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NATS interview process

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NATS interview process

Old 14th Sep 2009, 18:13
  #4261 (permalink)  
 
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Bear in mind that every unit has its challenges and the work load at Heathrow could be argued to be just as high as at Gatwick - which holds the title of busiest single runway airport in the world, and the ATCOs there have to work very hard especially in peak times to maintain an expeditious flow of inbounds and outbounds on just one runway - whereas at Heathrow I believe there are several ATCOs working the aerodrome controller position, so less workload individually, as well as Heathrow no doubt being at the forefront of new equipment, making the ATCOs jobs there easier, which may take a while to be introduced to less busy units.
Not quite true.....While there are more ATCOs working at Heathrow than Gatwick at any one time, it doesn't mean that the individual workload is lower, nor does it mean that all the traffic is spread out evenly amongst them. A simple calculation of number of aircraft divided by number of ATCOs doesn't tell one anything. As for equipment, the most radical new piece of equipment (electronic strips) was actually introduced first at Stansted and Gatwick before Heathrow.
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Old 14th Sep 2009, 21:57
  #4262 (permalink)  
 
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regarding stage 2, is there an interview? or is it purely tests?
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Old 14th Sep 2009, 22:28
  #4263 (permalink)  
 
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Gonzo
Not quite true.....While there are more ATCOs working at Heathrow than Gatwick at any one time, it doesn't mean that the individual workload is lower, nor does it mean that all the traffic is spread out evenly amongst them. A simple calculation of number of aircraft divided by number of ATCOs doesn't tell one anything. As for equipment, the most radical new piece of equipment (electronic strips) was actually introduced first at Stansted and Gatwick before Heathrow.
I stand corrected!

regarding stage 2, is there an interview? or is it purely tests?
Its computer tests, 7-8 hour day at NATS HQ. Read the thread for details.
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Old 15th Sep 2009, 09:35
  #4264 (permalink)  
 
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Original post by lemmingsjump

Right, now to browse these pages again to find out what stage 2 really involves! From what other people have said I see there's not much people think that can be done for preparation, but does anyone have any advice other than sleep well the night before?
I've not sat mine yet, but from what everyone says there isn't a lot you can do to prepare for stage 2. There's also not a lot of info available about what it involves, though you may find a bit on these forums. There was a bit of info on the FEAST tests on wikipedia a while ago, but it has since been removed (presumably by Eurocontrol). I think you have to sign a non-disclosure agreement or something like that when you sit the FEAST tests, so no-one is allowed to talk about its content.

The HR lady at my stage 1 told us that the best prep you can do for stage 2 was to commit to some serious playstation time (I kid you not) and to make sure you are well rested for the day itself. I've been trying to find games that test similar abilities to those that the tests are designed to. I don't know how directly relevent these are, but can't do any harm and they are quite fun. Check out:

Multitask | Armor Games - really fun multitasking game (my top score so far is 263 - I have played this far far too much)

DACHSER Global Player Reloaded - this is a logistics game that also pushes your multitasking, fast thinking and reactions

Set Daily Puzzle - fun puzzle game involving sorting objects by shape, size, colour etc.

ATC-SIM: a web-based air traffic control simulator - free browser based atc simulator. Not 100% realistic, but a lot of fun (be careful, this can eat hours of your day before you realise it)

Air Traffic Controller - Free Online Game on FavPlay - another free atc sim, spoilt a little by the stupid pop-up man who yells at you and gives you "pay-cuts" if you loose seperation


If anyone who has sat Stage 2 has a little more detail about what the tests actually involve I'd really appreciate it - even if there's nothing to do to prepare I know I'll feel a lot more confident if I have some idea what is going to be thrown at me.

