For young professionals fresh out of school and ready to enter the business aviation job market, first time jitters and a fear of not being “good enough” can often get in the way of nailing the job interview.
Doing your homework ahead of time is crucial, says Emily White, a senior specialist at Wheels Up. “Study job postings, not only for the job that you want to apply for, but for the jobs that will interact with your role,” White says. “Learn what skills are needed to be able to work cross-functionally. Learn about the company, its history and who you are interviewing with. Then be able to demonstrate it in the interview.”
Hannah O’Malley Wolf, market analyst with Hagerty Jet Group, says it’s important to just be yourself. “Figure out if this is a position you want – not just trying to get the interview panel to want you.”
“The ability to read a room and connect with new people – it is a huge bonus.”
Hannah O’Malley Wolf Hagerty Jet Group
Focus on the intangibles a company looks for. “The ability to read a room and connect with new people – it is a huge bonus when you can connect with the people in the actual interview,” Wolf says. “Getting to see someone open up and connect in real time is a huge plus.”
Another tip: anticipate curveball questions, says Gary Webb, strategic partnerships coordinator with AviationManuals. “My least favorite is definitely getting asked about your biggest weakness,” says Webb. “This is a tricky question. It’s uncomfortable to talk about weaknesses, but you want to make sure you don’t give a robotic, canned response.” Webb says it’s important to prepare a few ideas ahead of time and to not be afraid to let your guard down and be human when answering.
With safety, integrity and professionalism in mind, Taylor Butterfield, a first officer with a large fractional carrier, shines a light on dressing for success. “Whether we like it or not, when people are going to put their lives in our hands, there is a narrow band of appearances that communicate a person has the qualities required of a safety sensitive position,” Butterfield says. “If a candidate doesn’t present an understanding of how these appearances relate to retaining clients and helping them feel safe, it’s tough to introduce them later on in the process.”
Butterfield offers one last piece of advice regarding a characteristic of utmost importance: “We have clients and owners who are putting their most precious people at a calculated level of risk on each flight. They are trusting us to provide a team that will initiate and conduct – or even more difficult – treat each portion of each flight with integrity and professionalism.”
Review NBAA’s resources for young professionals at jobs.nbaa.org/career-resources.