Real Answers from Real Pilots

What do Airlines Look For?

What do they look for and what do they ask you in an interview? Do they care about past employment or is it more things are flying like hours and the schools you went?

Dakota,

The airlines, like most employers, look at everything. Past employment, schools, flying hours, background checks, community involvement, your attitude, your professionalism, it all matters. Now the big thing is certainly flying hours, but that does not mean that the other aspects are not important.You could have thousands of flying hours, but if the majors want to see a degree, you had better have one.

Past employment matters, but in the context of they want to see steady employment, not five different jobs in two years. Of course certain past jobs will stand out more than others.

Same thing with colleges. While a degree from Notre Dame would certainly look great, one from a state college will fit the bill just as well.

Chris

1 Like

Dakota,

As I’ve mentioned, I’ve participated in hiring. By the time you get to me and the panel we’ve already checked all the boxes regarding flight experience, education and previous employment. At that point its about YOU as a person. There’s an old saying when it comes to hiring and it basically comes down to “would I want to spend 6hrs or 4 days locked in a cockpit with this person?”.

Adam

2 Likes

Do airlines only know of the jobs you tell them about? I was let go from my first job after over two years and being a manager, due to personal reasons.(McDonald’s age 15 to about 18) then got another job which I’m currently at. How Will this affect me? @Adam @Chris

Dakota,

The airlines will ask you to reveal all of your jobs and the reasons for leaving. Lying about, or leaving off a job is a far worse sin than getting fired.

That being said, I really wouldn’t worry about getting let go from McDonald’s as a teenager. Things happen when you are young and companies understand that. Just don’t make a pattern of it.

Chris

1 Like

I never will make a pattern of that. I just didn’t want a small job like McDonald’s ruin a career of flying. I’ll prove my hard work through the the rest of my days before I fly for an airline. Thank you Chris!

Dakota,

I would refrain from referring to ANY job as “small”. A) you never know who you’re talking to and where they or their family came from and B) it makes you sound like you think you’re superior to others. That comment alone would get you a pass vote from me.

Adam

2 Likes

@Adam and @Chris can I ask your honest opinion?

Dakota,

You can ask any of us any question, we always give straight-forward answers.

Chris

@Chris. All my life this is all I’ve wanted. Ive made little mistakes but mistakes have consequences. With one speeding ticket and a loss of a job, do you think I can still make it as an airline pilot for a major or regional?

Dakota,

I think you will be perfectly fine at either level, just keep your record clean from now forward.

Chris

1 Like

Dakota,

Honestly I believe you’ll be fine, particularly in the current hiring environment. You need to learn from the lessons of the past and move forward. Hopefully you got it all out of your system.

Adam

1 Like

If I started out as an air traffic controller, could I still get flight hours to be an airline pilot?

Steven,

I am not sure I understand what you are asking. Any person that can pass the FAA exams can build flight hours towards being an airline pilot.

Chris

Are you asking if an ATC can log flight hours?

Adam

What I mean is can I become an airline pilot by only going to a flight school, and meeting all of the FAA requirements? Do I have to start out as something like an air traffic controller? Can I not have a college degree, and be an airline pilot?

Steven,

Where did you get this idea from? Being a controller won’t get you any closer to becoming an airline pilot. You’ll gain some valuable knowledge, but it’s completely in the wrong direction. Read this.
https://www.airlinepilot.life/t/do-i-need-a-college-degree-to-be-an-airline-pilot/8059?source_topic_id=11164

Tory

Steven,

As Tory said the answer is no, being a controller won’t get you any closer to be a pilot. They’re 2 entirely different jobs. To become an airline pilot you need to go to flight school, earn all your licenses and ratings and then build time flying, AS A PILOT, in order to meet the requirements of an airline.

Adam

Thanks. So, whether or not I would have to have a college degree would depend on the airline, right?

Steven,

No. Whether you have a degree or not depends on if you want to stay at a Regional for your entire career, maxing out at under $100k and flying only in the US OR if you want the chance to fly for a Major with the possibility of earning over $300k and flying worldwide?

Adam