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Interview experience

The interview date, my education and my age are not correct, because that information would identify me, and I would like to be able to reapply at Southwest Airlines if given the opportunity. The People Department, and all the employees I met prior to the interview were very friendly, helpful and encouraging. The purpose of this report is to help future applicants prepare for the interview, which was conducted in two parts. The first concern is not to be late, because applicants are given arrival slots just like arriving flights, and if you are late, it would be a bad start. I was two minutes early, and after signing in, I was met by the Chief Dispatcher (I had the impression that he was in a hurry and going through the motions to remain on a tight interview schedule) and taken to a room where a knowledge test was waiting on the table. You have one hour to complete the test, which is what I would consider a "power test", meaning that many people will not complete it, and how far you got is part of the overall score. The test covers many obscure aspects of dispatch, and also many flight related items that would in reality be more appropriate for pilot applicants (I have over 7 years of Part 121 dispatching experience and have never had to use many of the issues related to some of these questions). There are laminated approach charts and departure and arrival (SID and STAR) charts and sections of Low Altitude Enroute Charts and the questions are about the details like minimum altitudes and reporting points and distances from one to another. The strategy I used was to answer the questions I knew and skip the ones that I was not sure of and go back to them later, but because of the length of the test, later was too late, and I quickly guessed at some that I could have answered correctly with a little more time. I felt that I did ok on the questions I answered, but I did not get to the last page, so in that way I did not do so well. I would suggest that you study for weeks in advance and cover everything you can; I am sorry that I can not provide details, but the test was a mix of typical dispatch knowledge questions and other questions that were intended to measure the depth of knowledge, which would be fair, except for the one hour time limitation. Next came the interview, which was with the Chief Dispatcher and three other people. They tried to make the process comfortable, but the impression I had was that they had certain things they wanted to hear without asking. Normally I do very well in an interview, but I had the feeling that I was not who or what they were looking for. From the outside looking in, Southwast Airlines is a wonderful company, but I had a peek behind the curtain, so to speak, and the inner workings appeared to be the standard mechanical process of following the protocol without really considering the potential of the applicant, and this was in stark contrast to the desired corporate image they try to foster.  It is impossible to prepare for this situation, you just have to fit or you don't, and apparently I did not. Good luck to you!!

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