Common Pilot Interview Mistake #6
FindaPilot guest post by:
President of Cage Consulting offering Pilot Career Services
including; Airline Interview Preparation & Pilot Resumes
ubstituting professional experiences and stories with personal ones!
When searching for your stories, the primary field of investigation should be your aviation experiences.
Because of the incredible "gouge" available within the pilot community, interviewers are constantly reviewing better ways to gauge an applicants history. A result of this fact is that many interviewers are now interested in how you not only handle flying situations, but also how you handle yourself on the ground as a team member.
It is not unusual for an interviewer to ask a question such as, "Tell me about a time you failed as a leader outside the cockpit." or "Tell me about a time when you had to apologize to a coworker." These types of questions require self-evaluation in other areas besides the cockpit.
A civilian pilot might discuss a situation that occurred when he managed the aircraft scheduling for a flight school, or perhaps when he was the Chief Pilot. A military pilot might look to his experience as the Standards and Evaluation Officer, or a Safety Officer for an applicable story.
However, it is never recommended that you replace sound aviation stories with personal situations. While the interviewers understand that you are a human being with family commitments, the reality is that airline is trying to hire a pilot and an employee for their company. Whether we want to believe it or not, we do handle ourselves differently at home and with family than we do at work with supervisors and subordinates.
For example: I asked an applicant to tell me a time when he felt others lost credibility in him. He said "I promised the kids that I would take them to the zoo on Saturday. But when I returned home from a trip my wife stated that I needed to mow the yard for a family function that I had forgotten about. I had to tell my kids that I couldn't take them to the zoo. So I lost credibility in their eyes." Really?
I asked this client why he would offer such a story during a PILOT INTERVIEW! He stated that he was advised to use personal stories when discussing negatives and aviation stories when discussing positives. As an interviewer, I felt as though he was arrogant and unable to self reflect or recognize his faults.
This applicant completely short changed himself by not showing me how he handles himself at work.
Please don't get confused. Unless specifically requested to discuss a personal situation, your stories should encompass your professional aviation career. But, In order to have a well-rounded understanding of your communication skills you must spend as much time reviewing all of your professional aviation experiences in order to be ready for those "on the ground" as well as "flying" questions.