Crew Lounge HomePilot Job Interview Prep: Negotiate & Get What You Want
Pilot Job Interview Prep: Negotiate & Get What You Want

Knowing what you want when preparing for a pilot job interview often leads to the best outcome. Successful pilots understand what makes them happy in their career and ways they can negotiate with an employer so everyone wins. When It's All About the Benjamins When money is the #1 concern, we have seen pilots negotiate additional duties for additional pay. Pilots with administrative, sales, business or back office experience interviewing for a job with a light flying schedule have successfully asked to take on more of a management or marketing role in exchange for a better starting salary. On the other hand, if you see a job description that includes a lot of roles in addition to flying, you may be able to negotiate more money. So as part of your pilot job interview prep, make sure you know how much your skills are worth. Some pilots who accept a job with a light schedule do contract flying work on the side, and some bring up their desire to do so during negotiation. If you choose not to discuss this with your employer, proceed with caution: it's a small world, and we've heard of pilots doing contract work without their employer's knowledge who were heard on the radio or seen at an FBO. So use your best judgement. Reach a compromise that works for both you and your employer if you're in it for the money.

For the Love of Flying For some pilots, flying is more important than pay. They would rather accept less money than spend any time working behind a desk. We have spoken with a couple pilots who were offered a job with clerical responsibilities they didn't want. These pilots got their employers to agree to exempt them from the desk work when they agreed to a lower starting salary. Prepare for your pilot job interview by knowing where you stand on desk work. You won't necessarily have to walk away from a job with duties you don't want if you know how to negotiate. When Job Security is #1 Then there are pilot members who are not after big money, don't mind doing some desk work, and can agree to almost any schedule their employer needs them to work, within reason. For these pilots, their #1 concern is job security. The interview process is the perfect time to bring up things like a severance package, pilot medical insurance, currency in type if the job were to end, and whether or not your employer will require you to sign a training contract. When job security is #1, create a checklist of these items as part of your pilot job interview prep. Other Wishes Your Employer Can Make Come True We have a member at a smaller Part 91 operation who was able to convince his employer to buy him a Bonanza 836 to get to work. It is also not unheard of for pilots to negotiate a 25% increase to their starting salary, or personal use of the aircraft (as long as they pay for fuel). There are other things you can negotiate for, including:

  • Hard days off (Sundays for example). Many of our pilots who have families have been successful at negotiating weekends off, but some have had to also accept a slight pay cut in exchange.
  • Preferred Hotel stays when you are a rewards member and you prefer Marriott or Hilton, for example
  • Asking for a meal allowance instead of a per diem. This can allow you to enjoy your time on the road more and worry less about money.
  • Schedule
  • Bonuses
  • Additional type ratings
  • Health Club Memberships. Most aviation employers want pilots who are in great shape. Some of them can be convinced to pay for your health club membership, if that's important to you.
  • It's definitely not as common, but sometimes an employer will pay for golf packages or offer an entertainment allowance.

So think about what you want. Then determine what you think an employer would expect from you in order to give it to you.

  • Can you meet their expectations?
  • What would be fair?

Figure out the unique skills and talents you bring to the table and what you're worth, and you can be confident asking for what you want. Once you sell your prospective employer on your strengths (let's say punctuality, the ability to put passengers at ease and a strong understanding of fuel economy), you'll know exactly what you have to deliver on the job. As part of your pilot job interview prep, consider:

  • Must-haves
  • Nice-to-haves
  • What could you give up?
  • What won't you compromise on?
  • What is the market like? If you've been out of the aviation job market for a while, confer with others to make sure what you're requesting is realistic.

Write it Down Before your next job interview, prepare by making a list on paper of the possible pros and cons of the job, and areas that are important to you. Decide what you want and what you would be willing to give up for it. Once the interview process starts, it can be easy to either get greedy or sell yourself short. Knowing what you want helps you gain respect and credibility with your employer, attributes you'll surely want when working for him or her. Pilot Job Interview Prep Assistance. If you're unsure about what you can or can't ask for, give us a call. We talk to pilots every day and can give you insight that will help you make the most of your next job interview.

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