The First Five Minutes
Many people do not realize it, but the first five minutes of any interview are the most critical and flight attendant job interviews are no different. When you walk into the room and meet your flight attendant recruiter(s) for the first time, they will be observing many things about you before you even say your first word. Although your interview may last for thirty minutes or more, they will have made their decision about you in the first five minutes. The reason for this is because of something we like to call “packaging.”
Packaging is basically the art or presentation: How you dress, your body language, your grooming, introduction and attitude. You should also understand that everyone related to the interview process will be evaluating your packaging. That includes the secretary that checks you in, other people in the room and even the flight attendants and pilots on the flight you travel on to get to the interview. You have no idea as to how many people could be reporting back to the recruiters on their impression of you, so it’s always a good idea to be on your best behavior.
Attire and Grooming
There are some basic guidelines for both men and women on how you should dress at a flight attendant interview. Both men and women should attempt to find an outfit that will allow the recruiters to visualize what the applicant would look like in a flight attendant uniform. Since most airline uniforms are black or navy blue, you should stick with those colors.
Women may wear either a black or navy business suit or pants suit with a white shirt and coordinated accessories. The look you are seeking is conservative. That means no bangle bracelets, huge earrings or flashy jewelry. Your earrings should be stud type and shoes should be conservative pump-type. If you have any exposed body piercings (other than earrings), they should be hidden. Nails should be freshly manicured and hair should be short or worn up. A leather type briefcase finishes off the desired look.
Men should dress in a similar fashion in a black or navy blue suit with a coordinated conservative tie and white shirt. Again, you should hide any visible tattoos or body piercings, your hair should be neatly cut and not fall below the collar line and fingernails neatly trimmed (or manicured). You should be cleanly shaven with no facial hair except a mustache. Shoes should be conservative black dress shoes or loafers with no tassels. Jewelry should be limited to a watch, ring and tie clasp. A leather briefcase finishes off the look.
Body Language and Attitude
Two different people answering the same question in the same way may come across very differently to recruiters because of their body language. If you answer a question looking down without maintaining eye contact with the interviewers, you are showing signs of shyness and lack of confidence. These are not very desirable qualities of a flight attendant. If you do not maintain eye contact with the interviewers when they are speaking, it indicates a lack of attentiveness. If you fold your arms during the interview, you are showing signs of defensiveness. So try to be very aware of your non-verbal communication during the interview, maintain good eye contact, limit your hand gestures and maintain good posture. Other points to remember during the interview is not to chew gum, don’t make small talk and ensure that your cell phone is off.
One of the most important aspects of your flight attendant interview is how you introduce yourself. When it comes time for your interview, you should enter the room, exchange introductions and offer a firm handshake which expresses your enthusiasm for being invited to the interview. When appropriate you can also use the introduction as an opportunity to exchange business cards so you have the recruiters’ contact information for sending a thank-you note.
Interviewing is an art, but it is not difficult to outshine your competition. Follow the rules outlined above and you should find success at any flight attendant job interview. In upcoming articles, we will discuss many of the other interview techniques that will give you a leg up on the competition.