View Full Version : Should Virgin Be Tighter........

28th Jan 2003, 22:46
Just been reviewing the recruitment process for a number of Airlines worldwide. Apart from some contract employers, the standard industry screening process is quite extensive, particulary post Sept 11. e.g.

Stage 1: Critical review of detailed application
Stage 2: Intial interview
Stage 3: Indepth Psych/ skills testing
Stage 4: 2 days of ASTRONAUT level medical exam.
Stage 5: Stringent Sim Check. (i.e. overbank=FAIL)
Stage 6: Final interview with a plethora of tech questions.
Stage 7: Critical review of all of the above along with criminal history checks, accident history, etc, etc...

For the lucky few....
At some time much later an offer for at best an F/O position with command years away. (15yrs in QF for NG command.)
During which time they are scrutinised to death.

VBs nominal process is a stark contrast.

I really do not believe the Staff Cv is considered at all. (Anti-discrimination smoke screen only!!)
With the required nominations from friends within or in high places and the correct status re: '89; a 30 min "don't fall off the chair" chat and you know your fate that arvo.

Almost all are accepted.

With upgrade to NG Capt. in WORLD RECORD minimum experience/ time (Impluse 1900 f/os, no jet exp to NG Capt. in six months) and with no time for scrutiny i.e. smoking gun to reveal itself or CRM skills to be honed.

A titanic difference in the selection process for the same job.

Especially when one would expect that VB should require much more investigation into the candidate given, the extraordinarily quick promotion once employed.

E.G. Foreign pilots with experience that is impossible to confirm and beliefs that may not conform with ours. :(

28th Jan 2003, 22:51

They are doing a bloody good job in the cabin crew department. Keep up the good work. Tight skirts no problem:p

Chimbu chuckles
29th Jan 2003, 00:28

Stage 1: VB do this.
Stage 2: Proves nothing except whether the candidate is good at BS.
Stage 3: Has been proved not to be of any value and is therefore not used much outside of aviation, certainly not by modern, enlightened companies.
Stage 4: Outside of a very few carriers (JAL etc) this is not done. And we're not astronauts.
Stage 5: And what enlightened system would decide a candidate is suitable or not based on 30 minutes in a (probably) unfamiliar aircraft (sim) under very stressful conditions? Everyone I know who has been successful in a interview sim ride has bought sim time so they don't stuff it up. It is rediculous to expect someone who's used to, for instance, an F28/DHC8/B737 to hop into an A320 sim and fly it well cold...and proves nothing other than the stupidity of those requiring you do. VB have plenty of opportunities to release you if you don't perform in the sim, and it costs them very little.
Stage 6: Proves you've read Handling the Big Jets.
Stage 7: Critical revue of what?

I have been (successfully) through both the 4 day marathon which you espouse and the 30 minute quicky based on recommendation (not VB) that you seem to believe is so flawed. Neither system is perfect however the later is far less flawed than the former. QF is living proof of that!

I have an uncle just in the process of retiring from a senior management position (non aviation) who has vast experience in HR. When we discuss general airline recruiting he shakes his head in amazement. Except when it comes to discussing the style of recruitment used by VB, and others I might add. In his opinion this style of recruiting staff is very powerful and is the method used universally in modern, enlightened non aviation companies.


29th Jan 2003, 00:40
Thanks Chimbu.

There is no mention by me that either system, especially VBs system is flawed. There is only a comparison and an observation.

QF along with Virgin Atlantic and almost all Airlines conduct extensive medicals, usually to JAR or FAA standard at least.

I am only interested in why there is such a difference.

Since you are enlightened, can you advise of any other Airline in the world that does a 30 min interview and offers employment?

Bagshaw Crusher
29th Jan 2003, 00:40
Whatever airline selects me has the best selection process.

29th Jan 2003, 00:41
Why in the world do people keeping crying about the DJ guys and gals. For God sakes get a life and leave them alone. I read a post recently degrading the new hires as "guys who could never get into a real airline due to failure in the interview etc".

Who cares. Good luck to them. All of us love to fly jets and these guys are lucky to get a shot. Not to mention all of the aussies over seas returning home.

In defense of the critical, I do believe they should have seniority and higher pay, however, as they say times are a changing.


29th Jan 2003, 01:57
Does the long drawn out interview described make you a better pilot than the shorter version that vb are said to use.
Surley after six months it is going to be fairly obvious whether you are capable of the job or not.You will be spending time with a training Captain/Senior pilot during this time and they must have the qualifications to determine your abilities , and I am sure that any airline around the world is not going to have anyone flying multi-million dollar aircraft that is not up to standard.Just sounds like another excuse to bag vb.

