Top 25 Air Traffic Controllers Interview Questions
1. Do you enjoy working in a challenging environment?
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Air Traffic Controllers
November 14th, 2014

Air traffic controllers are the people who operate the air traffic control systems to expedite and maintain a safe and orderly flow of air traffic. They apply separation rules to keep aircraft apart from each other in their area of responsibility and move all aircraft safely and efficiently through their assigned sector of airspace. Because controllers have an incredibly large responsibility while on duty, the ATC profession is regarded around the world as one of the most difficult jobs today, and can be notoriously stressful depending on many variables (equipment, configurations, weather, traffic volume, human factors, etc.). Having said this, many controllers would cite high salary, very good employee benefits, autonomy, and flexible hours as major advantages of their job.
wikipedia.org/wiki/Air_traffic_controller
Air Traffic Controllers Interview Questions
2 of 35
Can you provide an example of when you have worked effectively under pressure?
 
User Submitted Interview Answers
1.
Working as the G20 Coordinator I had many responsibilities, deadlines and targets. It was a fast paced high pressure environment.
 
2.
When there was turbulence and we had to use the safety equipment.
 
3.
During a pipeline construction project, I was asked to recalculate the location of the buried pipe while the crew was on their lunch break. The pressure of the multiple calculations to relocate the pipe, not only horizontally, but, vertically was intense. If I was too slow in my calculations, the crew would be sitting, costing thousands of dollars. If I was incorrect in my calculations, the job would have to be re-done, costing tens of thousands of dollars.
 
4.
We had delivery that was about to be missed within a matter of few hours. As the pressure was mounting high we stayed back till we finished the work and delivered it right on time.
 
5.
I was working for US client project which was sucesfully implemented.
 
Question
3 of 35
When have you demonstrated the ability at work to handle stress for long periods of time?
 
User Submitted Interview Answers
1.
I worked effectively when emergency position.
 
2.
In my life daily I handle the stress easily.
 
3.
Always. It's like you work you go home you have the work you were assigned that you have to do at your home and then there's work at home as well. Balancing both of them becomes a tough task.
 
4.
During my career in surveying, I have worked anywhere from 1 to 7 weeks straight, 12 hours a day, in order to bring a project to fruition; always under time constraints, and always safely.
 
5.
There was delivery deadline which was already got over, we were stuck with some No Show issue, to solve that issue we need to fix asap. At the same time I was also handling CSR activity of my company it was stressfull days for me in my life. But I delivered well both of assigned job.
 
Question
4 of 35
When have you instructed others before, and how well was your communication received?
 
User Submitted Interview Answers
1.
Many a times during matches, in exams, team games, team projects. The result was pretty good.
 
2.
My job as a gymnastics coach involves the teaching of gym to young children through my personal instructions. The children respond very well and progress quite quickly through our badge system which indicates the skill levels and abilities of our gymnasts.
 
3.
I was chosen to be a guide for our CSA program. I am more of an operational type so sometimes I can be a tad abrasive when it comes to people doing things properly. I have a respect for the equipment we are dealing with and what it is we actually are in charge of, which is moving people from a to b in a timely manner while following the laws of Transport Canada. However I have been incredibly lucky and I have heard nothing but positive feedback on the way I articulate my instructions. They are precise and to the point which helps people learn in an ever changing environment.
 
4.
Mostly in directions for roads and traffic jam and they have received very well.
 
5.
I have been the primary training instructor for 10 air traffic controllers, including 1 Korean national ATC, within CTO training programs with zero failures in testing, evaluations, or certifications.
 
Question
5 of 35
An air traffic controller is one of the most stressful jobs in the world, why do you believe you are capable of handling this job?
 
User Submitted Interview Answers
1.
I have big back I mean I love to carry heavy stress all the time.
 
2.
Having a job that requires your full and dedicated attention is way better than a job where you just need to sit for 8 hours.
 
3.
I have habbit to get busy in some task. Which give me satisfaction end of day.
 
4.
Because I've handled stress throughout my entire life; I respond well to pressure eg exam results, and consistently achieve high grades in my exams. I have currently been balancing two jobs and a f/t university degree.
 
5.
I believe I have been preparing for this job everyday for 8 years. By getting different glimpses of the airline industry and doing many different roles, I have seen a lot. I think that my attention to detail and my passion for the industry says a lot about the kind of controller I would be. I think I do a better job and think a little bit quicker when I am under stress and with proper training I think I would be more than capable.
 
