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Home > Interviewing Process > How can I prepare for the SIA final interview and tea party?
How can I prepare for the SIA final interview and tea party?
Pilot Career - Interviewing Process
Thursday, 15 January 2009 16:49

Hi Captain Lim,

How can I prepare for the SIA final interview and tea party?

Thank you for all your help.


Hi Tany,

In addition to the many past FAQ found in the Interviewing Process category in my site, I have also retrieved from a previous posting by Knightwhosays in PPRuNe and it may still be helpful to you and others. His posting is below:-

My SIA Interview Experience by Knightwhosays...

Disclaimer: Everything in this post (including opinions and suggestions) is from my own experience and info gleaned from friends. Your own mileage may vary, so read/apply at your own risk!


Send in your application form through email and hard copy. Leave out things that interviewers can easily pick on. Nothing special - just basic job application skills.

You MUST have all the pre-requisites (O levels with Pure Science, Maths etc). It seems that the higher your education, the better your chances since most (but not all) people I know who have gone for the interview are graduates.

Put anything that boasts of your coordination skills in your application. E.g. Car/Boat license, sports, etc. You want SIA to see that you are capable both mentally AND physically.

Then you wait. If you’re lucky, just a few weeks. I waited 3 months before I got called up. So for you guys who are complaining after only 4 weeks, I’d suggest you get used to it!

There’s probably no point calling the HR at this point to check on your application. Each time I called, I was told to wait another 2 weeks. The HR is too busy to look for your application, cuz they also have to take care of the pple going for 2nd interviews, Seletar, OBS, etc.

My suggestion is, if you've not received an answer in 3 months, apply again. Quite possibly nothing was wrong in your application – it just got overlooked. Replies will be in email.

1st Interview:

1st you’ve got to do an eye exam. This can be done by any GP. They’ll give you a small slip of paper to indicate the results.

Next, start studying. Besides the basic interview questions like why do you want to be a pilot, what makes a good pilot, what do you know about SIA etc, you’ll also get more technical questions like how does a jet engine work, how does a plane fly etc. Go to AskCaptainLim and browse. There’s a comprehensive set of interview questions there.

There are 2 interviewers each in 2 rooms. You will be assigned to a room. When you 1st meet the interviewers, greet them, shake hands, be polite etc….. you know the drill. During the interview, they will pick on aspects in your application/background/life.

Anticipate and prepare your answers. E.g. they may ask you when you decided to become a pilot. If you answered that it’s a childhood dream and ambition, they may counter and ask how you have pursued this interest since then. If you answered only recently, they may question your commitment. This is especially so for those who have worked a few years before applying, like myself. Lesson here: stay 2 steps ahead of them. Engineering grads can expect to be hit with more technical questions.

Whatever happens, KEEP CALM. They want to see how you react under pressure. If there's anything you can't answer, be humble and admit you don’t know, but are willing to learn. By doing some studying, you will show that you have interest. They will not expect you to know everything.

Towards the end of the interview, you may be asked qns like, Are you afraid of the dark/heights, ability to swim etc. This seems to be a routine part of the interview process, and doesn't indicate your performance in any way.

There are at least 38 interviewees in a single day. A friend estimates that there could be up to 60. To give you an idea of the attrition rate, during my 2nd interview, I only found 1 other person who went for the 1st interview on the same day as I did. Of course, I wouldn’t know if anyone else went for 2nd interview on other days, so this may be inaccurate.

Then you wait for the 2nd Interview. The wait can be anything from 2 days to 8 months. Those rejected after the 1st interview will be informed thru email. Invitation for 2nd interview is also done thru email.

2nd Interview:

This is held over 2 days. The 1st day consists of paperwork in the morning and a 3hr computerized aptitude/psychomotor test in the afternoon. While you cannot prepare for the exact questions, you CAN prepare yourself for some of the type of questions. Surf the Net and find some free online PILOT aptitude tests. They may help you prepare mentally.

The aptitude/psychomotor test consists of several parts, most of which are timed individually, which is why you need to be prepared mentally to be able to jump right in. It will test you on your reaction, memory, ability to think in 3D space, coordination etc. After the test, don’t fret too much. Almost everybody thinks that they did badly.

After the test, it's a good idea for your batch to meet up to get to know each other and plan on how to work together the next day.

The second day is very tiring. It consists of a multi-part situational test in the morning, essay, final interview after lunch, and the tea party after that.

Situational Test.

You are split into 2 teams, to perform certain tasks. IMO, I feel that the tasks themselves are not important. They tell you that doing this or that gets you x points, but I think that it’s a red herring. It’s more important HOW these tasks are performed.

Each task has a different group member leading. As a leader, emphasize teamwork, listen to everyone’s views and don’t (or let anyone) dominate everything. This is why it’s important to discuss this on the day before, so everyone knows how to behave.

Pay attention to how each person performs, as you will be asked to give a peer appraisal. Focus on each person's different strengths, so that it sounds genuine. Be humble when you appraise your own performance.

Essay. Nothing much. Why do you want to be a pilot in 50 words?

Final Interview.

More of the same from the 1st interview, except you’re in front of 4-8 senior interviewers. I had 6. Whatever the 1st interviewers picked on previously will likely be emphasised again in greater detail. Anything you couldn’t answer in the 1st interview, make sure you’ve researched it by now. Again, be humble, calm, and admit if there’s anything you don’t know. Questions are likely to be more technical than before.

Your background and motivations are a likely focus here as well. My suggestion is to have a close look at your SIA application, and anticipate and prepare answers on areas where interviewers are likely to give you a hard time. For me, it was again the fact that I worked a few years before applying to SIA. Whatever your answer, try to show how it benefits you, and in turn benefits SIA.

