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Old 02-21-2018, 10:32 AM   #1  
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Default Why I chose FedEX

Why I chose FedEx

I am a former military aviator and current FedEx Captain. This is an Op-Ed to assist some of you out there, mostly military pilots but civilian as well, who are trying to decide where you want to go to begin your airline career.

My Father was a Marine aviator who flew F-8s over Cuba during the Cuban Missile crisis and two tours in Vietnam. When he got out after his second Nam tour, he took a job at Northwest Airlines and began a 25-30 year airline career where he was a Captain and Standard Check Airman on the 727, 707, DC-10, and 747-400. He loved Northwest until the day he died. He always said he loved coming to work every day he was there and he felt he flew with the best men and women aviators in the world.

After my military active duty career I joined the Guard and started to look at an airline career of my own. It seemed only natural that I would follow my family’s footsteps to a career at Northwest. A company my Father dearly loved. However, when I was faced with the decision of choosing between offers from both Northwest and FedEx, my Father advised me, “Take the FedEx job. Northwest no longer wants pilots like you. FedEx appreciates aviators more and you will enjoy your career there much better.” Needless to say I was shocked. But he was right. I have loved coming to work every day here at FedEx. I work for the best run company in the world at the top corporate level and I love the men and women I fly with. But what had happened at Northwest that my father didn’t want me to come there?

In the early 90’s, Northwest had experimented with removing the pilot leadership of their hiring process. They created a personality test based upon a NASA study of military and civilian aviators. The test itself was quite accurate and valued the training and decision making that most military aviators were brought up under. But then Northwest removed their own pilots completely from the hiring process, the lawyers and the HR people took over. They modified the test to correlate with what they believed an airline pilot should look like. All of a sudden whispers started among the crew force. “Did you hear that this guy failed the test?” “Did you hear this guy did not even get an interview?” “Who the hell are we hiring now?” Then the training product started showing up on the line. The LCAs were pulling their hair out. It wasn’t necessarily line check busts; rather it was that the majority of new hires were substandard in their performance and line Captains were starting to gripe about Northwest’s training program. So one of the Standards Mangers got a hold of the personality test and issued it to all the Standard Check Airman across all the fleets. The results were shocking. My Dad along with 92.6% of the SCAs at Northwest failed the test. They were the backbone of the Training Department, but they would not have been able to be hired at that moment. Needless to say, uproar ensued and after a long struggle, the pilot group was eventually able to force the lawyers and the HR people back to the sidelines and regain control of THEIR hiring process. But for me, at least in the mid 90’s, Northwest didn’t want pilots like me.

Now here I am at FedEx. And unfortunately history is repeating itself and I am experiencing the same cultural change at the tail end of my career as my father experienced in his at Northwest. Our company has removed the pilot leadership of OUR pilot hiring process. It started similarly with bringing in outside consultants to create a personality test and score pilot accomplishments. And similarly, the test and scoring initially was fairly accurate and the scoring valued things like Academy graduate, instructor and evaluator experience in both civilian and military backgrounds, etc. But then the pilot hiring process was completely taken over by our lawyers and HR people and is now totally devoid of pilot input. They have created a closed-door process that values what they believe an airline pilot should look like. Sponsorship and Pilot Recommendations are gone completely. They are replaced by a Pilot Endorsement that we can only use once every ten years and are such a joke that we believe it may actually score against you if any of our current classes are reflective of its importance. I know what you are thinking. That is crazy. It would be like a NFL team giving their Legal department the complete authority and responsibility to draft their football team while locking out of the room their GM and Head Coach. What the hell do lawyers know about evaluating good football players much less good aviators? But you have to understand. We are undergoing a cultural change. It is no longer OUR hiring process. FedEx no longer wants pilots like me nor do they want me to recruit pilots like me to come here.

So yes, the whispers and rumors are true. If you are a current or former military aviator, FedEx does not value your experience or competency. They really do not want you here. There is a reason why Delta, Southwest, United and American have given you calls within weeks to two months of submitting an application for an interview and you are now on 9 months or more, even with one or two PEs, without hearing anything from FedEx. Yes, it is true that people with less experience, but not a military background and no PEs are getting calls for interviews in 2-4 months or earlier. Yes, there is a reason why outstanding individuals that do get called with leadership and aviation skills coming out their ears are failing the HR interview and Legal department test and not getting hired here. Delta, Southwest, etc. appreciates aviators more and it appears its just like my Dad told me, “you will enjoy your career there much better.”

