There are critical changes happening right now in the aviation industry, the pilot shortage being but one of the more notable ones. With shifts happening in the field, jobs are opening up and then filling up almost as quickly.
If you’re someone considering a job offer in the aviation industry, you’ll have special considerations to think about, such as how much travel the job will entail, will it be worth uprooting your family for, are you okay with flying to the same city pairs every week or would you rather fly around the world, etc. But before you can even get thatfar, first you’ll need to land, and then nail an interview.
Here are 19 interview questions to prepare for – some specifically geared toward aviation, and some that are appropriate for all industries across the board.
1. Why Do You Want to Work Here?
Begin your answer with a bit about why you’re looking for work in the first place. Are you looking to grow from your last or current position? Are you looking to take on new challenges? Share why it’s your passion to work in the aviation industry, and why working with a prospective employer is an exciting prospect. Then – (and make sure you’ve done your homework for this part!) – tailor the rest of your answer to address any relevant ways you feel you can be an asset specifically to this company.
2. What Is Your Role in Your Current Position?
Aside from flying or working on an aircraft, summarize the other duties of your job description. (Or if you’re not currently employed, talk about your most recent position.) Try to make a point of mentioning any duties that you know will transfer to the position you’re interviewing for.
3. Are You Willing to Relocate?
Aviation jobs, perhaps more than any other, come with a higher likelihood of relocation. Be ready to discuss where you’d be willing to move to, if necessary. If you have a family, make sure you’re only applying for jobs that will work for all concerned.
4. What Are Your Qualifications for the New Position?
Again, a little preparation beforehand can really help you out here. Study the job description prior to your interview, and be ready to discuss how and why you believe that your current skills would be an asset to help the company to accomplish their goals.
5. How Do You Handle Working With Different and/or Difficult People?
If this question comes up, your answer will be more effective if you can avoid being generic and, instead, share a story about how you’ve successfully worked with people who have different ideas and mindsets than yourself. What are some work-arounds you’ve implemented to get a task done well, in the face of an opposing viewpoint or personnel challenge?
6. How Are You Developing Your Professional Skills and Knowledge?
In the aviation field, you never want to stop learning and being on top of the latest trends and technologies. Talk about any outside training, seminars, or educational opportunities you’ve pursued. You can also go a bit deeper and highlight something you especially enjoyed learning about.
7. What Are Your Salary Requirements?
Not always the easiest of discussions to have, nevertheless it remains an important one. You’ll want to handle this topic tactfully. Remember: it’s best not to give salary specifics in the first interview. If pressed for a number, provide a range. This will demonstrate flexibility, while still advocating for what’s going to work for your needs. Don’t get caught off-guard, give this range some thought well before you ever walk into the room.
What Do You Think Are Qualities that Make for a Good Leader or a Bad Leader?
Leadership is a critical aspect of being a pilot, and this question is designed to evaluate your leadership style. If you’re already a leader, talk about what being a leader means to you, and what others would say about you. If you’re aspiring to be a leader, explain the kind of leader you’d like to be and what you’ve been doing to develop the skills you need to get there.
What Type of Culture or Environment Do You Thrive In?
You may be asked questions that seek to identify your preferred work culture, in order to determine if your tastes are in alignment with that of the available position’s. It’s best if you consider the following scenarios before you’re asked so that you’re prepared to answer: Are you a suit-wearer, or more of a casual dresser? Are you okay with being expected to work onsite if you’re not flying or maintaining aircraft? Would you rather a job that has you up in the air 100% of the time, or one that has you flying 50% and doing collateral duties for the other 50%? Would you be comfortable working with a wealthy executive? Are you familiar with a formal setting for a formal passenger experience?
What Do You Know About the Company You’re Interviewing With?
It can’t be stressed enough that no one – in any industry – should ever go into a job interview without having done research on the company they’re interviewing with. You need to know what the visions and mission statement of the company is, and you should also know about the person you’ll be interviewing with. An interviewer wants to feel like your interest in the company is more than just to pick up a weekly paycheck, and this is one of the ways you can show how serious about the job you are.
What Are the Reasons You’re Looking to Change Jobs?
Briefly touched on in #1 of this list, you should feel comfortable sharing what is motivating you to seek a job change. Talk about what you’re looking for as it relates to professional growth, work/life balance, team environment, compensation, cultural fit, etc. Rank them in order of most important to least important.
How Would Your Colleagues Describe You?
Flying an aircraft requires you to work in tight quarters with others, and the ability for all parties to interact and cooperate is absolutely essential. This is a question that is sometimes asked to get a sense of how you perceive others perceive you. Choose descriptive terms, and expound on the reasons behind them. Focus on how others would describe your interactions with them and the general effectiveness of your work performance.
What Was Your Best/Least Favorite Job to Date, and Why?
Sometimes interviewers seek to hear you talk about your shortcomings, limitations, or things you find challenging. Nobody is perfect, and trying to pass it off as though you have none of these things will come off as disingenuous. Identify something that was challenging, but explain how you may have navigated the issue. This is an especially important aspect for an interviewer in the aviation industry to evaluate since your ability to find solutions to potential problems could turn into a matter of life or death.
What Are Your Professional Goals?
Consider where you see yourself in the next five years, and what you will like to have achieved or accomplish in that time. This will not only help your prospective employer to get a better understanding of your career path and trajectory, but it will also help you to zero in on what it is that you really want to be doing.
What Has Been Your Greatest Professional Achievement to Date?
Give this some thought. And if it isn’t asked, you can still try to find a natural place to insert it into the conversation. After all, an interview is your chance to sell yourself!
How Have You Had to Overcome a Major Obstacle?
Spend some time thinking about how you overcame something that had once stood in the way of your accomplishing a goal or commitment. This gives a potential employer an opportunity to see how you might approach and resolve conflict – again, a critical aspect of any pilot position.
What are the Three Most Important Skills You Can Contribute to Our Company?
What makes you unique? What do you bring to the table that perhaps another candidate might not? What have you been through, and have learned from? Pull from your previous experience and find ways that you can relate that experience to how it would be working at the place you’re interviewing with.
Why Are You Leaving Your Current Employer?
You’ll want to keep your answer positive. Don’t trash a place you’ve worked for, just explain how it might not be fulfilling your current needs. Your response will explain your values, outlook, goals, and needs, and will help your prospective employer to determine whether you’re heading toward a more successful opportunity or running away from an unsuccessful employment experience.
Why Is There a Gap in Your Work History?
This question only applies if there is, in fact, a gap in your work history. However, if there is, you should be ready to speak to or defend it. Be ready to address why you may have had multiple jobs in a short time-span, or several years in between jobs.
So, you’ve got the interview? Now all you need to do is dress the part, bring along extra copies of your resume, show up on time, and be yourself. Just remember, that doesn’t mean ‘winging’ it; taking the time to prepare can make all the difference in ‘landing’ the job!