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EMS interview questions


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#1 ah64eric

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Posted 13 March 2015 - 12:30

I am new to the civilian helicopter industry after 17 years of Army flying, and have just begun the job search process. Does anyone have a list of good questions to ask an interviewer? I know to avoid questions regarding pay, benefits and vacation time. But I'm sure there are plenty of questions that interviewers like to be asked because they indicate that the interviewee has been doing their homework/research. Anyone able to weigh in on this?

#2 Direct C51

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Posted 06 April 2015 - 13:48

I know if doesn't answer your question, but I would imagine a 17 year Army pilot who well exceeds the minimums will not need any major interview strategies to get an HEMS job. Just show up, be personable, and let your experience do the talking.

I guess if you want to ask questions, the following wouldn't hurt your chances.

How many flights per month at the base?
Is the base on track to remain profitable and operating in the future?
IFT to scene ratio?
Shift schedule?

#3 Wally

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Posted 06 April 2015 - 14:17

I am new to the civilian helicopter industry after 17 years of Army flying, and have just begun the job search process. Does anyone have a list of good questions to ask an interviewer? I know to avoid questions regarding pay, benefits and vacation time. But I'm sure there are plenty of questions that interviewers like to be asked because they indicate that the interviewee has been doing their homework/research. Anyone able to weigh in on this?

 

Why wouldn't you ask about pay, benefits and vacation time? That is exactly what a job is all about. That's business-like. Aside from that, be professional.

 

If you know where you want to go, find base(s) in that area and talk/visit.

Try the base map here: http://emsflightcrew.com/

Each base is different in the industry, there are happy bases and unhappy bases in every company. You'll also get a feel for issues you might want to talk to an interviewer about. Management probably won't tell you a base is sucking air if they need you to fill a seat there, the duty pilot might very well do so. Etc.


Just a pilot (retired, so I have a LOT of time)...


#4 AS350 pilot

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Posted 06 April 2015 - 14:45

I would ask about the maintenance, how productive the base is, where the company is going in the future, and yes absolutely ask about pay, benefits, and sick time. Also, whatever is talked about and agreed upon, should be put into writing in the form of a formal offer letter if you get offered the job. 



#5 Hobie

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Posted 06 April 2015 - 18:41

Timing man,   talk compensation --after they give you an offer, not before.


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#6 ospreydriver

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Posted 09 April 2015 - 21:42

How about some of the typical questions they ask you? Are most interviews about your background, what you've flown, and who you are, or do they go the technical route and ask FARs, aero questions, etc?


"Why can't we buy just one airplane and let the pilots take turns flying it?"--President Calvin Coolidge


#7 Azhigher

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Posted 10 April 2015 - 00:33

I'd ask about the turnover rate for pilots and med crew at that base. Is it a stepping stone for everyone or is this a steady, stable crew.



#8 ah64eric

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Posted 01 May 2015 - 03:54

Hey everyone, you guys have given some really good feedback so thanks for all that. I said I was going to avoid the pay, benefits, etc questions because I've always heard that those should be saved until the final interview, salary negotiations portion. I'll address each of your response individually here.

#9 ah64eric

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Posted 01 May 2015 - 03:59

DIRECT C51:
Yes my credentials thus far have proven to be sufficient to get me interviews, save my lack of IFR time. Having flown AH64s for most of my 17 years, I have VERY little IFR time, which alot of EMS operators want...but not all of them.

[1] You mentioned the IFR to scene ratio. What is IFT? I'm not familiar with that acronym.
[2] The question about the individual base being profitable is a good one that I hadn't considered, so thanks for that.
[3] I've been talking to Air Evac Lifeteam and will probably hire on with them. They seem to be the best fit for me in terms of base locations, airframe, flying conditions (VFR only), etc. I know their shift schedule already, I'm just waiting to see what bases are available when I get out this fall.

Thanks again for your input.

