I’ve attended a lot of Cabin Crew Assessment Day’s for a number of major, international airlines. Along the way, I’ve learnt what works (and importantly, what doesn’t work). I’ve made plenty of mistakes and I too have failed on occasion.
However, by following these Cabin Crew Assessment Day tips I’ve been selected for Final Interview time and time again. I’m also pleased to say that these tips have helped me land job offers with several top-tier airlines.
International airline recruiters say that they regularly change what they do in an Assessment Day. That’s true to a certain extent – what you might experience can differ from airline to airline and city to city. But the format and general rules always stay the same.
These Assessment Day tips work for the major Middle East airlines like Emirates, Etihad and Qatar Airways. It also works for large American and European airlines like Delta Air Lines and British Airways.
If you’re attending an airline Assessment Day in the near future or simply want to prepare for the futue then I would highly recommend reading these tips before you go.
1. Why do Airlines Have Assessment Days?
First of all, it’s important to understand why airlines use Assessment Day’s in their cabin crew recruitment process.
Recruiters love Assessment Day’s – And not only because they can quickly filter a large group of candidates. So many applicants come across as being of a similar quality on paper. But the exercises that recruiters use, allow them to see the person behind the CV.
When an airline recruits new Cabin Crew, they’ll receive thousands of applications. Only a small percentage make it through to the Assessment Day. At this stage, even more, unsuitable candidates will be eliminated through exercises that assess a candidate’s ability, psychology, values and motives.
2. What Exercises and Tasks Can You Expect?
Remember, there’s no one way of running a Cabin Crew Assessment Day. Airlines do alter them from time to time and different recruiters prefer different methods.
However, there are six elements that feature in any Assessment Day. An airline might use all six elements or just 3-4. The contents of each element will be different but the general concept always stays the same:
- Presentation Exercise – To test your confidence and communication skills
- Role Play – To see how you process information and handle difficult situations
- Group Exercises – Is all about working as a team and your communication skills
- Psychometric testing – To test if you have the desired qualities of the airline
- Verbal and numerical testing – including English language tests for some airlines.
- Competency and Behavioural Interview – AKA, the Final Interview.
It doesn’t matter whether you got invited to the Assessment Day as result of attending an Open Day or because you were shortlisted from an online application. The general process stays the same.
3. It’s Okay to be Nervous
You wouldn’t be human if you weren’t nervous. You applied to become Cabin Crew because you really want the job – So the Assessment Day is going to be a big deal for you.
Being nervous can be really good. It will focus your mind, drive your determination to succeed and keep your attention high throughout what can be a long day. But nerves can get out of control and ruin your chances in the Assessment Day.
It’s important to use your nerves as an asset and not as a weight around your neck that will drag you down. Be prepared for the day, look the part and have confidence in your answers for the Final Interview. Have confidence that you have done everything you possibly can.
4. If You Only Do One Thing – Have Fun!
There are lots of Assessment Day tips in this article – but if you read only one tip, make it this one – Have fun at your Assessment Day. Too many times have I seen candidates with sullen, bored expressions, sulking in a corner and not talking to anyone.
You want to be Cabin Crew and this amazing airline has invited YOU to an Assessment Day! Do you know how many people want this opportunity? Enjoy the experience. Yes, you might not get the job but you’ve got to be in it to win it. You’re going to meet loads of amazing people so start talking and let your personality shine.
Airline recruiters are looking for upbeat, positive Cabin Crew who can easily adapt to new environments and get on well with a different team on every flight. You’ll not only be serving passengers of many different cultures but also working with a multi-cultural team.
5. Make Friends with Other Candidates
This happens so often – a candidate walks into an Assessment Day is being held and works the room in a cold and fake way. They’ve probably read that to succeed in an Assessment Day you need to speak to lots of other candidates. But they’re not making a personal or genuine connection with anyone.
You don’t need to speak to every single person in the room. Politely ask to join a group and encourage others to take part as well. Try to have conversations on ‘safe’ subjects – avoid politics, money and anything that could be considered rude or offensive.
Be warm, welcoming, genuine and caring. Show interest in other candidates and invite others to speak. Take the time to listen to other candidates and acknowledge them. Be polite and show the most impeccable manners.
6. Smile Like You Mean it
Have fun! A genuine, heartfelt smile is so much more compelling to recruiters than a fake smile. You don’t need to be smiling from ear to ear the whole day. Change your expression in response to the circumstances. But where appropriate have fun, stay positive and the smile will follow.
Recruiters are looking for Cabin Crew with personality and the ability to respond appropriately to different situations. A smile isn’t always the best response. Keep a check of your facial expressions and consider how others might read your reactions to the events of the day.
