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NATS interview process

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NATS interview process

Old 19th Feb 2009, 20:15
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Reassurance

A word of reassurance to all the hopefuls above. There is no malice in ATC. From the selection process, imperfect though it may sometimes seem, to the training for the fortunate few, no-one WANTS you to fail. All along the way decisions are made for the benefit of both the individual and NATS.
It is a demanding job with particularly demanding training which of course leads to a role in a safety critical industry.
We try to select people who are robust enough from the outset to face all the demands and to be able to face criticism which, in this PC age, may not be readily familiar from the school environment.
It surprises even me that we are asking 17 & 18 year olds to show evidence of life skills and experiences which they have barely had time to accumulate. However, bear in mind that even an initial setback in the selection process can be formative. If you return at all this is in itself instructive to the selectors.
We do want you to succeed at all stages of your endeavours and, be assured, there is no greater joy to see the end product - a newly validated controller.
Very good luck to all of you.
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Old 19th Feb 2009, 21:09
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wow!
thanks for the info!

a cool breeze of hope!

come around time to time!!
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Old 19th Feb 2009, 21:09
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Umhum, for sure I feel a little more encouragement knowing I passed the initial tests.
I found the personality questionnaire to be a little misleading. 108 questions and for each one four choices; but two of those you simply had to disregard. It was my first try though, so at least now I know what to expect next time
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Old 20th Feb 2009, 01:35
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I'm off to Manchester in a weeks time, for first round, I only got my confirmation email 3 days ago.... travelling down on the morning on a national express bus, very very excited and motivated, probably trying to avoid the bricks falling out of me.

Any one else attending Manchester afternoon. Pm me.... mmm sound very... I like Pina Coladas and getting caught in the rain.
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Old 20th Feb 2009, 07:34
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Booked my stage 2 for next week, anyone else doing it next week? I booked the earliest available time, only 32 more pages of info (many of which are diagrams + pictures) to learn though so plenty of time.

Sorry to those who didn't pass stage 1, the personality questionnaire. All I can say is I was honest as possible, sure I contradicted myself on a couple of questions, maybe they are looking for an ideal personality to do ATC? I don't know, you are who you are, not something to get disheartend over.
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Old 20th Feb 2009, 10:51
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Thank You

Just got a call to say I passed my stage three,

a quick thanks to everyone on the forum who has provided me with useful advice on the way, and good luck to those in the process.
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Old 20th Feb 2009, 10:51
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The personality questionnaire is just that...a questionnaire designed to see some of your personality. There are questions in there which seem to contradict themselves but I don't think that is the case. Some people do get disheartened when they don't pass it and you can understand why - there is nothing that can be 'changed or fixed' in order to pass it, nothing that can be learnt next time round. Your personality is your personality and the recruiters are looking for specific types of personality. There is no point in asking someone along to stage 2 who has a personality that doesn't suit the job, however ideal you feel the job may be for you...they are doing it for the greater good for both parties involved. How would you feel going through potentially a years worth of training, plus more after graduating from college only to find you hate the job? What if NATS brings in bonding and you have to pay them back for all the training that you've had and you can't afford to? You'd have to stay in a job you didn't like until the end of the contract, or you failed at a point in college then NATS lose out on hundreds of thousands of pounds that they've used to train a candidate...money which could have been better spent on someone suited to the role.

The personality test, while it can seem unfair when its not passed, is there for a very good reason. It eliminates the probability of the above happening (which could still happen at any point...however the recruitment process seems stringent enough to not allow many of these candidates through).

Doesn't stop it being gutting though does it...I know how I felt when I didn't pass stage 2 last year.

My advice for anyone who has the personality questionnaire coming up is to answer honestly and read the questions very carefully, then THINK about the answer and other answers you've selected. Don't rush it - don't worry if you've already been asked one question that is similar to another...just answer it once you've thought about it carefully. I scored each question from 1 to 4, 1 being most like me, 4 being least. Sometimes I could see clearly which order all 4 should go in, other times it was very difficult and that was when I thought about how I had answered previously and mainly used my scoring strategy. You can do no more.

Hope this helps.
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Old 20th Feb 2009, 11:31
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Congrats Shugs!

Might have to PM you for some advice! lol
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Old 20th Feb 2009, 12:32
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I'm not so sure.

I found the personality test to be fine. Then again I had not read about all the hype and people failing after taking it on these forums when I sat it.

For any folk sitting it in the future, don't get all worked up over it. Naturally, you will try and answer what you think NATS wants to see in a person - however answers like that will only open you up to an even bigger upset when rejected at a later stage once holes are picked in your application.

NATS, like any employer, are looking for truth and trust from their candidates. Start building that early on with this test. Besides, it makes life easier for the later stages when you are pressured into thinking up examples of the qualities you claim to have possessed in the personality test.

As for the accuracy of the test itself - there is a lot of theory and research behind these tests. They do work (apparently ). I think the prime example (for me at least) was reaching stage 3 and realising that everyone who was waiting for the interview was very similar. Not like sheep mind you, but we all seemed to *click* instantly and seemed to reveal very similar strategies and stories as to how we got that far.

NATS are looking for a particular type of brain I think and that test is there to ween people out who unfortunatly do not possess what they are looking for.

In my opinion if you fail it once you could put it down to having a bad day and not thinking things straight. But if you fail on that stage twice then I would not be entirely hopeful you could change your personality for the 3rd attempt..

As previously said, it will be there to protect both the candidate and the company.

