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Skywest Airlines Pilot Interview Profiles

Date Interviewed: September 2017
Summary of Qualifications: CFI, CFII, MEI
Were you offered the job? Don't Know
Pilot Interview Profile:
First, I just want to say the below experience that mentions they removed the writing out of 91.175 and the electrical system is ABSOLUTELY FALSE. You MAY definitely be asked to draw both out still. The recent experiences posted are all highly accurate. I'll add in a few of my observations and experiences that may or may not have been covered previously. First of all, the email you will receive inviting you to the interview will contain instructions for booking your travel as well as a list of things to bring with you to the interview. It will also contain topics and suggested study material which I will mention later. Make sure to have everything on that list! As previously mentioned travel is on United Airlines and the cost is fully covered by Skywest. The ticket is "positive space" however it's considered revenue standby. In other words, there is a possibility you may be bumped if other paying passengers have a higher ticket priority. This happened with two of the 4 of us interviewing. My advice is not to choose the last flight of the day to fly in the night before, give yourself a backup flight as they give you the choice of what flight you want to take. As for hotels, the email will suggest either Holiday Inn Express or Staybridge Suites. Having stayed at Holiday Inn in the past I elected to stay there and was glad I did. There are a lot of hotels nearby the Denver Flight Safety building where the interview took place and the area, in general, was very nice and new. The flights are covered by Skywest but the hotel is at your own expense. If you mention to the hotels listed in the email that you are interviewing with Skywest they may give you a discount. The room originally was $260 but was reduced to $99 with the discount so it's definitely worth asking. The morning of, I woke up at 6 am to shower and have the free breakfast provided by the hotel, pack, and checkout. I left the hotel about 730 for the interview which begins at 8. Also, make sure you where a suit and tie! Others have mentioned taking the hotel shuttle, although having had negative experiences in the past with the usually non english speaking van drivers I figured it'd be better to just use Lyft or Uber rather than explain I was going to a building not apart of the airport terminal building. I arrived at the Flight Safety building around 7:40 and checked in at the front desk and received a "visitor badge" and was told to make myself comfortable and that the interviewers would be down around 8. Also, they do have a luggage room to store suitcases incases you check out of the hotel that morning. As advertized they come right at 8 sharp so definitely arrive before then. We were taken upstairs and shown a break room we were allowed access to and then finally to a conference room that would become our work space for the day and where we all met and introduced ourselves. After that, we watched a short video presentation of the company and then a sort of powerpoint presentation given by one of the 2 captains who was conducting the interview along with an HR rep. At about 745 we began splitting up for the CRM scenario. They took us to a small room with a whiteboard and two chairs. It's completely randomly generated so there is no real use in studying the gouges for that part other than to get an idea of what they're looking for. It's 7 minutes and isn't a pass or fail thing, they just want to see how you work with others. The least experienced plays the captain, more experienced plays the F/O. The interviewer acts as your ATC, MX, Dispatch etc.. It goes by really quick and then they debrief you on how you did with tips on what you could have done better. They really just want it to be a learning experience. At about 8:30 we then began splitting up for the individual HR and Technical interviews. For this, they use a windows tablet that from the looks and sounds of things will randomly generate questions based on the topics the interview email told you to study. (Jepp charts, Airspace, 91/121 Regs, Weather, Systems, Jet engine theory.) Each of the 4 of us interviewing all got different questions and approaches to brief so rote memorization doesn't really work for that either. Be sure to study ALL of the questions in the gouge as well as the topics given in the email. I recommend the "Everything Explain For The Professional Pilot" book. Read it cover to cover. Know high speed/altitude aerodynamics, know Jepp Charts really well, know the systems of your most complex twin. They did have us draw out our electrical system and 91.175 for the technical. With 91.175 the most important thing is you know the 10 visual references you need to descend below DH/MDA. The interviewers are all very nice and do a good job making it a comfortable environment that doesn't add any pressure. They want to see you do well and succeed and won't make things hard for you but they do expect you to have studied hard and to show up fully prepared and know the material. As they ask questions from the windows tablet they are inputting notes and inputting whether you answered the question satisfactorily or not. One mentioned it's a point system type thing and the results are sent to the main HR for review. They are the ones who make the final decision and they said it can take up to 5 business days to hear back. The technical lasted maybe 20 minutes and the HR maybe about 20. Nothing was asked that isn't covered on the gouge or from the Everything Explained book. Know how to read a METAR/TAF 121 alternate minimums, how to brief a JEPP SID/STAR/APP. A lot of the time is just sitting around in the conference room waiting your turn. Lunch is also provided around noonish and consists of your choice of sub sandwich from a menu they pass around in the morning. I was the first done and left around 1:30. Overall a great experience and great professional interview team. The company is a real class act and you can tell everyone is happy and loves what they do. Best of luck to everyone!
Date Interviewed: August 2017
Summary of Qualifications: CFI/CFII/MEI. 4 yr degree. 1000 hours.
Were you offered the job? Yes
Pilot Interview Profile:
The gouges on here are accurate except they have removed the requirement to draw anything out. So no more drawings of jet engines or an electrical system.