#10 ah64eric

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Posted 01 May 2015 - 04:10

WALLY:

Your response: Why wouldn't you ask about pay, benefits and vacation time? That is exactly what a job is all about. That's business-like. Aside from that, be professional.

I'm given to understand that if you ask about pay, benefits, etc at the interview it indicates that your focus is more on yourself than on the company that's thinking of hiring you. So when I interviewed with Air Evac I avoided those questions and focused on what the interviewer wanted to ask/know, and it went great. I'm planning on saving the pay, benefits, vacation time questions for the final interview/salary negotiations portion. As for being professional, always. Thanks for your input. Greatly appreciated.

#11 ah64eric

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Posted 01 May 2015 - 04:13

AS350 PILOT:

Your response: I would ask about the maintenance, how productive the base is, where the company is going in the future, and yes absolutely ask about pay, benefits, and sick time. Also, whatever is talked about and agreed upon, should be put into writing in the form of a formal offer letter if you get offered the job.

Asking about maintenance, good thinking, thanks. In my phone interview we discussed safety, judgment and decision-making but those were more from a pilot-in-command perspective. A couple of guys here have mentioned the productivity issue, which I had not previously considered so thanks for weighing in on that. Thanks for your feedback.

#12 ah64eric

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Posted 01 May 2015 - 04:23

OSPREYDRIVER:

Your response: How about some of the typical questions they ask you? Are most interviews about your background, what you've flown, and who you are, or do they go the technical route and ask FARs, aero questions, etc?

Actually I was surprised at my phone interview that it was about 50/50...interview and oral eval. He asked me a number of VERY simple airspace questions mostly focused on Class C. Of course I nailed them all but at 3000 hrs total time, if I miss questions like those, I should NOT be flying as a pilot-in-command!! I was just a little surprised that it was half interview, half eval. But no problem, bring it on. He also asked me some generalized judgment and decision-making questions but nothing crazy. My background they already knew from my resume, cover letter and LinkedIn profile.
I had a list of questions I was expecting them to ask me, and my responses. I also had a list of questions I wanted to ask, based on my research. But most of it was him asking me things about myself both personal and professional, getting to know me and find out if I was as good a match as I seemed on paper. Like you've probably seen in other replies on here, just being yourself, being professional and letting your credentials do the talking for you seems to be about 80-90% of it.
Are you on the verge of getting out and looking for work on the outside? If so, keep in touch with me here. The last few months I've learned alot about civilian aviation although I'm sure I have A LOT more to learn. But I'll be happy to share info with you. That's what it's all about.

#13 ah64eric

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Posted 01 May 2015 - 04:32

WALLY:
I see you work for Air Methods. I recently flew through Las Cruces, NM, where you guys have a small base. I talked to one of your guys, his first name was Art but I can't remember his last name. Real nice guy, we talked for about an hour or so. Anyway I've looked at Air Methods website many times and I see they have locations in the northeast (Georgetown, Delaware stood out to me). But I have a question about Air Methods that you're probably best suited to answer:

Air Methods has IFR and VFR programs, according to their ads on their website and on www.jsfirm.com. So how does that work, overall? I'm an Apache pilot so I have no actual weather time and only 70-80 hours of hood time, alot of it simulator. I'd love to go after one of their VFR positions, particularly the one in Delaware. Does Air Methods prefer IFR time but "tolerate" VFR types (like me) if they can't get anyone else? How does that whole set-up work?

#14 Wally

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Posted 01 May 2015 - 10:12

WALLY:
I see you work for Air Methods. I recently flew through Las Cruces, NM, where you guys have a small base. I talked to one of your guys, his first name was Art but I can't remember his last name. Real nice guy, we talked for about an hour or so. Anyway I've looked at Air Methods website many times and I see they have locations in the northeast (Georgetown, Delaware stood out to me). But I have a question about Air Methods that you're probably best suited to answer:

Air Methods has IFR and VFR programs, according to their ads on their website and on www.jsfirm.com. So how does that work, overall? I'm an Apache pilot so I have no actual weather time and only 70-80 hours of hood time, alot of it simulator. I'd love to go after one of their VFR positions, particularly the one in Delaware. Does Air Methods prefer IFR time but "tolerate" VFR types (like me) if they can't get anyone else? How does that whole set-up work?

