Job interviews are probably the most nerve-racking aspect of looking for a new job or securing an entry-level position, no matter what field it is in. Often, pilots and other airline industry professionals have to prove a delicate balance of professionalism, proficiency, experience, academic prestige, commitment to government safety regulations and specific airline procedures during their job interviews, which carry an added weight for them. In order to successfully land a position with the airline of their choice, candidates must invest a great deal of pre-interview knowledge and research. Those who are new to the process of an airline industry interview, or need a refresher, can make the experience much easier by following a few key tips and routines from start to finish.
Before going into an interview unprepared, those seeking long-term success in the aviation industry should look into the best methods of learning, researching, preparing, and responding in order to achieve success. By doing this, you will make a great impression on potential employers, and it will be much easier to secure a successful, long-term job at any level within the industry.
Begin by researching the airline's history, outlook, and current affairs.
Virtually every position offered to new and experienced candidates by an airline is permeated by its own unique corporate culture. U.S. Airways has, for example, been renowned for its professionalism and strictness in operations for a long time. Meanwhile, newer entrants to the marketplace such as JetBlue and Southwest Airlines have distinct corporate cultures that promote a fun, communicative, and laid-back atmosphere. By understanding the different methods of corporate culture and public relations, pilots will be better equipped to give a more positive representation of the company they are interested in working for. By filing their resume at the outset, it will help them appear to be more knowledgeable about the company and more deliberate in their actions.
Potential employers such as airlines should not be researched solely based on their corporate vision and the attitude they foster in the workplace. The best candidates will not only conduct the research mentioned, such as recent company news, long-term employment figures for the company, and a thorough overview of how the airline came to be where it is today, but they will also go beyond it. These pieces of information will create an interview environment that encourages small talk, making candidates seem better informed and more confident when engaging with the interviewer.
It is recommended that airline professionals applying to more than one airline, as is often the case, make a file on each potential employer. The company's file should include a basic history, overview of the present outlook and corporate culture, as well as a few recent news stories related to their aircraft, quarterly numbers, or public relations efforts. Have these files ready to refer to during the employment process, and consult them if you are asked to attend an interview in person or over the phone.
Be Ready to Discuss and Analyze the Effects of Culture on Employment.
Recent years have been difficult for the airline industry in the United States. Job cuts, slower hiring, and trimming of employee benefits packages have been caused by widespread consolidation and tighter overall operating margins. Many pilots, flight attendants, mechanics, and airline captains have been forced to contemplate employment with airlines based overseas. Airlines in the Middle East and Asia are experiencing an exponential growth rate. Those who have been trained and have gained experience in America are highly valued, and they will be generously rewarded for having improved their skills and CVs while in the United States. Though this is a great opportunity, it also comes with some challenges.
As they proceed to an interview with an overseas air carrier, one of the first things pilots need to understand and prepare for is the significant operational and cultural differences they will encounter. Subject to wildly variable government regulations and a completely different history of domestic and international air travel, these international airlines are affected by a variety of market factors. Significant differences in how business is conducted can be enabled through this. In order to accommodate a country's social norms, pilots may have added responsibilities, or they may need to alter their approach to flying planes and interacting with airline staff.
Countries such as Qatar and the United Arab Emirates are home to some of the fastest-growing Middle Eastern airlines. Swearing can even be considered a crime in those countries. Pilots must be aware of these requirements and ready themselves accordingly for the interview. Those considering international employment will stand a better chance of landing the job if they internalize these cultural differences and show respect for each country's particular way of managing flights and business matters.
Assemble your qualifications and develop a professional portfolio.
Question-and-answer exchanges between the applicant and the interviewer are integral to job interviews, yet physical evidence of a candidate's qualification for the position is also necessary. A portfolio must be prepared in order to showcase degrees earned, flight experience hours amassed, and professional certifications awarded. The portfolio should contain copies that give the interviewer insight into the candidate's qualifications for the position, even if they are not official, original documents. A candidate's advancement to the next round of the hiring process may well be determined by this portfolio.
If one desires to have a more comprehensive portfolio, they may find it beneficial to include professional letters of recommendation, college accolades, and previous employment reviews. If the interviewer is allowed to see physical evidence of the applicant's credentials, they are more likely to remember the candidate and have an easier time narrowing down their options. These credentials will also boost the candidate's credibility.
