–And Flight Nurse and EMS Pilot Interviews
1 Flight Medic job.
–Real world numbers. Staggering odds.
The International Association of Flight and Critical Care Paramedics (IAFCCP) estimates for each flight paramedic opening, approximately 250 applications are received. The result is a fiercely competitive job market.
Similar competition exists for flight nurse and EMS pilot jobs.
So how do you compete with 250 other applicants? How do you stand out in an enormous crowd of highly qualified nurses, paramedics, and Emergency Medical Services (EMS) pilots?
What is the tipping point that gets you a job offer?
The Secret to Flight Interviews
Most prospective flight nurses, flight paramedics, and EMS pilots believe flight interview success is qualification based. They believe another instructor qualification, or trauma case, or instrument flight hour will tip the odds in their favor. Wannabes think qualifications are keys to success.
The “more qualifications the better” thought process makes perfect sense if you remember what most prospective flight nurses, flight paramedics, and EMS pilots have been doing for the last four to seven years of their lives.
Most applicants spent a ton of time, effort and money getting qualified. So it’s natural for these candidates to believe qualifications are what matter the most.
I understand the thought process, and I respect anyone who puts in the sweat effort required to earn an air medical flying job. But I don’t support the idea that qualifications are what matter in a flight interview, simply because it’s wrong.
Thinking flight interview success is based on your qualifications is completely wrong. And I’ll prove it to you in a minute, but first the secret to flight interview success:
The secret to flight interview success is you. Your uniqueness is what gets you hired.
When Your Qualifications Matter, When They Don’t
The moment your flight interview begins, your qualifications no longer matter. That probably stings a bit, but it’s true. I’ll prove it to you:
No health system or helicopter company wastes time interviewing anyone who isn’t already qualified to do the job. They don’t need to practice interviews, they have it down pat. They already know the exact qualifications that led to past new hires’ success. They simply look for the same qualifications in their next batch of new hires.
The good news is that if you got called for a flight interview, you’re qualified to fly. A short training course and company indoctrination is all that stands between you and getting off the ground (literally).
Or is it?
The flip side is competition. Everyone who interviews with you is also already qualified to fly. This is the reason your qualifications no longer matter to an interviewer.
Now it’s all about you. Your uniqueness in the interview is what gets you a job offer.
How To Stand Out in a Crowd
If you got called for flight interview, I guarantee there’s something unique in your background to showcase.
Your uniqueness is what matters in a flight interview.
The key is to find it, highlight it, and make it unforgettable.
Your unforgettable uniqueness, and how you showcase it during your flight interview, is what gets you a job offer.
Your unforgettable uniqueness gets you top of mind and gets you the job.
What if I’m Just ‘Plain Jane?’
I hear “there’s nothing unique about me” from an amazing amount of incredibly qualified candidates. Sometimes their humility is their uniqueness. Another testament to the great group of people who comprise air medical.
The point is not to worry.
Once you understand the flight interview format and process; and how to use both to your advantage, finding your uniqueness is pretty simple –even for people who call themselves “plain jane.”
Here is a quick example:
A recent coaching student struggled to find her uniqueness. She did everything right in the traditional sense – BLS instructor, ACLS, PALS, street medic time, ER tech time, studying for her FP-C (Flight Paramedic Certification) exam, blah, blah blah. But she didn’t feel there was anything unique in her background to showcase in a flight interview.
So we setup a coaching session and did what we call a flight audit, basically a review of her resume, background and qualifications. Long story shortened, her uniqueness came out in conversation. She casually mentioned her volunteer work teaching CPR to her church group. She also mentioned having to attend a banquet where she received a national award for her volunteer work.
When I asked her why I didn’t see any of this mentioned on her resume or cover letter, she said she thought it unimportant. After all, it was “just CPR training,” not a critical trauma case.
When to Get Started
Working EMS you’ve probably heard the popular quote,
“Poor planning on your part does not constitute and emergency on my part.”
The lesson is to start planning as soon as possible. Waiting until the last minute rarely gets the results you want.
Realize getting hired into an air medical flight crew position is a process. The more you understand the process and use it to your advantage, the better your chances of a job offer.
246 applicants, 14 interviews, 1 flight job. But your chances go way up when you know what to expect and how to prepare for success.
Clear Skies & Tailwinds