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Where will you be in 5 yrs?

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Well-known member
Nov 26, 2001
Where do you see yourself in 5 yrs?

When asked this question at a regional airline interview, how do you respond? The truth-I hope to be at the majors in 5 years-or-I would be happy flying here at XYZ the rest of my life.

Personally, I would tell the truth, but, is that the right thing to do to get a job with that company.

Be positive and loyal

I would build an answer founded on the truth, for sure, but in terms of personal growth and how you can contribute now to the company you want now. That your attention is focused on getting this job and succeeding and not what you plan to do in five years. You also have to consider the state of hiring in the industry. If the regionals aren't releasing many pilots to the majors, you'd come off horribly if you said you hope to be with a major in five years.

Really, what this question offers is a chance to sell yourself once more on your desire, enthusiasm, abilities and work ethic. You can construct an answer restating your quals and how they fit in with that regional's pilot profile. You can include your achievements and how they portend success in the future. That you look forward to ground school and building on your knowledge and to sim and flight training, that you are excited about getting that chance at that airline. How you are looking forward to advancing up the upgrade ladder, no matter how long it might take. You can offer other abilities you have, such as a willingness to teach sim or ground school. That you plan and want to make the most of your time at that company, for how ever long that may be, and that you will make it worth their while to hire you. You can also throw in your willingness to go to any domicile and stay there indefinitely, etc.

Hope that gives you a few ideas.
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No employer regardless of how big or small they are wants to hear that you plan on using them as a stepping stone for bigger and better things

The best answer is to tell them you see yourself as a succesful Captain in their biggest and baddest jet.

This question is meant to uncover leadership potential not to see if you will be around for 20 years. Airlines hire Captains not career copilots. If your answer is to become a 767 FO at AA instead of a CRJ Captain with XX regional this may have unintended results.

The interviewers know that 90% of the people that come through the door see the airlines as their final prize. They dont want to hear that. They want to see some effort to achieve some type of leadership potential and accomplishement within their own organization
"Living in a van- down by the river!"

If they don't hire you on that one, you probably didn't want to work there anyway . . . . . . .
Years ago I was asked that very question by the chief pilot of a part 135 operator with four Navajo Chieftains. Without hesitation (and obviously without thinking) I replied that I'd be captain of a turbine powered aircraft. After a suprised look and a long pause, he then asked the next question. Anyway, in spite of my stupidity, I got the job. Maybe brutal honesty does count for something.

By the way, I left that job a year later and made captain of a turboprop a year after that.
I think that question pretty much sucks. You can lie to them and kiss their butt saying you will be with them forever. Or it may not be a lie if its the company you really want to be with.

The question can work for and against you. They can assume your lying and will leave when something better comes along. And once you lie in hte interview, and they know it, you usually have blown it. Or if they think your sincere, and are a fool to believe you wouldnt leave if a major or something better came up, then it can work for you.

All in all, you are better off telling them that you are there to stay. Nobody likes to hear that their company is a stepping stone for you. Then again, how do you think the person interviewing you got where they are....by using stepping stone jobs to get the one their in now.

Ty Webb said:
"Living in a van- down by the river!"

If they don't hire you on that one, you probably didn't want to work there anyway . . . . . . .

:D I thought it was funny...everyone else must be too serious.
In a van, down by the river....

You laugh, but when I was a commuter FO in an EMB-120 I lived in "a van, down by the..." for me it wasn't the river, but actually the airport, for nearly a year. My family appreciated the sacrifice cosidering the 13K I made that year. The cold northern MI wx finally put an end to all the fun when I experienced frozen snot in the early AM hours. Ahhh, the glamorous life of a wealthy airline pilot.
I've sat in on interviews at the regional level. You are asked that question for one reason, and one reason only. They know that if you say you will be happy at XYZ for the rest of your career, you have just lied to them.

Be honest... Regional airlines are stepping stones and the people doing the interviewing know that.

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