Give at least 3 business days minimum before the interview because it can take that long to get a positive space flight approved. If you don't, you'll have a set interview date and no flight scheduled. You have to pay for the hotel. They give you some hotel options with SkyWest discounts available, but try to get any one that is closest to the interview location. It will be worth it when the hotel doesn't have a shuttle available and you have to walk for 10 minutes in a suit. They have a locked storage room where I could store my suitcase – they expected this since I was leaving immediately after the interview. Interview starts at 0800 and I recommend showing up at least 15 minutes early. This way you can talk with the other applicants; it's nice to break the ice since you'll be spending the day together. Also, the 2 interviewers came down and chatted with us all prior to starting.

First they brought us all into a room and showed us a promotional video and everyone, including you, officially introduce yourselves. They asked if anyone has any flights leaving same-day, because they will try to finish up whoever has the earliest flights first. Next we were all taken away to start working on each part of the interview (everyone has a different order).

HR Part:
Tell me about yourself?
What are your three biggest strengths?
What is your biggest weakness?
Tell me a time communication broke down in the cockpit?
What do you think will be your biggest problem in training for SkyWest?
What was your biggest challenge in flight training so far?
Tell me a time when you were distracted?
You show up to the plane and the captain smells like alcohol, what do you do?
If you were a CFI - tell me a time you had a problem with a difficult student and how you dealt with it?
Which aircraft would you choose if you get hired?

TECHINAL Part:
Based on this departure time, ETE, and TAF on this dispatch release (they will help you read the non-TAF part if you are not familiar with a release), do we need to file an alternate? (remember the TAF may go to following page)
What do we need to legally file an alternate? (And Know Derived Weather Minimums)
When do we need to file a takeoff alternate?
What are the stages of a thunderstorm?
What is happening in the mature stage?
Which way is this thunderstorm [with an anvil] moving? How would you fly around it?
You are established on the approach before the FAF and ATC says weather is below minimums, can you continue? What about after the FAF?
Where is the FAF on an ILS approach?
Based on this weather, which runway would you choose? (winds are usually not as important as lower minimums – it's a jet – go with the runway that has the lowest minimums)
Brief the approach that you chose.
What is the highest obstacle on a Jepp chart?
When can you descend below minimums?
When can you land from an approach?
What if you only see the approach lights?
The flight visibility meets minimums, but the reported visibility is less. The FAA comes up and asks you how you knew the flight visibility was OK. What do you say?
How do we change DC to AC? (Mnemonic: It is INVERTED thinking to put the city of DC inTO an A/C)
What is AC/DC for? Pros and cons?
What is the best single engine climb speed in a current aircraft you fly?
How do you do an emergency descent in a current airplane you fly?
Why do you bank in an emergency descent?
What are the pros and cons of a swept wing?
What is a turbofan for?
What is N1/N2, and where is it?
What is a bypass engine?
Which part pushes more air, the bypass or the core?
Is a jet engine more efficient or less efficient at higher altitudes?
What is a hung start?
What is the difference between Type II and IV deice fluid?
What is holdover time?