Question
6 of 35
Give me an example of when you worked in a situation that required very great attention to detail.
 
User Submitted Interview Answers
1.
I use to be a teacher and I handle everytime the stress.
 
2.
It was data update in recently migrated project. Where due to some.
 
3.
In my job as a cashier at Primark, I maintain a great attention to detail in ensuring the accuracy of the assets of the cash desk. My hobby of art requires a great attention to detail, especially as I like to focus on portrait drawing where the finer details can help bring out the personality of the subject.
 
4.
There was what we call a through flight coming from Vancouver, landing in Edmonton and going on to Yellowknife. The aircraft stops and lets some people off and lets some people on. There are what we call through gsts. These gsts have a boarding pass that says YVR-YZF. These gsts have the option to stay onboard or to get off the a/c and board with their zone. When dealing with these flights, a person has to pay perfect attention to the computer when scanning boarding passes. When you scan a gst that has already been on board it will come up with an error and you will cross of their name on a piece of paper. The reason this is done is so that when we go to do our final count, if it is not, we go through the cabin to figure out which through gsts reboarded the a/c. This makes finding the missing gsts a lot easier than printing an entire manifest and going through the a/c person by person. On this particular YZF flight, we had 4 gsts get off and not reboard, and because we were paying close attention and communicating effectively, we found the gsts names quickly and were able to page them and have them on their way in no time.
 
5.
During a field rotation to Fort Polk, LA, I was selected by my command to serve as the ATC Safety manager for a 70+ simultaneous air assault mission during day and night operations. The makeshift facility I worked out of was not equipped with radar and NVG'S were the primary source for identifying aircraft flying blackout. I meticulously tracked aircraft location, flight time, personnel and equipment, and unconventional movement area occupation with a notepad, ensuring no damage, loss, or hazards over a 12 hour period.
 
Question
7 of 35
Do you have a character trait of being well-organized? Give me an example of this.
 
User Submitted Interview Answers
1.
Yes I am well organized I like to put every thing in plan.
 
2.
My definition of well organized is if another person has to for example go and sit at your desk for a week, could they find the things they needed to complete your job. Currently my desk has a file for everything specifically labelled. Everything on my desktop is within folders, again specifically labelled. I have lists of sites and codes in plain view so that I am never scrambling to look for one. On top of that my calendar is precise and detailed. Everything is colour coded and every appointment has an address attached.
 
3.
Absolutely! I am very well organised, I plan each day meticulously; I make to do lists for what I need to get done for the day. Because of the fact I enjoy leading a healthy lifestyle, I prepare multiple meals for every day. I like to make revision tables, cards and colour co-ordinate specific sections.
 
Question
8 of 35
Why did you choose to become an Air Traffic Controller?
 
User Submitted Interview Answers
1.
My goldfish was in my dream and it told me to.
 
2.
I chose to be an air traffic controller as would like to instruct the flights and make sure that am fully responsible for the passengers safety.
 
3.
I'm interested in being an ATC because it's such a drem.
 
4.
It's one of challenging and well paid govt job.
 
5.
I think it is very interesting job.
 
Question
9 of 35
What are the two of your proudest achievements?
 
User Submitted Interview Answers
1.
Become a US citizen and graduate college.
 
2.
Got top rank in 12 th. And b. Tech with honours.
 
3.
Attaining 300+ marks in both Year12 & Year13 External Examinations.
 
4.
For the passion and love I have for aviation.
 
5.
When I finish my bechelor and that I am alife.
 
Question
10 of 35
What qualities do you have that would make you a good ATC?
 
User Submitted Interview Answers
1.
I'm a tactical person who like to solve problems.
 
2.
I possess good mental ability, quick decision making power as well as intonation in voice.
 
3.
I enjoy solving probleme, I'm efficient and highly organized, I love to work in a team,I pay atention to all details and like to be sure that everything is just right.
 
4.
Full concentration and quick learner.
 
5.
Good English communication skills. Good Instructing skills. Systematic and punctual. Essential Aviation Knowledge. Remain calm when facing stress or difficulties (obtaining experience in attending hearings in courts)
 
Question
11 of 35
What was the most challenging problem you have faced in your career and how did you overcome it?
 
User Submitted Interview Answers
1.
The time when I was doing my final year project and there was a situation when regardless of all my efforts my presentation did not went well and my supervisor went exhausted by me. At that time I did not loose hope and did my best to make her happy and satisfied with my project and results, and evenutally I was awarded the gold medal.
 
