MockQuestions

Air Traffic Controllers Interview Questions

To help you prepare for your Air Traffic Controllers interview, here are 30 interview questions and answer examples.

Air Traffic Controllers was written by and updated on April 6th, 2021. Learn more here.

Question 1 of 30

When you suffer a setback, how does that emotionally affect you and your work?

How to Answer

Everyone handles the stress and disappointment of setbacks differently. Discuss with the interviewer how you typically cope with delays in the workplace.

Written by Rachelle Enns on April 6th, 2021

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30 Air Traffic Controllers Interview Questions & Answers

  • 1. When you suffer a setback, how does that emotionally affect you and your work?

      How to Answer

      Everyone handles the stress and disappointment of setbacks differently. Discuss with the interviewer how you typically cope with delays in the workplace.

      Written by Rachelle Enns on April 6th, 2021

      Entry Level

      "Setbacks happen for a reason, and they do not affect me emotionally in the least. I am a very pragmatic thinker and stay focused despite the challenges that come my way."

      Written by Rachelle Enns on April 6th, 2021

      1st Answer Example

      "Experiencing a setback is always disappointing, and can be a bit disheartening, but I understand that it happens from time to time. If I experience a major setback, I will take a few moments to debrief with my manager and discuss what I could have done differently. Then, I move on!"

      Written by Rachelle Enns on April 6th, 2021

      Experienced

      "Setbacks can be trying, but I find that you have to learn how to lose before you learn how to win. While I never enjoy a setback, I use them as a stepping off point to something even better."

      Written by Rachelle Enns on April 6th, 2021

  • 2. Rate your communication skills from 1-10.

      How to Answer

      Being a bright communicator is a critical skill to master and a non-negotiable skill for an ATC. Have you taken any courses in communication and writing? Are you confident in your written communication skills? Talk to the interviewer about your communication abilities and support your answer with a brief example or story.

      Written by Rachelle Enns on April 6th, 2021

      Entry Level

      "I consider myself to be a strong communicator, always calling upon a mix of written and verbal communications. When working in teams, I tap into interpersonal communications to build strong relationships with others."

      Written by Rachelle Enns on April 6th, 2021

      1st Answer Example

      "I would describe my written communication skills as very strong and would rate myself as a 9/10. I have always had a penchant for writing and have taken university courses related to communication, writing, and journalism."

      Written by Rachelle Enns on April 6th, 2021

      Experienced

      "I would rate my communication skills as a 9/10. Before becoming an air traffic controller, I completed a B.A. in Communications. My team has always rated me very highly in my communication skills during my reviews."

      Written by Rachelle Enns on April 6th, 2021

  • 3. When would you be available to start?

      How to Answer

      Before your interview, make sure you have a start date in mind for the new employer. Be prepared with an affirmative answer regardless of your employment situation.

      If you are currently working, you should always show professionalism by offering 2 weeks' notice to your current employer. No hiring manager is ever impressed when they hear "I can quit my job today and start tomorrow!" Show that you are professional and reliable in all situations.

      Written by Rachelle Enns on April 6th, 2021

      Entry Level

      "I would need to give a customary two weeks' notice to my current company so that they could choose if they want me to stay and transition accounts or make it my last day. But, out of courtesy to them, I need to let them make the decision."

      Written by Rachelle Enns on April 6th, 2021

      1st Answer Example

      "I can quit my job today and start tomorrow!"

      Written by Rachelle Enns on April 6th, 2021

      Experienced

      "I would need to give my employer two weeks' notice. Due to my length of employment, it is possible that I may need to work an additional week if they were to request it of me to aid in the transition to the next manager, but I am available immediately following. Can you clarify your timeline for me?"

      Written by Rachelle Enns on April 6th, 2021

  • 4. Have you ever worked in a cross-functional environment?

      How to Answer

      As an air traffic controller, you will be asked to communicate with a variety of departments and functions on a regular basis. Your ability to work with cross-functional teams will be a significant asset to your potential employer. Talk about your experience working cross-functionally. Share any challenges that came up and what you learned from the experience.

