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Delta Air Lines Pilot Interview Profiles

Date Interviewed: February 2014
Summary of Qualifications: 3000 TT-fixed wing / ME / Turbine (military)
2800 PIC
2100 IP/FE
Were you offered the job? Yes
Pilot Interview Profile:
Delta has a very solid interview process. Typically there are 8 interviewees each day. The interview last 2 days with a conditional job offer after day 1. They will book you a free airline ticket to Atlanta, but lodging and transportation are up to you.

We showed up before 0745 on the first day of the interview. We immediately turned in our log books/flight records and for military performance reports/fitness reports and flight evaluation folders. After that, we congregated in the waiting room that would be our home for the next day and a half.

At first, Arnie Kraby (retired Chief Pilot in charge of training) took us all into a room and explained the process to us. He gave a little info about Delta's new-hire planning (planning on hiring though the year but can't go public because investors balk at the addition of more pilots due to cost!).

The interviewees are divided (alphabetically) equally (that's 4 and 4 for non-math majors), with the former interviewing first and the latter completing testing first. I was in the testing first group.

The test consisted of 3 parts. FIRST (called the Cognitive Test) was a series of tests designed to test your cognitive skills. It consisted of a series of small modules from remembering series of number and repeating them in reverse order, recognition of a "stick man" holding a marshalling flag and determining what hand he was holding the flag in, to tests designed to test your multitasking abilities (keeping a moving object in one place while recognizing different number sequences in another place on the screen). Each question is timed, but the only time a question timed out on me was a "word" math problem that I was just about to answer when it moved on to the next question. Some people purchased accounts on "luminosity" to prepare them for this part of the exam, but I didn't. I think that as long as you concentrate and get a good nights sleep before, you should do OK. The SECOND part of the test was a personality test. You are presented with around 200 questions like "I feel uncomfortable in public". You can answer all questions with a Strongly Disagree, Disagree, Neutral, Agree, or a Strongly Agree. This is by far the easiest part of the test. The THIRD and last part of the test is a 60 question Job Knowledge test. You are given 60 minutes to complete the test, which is enough time. All questions are very ATP-like. This was the most difficult part of the testing. I left knowing I had a solid 60%, but probably did better than that. Everyone leaves this part of the test thinking they failed. They must set the bar pretty low since most people who prepare seem to pass.

After the testing, we went to the Delta cafeteria for lunch. We knew what time we had to be back for the interviews because they post a schedule of your testing and interview time. The lunch was good, but remember, don't eat anything you don't want to wear into the interview.

We returned to the waiting area for our interviews. Most interviews lasted about 30-45 minutes. The interview was very relaxed and I felt comfortable. There were three interviewers, an HR person, a retired Captain, and a current Captain. After talking to the others in my interview group, the interviews seem to be pretty standard. The HR rep has a copy of your application (from airlineapps.com) and one of the Captains is craniums-down looking through your records (to include OPRs and FEFs for military). The HR rep asked me to talk through my career starting with college. This was an opportunity to cover the highlights of my career--without belaboring the low points. Expect them to drill down into parts of your resume. They also asked a few other questions, such as "who was your inspiration to get into flying?", "how would you as a Delta pilot represent the company when you are off duty?", "You are the Captain, what would you do if (drunk people on plane/people showed concern of a Muslim cleric on the plane, etc.)". If you have any modifications to your application that need to be made, they will annotate the change and have you initial/sign the application. They will also go over your hours, and in the case of military, apply an adjustment of 1.2 (per sortie I believe).

After the interview, we all congregated in the waiting area waiting for Cpt Kraby to deliver the good/bad news. In our case it was all good news. Everyone got a "conditional" offer. This meant that we all would return the next morning (before 0645) for the remainder of the interview process. The last thing to do on day 1 was to get fingerprinted and get our pictures taken for our crew badges. They gave us paperwork and we just went downstairs at two offices to have this done. After this we were cleared off for the day.

