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Frontier Airlines Pilot Interview Profiles

Date Interviewed: January 2014
Summary of Qualifications: Military, Regional, Fractional, Corporate
5600 TT, 2600 PIC
Were you offered the job? Yes
Pilot Interview Profile:
The interview is as advertised. Fourteen scheduled for the day and all showed well in advance of 0800.

First was a company overview with HR, an FO volunteer, and intern answering questions. The February class date had been filled, and they were hiring for March and April. Anticipating 128 hires from Sept 13 through June 14. They’re about halfway through the process with classes of 20 per month. Increasing manning from 5 to 5.3 crews/plane. Not much attrition and some growth through efficiency and possible new planes before the first NEO arrives in late 2015. My impression was that they’re grateful for Republic for keeping things afloat but very excited about future prospects and opportune growth under Indigo Partners.

At 0930, we were escorted to the break room and sat with a line captain, while we were escorted in and out for the HR panel and cockpit scenarios. The time in the break room is absolutely part of the interview process. He went out of the way to engage each of us and watched how we interacted within the group. He was part of the process later in the day and openly stated his motivation for spending his day off in the building was to find people with whom he would want to fly.

The HR panel is fairly relaxed. Again, one pilot reviewed logbooks and original documents (bring three copies as instructed!) while the other and HR took turns asking questions. No tricks, straight forward, and mostly customer service related.

- Why F9?
- What is the role of a pilot to directly or indirectly contribute to the success of the company?
- TMAAT when you delivered outstanding customer service.
- What’s the worst job you ever had?
- Define Angle of Attack. Why is it important to you?
- A couple other technical questions that I don’t recall.
- Any questions of us? “Everything is fair game.”

The scenario is the fastest seven minutes of your life:

- All seemed to have the same basic flight profile, IAH-DEN, with a line of TS ahead and MEL restricting the aircraft to FL310. From the basic setup, a number of situations were presented from disruptive pax, medical emergency, mechanical, to a confirmed bomb threat. At the end, they ask you to debrief your performance but give no feedback at all regarding their assessment. Not sure how you prepare for this one, but collect info, confirm fuel, assign flying and non-flying responsibilities, use all resources, solicit inputs, and make the least bad decision possible. In the end, I died but passed. I guess it was noble death.

Once all had completed the HR panel and scenario, the company representatives met for about 40 minutes for an up or down vote. They escorted those who weren’t selected to move on to “Round Two” out, and the rest of us waited to meet with the ACP and line captain. The interview with the ACP seemed more like a QA check on the process, but I certainly wouldn’t take it for granted. Again, they want to be sure that you really want to be at Frontier and that you’re a good fit for their culture.

- Why F9?
- You’ve got some pretty decent experience, how well will you work with a cocky, young Captain who just upgraded?
- What’s your greatest life accomplishment?
- United’s going to pay you $80k, why wouldn’t you leave?
- What do you like to do on layovers?
- You’ve got a recommendation on file, what do you think was said about you?

After completion, they discuss again. You’re then escorted back out to HR and given a conditional offer and class date. UA, PRIA, and employment paperwork follow.

