The assessment day is the most difficult part of the whole recruitment process for anyone dreaming of becoming a member of cabin crew. There is no shortage of competition, and you’ll likely get put on the spot throughout the day, whether it’s during your interview, or in a team building setting.
Though this process will be challenging, if the end result is that you get to do the job of your dreams, then it’s totally worth putting in the extra effort beforehand to prepare.
Why do airlines host assessment days?
Airlines use assessment days in their cabin crew recruitment process because it allows them to quickly filter a large group of candidates. Cabin crew jobs get a lot of applicants (sometimes thousands) who come across with similar qualities on paper.
Only a small percentage make it through to the assessment day. Meeting in person then helps recruiters to identify who would be the right fit in person. The exercises recruiters use at assessment days allow them to hone in on the necessary skills for the job too.
What does the assessment day consist of?
The assessment day for a cabin crew job consists of a number of different elements where you will be expected to showcase a number of skills related to your ability, psychology, values and motives. British Airways for example, sets the following agenda for their day:
- Height and reach test
- Tattoo or piercing checks (to see if these will be on show whilst wearing your uniform)
- A presentation will then be held about the company and the job expected of BA staff
- Group and role play tasks (to identify how well you work as part of a team)
- Elimination stages – those heading up the day will thank you all for coming, then read out a list of those who would be moving on to the interview stages
- The interview stage
Other tasks that have been known to crop up for other airline assessment days involve:
- Presentation exercises – testing confidence and communication skills
- Psychometric testing – testing desired qualities of an airline
- Verbal and numerical testing – some might include English language tests too
What are recruiters looking for?
You’ve probably already heard that recruiters will be judging you for the entire day. Apart from the obvious tasks they have you complete, find other ways to impress them when the spotlight isn’t supposed to be on you. For example:
- Maintain a good posture
- Don’t cross your arms
- Avoid crossing your legs
- Make eye contact to those you speak with
Sample interview questions and answers
As you can see, it’s a full on day, so you have to be prepared for anything they are likely to throw at you. The portion of the day we think is most essential to prepare for is the interview stage – today, we’ll be focusing on the interview questions you could be asked during your assessment – and we have a few examples that will help too.
What do you think are your best qualities?
This question is designed to challenge core competencies required for the role. Take some time to think about what your best traits are and why they are applicable to the job. How will they be useful as a member of cabin crew? For example:
- If you have a friendly demeanour, passengers will feel welcomed and well looked after by you on a flight.
- Outgoing personality? Your desire to assist people during the flight will go a long way.
- Strong leadership and listening skills? You’ll be able to work well with others in a more senior role.
- Excellent overall communication skills? When faced with difficulties on a flight where communication will be key to resolve any issues, this will be essential to the job.
What would you do if someone who was afraid of flying started panicking?
Here, recruiters are finding out how you can manage a stressful situation with an anxious flyer. It is key that you have an excellent understanding of how to manage this situation – a panicking flyer can make a flight uneasy for a number of passengers, not just themselves, so you have to have the compassionate customer service skills to resolve it. So how can you do this? Empathise with the passenger, and find more positive ways to make them feel less nervous. You’ll also need to mention how you would address other passengers who are concerned about the situation too.
Example: “First, I would ask the passenger if they are okay, and if there was anything I could do for them to help put them at ease. I would reassure them that anxiety while flying is very common and give them some tips for staying calm. I would also make them aware that I would be coming back to check that they were okay throughout the flight so they are aware they have a helping hand throughout what could be a rather traumatic time for them.”
What skills do you think a member of cabin crew should have?
This question is testing your ability to identify and understand what the ideal character is for this job. Prepare this answer, because there will be a number of traits you should touch on, including:
- A calm demeanour
- The ability to multitask
- Excellent knowledge of the role
- The ability to think on the spot
- Friendly and approachable
- Excellent people skills
Can you think of a time where you had to change someone’s mind?
This question requires a detailed example regarding your communication skills, namely, persuasion – it’s also a way of presenting strong problem-solving and decision-making skills too. A good interviewer will be looking to identify when you influenced someone, the circumstances of the situation and what you specifically did, and the eventual outcome. For example, if you previously worked in a health and beauty shop e.g. Boots, bring an example from work in to the mix like the following:
“At my company, we had been continuing to work with a specific vendor for a number of years, simply due to inertia. It was easiest to simply renew the vendor’s contract rather than consider alternatives. While my manager initially objected to alternatives, I explained that it would take time to evaluate top vendors and present the alternatives, and that it would still be her final decision on who to work with over the long term. We considered a total of five vendors, including the one we dealt with now. The end result was the selection of a newer, cheaper vendor with better features for our department at a cost savings of £20,000 per year…”
What are your customer service strengths?
