Airbus Interview Questions and Application Process
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Airbus is a leading and innovative engineering company, that works in aeronautics, space and defence-related services, as well as developing cutting-edge design. It is perhaps best known as a world-class aircraft manufacturer. Innovation is particularly important to Airbus; it spends over €3 billion per year on research and development.
Airbus has over 138,000 employees, based at over 180 sites in 36 countries. It cultivates a reputation as a great place to work and regularly wins awards for this. Airbus has a set of guiding principles or commitments, to help everyone understand what represents ideal behaviours in the organisation. These are:
- Commitment to our people
- Commitment to our company
- Commitment to building trust
- Commitment to conducting ethical business
- Commitment to corporate citizenship
- Commitment to be responsive
Airbus offers a range of graduate schemes across its three divisions; this includes the Airbus UK graduate programme.
The Airbus UK scheme offers opportunities in:
- Human Resources
These are two-year programmes (three for finance), primarily based in the UK but with the opportunity for specialist training/placements internationally. This is quite an unusual scheme, in that graduates apply for particular roles via their international job search tool, rather than a scheme in general. This enables recruiters at Airbus to clearly define the skills and experience required for each role.
In general, Airbus says that it looks for high-achieving, motivated graduates who are fluent in English. You should also check the individual job opportunities for specific academic and skill requirements.
There are three stages to the Airbus application process.
Once candidates have found a role that they are interested in applying for, they need to create a candidate profile. This needs to include a copy of your CV and covering letter. For guidelines on each, see these articles on how to write a CV and how to write a cover letter.
You will also need to provide some personal data. It's important to tailor this to the particular role you are applying for. A generic CV will get you nowhere.
The final stage of the assessment process is the assessment centre. Previous candidates report that this is challenging and emphasise that it’s really worth spending time preparing properly, and revising your technical knowledge about the area you’re applying for. Remember, this is an organisation based on outstanding technical knowledge and innovation; you need to know your stuff.
The assessment centre typically includes:
Group exercise. Previous candidates have reported that the group exercise was a construction task to be undertaken as a team. The assessors are interested not only in the behaviours candidates exhibit but also the thought processes used and may follow the exercise with a debrief or questions and answers session. Previous candidates were asked questions like "How did you attempt to overcome the problem?”
Technical interview and a competency-based interview. This two-hour interview is described by many previous candidates as very challenging. The interview is split into two sections:
The exact content will depend upon the role you are applying for, but it might, for example, assess your manufacturing knowledge and how well you know the organisation. Previous candidates have reported that they were asked questions on topics that they knew nothing about, because the assessors wanted to understand their thought processes and how they approached producing a coherent answer to an unfamiliar topic. Questions that have previously been asked include:
- What would you have to take into account for interference when designing a satellite, and how would you fix some of these problems?
- Why do you want to work for Airbus?
- What do you know about Airbus?
- What recent news have you heard about Airbus?
This is a standard competency-based interview, though you should expect the assessor to probe for further details and ask follow-up questions. Previous candidates were asked questions including:
- Where do you see yourself in 5 years’ time?
- Have you ever worked with a cost/time constraint?
- Give an example when you worked in a team
- When have you had a disagreement in a team?
- Tell us about a situation where you showed courage
- Identify a time that you had to solve an issue in your workplace that was unusual or difficult
- Describe a time that you missed a deadline
In this challenging exercise, candidates are provided with lots of information and given 10 minutes to prepare a presentation including recommendations. Previous candidates have reported having to analyse numerical data in order to derive figures to find a solution. This is usually followed by the assessor asking further questions to understand how the candidate arrived at that answer.