      Written by Rachelle Enns on April 6th, 2021

      Entry Level

      "I have not spent a lot of time working cross-functionally as I just completed my training. With that said, I am confident in my communication skills and understand the importance of being a team player."

      Written by Rachelle Enns on April 6th, 2021

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  • 5. What are your salary expectations?

      How to Answer

      The interviewer would like to know what your salary expectations are. The best way to discuss your salary expectation is to use your current earnings as an example. Be open, and honest. Transparency is the best choice when salary based questions arise.

      Written by Rachelle Enns on April 6th, 2021

      Entry Level

      "As I am newer to my career as an air traffic controller, I would like to gain a healthy balance of fair compensation and opportunity for growth. Compensation is not my primary driver."

      Written by Rachelle Enns on April 6th, 2021

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  • 6. Tell me about your leadership qualities.

      How to Answer

      The interviewer would like to know what you consider to be strong leadership qualities. When describing leadership qualities, try to avoid general terms and give some unique ideas.
      A great leader is someone who people naturally want to follow. They have exceptional interpersonal skills and the ability to build relationships with nearly any personality type. A respected leader will take ownership of their mistakes and will always lead their team by example. True leaders see the importance of motivating others and recognizing even the smallest achievements. Which of these qualities do you most identify with?

      Written by Rachelle Enns on April 6th, 2021

      Entry Level

      "My leadership qualities are communication, drive and mentoring. I seek out the best in people, then help them increase their performance."

      Written by Rachelle Enns on April 6th, 2021

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  • 7. As an air traffic controller, you will be required to sign a confidentiality agreement. Have you ever broken a confidentiality agreement?

      How to Answer

      Airlines and air traffic organizations will have confidentiality agreements for a variety of reasons. These could be to protect their trade secrets or keep sensitive information away from the public. Talk to the interviewer about your thoughts on confidentiality agreements.

      Written by Rachelle Enns on April 6th, 2021

      Entry Level

      "No. I have only once had a confidentiality agreement and had no problem adhering to it."

      Written by Rachelle Enns on April 6th, 2021

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  • 8. We are asking for 8 years of industry experience and you have just 5. Why do you think you are qualified for this position?

      How to Answer

      To many employers, the number of years' experience is flexible - so long as you have the results to show for the years that you do have. Talk to the interviewer about your major career successes. This is the time to sell yourself. Make no apologies for your lack of years!

      Written by Rachelle Enns on April 6th, 2021

      Entry Level

      "Along with my five years working in this industry, I have worked in related industries my entire career. Also, I hope that my graduate degree gives me a little boost in experience over the required undergraduate degree."

      Written by Rachelle Enns on April 6th, 2021

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  • 9. How many days were you absent from work last year?

      How to Answer

      The interviewer would like to know about your dedication to being present and on time. A part of being a diligent employee is to ensure that you are always on time and present when expected. It's great to even be 10 minutes early rather than just showing up right on the dot. Talk to the interviewer about your attendance.

      Written by Rachelle Enns on April 6th, 2021

      Entry Level

      "I cannot recall the exact number, but I think it was around three days total. All absences were excused and with notice."

      Written by Rachelle Enns on April 6th, 2021

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  • 10. How do you handle a larger than average workload?

      How to Answer

      The interviewer wants to know that you can handle the workload required of you in this position and that you will not become overwhelmed if/when workloads unexpectedly increase. When workloads increase, stress levels do too. How do you react?

      Written by Rachelle Enns on April 6th, 2021

      Entry Level

      "Here are some suggestions on how to handle a large workload:

      - List your tasks and prioritize them
      - Think of which functions add to the company's bottom line, and start there (Closest to the money!)
      - Exhale. Relax for a minute and collect yourself
      - Organize your tasks by which ones you can complete independently and which ones you need help with
      - Take sufficient breaks, so you do not exhaust yourself
      - Communicate your struggles with your leadership or team"

      Written by Rachelle Enns on April 6th, 2021

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  • 11. When have you worked with a diverse group of people?