Cabin crew members spend a lot of time interacting with passengers, checking they have everything they need. Travelling is stressful, so good customer service skills are essential for helping them to relax and feel more positive about the whole experience. For this question, you could say something along the lines of:
“I have a knack for creating a positive atmosphere around me! I always look to uplift anyone I speak with, whether it’s a passenger or a co-worker. If I had a passenger who wasn’t having an enjoyable experience, I would try to improve their satisfaction by talking with them, checking if we as an airline have met their needs e.g. would they like a blanket, neck rest etc. and offering up my help wherever possible. I would listen to them and try to meet their needs.”
How would you handle an unexpected situation? Can you give us an example?
For this question, recruiters are trying to identify if you can adapt to changes in your schedule, as typically cabin crew lower in seniority may typically end up in many locations that the airline flies. Look to build on flexibility here, whether it’s flight schedule changes, overnight hotel bookings or work availability. You can also touch on adaptability, for example if you’re handling basic tasks in foreign countries like ordering food or booking a hotel room.
Provide us with an example of a time where you’ve dealt with an unhappy passenger – how did you resolve the issue?
Here, the interviewer is looking to find out how you resolved a difficult situation in the past. During a flight where you’ll be 38,000 feet in the air, you could have a very unhappy passenger that needs to be calmed down, so you have to show you have the skills to manage this type of situation. Show the interviewer that you have both the people and problem-solving skills needed to ease the passenger’s concerns. Good points to make for this include:
- Not being judgmental towards their character
- Carefully considering the situation to figure out what the problem was
- Showing that you wanted to help
- Seeing things from a passenger’s perspective
Example: “At my last job, a customer came in absolutely furious, yelling at our staff. I knew it was out of frustration, so I didn’t take it personally and I made sure they knew their concerns were being heard. I listened carefully and apologised for the issue they were having. She was complaining about an item she wanted to return, however she didn’t have her receipt. I explained that I wasn’t able to give her a cash refund without the receipt, but that I could allow her to have the same amount in store credit. It ended up being a win-win situation for everyone, and she walked away happier than when she came in.”
This type of answer shows that you possess the necessary skills to assess and fix a negative situation.
Do you prefer to work as a team or independently?
If you succeed in your interview, you’ll be a part of a large cabin crew, so you’ll need to have the ability to work as part of a team. By showing that you enjoy working in a team, but also feel comfortable working on a single task alone, you show that you can adapt to both situations appropriately. A good way to represent this at interview stage is to give an example of a time where you demonstrated a project or task where each member of your team had an individual task to complete, that would contribute to an overall team goal. Just be sure to acknowledge both independent and team work so you can acknowledge the importance of each approach.
Example: “While working in customer service, we ran a campaign on a particular product during Christmas, which required us to hit a certain cash target for the month. In addition to this, we knew how busy we would be due to the busy period, where we would be required to have a lot more face to face time with customers. Before the store opened in the morning, we would all sit down as a team and acknowledge what everyone would be working on individually throughout the day to encourage these sales, and at the end of the day we would identify where we were up to, to see if as a team we were meeting expectations. Each of us knew what we had to do individually to achieve what was expected of us as a team.”
What would you do in an emergency situation in the air?
As a member of cabin crew, you have a very important role to play in managing flight emergencies. Here, you will need to provide answers that show your ability to keep calm in a challenging situation, and display leadership skills.
Example: “I would aim to keep calm and collect my thoughts quickly to choose what my next steps should be – which would include getting my own oxygen mask on first before assisting others. I would then look to reassure passengers and ensure they have taken the right steps to prepare. I understand that although this would be a very stressful time for passengers, I would need to convey my authority and direct them toward the necessary safety procedures. After this, I would locate the nearest exit doors and start planning a few steps ahead to try and keep everyone calm.”
Why do you want to become a member of cabin crew?
This is a very important question that you must think carefully about in advance. Employers want to see your genuine passion for the job and what it entails – they want to know that you have applied for this job for the right reasons, and that you are the right fit. So be honest here, and tell them why you think it’s the job for you.
Example: “I have always had a passion for customer service, because I feel that I thrive in this type of setting. While I loved working in my previous role, becoming a member of cabin crew would allow me to pair the excitement I have for helping others with another desire, which is to travel the world. I remember reading about a girl who had said it had been her passion to become a member of cabin crew, and that it took her years to pluck up the courage to apply – and she never looked back. I already knew I didn’t want to wait though, and that blog in particular made me realise that time is precious, so you should do what you love. This wouldn’t just be a job for me, it would be a dream come true.”
This answer encompasses a passion for the job (which is also a demand in the individual due to the lack of time spent at home), mentioning someone who inspired you to pursue it, and showing your desire to help others. So all that’s left now is preparation, preparation and preparation! Best of luck to you all!