I had the privilege of talking to several members of Major Airlines HR teams recently. They were extremely candid, let’s face it: they are often competing for the same pool of candidates these days so they want to see you succeed. The crux of our chats; you must meet the standard on the assessment day and often it is little things letting pilots down.
It was made clear that they saw many candidates who were a good fit for their airlines but who had not prepared thoroughly for the assessment process. In fact, I was told that they know in the first 5 minutes during the interview if they have had coaching.
What the airlines told me:
- Most airlines consider interview coaching and SIM preparation a positive.
- Panel Interviews: In the first 5 minutes of the interview they can tell if a candidate understands how to articulate the SAR or STAR example method correctly.
- Nerves; they expect that you are nervous, this is important to you and often it has been a long time since you have interviewed. You must get those nerves under control. (There are methods we can teach you to do this).
- Overseas pilot candidates; ensure you have your relocation plan sorted, we will ask you how you and your family will live in our region.
- Pilots are missing the instructions on flight planning exercises and losing a lot of points as a result, please read the instructions thoroughly.
- Group exercises; these are about teamwork, too often candidates with thousands of hours will ‘take over’ and not let the team contribute as a whole towards the goal.
- Eye contact; pilots relate to other pilots more easily. Often, irrespective of who has asked the question a pilot will make eye contact with the pilot on the panel and address all answers to him/her. Please ensure you answer the person who asked the question.
- Recruitment Teams; can and do interact with candidates throughout the assessment day(s), your discussions and interactions can form part of your assessment whether in the official stages of the assessment or not.
- Your SIM test can account for up to 50% of your assessment points; don’t wing it. If you have not been hand flying irrespective of your total flying hours you are unlikely to manage the SIM test well. Even if you are type rated on that aircraft.
With airline assessments running over 2-3 days, it is a big investment in time and money for any pilot. It is also a huge emotional investment as often the airline you are applying to has been a life-long goal.
Don’t leave anything to chance.
It is also great to know that the airlines’ attitude to candidates is a supportive one.