2.
Have to work late nights shifts and going to school in the morning, I had to intellingently manage my time.
 
3.
Finding difficulties in paying school fees since I come from a single parent family therefore my mother, sister and I had to sell snacks & sweets to earn money and pay school fees.
 
4.
There is alot of tricky employees inside the only way I overcome is I was honest always.
 
5.
In my final year project the circuit failed 2 times,Thereafter I studied the whole tutorial of microcontroller through internet and interchanged the pin ports thus the circuit functioned well.
 
Question
12 of 35
How did you become interested in ATC?
 
User Submitted Interview Answers
1.
I was interested in being an ATC thanks to a friedn who wanted to be a pilot.
 
2.
I have dream about plans and thats zhy im nterested.
 
3.
After I cleared the written exam.
 
4.
Passion in aviation industry. Full of self-satisfaction and accomplishment after giving instructions to help other people achieve their goals (eg landing an aircraft)
 
5.
Visiting towers during flight training made it clear to me that ATC would be a challenging and interesting career.
 
Question
13 of 35
What was your greatest success?
 
User Submitted Interview Answers
1.
Scoring straight A's for one semester in college.
 
2.
I believe my greatest success would be coming away from my last job with the lessons and tools under my belt to succeed here. It prepped me an grew me into the young woman I am today and I am very grateful for that.
 
3.
Finishing 98th in a 100 man race.
 
4.
At the moment nothing as I'm creating a profession for myself.
 
5.
Whenever I fail, I consider it as to start from the begining in order to achieve my aspirations and goal..I find my habit of getting inspired from my failure is the great success to me and I wish that at any point I should not loose this quality of mine.
 
Question
14 of 35
Where do you see your career going in ATC?
 
User Submitted Interview Answers
1.
I see my career further more thsn being an ATC, I see myself as maybe a supervisor or airport manager.
 
2.
I am vigilant person who undergoes the circumstances.
 
3.
As the CMD of Airport Authority.
 
4.
Learning new systems, doing my part to keep the skies safe, advancing in grade.
 
5.
I am 25, but I plan on making this my final career. I see myself controlling for a very long time if I am successful. Maybe some day teaching a couple people the things I know !
 
Question
15 of 35
Tell me about a time when you were personally involved in a stressful situation and how you handled it.
 
User Submitted Interview Answers
1.
My biggest stressfull situatin is when I graduate becchelor I love to continue my education but I didnt find the chance it was stressfull situation and I take decision decision to look for a job.
 
2.
In a love lock up.I cleared out the thing by initiating myself thereafter I felt better.
 
3.
Waking up on monday and I went to the zoo.
 
4.
One day we had 4 flights cancel all at the same time due to mechanics. We have an agent that is meant to deal with these kinds of situations directly. Unfortunately they were not available at the time. I took the cancellations into my own hands. I delegated which agent would deal with which flight, I made announcements regarding the status of the flights, I coordinated with the office to make arrangements for hotels, and then I made a list of connections and which gsts flights were higher priority. We dealt with it calmly, as a team and in a timely manner. 95% of our gsts walked away from that scenario thankful. The rest were just gsts you wouldn't have pleased either way.
 
5.
Could not enter university. Stay calm and think positively to analyze the possible pathways. Hard-working in doing associate program and then entered HKU
 
Question
16 of 35
Tell me when you have worked in a setting that required very effective communication. How did you handle the situation?
 
User Submitted Interview Answers
1.
I used to be a teacher and as teacher everytime you need to be effective communicator.
 
2.
Everyday in the airline requires effective communication. Specifically would be when dealing with a gst that was intox. It was a flight later in the evening, the gate was at the far end of the airport. A gst boarded the a/c and started getting rowdy onboard. The flight attendant immediately asked me to remove the gst. I called the agent I was working with at the top of the gate so we could start pulling the gsts bag. I then called the communication centre so they knew the status of our flight and why we were not closing doors yet and then I called a manager. When I stepped ob to ask the gst to come to the top, the gst immediately started to become belligerent and starting cursing and flailing his arms around. After removing gsts from the immediate area, I let the flight attendant know that the RCMP needed to be called and that I would be stepping off the a/c for that. When I got onto the bridge, my manager was headed down. I briefed the manager. The manager stepped onboard to chat with the gst and hopefully cool things down while I made the call. The gst came off the a/c and was still very upset. When we got to the top of the bridge the RCMP were waiting. After having a discussion, the gst became more irritated and eventually ended up being arrested. But with proactive communication, I believe a more serious situation was avoided.
 
