In this article we will decode what is a cabin crew assessment day.
Is it different from a regular interview?
Is it harder? Easier?
Do you have to prepare differently?
Is it more efficient than a classic interview?
Do more or less people get hired after the assessment?
I had many consultations this week with amazing people that dream to be flight attendants. While their experience, age and nationality differed, there was one thing in common: they are all passionate about this job and they all wanted to know what to do to increase their chances of success. I was planning to write an article about some of the activities on the cabin crew assessment day, but I realized that so many of you are just starting on this road, so we need to analyze the egg before we talk about the hen. The dictionary says that ‘an assessment is an evaluation, an appraisal or a rating. It means to examine and judge carefully the value and worth of something.’ The professionals explain to us:
‘Recruitment assessment days offers several advantages over conventional one-to-one interviewing, which because of the limitations of one-to-one interviews, many interviewers find a very unsatisfactory method in recruitment and selection. Group Selection enables a number of people from the organization to observe a number of job candidates, as they go through a series of specially designed activities. Group Selection also offers the recruiting organization an excellent opportunity to present the company and the job in a very professional way, thus appealing to and attracting the best candidates. Also, the unsuccessful candidates leave the process with a very positive impression of the organization and the experience as a whole. Group Selection also enables the the best people to show themselves to be the best, often working on real job-related scenarios, which removes much of the guesswork about people’s true abilities. One-to-one interviews tend to favor the ‘professional interviewee’ types, who present very well, but who might then fail to deliver – ‘all mouth and trousers’ as the expression has it.’
During the cabin crew assessment, the focus will be on a set of varied exercises designed to simulate different aspects of the work environment. These exercise establish how closely your behaviors match the cabin crew role. Selecting people based on their ability to do the task required has long been established in the selection of military and intelligence personnel. There are several examples of this throughout history, but it was between the world wars that the German Army developed the forerunner of the modern assessment process. The officers were rated on how well they performed and chosen for promotion accordingly.
Dr. WJ Morgan says in his book Spies and Saboteurs: ‘That it is how you performed your tasks, whether as an individual or within a group, that matters not how quickly an exercise was done.’
It is important to be aware that each exercise has been designed to assess your behaviors in performing a task. No matter how trivial or petty an exercise may appear to you remember that the original psychologist designed it to assess how well you display the required behaviors for the role. During our assessment, the skills required for the flight attendant job will be evaluated by assessors using various exercises.
Some definitions first:
Assessment Day (Also known as Assessment Centre) – Is a process employing multiple techniques and multiple assessors to produce judgements regarding the extent to which a participant displays selected competencies.
Assessor – An individual trained to observe, record, classify and make reliable judgement about the behaviors of those being assessed.
Exercise (Also knows as Task) – A simulation or technique designed to elicit behaviors related to performance requirements of the job.
Source: Lewis Rowe, Tina; A Preparation Guide for the Assessment centre Method; (2006) Charles C. Thomas Publishers Ltd, Illinois, USA.
The definitions are those of Tina Lewis Rowe a well-known authority on the assessment centre method and are taken from her book: A Preparation Guide for the Assessment Centre Method. For reasons of clarity and simplicity the definition of KSA’s used has been slightly modified from that used by Tina Lewis Rowe. http://www.psychometric-success.com
The cabin crew assessment day is structured as follows:
1. INTRODUCTION and Q&A
The day starts with all the candidates getting a name tag and a number and given the ‘house rules’. The company presentation comes next. The assessors will give some information about:
- when and how the company was founded,
- what is the airline’s promise to their customers,
- company slogan,
- working environment,
- numbers (fleet size, number of destinations, number of employees, number of passengers carried every year, revenue),
- association with other companies (sponsorships, etc) and
- testimonials of some of the existing cabin crew, talking about working for the airline and living in the base country.
After the presentation you will have the time to ask questions.
Prepare in advance one or two relevant questions that might benefit the entire group.
2. REACH TEST
As per the airline requirements, you will need to have an arm-reach of 212cm (some airlines 210cm). The assessors will test that you can reach the 212cm mark.
