Saturday, August 26, 2017

The Interview and the phone call

Back in June I was invited to interview for a pilot position at American Airlines.

I live just a few miles from the American Airlines headquarters. There were 10 in my group and I was the only "local".

I was told to arrive at noon. I was there at 11:30 AM.

In the recruiting office were 9 other pilots. Six military and 3 civilians.

The recruiting team does everything possible to get the applicants to relax.

Day one was spent on a computer. There was a battery of skill and math test. Some tested your one that lasted 20 minutes watching a dot move around a circle...each time it jumped I had to click a button. I assume it was designed to test attention span. There were others that tested memory and pattern recognition.

The hardest test for me were the math questions. The computer showed various numbers like 2 10 4 5. I then had to put math symbols in between to make the numbers make 2 X 10 ÷ 4 = 5. They were much harder than that.

All the applicants left the first day feeling like they didn't do well. The test were designed to challenge you. The better you did the harder the questions got.

Day 2 was the real interview. Face to Face with American Airlines pilots.

A 787 Captain and a 767 Captain interviewed me. Prior to this day I paid $400 for interview prep...and it really helped.

I was able to keep the interview going and had them laughing all until the last question. It was "Explain a situation where you didn't get along with a co-worker". After my answer they didn't like how I handled it. They felt I should have escalated the issue to a Chief Pilot.

The interview ended abruptly after that. I was handed off to a Human Resources employee who asked a few follow up questions...then that was it. I was free to go.

I left feeling VERY uneasy. Like I just blew my chance to be an American Airlines pilot.

The tension was high. I kept rethinking everything I had done. Things I could have done differently. Better answers. Better math.

I completed one more trip then took off 6 weeks for bonding time with my new daughter.

About 12 days after the interview the military pilots in my group sent out messages to our group text that they had all been hired. The civilians were all quiet.

I checked my email multiple times per day. An email was bad...meaning I didn't get the job. A phone call was preferable.....I did get the job.

A month went by and nothing. I did get a copy of my PRIA paperwork...but that's it.

August started. All the airline pilots in the interview group were still in the dark.

I started back at work and was stress free. I figured there was nothing I could do. They would get back to me when they did.

On August 17th I was at the airport waiting on a jump seat to Oregon when my phone rang. No name on the caller id...just a local phone number.

"Hello this is David Tatum calling from the American Airlines recruiting office...." is how the phone call started. The next three minutes are a blur but I did hear "sorry for taking so long to get back to you but the decision to hire you has been made...and it was unanimous...welcome to American Airlines."

I thanked him several times and told him he has the best job in the world as he gets to change lives with the news he gives.

The next day the emails flooded in from American Airlines. Good ones. Great ones. I had a conditional job offer contingent on passing a background and drug test. I am excited beyond belief.

So how did I get the interview? Volunteering, Networking and Persistence.

I'm passionate about flying. I truly enjoy teaching. I went to college initially to be a teacher. I took a side road into technology and then flying.

I loved being a CFI. Once I started at my regional I continued instructing the RJ transition course at ATP. Aside from that I volunteered for youth camps and at job fairs. I spent 2 years being a volunteer for my union. In short...I went above and beyond.

I'm 40 and will have 24 1/2  years of flying left once I start at AA.

It feels great knowing I have completed the last job interview of my life.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Getting the call

Today was kinda crazy.

I started in Fort Walton Beach, Florida. Last day of a 4 day trip. One leg in.

The van time was a ridiculous 4:50 AM. We get to the the plane...and that's when the craziness started.

I was going through the flight paperwork and aircraft logbook...and things weren't matching up. I called up operations and they asked what tail number I was sitting in....I said "027"....they replied..."you're supposed to be in 048". I look up and see the other aircraft in front of me. The station pulled the wrong plane to the gate....and boarding had just completed.

Thankfully dispatch fixed the issue...but then weather caused a ground stop. We were supposed to arrive at 8 AM and I had an interview for a Fleet Manager position at 9 AM.

We finally left at 6:55 AM. Landed at 8:55 AM and I texted the person interviewing me (long time friend from flight school) and let him know I was running late.

I rushed over to the interview.

In the parking lot another pilot I knew whom was also a Fleet Manager flagged me down. He said I was the front runner for the job. Nice.

The interview went well. They let me know it would be a pretty hefty pay cut. Odd.

I then went home and began packing for as my wife has her 20 year High School reunion this Albany, Oregon...right in the path of the eclipse.

Thankfully my family all has real tickets...except me. Flights are crazy full. My family flies up tomorrow, but I am a cautious non-rever and decided to go tonight. As I was waiting for my flight...the most amazing phone call came though.

I was walking through the terminal and almost didn't answer as the phone number wasn't familiar. When I picked up the voice said , "Hello I'm calling from the Pilot Recruitment Office at American Airlines," The minutes after that are somewhat of a blur.....but I remember one part, "You got the job. Welcome to American Airlines."

Yeah that happened. I interviewed more than 2 months ago.

More to come. I will update more frequently now that things are happening again.