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Skywest Airlines Pilot Interview Profiles

Date Interviewed: January 2015
Summary of Qualifications: Retiring military fighter dude, 3500 TT, 3000 TPIC. Non-current due to desk job at end of career
Were you offered the job? Don't Know
Pilot Interview Profile:
I interviewed at one of the SkyWest Pilot Recruitment Events. The ads for the event online said that if you wanted to interview at the event, submit an application beforehand and bring a copy of your resume and logbooks to the interview. I submitted an application via the skywest.com website, and two days later received a phone call from Utah inviting me to an interview in Denver. I told them that I’d be going to the Recruiting Event in just a few days, so they scheduled my interview for the event. Once I was formally scheduled for the interview, they emailed me the list of documents to bring (stuff in addition to just the resume and logbooks as noted earlier; radio license, FAA First Class med, social security card, passport, etc.) and the list of books to read to prepare for the interview.

There were about 10 people who showed up to the Recruitment Event, and of those 10 at least 6 had full-on interviews (some that had been scheduled beforehand like me, and some who showed up to the event without a specific interview invitation but who were able to interview anyway). Very diverse group of people in the interview group; one active 121 pilot from a Central American airline who was looking to shift to working in the US, a pilot from a 135 outfit in Hawaii, one former military pilot/Comair,/Net Jets pilot who’d been out of the regionals for a decade working for a startup charter company, one 135 sightseeing pilot from Vegas, and me (the retiring military dude coming off 3 years of a non-flying desk job). I didn’t catch the full backgrounds of all the rest of the guys, but a couple of them didn’t have ATP or R-ATP mins yet. For those guys, both of them had full-on interviews, but I don’t know how the company is going to handle them — from the informal discussion in between interview events, I got the impression that if they were hired, they’d simply be given class dates that were far enough down the road for them to get to ATP mins before starting class.

The day started with the typical 30-minute presentation about SkyWest, given by 3 locally-based Captains. All three were enthusiastic about their jobs and SkyWest, but were also surprisingly candid about the company, about the state of the regional industry, and about how that is impacting their pilot interviewing and hiring. They admit they’re having no-shows to both interviews and training dates, and that the quantity of applicants is decreasing. They seem to be actively trying to fight “lowering the bar” so far as who they’re offering jobs to, and as such the company is focusing on grabbing as many of the most qualified and motivated applicants they can — they seem to be a little SWA-ish in that they value positive motivation and attitude, and that they’re hiring for personality. They indicated that minor trip-ups in the interview were going to be overlooked if the person had the right attitude and would be a good company fit.

After the presentation, the Captains discussed the formal interview process, and how it would be handled at the Recruitment Events (as they didn’t have the time/people/infrastructure to give the full interview there). They did not formally administer the 50-question ATP “clicker test”, but in the 1-on-1 part of the interview they had a printout of one of the tests and were working questions from it into the technical interview. Regarding the Frasca sim, they indicated that people they interviewed at the Recruitment Events wouldn’t all be required to go schedule a sim later, but they’d determine need on a case-by-case basis. They said folks who didn’t give particularly strong performances in the technical interview and lower time multi folks would likely get scheduled for a sim, and if that happened that’s all they’d have to do in SLC or DEN (no repeating any other portions of the interview). Same thing went for the CRM portion. They did not have enough time/people to do full CRM exercises, so in my 1-on-1 the Captain and I role-played two minor CRM situations (one, how I’d handle encountering a line of T-storms enroute from DFW to SFO, and second how I’d handle an engine failure in flight).

So, the “formal” portion of the interview started with the blank sheet of white paper and: 1) Draw a jet engine, 2) 91.175 descent out of DH/MDA requirements, and 3) Draw your most complicated aircraft’s electrical system. As has been stated, they want you to be as detailed as possible, label as much of it as possible, and that the drawings would form part of the discussion in the 1-on-1 technical portion.