Applicants possessing these items will be able to distinguish themselves from the others and establish a reputation. Sometimes, that really is the difference between merely having a great interview and a productive, career-changing interview which results in being hired.
When it comes to dressing for an occasion, professional attire is key.
Pilots and flight attendants have been among the best-dressed employees of any transit-oriented company ever since commercial flight began. For any job interview, all professionals interviewing for an airline position should be dressed at least in business attire, which should carry over into the interview. A tie, dress pants, and a button-down shirt are necessary. Women should wear either a skirt or suit for any interview, regardless of the job level. Virtually everyone on the front lines at a major commercial enterprise, such as pilots, flight attendants, flight crews, engineers, mechanics, customer service and ticketing agents, will be affected by this.
Given that a first impression is often visual, it is likely that an interviewer who perceives a candidate to be dressed inappropriately will not pay much attention to their questions and answers. It is preferable to dress formally rather than arrive to a job interview in casual attire that may jeopardize one's good reputation and extensive qualifications.
Don't Allow Weaknesses to Result in a Negative Outcome
Many airline hiring managers may ask candidates in job interviews to admit their greatest weaknesses, which could be considered one of the most daunting and ubiquitous "gotcha" questions. The answer to this question can often have a decisive effect on the outcome of the interview for each candidate, thus making it a high-stakes answer for everyone. Candidates need to be intelligent in how they craft their answer when interviewers are searching for weaknesses. The aim is to demonstrate humility and acknowledge any deficiencies without compromising perceived competence or ability. The "weakness question" can be addressed in three major ways, although there are many different approaches.
Discuss an unrelated area of potential improvement.
If an airline's hiring manager is inquiring about a candidate's weaknesses, the candidate does not have to disclose a weakness related to flight. One of the best ways to answer the question of weaknesses and avoid its more negative consequences is to tell the interviewer about a weakness that has no relevance to the job being interviewed for. A flight attendant might say that her biggest weakness is a slight addiction to social media sites. The pilot might say that they have always had a fondness for a good book. Neither person's job performance on the airplane is affected by these things.
Transform a shortcoming into an advantage.
Admitting to a strong weakness such as being a tough manager, a motivated customer service representative, or someone whose strength is that they work too hard, could be a beneficial exercise. According to some people, being a workaholic is certainly a weakness. A hiring manager will not reconsider the capability of the person to handle the stresses and demands of life in the skies due to the weakness they possess.
Provide an Educational Opportunity.
Rather than discussing a present shortcoming, focus on a past vulnerability and the knowledge gained from it. A pilot's skills could be boosted and improved by this learning experience. Interviewers can gain a deeper understanding of the job applicant by approaching the question in this manner, rather than hearing something negative about their past experiences or present approach to the job.
Regardless of how one responds, those in the "hot seat" should bear in mind that "weakness" can only be a negative term if they let it be. The interviewer is seeking an optimistic outlook on areas of improvement. They are seeking to gain understanding of how the job applicant conducts themselves on a daily basis, overcomes obstacles, and steadily increases the effectiveness of their work. Should the answer provide these details, it will be deemed a victory for the candidate.
Be concise and clear during the interview process.
Candidates who answer questions with short, specific answers and examples will stand out from the competition when it comes to making a good impression on an interviewer. It’s important to talk about specific examples and experiences that demonstrate leadership, proficiency, and a desire to lead since those applying for airline jobs will have very specific training, very precise experiences, and very detailed roles within the company. Abstractions and vague answers will leave interviewers guessing and wanting more, whereas providing specific examples will give them a far better understanding of a potential new hire.
Interviewers should never have to repeat their questions, so as to gain more specific answers, or be deprived of knowledge of the candidate's personal experiences. Candidates who are not completely satisfied at the conclusion of the interview will not progress to the next step of the recruitment process.
If you properly prepare and provide specific answers to questions, your interview will be successful.
Those applying for a job with a commercial airline who have done thorough preparation in advance and given precise answers at the interview will find it easy to progress through the various stages of the recruitment process. Today's successful job applicants and those who become the newest hires in the airline industry often achieve success in job interviews by having the right combination of education, experience, confidence, and preparation.