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Horizon Air Pilot Interview Profiles

Date Interviewed: September 2016
Summary of Qualifications: 2000 Total Time, 52 Multi, 1600 Dual Given, Fresh R-ATP Multi (July 2016) No Type Ratings. 4 year Aviation Degree (MSUD)
Were you offered the job? Yes
Pilot Interview Profile:
Interview overview:
I Applied on a Wednesday and Received a phone call Thursday less than 24 hours later. I had a 5 minute phone conversation with Deja about my application, and a time I was available for an interview. I chose a date 3 weeks out for personal reasons (house for sale, etc) and to prepare. Was flown out on Alaska/ Horizon, and put in a hotel overnight. Interview time frame was 8am - 230 pm including pre-hire badge photo, drug test, and new hire meeting. Enjoyed free time between interviews with other applicants in a professional and relaxed environment. Was offered Job same day.

Pre-Interview/ Travel:
I was instructed to select a flight out positive space (paid for by Horizon) to Portland. Flew to SEA via Alaska, then a Horizon Q400 to PDX. I took opportunities to introduce myself to crew members when appropriate not just to look good in case they are in touch with QX (doesn’t hurt…) but for any last minute info before interview. Consistently told to “be yourself, smile and tell them that and why Horizon/Northwest etc.” Everyone was very supportive and excited for me. I took shuttle to a paid for hotel (Country Inn)
I reviewed AIM, King Schools Jepp overview program, general IFR information, and everything I could find on the Q400 and Horizon. I also used Checklist for Success by Cheryl Cage, a priceless guide to airline interviews. If you do not own, purchase is mandatory in my opinion.

Show up:
I waited in the Lobby for the 7:15 Shuttle, met two other applicants with whom I introduced myself. We arrived at Headquarters shortly before 7:30, where 8 out of 9 applicants got a tour of headquarters. The 9th applicant arrived after our tour, and we met him in a conference room that was our “holding pen” for the day. We were each pulled out one by one for each of the three interviews, and eventually our drug test/ background test/ photo for company ID badge. I believe all (I was) were told we were hired before ID session.

Chief Pilot:
Chief Pilot, Allison (Goes by Ali) and her HR support was very friendly and informal. Look through Logbook (less than a minute) Questions included why aviation, why horizon, difficult decision, where I see myself in 5-10 years, etc. We talked company future, upgrade times, and hiring path to Alaska (Ali told me there IS a flow through program to Alaska Airlines.) I made it clear I wanted to move to the Northwest, work for Horizon, and really wanted to fly/stay with the Q400 if possible for ~5 years (true). Very briefly discussed one check ride failure, was made clear this was not an issue. Honesty seemed more important in these answers than giving her the “right” answers.

Typical HR questions, Tell me about a time, discussed customer service background (I have a career history in management/customer service,) and discussed check ride failure in a little more detail. As previously stated, had more to do with what I learned and experiences, and again Honesty was more important than canned answers.

This was my personal weak area, still did well. Same scenarios previously stated by previous gouges. Each applicant had a different scenario (from what I could tell.) 20 minute flight, what does metar say, interpret Notams, what does asterisk next to tower mean, which approach (none were legal to fly in scenario), when can you descend below MEA, what does 5600T mean, hold scenario, when alternate, where, which runway would I depart, how would I join airway, etc. Flew under part 91 rules for me (that’s my current background) asked about 50 different questions about scenario. I probably would have graded myself a 85%, but honest when unsure, and still did “just fine” by exam giver. Not sure if he was a pilot but obviously knew correct answers. I forget his name, but got the impression he is heavily involved in training process.

After all three interviews and lunch provided, We were taken out of class by Deja, told individually if accepted (or not) taken for prescreening, then discuss offer letter, class dates, etc. At the end we were given a 15 minute conference all together on what to expect at training classes etc. 4-week paid ground school (one week before ATP-CTP paid for training by another company for those who need it,) Ground is in Portland with double occupancy room and transport paid for by Horizon. Followed by 2 weeks for a Sim session in Seattle Single occupancy hotel. Then IOE and on reserve and issued base TBD. I heard good things about potential change to pay structure (I.E. more pay,) was greeted by a half dozen current employees who were excited to see us and wished us all well.
6 out of 9 of us were offered jobs, one was a ATP school interview for a tuition reimbursement (which he got) one didn’t do well in first Chief Pilot interview (don’t know why) and the other guy was the only one who wasn’t wearing a black suit and dark colored tie and white undershirt, innapropriate language filter... They really want to hire you and see you succeed. Assuming you come prepared and are excited to be there, should be easy and straight forward interview process.
Date Interviewed: August 2016
Summary of Qualifications: 6,200 TT
2,300 PIC turbine
2,900 multi
Were you offered the job? Yes
Pilot Interview Profile:
I applied for the job and received a call from recruiting within one week. We scheduled an interview less than a week after that.

