By DebbieH 23 Mar 2021 7 min read

What can I expect from the pilot recruitment process?


We recently caught up with Senior First Officer for Emirates Airline, Patrick van Rutten, to discover what the recruitment process at an airline is really like and the challenges you can expect to face along the way.


Did you always want to be a pilot, and what was the process of turning that dream into a reality?

Yes! Hard work in school, and finishing flight academy in the Netherlands (I’m from the Caribbean). I finished flight training at age 19 and was in command by 22. I’ve been very fortunate in my career


Where did you find the information you needed to take the first steps towards training to be a pilot?

Internet, magazines and social networking.


How easy or difficult was it to find the information you needed about how to become a pilot?

There is lots of information roaming around – especially now with many schools becoming primarily profit driven.


After gaining your ATPL, how long did it take you to secure employment?

In my case, the (F) ATPL took me 9 months. The ATPL was done by the company when I was hired as a DEC on the Fokker 50.


Where did you find your current job?

I was contacted on LinkedIn by talent scouts to ask if I was interested in joining Emirates Airline.


What’s the hardest part about finding a pilot job?



What’s the most difficult part of a pilot interview?

The most difficult part is trying to stay the person you and not act any different. I haven’t had any unexpected questions during any interview.


What advice would you give to any pilots about to take an interview?

Be yourself. I’d much rather sit next to a humble pilot now knowing the books – instead of an arrogant know it all person!


How do you tackle aptitude tests?

Again, just be yourself!


Do you have any tips or techniques to pass on which helped you when learning and retaining technical information?



The industry is notoriously volatile and job security isn’t always a given. What advice would you give to aspiring pilots about this? 

Always have a plan B, and enough cash to survive. I’ve been lucky so far to keep my employment.


What was the transition from First Officer to Captain like?

Easy. I was well trained and prepared – I grew into the role!



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