A step-by-step guide for your airline interview

Australia is now in the grips of one of its biggest booms in pilot recruitment. With this comes the opportunity for many to progress their career onto bigger and better things.  Airline interviews can seem like a long and arduous process. It’s not meant to be easy. Airline interviews aim to put your pilot skills, attitude and intelligence to the ultimate test.

Preparation is key

While this is the case, one shouldn’t underestimate the competitive climate surrounding pilot jobs within the aviation industry. Competition is fierce and airlines will only select the best candidates for the job. That’s why adequate preparation and realistic goal setting should be undertaken before applying for these jobs.

The recruitment process for most airlines and General Aviation (GA) companies follow a similar format. Most of the preparation can be made even before an invitation is received. The pilot recruitment process can be broken down into the following stages:

  • Online application
  • Online video interview
  • Online aptitude tests
  • Assessment centre
  • Simulator assessment

Online application 

It goes without saying that writing a relevant CV and cover letter is critical. Look at some of the CVs of peers and seek professional help from university. The conventional format for a pilot’s resume differs from many other professions, so it is vital to examine these differences.

Video interview

Job interviews generally follow a similar format, so it is highly recommended that you seek the professional advice of industry professionals and set aside time to reflect on your motivation and experiences. You are setting yourself up for success, when you prepare for expected questions and learn how to structure your responses.

Aptitude tests

This stage involves four separate tests. Verbal reasoning, numerical reasoning, logical reasoning and a psychometric test as part of the airline interview.

Based on your previous responses, reasoning tests are designed to gradually increase in difficulty. Don’t worry if you find these tests hard – you are not alone.  Airline recruiters compare your score against others and select accordingly. Candidates can use sample online aptitude tests to assess areas of improvement. Try SkyTest to gain a better insight into the type of assessments you may sit.

Psychometric testing assesses whether your personality type is suitable for the company you are applying for. It’s advised that you answer them as honestly. Some of these tests are designed to catch any inconsistencies in your answers, so there’s no sense trying to trick the system. You may find the Myers-Briggs test useful for your preparation.

Assessment centre

This day may involve a full day of testing and you could expect some interstate travelling. Most recruiters don’t jump straight into the assessments, so you may have an opportunity to meet and greet with candidates from a range of different pilot backgrounds.

During this phase, you may encounter small group exercises. You may be given a scenario and asked to come up with a solution as a team. In this scenario, the assessors are assessing your personality and specifically how you work in a group. Depending on the airline, this may be followed by a one-on-one interview with the Human Resources department, as well as a scenario-based interview.

The one-on-one HR interview can be quite nerve-racking. Preparation for this type of interview is important since any gaps or inconsistencies in your answers can be the difference between progressing and not. Whilst it is impossible to anticipate the exact answers the interviewers are looking for, consistency in the structure of your answers is something you can prepare for.

The scenario-based interview may involve a role play in which you adopt a certain role and outline possible actions. Use this situation to your advantage, as they will be assessing your communication skills and ability to prioritise.

Simulator assessment 

Once you have reached this stage, you should give yourself a pat on the back! Simulators are commonly the final stage of the pilot recruitment process and are usually assessed by a Synthetic Flight Instructor or Training Captain. Your assessor will be evaluating a variety of skills including

  • handling
  • technique for instrument scan
  • ability to perform crew resource management (CRM).
  •  how easily you handle instructions and;
  • the training risk you pose for a type rating.

Learn To Fly’s simulators to get more practice and flight training experience in before the big day

A great learning curve

Focusing your preparation on the right activities is critical. These assessments also help you pinpoint your strengths and skills and enable you to gain a better insight into yourself.

If you would like more advice and help with various components of the pilot recruitment process, you can book an Airline Interview Coaching Session with current Senior Airline Captain, Darren McPherson of ACS, to help set you up for success.