      How to Answer

      Are you accustomed to working with a very large or diverse team of individuals? Assure the interviewer that you can handle an environment that offers diversity.

      Written by Rachelle Enns on April 6th, 2021

      Entry Level

      "In my current role, I work alongside cross-functional teams regularly. Together, we manage our business and effectiveness."

      Written by Rachelle Enns on April 6th, 2021

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  • 12. What experience do you have using team-based messaging applications?

      How to Answer

      The interviewer would like to know what type of communication software and applications you bring experience in. There are many options for communication software and messaging applications. Give the interviewer a brief overview of the apps you use and assure them that you can learn their internal system, should it be new to you.

      Written by Rachelle Enns on April 6th, 2021

      Entry Level

      "I do not have a lot of experience with team-based messaging applications besides MSN Messenger years ago. I do pick up on technology quickly and have no concerns when it comes to my ability to learn. What team-based messaging applications do you use?"

      Written by Rachelle Enns on April 6th, 2021

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  • 13. Tell me about yourself.

      How to Answer

      When an interviewer asks an open-ended question like this, it can be difficult to know where to begin...and end! This question haunts many individuals who may accidentally go a little too in-depth into their personal lives. It happens. Keep your reply light, and work relevant. Share how you became interested in becoming an ATC and what you enjoy about it. This is an excellent opportunity to describe yourself by discussing the strengths and qualities that you bring.

      Written by Rachelle Enns on April 6th, 2021

      Entry Level

      "I am a very active individual who loves to workout and goes to the mountains on the weekend. I feel that my level of activity on my off time greatly improves my work during the week. I have a high amount of energy to offer!"

      Written by Rachelle Enns on April 6th, 2021

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  • 14. With the ongoing changes in the airline and air traffic industries, how do you keep your knowledge current?

      How to Answer

      The interviewer wants to know that you are engaged in this industry and willing to dedicate time to grow your knowledge base. Employers expect employees to stay up-to-date on their respective field, and today's technology makes this reasonably easy! List several ways that you receive your industry knowledge and stay on top of trends.

      Tell the interviewer about those daily update emails you receive from professional organizations, conferences you attend, seminars you have taken, and professional organizations you are a part of.

      It's a great idea to ask the interviewer what resources they refer to for industry trends. That question can start up a great conversation, and you may learn a thing or two as well.

      Written by Rachelle Enns on April 6th, 2021

      Entry Level

      "I am an avid reader. I read about air traffic news online, every day. I am a member of many key associations that allow me the opportunity to attend industry conferences, receive newsletters and network with top professionals in my field."

      Written by Rachelle Enns on April 6th, 2021

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  • 15. Have you ever been involved in an emergency situation? How did you react?

      How to Answer

      Air traffic controllers will experience some emergency and stressful situations more than the average individual. Talk about your exposure to this kind of stress. The interviewer would like to know that you can remain calm, collected, and professional during emergency situations.

      Written by Rachelle Enns on April 6th, 2021

      Entry Level

      "I have not yet been involved in a work-related emergency situation. I am well-trained in emergency response and am confident that I will respond appropriately should an emergency arise."

      Written by Rachelle Enns on April 6th, 2021

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  • 16. Being an air traffic controller is a stressful job. How do you handle stressful situations?

      How to Answer

      Being an air traffic controller is one of the most stressful jobs out there. Tell the hiring manager how you feel you handle stressful situations. You can back up your answer by talking about any feedback you have received from previous supervisors or colleagues.

      Written by Rachelle Enns on April 6th, 2021

      Entry Level

      "Stress is part of any demanding job, and I embrace it to the fullest. I take good care of myself and prioritize my workload to maintain a healthy balance in my stress levels."

      Written by Rachelle Enns on April 6th, 2021

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  • 17. How do you like to be recognized for your accomplishments?

      How to Answer

      We all want recognition in some way for our accomplishments in the workplace. Share with the interviewer how you want credit for your hard work. Through gifts? Financial perks? Public recognition? Kind words? Title promotions?

      Written by Rachelle Enns on April 6th, 2021

      Entry Level

      "I am very simple. I do not require any formal recognition, but kind words from my coworkers and superiors will keep me motivated and working hard."