Last edited by Pat42; 15th Sep 2009 at 09:45.
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Old 15th Sep 2009, 11:24
  #4265 (permalink)  
 
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That multitask game is nails!
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Old 15th Sep 2009, 12:36
  #4266 (permalink)  
 
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Does Batman - Arkham Asylum count as playstation time!!?
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Old 15th Sep 2009, 14:32
  #4267 (permalink)  
 
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Thanks Tim . Perhaps it is only at Eurocontrol you have to sign the agreement, they put something about it on wikipedia as their excuse for deleting all the data.

Out of interest, do NATS only use part of the FEAST test or all of it? The NATS website also mentions that you sit some of NATS own computer tests, and the SDM test. Any info on these?
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Old 15th Sep 2009, 15:23
  #4268 (permalink)  
 
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Original post by cottam approach

That multitask game is nails!
Just scored 286! Yeah baby!
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Old 15th Sep 2009, 15:49
  #4269 (permalink)  
 
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Pat42

If i told you exactly what it involved it would probably put you off more than do any good in your attempts to prepare for what i would have told you. It is better not knowing whats coming. You can't prepare so as i've said before just look forward to the experience. I enjoyed the day!

You get a free lunch!
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Old 15th Sep 2009, 16:41
  #4270 (permalink)  
 
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and its only fair that the guys who HAVE to work harder get paid more
Hope you don't get sent to a Band 4 or less unit then matey; and you're working your arse off as a trainee; and its been found out that you've made comments like that. You won't get much sympathy!! I don't know, not even at the bloody college and the ego is out already.

I think you'll find that every unit has a busy times; and that some are well higher up the complexity table than others, but get paid less.

Not that I want to start a Band war but in the old days you did Tower at the college first, then moved onto Area - because Twr was easier and quicker to validate on, plus some units you actually did all disaplines. If your theory is correct then no Tower should get paid more than any Area Centre, so LHR should be Band 4 or lower against MACC/Scottish (NPC if you like)

And; in the European Area complexity tables produced by Eurocontrol;
1. London TC
2. Zurich ACC
3. Frankfurt ACC
4. Manchester ACC
blah blah blah
28. Swanwick ACC

So Swanwcik should be Band 4 or less too

Its all peaks and troughs, numbers of aircraft etc that works out the pay in the end (plus Swanwick has more Union members that voted for the banding blah blah blah )

In the end:
LHR gets the money coz it's the flagship Twr, Swanwick gets the money likewise Area; and the college gets Band 5 coz it needs to attract people to teach trainees.

As MACC, you'll know where I stand on it all
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Old 15th Sep 2009, 18:29
  #4271 (permalink)  
 
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I think someone asked me when I sat S1. I was there on 17th August.

I've got S2 on the 30th of this month. Anyone else got it that day? Should be a good laugh anyway! I hope they have those old BBC PC style games again. They took me on a lovely trip down memory lane!

Anyone else a pilot too? I want to find a cross country buddy.
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Old 15th Sep 2009, 20:07
  #4272 (permalink)  
 
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To be honest if i work at a Band 1 grade, then that's probably because that grade suits me the most either because i'm not as skilled as i could be, i didn't work as hard as i could, or i want a quieter band. i wouldn't be unhappy about that at all and i certainly wouldn't expect sympathy.
Or because business needs dictated that they needed you there. You can see that banding is flawed by the fact that Manchester ACC is the fourth most complex piece of airspace in Europe and is only a band 4.
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Old 16th Sep 2009, 01:39
  #4273 (permalink)  
 
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Quote:

The HR lady at my stage 1 told us that the best prep you can do for stage 2 was to commit to some serious playstation time (I kid you not) and to make sure you are well rested for the day itself.

Well honestly, I am not surprised and she is most probably right. One ATC i read abt on the net said the job is like playing a 'computer game' so if u enjoy playing computer games, then u wud enjoy it - just that with being an ATC, u get paid for doing it!
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Old 16th Sep 2009, 13:51
  #4274 (permalink)  
 
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Well honestly, I am not surprised and she is most probably right. One ATC i read abt on the net said the job is like playing a 'computer game' so if u enjoy playing computer games, then u wud enjoy it - just that with being an ATC, u get paid for doing it!

