Aviation Articles


To Prep or Not To Prep...That Is The Question


There are many interview preparation services available ranging from pre-recorded information, classroom speeches to individual, personalized consultations.  Everyone, while studying for an upcoming interview, does some form of preparation.  To what degree and depth depends on the individual and the individual’s needs. 

Interview prep with a consultant is not for everyone.  You must decide to what degree you are going to prepare for your interview and whether or not you feel you need feedback in the form of constructive criticism.  This is a very personal choice and while the opinions of peers are invaluable, only you can decide.  Although pre-recorded and classroom style preparation are each valuable they provide one-way communication.  Individualized, one-on-one, preparation is typically tailored to the applicant and allows two-way communication.   Let’s focus on the individual, personalized consultation addressing specifically the HR (Human Resources) portion of the interview.

What are the nuts and bolts of interview prep?
The HR interview is purely subjective. It is important that the applicant understand the evaluation process (from the other side of the table) and the psychology behind it. This understanding will result in the applicant feeling confident and the ability to present themselves in the best possible light.  Prep should provide some form of information and tools for the applicant to learn and utilize during their interview.  The primary objective is to help the applicant understand how the interviewers perceive them.  Armed with that knowledge the applicant can address, and correct, any miscommunications so the interviewers have a clear picture of the applicant and what they are trying to convey. 

What can be expected?
When you meet with your consultant, there is commonly some form of “mock” interview conducted.  This will give the consultant a clear picture of how you present yourself during an interview.  From there the consultant must share the perceptions of your communication and provide constructive suggestions for how to improve that communication.  Sometimes the reality of how you are perceived can be harsh, but you need to hear it.  It is best to make your mistakes in the preparation phase than in the evaluation phase.  Your consultant should be able to qualify their critique and provide solid tools for you to correct the behavior.

Is prep right for you?
Again, this is a very personal choice.   This choice can hinge on your financial situation as well as your own personal beliefs.  Why not start with your friends and family?   * Side note warning* although our friends and family mean well, they may not give you an accurate portrayal of how others hear and perceive you. Sometimes it hurts to hear criticism so our friends may not risk any anger or resentment.  Bounce some questions and answers off your peers and ask them for an honest evaluation on how you are communicating.  What are they hearing, and what opinion are they forming of your answer?  If you are wavering solely because of the expense I highly recommend you evaluate what the long-term benefit to your career will be.  Ask yourself if it is worth it.

How do you find a consultant?
What to look for when evaluating a personal interview consultant: 

   »   Call them.  Get a feel for their level of interest in you and your interview.

    1. Do you feel like you can work with them? Be honest and open with them?

    2. What is their process for the preparation session? 

    3. Is the session limited by time or is it dependent upon the individual needs of the applicant?

    4. What is their background? 

    5. Have they been in a hiring position previously?  Was it for pilots in particular?

While someone has himself or herself been through many interviews it does not necessarily equate to an understanding of the evaluation process of the interviewer.  I encourage you to talk to your peers, get feedback on consultants they are familiar with and absolutely do your homework.

About the Author:

Lori Clark is the principal of Clark Aviation Consulting. As a former Manager of Pilot Recruiting for many years, she interviewed thousands of airline pilots and has an extensive knowledge of what airline pilot boards are looking for. Clark can help pilots understand what an interview board is looking for and how they are perceived. She offers simple but effective techniques that help pilots better present themselves before airline boards. For more information, please visit Clark Consulting at http://www.FlyTheLine.com or http://ClarkConsulting.blogspot.com

©2008 Clark Aviation Consulting, All Rights Reserved. Reprints with permission.

Article reprint Terms & Conditions