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Airline Pilot

Best interview questions for your hiring process

Airline Pilot Interview questions

An Airline Pilot is responsible for flying an aircraft and ensuring the flight goes as smoothly as possible. They are in charge of the cabin crew and the security and safety of all passengers (or cargo) onboard the aircraft.

Typical characteristics and skills to look for in an Airline Pilot include:

  • Exceptional coordination skills and the ability to stay calm and make quick decisions while in the air
  • Extensive technical knowledge of the aircraft and its workings, as well as the ability to perform regular safety checks to test the plane’s condition
  • Great leadership, teamwork, and communication skills

Interviewing an Airline Pilot

You have gone through the shortlisting process, and you’ve invited your first candidate to a job interview. It’s important that you prepare yourself for the interview and ensure you line up the right questions. Luckily, we’ve done the research for you.

In this article below, you will find a list of Airline Pilot interview questions to ask during the job interview. These questions are specifically tailored to the job of a pilot and should therefore help you filter out the right candidates to move onto the next stage.

Please note, though, that these interview questions are suggestions for the earlier stages of the interview process and for candidates with average work experience. They are therefore a little more general, and you might want to create questions more specifically tailored to your candidate and their experience.

How to open the job interview

Job interviews are scary for most candidates. No matter how many years of experience someone might have, once they enter that interview they might still be a bit nervous.

That’s why it’s a great idea to kickstart the job interview with a few positive opening questions. These questions should be fairly general and not dive into skills or experience too deeply. You want these questions to be easy to answer for your candidate, as this will help them settle into the interview and give them a little boost of confidence.

Best interview questions for your hiring process

See our Airline Pilot job description here

For the interview

A positive opener to start

What has been your journey so far?

Why did you decide to become an Airline Pilot?

What is your favourite part of being an Airline Pilot?

What is your favourite airport that you’ve been to so far?

Behavioral Questions

Describe your best/most memorable experience as a pilot.

This question should be easy and fun to answer for the candidate. It also gives you an idea of their experience or most significant moment in their career, as well as their enthusiasm for the job.

Tell me about a time your flight got badly delayed. How did you communicate this to your passengers and crew?

Delays are inevitable. An important part of the Airline Pilot’s job is to communicate this to the crew and passengers in a way that causes the least amount of friction or annoyance possible.

Tell me about a time you had to make a difficult decision while in the air. What happened, and how did you handle the situation?

The answer to this question should give you an idea of their problem-solving ability, the way they handle stressful situations, as well as an insight into what kind of experience they have. Also watch out if they show signs/indicators of traumatisation after such a situation, as the importance of mental health should not be underestimated!

Soft Skills

How do you ensure your cabin crew is motivated, enthusiastic, and focussed before and during the flight?

A successful Airline Pilot does more than just take the plane from point A to point B. They are true leaders, capable of managing and motivating the crew they work with.

Long-haul flights can be draining and boring. How do you keep yourself sharp and focussed?

Aside from motivating the team, they have to be able to keep themselves motivated as well. This can be particularly difficult during long-haul flights in calm weather conditions (even more so at night!). This question helps assess how they keep themselves focussed and sharp at all times.

How do you deal with difficult, potentially aggressive, passengers aboard your aircraft?

De-escalation of difficult passengers is (sadly) sometimes part of the job of an Airline Pilot. See what communication and de-escalation tactics and techniques the candidate uses is such situations.

Hard Skills

What is the minimum horizontal separation between two aircraft?

A basic question to test the candidate’s practical knowledge.

What is the minimum vertical separation between two aircraft?

A basic question to test the candidate’s practical knowledge. 

What is the adiabatic lapse rate?

Another question that every pilot should be able to answer fairly easily.

How many flight hours do you have?

A more practical question that gives you an idea of the candidate’s practical experience.

Operational / Situational Questions

Imagine you meet your crew for your next flight. You feel like the co-pilot looks tired and seems a bit off. You even believe you got a whiff of alcohol from their breath as they said good morning! What do you do?

As the captain during the flight, the candidate is responsible for the flight and its crew. If they believe someone is under slept, hungover, or in any way unfit for the job, it’s the pilot’s responsibility to act.

A Flight Attendant enters your cockpit mid-flight saying that a passenger was unwell, and they need a hospital/medical assistance ASAP. What do you do?

The pilot needs to be able to assess the situation, estimate the urgency, and make a snap decision whether they will continue to the destination, turn the flight around, or find an alternative airport for an emergency landing. This question tests their problem-solving ability.

You wake up and realise you’ve overslept, which means you’re probably going to be late for your flight. What do you do, and how do you prevent this from happening in the future?

The candidate should have enough back-up alarms and other measures in place to prevent this from happening in the first place. So ideally, your candidate explains how this hasn’t happened to them before, before proceeding to list their prevention measures to avoid this from happening.

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