So, you want be a flight attendant, huh? Despite the many challenges (long hours, unruly passengers, pay cuts, mergers, bankruptcies) facing flight attendants today, it’s still a good job that many have turned into a satisfying and rewarding career.
Whether you’ve always dreamed of being a flight attendant, or are thinking of changing careers and shaking things up a bit, here are some valuable tips to helping you secure a position.
#1. Be Prepared – do your homework. Learn as much as you can about the airline you’ll be interviewing with: its routes, its aircraft, its financial situation, current news, and its people. Another part of being prepared is knowing the location of the interview in advance. If you’re driving to your interview, check traffic. If you’re flying to your interview, check for weather and ATC delays. Arrive early!
#2. Look The Part – each airline is different. And with this difference comes a unique and diverse culture. Many overlook the importance and the influence of culture, and how aligning yourself with the culture of the airline increases your chances of being hired. Know that an interview for Southwest will be different than one for say, American. We recall interviewing for Song Airlines, Delta’s low-fare subsidiary, which had a unique and distinct culture. Song was about self expression. And the concept of self expression was the voice of Song; interwoven throughout every aspect of the airline. The atmosphere was a mix of excitement and energy. For the interview one of the potential candidates wore a suit and power tie (think Gordon Gekko from the film Wall Street). Although he was professionally dressed, he didn’t look the part of someone who was energetic, friendly, and personable. This guy looked like a bean counter and carried himself as such the whole interview. Needless to say, he didn’t get the culture of Song, and he didn’t get an offer. Know the culture. Because culture really does matter.
#3. Don’t Be A Wallflower – most interviews for flight attendant consists of a group meeting, followed by an exchange of information, followed by individual introductions in front of the group, and if you’re fortunate, a one-on-one interview. Know that when you arrive you’re being observed and assessed. It’s very important that you mingle, be approachable, enthusiastic, confident, give eye contact (with both eyes…think Mike Meyers’ character from the film View From the Top), SMILE, and most importantly be genuine. Many, if not most of the recruiters are flight attendants, so they know what to look for. Always remember: first impressions are lasting ones. Make it count.
#4. Be Yourself – because you’re being observed, and possibly interviewed by flight attendants, it’s very important that you be yourself. Flight attendants tend to be sensitive to the ways of others; a trait that is needed and sought after. Possessing this skill will serve you well in your career as a flight attendant. Those interviewing you can tell if you’re being phonier than Milli Vanilli. They’ve seen and heard it all.
#5. Have Scenarios Queued and Ready – if you’re not familiar with the STAR method of interviewing now’s the time to find out. This type of interviewing requires you to answer a series of questions based on experiences you’ve had. When answering these types of questions be specific when you answer. Refrain from answering questions in general terms. Remember: be genuine in your responses.
#6. Persevere – if this is a career you really want, don’t give up. You must keep calm and carry on. Many of our friends, including both of us, weren’t hired the first time we interviewed to be flight attendants. Not giving up, but using each interview as a learning opportunity served us well. Keep in mind that you must put your best foot forward. Do the best that you can. Learn something new each step of the way. Don’t take rejection personally.
Even though there have been many cutbacks in service, airlines will continue to hire on a regular basis. Check each airlines’ career page on a consistent basis for openings. Once you have applied, completed your online assessment, and received an interview, be sure to go over the tips outlined above for the added comfort of knowing what to expect as you pursue your dream job.
airlineguys™ are Sylvester Pittman and Darin Topham. Aviation enthusiasts. 30+ (and counting) combined years of airline operation/leadership/PR experience. Former cabin crew. Discerners of great customer service.