LUNCH Part:
They provide a lunch. We just had a friendly conversation among each other. They just want to make sure you are someone they would want to fly with out on the line.

CRM Scenario:
They take 2 people to a CPT. Least experienced is captain. Make sure to specify who is PM/PF if the interviewer doesn't. Interviewer plays FA/ATC/dispatch/any services you request. They draw a scenario at random: You departed MSP 20 mins ago, and the WX is deteriorating at the departure airport. You are 40 mins from your destination which is clear. The FA comes on and says one of the passengers is unconscious and making gargling sounds. There is another airport in between - KABR.You have 7 minutes.

Overall I got a great feeling about the culture of the company. Everyone I dealt with during the whole process was super nice and friendly. They seemed like down to earth people who enjoyed working there. They made the atmosphere very relaxed and had an awesome sense of humor.
Date Interviewed: August 2017
Summary of Qualifications: I am a retired Marine helicopter pilot with 3132 total time. 2257 of those are helicopter hours, and 875 are fixed wing, which includes a mix of single engine turbine, single engine piston, and multi engine piston. I currently fly part 135 Helicopter Air Ambulance.

My certificates/ratings include: ATP helicopter, ATP SEL, multiengine commercial
Were you offered the job? Yes
Pilot Interview Profile:
I submitted my application online on 13 Aug & got a call from recruitment & plans on 15 Aug.

I scheduled my interview for 31 Aug & received an e-mail with detailed instructions the same day.

I stayed at the La Quinta Inn across from Flight Safety. It was $66 off with the SkyWest discount. It was a little run down but tolerable once I figured out the hot water was to the right and the cold was to the left.

There were five of us interviewing; a SkyWest Cadet, a transfer from another regional airline, a former Navy helicopter pilot & current Helicopter Air Ambulance pilot, a fixed wing Air Ambulance pilot, & me.

We had two interviewers (no HR rep). One was a Captain with the company for about 5 years, and the other was a First Officer (upgrading within the month) with the company for about 3 years.

The HR portion lasted about 3 minutes. The Technical was about 20 minutes. I didn’t have to draw anything, didn’t have to recite 91.175, & didn’t talk at all about airspace. Everything, including the debrief, was over by 1300.

To prepare for the interview, I studied:

The gouge on this site plus the gouge on www.willflyforfood.com

Introduction to Jeppesen Nav Charts
(http://ww1.jeppesen.com/documents/aviation/business/ifr-paper-services/glossary-legends.pdf)

Runway signage
(https://www.aopa.org/-/media/files/aopa/home/online-education/flash-cards/rwcards_lo.pdf)

Approach lighting
(http://code7700.com/approach_lighting_system.htm)

I read Everything Explained for the Professional Pilot several times.

Plus I read several different posts & watched several YouTube videos on weather, High Altitude Ops, Systems (PA-44), weather, airspace, & turbojet vs turbofan engines.

I received a call the next day with a conditional job offer & a CRJ class date mid Oct. I could have chosen the first Mon in Oct but needed time to tie up some lose ends before traveling to Salt Lake for training.
Date Interviewed: May 2017
Summary of Qualifications: Commercial SE and ME, CFI, CFII
1400 total time
15 hours ME
93 instrument
95 night
300 xc
1300 pic
Were you offered the job? Yes
Pilot Interview Profile:
I applied online and got a call within a week of submitting the application. I was given about three weeks to prep.

