6 Questions During Pilot Interviews That Are Frequently Underestimated

Contributed by Darren McPherson, our Airline Interview & Workshop coach and A350 senior captain at a major international airline with over 30 years’ experience.

When leading courses at ACS and with Learn to Fly, we have had many successful airline candidates who are now flying large turboprop and jet airliners. This has given us the opportunity to assist candidates through the Interview Process and successfully improve techniques and methods to do so. Throughout this process a number of key aspects have become apparent, not just early in one’s preparation, but even at the later stages as the interview date approaches.


As always, the key to any interview is preparation and the earlier the better.

Although aspects of the practical and theoretical side of flying is always being considered, the interview side pondering aspects about HR repeatedly gets left as one of the lowest priorities.

A typical trend leading towards an interview date is the lead up time. If the interview date is within 1 month then a lot of work is essential, and this workload simply can be overwhelming. It is essential to go away from either individual or group preparation sessions and to have time to think about your responses, then develop or evolve them when compared to your previously considered thoughts and ideas.

Over the previous 2 years with more than 75 airline job offers from 8 major airlines, the typical successful candidate has started their HR Preparation with at least 6 weeks notice; typically at least 2 months. This allows time to develop a strong, well thought out and prepared candidate.


A number of areas and questions have become apparent that candidates consistently need to develop further. At times the focus is so strong on standard yet obvious questions, such as “Why should we employ you?”, and “What are you going to get from working for our organisation?” That others remain underestimated and therefor require more consideration.

The top 6 obvious questions that consistently require more consideration are as follows:

  1. Discuss your role in this upcoming position.
  2. Where do you see yourself in the long term ie 5, 10 and 20 years from now?
  3. What has been the most satisfying part of your career?
  4. Discuss a time when you have been under pressure, and how did you overcome this?
  5. What is your PLAN B if you are unsuccessful today?
  6. How can your role as a Pilot be used to improve the customer experience, and our product?

Overall candidates need to review these above areas with more detail and develop a more intelligible trend of these obvious yet lacking areas. Therefore, presenting you the candidate as a more thought out, and ultimately better person for the job.

For more information on not just these questions and more please don’t hesitate to contact us regarding the various courses on offer to see where we can help you obtain that dream job in the future.

For more information on our training and how to succeed an airline interview, head to our Future Cadet Pilot Program (FCPP) page or contact ACS to help you further.