As has been reported many times, the interview content was exactly as reported in previous reports. In fact, the three Captains who were conducting the interviews mentioned more than once that they were EXPECTING applicants to have taken the time and initiative to find/read/study the gouge, and that they looked favorably on such initiative (and not favorably on folks who hadn’t taken the initiative to prepare like that).

My 1-on-1 lasted about an hour. It started with a quick review of my resume and job history, and then the times were compared with my logbook. I brought a printout of a digital logbook (spiral bound at FedEx Office for about $5) and they were happy with the details. Since I am not in a current flying job, the Capt specifically wanted to find my last BFR, last IPC, my 30-day, 90-day, and 1-year hours lookback. For some reason the summary of hours in each aircraft type that I submitted in my online application didn’t make it out to them, so we spent a bit talking about the hours breakdown in each of the aircraft I’ve flown.

Discussions of the drawing were straighforward; what kind of engine, describe the components front-to-back (I discussed a few things specific to the military fighter engine I drew, like the afterburner), and then had me describe the airflow through the engine and what each section did. What do the stators do…what’s the difference between the N1 and the N2…how and where is pressure measured in the engine…what is bypass air and what is the benefit…where are the ignitors…how is ignition in the combustion chamber sustained…where is the accessory section…how does the starter work (how does an air-start work). From there it was on to the 91.175 discussion. About all he asked here was about if the 100-foot restriction from the Approach Lighting was measured from field elevation or TDZE, but we also briefly discussed what the ALSFs looked like, and what the other instrument runway lighting looked like. On to the electrical system drawing; although I drew a good flowchart, I didn’t label all of the volts/amps of each of the systems, especially in the DC system, so we talked about each of those.

From there, the rest of the HR questions and tech questions were all exactly from the previously-reported gouge. I won’t repeat all of it — it has all ready been said before, so go read that stuff. I think because of my single-seat military background, he asked me several times about CRM, how I’d handle various situations (weather delays, mechanical issues, etc) to gauge my knowledge of including FAs, dispatch, ACARS, etc, into the decision-making. As mentioned, he had me talk through the two CRM scenarios from above, but we also discussed checklist and memory item execution in a 2-pilot environment, PF/PNF responsibilities, and he had me brief him an approach as if we were flying it as a crew during the Jepp portion.

For the Jepp review, we looked at the ILS 16 to RNO and the Skywest-only Silver ILS 16. I was stumped as to why the ceiling and vis requirement for the standard ILS were so big (7 miles vis, 4000’-something HAT), and I assumed it was because of the terrain. That’s partially true — it is apparently because of the climb gradient for the missed approach, and the Silver ILS has lower mins because it assumes a steeper climb gradient for the missed.

Other than that, all pretty standard stuff that’s been reported and repeated before. Based on their attitude about gouge, I wouldn’t expect them to throw in any curve-balls unless someone is showing serious deficiencies in knowledge, so study up on what’s here and elsewhere and you should be fine. For any USAF folks, I’d say this was one of the easier orals I’ve had compared to the instrument checks I’ve had in the fighter/trainer world. Even the TMAAT questions were sort of woven into other conversations, so I didn’t really have the opportunity (or need, to be honest) to set up and execute the stories I’d prepared and practiced per the interview prep guidance.
Date Interviewed: December 2014
Summary of Qualifications: 1550 total time/400xc/75 multi/CFI-CFII-MEI
Were you offered the job? Yes
Pilot Interview Profile:
I was contacted by the hiring department one day after I applied online and was invited to come to interview in Salt Lake City. They pay for your travel, however you have to pay for your hotel room. They send you a list of hotels but the comfort suites is cheap and really nice and offers free shuttle service so I chose there. Be sure to bring copies of everything they ask for in the invitation email. Save them time and make their life easier. Dress Sharp and be sure to buy a bright tie. The HR woman said she really appreciates a nice fit suit and nice ties.