The email said the interview would cover a CRM scenario,HR interview, and technical subjects including:
• FAR and AIM, including Part 121 rules, approach procedures, commercial operations
• Weather
• Jeppesen approach plate knowledge and procedures
• Jeppesen low altitude enroute chart knowledge and symbology
• Jet aerodynamics and high speed flight characteristics
• Basic commercial aircraft systems, including electrical, hydraulic, pneumatic and pressurization
• Jet engine fundamentals, theory, design and operation

They recommended these books to study:
• Your current and most flown aircraft operations manual(s)
• FAR / AIM
• "Everything Explained for the Professional Pilot" by Ritchie Engel
• "The Illustrated Guide to Aerodynamics" by H.C. "Skip" Smith
• "Advanced Aircraft Systems" by David Lombardo

There were a bunch of documents to bring: 1st class medical, certificates, logbooks, etc. I didn't have the radio operator's license, but I did print off a screen shot of the receipt and they accepted that.

In preparation, I asked a skywest pilot I used to instruct with what to expect and he told me the same stuff you see here. Electrical system, 91.175, simple systems, turbine engine, etc. I asked him if they would quiz me over pt 121 regs, he said no.

I scoured sites like these and created questions from people who interviewed in the last 2 years. So here's what I came up with (a lot of this stuff is in other gouges on this site in more detail):


CRM
Bomb in seat 20c, 1 hour of fuel remaining
Approaching airport, an AC is broken on the runway.
Alternate airport winds are above mins
Coming into LAX you are 15 minutes from the field with 1 hour of fuel. No alternate as LAX is forecast to be clear. You are holding for congestion. Pax has a seizure and the weather is expected to make LAX IFR. What would you do?



WEATHER
METAR/TAF: abbreviations, how many times/day does it come out
Relate weather to alternate airport regs
Stages of thunderstorms
What stage would you most likely encounter an anvil top
If the anvil top is pointed left, what way is the TS moving? Which way would you try to fly around the storm then? How far from the storm would you try to fly?
Effects and indications of virga
Types of fog
Exception 3585: what is it and when is it used
What information do you use to decide you need an alternate
When do we need takeoff alternate
What is a microburst
What does a microburst look like
What are the aircraft indications of being in a microburst
How do you escape a microburst
What is windshear
Explain the different types of ice
When does frost occur
How does frost affect the wing's ability to create lift
What weather is associated with a cold front and warm front
Jet stream: basic elements


AIRPORT SIGNAGE
Study guide here: https://www.aopa.org/-/media/files/aopa/home/online-education/flash-cards/rwcards_lo.pdf
Know airport lighting, study guide here:
http://code7700.com/approach_lighting_system.htm
What does ALSF look like


JEPP CHARTS
What is a STAR
Brief a STAR
Brief an approach
Highest obstacle on chart
What is MSA
How far MSA extends
What is lowest altitude you can intercept GS
When do you need to do a procedure turn
Is the 100 foot restriction on seeing the approach lighting measured from field elevation or TDZE
What is the FAF on the ILS app
Can you continue an approach if tower reports visibility less than minimum
What is FAP? Where is it?
Covers app lights with piece of paper and asks if you see this can you continue, how low
FAF on a precision vs FAF on a nonprecision
What is MEA/MRA/MCA/MOCA/MORA(OROCA?)
Know colors of airports on charts
Military vs civil airport indication
What is asterisk next to CTAF
How do you know if you’re flying over mountainous area
How do you enter a hold
What is the “D” in D-ATIS
What does (L) and (H) next to navaids mean
Know VOR altitudes and ranges (both transmitter and receiver)
Can you join the GS from further out than the published glide slope inercept
What is a SID
Why is DH so high of RNO ILS 16

