this point I haven't seen it all, but have seen most of it. Humiliation? No.

Usually one pays for that by the hour.

In the US, airline interviews are suit and tie and professional.
 
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Starlionblue
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Re: Airline job interview

Wed Jan 02, 2019 6:08 pm

Not all interview events are equally valid or useful. However, I'd say if the potential employer asks you to humiliate yourself or another candidate, look for another potential employer.
"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots." - John Ringo
 
VSMUT
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Re: Airline job interview

Wed Jan 02, 2019 8:01 pm

I've tried the humiliation a few times by now. It's a bad habit that many European airlines got into while pilot unemployment was large. One common method is that they will pick apart your application and CV in front of all the candidates, candidate by candidate.
Ryanair was notorious for one of the 2 assessors, one was Bob and the other I forgot. One of them was the most vile creature on earth, treated candidates like dirt.
A company gave me a questionnaire on a different aircraft than the one was trained on, and told me off for not knowing the details of that type.
I witnessed an interviewer deliberately mess up a handflown ILS approach in a simulator by messing with the wind (like adding 50 knots tailwind and then changing it to 50 knots headwind moments after), because he didn't like female pilots.
The psychologists that are becoming more and more common at interviews can make some weird and wildly incorrect assumptions about you too.

I'm over that, not doing it again. The last two jobs I wasn't even interviewed. The first threw me directly in the simulator for the OPC, most recent sent me directly on the line with the chief pilot to begin flying.
 
747Whale
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Re: Airline job interview

Wed Jan 02, 2019 10:36 pm

VSMUT wrote:
Ryanair was notorious for one of the 2 assessors, one was Bob and the other I forgot. One of them was the most vile creature on earth, treated candidates like dirt.


Ryanair gets away with that, and all their other tabloid behaviors, largely because they're cheap, and they hire from the bottom of the pile: those going to Ryanair were willing to buy their jobs and sign their life away, and the company knew that they could treat their pilots that way because if they coiuld have gone anywhere else, they would have. Cheap wages, poor conditions, poor treatment, made clear from the outset; not really a top shelf professional way to go.

Professionals don't treat professionals that way, and professionals don't put up with it.
 
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Starlionblue
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Re: Airline job interview

Thu Jan 03, 2019 1:36 am

747Whale wrote:
VSMUT wrote:
Ryanair was notorious for one of the 2 assessors, one was Bob and the other I forgot. One of them was the most vile creature on earth, treated candidates like dirt.


Ryanair gets away with that, and all their other tabloid behaviors, largely because they're cheap, and they hire from the bottom of the pile: those going to Ryanair were willing to buy their jobs and sign their life away, and the company knew that they could treat their pilots that way because if they coiuld have gone anywhere else, they would have. Cheap wages, poor conditions, poor treatment, made clear from the outset; not really a top shelf professional way to go.

Professionals don't treat professionals that way, and professionals don't put up with it.


Well put. Interviews are stressful enough without artificial pressure. My interviews were tough, but they weren't humiliating. Candidates who were well prepared and could interact naturally with other people had every chance of passing.

The sim session was hard work, but the assessors tried to make it a friendly environment. Paraphrasing: "The interviews upstairs are done for today. We're all pilots here. Loosen your ties and try to relax. We're not here to fail you. We're here to give you a fair assessment. So try not to worry too much and do the best you can. If you have any questions, ask." They were just trying to get the best they could out of the candidates.
"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots." - John Ringo
 
VSMUT
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Re: Airline job interview

Fri Jan 04, 2019 1:42 pm

747Whale wrote:
Ryanair gets away with that, and all their other tabloid behaviors, largely because they're cheap, and they hire from the bottom of the pile: those going to Ryanair were willing to buy their jobs and sign their life away, and the company knew that they could treat their pilots that way because if they coiuld have gone anywhere else, they would have. Cheap wages, poor conditions, poor treatment, made clear from the outset; not really a top shelf professional way to go.

