Let’s dive into airline pilot interview do’s & don’ts! Use these 6 tips to your advantage during the pilot selection process and set yourself apart from the dozens (or even hundreds) of other candidates who are applying for the same airline pilot job. As it may come as a surprise to some, I have learned that, while skills and knowledge are both very important, they are not the only things that will land you your dream job. So, what else is there? Take special note, because these airline pilot interview do’s and don’ts will get you far in your quest for an airline pilot job.
#1: Don’t go last!
I know, sometimes going last can seem a bit less daunting than being one of the first people the interviewers meet, but trust me, it’s best not to be the last person either. Sometimes you may receive a schedule well in advance, so if you notice that you are planned to go last in the interview, call or write and politely request that you be moved to an earlier time slot.
I can already hear you thinking: “Why is this such a big deal?”, please let me explain. Imagine if you were the interviewer, who had to choose and talk with 8 to 10 candidates a day, and you did this over and over and over every working day. By the time you reach the last candidate, you will likely be daydreaming about the burgers you will eat for dinner, or how the finale of your favorite series will end. You won’t be paying much attention to the answers the candidate gives you, because you’re ready to be done! I have even had interviewers tell me personally during the airline pilot interview that they were tired and ready to be home.
Who isn’t tired at the end of the day?
Aside from the interviewer being tired, you as the candidate may be super tired as well by the end of the day. For example, during one of my interviews, I had to wait for around 4.5 hours because they were running behind schedule. There was no way I was as alert and cheerful at the end of all that waiting, so don’t let the same thing happen to you if possible.
Throughout the day, the interviewers will make a selection from all the candidates they have spoken with. If you are the last person to be interviewed, you’ll have to be really exceptional to stand out from the rest, since you will likely be compared to everyone who has gone before you. Try to secure one of the first interview slots of the day for the absolute best chances of success.
#2: Do bring enough food!
An airline pilot interview can take up an entire day. This one sounds obvious, but I think it is helpful to include it here. Most people tend to just bring a small snack and drink, such as a banana and a bottle of water, because they don’t intend to be at the interview for too long. Don’t let this be you! Be sure to bring enough food to last you about 8 hours maximum, as you may be waiting around for a bit, as I described above.
However, I would strongly suggest that you bring along healthy food, instead of candy, soda and other sugary snacks, because you don’t want to get a sugar high and then crash all before you are even called into the interview room. Also, always remember to bring along some toothpicks, dental floss or even a toothbrush, because lettuce in the teeth is not the first impression you want to make!
#3: Do make at least 4 copies of everything!
This is a preparation tip which is designed to reduce your workload and stress level before your interview. Remember when you tried to finish school projects at the last minute? That will not be possible in this case, because you are often called for an interview at very short notice, not weeks in advance like you might expect. That means you will have no time to gather and print out all the necessary documents to take to the interview with you. The documents you should have prepared with at least four copies are your medical, license, final report, references (minimum 3) and previous school certificates/diplomas. Another thing to note, these documents should all be printed in full color.
#4: Don’t forget to fix your clothing!
Again, this tip seems obvious, but a reminder is always helpful. Remember, you only get one chance to make a good first impression, so make sure you’re looking good when you enter the interview room! The first step to the perfect outfit starts with a good suit (or other presentable, business professional clothing). Of course, you do not need a designer suit in order to succeed in your interview, but just something decent.
For instance, I went to my local H&M to buy clothes and wore those to the interview. Just as you have your four printed copies of all important documents from tip #3 ready to go, make sure you have the outfit you’d like to wear picked out and ready as well. It’s very stressful when you realize on the day of the airline pilot interview, that you have nothing to wear because your suit is dirty, so avoid that hassle.
If you take one thing away from this tip, let it be this: don’t wear jeans to your airline interview! Yes, this has definitely happened, as I have witnessed it with my own eyes on multiple occasions. Even if you are the best pilot in the world, wearing jeans and casual shoes to an airline pilot interview makes you seem like you aren’t taking the process seriously, and you can kiss that job goodbye.
#5: Do maintain positive vibes during the airline pilot interview!
Interviewers will often ask questions that have a negative connotation. As an example, you may be asked questions such as “How would you deal with an irritated captain?” or “What is one of your personal weaknesses?”. Don’t let your responses end on a negative note. Instead, turn them into a positive response. The interviewer is likely checking to see if you are motivated and can keep a positive attitude during difficult situations.
So, if you are asked “Have you ever been in a conflict with another person? How did you deal with it?”, take a breath, smile, and respond with something like, “Yes, I can think of some minor situations, but I wouldn’t classify them as conflicts. I try my best to avoid conflicts by discussing things openly with the other person and working out a solution together”. Ugh, I know it sounds cheesy, but it’s probably true and it works, so go for it!
#6: Do have confidence in yourself!
Put on your best smile, bring out your best mood and remember that you will learn something valuable from your experience, regardless of the outcome. Have confidence in yourself, as you have come so far already! You can fly, you have a good looking cv and you’re the one they want, otherwise you wouldn’t be sitting there. Sell yourself in every question they ask you and show them why they should hire you!
I have so many more things I could tell you about the airline pilot interview process, but I can’t fit it all into one article, so be on the lookout for additional articles like this one in the future. I really hope that you are able to use these tips to your advantage, along with your knowledge and expertise, to ace the airline pilot interview and get the job you want. The airline pilot interview is very important, but try to enjoy this crucial step and craft your own tips for your next interview.
At Your Pilot Academy we have the right selection preparation courses for you if you choose to prepare yourself for an airline pilot selection process. Did you see our Physics For Pilots Course , Math For Pilots Course or English For Pilots Course for example? Completing those will definitely give you a head start! Interested in more content like this? Perhaps you find the content created by Michelle Gooris useful. She is an airline pilot who is well known for her content, this is a link to her YouTube channel.