AIRCRAFT SYSTEMS
What is a diode
Draw electrical system
Be able to explain the system you drew like explaining to a non-aviator
Is the battery AC or DC
Pros and cons of NiCad battery
What is the purpose of a fuse
What is a circuit breaker and it’s purpose
How does a circuit breaker trip
What is a circuit breaker panel
How does the starter work
Where do your primary, ground, and emergency sources of power come from
What is difference between AC and DC power
Does your AC use AC or DC
How do you convert AC to DC
Pros/cons between AC/DC
How does AC become DC and vice versa
Why is certain equipment such as avionics use DC rather than AC
What are inverters
What is a rectifier
What are TRUs
What is a relay and solenoid
What is powered on your AC and why
What equipment can you run off the battery bus
Battery info and whether it is AC or DC
What type of battery is in your plane (looking for NiCad or Lithium) and what are the dangers of this type of battery
What is battery thermal runaway and the dangers associated with that
What is a volt
What is an amp
Be able to explain the different types of anti- and de-icing
How do we cool the cabin
How do we pressurize the cabin and basic elements of the pressurization system
Jet engine fundamentals, design, and operation:
http://okigihan.blogspot.com/2017/04/aircraft-engines.html
Be able to explain your drawing like you would explain it to a non-aviator
What systems feed off the engine (environmental, pressurization, heat exchanger(?))
What are stator/rotor vanes/blades
What is bleed air used for
Why do we have a diffuser
Difference between axial and centrifugal compressors
Once lit, do the ingiters need to keep firing or is it self sustaining
How does a turbine engine start
What is ITT used for? EGT? EPR?
What is the bypass ratio and what does that mean
How does bypass ratio change with altitude
What does the compressor section do
What is flameout
Starter/generator
Accessory pack
What section is the N1 and N2 and what powers them
How and where is pressure measured in the engine
Where does bleed air come from and what is bleed air used for
What are some typical malfunctions during start (remember, you are still discussing the engine you have drawn and know)
What are hot/hung/no starts
What is failure to light-off
Cockpit indications of engine and start
What is continuous ignition and when does it come on and when do we turn it on
Know accessory gear section, what equipment is in the accessory section and how is it powered
What is V1 and V2
How does stall speed change with altitude
What is APU? What does it do
Pros and cons of swept wing
What is mach
What is critical mach
What is mach tuck

What is high altitude buffet
What is a relative mach number
Describe coffin corner
Where does a swept wing stall first
What does impending stall do to aircraft control
How does swept wing react in low vs high speed
What a cross section of a wing would look like from an airflow perspective
What is a boundary layer? laminar flow? Reynolds number?
If you are in a yawing and rolling motion what aerodynamic condition are you in
What is dutch roll
What causes dutch roll
How to recover from dutch roll
What do we have to counter dutch roll
How does yaw damper system work
How many ailerons do swept wing aircraft have
When do outboard ailerons work?
What does ice do to a wing
What is rudder boost
How do wingtip vortices circulate
What do winglets do
Tell me about the constant speed propeller


REGS
91.175 memorized
What is purpose of 91.175 and why is it important
Why is it important to see these things, even if we've flown this approach hundreds of times
Holding speeds
Memorize airspace dimensions and rules
Determining a valid alternate
When do you need an alternate
Alternate minimums
How do you determine a good alternate
Takeoff minimums
When do you need to hold short of ILS critical area
Be able to explain lost comms requirements given a scenario
MEL and CDL usage


HR INTERVIEW
Logbook: have original and two copies of all required documents. Put tabs for each major checkride, IPC, flight reviews, etc.
Wear a suit and tie, bring a pen, clean shaven, friendly
Tell me a little about yourself
How did you get into aviation
What makes you interested in skywest
Where do you see yourself in 2-5 years
Tell me about checkride failures and what you learned from them
Tell me about an emergency you had
Tell me about recent flying experience
Have you ever been scared in an airplane
Have you ever been flying and had a conflict with a student? How would you handle it
If there is one thing you could change about the current organization
What do you anticipate being the biggest challenge in training
What do you think you would bring to skywest
What does professionalism mean to you
TMAAT? I don't know what this means, look it up
Skywest is going to invest thousands of dollars into your training, why should they trust you?
What is your greatest strength and weakness
Tell me a time you were challenged
Tell me a time you were a leader
What is the best flight you’ve ever had
What is the worst flight you've ever had
Three questions for interviewer
Tell me a time you did something stupid
Tell me a time you demonstrated good moral character
What things would stand out about you
You see a captain having a drink within 8 hours of flight, what do you do
You are at minimums and no runway items in sight but the captain is continuing, what would you do
Tell me about the time you took up your first passenger, how did it make you feel and how did it go
What would your students say about you
How would you feel flying with a younger captain with less experience
What is your greatest weakness in your aviation
What you improve in your aviation knowledge
Tell me about a time in your aviation career where you scared yourself
What is your motivation to be a pilot
What materials did you use to study
What base would you choose
What airplane would you choose


Okay. So congrats for skimming this far down. It seems like a lot now that it's out there, but I had three weeks and I tried to have an answer for all of these questions.


