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Cathay Interview AE SO process December 2018

Fragrant Harbour A forum for the large number of pilots (expats and locals) based with the various airlines in Hong Kong. Air Traffic Controllers are also warmly welcomed into the forum.

Cathay Interview AE SO process December 2018

Old 28th Dec 2018, 06:52
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Join Date: Sep 2014
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Cathay Interview AE SO process December 2018

Hey all,

Long time user but first time post, sorry it's long. I thought I would give insight to those hoping to apply for a direct entry SO position. Cathay flew me out from one of their ports in economy for free. They only pay for 2 nights hotel stay at Cathay City, so you'd have to find your own accommodations if you want to extend your stay. The first day, we did group exercises where they want to see you work as a team to solve a task with limited time. They just want to see how you work under pressure with no solution possible. After that we did a sim eval with two retirees in the 777-300 which included a takeoff, circuit and vectors for an ILS and a missed as well as being repositioned for a second approach and landing. They send you the script prior to coming to HK and I found memorizing the power and pitch settings helps quite a bit. After that they set us up to do a 40 question computer technical exam which requires a 70 percent grade to pass. Alot of questions included piston engine theory which surprised me. One of the other candidates, being a captain on a turboprop for a decade hadn't studied that material since 2001, and we were both expecting questions to be more relevant towards airline flying. There were a couple questions regarding the flight time in hours between hong kong and other Cx destinations. If you pass the first day they will send you an email at the end of the day to invite you to come in for the second day.

On the second day, we were invited to talk with a Cx representative about the great salary, benefits and affordable places to live and raise your family in Hong Kong. While breaking down the salary, HR explained that it was based on base pay plus productivity pay. When myself and the other candidates asked about productivity pay, they told us it was basically overtime. I found that pretty deceiving that their advertised salary that they had sent me prior to coming to HK, was assuming you'd work a sh*tload of overtime. Also when I asked how many days we were expected to work for any fleet, HR could not give a definite answer, it just depends on your aircraft type they would say. When I kept pressing for which type and how many days, they would just say it depends on the month. They couldn't give us any straight answers and seemed to be trying way too hard to sell us on the benefits and salary...

Anyways after that session, we were to do a ICAO english test. Oh I forgot to mention YOU HAVE TO PAY $1900 HKD TO DO THE TEST. No Cx does not cover this fee and only mentioned it at the end of the first day which I regretfully paid since I wanted to see what the second day would be like and I still had hopes and dreams of working for Cx. After the ICAO test, we did an HR interview which included basic questions like why do you want to work for Cx? How many aircraft does Cx have and break it down by fleet number and orders with airbus and boeing. They asked about all the destinations flown to in Europe, NA or Australia. They told us upgrades from SO to FO are around 4.8 years and another 4 or 5 years to Captain. (Keep in mind that's 4.8 years without a type rating and SO time which doesn't count for anything). They also promised us North American ports which we could transfer to after several years of living in HK but I've been told by a couple Cx pilots that probably won't happen anytime soon and the captain upgrades are a little far fetched. HR made it seem so, but they said they would prefer you to live in Hong Kong.

The pilot in the technical interview would ask questions regarding the aircraft you fly, windshear in HK, stall characteristics of swept wing aircraft, C of G on fuel economy, etc. Anyways after about an hour of doing the HR interview and technical interview, you do a medical which includes blood work, urine testing, they cut your hair for drug testing, an ECG test as well as a full medical checkup including getting your balls fondled by one of their doctors.

Anyways overall, I enjoyed exploring Cathay City and really liked doing the sim eval. Also talking to some of the Cx pilots was enjoyable but unfortunately I was quite turned off by the deceitfulness of HR as well as the rest of the hiring staff. During the time I did my interview, I reached out to 5 other expat pilots currently working for Cx of which all 5 told me not to join and to stay at my current regional in NA. One of the Cx pilots was a FO on the 747 for 8 years just getting his upgrade to Captain before leaving to join a regional here in the states as a FO on a turboprop because the red eyes and no social life for years were killing him. Another captain who has worked for Cathay for 24 years on the verge of retiring told me to really be careful to make sure it's what I would want. Cathays morale and salary/benefits has been in steady decline for his entire career there and is definitely the lowest he's ever seen; but he's not too worried as he'll retire in a couples years. Also during the interview in waiting room I talked to several cadet interviewees and when they asked if I was interviewing for the cadet program as well, I said I was interviewing for the Advanced entry SO position. They were all baffled and asked why I would want to leave an airline based in North America to come to Hong Kong. One of the guys wanted to join Cx in hopes of getting training and experience so he could leave to get an airline job in North America or Europe. That was another major red flag.

