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NATS interview process

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NATS interview process

Old 9th Jun 2007, 09:57
  #241 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Bonnie Scotland
Age: 36
Posts: 9
Sorry to hear that Vic154. I could be wrong but in terms of the aptitude tests I dont think the pass mark is particularly high. I took and passed my stage 1 a couple of months ago but I remember thinking that I must have failed as I only managed to get through about half of the questions on each of the three sections. If you are confident in the accuracy of the 30ish questions that you answered for each section then you probably did enough to pass.

I know you can get booted out on the basis of your answers given on the online personality test that they set between the 1st and 2nd stage, so I imagine that they could also boot you out based on your answers from the stage 1 personality test. The idea that they can dismiss you this way without actually meeting you is crazy in my opinion but unfortunately this seems to be the case. I think they are probably testing your honesty more than anything else though so if you want my opinion for next time, answer the questions quickly with your gut instinct. As soon as you start pondering an answer, you start thinking about what you think they want to hear and thats when you start answering inconsistently and get caught out.

Good luck for next time!!
Irrilius is offline  
Old 10th Jun 2007, 21:29
  #242 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Southampton
Age: 38
Posts: 36
Rejection!

Thanks for the posts guys, especially Paul, much appreciated. I spoke to a guy who's recently come through the course and told him a few of the answers I put for the personality test and he was like "why did you put that?!" so think that could have been it. I think going for your gut feeling is definitely the way to go for next year! 360 days to go....

If anyone else has done stage one recently it would be great if you also have some feedback from how their stage one went, good or bad. See my earlier post!

Cheers

Vic
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Old 10th Jun 2007, 23:36
  #243 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: LHR/Surrey
Age: 35
Posts: 210
Vic - a friend of mine who was in the same position as you in March time (failed on the personality interview) last week got an email inviting him to re-apply because they were in need of applicants.

Based on that, your 360 days may be far less...
timelapse is offline  
Old 11th Jun 2007, 01:45
  #244 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: UK
Posts: 18
Just wondered if anyone can shed any light on what happened to me with NATS as I am still confused.

I attended a stage 2 interview at the beginning of April and then promptly went on holiday. While away I received the results, which consisted of one email telling me I had been successful and been invited to Stage 3. Then a second email telling me that I had been sent the first one in error.

Has this happened to anyone else ? I have emailed and left voicemails for NATS HR department since, but no-one has had the courtesy to explain to me what happened? Or even provide feedback about which part was the problem, the interview, the computer tests or motivation paper.

Thanks
kazzy01 is offline  
Old 11th Jun 2007, 12:44
  #245 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Oxford
Posts: 12
HR Emails

Hi,

This happend to me last year but the other way around. I was sent an email saying I hadn't passed the first stage and was then sent another straight away saying that the first was sent in error and I had passed. In my case, the second email was correct.

Hope that helps, though it might not be what you want to hear.
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Old 11th Jun 2007, 15:37
  #246 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Blackpool
Age: 39
Posts: 4
Last Friday I completed my personality questionnaire, having just logged on it says the stage of my application is under consideration; however I got the rejection email. I rung HR they said I failed on the personality questionnaire. How the hell can you refuse to give someone a chance in ATC based on those questions? Itís bewildering! It says at the start of the paper there are no right and wrong answers, thatís just rubbish. I don't believe anyone can base a decent profile of someone without even seeing them. They are struggling to find ATC officers, no wonder, when in my opinion they are refusing applicants who are more than able to do the job solely based on questions on that paper. Can anyone explain this crazy application process of refusing applicants who did well in the aptitude tests and somehow "failed" the personality questionnaire?
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Old 11th Jun 2007, 16:09
  #247 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: solihull
Age: 34
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Shipway,

I am no expert on this, but I believe that the questionnaires are in place in order to ascertain how you approach learning, problems, life etc. When I was going through the selection, it was the one thing that I wasn't worried about failing on. This wasn't because I knew I would pass, but, if I didn't it meant NATS thought I would have struggled as a controller and may have given up my career only to fail as one.

