My Flight Attendant Interview : An Experience (Almost) Obtaining My Dream Job

I said in “Where is Your Next Adventure?” that I had an opportunity to interview for a job that would give me the chance to travel the world. This Friday I interviewed for a flight attendant position at a major airline. Well, I will start this out by saying that I sadly did not get the job. However, it was an amazing experience that I learned a lot from. My interview also changed what I want from a career and helped me orient my goals for the future.

I am going to refrain from giving the name of the company. If you really must know, it is not that hard to figure it out with a little bit of research. To the best of my knowledge, most flight attendant interviews are pretty similar and I hope my experience can give some tips to others who are considering applying.

My advice to anyone who has ever thought of applying for a job with an airline? Just do it. Worst comes to worst, they fly you down to a new city for a day and you get to see how people in the industry interview. Best case scenario, you will get probably the best job in the entire world.

My experience in applying was almost on a whim- I was looking for other jobs on Craigslist and came across a posting for the position. I had envied flight attendants before and thought about the job, but I am neither skinny nor tall. I looked into the job some more and realized the guidelines for applying were much less strict than I previously thought. Most importantly, the job and benefits were incredible. An opportunity to meet people from all over the world and a free flight anywhere I want? Where can I sign up? I started my application and paused it for a while to see a friend. Coincidentally, we also ran into her friend who was a flight attendant., who happened to be the first flight attendant I have ever personally known He told me his experiences with the job and I was sold. The next day I sent my application and hoped for the best.

To my surprise and excitement, I heard back from the airline. I was invited to a video “interview.” Now, with this particular airline (and I have heard it is similar with most) I had to answer several questions into a webcam. I was basically speaking to myself and recording the answers. It is as nerve-wracking and uncomfortable as it sounds- especially to someone who is not so good with interviews in the first place.

I was completely surprised when I received the phone call. The airline wanted to fly me down to Charlotte, NC for the interview! I was ecstatic. Two weeks later, I read everything I thought I needed to know about the interview, put on a freshly-ironed suit and boarded my flight to Charlotte at 5:15 in the morning.

As soon as I got in line for the flight, it was clear for me to see who I was interviewing with. We all were without luggage and dressed neatly in suits. I actually initially believed some of the ladies on the flight with me were already flight attendants! They were so neatly put together, and I began to take my own outfit in account. This may sound like common sense to people, but I made some mistakes with my clothes and I saw others did too. Wear pantyhose under your pants!! This was a rule in the dress code for the interview that I completely forgot. If I ever get the chance to interview with them again, it is definitely the first thing I will change. I also suggest wearing a button-down shirt under your suit. I wore a black and grey sweater and I feel like I did not pull of the flight attendant “look” like the other applicants. Live and learn, I suppose.

When we arrived in Charlotte, we found our way to the shuttle. We were given nametags which I took a picture of and will treasure forever to prove how cool I was once and were told to sit in the cafeteria to wait for our interview time. The cafeteria time was also a test of the interview, from what I understand. Recruiters hung out in the back and watched to see who mingled with the other applicants.

We were then given a presentation about a career with the airlines and recruiters answered any questions we had. Our first part of the interview was a jumpseat and reach test. We were required to strap ourselves into a jumpseat, to make sure we could fit the seat measurements. We were then required to show that we could reach luggage from an overhead bin. I had to take off my heels for it. My shoes were helping to give me a little bit of height, but  all in all, I was tall enough and passed. but not before awkwardly sitting on the wrong seat to do the jumpseat test, but that’s another story.

Next we were required to give one-minute presentations on what makes a good flight attendant. I went with safety, a love for learning and a love for people. I elaborated a bit, thanked the airline for the opportunity and wished the other candidates luck. I was super nervous though and I think it definitely showed in my presentation. I forgot to smile and look excited about the job. I definitely will work on my presentation more, if given another opportunity. Other mistakes candidates made were elaborating on their prior careers. The airline did not care what you did in the past, as that was what got you into the interview in the first place. The interview is about selling yourself to the company with your enthusiasm. One guy actually called the company the wrong airline and he did not receive a job offer. I cringed so bad at that one and I was actually afraid I would do that during the interview too.

Next was a group project where we were stranded in the wilderness and had to put objects together in the level of their importance. I think the recruiters made their decisions by this point and were just looking for common sense and to see how well people could work with others. They’re not looking for a leader, from what I understand.  They are looking for someone with positive input that can really impact the group experience.

Finally, we had lunch and the judges deliberated. They came back and thanked us for our time. They said we would know within a week. As almost an afterthought, the recruiters said they would be keeping several candidates because they had questions on their paperwork. Although they didn’t say it, these candidates were actually those selected for a one-on-one interview and everyone else would not be selected for the job. Sure enough, I got my rejection letter yesterday.

It was a long day, but it was fascinating to see the process. In another six months, I will apply again. Training is six weeks and unpaid, so in some ways I would really like to be more financially stable before starting the job. I actually applied for a customer service position with the airline, so we will see what my future in the industry holds.

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