Failed Checkrides and Your Interview

Published: 03-14-2008
First of all, in my experience, it is hard to find someone who has not failed a checkride. However, it is not something to take lightly.

First of all, in my experience, it is hard to find someone who has not failed a checkride. However, it is not something to take lightly. The more failed checkrides you have on your record, the harder they are to overcome.

The brand new pilot

It is not uncommon to have a failed checkride in the on set of your career. Beginning pilots don't always realize how it can impact the rest of their careers. Failing a private, instrument, multi-engine or commercial checkride is not always the kiss of death-- depending upon the reasons. Failing two isn't typically an issue. Failing three or more will put you under scrutiny.

The more experienced pilot

Once you have progressed in your career, maybe with a regional airline or in a corporate position, failed checkrides aren't so easily dismissed. Failing initial training or upgrade training will be a bigger obstacle to overcome. Sometimes it may take several years of flying with no failed rides to convince an employer to hire you. Under law, companies are required to retrieve training records going back five years.

How airlines evaluate failed checkrides

Airlines are looking for trends in behavior that demonstrate lack of discipline, poor judgment, or learning deficiencies. So if you failed more than two checkrides, you can expect them to spend more time questioning you. Not only will they look at the reasons you failed and how long it took to retake it, but will take a closer look at your career progression and college grades to see if there are trends that might also indicate learning problems.

The interview how to deal with failed checkrides

Airlines may still interview you, but how you deal with failed checkrides is really important. Take the following into consideration when dealing with the issue:

First and foremost, be honest

Take responsibility for your actions

Be poised, polished and professional in your demeanor and how you communicate the incident(s)

Be factual-- give specific details, but don t go off on a tangent

Don t be cavalier about it or act like it is no big deal

Don t act like you didn't know what happened

Don t get emotional or defensive

Don t place the blame on others

Tell what you learned and how you have grown from the experience

During the remainder of the interview, whether responding to behavioral, situational or technical questions, you need clearly demonstrate you have outstanding technical expertise, leadership and teamwork skills.

Reminiscent of Mr. T, I say, I pity the fool who hasn tmade a mistake! and I pity those more who won t own up to it.

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