Someone, please explain the airline pilot interview process
“How do I prepare for my interview and when’s the best time to start?” It’s a triple-barrelled question I am asked on a daily basis.
Obviously, there are a variety of ways to prepare. I am going to give you an overview of a thorough preparation, what times lines to expect when applying to an airline, and the different areas you will be tested on.
THE FULL AIRLINE PILOT INTERVIEW/ ASSESSMENT PROCESS LOOKS LIKE THIS:
- Online application (resume and cover letter)
- Online Psychometric/Aptitude testing (sometimes this is hands-on, on-site for some airlines)
- Video Interview, SKYPE or Telephone interview
- Assessment Day (includes: Technical Questions / Panel Behavioural Interview / Scenario-Based Questions / Flight Planning Exercise and sometimes a Clinical Assessment)
- Sim Test
- Referee Check
- Medical Check
So you’ve applied. Now what?
The waiting period following an application can vary between airlines, some airlines can move quickly if they have a shortage or quick expansion and other airlines are slower due to a large number of applications and a complex screening process.
Not much help is it… but it does vary depending on the airline.
To give you an idea, once you apply you can get a response between 2-4 weeks or 2-4 months, depending on the rate of recruitment and how many pilots have applied.
Many airlines issue time limits for the completion of the Video Interviews and On-Line Psychometric testing as the first two interactive stages. Often that is only 3 days to complete each of those, from the time of invitation.
Therefore getting ready for those processes well in advance is crucial. Especially for those with hectic rosters and not many days off. Remember, if you don’t do well at either stage you cannot progress to the Assessment Day.
Note: if you are overseas or unable to complete the processes within the timelines for a good reason, ask for an extension. Explain your circumstances clearly, often they will agree to give you one.
VIDEO, SKYPE OR TELEPHONE INTERVIEWS
This is a pretty foreign process and not many pilots feel comfortable sitting in front of a screen and talking about themselves, therefore practice is a great idea.
Remember, this is still a “behavioural interview” so know the technique.
Here are some suggestions for prepping for the Video Interview:
- Mac users: you have a built-in recording devise on your MAC, it is the PHOTOBOOTH program. Record yourself and play it back to ensure you are presenting with good eye contact, are not seen to be reading notes and are speaking clearly.
- You can also do a specialised Video Interview Program, where the actual interview is set up for you to practice online. The benefit of this is, the time limits are set, and you can get feedback from a specialist third party such as yours truly.
PSYCHOMETRIC/APTITUDE TESTING PRACTICE
There are many free online practice sites for psychometric testing.
You can request a list of the most common ones from us.
If you have performed poorly in the past, however, you may want to consider doing a hands-on aptitude test where you will receive feedback on your performance and guidance on where to improve. We can help you with a hands-on test, using the top of the line process that many of the airlines use.
UNDERSTAND THE BEHAVIOURAL INTERVIEW TECHNIQUE
Universally, airlines use the Behavioural Interview Technique. Many airlines rate your answers out of 5 points.
It is essential that you understand this method especially with regard to how to give an example. If you don’t provide the recruitment team with an example in the right format, you cannot get enough points to be rated highly. It also helps to understand what attributes and skills the airlines are seeking in a pilot in order to select the right example.
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