Preparing for your job interview + 10 important advices

Preparing for your job interview + 10 important advices
16/04/2017 pilotpatrick
preparing pilot interview

Happy Easter my Aviator,

I recently gave you tips when applying for your dream job. I explained how crucial a perfect application is to receive an invitation for a job interview. In this article I want to share my experiences I made during my numerous pilot assessments and I will give you ten general advices to consider for an interview.

My experiences

Unlike other jobs in the world most airline companies seek their pilots not with a standard job interview. Over multiple stages, pilot selection typically involves online application, aptitude and maths testing, interview and group exercises and simulator assessment. The key to success is an extensive and a good preparation for the assessment.

In the article „May way into the cockpit“ I explained my rather uncommon way to find my first job as a first officer. Besides a job interview with the CEO, I flew some kind of screening with an instructor pilot on a C172 around Berlin. He assessed my airmanship and flying skills. For my second employee in the business aviation, I only had an interview without any testing. I suppose that my flight experience with over 1500 flight hours were enough to prove that I could fly the Citation XLS+. For my current employee I had to pass an assessment which consisted of three stages before I received a positive answer.

Example pilot assessment

Stage 1

The two day assessment took place at Interpersonal in Hamburg. The first day consisted of computer based tests covering numerous subjects. English (multiple choice, hand written translation), maths (mental arithmetic and math text problems), logical reasoning, memory, ATPL knowledge, multi-task ability.

Stage 2

The second day consisted of interviews to get to know me in person. Additional my ability to work in a team in high workloads and to make effective decisions. During all events a physcologist judged me.

Stage 3

Last stage was a simulator screening at Lufthansa Aviation Training. I flew the B737 full flight simulator for the very first time. The check pilots wanted to see my airmanship and flying skills. Special Boeing procedures and system knowledge were not required but they wanted to see that I could transfer my skills to a new surrounding.

Now I have ten important advices for you which are based on my experiences in the aviation industry. They do not primary relate to flight crew positions and can be used for all job interviews and assessments. Please study them carefully as they might have a big impact on your future career.

My 10 advices for your job interview and assessment:

1) Appearance

Your appearance is the marking criteria. Especially the first impression is really important. You should wear a outfit which suites your future job. As part of a flight crew you should wear a dark suit, white shirt and tie. Make sure your clothes and shoes are clean, are of the correct size and well ironed. In case you have to travel for an extended period to your interview, I suggest that you change just prior your appointment or take extra clothing. This way your clothing stays fresh. Use deodorant and perfume which is not persistent.

pilot interview tips

Hello from Oslo

2) Behaviour

Be friendly, respectful and professional. Professionalism starts with punctuality. Arrive on time and plan some extra time for any delays. I found it helpful to arrive a day earlier in case I had to travel lengthly. Greet your interviewer with eye contact. Try to memorize all their names. I know this can be really hard. I suggest to find out who your interview partners will be when you get invited for the interview. Listen careful and speak when you are challenged. If you did not understand anything ask again.

If you are not sure ask again! Pilots do this all the time.

Be confident and speak loudly so every one in the room can understand you. Try to have an open posture when sitting in the chair and do not cross your arms. During group exercises it is really important that you give input, but also let your fellow candidate speak up as well.

3) Know the company

Try to gather as much as information about your future employee. Know about fleet size and type, passenger numbers, its history, staff, key players in their sector, where it flies to – make sure you know past, present and future. The interviewer wants to see that you are passionate about the job, but he also wants to see a well-rounded person, who his aware of the world outside

4) Know yourself

You should not only know your possible future employee, but you should also know yourself. This means that you know your curriculum vita by heart including all dates and stages. As a pilot you should know the exact flight hours. A good preparation includes

Why do you want to work for us? What makes you the ideal person for this position? Why did you want to become a pilot?

I have been asked about my positive and negative characteristics. As I found this question superfluous (especially the negative aspect). I asked my family and friends about my characteristics. As a negative quality I always mention that I am too curious. Find a characteristic which is not solely negative.

5) Be yourself

It does not help to pretend to be a different person to be a better fit for the position. Your interview partner and phycologist will find out easily. Just be yourself and try to be relaxed. Relaxed in a testing environment? This definitely helped would me a lot. I always try to blind out what the outcome would mean to me. This way my stress level is reduced and pressure drops a little bit. Using this technique helps me to me myself and my performance increases significantly.

pilot interview advices

A300 engines in EGGW (London Luton)

6) ATPL knowledge

In case you just graduated from flight school this should not be a major problem for you. Never the less you should revise the ATPL knowledge. I never struggled with those kind of  questions. In my last assessment I was even above average. Those candidates who were below average were asked ATPL questions again during their personal interview. Take your summaries out and study them again.