The entire process is friendly and as relaxed as individual stress levels will allow. My impression is that they truly wanted to hire everyone that they invited. At the same time, just 9 of the 14 were extended conditional offers. A couple of seemingly quality people with a variety of backgrounds were sent home. Be sharp, engaging, and genuinely want to contribute to what they’re building at Frontier.
Date Interviewed: August 2013
Summary of Qualifications: USAF C-135s & MC-12. 6,100TT / 4,700 PIC / 4,000 TPIC
Were you offered the job? Yes
Pilot Interview Profile:
• Interviewed on Aug 29
• If you’re not in Denver, they fly you positive space out there (from a Frontier-served location). Invitation suggested the Staybridge hotel, which is literally in the same parking lot—highly recommended for convenience sake. Several other hotels within a block or so that are plenty convenient, too (I stayed at the HI Express across the street, since Staybridge didn’t have any rooms).
• Official start time was 8:30, but invitation suggested showing “around 8:00” to check in. I got there a few minutes before 8 and there were three guys who’d arrived ahead of me. Building doesn’t open until 8, but one of the HR reps was going back and forth letting us in. Last of the applicants (13 of us for the day) arrived by about 8:15
• Brought us into the cafeteria/break room, had us start filling out PRIA paperwork, etc. Collected some of the ID copies we were told to bring. Had us fill out a 10-year work history, including contact numbers and a “Likes/Dislikes” about each job. I strongly recommend having your history (with addresses, dates, phone numbers) with you—they will still want you to fill out their form, but those who didn’t have it written down worked a lot harder than those of us who did….
• About 9:00, they herded us into the auditorium, where we met the Chief Pilot & the HR team, as well as the volunteer escorts. In what may have made the biggest impression on me all day, the volunteer escorts were a half-dozen guys flying the line who came in on their day off, volunteering to show us around, answer questions, shoot the bull, and generally give us their impressions of the company. They spanned the spectrum from the #1 line captain to the second-to-bottom FO. Class act, IMO.
• Briefing from HR & CP about the company, where it’s going, pay & benefits basics, etc. Some tidbits I hadn’t seen elsewhere:
o EFBs are a “done deal”; expect details to be finalized & iPads in use by end of year
o Planning to hire 50 pilots; CP chose his words carefully for what he was (and was not) at liberty to say, but he was “comfortable saying it will likely be more than that”
o First class is 16 Sep; 12 per class; one class per month; all classes in Denver, with sims split between DEN & MIA; trainees are considered domiciled in DEN, so no hotel provided for training—however, hotel is provided for those who go to MIA to sim
o $17,000 / 1 year training contract
• Rest of day was split between morning & afternoon, panel interviews & scenario interviews. Gave us a loose schedule of who was doing which interview in the morning, then flip-flop for the afternoon—the order of go was followed, but the timing was approximate and people just flowed through at whatever pace it took (some longer, some shorter). Otherwise we hung out in the break room, chatting with each other & the volunteer escorts.
• Lunch break was catered (Chipotle) in the auditorium, which was more opportunity to chat up both the volunteers & the interviewers. Chief Pilot is a really laid-back guy who was happy to take any & all questions.
• Specifics on the interview follow. NOTE, as many suspected, the previous week’s interviewees were told to keep a lid on things, hence the lack of info put out. However, the Chief Pilot explicitly said to feel free to spread the intel “starting tomorrow” (not to share with each other, though); he also said they’ll be changing the questions, so take the following as a guide to the flavor of question vice the actual questions.

• PANEL INTERVIEW: Five interviewers in the room: CP, head of pilot recruiting, HR, & 2 FOs. One of the FOs collected logbooks, IDs/licenses, and other paperwork, and reviewed them while the interview was going on (but was not otherwise involved). The panel was professional, personable & friendly, introduced themselves, asked me to relax, and started asking questions. No attempts to trick you, no good-cop/bad-cop, etc. I was mildly surprised at the format—they had the HR folks asking some of the tech questions & the pilots asking some of the HR questions, and more or less alternating between tech & HR-type questions. Everyone was taking notes on every answer to every question—I decided to just ignore that and speak at my own pace. No real surprises, nothing tough, nothing to brief (approaches, etc.). From memory:
o What’s the difference between “light chop” and “light turbulence”?
o What do alternating red & white runway centerline lights mean?
o Do you have to report entering holding while in radar contact?
o When did the last A318 leave Frontier?
o TMAAT you lied.
o TMAAT a captain made you uncomfortable.
o WWYD if your captain wasn’t following company procedure?
o What is the biggest sacrifice you’ve made in pursuit of your flying career?
I’m sure I forgot a few that were asked, but not many—it really was pretty short. My impression of the tech-type questions is that they wanted more to see if you were going to try to BS your way through or not on the ones you are less sure on. I had no idea on the 318 question, for example, and said so, then just said “I think it was within the last year or so” by way of a guess….