Take the early shuttle and get their by 730. Bring your luggage because they have an area for you to stow it. I arrived at 730 and was greeted by nice lady behind a desk and was told to get my badge and the interview team would be with me shortly. Remember you're always being interviewed so don't say anything dumb even if you think no one is listening. There were 4 of us interviewing that day. Myself, another CFI, an ex air force pilot, and a 135 pilot.

We were brought upstairs and taken to the "Holding Cell". Just a joke name for their conference room. Our HR woman Anna gave us a quick intro about Skywest and why she loved working their. The 2 interviewing captains then came in and went over the powerpoint.

The first test is 30 questions multiple choice that we all took together. This covered basics items(diodes,TRU's,Inverters,Shunts,Transformers,some 121 rules,AC/DC,ETC.) I think best score was 27/30.

Following the test we were told to draw a turbine engine and tell them all we knew about it, a electrical system of our most recent plane flown, and everything we knew about FAR 91.175. Just remember that has to do with what you need to descend below your MDA/DH. While doing this I was brought back for the sim ride. Do yourself a favor and work on your scan in a sim for 2-3 hours before it really helped me out. I was given the ILS Cedar City,Utah. Standard departure but be sure to get the weather before you take off and when you read it make sure its legal to takeoff. Standard 1 mile or 5000rvr. He gave me a hold over a VOR. I told him the entry and the max hold speed and we moved on to vectors for final and when I broke out the airport wasn't insight so I went around. He said my scan was solid and appreciated that I was honest with my mistakes. (gained 200ft and didn't get the weather before I landed.)

I was then told to finish my drawings and went and did my Tech portion with the other captain. We dissected my turbine engine. (Buy the turbine pilots flight manual) Bleed air,N1?,N2? Low Shaft,High Shaft, how hots the bleed air?,Whats it for?, Stator Veins, How to start a turbine engine? etc. We moved onto my electrical system reviewing alternator/generator differences, shunts, ac to dc, amps vs. volts, Bus Bars, Circuit breakers. Then he pulled out a Jepp approach plate and we reviewed that. For 10-15 minutes. Be sure to review your symbols and low enroute charts as well. Don't neglect those. Tech went well but could have been better.

We moved onto the CRM scenario and believe me those 7 minutes fly by. Just remember to use your resources and talk to your co-pilot and pick a plan before making any moves.

Then we had lunch with the captains and just made small talk. Two really cool guys with tons of knowledge. Remember this is still part of the interview so DONT SAY ANYTHING STUPID!

After lunch we went back to the conference room and then de-briefed with HR and was told to expect a call or email within ten days.

Got an email 10 days later with a class date for the CRJ. Just relax and be yourself. Don't stress and try to get some sleep the night before. They want to give you the job, but don't give them a reason not to. Good luck everybody!
Date Interviewed: December 2014
Summary of Qualifications: COM ME IFR 1500TT
Were you offered the job? Don't Know
Pilot Interview Profile:
Showed up at 7:45 for an 8:00AM interview in Denver.I was greeted by Jason led to a conference room where I signed in and was handed a Trainee badge. Interview started right at 8. Jason asked for my documents first thing and wanted copies of everything which was verified against the originals. I had everything in a folder which he said was nice that I was organized. He then gave a brief overview of the company and ask what we know about Skywest, then briefly explained how the company operates and how to use your flight benefits. We then took a 30 question computerized test for our knowledge base. We then did the CRM exercise which was a quick 7 minutes. We were given a situation headed to DEN with 1 hr fuel remaining only 15 minutes out. We were given our descent to 10,000 setting up for the approach when DEN closed for microburst activity. We elected to proceed to our alternate of Grand Junction. As soon as we turned to our alternate the "flight attendant" notified us that there was smoke in the aft lavatory. We declared an emergency and proceeded back to DEN when our 7 minutes ended. I was the more experienced so I was placed as the FO while the other applicant was placed as the Captain. Keep in mind there is no right or wrong "answers" in the CRM portion. We communicated back and forth and discussed our options and prioritized which of the events was more of a concern. Make sure you understand before you begin who is flying and who is working the radios. We then we're asked to draw a gas turbine of our choice and the most complex electrical system in one of the planes we had been flying. Then we had lunch and just chilled the our CRJ captain John. Then came the HR and Technical portions. The tell me about a time when questions. Then I did the technical portion and had to explain my drawings. He asked about high speed aerodynamics and differences in straight wing versus swept wing. I briefed the ILS RWY 6 to STL and he asked a few other what if questions based on the approach. He also asked about 91.175 in good detail along with the 1-2-3 rule. Neither one of us in the interview had to do a sim evaluation which they tell you they may or may not do. We then debriefed on how we thought the day went overall and asked if there was anything they could do better. Overall it was a great experience with a very professional group of people. I was extremely pleased with the whole process.
Date Interviewed: April 2014
Summary of Qualifications: ATP MEL, prior 121 & 135, more than enough hours.
Were you offered the job? Don't Know
Pilot Interview Profile:
Very professional group of people at SkyWest, it was a good experience. Showed at 7:50 AM for 8 AM interview. Politely greeted the receptionist & did not sit until invited to do so.

