Thursday, February 02, 2006

Not Yet Jet Performance

I've got a month left in my preparation for the job interview date I set for myself.

I have been busy rehearsing answers to all the standard airline interview questions, but the problem with imaginary interviewers and lateral thinking, is that my imagination comes up with some seriously untenable interview strategies. While it would be impressive if I were to happen to rescue the airline CEO's five-year-old daughter from terrorists while I was on the way to the interview, without arriving late or disheveled, there is a very small chance of my being able to employ that particular method of scoring points with the hiring panel. Therefore logically no more than a very small portion of my time and energy should focus on those details. It's less literally life-or-death, but my best answer to the question "tell me about yourself" deserves more attention.

I may practice some of my interview answers on you, but such posts will be rare and sparse, for two reasons. One is that this is an anonymous blog, and of course many of the answers to human resources questions will contain personal information. If I skip the personal details, and just tell stories, spinning them into perfectly tailored little sales pitches for hiring Aviatrix, you might be very interested. So would be a lot of people. And sadly, that's why I won't post them. Many hits on my blog are from people looking for interview "gouge" as it's called. I'm not going to risk having my stunning Have you ever had a supervisor who lost his or her temper? story plagiarised by a candidate who interviews the week before me. You might think that doesn't happen, but people run around looking for the "right" answers to questions instead of their own answers.

Another thing I've been doing lately is reviewing technical information. At least one airline hands candidates a written test which they must pass before they even get a chance at an interview. Boning up on formulae is of course less emotionally draining than reviewing one's experiences to decide how best to respond to What is the worst thing we could discover about you? Way back when I started this blog, I bought an aerodynamics textbook. I shoved it in my flight bag and have been reading it on and off, but not on the same days I've been blogging. I tend to read the same bits over and over again because although they make sense while I'm reading, the details of the information seems to drift back out through one of the orifices in my head, after I put the book down. Perhaps explaining some of it will cement it in my head, and as there is only one right answer to this sort of thing, I don't mind those ahead of me knowing it too. What started out as the introduction to this entry has become rather long (something I have to watch when answering interview questions) so I'll make this a post in itself, and tell you about jet performance later.


Anonymous said...

If it helps, merge the two scenarios...

Imagine you are on your way to the interview, and the terrorist says "Tell me about yourself, and make it interesting, otherwise everyone gets it, starting with this little girl. "

btw. I would never have thought about someone plagarising my experiences for a job interview. Interesting and very valid point. Some people suck.


Anonymous said...

I've done non-aviation hiring a few times in my life, so I've had a taste of how things work on the other side of the table. There are at least three boobie-trapped questions in an interview, and you identified the first one in your post:

1. Tell us about yourself.

The others are

2. Tell us about your previous jobs.

3. What are your salary expectations?

#2 is the one that people are most likely to blow. It is absolutely, critically important to say nothing but positive things about past employers, no matter how bad your experiences were. No one likes a complainer.

Both #1 and #2 are really asking "Are you the kind of person we'll like working with 8+ hours/day for the next 3-5 years?"

The best answer to #1, if you feel it's honest for you, is to tell them how much you still like flying (after x years and n thousand hours) and how much you enjoy working with people. Then go on to tell them how their company looks like a good place for someone like you -- or even better, ask some questions to try to get them to tell *you* why the company's ideal: people love to talk about themselves.

They might also want to know if you have a spouse and kids who are going to take up a lot of your time, but of course, they cannot legally ask that -- it's up to you whether to put them out of their misery or not (personally, I never even tried to get that information when I was hiring).

There is never a good answer for #3 -- you need to dance around a bit. In the tech world, the trick is usually to ask for too much then accept concessions (more telecommuting, more vacation time, etc.) in lieu of some of the money, but I doubt that would work in aviation.

Oshawapilot said...

It's at times like this that I'm sure you appreciate your choice to remain anonymous.

I could otherwise immagine the shock that would result if the interviewer suddenly (and of course, unexpectedly) blurted out a question related to your blog. Inevitably it would be something you wrote about months (or years) ago that seemed innocent and neutral at the time, but suddenly gained new perspective in the eyes of a potential employer.

From someone who learned firsthand about the possible issues of not remaining anonymous in ones blog, I do understand your choice there, especially considering your career endeavours.

Flygirl said...

Good luck with all your prep work for the interview...i know it can be nerveracking. And good thinking to not divulge too much about your interview answers...there are some crappy people out there!