What are some reasons a major wouldn't hire someone?

I know getting hired at a major is very competitive. I’ve heard of instances where pilots meet and exceed their flight time requirements, have a college degree, and aren’t selected. If you meet or exceed their requirements, why wouldn’t they hire you?


Few reasons. First perhaps there are some blemishes on their record (checkride busts, training issues, attendance, accidents or incidents ins). Next this is a VERY small industry and EVERYBODY knows somebody who knows you. When I applied to Hawaiian I was able to check all the boxes but everyone I knew said I didn’t have a prayer. Hawaiian had (has?) a reputation for hiring locals or people with connections or ties to the Islands. I had none. Somehow I got an interview and after the interview I was approached by one of the Senior Directors and asked if I knew a certain pilot? The name sounded familiar and after racking my brain I finally remembered this was an FO I flew with once maybe 7yrs prior. The director said I needed to thank him. Apparently the Director knew this pilot from some other organization, saw we both worked and ExpressJet and called him to see if I was a good guy. If he had said I wasn’t I never would’ve gotten the interview let alone the job. Moral of the story is always be nice.

Finally the reality is that EVERYONE who gets an interview meets all the required qualifications you list above otherwise they wouldn’t get an interview (make sense?). So why do they have interviews? Because they want to meet you and see who you are. There’s an old saying that the purpose of an airline interview is simply to see if you’re someone we would mind being locked in a very small cockpit with for 5+hours. The fact is if the answer is no then you’ve got a problem.


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Those that I know that never even got to interview with the majors usually had some sort of negative mark on their record, whether that be a criminal record, or their FAA record.

I know many who have interviewed and not gotten the job, this usually comes down to a personality issue. The interviews themselves are really just about getting to know the applicant and to see what kind of person they are. Arrogance and poor work ethic usually show through and are typically show stoppers.

Direct reasons are:

criminal record
excessive speeding tickets
FAA violations
several failed check rides
poor work ethic

I got in trouble in 2012, arrested for suspicion of DUI, later convicted of Negligent Endangerment. I did bust my commercial checkride on the power off 180 accuracy landing. Would this be enough to make it very difficult to get a seat at either regional or major?


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