I’ve written a bit about my experiences with the airline industry, and today I thought I’d see if I can give some tips for those who are like myself. By that I mean people wanting to start a career as a flight attendant. As such, here are my tips on preparing for a flight attendant interview.
Firstly, for those applying in the great white north: Many if not most airlines in Canada vous obligent à parler français! Or they want you to have a second language of some kind. In fact, that was my handicap as my French is extremely limited. It’s also something I’ve made a point of improving on.
But let’s put the language requirements aside! Here is what I suggest you do in preparation for your flight attendant interview:
Part 1: Research, Research, and Research some more!
In today’s internet-accessible world it is incredibly easy to research the company you are applying for. As a minimum, you should take a look at the company’s website. Pay particularly close attention to the information on the about us page, where they fly to and from (find out where their bases are if you can), and get an idea of how conservative they are. Some airlines like to be extremely professional while others are more fun. During the interview process, they’ll be assessing if your demeanor fits in with the company’s atmosphere. They’ll also want to know what you know about the company.
Part 2: Practice
I googled “flight attendant interviews” before my interview and I’m very glad I did. I found all sorts of questions that I can expect to be asked. Everything from “What do you know about our company” and “Tell us about a time when you felt frustrated” to “You’ve been serving alcohol to a passenger who has become very intoxicated. He’s become a nuisance to the other passengers and is requesting another beverage. What do you do?” There are a variety of these questions out there and it’s a good idea to become familiar with them all. I was asked two situational questions in my interview and lucky for me I had already researched those questions and had a well thought out answer for them. Write out as many interview questions as you can find and practice them with friends and family. Not only does it prepare you with well thought out answers, and it also makes the actual interview much less nerve-wracking. You’ll feel like you have a lot more control of the situation.
In order to help you, I compiled a list of the most recurrent questions asked in a flight attendant interview and the best way to answer the ‘Why do you want to be flight attendant?‘ question.
Part 3: Dress to Impress
Although some airlines these days have more casual uniforms, I insist you dress in business attire for the interview. The only exception is if the airline you are applying to advertises otherwise. I was shocked when I went to my interview and saw some applicants wearing jeans! JEANS! That day the airline was doing a 3 part interview process, no one wearing jeans made it past the first interview.
Part 4: What to expect
Flight attendant interviews can be very different from traditional job interviews. Often they closer resemble auditions. Whether or not the interview you go to is an open interview or an “invitations only” interview, you’ll likely show up to a large group of applicants and find yourself waiting in a room with them all. Depending on the airline they’ll take you in smaller groups where you’ll work on group activities like problem-solving. At this stage, the HR personnel is assessing how well you work with others if you are a group leader, and any other apparent qualities you might have. Make sure you contribute to the group, voice you’re opinion and encourage others. If they like you they’ll allow you to move on to a traditional interview.
For the traditional interview, they’ll take one or two applicants at a time. It’s important to make eye contact, smile, be friendly, and use names if you can. Be yourself. The airline wants to see the real you! It’s at this stage that all the research you did will pay off.
I’ve read that sometimes airlines will put fake applicants into the hiring pool to see how you behave when you think you’re not being watched. For this reason, I recommend you be friendly and talkative to those around you while you are waiting for an interview. If you get up for a snack or glass of water, ask if anyone else would like anything. Don’t complain if they make you wait around for a couple of hours, they are likely testing your patience as waiting around is a huge part of being a flight attendant. And finally, if you’re a smoker: Do your best not to take a smoke break while you’re waiting. My interview session from start to finish took 5 hours, and I’ve read they can last longer than 8+ hours. If you need to leave for a cigarette 4 hours into the session, then how will they be able to expect you to last 10 hours in a long haul flight?
Do your research! Know as much as you can about the company. – During my interview, I mentioned that the airline made a top 100 list recently. They were very impressed because most people they interviewed never mentioned that.
Know the interview process! Search the internet for flight attendant interviews and practice the questions that come up.
Dress Right! Business attire is a MUST! – added note, try wearing an outfit that somewhat resembles the colors on the airline’s uniform. It’ll supposedly help the airline see you as an employee.
Be Friendly, Be Yourself!
And one more tip: When they ask you why you want to become a flight attendant, DO NOT tell them that you love people and travel. That is such a standard answer that it’s nauseating! You can work on that part indirectly, but come up with a more original and honest reason why you want to take this career path. There are certainly lots of options to choose from.
Questions? Did I miss something? Let me know!