7) Practise

Aptitude and numerical testing can sound daunting, but they are hurdles you have to overcome. Use your research to replicate each stage and practise, practise, practise. It is said that you cannot practise for aptitude tests, but that does not mean leave it to chance. You can still prepare by familiarizing yourself with the testing process and sharpening your skills.

8) English skills

English is the most common language in aviation. I have seen many candidates who failed because of their weak English skills. This really surprises me a lot, because during flight training they are faced with English the whole time. So in case you struggle: Do translations from you native language into English. Try to translate texts which relate to the aviation industry.

9) Film yourself

Practise your interview by answering questions out loud. Answering in your head or on paper is less efficient, so talk to yourself  in the shower, in your car and every spare minute. Give a friend a list of questions and simulate an interview situation. You could also use your smart phone and film yourself. This way you notice your mistakes and can improve. This makes you more confident.

job interview preparation

Book suggestions to prepare for your interview

10) Have questions

Carry a small notebook with you. In this book you can take short notes. (shows extra interests) If you have questions note them prior the interview, so you will not forget them.

An invitation to an interview means you are already halfway there. So do not screw up. Show the recruiters that you are capable of doing the job and that you are a good fit with their company. 

Book suggestions:

I would like to know your dream job. Please comment below this article!

Good luck!

Your Pilot Patrick

Join me for a special tour with me through the historic airport of Tempelhof next Sunday (23.04.) Find all details and how to get a free boarding pass on my Facebook page PilotPatrick.

13 Comments

  1. Juli Stony 7 months ago

    Thank you for posting this! It’s very helpful 🙂
    Gonna prepare for the next couple months and then give it a try at DLR in Hamburg..

    • Author
      pilotpatrick 7 months ago

      Hello Juli, you are very welcome!
      All the best to you and good luck. Maybe the software skytest can help you!
      Happy landings!
      Let me know the result.
      Patrick

  2. Polina 7 months ago

    This is interesting article,thank you. I am sure that it can help some people, who want to become a pilot. I don’t want to be the pilot, but I have noticed a few tips for myself. My friend to be a choreographer and she has success in this. I would like to become an actress. I want to play more on stage than in the movies.
    And it is possible that I have a job interview and have entrance examination soon.(if I decide to go to study this year)
    Thanks for the great article and good luck!!

    • Author
      pilotpatrick 7 months ago

      Hello Polina!
      Thank you. Ok great. This was the intention of the article. It should not only help pilots to prepare for their job interview but help everyone. I wish you all the best for your career and good luck. I would be a terrible actor. 😉
      Happy landings!
      Patrick

  3. Andy 7 months ago

    Interesting article! If you’d ever like a native English speaker to clean up your posts, please feel free to contact me! 🙂

    • Author
      pilotpatrick 7 months ago

      Hello Andy, thanks for your offer.
      I will come back to you.
      Happy landings!
      Patrick

  4. Andy 7 months ago

    Interesting article! If you’d ever like a native English speaker to clean up your posts, feel free to get in touch with me. I’d be happy to help 🙂 Wir haben auch schon mal geschrieben.

  5. Ben trettin 7 months ago

    Ist sehr gut diese seite großes lob

    Und hier die fragen?
    Wie bist du darauf gekommen pilot zu werden?
    Ist es schwer die prüfung zu bestehen?
    Und kann man mal bei dir mitfliegen bin nen fan von dir

    • Author
      pilotpatrick 7 months ago

      Hallo Ben,
      vielen Dank für dein Lob. Das freut mich sehr. Schau dir doch mal mein ersten Blog Beiträge an. Dort findest du die Antworten zu deinen Fragen. Mitfliegen geht leider nicht, aber ich plane zurzeit ein tolles Event bei dem es dann möglich sein wird.
      Happy landings und schöne Grüße!
      Patrick

  6. ghielyn 7 months ago

    Where my comments go..
    Hi mr.pilot..how are you today hope u have a safe flight.. I just read ur article and it give me impact how to prepare myself soon even im not a pilot..it give me knowledge ..thank you so much! I ‘ll keep reading.. Liking and commenting your article and post in insta.. Have a safe flight! God bless

    • Author
      pilotpatrick 6 months ago

      Hello Ghielyn,
      it takes a little bit of time to upload on my website. Thats awesome. I appreciate your great support!
      All the best,
      Patrick

  7. Daniel 6 months ago

    “If you are not sure ask again! Pilots do this all the time.”

    Oh yes, really do!!! My words out of your mouth :o) Pilots want to know, why the thing they are flying is doing as it does. For their own and all peoples good — so completely comprehensible.

    • Author
      pilotpatrick 6 months ago

      Hello Daniel,
      it is really important. Especially if you have to follow ATC instructions in a dense traffic situation. If one aircraft does not follow the instructions the whole system can get messed up. All the best!
      Happy landings,
      Patrick

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