So what is my recommendation to you? Let me say it this way. I have a child learning to fly and showing an interest in making a career out of aviation. He also wants to serve. I can only hope he is successful enough in this endeavor that the active duty or a Guard/Reserve Unit will acknowledge his bloodlines and take a chance on him for a pilot training slot. Then when it is time for him to possibly move on to an airline career, I can honestly say it would be a proud moment for me if he became a legacy hire here at FedEx. However it would be against my best advice to him today if he had another choice to begin his airline career. If I have raised him properly to be a true aviator, then I know barring a future cultural correction like what eventually happened at Northwest, he is not wanted here at FedEx. I do not want him to come to a place that does not appreciate his profession and him as an aviator. So my advice to him will be the same as my Dad’s advice was to me for the same reasons. I will love FedEx until the day I die. It has been such a pleasure working here and providing for my family. I have never regretted taking the advice of my Father and accepting FedEx’s offer to come work for them and be a member of this truly outstanding crew force. The men and women I fly with are simply the best aviators in the world. But the FedEx AOD culture now is no longer the same FedEx AOD culture as when I was hired. They don’t want people like me anymore.

FedEx currently appreciates my competency as an aviator. They just don’t want anymore like me coming through the door. Am I sad that I could not get hired here by FedEx today? Yes. Am I mad? No. It simply is what is. Maybe before my son comes of age, FedEx will have gone through a correction like Northwest did right before the end of that airline and their merger with Delta. And maybe then they will understand the value of pilot leadership in the hiring process. Maybe our crew force will get THEIR hiring process back one day. In the meantime I am, and I always will be, very appreciative of FedEx and all it has given my family and me. I cannot wait to go to work tomorrow. So yes, I believe you will probably like it here too and if you put in your application here we will do what we can for you. But I will give you the same wise advice my Father gave me, “Delta, Southwest etc. appreciates aviators more and you will undoubtedly enjoy your career there much better.” Put your energies in getting hired where you are valued and appreciated. If you are a military aviator, the rumors and the perceptions are true. FedEx supports our troops, our men and women in uniform. They just don’t want you working here or they would value you more.

Sincerely,
A Proud FedEx Captain
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Old 02-21-2018, 11:05 AM   #2  
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I appreciate you taking the time to post your thoughts, truly.

However, Delta has the same test we take. United has the Hogan Personality Assessment. Southwest no longer has a back door policy of walking into the CP’s office with a good friend. 50%+ of AA’s hiring is from flows via wholly-owned regionals. Their interviews are all largely HR based now as well. In fact, my SBI/panel interview here was more “piloty, broohahah, experience” than anywhere else I’ve interviewed.

I would disagree that FedEx is the only airline that doesn’t value your experience. I came here from one of the big 3 majors. When I was in indoc the military guys were all asking the instructors and pilot recruiters how they could get their buds a call and that they’ve had their apps on file for years without a call. Meanwhile, 26 year old RJ FO’s with 2500TT were sitting next to us. Delta just hired a 23(!!!!) year old RJ FO. I’m sure there are a plethora of fine military aviators salivating over a job there as well.

Same story everywhere else.
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Old 02-21-2018, 01:42 PM   #3  
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If it's true that FedEx is now leery of hiring military pilots, there must be a reason. I wonder if it's the fact that so many people stay in the reserves or the guard after they are hired. I am prior military and obviously have nothing against military pilots. However, if I was an employer and had my choice of qualified people who are generally 100% available to work, and others who might knock out trips every month (including during peak), and be deployed for months at a time, whom would I hire? The person who is going to be full time (to the best of my knowledge). Just a thought about why they might be not as interested in the military types.

I remember in the nineties, FedEx hired many Delta and AA furloughed pilots who went back when recalled. It took them some time to hire furloughees again, since they'd been burned so badly.
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Old 02-21-2018, 02:33 PM   #4  
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Originally Posted by Rsv4lyfe View Post
I appreciate you taking the time to post your thoughts, truly.

However, Delta has the same test we take. United has the Hogan Personality Assessment. Southwest no longer has a back door policy of walking into the CP’s office with a good friend. 50%+ of AA’s hiring is from flows via wholly-owned regionals. Their interviews are all largely HR based now as well. In fact, my SBI/panel interview here was more “piloty, broohahah, experience” than anywhere else I’ve interviewed.