Try not to be to disheartened, as it is certainly not your intelligence that let you down on this occasion.

Regards,

RO13ERTS
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Old 11th Jun 2007, 16:26
  #248 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Dec 1999
Location: LHR/EGLL
Age: 40
Posts: 4,307
shipway,

Psychometric testing features in many job selection procedures, the military, the Police force, I even heard in the news over the weekend that it is to be introduced as part of the driving test, and those who demonstrate a 'poor driving personality' will require more tuition before going through to the test itself.

I went through the NATS selection process in 1997. In recent years I have worked with our HR Recruitment team on a regular basis, with weekly contact with at least one of the team.

While up until a few years ago the psychometric 'testing' that was undertaken was not a pass/fail hurdle, it is now. The current tests are similar to those I sat ten years ago. Now, this is my own opinion, but it is not beyond the bounds of possibility that someone has sat down and collated all the data from the eight or more years of 'non-assessed' psychometric data, and cross referenced those results against the subsequent performance of each trainee ATCO. If trends were identified, for example if 'failures' tended to give a certain answer to certain questions, and successes tended to likewise give a certain answer to other certain questions, why shouldn't that data be used to determine selection?
Gonzo is offline  
Old 11th Jun 2007, 19:46
  #249 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: UK
Posts: 2
I wasn't enthused by the personality questionnaire either. I could have answered either way for plenty of questions, so those answers would have by no means been constants for my behaviour or my attitude. I definitely wouldn't want my ability to get through stages 2 and 3, and then the college, to be based on the answers to questions such as those.
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Old 11th Jun 2007, 21:31
  #250 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: LACC
Posts: 49
Shipway,

There isn't a struggle to find people who WANT to be ATCO's there's a struggle to find suitable qualified people with the right temperament and aptitude who can go on to validate. I am no HR expert but personality plays a big part in becoming an ATCO at many stages. If you're serious about it, learn from it and prepare yourself ready for next time. Many people who are now valid were successful on 2nd and 3rd attempts.
intherealworld is offline  
Old 11th Jun 2007, 22:02
  #251 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Southampton
Age: 38
Posts: 36
I can see the use of the personality questionnaires, especially for the face to face interview process, but I don't think it should be a reason to boot someone off. As an earlier post said, some of the questions were such fine lines, and I often thought do I want to give the obvious answer, thinking that NATS would then grill me if I looked too "perfect". In my opinion, if you have the intelligence, as shown in the aptitude test, then I think that at least warrants a ten minute interview to give you a chance to prove your motivation for the job.

Basically I think a five minute interview will tell NATS more about a person than them filling in some form for 40 minutes which they could easily make up the answers for. I spent a bit of money last week, travelling up to London, a hotel the night before, it would have been nice to have had an interview in order to give myself a real shot at the role. I'm not bitter....honest!
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Old 11th Jun 2007, 22:33
  #252 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: LTCC
Age: 40
Posts: 244
Vic154,

Any selection process had flaws and will eliminate some candidates who would have done well if they'd got through. I'm sure that the opposite applies to some people as well.
It feels like crap (I know!) but just try again and be honest next time.
With the feedback issue, it was possible to find which part you'd failed but that may have changed now.
Good luck
smellysnelly2004 is offline  
Old 11th Jun 2007, 22:48
  #253 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Blackpool
Age: 39
Posts: 4
Personality questionnaire

Iím sorry but I don't agree that personality plays a big part, its simple down to intelligence and initiative to do the job. The job is not that stressful or even that difficult with all the procedures and technology in place now. How does 'I compete to win' 'I believe in traditional methods' or 'I like to analyse peoples behaviour' got anything to do with whether you can do ATC or not. The tests are fine, they see if you or intelligent enough and quick enough to cope with being trained, I've no problem with that. But surely the best way to gain a profile about someone is to meet him or her face to face, nothing more nothing less. Why not do that? Money and time I think is the answer!

