How to Select Aircraft Maintenance Technicians

Looking for a new job or a change in career direction? Are you in need of hiring the right people for your organization? Where to begin? To learn more on the latest hiring practices, trends, and what skills potential employers are seeking in today’s aircraft maintenance technician, AMT spoke with Bryan Maloney with Jet Professionals.

AMT: Hello Bryan. First tell me about Jet Professionals.

JP: Jet Professionals, a wholly owned subsidiary of Jet Aviation, a General Dynamics company, was founded in 1983 in the U.S. and is a respected industry leader in global business aviation staffing services. In 2008 the company expanded its services and created Jet Professionals Technical. We also expanded services to Europe, the Middle East, and Africa (EMEA), the Asia markets, and opened an office in Basel, Switzerland.

AMT: Which segments of aviation does your company primarily work with?

JP: Our business model was built on the premise that we would focus on corporate aircraft Part 91 flight departments, and related service centers, MROs, and OEMs.

AMT: Do you work for or represent the employer or the perspective employee?

JP: We do both. We offer an assessment that measures behavior and motivation in a real environment. Both the employer and candidate participate in this assessment. This measure is proven and has been extremely successful in JP placing qualified individuals.

AMT: When a corporate flight department approaches your company looking to hire technicians, how do you begin your selection?

JP: The hiring manager completes an assessment. The assessment provides objective information about the behavioral demands of the job. JP has candidates take a similar assessment to find particular attributes that would be a match to the hiring manager’s assessment. We begin sourcing for a particular position using our database along with aviation web sites and network within the aviation community. When necessary, JP often posts to NBAA and various search engines. After identifying potential candidates, we try, when we can, to meet candidates face to face, and complete a portfolio including the interview summary, resume, and assessment.

If possible, we may visit the client to share the top candidates with them. Once the client has a chance to review the portfolios, usually phone interviews occur. The next step is to bring candidates to the client for a face-to-face interview and JP assists with setting up interviews. Once a hiring decision is made, JP does the background checks, which include criminal, employment, education, credit, driving record, and references, and a start date is determined.

AMT: Is the process similar when sourcing technicians for say an OEM or an MRO?

JP: It depends on the requirements set forth by the client. A majority of the OEMs and some MROs turn to us to provide them with temporary contract employees, or temp-to-perm. This makes great sense especially in today’s economy and allows the technician to see if this environment is right for him or her and it allows the client to basically try before you buy. It also allows the client to keep their overhead contained, and adding temporary labor allows the client to fluctuate his work flow based on the current demand.

AMT: Does your company also source and place aircraft maintenance supervisors and managers?

JP: Yes, Jet Professionals has been very successful at sourcing and placing aircraft management into organizations on all levels whether it be a confidential search or something we could post on our web site.

AMT: What about technicians with specialized skills, NDT, inspection, QA, composites, avionics?

JP: Jet Professionals prides itself on being able to successfully source and staff on all levels and disciplines within our industry.

AMT: And the requirement to hold an Inspection Authorization?

JP: Some of our clients have asked us for A&Ps who have their I/A.

AMT: Within the corporate aircraft segment which areas do you currently see hiring more technicians; corporate flight departments, service centers and MROs, or OEMs?

JP: We have recently seen an uptick in all areas with the exception of corporate flight departments.

AMT: There are many industry organizations today offering advanced or third-party credentials for education and learning relating to aircraft maintenance. How often do you find potential employers requesting candidates that have these types of advanced accreditations?

JP: Typically Fortune 500 companies will task us with finding individuals who have gone that extra step and are involved with aviation beyond their normal work scope.

AMT: How often do you find a four-year college degree being required?

JP: Most Fortune 500 companies prefer their candidates/new-hires to have a four-year degree. These companies are looking for individuals who want to grow and advance themselves throughout their career.

AMT: What do most companies want these days relating to soft-skills, like use of computers, personal interaction with others, etc?

JP: This is typically client specific; however, computer skills are high on the list as well as people skills. An individual needs to be able to communicate on all levels and with all types from line personnel to the CEO of a Fortune 500 company.

AMT: Does your company find it difficult to source the right candidate?

JP: Occasionally it can be challenging and we are always up to a challenge.

AMT: Is it your experience there are many times more possible candidates out there than there are vacant positions?

JP: Yes, and that is why one needs to broaden and sharpen their skill set.

AMT: Does the aircraft maintenance technician have the ability to negotiate terms such as salary, benefits, vacation time, or do you see potential employers holding tough on these things?

JP: It is client specific and we have negotiated salary, signing bonuses, and vacation on the candidate’s behalf. Most clients are receptive to negotiation.

AMT: What are some of the biggest challenges with finding and selecting candidates?

JP: Relocation seems to be one of the biggest challenges. If you want to stay in this industry you need to be flexible and open to moving. A lot of times that may be the only way to advance your career.

AMT: What are some of the highest requirements you have seen made by potential employers; experience, certifications and ratings, education, location?

JP: Employers are looking for the best of the best and it is our responsibility to find them.

AMT: What advice can you provide to technicians seeking a different position within a corporate flight department or corporate aircraft service center?

JP: Most corporate flight departments or corporate aircraft service centers will require an individual to have specific make and model experience. If an individual has an opportunity, attending FlightSafety or CAE to receive initial or recurrent maintenance training can do nothing but enhance ones portfolio.

AMT: What recommendations can you provide to technicians seeking a different position within aircraft maintenance in today’s economy?

JP: A&Ps need to have an electrical/avionics background. Avionics techs need to get their A&Ps. We are seeing more and more opportunities that are requiring this attribute. Almost all overseas opportunities are looking for these qualities.

AMT: What advice do you have for technicians interviewing for a different job? How should you prepare?

JP: The best advice is to do your homework. Learn as much about your future employer as possible. Understand their structure, key personnel, and their breadth of services, where they have been and where they are going. Also be open to relocation if they have multiple locations.

 

Bryan Maloney has more than 25 years in the aviation industry of which 12 have been in staffing. Bryan has been with Jet Professionals for more than six years and is operations manager of Jet Professionals Technical division which focuses on placing maintenance technicians. His office is located at Dallas Love Field and his email address is bryan_maloney@jet-professionals.com. More can be found at www.jet-professionals.com.

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