I remember when I attended my cabin crew assessment day, my mind was spinning with questions about the group exercise:
"What task will I have?"
"Who are my teammates going to be? Will they know we must work together, or will they go for the 'look after yourself' approach?"
"Will we make the task a success or a complete failure?"
"What are the assessors looking for, and how can they figure it out if I have what it takes to be a flight attendant when they only asked us to put some lego blocks together?"
The big question is why the group exercise is part of the assessment day.
The recruitment team will establish through the group exercise that you have the skills to perform well in the cabin crew job.
The job requires you to work in a group, deal with various scenarios (there are no two flights the same), and be pressured by time, climate, or other stress factors. You are expected to communicate openly with people of diverse backgrounds and positions, listen to instructions or complaints, and make quick decisions.
The assessors need to see that you can do all of this.
You will face a complex task in a group of 8-12 people. All the applicants will display their personalities: some are very loud and dominating, while others are shy and reserved. The group dynamic will reveal each candidate's personality and behavior, which is how the assessors can predict how each candidate will likely behave in their future work environment. Also, they can estimate how you are likely to react in specific situations.
You will be assessed on the following competencies:
- Growth mindset
- Positive thinking
- Active listening
- Motivation and enthusiasm
- Cultural awareness
What makes a good team that will be efficient?
- Everyone understands the task and helps each other.
- There is a balance between "what do we need to do" vs. "how do we achieve this."
- Group members listen to each other, and everyone's idea is heard.
- There is a supportive atmosphere where group members feel comfortable saying what they think.
- The group has a range of individuals that contribute differently and complement each other: leaders, planners, creators, etc.
What makes the team ineffective?
- People talk more than they listen, so not all group members can contribute.
- Roles are not delegated to members of the team.
- Arguments between group members.
- Lack of trust and helpfulness.
- One or two members dominate the entire group and make all the decisions.
Here are some tips that will make the group exercise a success for you:
Tip #1 – Use the names of your colleagues
Everybody wears a name tag. Use it when you address somebody. This will show you are courteous, have good manners, and pay attention to details.
Tip #2 – Take initiative
Volunteer to read the task, write the notes, or keep time. However, if you take responsibility for a part of the exercise, ensure it is completed. If you are responsible for maintaining the time, do not be afraid to alert your team members that you only have 5 minutes left. It will work against you if the team fails due to the area you've taken responsibility for.
Tip # 3 – Be active in the group
Speak up and be a noticeable part of the exercise. Try to be the person who contributes, not only react to what others are discussing or asking. At the same time, listen to others and not be the only one who talks or expresses ideas.
Tip #4 – Have a watch and use it
Time is the most significant constraint in a group exercise. If you are the designated timekeeper, be aware of the time constraint for completing the task.
Tip#5 – Quality vs. quantity
Do not talk just for the sake of talking. Try to move your group forward with your contributions. The main point of the assessment is not to get the correct answer but to how you interact with others to get to that answer.
Tip #6 – Be yourself
You are not being assessed on what you know but on how you think. Don't try to put on a mask and pretend to be someone else. The day is long, and you will get tired of pretending. Your true self will eventually come out.
Tip#7 – Have fun
Keep the atmosphere light and breezy, and do not make a big deal if an idea your group discussed for 5 minutes turns unproductive. Smile often and have a blast!
Here are some examples of group exercises:
You are 12 people on a sinking ship. There is an escape boat; however, only eight people fit. Your group has to discuss who will be saved. You have 15 minutes to come up with a unanimous decision.
Your ship makes an emergency landing on the moon. You have the following equipment with you:
Choose three priority items that you would take with you from the ship. When your group has reached a consensus, write them on the whiteboard. You have 15 minutes to complete the task.
You have the following group of cabin crew:
Yusuki – 22 – Japan – smoker
Maria – 24 – US – smoker
Anna – 29 – Kenya – non-smoker
Iman – 27 – Morocco – non-smoker
Sofia – 25 – Egypt – smoker
Yen – 22 – China – non-smoker
Your group is the airline's accommodation department that decides which cabin crew gets paired up in 2-bedroom apartments. You will present your decision and explain your criteria for selection in 15 minutes.
You are working in the London-Dubai sector, and you have the following complaints about the aircraft:
1A – Mr. Smith – a frequent traveler, complains that he did not get a seat with legroom
10 C – Mrs. Jones traveling with a child and an infant, did not receive a toy for her child
12H – Mr. Roger's TV doesn't work
14K – Mr. Ford did not get his diabetic meal.
What are your priorities in solving these complaints, and what solutions would you offer?
The group has 20 minutes to decide.
These are just a few examples of tasks you will be required to fulfill during your cabin crew assessment day.
Now that you know what to expect from your group exercise, ask yourself the following questions:
"What is my role in a group?"
"Am I a player or an observer?"
"Am I a dominant personality?"
"Should I contribute more?"
"Should I take a more active role?"
"Should I encourage others to contribute?"
To get the four types of group exercises – role-play customer service scenarios, one-word cards, team building, and prioritization exercises, plus the solutions and language to use, get How to Become a Flight Attendant eBook
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