Mr. Hat
29th Jan 2003, 03:07
EP - Progression to Captain does seem to be quick. If people are passing then they must have the goods.

For FO's? I say well done guys. Its good to hear the GA guys and girls getting a go.

Perhaps a 19yr old with 200 hrs that can fold boxes and answer 400 questions might be a better candidate? I think not :D .

Wouldn't the kiddies get a fright if all airlines wanted the 500 multi command. But I suppose daddy could always buy those anyway.... :D .

29th Jan 2003, 04:12
Well said Mr hat! Goodluck to these new pioneers in Australian Aviation. Its good to see! In the pacific ,guys/gals go right hand seat on 737ngs after just 1000hours total time.And fly them internationally. If given an oppurtunity anybody can do it...

Maisk Rotum
29th Jan 2003, 08:29
EP, it does happen. In my last job the assesment consisted of an extensive medical and a 20 minute sim check-no interview. That was for a very large Asian carrier. Prior to that- again an extensive medical and a one hour sim check. Again for a large Asian carrier. My current job; no sim, no medical, no interview. They had my c.v. for one day and we negotiated a price the next.

Having said that I am obviously not good enough for VB.
I have been applying for two years and do know how to fly the 737 from the left seat. Go figure. Obviously being neither a s..b nor a 'lock-outee' and not knowing anyone who will bat for me is the answer.

Hugh Jarse
29th Jan 2003, 08:48

we use the sim ride as a tool for assessing a candidate in an unfamiliar aircraft type with the view to how well they respond to flying said aircraft and how quickly their skills improve over the duration of the simex. (learning curve)

This can be very useful in deciding (firstly) whether they have the skills they claim, and (secondly) whether they are likely to have sufficient capacity to get through the training (the cost of which is met by the Company) first time.

Having said that, if you are a Company that doesn't have to worry about the cost of simulator/endorsement training (which can be in excess of $25k per endorsement), then the sim ride becomes less of a priority, doesn't it? Line training costs no more than the Training Captain's loading, say 7% of his base, as it is done on revenue services.

A minor 'error' such as overbanking (as one poster put it) is not cause for an overall fail. It most likely would not even draw comment on the assessment form.

However, recurrent and consistent errors do draw attention, such as altitude busts where the candidate does nothing about it. Or where he/she sits 'just' in tolerance on an instrument approach and appears to do nothing about getting 'on' track.

Sure, you can go and buy some time in the sim. In fact I'd recommend it. That shows determination to getting the job. It's just making yourself more marketable, isn't it?

29th Jan 2003, 09:34
Goodluck to these new pioneers in Australian Aviation

Give me a break!!

29th Jan 2003, 10:33
Come by chance I think you may sell used cars on your days off.

VB at best has two stages.

Stage 1: Those who are nominated and have correct '89 status get a shot. I fail to see why VB keep the nomination requirement a secret. Please do not embellish the screening process to something that it is clearly not.

Stage 2: The 30 min."gidday". Anyone? Anyone at all ever been asked a tech question, anyone?? CbC maybe you could enlighten us with how your interview was conducted?

Thats it folks. If your in and most are, you know by that arvo.

If you do not have a 737 endorse it's off to MEL to hand over $25k to the two VB Capts who run the course.

Fail the "employment sim check" after this? I will leave that alone.

The point is why is it so "different" to even VBs "Sister" Airline Virgin Atlantic?

29th Jan 2003, 10:57

Have I got a deal for you, 1 1990 Ford Falcon, I lady owner since new and only 50000 km's on the clock:D

I know of 2 pilots who were hammered with high speed flight questions and 20.1.7B questions, 1 got a yes, the other got a no.

Also know of 3 Regional Airline Captains who have failed the interview.

Didn't Ansett have a similar process for their interviews up until the late 90's (then they changed), ie called down for a chat, a sim ride and a medical and that was it????

What I find strange is the way all 3 (now 2) Qantas regionals conducted their interviews. All 3 companies were different, yet all 3 operated Dash 8's.

Anyone know what the recuitment process is for Virgin Express?

I'm still waiting for my interview, I guess I don't know enough people high up in the food chain. Just know lots who have done or are soon to have an interview.

Do you think that over time their interview process will change and become more indepth?