Cx seems like it used to be a great place to finish a career but it no longer appears so. I admit I read a lot of the comments and topics on this forum prior to going to Hong Kong. I still had high hopes going into the Cx interview but after leaving Hong Kong I questioned if that was where I still wanted to go. They recently offered me the job with a groundschool date in March but I think I'll have to turn them down. I thought about taking the offer for a 6 week vacation in Adelaide then doing a couple months in HK before coming back to North America just for the experience but I figured keeping my seniority number here would be more important. Anyways I hope this experience helps those going into the interview soon and I highly suggest reaching out to any Cathay Pilots currently flying there to get an idea of the conditions. If you have any questions feel free to PM me.
fixfly is offline  
Old 28th Dec 2018, 15:14
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On the second day, we were invited to talk with a Cx representative about the great salary, benefits and affordable places to live and raise your family in Hong Kong.
​​​​​​
This made my day!!! I'm still cracking up.
betpump5 is offline  
Old 28th Dec 2018, 18:43
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Seems they have found new minions to replace our previous recruitment staff who resigned in protest of outright lying to new candidates.
bm330 is offline  
Old 28th Dec 2018, 19:21
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Join Date: Dec 2018
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Fixfly.
Well done on seeing the bigger picture after taking the time to go through the interview process. You're correct in seeing that recruiting staff have been coached by the company to lie to you in regards to what life will be like in cx. The recommendation from anyone in HK would be to keep working in NA. Your career will be much better there.
G Merch is offline  
Old 28th Dec 2018, 20:14
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swh

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While breaking down the salary, HR explained that it was based on base pay plus productivity pay. When myself and the other candidates asked about productivity pay, they told us it was basically overtime. I found that pretty deceiving that their advertised salary that they had sent me prior to coming to HK, was assuming you'd work a sh*tload of overtime. Also when I asked how many days we were expected to work for any fleet, HR could not give a definite answer, it just depends on your aircraft type they would say. When I kept pressing for which type and how many days, they would just say it depends on the month. They couldn't give us any straight answers and seemed to be trying way too hard to sell us on the benefits and salary...
The truth is they donít know, no pilots are employed under that scheme flying the line.

You have zero control over how many hours you get, you cannot count on productivity pay. They have been manipulating rosters after they had been published for decades to reduce that.

You can have 55 hours rostered plus a week of reserve which attracts zero credit. If you donít get called you get 55 hrs pay. Effectively your giving them
even more free reserve.

if there is a downturn, they will fly you the minimum and fly the 84 hr pilots their minimum.

Also have a look at the corruption watchdog investigation in this forum to get an understanding of how trips are not spread evenly.
swh is offline  
Old 28th Dec 2018, 21:02
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Join Date: Nov 2015
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Interview tips.

If they talk about basing "In your home country", ask if that will be indicated in "The Conditions of Service" document you will sign.
Same goes for anything; Salary, Housing, take home pay...etc
Ask detailed questions of the cost of ESF schools for children including debenture costs etc. Ask if all these costs will be paid for by CX ?
Ask about how many hours a month/year you will be asked to fly (include whether that/those are rolling or fixed annual amounts)
Ask what their Dental Benefits include ? (limits)
Ask about what's covered for medical benefits AND the annual limits and coverage areas for yourself and your family..
Ask detailed questions about travel benefits.. (compare with other airlines)

And don't forget - There is no proper recognised "Bid System" at CX as there is most any other airline on the planet..... (i.e. you have zero control of your life)

