Congratulations! You’ve just landed an interview for your dream job!
Once upon a time, this meant practicing your interview answers, loading up your briefcase and heading out the door for your aviation interview.
Those days are long gone.
In today’s digital world, and especially in the fast-paced aviation industry, it can be challenging for potential employers to schedule face-to-face interviews. Especially for pilots and flight attendants, it can be difficult to guarantee your availability without a month’s notice.
Lucky for you, we now live in the era of phone and video interviews.
This means that you can literally interview from anywhere in the world, and at a time that’s convenient for both you and the gatekeepers of your next career opportunity.
But how do you make yourself stand out from the crowd when you’re only a voice on the other end of the phone, or offering a video “handshake” with the person conducting your interview?
Phone Interview Strategies
I was on a call with an API candidate the other day and he said,” It’s so hard to talk about myself over the phone!”
You know what? He’s right. It’s hard selling yourself over the phone. The lack of eye contact and non-verbal cues can be a hurdle.
So the question is: how do you make a great first impression when all the interviewer has to go on is your voice?
- Give yourself some space…literally
Before the interview, identify a quiet, comfortable space where you can be yourself without distractions.
Make sure you set up for your call in a place that lends an air of professionalism to the event. Kicking back on the couch or calling from your busy hotel lobby might not set the right mood—either for you or your interviewers.
And don’t forget to have a copy of your resume handy for reference, along with pen and paper to jot down notes.
- Hold steady
Most of us take interview calls on our cell phones. This is okay, but you’ll want to make sure you’ve silenced any alerts or reminders the interviewer might hear.
If you’re talking on a headset, try and keep still. Little movements can sound very loud if the mic rubs on your clothing, and it might cause your voice to cut in and out.
If you have a bad connection, don’t be afraid to ask for a call back rather than toughing it out.
- Look the part
I’m lucky enough to work remotely from a home office. Even though I’m in the comfort of my own home when interviewing candidates, I do my best work when I put some effort into my appearance. Your phone interview should be no different. Dress for the occasion!
And don’t forget to smile. If there’s a smile on your face, there’ll be a smile in your voice, too. Try it.
- Be punctual
This sounds like a no-brainer, but trust me, you don’t want your interviewer’s first impression of you to be the sound of your voice mail recording. Set reminders and alarms to make sure you are ready to accept their incoming call even if it’s a few minutes early.
If you’re calling in, be ready to dial the number as soon as the clock strikes the agreed-upon time. Even if they might be running late, you want to make sure that you’re on time!
A good place to start is by making sure you know the interviewer’s name; then feel free to use it when addressing him or her on the call.
Every interviewer has his or her own style. Let them set the pace and tone for the conversation. And be sure that you’re answering the question they asked without going off on tangents. This is where note taking can really be handy.
- Know what you want
Do your research and be prepared for predictable questions that may come your way. Be ready with answers to such things as: Why are you looking for a new job? What appeals to you about this opportunity? Are you willing to relocate? How much notice do you need to give your current employer?
Aviation Interview Strategies for Video
You thought a phone interview was stressful, right? Well, now it’s time for a video interview.
Embrace it! Studies show that 60 percent of jobseekers will, at some point, engage in a video interview, and 66 percent of candidates actually prefer video interviewing.
Obviously, most of the phone tips above may be used for video interviews too. But a video interview brings a unique set of challenges and opportunities.
So how do you sell yourself from the neck up?
- Lights, camera, action
I remember my first video interview. It was nerve-wracking. My interviewers sent the link in advance and I pulled it up on my computer to test the camera and speaker.
I checked the angle, lighting and background. I tried on different shirts that didn’t conflict with the painting on the wall, straightened up the bookcase, and basically obsessed about every last detail looking and working just right.
When it was time for the actual interview, I was ready. Finally, the interviewer appeared and it was clear she had not checked her camera as I had.
For the next hour, I was staring at her neck centered on the screen because her camera angle was off the mark. Not an ideal situation, but at least I was confident I was giving her a better view than she was me.
- Look your best
When dressing for a video interview, you should outfit just like you would if you were meeting someone in person. And despite how tempting it may be, please wear slacks or bottoms that match your suit in case you need to stand up.
For ladies, feel free to wear jewelry, but keep it understated. And remember, bright colors come across best over video.
- Presentation is everything
Be sure to look at the camera, not at the computer screen. Good posture will come through on video, so no slouching. Speak slowly and feel free to gesture, but remember to keep your hands in the screen. Don’t forget to smile!
You’ve just completed your aviation interview for your dream job, so now what? Follow up is critical!
Proper etiquette suggests that you should send a thank you note to each of your interviewers within 24 hours, regardless of the interview method.
Keep the note simple and be sure to restate why you think you’re qualified for their position.
This is also a good opportunity to add any information you might have forgotten to convey in the interview.
Lastly, remember that’s it’s entirely appropriate to send a “touch base” email after a couple weeks, if you haven’t heard anything back from your interviewers. This shows that you’re still interested in their position.
Heeding any or all of these tips can be a serious boon to help you make the most of your phone or video interview for an aviation job . . . so don’t neglect to use them!