The next day we returned to complete the process. Most people checked out of their hotels and just put their luggage in the waiting area at Delta--this was fine. It is advisable to bring a second shirt as you are expected to be in a suit/tie on day 2 as well.

First we all took a 567 question MMPI personality test. This one was agree/disagree but painfully long. Be honest, and don't try to skew the results by making yourself look too angelic. Word is that if you are too "perfect" the results will be invalid and you will have to retake the test. Not ideal considering it takes the better part of an hour.

After the MMPI test, you will meet with a psychologist. She started with "tell me about your family life". Then she will go into your career. She asked some questions that were asked in the interview the day before and referenced notes as I answered. She obviously had the results of the interview, making sure I answered the same. Fortunately I was consistent in my answers from the first to the second day. She asked what got me into flying and a couple questions like "what was the most challenging time of your life?" and "what are you most proud of?"

After the psychologist interview, the last thing to do is get the drug testing done. You can either do it at a place about 15 minutes away (private auto or cab) or do it later when you get home, but it has to be done in 48 business hours. Everyone in my group got it done in Atlanta--that was easiest.

After the P test, we were free to go. There was no group hug afterward, we just all went our separate ways. Most people checked out of their hotels that morning and left our bags in the Delta waiting area.

Our conditional job offers are based on a satisfactory background check. They say that we will get an e-mail about a month after the interview telling us the results of the background check so that we know where we stand. For our interview class (Feb 14) we were told to expect to be offered classes between Sept and December of 2014. An interesting aspect is that seniority within interview classes is by the last-4 of your social security number. Those with the highest social get the higher seniority.

There is a lot of gouge out there covering everything from the interview to the tests. The Delta folks understand that the gouge is out there and don't seem to have a problem with it. The biggest problem with the gouge is that Delta doesn't tell you how well you did on the test, only if you passed or not. So we don't know what a passing score is, or what the real answers are. Most of the gouge is good, but realize that most of the answers in the gouge are "what I put down", not necessarily the correct answers. I read Aerodynamics for Naval Aviators prior to the interview and read the gouge, verifying the answers that I could with that book or the Airman's Information Handbook (online). I do recommend studying a lot (I did) but the statistics are on our side. The interviewees have a good success rate. Just like Arnie Kraby said at the beginning of day 1, once you get called for the interview, the job is yours unless you fail the testing or interview. I also recommend Emerald Coast if you haven't done interview prep.