7. Dress to Impress
When I say ‘dress to impress’, what I mean is ‘dress to impress an airline recruiter’. It doesn’t matter whether you are a girl or boy. The general rules are pretty much the same.
The brand image of an airline is vitally important. Cabin Crew are a key part of that brand image and the vast majority of airlines choose conservative uniforms for their flight attendants.
Try to emulate the look of Cabin Crew for the airline you want to work for. That doesn’t necessarily mean ‘copying’ the look down to the last detail – this isn’t fancy dress.
Look at social media posts of Cabin Crew from your chosen airline. How do they wear their hair? What does the uniform look like – is it a short dress, long skirt, trousers, neck scarf, etc? How do female crew wear their makeup? What shoes do they wear?
You don’t need to copy the airlines uniform colour palette. This is a recruitment event and hiring managers prefer colours appropriate for a business environment. Think dark blue, black, grey or dark brown depending on your skin tone and personal preference.
Don’t worry – this isn’t a beauty contest. The best-dressed candidates aren’t guaranteed a job. There is no need to spend a fortune to achieve the desired look.
Middle East Airlines – Dress code for Emirates, Qatar Airways, Etihad, flydubai, Air Arabia, etc.
- Skirts are worn at the knee (not above)
- A plain blazer and blouse are preferred
- Ladies are expected to wear makeup but a conservative, timeless look is to be achieved
- Hair is always worn up
- Eyeglasses/spectacles should be avoided
8. Pay Attention
How long have you waited for this opportunity? It’s a big day for you with lots of information to take in. But it’s also a big day for the airline recruiters. They’ve spent a lot of time, effort and money to organise the Assessment Day. This is your opportunity to prove you have the skills, aptitude and personality to become a flight attendant with their airline.
You need to focus and prove to the recruiter that you’re not only paying attention but also taking the day seriously and are able to listen to instructions. I once tuned out for a moment and in that time the recruiter had shared some vital information for the next exercise – it was not a good experience.
Here are a few tips to stay focused during the Cabin Crew Assessment Day:
- Put your mobile phone away. Just turn it off and leave it in your bag until you’re finished for the day.
- Have something to eat – No matter how nervous you are. Even if it’s a light bite for breakfast and a cup of coffee. You won’t perform your best if you’re running on an empty stomach.
- Have a pen and paper ready. Recruiters will normally hold a presentation and share information about the role that isn’t available on their website. Take notes and show interest in key details.
- Don’t rush – the recruiter will have a lot of instructions to say. Listen to them carefully and maintain 100% attention until they have finished speaking.
9. Perfect Your Body Language
Body language accounts for more than 50% of our communication. It’s great to smile the whole day but if you’re constantly crossing your arms and slouching you’re wrecking your chances.
You’ve probably heard already that recruiters will be judging you the entire day. And how they do that is by observing your body language and posture. These non-verbal cues can give away a lot about your personality.
Recruiters are looking for candidates who are open, honest and confident:
- Maintain a good posture when stood up or seated. Back straight, chest out and belly pulled in. Beware of comfy sofas that tempt you to slouch or lean back.
- Don’t cross your arms. Place your hands flat on your lap or a table if sat at one. Do not make fists with your hands.
- Avoid crossing your legs. This is an absolute must for the guys. Place your feet flat on the floor and avoid ‘man-spreading’. For ladies, try to sit with your legs and knees together – at an angle if necessary.
- Make eye contact with recruiters and other candidates. You don’t need to stare but the ability to make and maintain eye contact shows honesty, confidence and openness.
10. Know Your Airline
A Cabin Crew Assessment Day is a great opportunity to find out more about your chosen airline. The recruiter will give you loads of information about the pay and conditions, what your roster will look like and other inside knowledge.
But the recruiters will also expect you to have done your homework. Why do you want to work for their airline? What makes it different? What makes it special? How do you fit in? What will you bring that makes you such a good match?
Get to know the airline as much as possible. Facts and figures are a good start and you may well be tested on what you know. But also have a think about what sets the airline apart from its competitors.
11. Plan Your Escape
Many candidates think that recruiters hold all the power in an Assessment Day. But that’s not entirely true. This is your opportunity to get a sense of the airline, the way it does business and the way it treats its (prospective) employees.
Unfortunately, the majority of people who take part in the Cabin Crew Assessment Day aren’t going to make it to Final Interview. It’s a heartbreaking moment and its best to prepare for this possible disappointment beforehand.
The recruiters have already seen something special in you – they’ve shortlisted you to attend an Assessment Day. Today wasn’t your day but trust me on this – one day it will be. If you don’t succeed on this occasion consider what your next steps will be.
The very best of luck!
What are your top tips for the cabin crew assessment day? We’d love to hear from you – let us know your thoughts in the comments below…
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.