MY INTERVIEW
0800: It was just me and one other applicant. We were both part of the pilot pathways program. The interviewer gave us a tour of the facilities and we watched a video on skywest. We talked about ourselves for a little bit and moved to the difficult part...

~0930: We were both led into a boardroom with a whiteboard and two chairs for the CRM scenario. Our scenario was we were on approach to KORD at 1300z with one hour fuel remaining and an aircraft has broken down on the runway, you do a go around and enter the hold. Your EFC time is 1330. A passenger has a heart attack and is unconscious. Declare emergency and try to get into ORD. As we're getting vectored, visibility drops to 1/4. We elected to divert to an airport 20 mins away. At this point the scenario ended. They told us we communicated well together, but we should've kept the flight attendants in the loop and checked the weather at our diversion airport before heading there. We went back into the boardroom and were told to draw a turbofan engine.

~1000: I was interviewed 1-on-1 with a captain. She asked me to go through the engine as if I was a molecule of air. What does the accessory gearbox do? She pulled out the ILS into RNO, asked me to brief the approach, and asked: what is the visibility required (it showed "7" which is 7 miles visibility!)? Can you fly the approach if the visibility is less than prescribed and you're outside the FAF? Where is the FAF? she asked me about when we need a takeoff alternate if we're operating as part 121. She pulled out a METAR/TAF. Asked me to read it to a certain point. When do we need an alternate? What does the TEMPO mean? Can you plan an approach according to a TEMPO w/out filing an alternate? She pulled out a STAR and asked me to interpret. Asked me what would be the lowest possible speeds at certain points. I mistook the MEA altitudes as procedure altitudes. Asked me to explain a constant RPM, variable pitch prop. No questions about the electrical system at all.

~1130: Lunch. We chatted some more about ourselves, it was relaxed.

~1200: HR interview. I was asked: Why skywest? What do you expect to have the most trouble with in ground training? What is your biggest success and your biggest weakness in aviation? Have you ever had difficulties with a student inflight? He took down the numbers to my passport, certs, medical, etc. Said I shouldn't have anything to worry about and I was on my way.

1230: Finished.

I got an email 2 days later saying "welcome aboard."


Miscellaneous junk: I stayed at the crystal inn and they picked me up and dropped me off at the airport for my flight and at the skywest training facility (did I mention this was in SLC?). I checked out the LDS temple and got a book of mormon. Quite a few homeless people around the hotel/downtown area, but I'm from a place that has lots of homeless anyway. The lunch they provide is a sandwich and chips. Even though they didn't ask me about the electrical system for the complex plane I flew, I would definitely recommend studying it just in case and I learned a lot about it I didn't know. Use the "Everything Explained" book for learning about the 121 regs. It does a good job breaking it down into actual english.
Date Interviewed: April 2017
Summary of Qualifications: ATP, SEL/MEL, 1600TT, Part135, volunteer SAR flying
Were you offered the job? No
Pilot Interview Profile:
The overwhelming consensus is that the SkyWest interview is relaxed and professional. Unfortunately, I had a different experience.

I had been scheduled for the afternoon at 1pm, and by the time 1pm came, the 3 candidates for the morning interviews were still going. So my interview was pushed back and started about 1:30. No matter, I planned on being there for the rest of the day. 3 other pilots showed up for the afternoon interview too. The interview was supposed to be a 4 part interview: Intro to the Airline, HR questions, technical review, and a 7 minute CRM/simulated flight emergency with the other candidates.