3.
As facility chief of yongsan vip ATCT, our mission was to ensure the safe arrival, transition, and departure for dignitaries visiting the capitol. These VIP's included the President of the US, the Secretary of Defense, and ROK officials. Two way communication was detrimental in ensuring DE confliction, traffic advisories, along with Capitol Defense Command permission for further operations.
 
Question
17 of 35
What is your greatest weakness?
 
User Submitted Interview Answers
1.
My greatest weakness is sometimes I do not believe in myself as much as I should or need to. I am all about being realistic and understanding that in life things don't work out. But sometimes I think a little bit more optimism paired with my work ethic would go a long way.
 
2.
A little bit shy when I was young. Through voluntary works in scout activities, and meeting with different clients in my current career, I have been continously improving.
 
3.
Although I dont think that this is my weakness but people say that it is. it is that I can not let things go unsolved untill and unless I put my every possible effort to solve it.
 
Question
18 of 35
What are your career goals as an Air Traffic Controller?
 
User Submitted Interview Answers
1.
My goal is to be air traffic controller.
 
2.
As I have read that ATC is one of the most challenging job in this world and it is also a job of pride, so I would like to start my career as an ATC.I
 
3.
Again, at this point I will be happy to excel in training and make it onto the floor. I don't think I will be thinking of anything else for a little bit. However in a couple years, I would be very interested in the training aspect of things.
 
4.
Grow in the company and share what I've learned and experienced as ATC controller.
 
Question
19 of 35
How do you handle stressful situations?
 
User Submitted Interview Answers
1.
By sorting everything out clearly.
 
2.
I always take a mental reset, which is literally a 2 second stop in my mind to assess the situation at hand. Again, I think very realistically, so I know that it is not the end of the world. I take the situation moment by moment, while always safely preforming the task at hand. If I need to ask for help, I am by no means above that.
 
3.
Stay calm which can allow me to think of possible solutions. If I am possible to change or control the outcome, I will try my best to cope with the problem. If that is out of my control, I will simply tell myself no need to worry, as I could not do anything on it.
 
4.
In stressful situations, I think of the best thing that can be done at that time which will commence the work and in turn relieve the tension.
 
Question
20 of 35
Why should we hire you?
 
User Submitted Interview Answers
1.
I am effective english commuuncator and love to take stresses.
 
2.
I am eligible and qualified.
 
3.
I think that I encompass what it means to be an ATC. I am dedicated to the safe movement of aircrafts. I have a passion for the industry and a thirst for knowledge. I am ready to be part of the team.
 
4.
I am very right candidate with the skills and knowledge essential to become an ATC
 
5.
After I read the aai website, I found myself suitable for this atc job requirements.
 
Question
21 of 35
Why do you want to be an ATC?
 
User Submitted Interview Answers
1.
Again, my passion for the industry. I do not see myself anywhere but aviation. I could not think of a better way to spend my life seeing as I am operationally minded and I enjoy the behind the scenes work.
 
2.
A royal and respected job with good skills requirement which will add to my personality.
 
3.
Is the most challenging job as before at school we where told that airport Marshall are ATC
 
4.
Because i'm awesome.
 
5.
I love aeroplan and aviation
 
Question
22 of 35
Do you have any coping mechanisms?
 
Question
23 of 35
Do you have any ATC experience outside of CTI school?
 
User Submitted Interview Answers
1.
No I don't have.
 
2.
no... I don't have...
 
Question
24 of 35
What negative thing would your last boss say about you?
 
User Submitted Interview Answers
1.
Nothing he was just begging me not to leave he said the company need people like you (me)
 
2.
I am very operational, but when it comes to the people side of things, I am almost too passionate. I have had to be reminded more than once that certain things were not my hill to die on. I love fighting for the people that work the front lines, even if it means getting me into trouble sometimes. I believe if there is a problem, you bring a solution and together it can be fixed.
 
Question
25 of 35
Why do you want to be an air traffic controller?
 
User Submitted Interview Answers
1.
Because I want to use my skills and knowledge through out with the organization and improve myself working within.
 
2.
I want to make a fulfilling career for myself in aviation.
 
3.
I feel that I have all the qualities that an atc should possess and hence I am interested.
 
4.
Is a good place where to work at.
 
5.
Whats with the qeustions.
 
Question
26 of 35
What is your greatest strength?
 
User Submitted Interview Answers
1.
My greatest strength would probably be my stubbornness. I am not willing to fail. If I want it, I will do anything to get it. Blood, sweat, tears.
 