You will be split in groups, and each group will be given a task (exercise). Most of the time, the subject is not airline related. In order to complete the task, everybody from the group needs to understand what they have to do and help each other. The members of the group need to have discussions of how are the going to achieve the task. Everybody should participate. The cabin crew job requires you to be enthusiastic, involved, a good listener, friendly and calm under pressure. These skills will be shown during the group exercise. Teamwork means working confidently within a group, contributing your own ideas effectively, taking a share of the responsibility, being assertive – rather than passive or aggressive, accept and learn from criticism and giving positive, constructive feedback to others. Ask yourself what normally is your role in group. When you are among your friends, are you the leader that takes charge and wants to answer all the questions? Or maybe you are the one who always suggests new ideas on how to approach a situation. Or you are the critic who only sees the negative aspects of your group performance? Analyze yourself and ask others how do they perceive you.
The airlines need to recruit people who are able to co-operate, solve problems and work in teams.
4. ENGLISH TEST
You will be given 30 minutes for the English test. It is all in writing and it can include a short essay on a given topic such as: ‘Which is the most exciting place you ever visited and why’ ‘Why do you want to be a flight attendant’ ‘Why do you want to work for Example Airline’ There are also tests that include a short newspaper article followed by questions based on the article. Sometimes simple grammar is also included. Keep in mind that your English proficiency is tested during the entire day, from the Q&A, to the group exercise and final interview.
5. PSYCHOMETRIC TEST
You will be asked to do a psychometric test online or on paper right before your final interview. These tests have become a standard tool in interviewing. Aptitude and ability tests are designed to assess your logical reasoning or thinking performance. They consist of multiple choice questions and the typical test gives you a 30 minutes time-frame. There are many tests on the market and they include different types of questions. The most common questions for cabin crew assessment day are: Verbal Ability – Includes spelling, grammar, ability to understand analogies and follow detailed written instructions. These questions establish how well you can communicate. Numeric Ability – Includes basic arithmetic, number sequences and simple mathematics. These questions establish your ability to use numbers (part of the job when you have to sell duty free products or count make the consumption bars inventory. Abstract Reasoning – Measures your ability to identify the underlying logic of a pattern and then determine the solution. These questions are standard in most aptitude tests as they establish your ability to learn new things.
6. 1-on-1 INTERVIEW (THE FINAL INTERVIEW)
Once you’ve made it past the initial interview, the company has made an evaluation that you are qualified for the job. The purpose of a final interview is to determine whether you would be a good fit for the company. The cabin crew final interview usually lasts 30 to 60 minutes, and you will be asked questions based on your resume, experience, education and performance during the day. Typically, the interview starts with a question to break the ice such as: ‘What did you have for breakfast?’ ‘How did you arrive here today?’ Once the conversation starts, you should expect the following questions to come up:
- What major challenges and problems did you face in your job? How did you handle them?
- What did you like or dislike about your previous job?What was the biggest accomplishment / failure in this position?
- What was it like working for your supervisor?
- Who was your best boss and who was the worst?
- Why are you leaving your job?
- What is your greatest weakness?
- What is your greatest strength?
- How would you describe yourself?
- How do you handle stress and pressure?
- Tell me about a time when you had to deal with a co-worker who wasn’t doing his/her fair share of the work. What did you do and what was the outcome?
- Tell me about a time that you helped someone.
- Are you a team player or a team leader?
- What motivates you?
- When was the last time you were angry? What happened?
- Why do you want to be a flight attendant?
- Why should we hire you?
- What can you contribute to this company?
- How long do you expect to remain employed with this company?
Review these question and consider an appropriate response based on your skills and experience. There are no exact answers that will fit everybody that goes for the final interview, but bear in mind that for the cabin crew position there are a set of skills that are expected from you: great communication skills, working in a team, keeping calm during stressful situations, assertiveness and cultural awareness. Consider them when preparing your answers.
You don’t need to memorize an answer, but do think about what you’re going to say, so you’re not put on the spot during the interview.
Now that you know what to expect during the cabin crew assessment day, start practicing your answers and your reactions. Go there confident and prepared and you will definitely be successful! In the coming weeks we will focus in more detail on each part of the interview, so make sure that you check Flight Attendant Central.
See you up there!