Biz grads may be warned that they form the largest group of dropouts during the Cadet Pilot course. Don't worry; they're just yanking your chain. Keep calm and assure the interviewers that you will work hard and are fully committed.

Tea Party.

Hey don’t slack just yet! It’s still an interview. Make sure you interact and not stand in the corner stuffing your face with food. They want to see how you interact in a more natural setting. This is also an opportunity for the interviewers to assess those borderline pass/fail types. Again, use the same interview skills. Pay attention to your body language here, as you will be standing and moving around. They may still ask you technical questions here.

Don't forget yourself and start arguing with the interviewers over any differences of opinions. And never, ever bring up any of SIA's recent labor problems.

After this, go home, chill out, and pray. Cuz you’re going to have to call SIA the next day to check on the result of your final interview. If you pass, you’ll go for your CPL Initial Medical.

The attrition rate here is usually not as high as the 1st interview. On a good day, all interviewees will make it thru. However, I've heard of batches where half or more get rejected.

Please Note: Generally, if one is rejected after the 2nd interview and tea party, SIA will not consider your application again. However, there ARE exceptions. There are people who were rejected after the tea party, applied again, got accepted and are currently training! So don't give up!

CPL Initial Medical:

This takes half a day to complete. Your results will be sent for approval to the CAAS medical board. I called them up after only 5 working days and got my results. You do not actually need to call them up since the results will be sent to SIA. If you fail the medical, then obviously your application into SIA will also fail.

You may be asked to redo any part of the medical, if you're borderline in any of the tests. Don't worry about this, I know several people who have had to redo their tests, and were subsequently offered a place in SIA.

Post Medical:

Another long wait. I’ve heard of people waiting up to 6 months for an answer, altho it seems the norm is about 1-4 months. Don’t worry if your friends get an answer sooner than you, since they don’t call everyone up at the same time even if it’s for the same intake. The same batch of interviewees may also be split into different intakes several months apart.

They may give you as little as 2 weeks notice before the start of the course, so be prepared if you're currently working.

A delay in offer may be due to many reasons. E.g. You may be too young and slated for a later intake. Btw, SIA has reduced the min age from 26yrs to 25yr 6mth old for Singaporeans. If you are younger than this, you may still be accepted into SIA upon clearance from RSAF.

You may call SIA up if you want to check, just don't do it too often. Most of the time, your application will simply be pending. They will not know or reveal anything until just before they send you your email.

A word of warning: Even if you pass your medical, your application into SIA may not be successful! Therefore, do NOT quit your job yet. A few of my friends got rejected after passing their medical for unknown reasons. It’s also possible to wait 3-4 months before getting a rejection. It’s not an ideal situation, but that’s how it works.

All rejections from the past several interview batches are compiled before sending out in a blast, which explains the long wait.

If someone from your batch of interviewees got rejected, and you didn’t receive any rejection, then it’s likely that you’re safe. However, it's a good idea to call and check your application, as I've heard that some rejection emails do not get sent/received properly, causing the poor fellow/s to wait an extra few months.

In the end, only 6 out of the original 10 from my batch who attended the 2nd interview got an offer from SIA. It can take anything from 4 - 12 months from application to training. It took me 7 months.

Some Misc Stuff:

Some things you MAY wish to do before applying to SIA. Use at your own risk!

- Do the CPL medical on your own. That way, you know your medical condition first. Anything too long can shorten, anything too short can lengthen! Haha….. you know what I mean lah. But it’s expensive – about $400. If you pass, you may want to highlight this in your interview.

- Do a familiarization course at any of our flying clubs in S’pore, or even a 1 day lesson. You can use this to show your interest and commitment during the interview as well. Surf the internet to find out more. This is also expensive.

- Lasik. This one I dunno. Obviously may be useful if your eyes cannot meet the pre-requisites in the first place. However, this may delay your medical for several months as your eyes need to be “stabilized” first. Moreover, there are always risks in any operation. I cannot help you on this point.

Once you’ve got your offer from SIA, then it’s time to P-A-R-T-Y! I’ll see you in Seletar/Jandakot/etc where you’ll buy me a drink!!


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Comments (7)

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Change in process? , Low-rated comment [Show]
hi captain, nice to see your words, commendable.
ive just got an offer for PPL from phoenix east aviation florida. after PPL what? can i apply to any airlines for advance training. please guide me.
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dileep , 16 Nov, 2009
Singapore airlines rejects people that are shorter than 1.65. Clear discrimination of people's height. Do not fly with them. Fly with other airlines but SIA.
siabad , 30 Apr, 2010
SIA first interview
I will go for SIA first interview this coming Saturday. Quite nervous now... Hope I can do well in the interview.

For siabad,
No only SIA rejects people which do not possess a minimum height as cadet pilot but every airlines have the same policy and requirement for the respective cadet pilot selection. There is useless for you to just boycott SIA.
flyanyway , 29 Sep, 2010
SIA first interview
I will go for the first interview this coming Saturday. Quite nervous now. Hope I can do well in the interview.

For siabad,
Not only SIA the one airlines which has this policy but every airlines do the same thing. There must be a reason why they have such a requirement. Strictly not discrimination. There is useless for you to boycott SIA.
flyanyway , 29 Sep, 2010
Ethihad Cadet Pilot Programme
Hey SAM... I am from India and i am 23 year old..My only dream is to become a Pilot..My family is not financially fit the only way i can do it its with Etihad..I have applied and waiting for the first round..Please let me know some useful information on it.Thank you.
RAMY , 03 Oct, 2010
singapore cadet pilot
am karthi from india... my ultimate aim s to become pilot. my dad's wish also the same... next month am gonna atten cadet pilot interview in singapore airlines....i have passion , commitments and dream with me as pilot but th thing is i don knw how to express it in good way .. so kidnly give some good idea.....
hey sam , 10 May, 2011

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