After successfully completing your commercial pilot licence course and landing an interview with a major airline company, the next step is the airline pilot technical interview. It is here where you will have to demonstrate to the airline recruiters why they should hire you for the job. The airline interview can be a daunting process where your practical and technical flying skills and aviation knowledge will be put to the ultimate test.
Before discussing the best ways you can be prepared, it is important to first understand the basics of the airline interview process.
A brief outline
Even though the interview and application process can vary depending on the airline, the following outline will list the most common steps you will be required to take:
- Applying to an airline. This is usually done with an online application including a detailed resume and cover letter.
- Aptitude/psychometric testing. Some airlines include this step in the interview itself while other airlines will conduct this online in the initial application.
- Having a video or telephone interview, usually over Zoom or Skype.
- Going to the airline’s assessment day with the other applicants. The assessment day can include group activities, scenario-based questions, technical questions, a panel HR interview, flight planning exercises and more.
- Conducting a sim test. This is where they will assess your flying skills inside of a flight simulator.
- Conducting a reference check.
- Conducting a medical check.
Response times can vary
After you have applied to an airline company, there is no guarantee you will receiving an instant response as response times can vary between airlines. It could be anywhere between two to four weeks – or two to four months. It can depend on a number of factors such as the complexity of the airline’s process for screening candidates, their rate of recruitment or how many applicants they received.
However, some airlines may respond to applicants quicker depending on their situation. The airline might have designated recruitment schedules, experiencing a rapid expansion or suffering from a shortage of pilots.
Tips for preparing for your airline interview
Now that you have a basic understanding of the airline interview process, here are three helpful tips to help you to be best prepared for your airline pilot technical interview:
- Research the airline company
You don’t want to end up in the situation of attending the airline interview without knowing important information about the company. Unlike 9-5 jobs, being a commercial airline pilot is a career, which means you must be able to show and demonstrate your knowledge of the airline you are applying to such as:
- Any important or recent company news such as opening a new route.
- Knowing who the key players of the airline company are. This includes Chief Pilots, the Director of Flight Operations and the CEO.
- The key company messages and core values of the airline. You can usually find this information on the company’s website.
- Knowing the airline’s general history, including their aircraft types and fleet size.
- Knowing who the airline’s biggest competitors are.
- Practice, practice, practice
Even though you won’t have an exact idea of what specific questions you will be asked during the airline pilot interview, it’s important to rehearse and practice your answers for questions that are the most commonly asked. You don’t need to create a fully prepared script, but it’s important to practice your answers enough so you can effectively demonstrate your main points when answering. Some of these questions can include:
- What most interests you about aviation?
- Describe a situation where you discovered a safety issue and how you handled it.
- What is the most difficult decision you’ve had to make as a pilot?
- Why exactly do you wish to fly for our airline?
- Tell us a little bit about yourself.
- Leave no questions unanswered
During the airline pilot interview, you might come across some questions that you weren’t expecting or have practised for. If this occurs, it’s crucial to still provide an answer. Failing to do so runs the risk of not demonstrating the competencies that the interview panel is looking for.
A common situation that might happen is if you are asked to describe a scenario when there was a conflict with your team members and what actions you took to resolve the problem. However, you can’t recall a specific situation from the top of your head.
The best solution is to answer the question truthfully, and instead explain how you would approach the situation if it were to arise. This could involve listening to each team member for context of the situation and then explaining how you would resolve the conflict using your communication skills.
To ensure that you are best prepared for your airline interview, search online for a flight academy in Melbourne which offers workshops such as an airline pilot technical interview theory course. These courses can inform you of exactly what is required to ensure you have the best chance of passing your cadet pilot interview.