For many pilots, achieving their ATPL licence is their sole focus in training, and only after that do they start to think about how to get a job. Then they realise there is a whole new set of skills required, that may not have been even touched on in Flight Academy.
For many of my clients, the easiest and hardest Interview question can be the same one…
“Tell me about Yourself?”
This is a very common opening question, and is the moment when you get an open goal to make the best first impression, and start your interview off on a successful footing.
So how do I approach this…? Here are some ideas that you can use to set yourself off to the best start.
1. Your Elevator Pitch…. Who you are, What you are doing and Why do you want to work for this Airline.
It sounds so easy, but needs a little preparation to make sure you are succinct, focused and easy to listen to. Also, it’s a good idea to have a maximum of 60 seconds, to make your Elevator Pitch. Here is an example;
I am a 1,500 hour ATPL holder who has 4 years of active flying experience, and various types including the ATR-72.
I work with Acme Regional Airlines, where I operate in and out of remote airfields and also busy and congested airports. I am also completing my Degree in Aviation Studies at Downtown University. I am delighted to have an opportunity to be part of the International Airlines team, where I believe my qualifications, experience and values of hard work and excellent pilot performance will make me a good fit as a First Officer and future Captain. I am attracted by its growing network, new fleet and commitment to sustainability
I am also a team leader on my local Orienteering club, where I am involved in training of Junior members, and also reaching National High Performance for our local Organisation.
So there you have a generic Elevator Pitch, that you can change to match your individual attributes and experience, and you are well on your way to a good start.
Beware, that the interviewers may not have had an opportunity to read your CV, or perhaps there is another candidate with a similar name. Do highlight the aspects of your CV, that would be relevant to any questions from your interviewers.
2. Know your Strengths and Weaknesses.
Get comfortable talking about your strengths and challenges. Having the self-confidence to explain what you are good at, for example, studying, listening, following procedures as a team with examples, needs preparation and practice. The authenticity of your storyline is crucial, so don’t be tempted to make things up.
Using the ICAO 9 Pilot Competencies, is a great way to describe the various experiences you have excelled and learnt from. This makes your answers, interesting, relevant and aviation based.
Don’t shy away from the Weaknesses, or Challenges questions. Choose some examples from inside and outside aviation to give you a portfolio of examples of when you have to work hard to achieve, and experiences you learnt from and would choose not to repeat. This demonstrates your resilience and toughness to stay the course, whatever the challenge.
3. Competency Question and incorporating the STAR technique.
Invariably, you will have several Competency style questions, or scenario based problems presented to you.
Many candidates are familiar with the STAR technique, but struggle how to use it in a structured, focused and concise manner. ( Situation, Task, Action, Result).
Firstly, use this technique as a framework, rather than a slavishly followed tool. It’s meant to facilitate you in retelling an experience, rather distract your by following Four Letters anagram! It also encourages to use 2-3 sentences to cover each aspect of the competency, as opposed to commencing on a monologue that could be tiresome for the listener, and perhaps lead you into trouble…
Preparing for excellent Interview Performance requires practice and smart preparation. This includes video recording of live interview experience, with qualified Career coach with aviation expertise.
Be sure you are at your best, first time and seize the opportunities the Airlines are now presenting.
Author Captain Conor Keeling
Conor is an Airbus A330 Commander with many years of experience in the aviation world. His primary focus is working with the next generation of Airline Pilots, providing professional coaching and pilot experience to enhance their skills and boost their confidence during Airline assessments. He is a fully accredited member of the Association of Coaching and European Coaching and Mentoring Council and operates strictly under their Global Code of Ethics. You can find out more about his services here: www.professionalpilotcoaching.com