Depending on the competency profile and the job profile that we receive from the flight school or airline (or have developed together with them), the following elements may be part of the psychological examination and/or the assessment programme:

  • interview
  • capacities examination
  • personality test
  • sensorimotor test battery 
  • one or more practical simulations
  • interests examination
  • debriefing and evaluation



Through a biographical and competency-based interview, our psychologists get an impression of the candidate’s suitability for flight school and work at a commercial airline. Throughout the interview, special attention is paid to personal development, education, work experience and motivation.

With regard to the applicant’s motivation, the interviewer explores the reasons why the candidate wants to become a pilot and their reasons for choosing the current flight school or airline. During the interview, the IAP psychologist pays particular attention to personal presentation, communication skills, willingness to cooperate, ambition, determination and stability.



The examination of intellectual capacities is made up of a number of timed test assignments. We use a multiple choice format, to ensure the appropriate level of clarity and objectivity of the questions. In each sub-test, the complexity and level of difficulty is gradually increased.

It is important for candidates to try to provide as many correct answers as possible within the time available. The combination of an increasing level of difficulty and the time limitation enables us to measure differences in candidates’ performances. 

The score that a candidate obtains on each sub-test is compared with the scores of a relevant reference group. This comparison shows whether a candidate’s intellectual profile is sufficiently consistent with the intellectual demands made of a student in flight school or an airline employee.

Examples of intellectual capacities are: 

  • technical insight
  • verbal reasoning ability
  • numerical insight
  • speed and accuracy
  • spatial insight
  • abstract thinking 



Candidates are requested to complete a number of questionnaires related to personality attributes. Unlike the intelligence tests, there are no right or wrong answers in the personality questionnaires.

Answers reveal what personality traits of candidates could potentially influence their performance. For example, the questionnaire might show a person to be pragmatic and independent or sensitive and team-oriented. 

Based on an analysis of the answers to the personality questionnaires, IAP psychologists can draw up an individual and unique personality profile for each candidate.



The sensorimotor test battery is part of an automated testing system. Using a specially created dynamic, aviation-tailored environment (with acoustic and visual signals), sensorimotor skills are tested that are important for the job of pilot. 

Examples of such skills are:

  • eye-hand-foot coordination
  • short-term memory
  • multiple tasking

The sensorimotor test battery takes about an hour and a half.



Practical simulations reveal how a person interprets and carries out activities that play an important role in the position under consideration. Some cases pertain to the candidate’s own individual performance, while others pertain to interaction within a team.

During these simulations, our psychologists systematically observe the candidates’ behaviour. Afterwards, they translate their impressions into objective scores on aspects relevant to the airline or flight school vacancy for which the candidate has applied.

Examples of behavioural characteristics that can be evaluated using practical simulations are management skills, willingness to cooperate, persuasive power and customer orientation.

Some illustrations of practical simulations are:


Group assignments

1. A problem situation is presented that has to be solved together with other candidates.  Candidates are each assigned their own role and their own priorities.

2. The whole team is confronted with a difficult situation. Each team member has the same needs and the same priorities.


Individual assignments

1. To test strategic insight, a candidate is asked to design and present a plan of action.

2. To test operational management skills, the candidate is put in the role of manager and asked to conduct a performance evaluation meeting with an employee.


The IAP testing tools are valid and reliable. This means that they have been developed to bring out only the relevant behaviour and that consistent results have been achieved with them – measured over the long term. Broadly speaking, the examination results are valid for a period of two years.

Institute for aviation psychology

Laan van Nieuw Oost-Indie 25  
2593 BJ Den Haag

T  +31 (0)70 362 44 00


Herfst & Partners

Het Institute for Aviation Psychology is onderdeel van Herfst & Partners