Home > News > How to get the best from your airline interview

Psst! Do you want an insider’s view at what airline recruiters are looking for? Assessment specialists cut-e talked to 27,000 flight team members across twelve airlines to build a profile of the ideal flight crew member.

“Airlines have an ongoing need to recruit skilled pilots who can not only navigate and fly their aircraft but who are also committed to the safety of their passengers and crew, and passionate about delivering world-class customer service,” said Nora Nienhaus, Research Consultant at cut-e and co-author of the study.

“Our study identifies the core competencies and behaviours that will predict which candidates will safely and successfully fulfil these requirements. By assessing applicants against this profile, in the early stages of the recruitment process, airlines can sift out those who are unsuitable and focus their attention solely on the individuals who have the potential to succeed.”

So what’s needed?

The study shows that distinct operational, personal interaction and motivational competencies are relevant for each role, including:

  • Safety orientation
  • Decision-making
  • Customer and commercial orientation
  • Teamwork
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Resilience
  • Self discipline
  • Dedication
  • Drive and an interest in self-development.

However, says the study, subtle differences exist at each level. For example, the ability for individuals to plan and organise themselves is an important competency for cadets but it becomes less relevant as individuals gain more experience and seniority.

Because individuals take on more responsibilities as they progress – such as leading the crew, delegating tasks and taking charge in emergency situations – different behaviours will be required of captains, first officers and cadets.

“A captain’s role will involve leading the team and resolving any conflict, whereas a cadet’s role is more about respecting the rules and contributing to the team’s success,” said Nienhaus.

“When recruiting cadets, first officers or captains, airlines will naturally need to check whether candidates have the technical capabilities required to perform well in the role. But if they can also gain a greater insight into the suitability of each applicant, recruiters can make more informed selection decisions.”

A white paper based on cut-e’s new study, called The predictive power of assessment for pilot selection, can be freely downloaded here.