By Aleta Vinas, ANN Correspondent
Kit Darby, B-757/767
captain and president of AIR, Inc., shared his knowledge of airline
pilot hiring with the ladies attending his session at the Women in
Aviation International Conference.
A workbook with statistics and helpful hints was passed out
before the presentation so everyone could follow along. Darby
presented statistics, as well as hints, on the hiring process.
Darby mentioned some women not wanting to "use" being female as
a tool to get hired. "They don't want to have any special
consideration." Darby tells the crowd that the airlines
divide the applicants into categories. They are looking for the
best people in each category. Gender is one of the categories so
competition is with other females.
Once your qualifications get you to the interview, Darby says,
"The airlines do not hire the most qualified people. They hire the
people they like." The interaction, performance in the sim,
and any tests and communication weigh heavily during the
"A college degree is an absolute must to be successful as a
professional pilot," says Darby. If you don't have a degree,
you should be working on it.
There should be five to ten companies on your list to send your
resume to. Don't lose time by holding out for your favorite.
"If you meet the minimums, you must apply," states Darby. Don't
think you're not ready, let the airline make the decision but you
"must get in the stack," adds Darby. If it's not a Major airline,
apply when you're close to the minimums, as the minimums may be
Keep watch on who's buying airplanes. Perhaps 40% -- 50% of the
new buys are for growth, and these planes are going to need
"Learn about the application process before you fill the form
out," Darby warns. Whether you fill out an online application or
send in a resume, it will be broken down into a number which
determines your sequence for getting an application or an
Know about the airline you're going to interview with; the
history, the type aircraft, and major hubs. "Nothing turns off an
airline rep more than somebody who comes in and doesn't know about
the job they're trying to get," Darby says. During lunch he
was sitting with a rep from AirTran who said, "can you believe it,
they walk up and say they want to work for me and they don't know
what kind of airplanes we fly." Use the internet, friends and
the local papers for the airline's hub.
When you dress for an interview, think banker, think uniform. A
dark suit with white blouse is a good bet.
Know the answer when they ask, "Tell me about yourself. Why
should we hire you?" This is your time to shine.
"Eighty percent of pilots are never furloughed," states Darby.
"The perfect time to get into this is when it's at the bottom,"
adds Darby. He believes that the bottom was last year.
Darby threw out some statistics that showed some good news on
the horizon. There will be about 10,000 new jobs this year. There
are less aircraft parked in the desert now, and many have been
brought back to flight status. Load factors are up, people are
flying. Profitability will probably need to come from
restructuring, maybe merging... ticket prices are probably not
going to increase.
The membership for Darby's organization costs $199.00.
You've already put over $50,000 into your education and ratings.
What's it worth to have more help on your side to help market
Oh, and by the way, practice your handshake.