...only thing is you can't lose...and there is no reset button if you do!
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Old 16th Sep 2009, 17:05
  #4275 (permalink)  
 
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Stage 3 experience

I had my stage 3 recently so here is a short list of things that might come handy to somebody else. Sorry if this has been posted somewhere, I just thought a recent info might help.

1) Six participants per day.
2) The HR people say it is not a competition and that if everybody is fit, everybody passes. If you actually trust them in this, that's up to you.
3) First, there is the traffic game. There is a board with a plan of a city and each participant is given their own task - planning a bus route meeting certain conditions. When you are done, you have 1 minute to present your solution to the others. Then the group is given a common task which they have to incorporate whilst trying to keep as much of the individual routes as possible. Then the group is asked to evaluate how it went and if they succeeded. Each individual also must state how the big scenario screwed up his own route. Now the important thing: The HR's apparently do not care at all about your solution. They can hardly see the board from their positions, they make no notes about locations of the bus stops etc. The real trick is that the game is there just to introduce a situation where you must cooperate, communicate etc. Therefore you do not win this if you have the best bus route but if you do not behave like an idiot.
4) The interview - the HR people do not know a thing about ATC (or maybe some general popular knowledge at best). It is really hard to judge what exactly they are lookign for during the interview but be prepared that knowing the UK AIP by heart is not gonna win the game for you. You should be able to demonstrate some very general knowledge of the topic like that there are radars and various units servicing various sectors etc. Nobody's gonna ask you about pecularities of a PAR approach.
5) There is a list of areas the interview will be about. The interviewers are looking for real life examples of your behaviour in situations illustrating those personal traits. They want specific examples. Stuff like "this happens to me often and I generally do this..." is not right. What they wanted over and over again is a story like "I was doing X the other day and Y happened, so I did Z."
6) They have a list of questions they use to examine your story closely. They are especially - how did you feel about the situation, what was the outcome of the situation, what obstacles did you need to overcome. Be prepared to answer those.

And yeah - rumours only
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Old 16th Sep 2009, 20:55
  #4276 (permalink)  
 
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Flaps

Thanks for telling us about your experience, i shall prepare with that in mind. How do you think you did, let us know your result!

Seb
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Old 16th Sep 2009, 21:32
  #4277 (permalink)  
 
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thanks Flaps15

hey there,

thanks for sharing
how do you feel after all? it's a relief now, huh?:]
can you write me one example question what's asked on the interview?

thank you again + fingers crossed. of course.
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Old 16th Sep 2009, 23:12
  #4278 (permalink)  
 
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Thanks for the great post Flaps15, if I pass S2 this will be hugely helpful.

And Best of luck to you!
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Old 17th Sep 2009, 08:14
  #4279 (permalink)  
 
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I don't know if it is really a "relief", it was quite an OK experience, nothing to be nervous about.
If it went OK I don't know - I am not completely sure what they are looking for. I feel good about it but that does not matter too much, does it ;-)

Uhm... example question.
- Can you tell us about a situation where you had to work under pressure?
- A story about having to meet a certain deadline being told.
- What did you do to overcome the stress?
- Several measures named.
- How did it influence your work?
- Several negative impaxcts named.

and so on. Take the list of possible topics provieded by NATS and that's it - they basically ask a direct question about each of those and then go on with more detailed questions about what you did to fight the situation, how it influenced you, how you felt and what the outcome was. It is a repeating pattern.
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Old 17th Sep 2009, 15:11
  #4280 (permalink)  
 
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Pay Bands

Hi Everyone,

The current forum discussion has had some centred around pay bands and responsibility.

My question is, in terms of career progression that could potentially lead to the over 90K that NATS talk abt at Heathrow and Swanwik, I was wondering where would be the better of the two and the sort of timeframe we are looking at to be earning that much?
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