What do companies look for when hiring a pilot

Hello! My name is Brandon, I have my introductory flight on Monday and I had some questions about how hiring in the industry worked
I was a cadet in civil air patrol as a kid (which is kind of like a feeder for the USAF) and I am working for Delta Global Services right now as a gate agent (the company that operates Delta flights at my local airport), just trying to get some partially related experience in the industry before I start flight school.
I was just wondering how to increase my chances of getting hired after flight school, and how to stand out amongst other pilots? What do interviewers look for when hiring pilots out of flight school?


Your intro flight is Mon and you’re concerned with getting hired? That may be a little optimistic but ok.

CAP always looks good on a resume but the agent thing could work for or against you depending on your interview panel (some pilots don’t like agents). Regardless neither will make or break you. Airlines hire experienced, skilled pilots. The best thing you can do is do well in training and have no checkride failures. I’m not trying to be negative but I’d feel better if you were asking questions about FAA knowledge exams or how to be successful in training rather then what you can do years from now to get hired. You could have the greatest resume ever, if you wash out of training you’re not getting hired.

If/when you do get hired at a Regional be a good safe pilot, a good employee and get along with your coworkers. Networking is also beneficial but again none of this matters if you can’t fly.

The son of a friend of mine has been studying for the PPL written and has taken a few lessons. He too had been asking me about getting hired at a Major, life as a pilot etc., but a few weeks ago he shared a revelation with me. He said “you know what, this stuff is hard”. Now he asks me about weight and balance and aerodynamics :slight_smile:


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Getting hired out of flight school is misleading. You don’t get hired out of flight school. You get hired after you’ve reached all of the minimum flight time requirements to earn your ATP rating. That’s typically done by teaching or flying for a part 135 operator.

Even still, getting hired at a regional isn’t a problem these days. You may need to wait 6 months to be assigned a class date, but regional airlines are issuing conditional job offers to just about anyone who meets the minimum hour requirements and can hold a first class medical.

Getting hired at the majors is the real challenge. The majors are still very competitive. Just to name a few things that can help get you the job: clean record (inside and out of aviation), recommendations, turbine PIC time, doing more for your regional than just flying, and overall just being a likeable person.

As Adam mentioned, you have more important things to worry about right now. You shouldn’t concern yourself with these kinds of things right now. If you haven’t already, spend some time in the FAQ section to learn about how you can set yourself up for success in ATP’s program.



Are you saying that the part where ATP states you can interview with a regional airline between 300 to 500 hours is incorrect?


No. That’s correct. I am saying that being interviewed and receiving a conditional job offer between 300-500 hours is not the same as being hired.


Got it! Thanks for clarifying.

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You’re right I’m probably getting ahead of myself, I’m just excited and I’m someone who likes to has as much info as possible for things like this. I can’t actually start ATP until I finish my associate’s in March of 2020 so I’m kind of just looking at big picture stuff right now. I’m going to start looking at the writtens tonight.

How much should I be concerned about the gate agent thing being on my resume? I work at a decently small airport so I do a lot of roles so I could just list one of those instead of gate agent if you feel it would have an impact.



While the CAP and gate agent experience is nice, they really will not do much to help in an interview. The bottom line is that the airlines are hiring pilots and all other forms of experience are really not relevant to flying.

The best thing you can do is study hard and do well in flight training and on your check rides. Then build your 1,500 hours of flight time as quickly as possible.