The Pilot Interview: Tips, Dress Code, and How to Prepare

Leave your cell phone in your car, hotel room, briefcase, or otherwise away from the interview. If you must take it with you, be sure it’s turned off before you enter the building. Search the web and you’ll find numerous reports of job applicants taking calls or texting during an interview. However, good luck finding a story of such an applicant receiving a job offer. Pulling out your mobile device for any reason during an interview is one of the surest ways to make sure you’ll never work for that company. Worse yet, such blatant behavior will probably spread to the interviewers’ colleagues and industry acquaintances, which could possibly doom your chances of employment elsewhere. This is one mistake you definitely want to avoid at all costs.

Advice for Smokers

If you smoke, live with a smoker, or frequent places where others smoke, you’ll need to take extra precautions prior to the interview. Tobacco smoke is extremely unimpressive and will certainly be noticed by recruiters. Prior to the pilot interview, it’s imperative you have your suit dry-cleaned and stored away from smoky environments. If anyone in your household smokes, leave your interview clothes with a non-smoker prior to departing for the interview. If you’ll be staying in a hotel the night before the big day, insist on being placed on a non-smoking floor.

Whatever you do, do not light up at any time while at the company’s offices, even if on a break or after completing the interview process. While I was in college, a group of my fellow students were invited to a pilot interview with a major airline for internship positions. During a break, several of them went out for a cigarette. This single action led to the airline sending them all home, calling the university, and irately stating that such unprofessional behavior would not be tolerated by its interns. Besides destroying their own chances, these students gave the university a black eye and potentially jeopardized future internship relations with that airline.

Stand Out by Blending In

Overall, remember that you’re applying to become a member of a large team of pilots. As such, you want to demonstrate you’re able to easily integrate into the operation. Many pilots and interviewers recommend wearing dark suits to interviews, as such clothing will resemble the company’s pilot uniforms. From what I’ve seen, there’s a lot of truth to this. Dark suits in classic styles have been a common trend among successful applicants.

Think about your stereotypical airline pilot. What traits does (s)he possess? How are her/his mannerisms, demeanor, and grooming? What overall impression does this person leave with you? I’m willing to bet your quintessential pro pilot invokes an image of authority and professionalism. Likewise, this is the image you want leave with recruiters. Prepare yourself as you imagine your ideal pilot would do. By viewing yourself as an aviation professional, you increase the chances you’ll leave a similar impression on recruiters at each and every pilot interview throughout your career.

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