I would disagree that FedEx is the only airline that doesn’t value your experience. I came here from one of the big 3 majors. When I was in indoc the military guys were all asking the instructors and pilot recruiters how they could get their buds a call and that they’ve had their apps on file for years without a call. Meanwhile, 26 year old RJ FO’s with 2500TT were sitting next to us. Delta just hired a 23(!!!!) year old RJ FO. I’m sure there are a plethora of fine military aviators salivating over a job there as well.

Same story everywhere else.
I agree 100%.
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Old 02-21-2018, 03:50 PM   #5  
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Originally Posted by busdriver12 View Post
If it's true that FedEx is now leery of hiring military pilots, there must be a reason.
Look at the most recent system bid award.

The company does not want to hire an individual, have them go on MLOA for 2 years, and come back with an award to the left seat of one of their airplanes with no system experience.

Had approx 10 of 12 interviewees hired from my previous squadron, all non retirees. Over the past 10 years, only 4 offers, just to interview, from the same 'widget factory' and all 4 were retirees. Not one person who separated was even offered an interview.

Coincidence, I think not.
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Old 02-21-2018, 05:03 PM   #6  
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Why did you create 3 exact threads?
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Old 02-21-2018, 05:16 PM   #7  
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Originally Posted by busdriver12 View Post
If it's true that FedEx is now leery of hiring military pilots, there must be a reason. I wonder if it's the fact that so many people stay in the reserves or the guard after they are hired.
Of course there is a reason and I doubt it has anything to do with "not valuing what a military aviator brings to the company". Could it be that too many military pilots, who are continuing their service in the guard/reserves, are abusing their ability to drop mil leave?

Once again, we are our own worst enemy.
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Old 02-21-2018, 05:20 PM   #8  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rsv4lyfe View Post
I appreciate you taking the time to post your thoughts, truly.

However, Delta has the same test we take. United has the Hogan Personality Assessment. Southwest no longer has a back door policy of walking into the CP’s office with a good friend. 50%+ of AA’s hiring is from flows via wholly-owned regionals. Their interviews are all largely HR based now as well. In fact, my SBI/panel interview here was more “piloty, broohahah, experience” than anywhere else I’ve interviewed.

I would disagree that FedEx is the only airline that doesn’t value your experience. I came here from one of the big 3 majors. When I was in indoc the military guys were all asking the instructors and pilot recruiters how they could get their buds a call and that they’ve had their apps on file for years without a call. Meanwhile, 26 year old RJ FO’s with 2500TT were sitting next to us. Delta just hired a 23(!!!!) year old RJ FO. I’m sure there are a plethora of fine military aviators salivating over a job there as well.

Same story everywhere else.
Nothing against military guys and gals, respect the service for us. However those 2500 hr RJ guys are working in the system we operate in everday and probably doing wing low cross wind landings to boot. Just Saying
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Old 02-21-2018, 05:23 PM   #9  
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Originally Posted by DiamondZ View Post
Look at the most recent system bid award.

The company does not want to hire an individual, have them go on MLOA for 2 years, and come back with an award to the left seat of one of their airplanes with no system experience.
I really doubt this particular concern is driving the current hiring dynamic. FedEx may have decided to turn their nose up at the part time military guys, but I seriously doubt it's because they're worried about what they might be able to hold on a system bid.

There are a variety of scenarios that would create a similar circumstance and don't involve someone out on mil leave. How about someone hired into the right seat of the 777. They may spend two years getting one landing a month if they're lucky, sitting reserve and going to the sim every 90 days or RFOing 14 hours at a pop and never spend a single moment flying domestic hub-turns. Are they going to be any more ready to jump into the left seat of a 757 than someone just getting back from mil leave? You seem to be discounting the instructors, check airmen and FAA designees. There are enough "filters" in the upgrade process to ensure the Captains release to the line are capable of doing the job.

No one wants to struggle in training and I think it's unlikely too many folks would attempt an upgrade without any practical experience. However, if someone did, I feel pretty confident the training standards would keep them out of the left seat if they weren't ready. It's not like we haven't all heard of someone who made the attempt and was unsuccessful.
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Old 02-21-2018, 05:29 PM   #10  
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..... probably doing wing low cross wind landings to boot. Just Saying
What does this even mean?
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