In my experience, blogs and forums are extremely useful tools when it comes to preparing for an airline interview. I thought I would carry on as many other fellow bloggers have to share my experience with you all. It might inspire you, help you or even just inform you of just how intense the process can be (who knows maybe the next time you fly you will say please and thank you to your cabin crew), but clearly I am a bit biased!
So the first step for applying to most airlines (or at least the ones that I did) is to go to their website and set up an online account/profile. After that, you can access a calendar that features a whole lot of Open Days around the world. It is really quite amazing the large number of them that are held every month, anywhere you could think of! I digress, back to the facts:
An Open Day: is the day where you go to a hotel or conference centre and receive information in various forms about the Airline, and hand in a CV to the recruitment officers.
An Assessment Day: is often the following or same day that the favourable candidates are chosen to participate in a range of group interview activities.
In my situation, there was no open day being held in Western Australia in the near future. I was very determined to attend and so I organised to go the Open Day in another Australian city. Anyone can attend an Open Day, but I also received a formal invitation from the airline as well, after I expressed my interest. To make matters more convenient, we stayed at the hotel in which the AD was being held. This actually worked to my advantage because between activities and during breaks I could go freshen up and wasn’t too wound up (a very big deal, for anyone that knows me!).
How did the day pan out?
After barely sleeping because I was so excited to be in the correct state for the correct OD, I had a light breakfast (not a regular occurrence for me, but I was too nervous to eat, and I needed to have energy) and got dressed. My outfit was a knee-length formal black dress with a black and white peplum, a black blazer and skin coloured stocking with a nude high heeled court shoe. Pretty much every source I researched said to wear a knee length skirt and a white shirt or blouse. I feel more comfortable and like myself in a dress, so that is what I decided to wear.
Out of about 85 girls there was only me and 3 other girls who wore dresses…in the end we stood out! My hair was up in a French Twist (the unofficial flight attendant hairstyle) and my makeup was moderate WITHOUT RED LIPSTICK. I also read that it is good to wear the trademark “red lippy” but because I am blonde I sometimes feel uncomfortable if the shade of red is not blue based. I couldn’t find one I liked! So to play it safe, I wore a dark pink lipstick that looked natural and complimented my professional looking makeup. Perhaps once you have the job it is a different story, but I have conceded that my parents are in fact right: Less IS actually more, the more comfortable you are the better your performance will be on the day! Plus they want to see your lovely face, including freckles, if you have them like I do! 🙂
After waiting in the lobby for a while, I went downstairs to meet the other people going for the interview…there must’ve been about 90 people! I didn’t really know what to expect, but found out that some other Assessment Days can attract up to 400 people in the bigger cities! It was mostly girls, but I clicked with some of the guys, and we became friends and sat together at the front of the conference room. We watched the video, and then were called up one by one to hand in our resumes and answer a question about tattoos. It was very simple and this made us so nervous!! Luckily, my new friend Josh and I went to get lunch while we could spare the time.
We then came back for Round 1 of the Group Interviews! We were split into groups of about 20 and asked to form pairs or groups of three. We all sat in a circle and had to pretend the recruiters weren’t there while they circled us and took notes. Each pair was given a postcard with a destination that Emirates flies to, and then had to talk about the different features of that place. Lots of our group were getting bizarre destinations that I didn’t know much about, like Buenos Aires. Fingers crossed that I got somewhere good and we did! PARIS! Only one of my favourite places to visit so far! I said Bonjour and started to talk about macarons from Laudree and the Grand Palais where the Chanel fashion shows are held. I think the key is to be confident and personable, and interact with your group more than the recruiters. While this is going on there is a 212cm reach test. I am quite petite but I had been measuring and stretching for weeks at the gym (Thanks to my boyfriend and resident gym junkie, James) so I passed easily!
After that we were told to go out then come back in. Each person’s reference number (mine was #3) was called out and we were given a piece of paper that we were told to open outside. Josh opened his and it said “Congratulations!” I was too scared to open mine, and when I did I was pleasantly surprised…I had gotten though to Round Two!
The second and final group activity was very intense. We were placed in small groups of 8 and asked to sit in a circle and solve a problem as a hotel manager. You only had 2 rooms, but 8 guests and as a group had to figure out who stayed and who goes. Again, I think it was more of a team building/problem solving exercise rather then ethics, but our group chose to accommodate a local government official and the family of a terminally ill child. Heavy stuff!
I survived by attempting to contribute but not over power the others. All day I wore a watch and I offered to keep time so we wouldn’t go over. Best idea! As if that wasn’t daunting enough, the RO then pretended to be the disgruntled customer and we had to improvise and deal with them. My turn came around and I had to face a Miley Cyrus-esque party girl who was not happy. I tried to remain calm and assertive, and wasn’t really all that fazed when the dialogue got heated. My current job can be quite stressful when I follow procedures that staff don’t agree with, so I felt well prepared.
After this phase I felt sick, like physically Ill. Everyone else seemed so bossy and straightforward, whereas I felt as though I was being more stubborn and stoic. By the time I was handed the second piece of paper my hands were shaking! Josh and I were both through! After much debating in the lobby, we agreed that as it was about 5:30pm there surely couldn’t be more group activities.
And I was right! The chairs had been cleared, we walked into a room and there was a single table with 10 “golden” letters saying that we had made it to the final interview! Lots of paperwork and an hour later, we were free! The recruitment officers had kindly offered to hold some interviews the following day so that I could fly home afterwards. This was the first of many signs that guided me to realise that this airline is a great company that really values all employees, prospective or not!
To the Final Interview (FI) I wore a cream dress with flesh coloured stockings and a black patent belt and small heels. My hair was in a French Twist again with a hint of Chanel’s Pygmalion Rouge Coco Shine (great for blondes) to tie in the signature red look. Thanks mum! I wore my watch again and the interview literally flew past! The questions were based on the Behavioural Event Interview questions that I learnt about in one of my HR electives. There is lots of useful info on Google, but here is where I obtained my research.
I drafted some practice answers (because I am a huge nerd) and so I felt as though I was prepared and ready for anything! Also there were some questions about the Psychometric testing that I completed the previous night. It was very easy and basic and all based on personal views and beliefs, no right or wrong answers!
This is the most helpful blog that I found, with regular updates and awesome pictures:
Important Documents to Bring:
- 3 x Photocopy of Passport
- 3 x Photocopies of Drivers Licence
- 1 x Passport Size Photo
- 2 x “Casual” photo
- 2 x Formal photo
- Photocopies of First Aid Certificate, RSA and Uni/ High School Transcripts
PREPARATION IS THE KEY!
After the interview I felt happy and content, and began to get used to the idea that I would not find out the outcome of my FI for 6 longs weeks….
Hope this post didn’t bore you too much, and if you are going to apply, GOOD LUCK!
I’ll post more about “After the Final Interview” and the joining process soon!
Thanks for reading! x
p.s This is my breakfast that I made/ate whilst typing. At least we know I won’t starve to death in Dubai 😉