      Written by Rachelle Enns on April 6th, 2021

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  • 18. As an air traffic controller, what are your strengths?

      How to Answer

      Which personal strengths make you excellent at your job? Advantages can be skills or qualities that help you overcome difficult circumstances or accomplish challenging tasks.

      In a work context, your strengths will help you to complete your to-do list, understand client needs, and help you to apply what you have learned in your training. Talk to the interviewer about a couple of your strengths and why those will help you to be successful in this role.

      Written by Rachelle Enns on April 6th, 2021

      Entry Level

      "Some great strengths to mention are:

      - Communicative
      - Loyal
      - Collaborative
      - Tech Savvy
      - Flexible in Schedule/Availability
      - Persistent and Determined
      - Eager for Knowledge/New Skills"

      Written by Rachelle Enns on April 6th, 2021

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  • 19. As an air traffic controller, what is your greatest weakness?

      How to Answer

      Pick a weakness that is not a core skill for this position. You can be candid in your answer; recognizing that you aren't great at something and acknowledging your need to improve. Be sure to have an action plan in place for improving on this weakness.

      Perhaps you are watching TED talks to gain skills in a particular area, reading the latest-and-greatest book on the subject, or maybe you are taking a seminar at a nearby community center. We are all human with our weaknesses, so don't be afraid to share yours!

      Written by Rachelle Enns on April 6th, 2021

      Entry Level

      "I tend to work too hard. I am always striving to be, and do better, that I forget sometimes it is best to embrace the chaos! Despite that, I make a point to have fun with it."

      Written by Rachelle Enns on April 6th, 2021

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  • 20. This is your first job as an air traffic controller. How do you think you'll succeed?

      How to Answer

      The interviewer would like to know how confident you are in your ability to succeed in this role. It is imperative that you display confidence in your ability to successfully do this job. Even though you may be new to this career, you have the training and have made it this far! Now is the time to speak highly of yourself.

      Written by Rachelle Enns on April 6th, 2021

      Entry Level

      "I will succeed because I believe in myself. I bring a stronger level of dedication than most and my penchant for continued education sets me apart from the crowd."

      Written by Rachelle Enns on April 6th, 2021

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  • 21. Do you consider yourself a patient person? How do you increase your patience level in challenging situations?

      How to Answer

      The interviewer would like to know if you consider yourself a patient individual. Impatience can cause a lot of stress and anxiety in coworkers, so it is essential that you can showcase your ability to remain patient and professional in workplace situations.

      Patience is indeed a virtue but can be challenging to maintain when it seems that situations continue to push your buttons. Show the interviewer that you possess the ability to keep your cool in challenging conditions.

      Written by Rachelle Enns on April 6th, 2021

      Entry Level

      "I am fairly patient, with other people. I tend to be impatient with myself if I am not finishing a project as fast as I think I should be. But, I am learning to be patient with myself as well. I find that breathing exercises, and closing my eyes for a few seconds can help me regroup."

      Written by Rachelle Enns on April 6th, 2021

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  • 22. Do you enjoy shift work? Are there certain hours of the day during which you would prefer not to work?

      How to Answer

      The interviewer would like to know how flexible you are on your schedule. Being an ATC will almost always require shift work, on-call work and nights/holidays. Be sure that you express to the hiring manager that you understand these requirements and that you are a team player.

      Written by Rachelle Enns on April 6th, 2021

      Entry Level

      "If overtime is required in this role, I am happy to accommodate whenever I can. My only restriction is that I cannot work Wednesday nights as I have an evening course those days."

      Written by Rachelle Enns on April 6th, 2021

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  • 23. Have you had to deal with an emergency situation in the tower before? How did you handle the situation?

      How to Answer

      Air traffic controllers will experience an emergency and stressful situations more than the average individual. Talk about your exposure to this kind of stress.

      Written by Rachelle Enns on April 6th, 2021

      Entry Level

      "If you have not experienced an emergency situation in the tower before: "I am new to this career as an air traffic controller and have not experienced an emergency situation in the tower before. I have been exposed to emergency situations in my everyday life and am confident in my training as an ATC that I would manage the situation well."