30th Jan 2003, 05:22

Unfortunately it could take a while for me to get past stage 1.

To start with,I know many Pilots in VB but probably not quite well enough for a nomination. Then as you refer to it '89 status',last look on 'the list' revealed 3 other Pilots share the same surname,2 of which have the same first initial :suspect:. I was still at school when 'the war' occured:sad:.

Oh well, hoss

30th Jan 2003, 23:04
It reminds me of a young lady who was asked during the VB interview of her thoughts on '89.

She replied that she was in Year 4 and only 8yrs old at the time!!!

Upon reflection I can see that each company may require a different "Style" of pilot therefore, a different process is used.

However, there have been several people selected for VB and subsequently leave for QF and other carriers of such ilk, both prior to and after starting.

Does VB select pilots who they feel will stay with the company? Is this why all other Airlines put so much into their selection? Very, very few ever leave QF and not one has left to join VB to take advantage of wiping 15 yrs off their wait for a command.

I am genuinely curious as to the mind set of J.R. et el. The forthcoming expansion means that all current pilots will be Captains by years end. With that (despite the very high standard and experience levels of my friends and others in VB) VB will have the dubious honour of having the youngest fleet and the lowest AVERAGE JET experienced crews in the world.

31st Jan 2003, 06:03
Despite the provocative Thread title, your comments don't add anything to the discussion. W

31st Jan 2003, 08:02
EP you are misinformed. I know of at least 1 (very experienced, 12,000hrs +) who left QF to join VB:p

I'm with stupid
1st Feb 2003, 04:21
Lets face it, seems that at the end of the day the d-head/ good guy ratio appears to be the same as QF, possibly better, jumping through all those hoops amounts to jack ****.

EP, with you on the smoking gun thing and Virgin, I think, are realising that already. ( ie. it's happened )

Mr.Hat, the unfortunate/ fortunate ?? thing about our profession, is that anyone can have a really good day/days and pass a check.
It does'nt necessarily mean they should be where they are. To back this statement up, the company I was with had more than one Captain pass his initial ceck only to fail later down the track.

1st Feb 2003, 10:32

I find your comments interesting about experience levels in VB.
I am sure CASA are monitoring just that......
All airlines require a min experience level which is normally for insurance purposes.
If VB continue to expand at the current rate a close eye must be kept on experience levels, because if something unfortunate should happen the press will jump on it.......
The best solution is highly experienced contract pilots. However they don't come cheap.....................:p

2nd Feb 2003, 02:20
I did a VB interview late last year. The interview was going well till the interviewers started on the technical questions. For those of you who think VB dont do tech questions, think again.

My interview went for 40+ minutes, the tech questions once they started rolled one after the other, similar to what I have heard CX & QF do. I dont know how the process works but I didnt get in, & I managed to answer the vast majority of their questions.
Maybe I dont know enough influential people in VB.

So there you have it not everyone gets the 20 minute friendly chat!!!

:( :( :(

2nd Feb 2003, 11:23
FL450 I stand technically corrected.

Not "at least" ONLY one, however.

He did not leave QF by choice and he does not have, nor will have, a flying position at VB. Notwithstanding he is a top bloke.

Of what benefit would it serve a QF pilot to join VB in a flying role?

Less money, less secruity, less status, etc, etc. :(

Capn Laptop
2nd Feb 2003, 11:52
EP it is you who is incorrect,

Virgin have at least one ex QF domestic pilot flying with them.

He left of his own free will and is a Captain at Virgin.

The person you refer to is also ex QF and ex AN, he holds a non flying position.

With regard your last line, how do you figure that there is less security?

United, Ansett, American, US Air are or have been in financial strife. The big ones have the most to loose!

2nd Feb 2003, 22:56
Im pretty sure all of you had to fly a jet for the first time, and you seemed to get through OK!!

The fact that an organisation requires it's candidates to go through all that psychobabble bulls*#t does not guarantee a quality candidate, nor does missing out preclude said candidate from a promising jet career.

Perhaps VB is hitting a few nerves as all it really shows is a seat on a decent piece of equipment, left or right hand side, is within the reach of even mere mortals. You don't have to be anything special, just have the required attitude and an modest amount of common sense. Doesn't that dent a few egos!!

3rd Feb 2003, 01:27
Capt Laptop

The QF fellow was on contract to QF.

With regard to leaving QF for VB. A 737 QF F/O would have at least 3yrs (most likely more) seniority. His future career path would include a choice of B767, B747, the sexy A330 and A380. Also command on any of the same.