GOOD LUCK!
Date Interviewed: August 2010
Summary of Qualifications: Military, 4500 hrs, Instructor Pilot, heavy airlift, passenger airlift, presidential airlift, safety school, AIS
Were you offered the job? Yes
Pilot Interview Profile:
- Everyone at Delta was very professional and nice, it was an honor to be called in for an interview much less given a conditional hire. However, it is an intimidating and ominous feeling being there, however, they do a great job putting you at ease but taking time to prep will keep this in check.
- All previous gouge is good to study for the test.
- Used luminosity.com to study for the cog testing.
- Used ASA ATP study book, AFM 11-217 vol 3, Chap 3 for 60-1 rule, Air Force Meteorology 11-230, CG and stability, sections of a jet engine and what takes place when it starts, lots of stall questions, pros/cons of swept wing aircraft, types flaps, hydraulic theory. I heard Aviation for Naval Aviators is a great study resource but I didn't have time to get my hands on one; they also have a Meteorology for Naval Aviators book I heard was good too.
- Used Aaron Hagan at Emerald Coast for interview prep. Although much of the interview questions are common sense and are published on this site and AirlinePilotcentral.com, I highly recommend Aaron due to the fact that he can help you remember things that happened in your career that you may have forgotten and will help you to formulate your answers in a way that is acceptable to the interviewers. His fee is good for multiple interviews and is refundable if you don't get hired.
- Stay calm if the interviewers get confrontational or put you in a tight spot with a question, they just want to see how you react....calm, cool, collected, and unemotional. Standard Air Force Standup EP games to be expected.
- Say "Yes, Sir"/"No, Sir", and don't get too familiar although they are going to put you at ease. They asked me if I wanted to take off my coat but I decided to leave it on. Not sure if this was just me over analyzing things but I try to find meaning behind every question/comment and always ere to the conservative....too much riding on an hour or so interview.....just me.
- Stick to your guns in the interview
- Never throw the Capt or FA under the bus
- All answers to interview questions should keep safety first, airlines rep second, however, you are not just a pilot but a salesperson for the airline
- Shave at lunch if needed
- Wear dark blue suit, Red tie (no tie clip), white shirt w/o buttondown collar, plain black shoes, black belt, black or blue socks
- 6 interviewed, 2 hired....real tough competition out there, however, they told us at the beginning they would not have called us in if we weren't qualified and they wanted to hire everyone. However, the interview was yours to lose. I prepped for approx 3-4 weeks for the interview for about 4-5 hours a day. Needless to say, it was stressful but something I will always remember.
- Another guy in my squadron was hired two days before me as well, also heavy airlift exp and IP.
- Stay at the Hilton and ask for the Delta rate....way cheaper than the gov't rate.
- I'm looking forward to training and flying the line for the next 20 years
Date Interviewed: July 2010
Summary of Qualifications: 5000TT, 1300PIC turbine 121, 135
Were you offered the job? No
Pilot Interview Profile:
Everyone was courteous and the interview was relaxed. My experience was much harder than anything I've read on the gouge or from previous friends who have been interviewed and hired in June. 12 interviewed, only one was military. Not sure how many were hired or not. I was second out the door.
Previous gouge's for test's was good. ATP test prep is good, but don't just memorize the answers because they are obviously not the same. The interview is what I failed. They started out by going over my application and talking about my education and work history. Lot's of personal style questions. What is it about flying that made you decide you were going to make it a career? What do you like about it? Was there a moment when you knew for sure this is what you wanted to do? What criteria would you use to determine if you need to call in fatigued or not? Check in time for your trip is 10:00am tomorrow morning, tell me about how you would prepare for your trip starting the day before? Now it's check in time and you meet your FO, what would you do now? How would you brief the crew? Tell me a time you had to deal with a difficult passenger? Have you ever gone above and beyond to help a passenger? Captain in the bar at 8hrs prior to show, what are you going to do? Captain and lead flight attendant get in argument at the gate while in the cockpit, then captain looks at you and says "I'm not going to talk to her anymore." What are you going to do? What was your hardest checkride? There were a few more but I can't remember.
Delta has some quirky hiring practices. They'll ask about a time when you had to deal with a difficult passenger and then hire an FO with no experience at all.
Date Interviewed: July 2010
Summary of Qualifications: Civilian Regional Jet Pilot. 5700 Total Time 1300 PIC 0 PIC Turbine 4500 Turbine Time. ATP Written.
Were you offered the job? No
Pilot Interview Profile:
Right now it seems that Delta is interviewing pilots who are about 28-34 years old who have between 5500 and 6000 total time. That was the case for the 12 people in my group who interviewed (with maybe the exception with the military guys and their total times). We were told that currently there is a need for 305 pilots to be hired and in training between August and October. 8 out of 12 were invited to the second day of the interview process. Unfortunately, I was one of the four who was not invited. Our group consisted of 10 RJ pilots (both FOs and Captains) and 2 military pilots. Of the 12, four of the pilots being interviewed were able to check the minority box on the application. The entire process is not the most pleasant even though all the Delta people are nice to work with. Stress levels are high and there are many uncertainties of not knowing what to expect throughout the day.