• SCENARIO INTERVIEW: Three interviewers in the room, with a paper tiger on the wall (which is the last time you need to even think about it, it’s only there to help pretend you’re in an airplane). You’re the captain (fully qualified), you have a fully-qualified FO, there’s an FFDO in the jumpseat who is a fully-qualified F9 captain. The third interviewer is the moderator who is “invisible,” and who is also everyone else outside the cockpit (FAs, ATC, dispatch, etc.). You’re given a sheet of paper with the scenario and another with various weather info. You can ask as many questions as you like before the timer starts. The situation:
o You’re flying from DEN to LGA, you’re a bit south of Chicago, and the lead FA reports that there’s an unruly passenger, appears to be drunk, and is starting to hassle FAs & other pax.
o Also of note, the jet was MEL’d with a bad radio altimeter and limited to CAT1 approaches, and you took off max GW. The weather sheet only had three fields on it with CAT1 mins (DTW, something further east in Ohio, and LGA)—all the rest were below mins. I asked what the fuel situation (max GW t/o) was vs max landing weight—they seemed happy that I’d asked, but told me to forget about that and it wouldn’t be a factor.
o When you’re ready, the moderator sets the timer for seven minutes (you don’t see it, so I recommend looking at your watch) and “Go”
o I followed the Emerald Coast method (Albie, you’d be proud!), and I felt it worked pretty well for me. The distracters were that the FFDO was pretty gung-ho to go back and take care of things—I’ve never flown Pt 121, but I was pretty sure opening the door in such a case is a no-no, so I squashed that idea. ATC got pretty insistent on some upcoming moderate turbulence. The FA kept calling with ever-more dire reports on what the pax was doing, to include choking out one of the FAs. ATC started vectoring us south (i.e., away from DTW). Once I had everything together, I declared an emergency and diverted to DTW.
o I used every bit of the seven minutes—I had no sooner announced the decision, started the divert, and told the FO I’d be flying the approach & landing when the timer went off. I’m still not convinced they didn’t set the time for three minutes…
o One thing I think I “missed” was that the jumpseater was reading a newspaper while much of this was going on. I saw it, registered it—and was too task-saturated to recognize it until afterward. I assume they were looking for me to tell him to put it down and stay in the game. He was still responsive to the things I asked him to do (I’d put him in charge of talking to dispatch and working out our divert plan).
o I had the impression that some of the external inputs (e.g., the turbulence) were discretionary by the moderator—i.e., if you seem like you’re getting ahead of things, he’ll throw another curve ball in; I don’t know if that’s really the case or not
o Just like in the panel, the interviewers were all extremely professional & personable. The situation is designed to be stressful, but they go out of their way to ensure they are not personally adding to that stress.

• At the end of the day (once everyone was finished with both sessions), they brought us back into the auditorium. It was a very quick “thank you for coming, do you have any questions” briefing, and a chance to say thank you & good-bye to all the interviewers & volunteers. They stated that the calls would go out the next day (for all applicants this cycle—the first batch of guys from last week waited ~10 days, so I feel lucky to only have been on the hook for 24 hours!).
• Ultimately, I left the interview wanting the job even more than when I’d first showed up. My impression of the company is one that’s big enough to have the potential for some real growth, yet small enough that you can know the Chief Pilot without being in trouble for something. I was very happy to chat with a lot of motivated people who enjoyed where they work, who they work with, and who they work for—whatever the legacy carriers have going for them, that’s not something I’ve seen (from my limited exposure, at least)
• And… I got hired! I’m in the 16 Sep class. I’m really looking forward to joining F9’s operation and getting started on my future profession!
Date Interviewed: May 2004
Summary of Qualifications: ATP, 3,000hrs, 1500 turbine PIC
Were you offered the job? Yes
Pilot Interview Profile:

Chris Fair: Chief Pilot, Todd (unknown last name #30 seniority), Director of HR-Mary Tunnel.

Questions: What do you know about Frontier. Why work for Frontier? What makes you a good leader. Have you flown with someone you didn't like? Tell me an emergency you had. Todd pulled out the DEN class B, asked: You're over DEN at 11,000ft, what airspeed can you fly? On the Landr Arrival DEN, you are at FL350, when do you have to start down to make Landr at 250kts and 17000ft. Brief the ATL ILS 26L approach. RVR goes below mins when outside the marker, can you continue? RVR goes below mins when inside the marker, can you continue? You are at DA, what do you need to see to continue. If you continue, what altitude? What do you need to see to land? Chief Pilot want to but DA what are you going to do? Capt. won't deice what are you going to do? They pull out the Midway airport diagram, What is the minimum vis you need to take off 31? What would other pilots say about you. Tell me about a policy you didn't agree with.

Overall a laid back experience. Chris Fair seemed like a decent guy and friendly guy, Todd was a good guy and Mary Tunnel well, lets just say there is a good reason she is not a flight attendant. And yes I did get the job.

Date Interviewed: September 1999
Summary of Qualifications: NA
Were you offered the job? Don't Know
Pilot Interview Profile:

Interviewed September. Can't really tell you a lot as my interviewers schedules got mixed up and I ended up with a pretty brief one on one with the DO. I can tell you from some research that the usual interview usually follows the following brief profile.

One on one with chief pilot and director or training. Nothing too technical. It is basically just to get to know you. They ask the basics to include:

why do you want to work for Frontier? why do you want to leave your current employer? Tell us about Frontier. Do you know what we pay? What will you do if a major calls tomorrow? Do you know we have a training bond? (one year, $7500)

If the first portion goes well you will be turned over to the DO. He will ask you a few more questions and if that goes well you will be placed in a hiring pool.

No sim, no medical.

The growth projection for 2000 is 20% which means around 4 more airplanes and at least 40 pilots.

These are really nice people and easy to talk with. I was placed in the pool and told to expect a class no sooner than February. They will be having classes from February through October 2000.

I hope you can do something with this info. I know it's not much but it is all I can recall.

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