      Written by Rachelle Enns on April 6th, 2021

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  • 24. What do you like least about being an Air Traffic Controller?

      How to Answer

      The interviewer would like to know your least favorite aspect of being an air traffic controller. Every career has its downfalls. Discuss this openly with the hiring manager. Be sure to keep the discussion on a positive note.

      Written by Rachelle Enns on April 6th, 2021

      Entry Level

      "I prefer to focus on the positives but if I had to pick out a negative component, I would say that the stress level is quite high. With that said, I thrive in a role that has high-performance expectations."

      Written by Rachelle Enns on April 6th, 2021

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  • 25. How did you become interested in a career as an air traffic controller?

      How to Answer

      The interviewer would like to know what initially piqued your interest in becoming an air traffic controller. You can answer this question with a bit of a personal touch. When did you first hear of air traffic controllers and what drew your interest?

      Written by Rachelle Enns on April 6th, 2021

      Entry Level

      "I ended up stumbling on this line of work while training in the military. My first time shadowing an experienced ATC was exhilarating. I just knew it's what I wanted to do for the remainder of my career."

      Written by Rachelle Enns on April 6th, 2021

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  • 26. Where do you see your career going as an air traffic controller?

      How to Answer

      It's essential to the hiring manager that you have a realistic view of where your career as an air traffic controller could go. Talk to the interviewer a bit about what you are picturing in your job. It's impossible to know where you will be many years down the road but do assure the interviewer that, given all possible circumstances, you could see yourself as a long-term fit for this position.

      Written by Rachelle Enns on April 6th, 2021

      Entry Level

      "Over time, I would like to be supervising or managing a team of my own. I feel like I am progressing at a rate that will make this a possibility."

      Written by Rachelle Enns on April 6th, 2021

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  • 27. What qualities do you have that would make you a good air traffic controller?

      How to Answer

      The interviewer would like to know what you think makes you a suitable air traffic controller. Be confident in your great qualities and be sure to tell the hiring manager that you are the best fit for the job.

      Written by Rachelle Enns on April 6th, 2021

      Entry Level

      "Here are some qualities that could make you a great air traffic controller:

      - Ability to give concise instructions
      - Careful listening skills
      - Quick decision-making skills
      - Ability to quickly compute speed, time, and distance
      - Above average organization skills"

      Written by Rachelle Enns on April 6th, 2021

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  • 28. Do you have any air traffic control experience outside of CTI school?

      How to Answer

      CTI school can prepare you for the job in general, but the hiring manager would like to know if you have any real-time, hands-on experience.

      Written by Rachelle Enns on April 6th, 2021

      Entry Level

      "If you do not have experience outside of CTI school: "I have not worked as an ATC as I just completed CTI school last month. I look forward to learning everything that I can on the job."

      Written by Rachelle Enns on April 6th, 2021

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  • 29. ATC's must remain calm at all times. What are your coping mechanisms in times of distress?

      How to Answer

      Mental health is a critical topic in the ATC industry. Tell the hiring manager how you cope with stress. Are you one to hide your emotions, or are you able to deal with stress healthily?

      Written by Rachelle Enns on April 6th, 2021

      Entry Level

      "Here are some healthy ways to cope in times of distress:

      - Ask for help or support
      - Allow yourself to acknowledge the stress
      - Think of alternate ways to react
      - Stay grounded in breathing techniques"

      Written by Rachelle Enns on April 6th, 2021

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  • 30. Why do you want to be an air traffic controller?

      How to Answer

      The interviewer would like to know the driving force behind your choice to be an air traffic controller. Talk about your passion for the industry, assuring the interviewer that you have a real motivation to succeed in this industry.

      Written by Rachelle Enns on April 6th, 2021

      Entry Level

      "I discovered the traffic controller career while in the army, and it fascinated me from the start. I look forward to being fully trained and enjoying a lucrative career as an ATC."

      Written by Rachelle Enns on April 6th, 2021

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