I failed the panel interview. It typically lasts about an hour. There were three people on the panel to ask questions. Two were pilots (both former Air Force), one pilot was active Delta, the other was retired Delta, and the other guy was Delta HR. The bulk of the questions were about high school, college, my attendance at my current job, speeding tickets. More time was spent on what I did 15 years ago than on anything related to flying. They asked who paid for my college? Why I chose it? If my high school was private or public, etc.? If I was involved in any sports or activities in high school? Just a few tech questions. How would I handle a captain who does not want to use checklist right from the beginning of the flight? How would I handle it if this captain does not respond to my desire to insist on using checklist? How would I handle receiving an ACARS message from the company that there might be a bomb on board the aircraft while we were in cruise flight? What makes a good captain? What makes a bad captain? Examples of each?

The Cog test was a challenge and everyone seems to end it feeling like they did not do well on it regardless of how one actually does. I feel that it is rather difficult to study for it. Memorizing letters of the alphabet with their associated numbers would help with one of the sections. 1A, 2B, 3C,....21U, 22V, 23W, etc. Making flash cards with a guy holding a flag and having him face you or face away, inverted and up-right. Which hand is the flag in?

The psychology test was (I think) 250 questions. Not to worry easy questions so it is quick to answer all 250. Answer honestly and you will be fine. Example: Do you always read questions twice? Do you ever cheat when playing solitaire? Strongly Agree, Neutral, Strongly Disagree, etc.

The knowledge test was 60 questions in 60 minutes. I have been told that they take questions from a random 500 question bank. Tough test. Some questions have what seems as two right answers. Questions that come to mind: In a thrust limited airplane, when does trust equal drag? 30 50 70 or 90 degrees of pitch, ATC Light gun signals. True airspeed with respect to ALT and temp change. Load Factor and effects on it. CG and handling with an aft loading. EPR measures pressure of what to pressure of what? Flammability and compressibility of a gas versus liquid? Runway lighting? Beacon lighting? Holding questions, entry, headings to fly, speed to hold? What is dihedral? What is angle of incidence? What do Fowler flaps do? What affect hydroplaning the most?

Panel interview is half of your day and the computer testing is the other half. The problem was you do not receive a schedule and when you are done with a portion, they just leave you in a lobby. Nobody knew when to eat, when to be ready for the next portion of the process, etc. So everyone just had to figure out the schedule on their own, ask someone, or just wait in the lobby. Could be ten minutes, could be three hours... Same thing happened when they informed us of the results of the day

If you fail the computer testing, you are eligible to reapply in 6 months. If you fail the panel interview, you can never interview at Delta again. In my opinion, getting hired by Delta is like is like winning the career lottery. Good luck!
Date Interviewed: March 2008
Summary of Qualifications: 4000TT
1500PIC
MIL
Were you offered the job? No
Pilot Interview Profile:
Everyone was very professional and courteous.

Knowledge test was straight forward, study gouge and you will do fine. I looked through it once, thought I didn't prepare enough and did fine.

Personality and Cog Tests went fine as well. I don't know what you would study for these and really no reason to. Just do your best.

Interview, I thought went quite well, but you never know. I had 2 Captains and 1 Human Resource person. Went over the application in detail, I had a few minor discrepancies. Situational questions...First was, as FO what would you do if the Captain refused to fly a strict noise abatement procedure, wants to fly his own departure? Second situational question was...now you're the Captain and some VIP pax board the aircraft fairly intoxicated sitting in First Class, F/A feels uncomfortable having them on-board but the Gate Agent says they're friends of mine and they're fine, what do you do? (I would definitely talk with other fellow pilots/captains and see what their take is on these situations. There are many different answers and I honestly think it depends on who is interviewing you that particular day).

Asked what your boss would say about your attendance.
Asked for an example about your customer service skills.
A flying situation where you said "I will never do that again".
What would your co-pilot say about you.
What is your biggest accomplishment?
What is the hardest thing you've ever done?
What is one word that best describes you?
Any organizations you belong to?
A few questions about the military.

All in all a great experience, very professional and courteous. Just be yourself and do the best you can!
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