My 2 cents,
Andy
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Old 20th Feb 2009, 13:24
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NATS are looking for a particular type of brain I think and that test is there to ween people out who unfortunatly do not possess what they are looking for
Is it "brain" = personality ?
a lot of genius from the History were unsociable, blunt and lonely dogs, and still amazing "brains" which have changed World History.
would you ween out a "brain" like this just because doesnīt smile enough??


As previously said, it will be there to protect both the candidate and the company.
soooooo true.
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Old 20th Feb 2009, 13:27
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I don't know, mabye it's just me, but when I have sat the questionnaire 3 times and got through to stage 2 all 3 times as well. So, I think if you are honest and you are not far off what they are looking for then you will get through.
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Old 20th Feb 2009, 13:29
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I have to agree with Arrows too - te issue with having occasionally inconsistent answers is overcome by the number of questions you have to answer, ie. if you answer one of the questions differently because you're torn between two options (as can be the case), but the overall response is the same across many answers, there's no problem.

I too didn't really take too much notice of all the hype on here about that stage, just sat down and answered everything carefully and honestly but quickly too (recruitment people tend to say you get more accurate responses if you don't spend hours thinking about each one). I truly believe that some people just aren't right for this job, no matter how much they want it, and this (along with Stage 1) is a way of NATS avoiding interviewing candidates who are essentially unsuitable. Hard to accept for those who don't make it, but you're probably better off in the long run...

Just my thoughts of course!!!
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Old 20th Feb 2009, 13:57
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The way the repeat questions in a different format with slightly different answers leads me to believe that the are looking to evaluate, in order, your strengths. There are probably 4 or 6 (as they divide well into 108) areas that they assess on. You may be confronted with a repeat question with all but only 1 or 2 possible answers different, but then they will know how much you prefer one thing to another, not necessarily having to contradict previous answers because the available answers are different.

I hope this makes sense...
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Old 20th Feb 2009, 14:42
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Well it's a tested system and I guess it's looking for inconsistencies in your answers. I found answering this harder than the stage 1 tests.

I think if I'd stumbled at this point I'd have felt really let down. But like what was said before (by notlgw53 and others) - all of the testing stages are for the benefit of individuals and NATS. They aren't perfect but they probably provide NATS with a good idea of the people they want and who could get through the full training.

However, I know if I failed it I'd still try again. Just focus on being true and consistently so.
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Old 20th Feb 2009, 15:45
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I'm noticing 2 disctinct camps here.... poeple who passed & think it's fair & people who fail & don't...

I think it's fair
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Old 20th Feb 2009, 17:05
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a lot of genius from the History were unsociable, blunt and lonely dogs, and still amazing "brains" which have changed World History.
would you ween out a "brain" like this just because doesnīt smile enough??
aphelio,

Yes, a lot of eminent 'brains' from history were very erratic, odd people.

They might well have been very intelligent, and made outstanding contributions to art and sciences, but I don't think that they'd have worked well in a close knit team in a high pressure environment.
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Old 20th Feb 2009, 18:18
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totally agree, Gonzo

I know itīs difficult to find a balanced candidate between a spectrum from odd brilliant brains and gleeful cheerleaders.

However, as well as brain can be trained on simulators, conducts and behaviours may be ease or corrected in a team stressful enviroment
Thing is, that it seems quite straightforward to eliminate somebody from a paper (computer) personality test.
(I know that that data is ratified, later on, with the structured interview, but...later on) personality questionnare is disqualifying before stage2, possibly being a marvellous brain with some peculiar conduct, trainable. (i know too, they train ATCOs not kids..)

anyway, whoever didnīt get through, donīt worry, keep trying, keep trainning your skills..everything is improvable! (and attainable)

Ps. just my onpinion,!

Last edited by aphelio; 20th Feb 2009 at 18:41.
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Old 21st Feb 2009, 23:10
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One more post from a failed-personality-test-applicant (Half a year to go before the second attempt.)

Having some experience in the ATC environment, I definitely agree that you have to have something special to be a good ATCO and people either have it or they don't. Over time I have also realized it is not IQ or simply "being quick", i.e. something you can measure relatively easily.

Maybe I am wrong, but I have this theory of why they did not like my answers Of course sometimes everyone feels forced to say something he doesn't really mean but there was this question asked a couple of times... along the lines of "Do you trust your colleagues?"
Now this will certainly sound cocky... but generally I don't. And it's not that I don't like these people nor that I don't get along with them -- I do, they are my friends and I love to spend time with them. I just don't believe that the work they did was correct as if I had done it myself. I don't shout, I'm not angry, I just go through it once again to check it. That's just experience, works for 90%+ of people.

Of course I know ATCOs need to trust their colleagues in neighbouring units. However, the test tells you to base your answers on your work environment. Now what, tell them what they want to hear? I might end up trying that next time ...
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Old 22nd Feb 2009, 08:36
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I would imagine that by not trusting your colleagues and feeling you need to double check their work would only increase your workload and would slow the process down - especially in an ATC environment.
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Old 22nd Feb 2009, 13:12
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I guess being conditioned that way may not be a good thing for ATC. They look for people who aren't too condtioned in one way or another as ATCOs need to be flexible. Working within a team environment also requires you to trust others that they are doing their jobs properly, otherwise the system would just breakdown. If you didn't trust a colleague who is handing over an aircraft to you it would just put more stress on you, and an ATCOs job is already stressful enough. Being able to recognise an error of another controller is essential but you need to trust that they will do the job right the first time until you find evidence that they haven't and then correct the problem. Just my opinion though.
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