Earnings throughout the career, well there is just no comparison.

If he is not on the 737, he is up for $25k to join VB.

With regard to job security, as long as Australia has a Government, every cent required to keep QF flying will be spent.
QF is far from the worlds best airline, but it is absolutely the most secure airline job. Little Johnny's "Airforce One"!!

I am interested to read your thoughts on why even a second officer in QF would leave for VB.

The only exception I could conceive would be an ex-AN 737 "older" pilot who would have something to gain.

4th Feb 2003, 03:30
HEY Geddy,

Give me a break!!

Cmon givem a break....thats right!

Mr. Hat
4th Feb 2003, 09:29
Nice work 34R.

A few nerves ARE being hit because mummy's boys after getting the big "NO" from QF realise that they might actually have to drive the family BMW on to some dirt roads out into GA to get the required experience/contacts. :{

Discussion at the family table: "Perhaps after we have bought the hours we could buy some contacts..."

Wrong again Captain Bankaccount.

Welcome to GA, enjoy your stay.

:ugh: meets :} then :ouch:

Sperm Bank
4th Feb 2003, 10:13
E.P you are not correct re your statement about lowest AVERAGE JET experience in the world. In fact you are not even close. I have over 10,000 hours and if i was flying with a f/o with 250 hours tomorrow, that would give us 5,000 hours more than many of the COMBINED totals flying around Europe at the moment. They all do it safely and so do we. I suggest you try and stir a pot in another area! Making baseless unfounded and inaccurate statements tends to make one look like an idiot!

Qantas and Virgin are both good airlines. They both have their good points and bad. If we could dispense with all the BS from both sides of the fence (and any in between) and construct a good quality debate on relevant issues at the time, we may all get a bit out of it.

4th Feb 2003, 11:28
Sperm Bank

Actually I was looking for a good quality debate, which would allow both sides to make comment. Mine are not defamatory nor baseless.

VB is the ONLY airline worldwide who has on many occassions promoted both low and moderate experienced NON jet pilots to Captain after only SIX months.

I am in fact completing studies which involve detailed research into airline experience levels at time of joining and at time of promotion.

Like it or not at years end IF all current crews are captains, VB will have the lowest average JET experienced crews in the world.

Why do you have a problem this?

4th Feb 2003, 11:41

We all have an opinion on what way to go. But at the end of the day an individual will weigh up the choices on what career path to take. Whether it be Qantas, Virgin or some other airline. Basically a resume to everybody.

You would be a little surprised to find 3 years as SO flying a few days a month does not appeal to everybody. When given the choice some just might and do opt to a different path to what you perpetuate. Polling a 100 seat plus jet may be a little more inviting and a command within a couple of years making it an even more attractive path.

Correct me if i'm wrong but does a command take up to 10 years in Qantas. Too long in my books.

If you think the governement would hold Qantas above water then you just may have your head too high in the clouds. All airlines can and do fail. Qantas by chance are in a very fortunate position. I am sure Pan Am, United, USair and American Airlines not looking good do ring a bell. ding dong

Sperm Bank
5th Feb 2003, 00:04
E.P. good to see you are doing some study on this issue. Have you ever lived and worked in Europe or the U.S. or Asia? If you have you will know full well that what I said in my last post is correct. There are MANY companies around Europe at various times whose crews do not have even remotely the experience levels we have here in Oz. There is nothing wrong with that, it's just the way it is.

The cyclic nature of the industry and high turn over of pilots in other parts of the world does not resemble what goes on in Oz.

Your guestimate re all the pilots having commands by years end whilst fanciful for the f/o's will not materialise. There are some who will be promoted and that will have seen some of them in the right seat for 3+ years. Some will have spent less than this however their total time will be up around the 5000 hr mark. Some more, some less.

During your research, how do you go about finding the experience levels of the pilot's in various companies? We have a good percentage of young fellows in command whilst the majority have airline experience both here and overseas. But none of that information (hours,exp. etc) is available publicly as far as I am aware.

I guess you would know that many of the European regional size jet operators have vastly inexperienced crews flying with each other on a daily basis. They only stay on the regionals for a short time before moving onto bigger equipment.

I could write many pages on this issue as I have first hand experience with it. I think if you are going to make statements like you have, you should at least provide documented evidence to support your statements. This current VB v's QF debate (debacle) is not enhanced by perceived short handed remarks or comments.