To ensure that pilots possess the necessary level of competence for effective teamwork during line operation, some airlines have introduced special test methods into their selection procedures that allow measuring different subcomponents of Social Competence before a pilot applicant is being employed. Costs and benefits of these measures vary to some degree. For a German airline, we have conducted a validation study (N=292 ab-initio pilots) with several of these measures, including the Interpersonal Competence Questionnaire (Buhrmester, Furman, Wittenberg & Reis, 1988), the Social Skills Inventory (Riggio, 1989), the Temperament Structure Scales (Maschke, 1987), and Assessment Center methods (Hoeft & Pecena, 2004). Different sub-facets of Social Competence are described, which exhibit sufficient reliability and generality to be considered as predictors for pilot selection. The findings of this study reveal significant correlations between some personality scales and aspects of Social Competence. However, correlations with concrete behavior ratings in simulated social situations are low. On the other side, Assessment Center ratings based on behavior observations correlate substantially with the overall success of a candidate throughout the selection procedure. Questionnaire data contribute little extra variance to this equation. Results are discussed with reference to aspects of social desirability as well as costs and benefits of the different approaches to measure Social Competence in pilot selection.
& Hoeft, S.
(2007). Measurement of Social Competence in Pilot Selection. 2007 International Symposium on Aviation Psychology, 263-267.