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Recruitment Process

Old 18th Sep 2019, 10:57
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Recruitment Process

It seems to me a lot of companies are recruiting on the basis of who would make a good conversationalist on the flight deck, who would they like to sit beside for hours!

I mean come on! Have we really been training for years and spent thousands in cash to be sat around a table building a balloon sculpture whilst HR decides our fate? It is crazy.
Aldi & ASDA do this, I cant see Doctors or Lawyers doing it, so which bracket are we in?

What happened to taking a candidate's background, skills & experience into consideration? Surely a well qualified but introvert candidate who's been working years towards the goal, would make a better Pilot than someone who can tell a good story and have a 'laugh'?

​​​​Has the industry really lowered itself to this level or is it another case of HR taking over companies? How is HR more qualified than an experienced Pilot to route out a candidate?

I know some will be in favour of this type of process and argue it shows team skills- hm really?

Last edited by planetalking; 18th Sep 2019 at 11:50.
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Old 18th Sep 2019, 12:29
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Originally Posted by planetalking View Post
It seems to me a lot of companies are recruiting on the basis of who would make a good conversationalist on the flight deck, who would they like to sit beside for hours!​​
Spoken just like someone who has never worked in an actual flightdeck.
​​​​
Originally Posted by planetalking View Post
Surely a well qualified but introvert candidate who's been working years towards the goal, would make a better Pilot than someone who can tell a good story and have a 'laugh'?

​​
Also you keep implying that someone can't be both a good pilot and a good conversationalist which is exactly what they are looking for. A good company with a good training department can fix or "mold" an average pilot. They can't fix someone's incompatible attitude.
​​​​
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Old 18th Sep 2019, 14:03
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Would I be right in thinking that the OP has been knocked back when applying for airline jobs?

I would suggest that the ability to pass the ‘beer test’ is an important factor when selecting any crew member.
A sound selection process would be able to determine this key issue.

The comparision with a doctor would be a good bed side manner. Prospective UK medical students do undergo aptitude testing as part of the selection process. For a lawyer, empathy with the client.
The issue with the modular route is that as a ‘self improver’ chooses whether they are suitable, and has the ability to pay for the training. Perhaps taking a psychometric assessment such as 16PF would assist in identifying just what characteristics you process and to what extent your personality is suitable for multi crew flying.

Interviews will invariably include a flight crew member and not just HR. Although I take your point about the influence HR appear to have in hiring pilots.



Last edited by parkfell; 18th Sep 2019 at 14:14.
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Old 18th Sep 2019, 14:58
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What's the point?

Indeed.
My basic point being- the 'Beer Test' should not be at the forefront of recruitment for the position of Flight Crew. Skill, knowledge & experience should be. A person's personality should be last on the list of attributes as long as they're capable of completing the job.
Far to many jobs these days, not just in Aviation are by-passing good, skilled candidates on the account of the person's personality traits not fitting with the person recruiting!

I acknowledge one could be an excellent conversationalist AND be a skillful Pilot, however you could equally have an excellent skill set but have an introverted personality which would probably result in being by-passed at the recruitment stage.
I may not want to sit beside a person who doesnt shut up or cant concentrate on the job in hand but if they are competent in the role then thats fine!
You are ultimately there to do a job in a multicrew environment, it really doesnt require the person beside you being a source of entertainment during the cruise....
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Old 18th Sep 2019, 15:28
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Originally Posted by planetalking View Post
Indeed.
My basic point being- the 'Beer Test' should not be at the forefront of recruitment for the position of Flight Crew. Skill, knowledge & experience should be. A person's personality should be last on the list of attributes as long as they're capable of completing the job.
Far to many jobs these days, not just in Aviation are by-passing good, skilled candidates on the account of the person's personality traits not fitting with the person recruiting!

I acknowledge one could be an excellent conversationalist AND be a skillful Pilot, however you could equally have an excellent skill set but have an introverted personality which would probably result in being by-passed at the recruitment stage.
I may not want to sit beside a person who doesnt shut up or cant concentrate on the job in hand but if they are competent in the role then thats fine!
You are ultimately there to do a job in a multicrew environment, it really doesnt require the person beside you being a source of entertainment during the cruise....
Hawker 400 makes some very valid comments.

