Common Pilot Interview Mistake #3

FindaPilot guest post by:

Angie Marshall

Angie Marshall

President of Cage Consulting offering Pilot Career Services
including; Airline Interview Preparation & Pilot Resumes

Using ACTUAL names during your interview! I know, I know! There are a lot of well meaning people out there who claim that by using the actual person's name when giving interview responses, will make the story more warm and fuzzy or personal. The problem with using names however, is that you are making the story PERSONAL. In other words, you are potentially setting yourself or the other person up for failure by specifically identifying them.

Example: I do a lot of interviews and have over 20 years of experience. Which means I hear a lot of stories and meet a lot of pilots! One day, I had this pilot, "Bob" tell me a story about a time when he worked with "Jim". Bob went on to tell me how Jim was weak and not the greatest pilot that Bob had ever flown. Bob stated that Jim had a hard time taking advice from anyone and would twist events to make himself look better. Bob then went on to tell me how Jim proceeded to move the aircraft incorrectly and hit the tip of the wing on a fuel truck. Bob insisted that he was assertive with Jim and used good communication skills to stop Jim from doing any further damage or from becoming irate at the unfortunate chain of events.

Fortunately, there was no damage to the wing or to the truck. The Chief Pilot came out to investigate the situation and asked both pilots to write a statement of events. No further action was taken by the company and the matter was dropped.

On the surface, the story sounded pretty good. However, unbeknownst to Bob, I had worked with Jim the week before. Jim's account of the situation on that day were completely different from Bob's. Jim stated that he was not managing the controls and was not the PIC. In fact, Jim had made mention of this event in his logbook just in case the situation went any further with the company or the FAA.

The difference in the two stories; when Jim told the story he took complete responsibility for his role in the events. Jim was on the radio with company requesting wheelchair assistance for two passengers and lost situation awareness. Additionally, Jim never placed blame on anyone but himself nor did he specify the person's name with whom he had worked.

By the time Bob finished telling his story, I had lost all faith in his ability to be forthcoming. Quite frankly, I actually found it quite sad that Bob was willing to throw one of his crew members under the bus in an effort to make himself look good.

I immediately asked Bob what he felt his strengths were. He said, "Honesty and Integrity". Needless to say, all efforts that Bob used to "woe" me from that point on during the interview were lost.

Bob and Jim's story is not uncommon for an interviewer. The best way for an applicant to prove teamwork, tactfulness, decorum, and discretion, is by leaving actual names of co-workers and employers out of the interview!

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