Horizon interview

ndakcfi

Well-Known Member
#1
I submitted my resume through Horizon's online application, and got a call from a recruiter a few days later inviting me to an interview on Dec 16. Horizon flew me up to Portland and provided a hotel (for two nights due to the schedule of return flights), which ran a shuttle to the Horizon training center. About a week before the interview, I was emailed a pretty detailed packet of information that included confirmation of my travel arrangements, as well as lot of paperwork consisting of PRIA forms, background check authorization, DOT drug testing forms, and a driving record release that required a notary. Most of the paperwork is really straightforward, but the few questions I did have were answered via email within about 12 hours.

After the hotel shuttle dropped off the interview group, our paperwork was collected at about 7:45 and about 20 minutes later, people started getting called back for interviews. The order of the interviews was random, and I started off with the chief pilot interview.

The chief pilot interview was very straightforward. I was asked to provide my pilot certificates, medical, FCC certificate, logbooks, as well as my ATP written results, which I'd brought along "just in case" although they weren't in the list of stuff Horizon had asked me to bring. The questions themselves were also pretty simple, and I was asked how I'd gotten into aviation, what was the most interesting flight I'd done in the last year, why I wanted to work for Horizon, and "TMAAT when you performed well under pressure". I was also asked any incidents, accidents, arrests, drivers license suspensions, or failed checkrides, which was also asked during the subsequent HR and technical interviews. After I was given the opportunity to ask questions, that portion of the interview was over.

After sitting in the lobby for a little while, I was called back for the HR interview. The woman conducting the HR interview was extremely friendly (this applied to absolutely everyone I met at Horizon), and the interview started off with a brief overview of my work history, primarily concerned with whether I'd left previous jobs on good terms, and whether I had any incidents, accidents, arrests, drivers license suspensions, or failed checkrides. After that, most of the questions were of the "TMAAT" variety. I was asked about a time I'd done something that reflected well on the company, a time I'd enforced a security or safety policy, a time I'd taken the hard road instead of the easy one, and a time I'd gone out of my way to help a customer. Other people in the interview group were asked questions I didn't get, probably because they'd come from passenger flying backgrounds and my background is entirely flight instructing.

My technical interview was conducted by a Horizon FO (they had two separate people doing technical interviews due to there being seven people interviewing), and was very similar to other gouges I'd read. The route I was given was from Pullman to Lewiston ID, and after being given a few minutes to look over charts, the questioning started. I was asked the same "why Horizon" and background questions I'd been asked in the earlier interviews, as well as several questions about the company history. I drew a blank on the name of the current Horizon president, but knew the stock price, when they were founded, when Alaska bought them, what made Horizon unique (in terms of equipment), and what aircraft they'd operated in the past. I was also asked what the benefits of Horizon being re-branded as Alaska were, and the interviewer seemed happy with my answer of cost (to standardize uniforms, advertising, etc...) and presenting a more unified front to the public.

The technical questions themselves were pretty straightforward, although I think they were somewhat easier for me than some of the people with 121/135 backgrounds, since I teach most of that stuff on a pretty regular basis. I was asked to read a METAR, whether a departure and destination alternate were required (and why or why not), what runway, DP, and approach I'd use (pay attention to packet, since the logical choice for the approach was NOTAM'ed as out), and how I'd calculate when to start a descent in a given scenario (I used the 3-6 rule).

There were also a few questions about the Jepp approach charts and enroute chart. I use NACO charts at my current job, but a quick review of the Jeppesen legend available online meant that wasn't a problem. The questions weren't terribly in depth, and I was asked to identify and explain the significance of a MOCA, ORORCA, what "hold for release" was, and what some of the symbology on the charts meant. I flubbed couple of questions slightly (I couldn't come up with "required visibility' as one of the requirements to continue past an MDA/DH), but the interviewer was extremely helpful and nudged me in the correct direction when that happened.

After the technical interview, we were provided (excellent) boxed lunches, and waited around for everyone in the group to finish up their interviews. Shortly thereafter, they called two people back, who weren't sent on to the sim for whatever reason. The remaining five people in the group were called back individually and were given job offers contingent on passing a drug test and the sim ride.