Professionals don't treat professionals that way, and professionals don't put up with it.


For many years after the depression of 2007, Ryanair was the only game in town. Professional or not, if you wanted a job, you had to go that way. Plus maintaining a license without a job is expensive and difficult. Many had to give up flying completely.

BTW, I never attended any Ryanair interviews myself, my knowledge about them is from close friends and family. My own experience is from other airlines, including one state-owner flag carrier.
 
747Whale
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Re: Airline job interview

Fri Jan 04, 2019 10:02 pm

VSMUT wrote:

For many years after the depression of 2007, Ryanair was the only game in town. Professional or not, if you wanted a job, you had to go that way. Plus maintaining a license without a job is expensive and difficult. Many had to give up flying completely.


That's not true; in reality, there were many who weren't willing to do what it took to find work and stay current. It's a big globe. Any simply didn't go find the work.

I was furloughed during that period. Like many others, I was out of work. I took a job turning wrenches in a small charter operation. Numerous airline pilots happened by, looking for work, but as soon as they found they'd be getting dirty, they moved on. It was weeks later that they returned looking for work and couldn't get it. The positions were closed. Had they been willing to humble themselves a bit and take what was available, it would have turned into flying work, but still work that they felt was beneath them.

I went to Iraq. Lived in a tent. Got shot at, rocketed mortared and lived with certain hazards typical of that part of the world. I stayed current. I made money. I made a living. Work was available. It was available in Africa, and many other parts of the world.

The European community lives in a different model in which it's expected to graduate flight school and morph into various ready-made tracks, without enduring the decade or two of swamp work that it takes to gain experience and be a professional. Consequently, many who are flying for airlines in Europe have far less experience, and never had to claw their way up the ladder to build a career. Go to school, and the career is yours. For these, no doubt it seemed that Ryanair was the only game in town. For those who had to work for a living and earn their way in the industry, buying a job and putting up with such employment was not a necessity, nor did it represent the only game in town.

Finding work when times are tough in aviation may mean moves, may mean many moves. It may mean doing menial jobs, it may mean a lot of things.

From furlough to working again I was out for a little under three weeks. I worked in the cold, got cuts, burns, stabbed with safety wire, soaked in avgas and jet a, and worked with acetone, dope, methyl ethyl ketone and toulene. Shortly the operator needed someone to do early morning freight runs in a single engine airplane, carrying radioactive chemicals for medical use. I took the flights, which quickly lead to instructing company pilots, then a position as check airman, and shortly after that a request to develop a training and certification program for a government contract.

The work is there; it takes those who are willing to find it and do it. I knew many who sat out the lean times doing non-aviation work. Those who simply gave up and left aviation didn't have a lot of drive or commitment to begin with.
 
WPvsMW
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Re: Airline job interview

Sat Jan 05, 2019 1:11 am

747Whale, another amazing post. I would trust your PIREPs as 100% accurate. :)
 
stratclub
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Re: Airline job interview

Sat Jan 05, 2019 5:04 am

I think it's great post as well. There will always be people that think that with their credentials they shouldn't have to perform jobs that might cause them to break out in a sweat or get dirty. The esteemed Mr. Whale does sound like he would be a great asset for any company. :bigthumbsup:
 
VSMUT
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Re: Airline job interview

Sat Jan 05, 2019 11:23 am

747Whale wrote:
That's not true; in reality, there were many who weren't willing to do what it took to find work and stay current. It's a big globe. Any simply didn't go find the work.


I was born and raised in Africa, it was the first place I looked. I drew on contacts, many friends and colleagues went there to look. Same story every time: Only locals were being hired or companies required lots of prior experience ("because bush flying is tricky"). In the few cases where they did hire newbies from Europe, there was no movement because the pilots already in couldn't move on.