I got 2 mates in the police, they never had to do the questionnaire, they had to do tests and hey guess what after that, an interview!

I know a lad that didn't get in with NATS so went to the military now about to become a validated ATC seems like thatís the best place to go to do the job you know full well your capable of doing.

I could sit that questionnaire over and over again and still fail, cause I just don't know what I did wrong, too honest probably, infact how could I do anything wrong the instructions say there are no right and wrong answers.

You want to see if someone has the right temperament to be trained, I say see them, not give them 108 stupid repetitive questions which don't really mean anything certainly not too ATC anyway!
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Old 11th Jun 2007, 23:06
  #254 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Some where over the rainbow
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I just did the test today at Manchester and the funny thing is, the personality test that I did, doesn't seem to be the same as everyone else's.

The one I did only had 40 questions and there were 2 statements. I just had to select which I thought suits me better.

e.g.

I like to plan ahead or I take problems as they come

I felt that the test I did was quite reasonable as it shows to NATS what kind of person I am. Wasn't too bad in my opinion.

One question however, there was a question about an aircraft having a failure and you have to select a suitable airport x nm away. To my calculation, the aircraft could make them all, so do you select the airport that is so far that the aircraft would be 10nm, 20nm away when it reaches sea level.
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Old 11th Jun 2007, 23:15
  #255 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Dec 1999
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Vic154,

In my opinion, if you have the intelligence, as shown in the aptitude test, then I think that at least warrants a ten minute interview to give you a chance to prove your motivation for the job.

Basically I think a five minute interview will tell NATS more about a person than them filling in some form for 40 minutes which they could easily make up the answers for.
You'd be surprised how accurate the psychometrics are, especially at finding out those who try and play the system and give answers they think we're looking for(!) Also, imagine if I interviewed you for five minutes, and then decided you had failed. How many appeals would we then get saying that five minutes was not nearly enough time for me to get a decent, overall picture of your personality and suitability for the job?

Yes, in many interviews the interviewer will have made a judgement in the first five to ten minutes. The mark of a good interview, and interviewer, is to then use the remaining time to search for both evidence to back that up, and evidence to contradict that. Sometimes the judgement is borne out by the evidence, sometimes not.

shipway,

Iím sorry but I don't agree that personality plays a big part, its simple down to intelligence and initiative to do the job.
Oh gosh, it most certainly is not just 'simply down to intelligence and initiative to do the job'. If that is truly what you believe, than to be honest I don't think ATC is the career for you. I know plenty of people who have the mind to do my job, most of them to a far higher standard I would imagine, but not the personality to go with it.
The job is not that stressful or even that difficult with all the procedures and technology in place now.
Oh, of course, it's incredibly easy. How silly of me to find last Monday in the tower one of the hardest days I've ever worked, I came away from it feeling exhausted and 'frazzled', for want of a better word, mostly due to an hour's session of Ground Movement Control that I was only just hanging on to. But please do come in to work with me next time and tell me where I was going wrong. My personality is such that I actually welcome criticism, constantly strive for improvement in my own technique, and will not think twice about having another go at the same situation to test myself again.
But surely the best way to gain a profile about someone is to meet him or her face to face, nothing more nothing less. Why not do that? Money and time I think is the answer!
As with any selection process, the first few hurdles are more blunt than the last few. Last I heard there were 18,000 applicants at various stages of the process (including those that had just failed...I have to be honest and say I'm not sure how far back those figures go..). It is just impossible to see every one of them face to face. To do so would mean there would be no ATCOs doing their day job, they'd all be pulling days for Recruitment! Not to mention we'd go bust within a week!

As regards the police, perhaps it varies from force to force, but the constabulary selection process I'm aware of certainly does make use of psychometric evaluation, and most certainly within the force for candidates wanting to transfer to certain branches. I don't mean they use the same test as us, but a similar profile will be built up on each applicant.
Gonzo is offline  
Old 12th Jun 2007, 08:05
  #256 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: UK
Posts: 2
Talking Passion

The question that sticks in my mind is the one about whether I'd view a situation/problem "dispassionately", or go wading in and get involved. My honest instinct was to go with "dispassionate" despite thinking the word unfair, as I don't always sit back regarding everything around me with cold mechanical indifference.

