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Background checks for new employment

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#1 MokiDugway



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Posted 08 March 2018 - 23:27

So I have a friend who was involved in an incident. No injuries, no other a/c involved. It was a hard landing with collapsed gear. The question is: can an employer find incident reports on a prospective employee? She's concerned she won't be able to get a job after this incident being how competitive the helicopter business is. If she chooses not to disclose this information during an interview, can they still find out?
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#2 avbug


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Posted 08 March 2018 - 23:55

Like most questions, there isn't a single answer.  Yes, and no.  As with all, the specifics matter.  


If insurance was involved, then a pilot known to insurance adjustors will become known to new employers who seek to ensure that pilot.  Is he or she a risk?  Why?


Aircraft incidents which are NTSB-reportable and which are classified as accidents or incidents also are a matter of record.  


Events which occur while working for charter operators become discoverable to future employers under the Prior Records Improvement Act, FAA records check, etc.  


It's a small world, especially in aviation.  People know people.  People talk.  Secrets often don't stay secret for long.


I flew for a company that did single engine air tanker work (SEATs).  We were approached by a copilot on a large air tanker company; this man wanted to work for us.  He didn't have any working tailwheel time, and was told to be insurable, he'd need to get some.  He went to a nearby glider operator and sought a job using one of their tow aircraft.  On his initial flight as a prospective employee, he lost control and destroyed the aircraft.  When he came to us again, it took very little checking to find that he'd just destroyed a man's livelihood and business.  When we confronted him about it, he said he thought the crash shouldn't count because he "wasn't drawing a paycheck yet."  Both the crash, and the fact that he hid it, ruined his chances of employment.  


Failing to be honest and disclose information is not only dishonest (by omission), but risky.  Whether one tells a lie by providing false information, or misrepresents him or herself by failing to provide enough information or accurate details, it's still a lie.  Most employers take a very dim view when lied to or when an employee misrepresents their past.  If one has been involved in an accident or incident, one had best come clean.


The incident is not a career ender.  There are a number of reasons that a hard landing may have occurred, from poor handling to changing winds to a CG shift to gusts, mechanical issues, etc.  More important is what was learned from the event.  The prospective employer thinks centrally: is this applicant going to hurt my aircraft or my business?  Do I want to take the chance?  Did that applicant learn, improve, grow, and will they bring that to the table, or do I need to worry?  Have your friend put herself in the employer's shoes and then do and become what's necessary to fulfill those needs.


Don't hide the past.  It will come out.

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#3 helonorth


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Posted 09 March 2018 - 14:19

Then avbug went on to fly multi engine air tankers (MEATS). Sorry, but for some reason that amused me as avi always likes to throw in a little inside jargon to try to add legitimacy to his long winded responses. And I like to give him a hard time about it. He did leave out the 747 for once, though. Gotta give him that. He's trying.


(I reread your post and am editing in this paragraph. By "not to disclose" are you saying omitting it on an application or flat out denying ever having an accident? If so, her career will be over before it starts if she's considering going that route. If not, read on.) 


Anyway, I wouldn't volunteer it, but there is a very good chance they will straight up ask. Usually on the application. As I'm sure your friend will not lie about it, it will be out there and no, it won't help. What will help is how she responds to it. Did she own up to it or blame everybody and everything? Did she learn anything?  


I'm guessing it was a botched auto and I. for one, am grateful I made it through instructing without bending anything with all the autos I did. This may be a mitigating factor as far as a CP is concerned as he/she probably feels the same way as myself. At least if they were ever an instructor. The training environment is rife with accidents. 


She will get a job after this. I may be a little tougher but she will get past this. Seen it many times. Her attitude and response to it will decide how quickly she puts this in the rear view.

Edited by helonorth, 09 March 2018 - 15:14.

#4 Flyinrock


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Posted 09 March 2018 - 14:43

If you bend a machine and have an insurance claim , there is NO way it won't come out. Lie on an employment application and it will be nearly automatic grounds for dismissal and the word WILL (read the small print on the application?) get out. Be honest and if asked, do the best you can to describe how/what happened. I'd hire a pilot who was forthright and learned from the incident/accident as long as the rest of it was OK. But, lie to me and you won't stand a chance.

The large print giveth, and the small print taketh away ....

#5 Azhigher


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Posted 09 March 2018 - 17:49

Sounds like something that would be included in a PRIA report? Not 100% sure about that though. 

#6 helonorth


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Posted 09 March 2018 - 20:36

I think PRIA only covers 135 and 121.

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