The ‘beer test’ is just one, albeit important aspect, probably best judged by a pilot. You are right about the importance of S,K,E. In multi crew flying, personality is important as effective communication is critical. One of the required competencies. You simply are not capable of undertaking the job effectively unless you have this ability. Part of the skill necessary in multi crew operations.
You don't have to be the life and soul of the party, or “a source of entertainment”; just an effective communicator. You will be aware of the concept of ‘sterile cockpit’ when not in the cruise?
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Old 18th Sep 2019, 17:10
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This isn’t new, even in the distant past when I went to interviews they were doing it!
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Old 18th Sep 2019, 17:49
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On one hand, I do think that the HR industry has indeed got much more involved in the pilot assessment process than it needs to be. Part of this I think is to justify HR’s existence itself, which is why there is now a near obsession with psychometric tests, group assessments, case studies, various types of interviews and other ways that HR bods spend their days overseeing. Many of these assessments can be quickly manipulated by the candidate to tick the assessors’ boxes. For example, by mastering
the STAR technique, using other people’s names or certain canned phrases in a group assessment can be the difference between pass or fail. So it can be the case that decent candidates get knocked back, purely because of how objective the assessment is. Whereas lesser candidates get through if they know how to tick the boxes.

Still, it does sound like you’re frustrated with the recruitment process, and understandably so. You definitely need a combination of hard and soft skills, and an attitude that you only need to be a good pilot is the wrong one.

My advice would be to research, study, and practice assessment and interview technique. There are plenty of brilliant books and websites with tips how to do so. If you can combine your excellent life experience, education and training with good interview and assessment technique, you’ll be onto a winner.

If not, sadly it’s a competitive industry. There’ll be someone with less life experience, less education and lower flying standards than you who’ll get your job. Just by using a few phrases or the STAR technique.

It may sound like I’m telling you just to play the game, which to an extent I am. If you are a complete end of the bell variety, there’ll be no helping you. Regardless of if you use the STAR technique. And by quitting now, you’ll be saving many a skipper some very painful, awkward sectors on the line. I hope this isn’t the case, and simply by learning how to broadcast yourself more positively to assessors could be the help you need.



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Old 18th Sep 2019, 17:59
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Originally Posted by Rottweiler22 View Post
On one hand, I do think that the HR industry has indeed got much more involved in the pilot assessment process than it needs to be. Part of this I think is to justify HR’s existence itself, which is why there is now a near obsession with psychometric tests, group assessments, case studies, various types of interviews and other ways that HR bods spend their days overseeing. Many of these assessments can be quickly manipulated by the candidate to tick the assessors’ boxes. For example, by mastering
the STAR technique, using other people’s names or certain canned phrases in a group assessment can be the difference between pass or fail. So it can be the case that decent candidates get knocked back, purely because of how objective the assessment is. Whereas lesser candidates get through if they know how to tick the boxes.

Still, it does sound like you’re frustrated with the recruitment process, and understandably so. You definitely need a combination of hard and soft skills, and an attitude that you only need to be a good pilot is the wrong one.

My advice would be to research, study, and practice assessment and interview technique. There are plenty of brilliant books and websites with tips how to do so. If you can combine your excellent life experience, education and training with good interview and assessment technique, you’ll be onto a winner.

If not, sadly it’s a competitive industry. There’ll be someone with less life experience, less education and lower flying standards than you who’ll get your job. Just by using a few phrases or the STAR technique.

It may sound like I’m telling you just to play the game, which to an extent I am. If you are a complete end of the bell variety, there’ll be no helping you. Regardless of if you use the STAR technique. And by quitting now, you’ll be saving many a skipper some very painful, awkward sectors on the line. I hope this isn’t the case, and simply by learning how to broadcast yourself more positively to assessors could be the help you need.



This has to be one of the best posts I have read in a long time because it accurately describes the world that we live in today (because it applies to all industries, not just avaition)

In a sense it's kind of like the bachelor degree or diploma requirement, at least in North America. You can have 2 candidates with identical experience but if one has a degree and the other doesn't, the one with a degree automatically has a greater chance. Is it fair? Absolutely not! A degree doesn't make you any better of a pilot, but it's a reality of businesses and HR these days. 50 years ago if you told someone you had an HR department they'd probably laugh at you and ask "what's that"... I'm too young to know but I can only imagine from the stories I've heard or how those days are portrayed in modern media today... I'll let the folks who lived in that era chime in on that and see if what I believe is a little accurate it or not. Now it seems that most of the world has gone in the complete opposite direction... Finding a balance is truly hard
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Old 18th Sep 2019, 18:00
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Originally Posted by planetalking View Post
What happened to taking a candidate's background, skills & experience into consideration? Surely a well qualified but introvert candidate who's been working years towards the goal, would make a better Pilot than someone who can tell a good story and have a 'laugh'
Background, skills and experience are on your CV - that's what gets you the interview. Attitude and character are what get you the job.
Most people who fail SIM assessments do so through lack of communication, mediocre handling skills may be acceptable but mediocre communication isn't.