The sim route was the same one we'd been given in the technical interview, so we would fly a DP, a (very short) enroute section, VOR approach with an arc, go missed, hold, and then get vectors to an ILS. The sim is configured with a Garmin 430, and although you can load approaches if you want (we were told it wasn't required or expected), use of the map page isn't allowed, and the combination of the high workload and touchy simulator meant that although I'm very proficient with G430, I just used it for DME and never bothered loading any of the approaches.

The sim is pretty touchy in pitch, but since the control forces are somewhat high, it's very easy to start overcorrecting the pitch, but I found that judicious use of the trim and small control movements help minimize the altitude deviations. The takeoff and departure were all pretty simple, and once established on the arc (the sim has an RMI, which makes the arc very simple) the sim was paused and repositioned to a point along the final approach course. I did forget to start the backup timing on the VOR approach (I don't know if they were even looking for me to do that), but didn't have too much trouble keeping the needles within about 1/2 scale deflection all the way to the missed approach.

During the missed approach, I somehow managed to get the holding pattern backwards in my head (left turns instead of the correct right turns), and mistook what would be a parallel entry for a direct entry. About 10 seconds after I crossed the fix, I realized my mistake, but was able to correct it without any extra maneuvering (I just continued outbound for a minute, then made the turn around to start the inbound leg) and the sim operator told me that it was a "good save". The ILS was really straightforward, and aside from wandering a bit on the glideslope towards the end of the approach, I was able to make a normal approach, break out at minimums and land.

I flew home the next day, and when I turned my phone on after landing, I had an offer of a January 6 class date waiting on my voicemail.

Overall, the interview was a very straightforward (if somewhat stressful) experience, and absolutely everyone I met at Horizon during the interview process was extremely helpful and friendly, and I have nothing but good things to say about the whole process.

On paper, I was probably the least qualified candidate in the group (everyone else had their ATP, several hundred hours of multi time, turbine time, and a couple had quite a bit of prior 121 experience), so what I took away from the interview process was that they're not just looking at numbers of hours and ratings held, but are looking for people that would fit in with their corporate culture, have good IFR skills and can succeed in training.

If anyone has questions about the interview process, feel free to reply here or shoot me a PM.
 

ElihuSmails

Well-Known Member
#3
Completed a recent interview myself. OP had very similar to what I did,just a different route in the sim. Previous gouges on other sites still spot on. Only different question I got was from the Chief Pilot - TMAAT (aside from instructing) you've encouraged a higher level of performance from someone you've worked/flown with.

Just like previous gouges, my tech scenario was the sim scenario. Helped to finger fly the scenario and already have decisions made on how I would fly it. Biggest challenge was the sim. I felt very prepared by flying my desktop sim every day, as well as getting some Frasca time. Definitely recommend using GPS as DME only. I'm proficient with the 430, and it was still more of a distraction than an aid when I loaded the full approach on a practice session. Both of us there flailed like everyone else you read about. They know that it flies nothing like a real airplane, so don't get discouraged.

Overall, I was impressed by the process and the people as a whole. Other 121 interviews I've had previously, and got offers for, were Trans States and Eagle. QX was, by far, the best interview experience I've had. They were thorough in digging into my ability, but also very relaxed and easy-going. Looking forward to flying here.
 

Cessnaflyer

Wooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo
#4
Completed a recent interview myself. OP had very similar to what I did,just a different route in the sim. Previous gouges on other sites still spot on. Only different question I got was from the Chief Pilot - TMAAT (aside from instructing) you've encouraged a higher level of performance from someone you've worked/flown with.

Just like previous gouges, my tech scenario was the sim scenario. Helped to finger fly the scenario and already have decisions made on how I would fly it. Biggest challenge was the sim. I felt very prepared by flying my desktop sim every day, as well as getting some Frasca time. Definitely recommend using GPS as DME only. I'm proficient with the 430, and it was still more of a distraction than an aid when I loaded the full approach on a practice session. Both of us there flailed like everyone else you read about. They know that it flies nothing like a real airplane, so don't get discouraged.