During the Intro part, we all learned the surprise that none of the other pilots except me were actually candidates – they were there for a look-see. I was the only afternoon candidate. This meant there was to be no CRM/simulated flight emergency part. No matter… a quicker interview. During the Intro, I notice the mature HR lady gathering her stuff, to leave apparently. She bailed about 2:30 and I never saw her again. I get it that it was late on a Saturday afternoon, and there was only one candidate (me) to mess with… so perhaps my candidacy was a small return on her Saturday afternoon investment as it were. No matter, I thought, I’ll just be interviewed by the pilots for the HR part. Pilots be cool, right?

Of the two parts of the interview now remaining, I had the HR part first. All the research I had done on the SkyWest interview on WFFF and airlineinterviews.com had consistently described the Skywest interview process as relaxed and professional, yet thorough. Mine was anything but that. The young Skywest captain, “Captain HR”, standing in for the now-departed HR lady, was the badgering and baiting type, and my HR interview reflected exactly that style. After some pro-forma questions…. (Tell me about your interest in aviation… any accidents…TMAAT emergencies…any violations…etc…), he asked ‘have you ever interviewed with Skywest?’ This seemed to be in line with the other fill-in-the-blank questions. I thought nothing of it when I answered, but I was wrong.

Let the badgering begin.

Now, two years ago I applied with several regionals and did phone and in-person interviews… Compass, Envoy, TSA, Endeavor, Skywest, others. I received a CJO with one of them. However I decided not to join any 121 because of a family matter that cropped up (wife moved away for a job, left me with the kid). I answered his ‘did you interview at SkyWest’ question with ‘Yes and No…” and explained that I did a phone screening interview with Skywest, but not an actual in person interview. It was the whole truth, but which turned out to be a big interview error. This is where Captain HR latched on like a bulldog. “I’ve been doing Skywest interviews for two and a half years now and I don’t recall anyone in HR ever doing a phone interview….” “We don’t do phone interviews…” “Were you or were you not interviewed by SkyWest…” I explained again the communication I recalled and considered as the screening phone call. I admitted that I could not recall the date of the phone call, but I did somewhat recall the HR recruiter's name “Monica Poland or Polad”. I could tell he recognized the person, but this was his response: “Well which was it Poland or Polad or Polock?” He actually said “Polock” … as in the ethnic slur for Polish people. The way he said it too, with a chuckle, I was thinking WTF are these SkyWest people about? Maybe he thought it was a funny joke, but I was kind of stunned at the entire conversation we were having. He goes on about my apparent faulty recollection of discussions with SkyWest 2 years prior … “I’ve never forgotten the details of any aviation interview…” Then he dropped the bomb… “What I am evaluating here is your honesty…” I found this insulting because I am the Eagle Scout type when it comes to honesty. I knew the actual interview was over at that point, but I assured him that the communications with SkyWest two years prior were all factual, and that if it mattered I would produce the emails with the SkyWest recruiter from 2015.

Then the baiting. He dives into the logbook, which going back to 1988 (so there’s my approx. age) is filled with 1600 hours of a variety of SEL, MEL, Search and Rescue flying, volunteer flying with cadets, glider towing, G1000 glass cockpit IFR coupled approaches in actual, Part135 passenger airline operates, and an ATP cert +First Class Medical. What does he ask for the HR logbook question? “I see you didn’t fly at all this past March…why?” My response: ‘I’m a weekend-only reserve pilot for the Part 135 operator, and they are well staffed with 6 pilots on hand this year, and also the shoulder of the Winter slow season is just ending. Most of my weekend duty for the Part135 is in the Summer, covering the other pilots who get burnt out during the week.’ Well that answer wasn’t good enough for Captain HR: “But I see that in 2016 you flew quite a bit in March…” As if to say… ‘You’re lying about the Winter weather!’ All I could really do is repeat the truth… I’m a weekend-only reserve pilot and I serve when I am called. Repeating a perfectly truthful and the only reasonable explanation went over like a fart in a cockpit.

