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Getting Hired at a Major Airline: Interview Day 1

October 17, 2016. I woke up that morning excited for the day. There were a few nerves running through me, but mostly I was excited. I was as ready as I was going to be, and I knew if I didn't get hired, my life would still be amazing- so nothing to stress about. I got up way too early and was at the campus 45 minutes before the interview (which began at 7:30am Eastern Time... 4:30am Seattle time). I was glad I had chosen to wear the standard male pilot suit for the interview- black pants and jacket, white button up shirt, and some nice black shoes (I chose heels) to go with the suit. I know I don't look like the typical pilot, so I wanted to make sure the interviewees could see me as a pilot for their company. Dressing as such gave me the final touch of confidence that I needed.

The interview was divided into two portions- HR and Computer Testing. We were divided into two groups in the morning and then the process began. I was in the group with the HR in the morning and the computer testing after lunch. My interview wasn't for a couple of hours, so I went with some of the guys to the museum and walked around for a bit to kill some time. I also spent more money than I needed to in the gift shop... but they had so many cute things I just couldn't resist. :)

I headed back over to the interview area with plenty of time before my scheduled interview incase they called me in early, and I was glad for that decision, because they did. There were 4 interviewers there- a current pilot, a retired pilot, a representative from HR, and one more person whom I can't remember what his title was. They each took their turns asking me questions.

Anything on my application was fair game; actually, anything was fair game. I just made sure I was detailed in my answers and gave them enough information to get to know me a bit better. Forty-five minutes is actually a short time to decide if you like somebody, so I wanted to make sure they didn't have to pull answers out of me. I felt that portion went really well, but I was so glad to have it over with.

At lunch I made sure not to eat something that I might have to wear during the rest of the interview (spaghetti, sauces, etc... you get the point). Also, as a tip, don't eat anything with onions, garlic, or too much flavor. You don't want to give your interviewers the wrong impression about your hygiene after lunch. I settled on a turkey sandwich with minimal dressing, no chips, no cookies, and a glass of water. Just enough to fill the hole and get me through the rest of the day.

After lunch came the testing- 3 tests total. I think the order was the knowledge test first, then the cognitive test, then the psych test; but don't quote me on that. I had studied for more hours than I could count for the knowledge test, and it was still a challenge! I read through each question carefully and made sure to pick the most correct answer. The cog test was also challenging, but I'd prepped using, and it helped me out immensely.

After those two tests I began to get a bit nervous about my performance. Did I answer enough questions correctly? Did I progress far enough through the cog testing? Doubt after doubt filled my mind, but I had to push them away and focus on one more test. Though my brain was fried, I knew I couldn't give up at this point.

I pushed through the psych test and found it to be a nice break from the other two tests. There were some pretty weird and interesting questions on it, but I answered each question truthfully.

After we were all done with the HR portion and computer testing, we met back up in the common area to find out if any of us would get the job offer. During this time, I found I was not alone in feeling inadequate during the knowledge portion. Every guy I talked to said it was the toughest knowledge test he'd ever taken. This made me feel much better, but if there was a time I was nervous during the interview, it was now. Had I prepped enough to get the job? Could they see me as one of their future pilots? The anticipation was killing me!

While we were waiting (which I'm sure wasn't long at all, but it felt like FOREVER) they pulled one guy aside to have him go through some of his paperwork (I realized later that he was not in the conference room with us and therefore didn't get the job). During this time, they told us all to file into the conference room. All of us? We'd ALL made it? The waiting was over. I was going to be a major airline pilot for the company of my dreams. I'd done it! I cannot tell you how good that felt. But I had to play it off cool. :)

The manager of pilot selection met us all in there (this was the same guy I'd met on my SkyWest flight from SEA-PDX) and gave us the conditional job offer. When he made eye contact with me he asked me how my son was doing. How did he even remember I'd had a son, with all the people he meets each day? I hadn't seen him for months... just another confirmation for me that I had made the right decision in the company I chose to work for.

We were given all of the new hire paperwork, which was to be filled out that night, and then given more details about Day 2 of our interview (drug testing and a much more intense psych test with an evaluation). I left the campus that day on top of the world. Sometimes I feel inadequate, working in a mans' world, but not that day. I realized that I could do anything I put my mind to. This interview was the hardest thing I'd done in my life, and I'd passed it. I'd gotten the job that felt so far out of reach for many years.

When I got back to the hotel I called my husband to tell him the good news. He was excited for me. It has always felt so good having his support. I met up with some of the guys for dinner and we all chatted about how our interviews had gone. It was the perfect way to end the perfect day.

Next week you'll get to hear about Day 2 of testing. Stay tuned! Until then, Happy Flying.

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