The 9 Pilot Competencies Airlines Look for on Selection Day

Pilot Competencies Interview

When attending a selection day with an airline, you’ll be assessed against the 9 pilot competencies. These are becoming the industry standard and are often used by airline recruitment teams to determine if an individual is suitable for the role as a First Officer.

These pilot competencies are designed to test candidates’ knowledge and skills outside of flying experience and hours. During your selection day, you will usually have a group exercise, an interview and a simulator assessment.

Below are the 9 pilot competencies including information about specific behavioural and skills knowledge you’ll need to know beforehand.


1. Situational Awareness

You will have an awareness and understanding of all the relevant information available and be a good judge of what to anticipate/how to respond.

When flying an aircraft, pilots have to maintain awareness of multiple factors including the state of the aircraft, flight path, meteorological conditions, flight time, fuel and more. Using the information available, pilots have to anticipate threats and errors and respond accordingly.


2. Leadership and Teamwork

As a pilot, you will have to lead the crew. Airlines will be looking to see if you have the right leadership and teamwork skills to ensure you can create a supportive, considerate and encouraging atmosphere.

You’ll be expected to understand each of the crew’s roles, anticipate their needs and work as a team to ensure safety procedures are carried out.


3. Effective Communication

Airlines will be looking for a demonstration of excellent oral and written communications skills in all types of situations. They will be looking to see if you can correctly convey and receive messages accurately and in a timely manner, an essential skill to have when communicating with crew members and air traffic controllers.

As well as communicating information, they will also be looking at your listening skills and non-verbal communication skills such as body language and eye contact.


4. Workload Management

As a pilot, you may have multiple tasks and will have to correctly prioritise your workload. You will have to use all the resources available to you to effectively carry out your tasks to a high standard whilst avoiding impulsiveness.

This could include offering and accepting assistance and delegating tasks when necessary.


5. Problem Solving and Decision Making

A key element of being a pilot is the ability to accurately identify risks and resolve problems. You’ll be expected to use an appropriate decision-making process by considering as many options as possible and seeking accurate information.

You will have to be calm under pressure and be able to diagnose and understand the problem in order to achieve the safest outcome.


6 & 7. Flight Path Management – Automation and Manual Control

During the selection process, they will be looking at your aircraft management skills for both automated and manual control systems. You’ll be expected to be able to control the aircraft with accuracy and manage the flight path for a smooth and optimum operational performance. This includes selecting the appropriate level of automation, monitoring and controlling mode transitions.


8. Application of Procedures

You will need to demonstrate an understanding of procedures relating to aircraft safety (including identifying the source of operating instructions), aircraft systems, controls and instruments. These will all need to be identified and followed in a timely manner to achieve the best value for the operation including fuel, the environment, passenger comfort and punctuality.


9. Knowledge

The final pilot competency is knowledge in which you will need to demonstrate that you can source required information and apply it effectively. You should be able to demonstrate a knowledge of operating instructions, physical environment, air traffic control, weather, airports and applicable legislation.


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