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Old 18th Sep 2019, 18:01
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I don't mind the HR component in pilot selections, although I still fail to see what's the utility of psychometric tests. The worst is the DLR. A friend of mine passed it but the next phase of the selection process was even crazier. It was handled by an external HR company. He had to answer stupid questions like what he would do with a brick and a towel together and other weird questions. And the airline that uses this selection process is constantly recruiting because they can't get enough pilots.

The beer test is usually done by the pilot doing the interviews. If you give a good impression, then they will terminate the interview quickly. Had one a few days ago, lasted less than 10 minutes, and I progressed on to the final phase.
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Old 18th Sep 2019, 18:15
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To get to the interview table you've probably met that criteria already. To get to the controls you'd probably need the beer talk stuff.

Flying to Larnaca and back with a colleague that barely speaks or holds small talk - which more often than not is needed to help your conversation develop into topics you share common interests in - is a damn painful experience. I was looking for space in a passengers bag to save me from the 5+ hours on the return journey. There's only so many times you can read the labels on the overhead panel. I don't think it comes down to intro/extroversion as I've flown with a fair number of the former who can still engage in conversation, even if that requires a little nudge or two to get the metaphorical fire started.

Those peers of mine that fell over at the interview hurdle but whom since have found jobs, often did so through lack of interview skill. Sadly in this modern day interviewing is a skill in itself. As a334 alludes, being able to pull out relevant experiences in your life with a strong structured answer will help you tick any HR boxes. Arguably more vital in the low-hours game, but if you can't convey what they want to hear it's may not end well. Many airlines will tick the "skills / experience" box with your tech-interview and/or sim session, right?

Can I ask planetalking, have you recently been unsuccessful?
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Old 19th Sep 2019, 03:11
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I was filling out an online pilot application just today and a question was,

"Which interview prep company do you use"?

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Old 19th Sep 2019, 08:17
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Originally Posted by pilotchute View Post
I was filling out an online pilot application just today and a question was,

"Which interview prep company do you use"?
a lucrative niche market charging a not inconsiderable sum to fine tune the junior birdmen, over a day or two.
I know one pilot who was continuing to be unsuccessful to join an airline until attending a well known UK supplier.
Bingo: as a result of fine tuning techniques success in joining a well known airline. A few hundred quid well spent.

It is not just pilots who use such types of service. M’learned friends who aspire to be a QC can also avail themselves of similar services in preparation for their hoop jumping exercises.
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Old 19th Sep 2019, 19:47
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Some thought-provoking posts containing some good information.
I wonder if anyone would be in favor of a standardized approach in sourcing Air Crew- much like the test used in recruiting UK Train Drivers?
Indeed it seems the initial part of recruitment follows a similar pattern- some sort of computer COMPASS test then as the process progresses the similarities stop and each company has a different approach.
A well designed, standardized set of tests would make the process fair, rule out the specter of HR & source the best candidates?.
I don't suppose everyone would favor this as it perhaps provides no advantage to those who have the backing of money to pay for Training & Type Ratings etc.
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Old 19th Sep 2019, 19:59
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Originally Posted by gbotley View Post
To get to the interview table you've probably met that criteria already. To get to the controls you'd probably need the beer talk stuff.

Flying to Larnaca and back with a colleague that barely speaks or holds small talk - which more often than not is needed to help your conversation develop into topics you share common interests in - is a damn painful experience. I was looking for space in a passengers bag to save me from the 5+ hours on the return journey. There's only so many times you can read the labels on the overhead panel. I don't think it comes down to intro/extroversion as I've flown with a fair number of the former who can still engage in conversation, even if that requires a little nudge or two to get the metaphorical fire started.

Those peers of mine that fell over at the interview hurdle but whom since have found jobs, often did so through lack of interview skill. Sadly in this modern day interviewing is a skill in itself. As a334 alludes, being able to pull out relevant experiences in your life with a strong structured answer will help you tick any HR boxes. Arguably more vital in the low-hours game, but if you can't convey what they want to hear it's may not end well. Many airlines will tick the "skills / experience" box with your tech-interview and/or sim session, right?

Can I ask planetalking, have you recently been unsuccessful?
Been both Unsuccessful & Successful. Having been both the Interviewee & the Interviewer, I still get frustrated by some of the processes & what some people seem to think makes a good candidate.
I suppose, in reality, this industry is following the majority in this country eg. a person with 20 years experience is bypassed by a 20-year-old graduate who ticks all the boxes in the HR process, has more pieces of paper or is outspoken & can tell a good story
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