Overall, I was impressed by the process and the people as a whole. Other 121 interviews I've had previously, and got offers for, were Trans States and Eagle. QX was, by far, the best interview experience I've had. They were thorough in digging into my ability, but also very relaxed and easy-going. Looking forward to flying here.
Congrats!
 

elmetal

Ain't nobody got time for that
#8
I don't mean to be insensitive by asking this but with long upgrade times, what (besides the pay, benefits and seemingly great culture) is so attractive about Horizon??
 

ElihuSmails

Well-Known Member
#9
For me, it's because I moved back to the NW and didn't want to do a 2-leg commute from PDX-STL. I would already be in line for an upgrade, seniority-wise, at my last regional. My situation is pretty different than most people though.
 

Flying Forester

Well-Known Member
#10
I don't mean to be insensitive by asking this but with long upgrade times, what (besides the pay, benefits and seemingly great culture) is so attractive about Horizon??

Well first of all it's the pay, benefits and the great culture...;). But no, really the "geographic theater" in which you operate (the Northwest is BEAUTIFUL country...I am from there, so I'm admittedly a little...okay, a lot biased, but no one will disagree with me), great equipment in the Q400, and just a great culture to be a part of. I worked the ramp at SEA for Horizon after I got out of the Marine Corps...ahem 10 years ago to the day as of tomorrow...:eek2: (That reality just hit me)...and it was the most fun I've ever had in a job. It was physical, demanding, upbeat, and everyone had a good attitude (even at $9/hour). I loved it. Jeff Pineo, the CEO at the time was absolutely awesome. In December when it was freezing, raining and miserable on the ramp, I was loading a Q400 and turn to take a bag from someone and low and behold it was Jeff Pineo, in full rain gear working the ramp with us. And he was out there for several hours loading bags, wing walking, etc...and he knew what he was doing too, it was real effort and he REALLY helped us out. I met him three times and by the second he greeted me with my name.

THAT is what is attractive about Horizon. I don't think your inquiry was insensitive. You wanted to know, so you asked. Good on you.
 
Last edited:

elmetal

Ain't nobody got time for that
#11
Well first of all it's the pay, benefits and the great culture...;). But no, really the "geographic theater" in which you operate (the Northwest is BEAUTIFUL country...I am from there, so I'm admittedly a little...okay, a lot biased, but no one will disagree with me), great equipment in the Q400, and just a great culture to be a part of. I worked the ramp at SEA for Horizon after I got out of the Marine Corps...ahem 10 years ago to the day as of tomorrow...:eek2: (That reality just hit me)...and it was the most fun I've ever had in a job. It was physical, demanding, upbeat, and everyone had a good attitude (even at $9/hour). I loved it. Jeff Pineo, the CEO at the time was absolutely awesome. In December when it was freezing, raining and miserable on the ramp, I was loading a Q400 and turn to take a bag from someone and low and behold it was Jeff Pineo, in full rain gear working the ramp with us. And he was out there for several hours loading bags, wing walking, etc...and he knew what he was doing too, it was real effort and he REALLY helped us out. I met him three times and by the second he greeted me with my name.

THAT is what is attractive about Horizon. I don't think your inquiry was insensitive. You wanted to know, so you asked. Good on you.
Damn. That sounds like a fantastic place to work for!

I may have to reconsider moving to the PNW!
Hopefully I have a good impression when I go to pdx for the interview next week! I'm excited as heck now
 

Flying Forester

Well-Known Member
#12
Best of luck to you. I interview on the 28th, and I'm really looking forward to it. Haven't flown anything wig out a flight director and FMS in 5 years and nothing less than a Pro-Line 21 equipped Citation XLS+ in the last year. Sim evaluation ought to be fun! :/
 

elmetal

Ain't nobody got time for that
#13
Best of luck to you. I interview on the 28th, and I'm really looking forward to it. Haven't flown anything wig out a flight director and FMS in 5 years and nothing less than a Pro-Line 21 equipped Citation XLS+ in the last year. Sim evaluation ought to be fun! :/
Shoot, 0 turbine here so I'm ecstatic to go but not very optimistic about getting an offer :/
 

Flying Forester

Well-Known Member
#15
Shoot, 0 turbine here so I'm ecstatic to go but not very optimistic about getting an offer :/
I wouldn't sweat the lack of turbine time. You won't be the first with 0 turbine they've hired by a long shot.