The interview is 3 parts now, chief pilot, HR, and technical. There is NO sim check anymore, I did not have to fly any sort of sim. You will get selected for one of the 3 phases of interview in no particular order.

CHIEF PILOT INTERVIEW- There were 3 people in the room with me, only two of them talked, the other just observed. I had to show my logbooks and certificates and go over any failures I've had in the past. I forgot about my CFI failure even though it was right there in my first logbook. Make sure you go over those so you don't look as bad as I did at that point. How did you get into flying? Where do you see yourself in 5 years? Why do you want to work at Horizon? Tell us about yourself. How long have you been flying? Do you have any questions for us?

HR INTERVIEW- One HR lady interviewed me. Tell me about a stressful situation in your aviation career and how did you handle it? Tell me about any failures you've had. They don't mind if you've had failures, they want to see that you learned something from them. Do you have any questions?

TECHNICAL INTERVIEW- One individual and myself. What are V1, Vr, and V2? Interviewer had laminated Jepp pages on the table for me to review. The 2 airports I had were KRBG (Roseburg, OR) and KOTH (Northbend, OR). Airport diagrams and approach charts were there for both airports as well as a Jepp low enroute chart for the area encompassing those 2 airports. He left for 5-10 minutes while I reviewed those as well as a weather printout with NOTAMS and time of departure as well as fuel on board and time enroute. When he came back he asked me some chart related questions. He asked me to decipher the METAR/TAF and NOTAMS. What is the diagram at the upper right of the approach chart? (MSA) What is the highest elevation on the chart? What is the MEA, what does it guarantee, where do I find it? What does MOCA mean, what does it guarantee, show me an example of it on the chart. On a flight from KRBG to KOTH, which runway would you depart, how would you get to KOTH (assuming no radar vectors)? What altitude, how would you become established on the approach? If the weather goes below mins after final approach fix, can you continue? On the missed how do you enter the hold? Will you have enough fuel for this trip if you have to fly back to your alternate? Be sure to review the notes for the approach. In my case, runway 31 was not authorized at night and runway 04/22 were NOTAM'd closed so that only left runway 13 available. Horizon uses category C approach minimums, at least for this flight that's what he had me use.

I was never asked anything about the current airplane I fly (PC12NG) except if I liked it. We were the first group of interviewees NOT to have a sim check. 5 of the 6 of us got job offers. All 3 parts of the interview were as low stress as can be for an interview. Interviewers were all polite and friendly at all times, no trick questions.

Interview starts at 8AM, plan to be there by 7:30 to turn in your paperwork and get temporary VISITOR badges. They start by giving you a tour of the facility after which the group sits and waits in a room while waiting to do each of the 3 stages of the interview. Horizon flies you in, puts you in a hotel (which supplies free breakfast), and feeds you lunch, as well as flying you home at their expense. Dinner the night before will be at your expense. Upgrade time in the Q400 is currently showing 2.5-3 years but is expected to come down to 2 years shortly. Pilots will be on reserve for a short amount of time, supposedly just after IOE you can hold a line. I wore a dark gray suit and red tie and left my jacket on the entire interview. They will ask you when you can start and then based on that will let you choose a class date. I believe there a 2 classes per month. Mine starts a little less than 3 weeks from the day of the interview. Class consists of 3.5 weeks ground school and systems procedures trainer at KPDX, dress is business casual but we were told nice jeans are ok and a polo shirt. The schedule is Mon-Fri each week and they will fly you back and forth on weekends to go home if you wish. After ground school, it's 2.5 weeks of sim at Flight Safety in Seattle. Note, during ground school, the hotel is double occupancy, so you will have a roommate, in Seattle you get the hotel room to yourself.

My background is all part 135, cargo and EMS. Cargo was all piston twins while EMS has been some King Air 90 but a vast majority of PC12 split between legacy and NG. I have zero part 121 time or SIC time.
Date Interviewed: March 2016
Summary of Qualifications: 1600TT, 250 Multi 300 Turbine
Were you offered the job? Yes
Pilot Interview Profile:
The RECENT gouges are still fairly accurate, the older ones however are not.

