If you’ve been invited to a pilot interview, congratulations – now’s the time to show them what you’re made of.
The whole process will be long and in-depth, usually consisting of group assessments, sim assessments, medical examinations, cognitive ability tests, aptitude tests, psychometric tests, eye tests, a GCAA medical, and the actual interview itself.
For the interview, a lot of focus is placed upon what soft skills a pilot must have. Nowadays, pilots will be expected to manage a multitude of situations, that can be influenced by any number of things – technical issues, weather, passengers, air traffic control, language barriers are all factors a pilot must manage, all while controlling a plane.
With that in mind, we’ve compiled a list of questions you could be asked – and how you should be answering them.
What do you think defines a professional pilot?
The interviewer wants you to describe the core competencies of a pilot, while giving an example of a time where you displayed these skills. Key things to mention for this question include:
- Excellent communication skills
- Strong leadership and teamwork
- Problem solving and decision making
- Situational awareness
- Workload management
- Application of company procedures
- Aircraft Flight Path Management (Manual control & automation)
Why is it important for pilots to be proficient in more than one language?
As you’ll be aware, commercial pilots must be proficient in English to communicate with air traffic control. However, being bilingual can benefit a pilot in many ways, such as:
- It demonstrates you’re a motivated and skilled candidate, dedicated to your profession. This could be difference between you and another candidate.
- There are many helpful and interesting aviation blogs/books you could read, written in numerous languages around the world.
- While you will have to speak to air traffic control in English, you will also come into contact with crew members, ground staff and airline employees, where English may not be their first language. Being able to communicate with people in their native language makes you look responsible and competent in your position.
What qualities make a good pilot?
Here, the interviewer is looking for you to reflect on the ideal candidate for the job. So you should make sure you can portray that the right person takes their job seriously and is a good risk evaluator, not a risk taker. You can also give examples of why you think you fit this particular bill to strengthen your points and your potential contribution to the role.
What would be a pilot’s role during an emergency?
A good way to begin answering this question is by expressing your feelings first. You should try to cite examples of how you would keep your mental calmness intact throughout a problematic situation, and how with your expertise easily self-control the emergency and begin assigning tasks for crew members if necessary. Your goal should be to reassure the interviewer that you are a person who can work calmly under tremendous pressure.
What does success look like to you in this job?
Success in any job should be measured in milestones or goals. Share your 5 or 10 year plan with your interviewer, and tell them which achievements you would count as successes. E.g. flight hours clocked, promotion to the left seat, work anniversaries etc. You could also mention that working for the airline you’re interviewing for would be a dream achievement for you.
Tell me about the toughest crew you had to deal with?
This question challenges how you dealt with behavioural and performance issues within a large team and how you managed them to avoid any detrimental situations within the operation of the aircraft. Try to give an example if you have previous experience. If not, you could offer up an example of a predicament you could end up in.
Pilots are required to take many simultaneous responsibilities during flight. What’s your view on this?
Pilots have a busy workload, and are expected to be able to perform a multitude of duties at once. Multitasking is a big part of this. Pilots have a key responsibility to navigate the flight, monitor and guide their team of crew members, check & maintain the required technical instruments, while also keeping track of the weather conditions, and controlling height and air traffic. When answering the question, keep this in mind when discussing how you would manage your workload.
What have you done to improve your knowledge of pilots and the industry?
Recruiters want to hire knowledgeable individuals who wish to continue their learning and development. As a pilot, you should already be engaging with experienced pilots/professionals through discussions, events, seminars etc… It will bode really well for you if you mention that you partake in extra learning away from your job e.g. extra qualifications, seminars and workshops.
Knowledge of the airline
While it’s important to have general aviation knowledge, it’s vital you have an encyclopedic knowledge of the airline you’re applying for. Showing you’ve done your research demonstrates that you’re a credible candidate. Things you should definitely research include:
- Who’s the CEO?
- How many people does the airline employ?
- What types of aircraft do they fly?
- How many aircraft do they fly?
- What routes do they fly?
- What challenges does this airline face?
You will be asked a range of technical questions during the interview, so make sure you can confidently deliver the answers without hesitation. Pay particular attention to what types of aircraft the airline fly. Questions could include:
- What is the process for landing X aircraft?
- How would you respond during an emergency during the flight?
- How would you modify a flight path?
- When should you increase your final reserve to 45 minutes?
- Can you define V1?
- Can you define balanced field length?
- What would you do if you lost an engine during take off?
- Have you ever flown an aircraft with mechanical problems? If so, how did you handle it?
- Can you explain to me how the landing gear systems work?
- What is the max takeoff weight, landing weight and ramp weight?
- What is the fuel capacity of X aircraft?
Looking for your next pilot job?
If you’re still trying to secure an interview, the Aviation Job Expo is the perfect chance to get in front of recruiters and find out exactly what they’re looking for. When the time comes, you’ll be more than prepared to excel at the interview stage.
During the expo, you’ll meet exhibitors such as BA City Flyer, BAE Systems and Bombardier – all you need to do is register now for your free ticket!