If you don't ask detailed questions (as well if items are "contractual" - DO NOT moan and complain after you join...
Flex88 is offline  
Old 28th Dec 2018, 21:39
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Originally Posted by Flex88 View Post
If they talk about basing "In your home country", ask if that will be indicated in "The Conditions of Service" document you will sign.
Same goes for anything; Salary, Housing, take home pay...etc
Ask detailed questions of the cost of ESF schools for children including debenture costs etc. Ask if all these costs will be paid for by CX ?
Ask about how many hours a month/year you will be asked to fly (include whether that/those are rolling or fixed annual amounts)
Ask what their Dental Benefits include ? (limits)
Ask about what's covered for medical benefits AND the annual limits and coverage areas for yourself and your family..
Ask detailed questions about travel benefits.. (compare with other airlines)

And don't forget - There is no proper recognised "Bid System" at CX as there is most any other airline on the planet..... (i.e. you have zero control of your life)

If you don't ask detailed questions (as well if items are "contractual" - DO NOT moan and complain after you join...
LOL -- I'd be kinda ecstatic if the COS DID say 'basing in your home country" in writing in that this would immediately violate the labor laws of some nations in which we do base (and have an existing 'onshore' basing contract).

Thanks for the comprehensive post, fix. Funny that they made you 'pay' to do the language test -- that should throw a few flags and tell you something -- and sounds pretty typical of the bait and switch. All that stuff was free of charge in my day. Glad you could talk to some folks actually from the place. I don't think you'll find many who view things as a career anymore; at best a paycheck job (and this is on the old conditions--POS 18 is much much worse. People on POS 18 should be thought of as an accumulator or surge tank).

When people (at least those with options) are running for the door and sickness rates spike that should be some pretty strong red flags that people don't want to be where they are. In a healthy environment (especially in a flying job) folks are really WANTING to be there and part of the team that makes things happen. Can't say you'll see much of that here (unless possibly one has a date or holiday in a foreign land and wants to make the trip to go there).

If you ARE in NA, IMHO just about anything you do there will have a better future and lead to a better life.
Slasher1 is offline  
Old 29th Dec 2018, 00:03
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SWH, isnít one of the former lead negotiators now on POS18 to avoid age retirement?
Farman Biplane is offline  
Old 29th Dec 2018, 00:36
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Anyone who joined after 2009 didnít read the fine print - must be awesome paying stupid rent to some Mainlander for 600 sqft in Tung Chung or 400 sqft in Midlevels.
AQIS Boigu is offline  
Old 29th Dec 2018, 02:47
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Solid feedback fixfly.

A good report for those considering joining.

Absolutely disgusting they make you pay anything during an interview process.

A good indication of how little respect they have for employees...future or current.
nike is offline  
Old 29th Dec 2018, 03:26
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Alot of questions included piston engine theory which surprised me.
An indication at which strata of the pilot employment spectrum at which they are aiming their recruitment.
Dan Winterland is offline  
Old 29th Dec 2018, 03:57
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swh

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Originally Posted by Farman Biplane View Post
SWH, isnít one of the former lead negotiators now on POS18 to avoid age retirement?
i think you maybe talking about someone that is still on a base ? If so, no they are on the OZ EBA, POS 18 was the threat if they try and return to HKG was what I heard.
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Old 29th Dec 2018, 04:17
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SWH, ask around, HK based.......however this is a rumour network!
Farman Biplane is offline  
Old 29th Dec 2018, 04:26
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swh

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The person I was thinking of is still on a base according to the member list.
swh is offline  
Old 29th Dec 2018, 04:26
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At least you got your balls fondled so it wasn’t a wasted trip...
Freehills is online now  
Old 29th Dec 2018, 05:13
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Join Date: Dec 2018
Location: Canada
Posts: 12
It's no secret that CX has gone way down, but to prefer a US regional over CX, wow. Regionals....you work for a pittance. They treat you essentially as exploited cheap labour/slave labour. As bad as CX is now, I would not have thought they are worse than a US Regional. Guess I should rethink the sheer awfulness of CX, guess it's even worse than I thought.
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Old 29th Dec 2018, 05:28
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They told us upgrades from SO to FO are around 4.8 years and another 4 or 5 years to Captain.
Outright lie.
Time from JFO upgrade to command will be at least TWICE that, if not longer.
Joining to command calculated at somewhere from 15 years to 18 years. Cathay is shrinking, not growing, and we have a lot of very young captains.
Cpt. Underpants is offline  

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