747Whale wrote:
Numerous airline pilots happened by, looking for work, but as soon as they found they'd be getting dirty, they moved on. It was weeks later that they returned looking for work and couldn't get it. The positions were closed. Had they been willing to humble themselves a bit and take what was available, it would have turned into flying work, but still work that they felt was beneath them.


And that was not the case either. Everybody knew and was willing to get dirty. It was expected.


747Whale wrote:
I went to Iraq. Lived in a tent. Got shot at, rocketed mortared and lived with certain hazards typical of that part of the world.


I suppose you had an FAA license and worked for a US government contractor then? Because then EASA pilots are out of the image. FYI, European airlines in dangerous places require significant experience before they will send you there. Heck, even MAF required levels of experience that you could only achieve at an airline!


747Whale wrote:
The European community lives in a different model in which it's expected to graduate flight school and morph into various ready-made tracks, without enduring the decade or two of swamp work that it takes to gain experience and be a professional. Consequently, many who are flying for airlines in Europe have far less experience, and never had to claw their way up the ladder to build a career. Go to school, and the career is yours. For these, no doubt it seemed that Ryanair was the only game in town. For those who had to work for a living and earn their way in the industry, buying a job and putting up with such employment was not a necessity, nor did it represent the only game in town.


Respectfully, you are way off the mark there. It is not expected that you go straight from school to join Ryanair or a job in an airliner. My school indoctrinated us with the mentality that we had to claw our way through the swamp from day one. It is simply incorrect what you are claiming. Towing aircraft, cleaning, taking out the trash, helping the mechanics, doing loads of non-aviation tasks like assisting the office etc. They told us it was what we had to do in order to get our careers going, we knew of no other reality.
We didn't enjoy being victims of greedy P2F airlines. Only a fool would prefer to pay 25-35.000 EUR to fly if you could get a job in aviation "for free" in any other way. Putting about in a Cessna is way more attractive than paying several years of hard-earned savings. Maybe that wasn't the case for graduates at schools like CTC or CAE, but our willingness to do so didn't exactly help us more than them.


747Whale wrote:
Finding work when times are tough in aviation may mean moves, may mean many moves.


Out of my class, only 1 never moved. None of us were under the assumption that it could be avoided. Most looked forward to seeing the world and living in new places.


747Whale wrote:
I worked in the cold, got cuts, burns, stabbed with safety wire, soaked in avgas and jet a, and worked with acetone, dope, methyl ethyl ketone and toulene. Shortly the operator needed someone to do early morning freight runs in a single engine airplane, carrying radioactive chemicals for medical use. I took the flights, which quickly lead to instructing company pilots, then a position as check airman, and shortly after that a request to develop a training and certification program for a government contract.


Congratulations, in Europe airlines will hire licensed and experienced Romanians to do those jobs, at minimum wage. They wouldn't even consider non-paid pilots looking to get a foot in the door, it's just too much of a hassle. The only airline I ever heard about doing that scheme was Sun Air, and they screwed all the ground-pilots over by replacing them with cheap Romanians. I managed to convince a local air-taxi company to take me in for a couple of weeks, with state grants being paid to the company for taking me. Once the grants ran out I was kicked out again. No amount of washing hangars, operating the radio frequency, inspecting the runways, mowing the grass, gardening or cleaning aircraft could convince them otherwise. They just didn't need a 3rd man for anything, not even on the ground.
And forget about early morning freight runs in single engine aircraft, that just doesn't exist in Europe.


747Whale wrote:
Those who simply gave up and left aviation didn't have a lot of drive or commitment to begin with.


Or just ran out of money.
 
747Whale
Posts: 725
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Re: Airline job interview

Sun Jan 06, 2019 5:02 am

You're talking about the entitled.

If you really think that washing an airplane or taking out the trash or scrubbing the hangar floor is putting in your dues as you wait for your airline slot, you've really lived a privileged life. Many places I've been, all that's a given. Of course you'll do it, and not just at the entry levels.

Was circa-2008 your first experience with a downturn in aviation?

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