Surviving an Airline Interview

You have just received a phone call from the airline that you have been pestering for a job. They called to schedule you for an interview, and you only have two weeks to prepare for it. Now what?

Preparation is the key to success, and being prepared will make a good impression with everyone you meet during the interview process. Keep in mind a few basics:

  • Honesty is the best policy.
  • The Airline will complete a ten year background check on you.
  • Be ready to explain any abnormalities that may appear.
  • Focus on the big picture.
  • This is a process.
  • You will meet and speak with many people from different departments at the Airline.
  • Relax and be yourself.

Do your Research:

  • The Airline – Know a brief history of the airline, and be knowledgeable about current events affecting the airline also.
  • Get “the Gouge” – Research all available resources to learn about the nature of questions presently being asked by interviewers.
  • Interview Process – Learn about the agenda for the interview: Does this airline have a two day interview or one? Is there a Sim Ride? What kind of maneuvers are on the Sim Ride? Is there a technical interview? What does the technical interview focus on? What kind of IQ Tests are given?

Have your Records:

  • First Class Medical – Have a current, official copy.
  • Transcripts from High School and College – Again, current and official.
  • Letters of referral – Preferably from other pilots whom you have flown with and/or worked with.
  • Log Books – All columns added up and in agreement with each other.
  • Driving Record – At least five years, preferably ten year copy of your record.
  • For Some Airlines:

  • Have a copy of the results of your completed ATP Written
  • FCC Limited Radio Operators License

Know your Material:

  • Review FARs – With emphasis on Part 91 and Part 121.
  • Review AIM and Jeppeson material – Be ready to answer Commercial/Instrument questions about: VDPs, weather interpretation, weather, speed limits, holding entries and speed limits, Airspace cloud clearances, MSAs, Jepp approach plates, enroute charts and terminal charts.
  • Be ready to answer common HR type of questions – for example,
    Tell me about a time you made a decision in the cockpit that you regret?
    Tell me about a time you’ve been scared while flying? How did you handle it?
    A senior Captain informs you that he will not be using checklists on “his” flights, what would you do?
  • Be prepared to take personality tests.
  • Know systems for airplanes in your log book – Chances are that the interviewer has some experience in some of the aircraft that you have in your log book and will ask questions about it.

Being prepared gives you a relaxed feeling that will come across as confident in an interview. In the interview, keep your answers short and concise. Don’t try to bluff anyone, they have seen it all. Prepare yourself, go to the interview well-rested and relaxed, be honest and most importantly be yourself. Stay alert and learn from the experience, you may get the opportunity for a second interview.