2.
Good at learning and working hard.
 
3.
Analytical to all problems.
 
Question
27 of 35
What do you like least about being an Air Traffic Controller?
 
User Submitted Interview Answers
1.
Working location is a bit remote, but it is not a big problem.
 
2.
I feel finding fault is a weakness.. And I avoid it. since this is my dream job, so I have not yet been able to finding anything of least interest.
 
3.
Being able to control the airspace and the airport when it comes to landing.
 
Question
28 of 35
What do you like most about being an Air Traffic Controller?
 
User Submitted Interview Answers
1.
I think I would enjoy the fact that it is meaningful. Meaningful in a way that only certain people can appreciate. As someone from an airline, I appreciate that I was safely moved across the skies by capable individuals behind the scenes. I think also I enjoy that it is every changing and evolving and I am excited to be a part of the future of ATC.
 
2.
Aviation related job. Chance to learn different aspects of skills and knowledge. Continous learning and improvment. (push back to approach)
 
Question
29 of 35
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
 
User Submitted Interview Answers
1.
I see myself controlling and maybe taking a course to teach others about whatever speciality I might be in!
 
2.
Fully qualified air traffic controller.
 
3.
At the highest possible designation with all the skills aquired.
 
4.
Being the greatest in what I do as an ATC controller.
 
Question
30 of 35
Have you had to deal with an emergency situation in the tower before? How did you handle the situation?
 
User Submitted Interview Answers
1.
Have not found. But if in case it comes I believe that with patience, calmness and right decision can pacify the situation.
 
Question
31 of 35
Do you enjoy shift work? Are there certain hours of the day during which you would prefer not to work?
 
User Submitted Interview Answers
1.
I prefer shift work. I have never HAD to work midnights before. Although it may be a challenge at first, I am certain it will be normal to me in no time.
 
2.
Yes, I don't like having holidays with lots of people in the street.
 
3.
I can work in shifts but do not prefer night shift.
 
4.
I Enjoy shift work as I said earlier I was working for an airline.
 
Question
32 of 35
Have you witnessed an emergency situation before?
 
User Submitted Interview Answers
1.
As a flight attendant. A gst passed out in the front galley and did not come to. I was the lead and I had to delegate and follow procedure. I didn't skip a beat and the team came together. With fa1 ensuring the rest of our gsts were taken care of and not panicked, fa2 had the chance to call our medical service using our sat phone, all while I kept lines of communication open and called the flight deck. After ensuring everyone was on the same page, I made an announcement assuring everyone everything was being taken care of, and called for a nurse or doctor. A nurse made herself know and came to the front to assist. While she was being looked over (and coming to) I filled out the paperwork as per the nurse and the doctor on the line and it was suggested we divert even though the young woman was awake. I immediately called the captain and he set forth the plans to divert. The gst was escorted back to her seat where the nurse sat with her for the duration until landing where the a/c was met by EMS and the rest of the gsts were taken care of and comfortable.
 
2.
Not really. Emergency landing, Airspeed Best Field Communication.
 
Question
33 of 35
Do you manage your time well?
 
User Submitted Interview Answers
1.
Very well. I have two jobs, I train in boxing almost full time, I have a hectic social life and I manage to find an almost perfect balance. In a day to day world, I prioritize my duties and I give myself deadlines, even for the things that have no end date. I hold myself accountable.
 
2.
Yes. I prepare diary and arrange the order according to the importance.
 
Question
34 of 35
This is your first job as an ATC. How do you think you'll succeed?
 
User Submitted Interview Answers
1.
Hard work and perseverance. An unwillingness to fail. The ability to ask questions and take hard criticism and really learn from it. The passion for aviation is.
 
2.
I will succeed with my strong determination .
 
3.
Make my airspace be a save place.
 
4.
I will succeed coz am a fast and willing learner am passionate and fascinated by atc that will be a key drive for me to succeed in atc i love team work and I will work hand in hand with the experienced atcas and take responsible roles that will challenge me and gain experience from them hence grow fast and improve my self as a controller.
 
Question
35 of 35
Have you been involved in an emergency setting before? Did you remain calm, and think clearly?
 
User Submitted Interview Answers
1.
Yes. I remained calm, followed procedure, delegated properly and made sure communication lines were kept open and clear. Not once did we have to stop and think. It was emergency mode and thats what we were trained to handle.
 
Contributing Author
Rachelle Enns
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