General Airline Interview Process (references, background, etc)

I keep seeing very specific questions from, say, people with DUIs or other issues. I’m curious more generally what the airline hiring process tends to include.

For example, in my current industry it is standard to call 2-3 references. Sometimes a background check is also completed, in which case they’ll check a criminal record and confirm employment with previous employers.

How does this compare with getting hired at an airline? Do they care about, say, references from before your aviation career or are they mainly focused on flying-specific references?


Airline pilot applications are very similar to others on a general sense but there is of course a focus on aviation. Education, employment history, references, etc. is all there. They primary focus however is do you meet the airlines hiring minimums for flight time and experience. If not you could have the finest resume in history but it won’t matter. That’s the reason you’ll also find some very basic but upfront questions that immediately thin the herd. How much total time? Do you have your ATP? Do you have a criminal record? Have you ever had an aviation accident or incident? Have you failed any checkride? Again these are very specific questions that may determine which stack you find yourself in.


1 Like


The airlines are primarily focused on your aviation career and your experiences there, but anything is fair game. I was very surprised, but in my interview at Continental, they asked me many questions about my experience as a flight instructor.

You can of course count on a thorough background check and questions about any transgressions from your past.


1 Like


As I prepare to be hired by a major myself, I’ve learned that major airlines like to see internal letters of recommendation, but it’s also a good idea to have external as well. They also like to see if you have attended any recruiting events or participated in any company sponsored community service events.




That’s great to hear. I have heard from a few different sources that community service and extracurricular activities play a role in separating otherwise similarly qualified pilots.

1 Like