Dear Capt Lim,
I have just been successfully selected to attend the SIA Cadet Pilot training program.
Although none of the information in your web site aided me in the interviews, I gain much confidence in facing the barrage of questions from the 7 interviewers.
I would like to share my experience with other aspiring pilots regarding the whole selection process:
I was invited for a preliminary interview after sending in my application (more than 1 month ago). There are 2 interviewers – one HR admin officer and a captain. In the beginning, general questions regarding yourself and your family would be asked. You would also be asked at least 2 technical questions, such as “How does an aircraft fly?”
In my experience, I was asked if I was able to allocate time for an aptitude test the following week. They should send you an email to confirm.
My advice is, do some basic homework. What are the aircraft type in the SIA fleet, what type of engines, share prices of various SIA (and its subsidiaries) stock and general knowledge about aviation (try to watch documentaries on aviation in the Discovery Channel).
This is a computer-based test, similar to that used in the Computerized Pilot Selection Scheme (CPSS) of the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) and the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS).
I regretted not being able to describe the exact details of the most difficult tasks (in the test), which involved good hand-eye coordination, spatial visualization, short-term memory and a bit of reflex decision-making.
My advice to aspiring candidates is - try out similar aptitude tests from RSAF and CAAS (Air Traffic Control Officer) to get you prepared. I did both tests prior to the SIA aptitude test and I was well prepared.
Just before the final interview, you would be asked to write a short essay. The HR officer will try to rush you.
I faced a panel of 7 interviewers, one of them a psychologist. The chief interviewer is a pilot with SIA (a captain) and he would be the only guy to throw most of the questions at you. This guy is quite aggressive and will come across as a bad guy. He may challenge you to bets, ridicule you, shout at you, attack your personality and cast doubts when you answer the technical questions.
Do not even hope to gauge the interviewers’ facial expressions or body language when you answer the difficult questions. Some would nod their heads after listening to your answers while the others would shake their heads.
Don’t be surprised when they ask little or few technical questions, especially if you have zero flying experience. The same cannot be said for experienced military pilots or those with PPL and/or CPL.
I believe this is to gauge how you carry yourself while dealing with strangers, how you talk, whether you know enough to carry a decent conversation. The chief interviewer may even pose technical questions (mostly one-liners) casually to all the candidates present.
Behave as you are normally. Be chatty but try not to come across as talkative and crowd out your fellow candidates.
This is a group project (but I will withhold the theme of the project) where you may need to work with your fellow candidates. Natural communicators who are outgoing and not averse to working with strangers should be able to perform in this item
Most of the time you are require to exhibit the necessary qualities that the group of 4-5 testers can identify as good team-players. The role of group leader will most definitely fall into your lap during certain stages in the project – design, planning, execution, and evaluation.
You will also be asked to appraise your teammates and yourself after the project had ended, and ALSO to name a person in your team as a person you like to follow in future.
I have my own theory on how to excel in this test but I feel it’s not fair to disclose it here. Moreover, it’s just my theory – nothing important. My advice is to arrive early and make friends (not superficially) with the other candidates before the test.
If you passed the previous items in the selection process, SIA may ask you to attend a medical examination. I did mine in ST Aeromedical Services just outside Paya Lebar Airbase.
Don’t quit your job when you are asked to attend the medical. This is because:
1. You maybe called up by SIA to attend the training program some 2-3 months’ or 6-8 months’ time.
2. Attending this medical DOES NOT guarantee you a placing in the training program. One of my fellow candidates passed all the items (as stated above) including the medical, BUT still receive a negative reply from SIA.
My advice for candidates after attending the medical:
1. You may call CAAS up to enquire about the results of the medical.
2. Be patient – as long as you did not receive a negative reply, you MAY still be eligible for the call up but as usual NO guarantees.
3. Follow the exact instructions as told to you (by the HR staff). If they asked you NOT to call a certain person, please comply or suffer the consequences yourself.
However, if your present job needs you to be overseas for quite some time, you may be allowed to call up a certain HR officer.
All the best to you!
Congratulations on your success in the SIA Cadet Pilot Program! Thank you for sharing your experience.
I wish you all the best in your future flying career!