 

Any response from me on how Air Methods operates our IFR programs would be a guess. I am not in an IFR program. If you're interested and meet the minimums, start the process. I don't remember exactly how the instrument mins broke out, hood vs sim vs actual. Was I you, I would not 'start that process' by taking the the "resume to HR" route. That might 'pigeon-hole' as an IFR candidate only while the majority of jobs and bases are VFR, unless you're dead set on IFR.

 

Visit (if possible) or call bases, talk to pilots as locally to where you want to be as possible. A great deal of of satisfaction with this job is due to being at a 'happy base'. This is a .BIG company you either like the big company side and the advantages  that brings, or you don't. Being at a base that had other issues would make job satisfaction nearly impossible. You'd be surprised at how hard it is to get all the lanes headed in the same directions, and mostly- management makes that happen. But still...

 

We have a fair few Apache pilots in the company, so management has managed to overcome the natural bias against gun bunnys (Blowing it up isn't the answer to all life problems) and if you meet the minimums, you meet the minimums, whatever and however.

 

Enough blathering. I have nothing against Air Evac Lifeteam, those I see are as good as they are, or as bad as other operators, however each crew wants to be. This job is location, location, location- or I would have never left the Gulf of Mexico. Decide where you want to be and look at bases there. As I said, visit or telephone, listen and ask questions. Get names up the chain. If my region has an open seat, it's a management issue and they want it fixed! You might be that fix. On the other hand, to HR, my region's open seat will be one among however many, and attention to that issue will depend on what's on fire that day.

 

P.S. I like Air Methods, especially long term. 22 April last, I hated it, some days are like that.


Just a pilot (retired, so I have a LOT of time)...


#15 Falko

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Posted 01 May 2015 - 10:45

Also, Air Methods pays VFR and IFR pilots the same..at least that was the case when I worked for them at a Hospital based IFR program 2 years ago.

#16 Wally

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Posted 01 May 2015 - 11:01

Also, Air Methods pays VFR and IFR pilots the same..at least that was the case when I worked for them at a Hospital based IFR program 2 years ago.

 

Still true. "IFR is a core competency" and will become more so, industry-wide, as time passes. It's not the answer but it's certainly an answer. The problem looks more and more like a nail to those not in the seat.


Edited by Wally, 01 May 2015 - 11:07.

Just a pilot (retired, so I have a LOT of time)...


#17 Velocity173

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Posted 01 May 2015 - 13:53

Like Wally said, the job is about location. Find somewhere you want to live and apply. While I enjoy working for my present company, none of the HAA companies stand out over another. We all make roughly the same pay and have the same benefits and polices. A few extra thousand a year to work in an undesirable location isn't going to make you happy.

While they all talk big on wanting IFR experience, it's really only for the IFR programs. If you're going into a VFR slot, they'll want heavy goggle time over IFR. 500 hrs is good, 1,000 hrs is better.

As D51 said, I really wouldn't sweat the interview. You don't need to have some scripted set of questions to ask in order to let them know you show interest and are commited to the company. They know that or they wouldn't have called you for an interview in the first place. Your qualifications got you the interview, now they just want to see if you'll get along well with others. Coming from the Army and having worked closely with others for long stretches at a time is right up their alley.

The interview is obviously important but It's impossible to determine if that applicant will be a good future employee just from an hour conversation. I have friends in different companies and believe me, we all have morons that slip thru the cracks and get hired and later on fired. You'd be amazed at just how many "professional pilots" out there that can't show up to work on time in a clean uniform.

Coming from the Army I'm sure you'll do fine. Right place, right time, right uniform with the right attitude. Good luck to ya.

Edited by Velocity173, 01 May 2015 - 16:40.





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