Promptly at 8, Ben came down the stairs, greeted us all & invited us to follow him upstairs to the waiting room.

Once I entered the conference room, I again did not sit down until invited to do so. We were introduced to the SkyWest interview team, and then introduced ourselves one at a time, around the table.

When I introduced myself, I STOOD UP and looked them in the eye with a smile.

We were given the run-down on SkyWest and then watched the film.

After the film, we were all given the 50 question written test; it covers weather, jepp charts, FAR's, etc. Previous gauges are accurate.

We were asked to draw a precision runway and a turbine engine, pretty basic stuff. I expected to have to draw an electrical/hydraulic system as well, but they didn't ask for that.

Then came the CRM situation. They usually put the more experienced applicant in the FO seat. We were given a bomb threat scenario. All they want to see here is good CRM. We made sure that the following parties were notified: Flight attendant, pax, ATC, and dispatch. They give you seven minutes and it goes by fast.

Then came the HR technical portion:

Why SkyWest?
What can you bring to SkyWest?
What is your greatest strength?
If you could re-do one thing in your life, what would it be?

Then he had me read a metar and an amended TAF(make SURE you can read this stuff prior to interview), asked if I'd need a destination alternate/departure alternate.

Pulled out an ILS, asked me to talk him through it. As with metars and TAF's, make sure you thoroughly brush up on jepp charts before the interview.

Asked me about my drawing of a turbine engine. N1? N2? Stator vanes? etc.

How hot is the bleed air that comes out of the engine? I didn't know, so he asked me to make a guess anyway.

Because of my experience, they waived the sim.

Then, during the critique at the end of the day, he said that I shouldn't have tried to make up an answer on that bleed air question; I should have just told him I didn't know (I wanted to say, "Well, you told me to guess!!").

But, he said that on the whole I was very well prepared. They complimented me on my background.
The interview was on 4/23; I am still waiting to hear back from them.
Date Interviewed: March 2014
Summary of Qualifications: 1800TT ATP
Were you offered the job? Yes
Pilot Interview Profile:

I will start by stating that all previous gouges were spot on! SkyWest is a great company. They make you feel very welcome and comfortable right away. They tell you in the introduction “you all have a job right now, it’s yours to loose”. Anyways here is how my interview went:

I stayed at the Comfort Suits, they are great costs 56 bucks and they pick you up and drop you off both at the airport and at the SkyWest hanger.

I arrived at the SkyWest hanger at 7:45 for my 0800 interview. Make sure you are nice to everyone you talk to you never know who’s who! Big deal WEAR A SUIT! If you’re not in a suit they will send you home. Also don’t take your jacket off until they ask you if you’d like too. Everyone that I met was super nice, made me feel really good about my choice to interview at SkyWest.