Still have a 3 part interview, HR, Chief Pilot, and technical, in no particular order.

Will probably start with a tour of the facility and a rundown of the process.

The technical interview is mostly just things that you should already be familiar with if you are a current and experienced instrument pilot. I felt that pretty much all the questions I was asked would also have been appropriate questions for an instrument checkride. ALL Jepp charts! Make sure you can tell a part time ATC facility/frequency and how to find their hours of operation. Was given a route from Pullman to Lewiston, along with appropriate charts, very basic weather, pireps and notams. Many of the questions pertained to how I would conduct this flight. Again, if you are a competent/current instrument pilot and can read Jepp charts, this shouldn't be a big deal.

HR interview was pretty standard, lots of TMAAT questions. Other gouges are pretty accurate on this. I struggled to come up with an answer to one question. After a little thinking, I was reassured that if I was able to just rattle off answers that they would be a lot more concerned.

Chief Pilot interview was also pretty standard. Why Horizon, a few questions about why I got into flying, TMAAT questions, etc.

I was NOT asked anything about stock prices, company history, timeline of the company, who founded it, aircraft types or anything like that.

The sim is done in house at the PDX ops building now. This has been simplified greatly, so disregard the older gouges on this. Was not expected to do anything other than fly the plane and talk on the radio. Speeds were given to me earlier but I was not allowed to bring them with me into the sim. All frequencies were set, no identing navaids, don't have to mess with the props, just flaps and gear. No route or any relation to the scenario in the technical part. Just takeoff 10R, vectors to final for ILS 10R at PDX. Missed with verbal missed instructions which were just a heading and altitude. The sim is still a Frasca, desktop style with a side radio stack panel & throttle quadrant configured as a King Air 200.

The sim is still quite sensitive, however I'm certain that they know that as well. I fly in IMC on an almost daily basis and this was NOT my best flying, in fact I would have been embarrassed to fly like this in the real world. I think what they're really looking for here is that you understand how to fly the approach procedure, can do a reasonable job of holding altitudes and headings, and maybe that there's some method to your madness of instrument flying. I busted altitude a couple times but caught it quickly and corrected it and it wasn't an issue.

Again, the sim is sensitive, but they know you've never flown the thing and certainly aren't expecting perfection when you only have a grand total of like 10 minutes on the thing by the time it's all done. If you feel the need to prepare for this, MS Flight Sim or some other similar program is surely suitable for the task. This won't be your best flight, but it won't be for any of the other applicants either.

If you make it this far, you may be offered conditional employment, then it's off to do the drug test and photo, both done in house.

At the end of the day, I think they're just trying to make sure that you're at least a competent instrument pilot, and that you don't have some character flaw that would make you unpleasant in the cockpit or to their passengers.
Date Interviewed: January 2016
Summary of Qualifications: ATP, cfi/cfii, mei
Type rating citation, hawker
Were you offered the job? Yes
Pilot Interview Profile:
Use Horizon for interview practice for other airlines is what I recommend. I did an hr, technical, chief pilot and simulation evaluation. I turned down their job offer for these reasons, almost a year on reserve, lowest paid airline now, no flow thru to alaska, and 8 year upgrade time. You'll have to bounce to get the needed captain time and start from scratch again so find a company that has much more to offer you. It's an airline that will suck the quality of life out of you. Lots of my friends are leaving here, prop time gets you nowhere in the majors. Go get jet time. Stay away from horizon!
Date Interviewed: April 2015
Summary of Qualifications: R-ATP, CFI/I
Were you offered the job? Yes
Pilot Interview Profile:
The previous gouge is wrong.

There's no official flow through to Alaska but Alaska is currently hiring our pilots like crazy.

Also the comment that prop time doesn't matter? Not true. Turbine time is turbine time. Can't tell how many of our pilots are being hired at Delta and United lately, even without the pic time.

Also upgrade tome to Captain is 2-3 years right now and dropping fast. Research time is a year if you're based boise right now. Otherwise it's 3-4 months max.

Not sure where the previous gouge got their information but don't trust it.

Source: current FO at Horizon. And no, I'm not banging the company drum. I'm aiming to move to a major as soon as I can but not because Horizon is a bad place.
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