Even as I marked it down I thought, "there goes my ATCO application out the window". Is there a "pass mark" on the personality questionnaire or do certain questions have more influence than others? Fortunately, I was useless on the cubes which I'm sure led to my failure, but of all the tests that day I was least comfortable with the personality questions. It almost seemed to consist of trick questions compared with the others, so perhaps that's a sign I'm not cut out to be an ATCO?
Yuop is offline  
Old 12th Jun 2007, 08:51
  #257 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: EGLL/EGFH
Age: 34
Posts: 22
Personality tests

Having done a degree in Psychology, such tests that NATS use to assess one's personality traits have been repeatedly found to be accurate and stem from personality gurus like Eysenck, McCrae and Costa (Google them to find out more!) They can certainly tell you more about an individual's personalit traits with those 'stupid, repetitive' questions than a 5 minute interview. What they also do is eliminate any unconscious bias by the interviewer based on anything from gender to body size to accent etc. (I think unconscious is important here, not saying that any interviewers are purposely biased!)
Also, intelligence isn't the be all and end all, if so, I could honestly say that any of my graduate friends could pass the seection process with ease but I know that they wouldn't have the specific traits that NATS are looking for.
Some may say I'm biased as I recently got through the selection process. However, it was my 2nd attempt as I failed 1st time round so I know how it feels to be rejected. Upon meeting a few of the HR people, it was emphasised that personality was important and there were specific traits that they were looking for which is understandable as there is absolutely no point in recruiting someone who doesn't show consistency or a hint of the aspects of personality that they are after.
I'll be quiet now
steffi_kel is offline  
Old 12th Jun 2007, 11:25
  #258 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: LACC
Posts: 49
Shipway,

You can disagree that personality doesn't play a huge part but try listening to what people who work at units are telling you. I know of people who were able to control but were chopped or failed because of bad attitude or a personality that didn't lend itself to teamwork. There are no wrong or right answers to each of those personality profiling questions because it is only the overall profile which builds a picture of you. Lots of people try to put down the 'right answer' unaware of how that will not work for them.

A recruitment manager once asked me if there was a queue at a two lane approach to a roundabout and I wanted to go left. Would I sit in the left lane and wait for the queue to move along, or nip down the right lane, doing one loop of the roundabout and then making the turn? You might think they 'want' to hear you would follow the rules, sit and wait and do things properly. But the people who pick the other option, breaking no rules whatsoever, generally have some component of what it takes to be an ATCO.

Comparisons with the police and military ATC are not much use as the police tests are very easy (yes, I have and did pass them and turned down a place with a force for NATS) and military ATC do a much different job. Only up to a 4 aircraft at a time in area but in very challenging and complex circumstances.
intherealworld is offline  
Old 12th Jun 2007, 11:38
  #259 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Manchester
Posts: 13
Is it just me or does it seem the people who have passed the personality tests say that they are useful, and the people who failed saying they aren't useful. I apparently got a high score, so I suppose I should be happy.
People who know more about psychology, such as Steffi and the people who set the tests say they are very successful. Although I suppose they will always say that, as it gives them more work.
I imagine that they probably could help determine who would be useful at a job, although Im not sure people should fail on them until they are interviewed by a professional HR person and go through it again, as then factors like body languague could come into play to help get more accurate results.
ramesescolossos is offline  
Old 12th Jun 2007, 11:42
  #260 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: LACC
Posts: 49
is it just me or does it seem the people who have passed the personality tests say that they are useful, and the people who failed saying they aren't useful. I apparently got a high score, so I suppose I should be happy.
People who know more about psychology, such as Steffi and the people who set the tests say they are very successful. Although I suppose they will always say that, as it gives them more work.
rameses, you sound very cynical. you'd fit in well!
intherealworld is offline  

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