If anything I am of the rare type that applies to Horizon. I have enjoyed a great career as a corporate pilot on a very nice jet. But I'm ready to finish school (my forestry degree) and be back in my neck of the woods Florida is not for me (at least for a permanent home...it's great to have in laws here and a reason to come to warm weather.) It'll be a pay cut, but over the years it will convert to an appreciable increase in potential income and QOL.

My wife and I have a complex set of goals, and Horizon will allow us to take the first steps of those goals. I have quite a bit of experience, but I'm also not quite competitive at Alaska. Plus I loved my previous time on the ramp at QX, so it would be great to be back as a pilot while we work to achieve our other goals and dreams that I won't bore you with.

Nutshell, if you got called for an interview, you need not worry about the turbine time henceforth. As was previously stated, it's about personality. Horizon didn't become such a great place by hiring monkeys and droids like other regionals.
 

elmetal

Ain't nobody got time for that
#16
Nutshell, if you got called for an interview, you need not worry about the turbine time henceforth. As was previously stated, it's about personality. Horizon didn't become such a great place by hiring monkeys and droids like other regionals.
That is for sure.

Interesting you mention Florida, that's where I'm from and kind of where I'm trying to go back to! Hard to find anything in South Florida that isn't either illegal or skimming the line. I've never lived in the PNW but I think something like portland or seattle would be right up my alley (aside from the wx....).

I'll have to see what happens and go with the flow. I still have a lot of family in South Florida that's what kind of drawing me over there, but then again if I can't find something 91/135 over there the regional options are basically zero ("envoy" aside)
 
#18
Shoot, 0 turbine here so I'm ecstatic to go but not very optimistic about getting an offer :/
I had 853 hours when I got my offer, and 73 hours of multi-engine. Zero turbine time. This was in late 2011, and the interview process hasn't changed much since then.

Good luck and hopefully y'all get hired, I'd like to keep moving up the list ;)
This! I moved up 10 numbers last bid. And I'm number 180-something on the FO side.


So that means 18 months until upgrade, right?! RIGHT?!?!?!

I dunno, they hired me and @pete2800 ...probably don't regret hiring him as badly
Now that's a bold statement, sir.
 

elmetal

Ain't nobody got time for that
#19
I had 853 hours when I got my offer, and 73 hours of multi-engine. Zero turbine time. This was in late 2011, and the interview process hasn't changed much since then.


This! I moved up 10 numbers last bid. And I'm number 180-something on the FO side.


So that means 18 months until upgrade, right?! RIGHT?!?!?!


Now that's a bold statement, sir.
I know going to Horizon means I'll be an FO for 10+ years but to be honest, if it's like you guys describe, that sounds like good livin to me.

I'm at 1550/650 so I have a good deal of multi but it's not in what I would consider a "fast" or "slick" twin. it's just an Aztec.

One thing that gets me fired up about horizon is the aircraft. I have such a hard-on (#nohomo) for Tprops. Surveying PSP and seeing SkyW Bros and QX Q400s coming into PSP restricted above me and just dropping from 6000 6 miles away to landing is just awesome to watch.

My only worry is that with something like let's say SkyW, if I hold a line, I can "plan" a little trip down to Florida to visit family and all. at QX holding a line can be a few years from what I've heard, so that complicates things. but I think it'll be alright. I'll just go into my interviews with an open mind and think about a decision after I get turned down or offered positions. At this point trying to make a decision is sort of futile since I have 0 offers.
 
#20
All of my multi time was in a Seminole. Haha... your experience is fine. If today's list of cancellations is correct, we need pilots.
 
Top