They start they day off by giving a brief slide show about the company, its pretty cool. Then they introduce themselves and talk about their background and two things they like to do outside of flying. Then they go around the room and ask the same questions to each applicant.

Next they will give you two things to draw out this is what we got:
-Electrical system of your current Twin
-Turbine Engine
-Bonus question: What is a Kelvin Holtz cloud formation.

At the same time they also give you a fifty question written its not graded but how well you do determines how your technical will go. Here were some of the topics:
-Advanced Systems ECT.
It wasn’t too hard there was one question asking about hydroplaning just remember it’s the square root of the tire pressure times nine.

They gave everyone a chance to get started then they started pulling guys out for the sim. I was the only one exempt from the sim because of my prior 135 experience. Here is what I did here the other guys got though:
-Make sure you get weather I hear they will give you weather below T/O mins.
-Runway heading departure to 4000
-Hold on a radial off LAX VOR
-If you give the right entry you will move on
-ILS to LAX to a Miss
-Full procedure VOR
They will then take a group of there to a room with a mock up of the CRJ for the CRM Scenario. They will have the most inexperienced guy in the captain’s seat and the most experienced guy in the jump seat. There are no right or wrong answers they just want to see you all work as a crew. Here was our scenario:
-Out of FL18 for Cabo
-Southwest blew a tire on the runway. Runway is closed.
You now have seven minutes to figure out what you will do.
-If you’re the captain be the captain!
-They want to see you involve everyone. MX, Dispatch, FA’s, Jumpseater ect.
-Again there is no right or wrong answer. Just work as a crew.

After CRM they will start taking guys out for the Technical/HR portion of the interview. On the technical they will ask questions on:
-Both drawings
-Electrical system
-What is a Diode
-Alternator/Generator what’s the difference
-Turbine engine
-Stator veins
-Where does bleed air come from
-What uses bleed air
-Difference between Axial and Centrifugal compressors
-Once lit do the igniters need to keep firing or is it a self sustaining
-What’s bypass air
-STUDY ALL JEPP plate and low altitude chart terminology
-Know when you can descend below MDA/DA
-MSA circle
-O2 altitudes
-Where is the FAF if you are assigned a higher altitude on an ILS
-The lowest published GS intercept altitude
-Just study everything you can about jepps
-He drew a thunderstorm with an Anvil
-Where should you pass in front or behind? By how far?
-What kind of weather would you see beneath the anvil?
-They will give you a printout of a weather packet
-Know how to read Metars and TAFS
-They will ask with this weather can you depart or land?
-Takeoff alternate requirements
-Exemption 3585

-What do you need to see to descend below MDA/DH
-Remember 121/135 land in the touchdown zone
-In a normal position to land

After the technical the interviewing captain will ask the standard HR questions be honest and be yourself! Here are some of the questions I can remember:
-Why do you want to work at SkyWest?
-Tell me a time when you were a leader?
-What’s one of your weaknesses?
-If you could what would you change about your current employer?
-What was your favorite flight?
-Tell me a time when you were scared while flying?
-Have you ever failed a checkride? If you have own it!
-How accurate is your logbook?
-What are you flying now?
-Tell me about yourself?
-Have you ever had a dispute with a crewmember how did you handle it?
-Have you ever declared an emergency?

My interview went from 0800-1330. I interviewed on the third and was offered my choice of either the CRJ or the EMB120. I accepted the CRJ position and start class on the 31st.

Anyways that’s all I can remember! Study the Everything Explained for the Professional pilot and the gouges and you will be fine. Also I would recommend doing interview prep both HR and sim prep. If you’re in Seattle go to Aviation Training Center, they are awesome!

Remember they want to see that you know your stuff. Most importantly they want to see if you’re someone that they can spend a full four day trip with and not want to kill themselves! It was a great experience SkyWest is a great company. Just remember be yourself and you’ll do great!

Good Luck! Hope to see you on line!
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