More: “I see you logged time flying to the such-and-such Aviation Conference. Why didn’t you log the time flying back?” Me: ‘Because I didn’t fly that leg.’ But really, I had to wonder at this point if this line of questioning had anything to do with my suitability as a First Officer for SkyWest, or if it was just badgering. Was there really a question here in the logbook that I was logging NOT ENOUGH time for my flights?

More baiting. “I see you had a checkride failure on a Part135 checkride… tell me about that.” I explained that during the checkride I had forgotten to memorize a radio frequency needed to report position into dispatch. (It’s a GOM requirement). I explained why this happened – that I had never operated the radios for base check-in during any of my training. I took responsibility for the checkride bust and explained that I now have the freq memorized and also written in a handy place. Captain HR baits: “That seems especially harsh of the POI to bust you for that…” (Aside: the POI himself said it was a ‘training failure’ not a ‘pilot failure’, but I did NOT mention this in the Skywest interview). My response to the ‘especially harsh’ comment (after taking responsibility etc, see above): I described that there had been considerable friction between the POI and airline management, and that the POI was trying to raise the bar on the loose pilot training program at the airline. Oh, there was my error – I had taken the bait. Gotcha. ‘Failure to accept responsibility for own shortfalls’. To be fair he did not say that, but I could see it. The look on his face was like ‘Sweet Victory, and case closed’.

So, my advice is, don’t tell the full truth of any negative situation – describe what you learned and assume full responsibility, even if the truth is more nuanced or complex. Don’t get baited. They want simple, if incomplete, answers here folks.

Here’s another possible bait: In the Intro they say that both career advancing pilots and Lifer pilots are equally welcomed at SkyWest. At my age I would be considered a Lifer, and when Captain HR asked about it, I acknowledged this reality. I got the impression that you’re not supposed to admit to being anything other than a Regional Airline Cinderella waiting for your Legacy 737 Pumpkin Stagecoach, because my admission again produced that frowny-face look, like when someone farts in the cockpit. (That’s Cockpit Fart #2 for those of you counting). I can understand that Lifers are considered the cold molasses holding back the seniority climbers, hogging the best seats in the best airplanes and taking the best schedules from the rest of the deserving junior aircrew, so it’s best not to admit being a Lifer if asked. With young Captains doing your HR interview, you want to mirror them: the Captain Gung-Ho ‘I will Sweep the Seniority List Before Thee’ type!

Here’s some more advice: Don’t admit to having a CJO with a different regional. Captain HR did not like that at all. You are supposed to come to the BRAW (Best Regional Airline in the World i.e. SkyWest) with only one thing dripping from your eager quivering tongue: “I love only you, SkyWest. You’re the only one for me…”

There was more to tell, but frankly it’s exhausting to re-live it. You get the jist. Unprofessional behavior for the HR portion of the interview. Other industry pilots have encouraged me to report this experience into SkyWest HR so other pilot candidates are not subjected to the same treatment from Captain HR when the adults bail out early. (Not sure it’s worth the trouble, as I already have an equally excellent 121 job lined up starting this summer, plus I doubt my interview experience will matter at SkyWest HR).

The technical part of the interview had a different captain, who was professional, and it went as described in other gouge: draw electrical system, write 91.175, when does the SLC ILS approach begin, how do you convert AC to DC, what is a diode, what do you need to see to land, holding speeds, etc. The Tech interviewing captain was about the same age as, but far more mature than Captain HR. He congratulated me for doing well and thanked me for being prepared. Discussions concluded quickly.

Midway during the Tech part, Captain HR did came in and played on his laptop at a different table, no doubt wrapping up his interview notes so to arrange his early departure. The quick and easy Tech part worried me a bit because I had the feeling that it was *too easy* based on interview experiences of others, as if Captain HR had given the sign, pulled his left earlobe, reversed his SkyWest ID card, or whatever, signaling that the HR part was a fail and the Tech portion was for naught.

I got the ‘Thanks but No thanks’ the following week. Based on other interview gouge suggesting a professional approach to SkyWest interviews, it seems my interview experience with SkyWest was not normal, however I hope it’s useful for other candidates in case you see it for yourself.
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