Choosing an outfit and getting the right ‘look’ for your Cabin Crew Assessment Day or Final Interview can be a big deal. It’s now known that you have just seven seconds to make a good first impression – so you want the airline recruiter and hiring manager to judge you in the best possible light when they first meet you. What you wear and how you present yourself are crucial factors.
But it’s not simply about ‘standing out’ and wearing something that catches the attention of a recruiter – this is where a lot of people get confused (and go wrong). In fact, you’ll make a better impression by doing the exact opposite – after all, it’s your personality and experience that will help you stand out. Not your clothing choice.
It doesn’t matter what airline you are applying to work for as the rules are pretty much the same across the board. Check out our style guide to help you achieve your best at the Cabin Crew Assessment Day.
Conservative is Always Best
You’re applying for a professional and responsible role. The vast majority of airlines – including the Middle East Three (Qatar Airways, Emirates and Etihad Airways) and all European and North American airlines prefer a timeless and conservative look. Choosing a colourful or inappropriate outfit to help you ‘stand out from the crowd’ is a plan that will probably backfire.
So, with that in mind, the general rule of thumb is to choose conservative business attire. It’s boring and safe but it’s what the recruiter is looking for. Remember, you’ll be wearing a uniform to look exactly like your colleagues – and most airline uniforms are conservative.
You Don’t Have to Look Exactly Like a Flight Attendant
There’s a common myth that you should try to copy the uniform style of the airline you are applying to work for – so that might mean, wearing a cream suit for Emirates (or brown if you’re male), an all red ensemble for Virgin Atlantic or Air Asia, or perhaps even some shiny red heels for American Airlines.
The idea is that by doing this, you are making it easier for the recruiter to imagine you wearing the airline uniform. The thinking goes that if you already look the part, you’re half way to getting the job.
This isn’t strictly true – you’ll be attending an Assessment Day or Final Interview at a Five Star hotel or the airline’s corporate Head Office. This is a place where people wear professional business attire so be careful how far you go to mimic the airline’s uniform.
That being said, take a close look at the vast majority of airline uniforms and you’ll find that they copy standard business dress – skirts and jackets for ladies, classic suits for men. That’s the look you want to copy. (clearly, this isn’t the case for Singapore Airways or Malaysia Airlines).
It Doesn’t Have to Cost a Fortune
You really don’t have to spend a lot of money to achieve the ideal look. Wearing an expensive brand might make you feel amazing but it won’t necessarily guarantee your success.
Instead, focus on preparing an outfit that fits you really well and is immaculately pressed. International airlines expect you to have excellent grooming standards and this should be clearly evident in your Assessment Day or Final Interview look.
What to Wear
Ladies: Wear a classic business suit with a skirt, button up jacket and plain blouse. If you’re applying to work for a Middle East airline then you should ensure the skirt sits 1-inch below the knee.
If you decide to wear a dress, choose a suitable length for the occasion and complement it with a matching jacket. Plain designs are most appropriate.
Finish the look with plain hosiery and classic heels. Avoid stilettos or wedges.
Gentlemen: A classic men’s suit with button up jacket, matching trousers and a plain shirt. Wear a plain or striped tie that compliments the suit. Avoid garish or overly patterned ties.
You don’t need to have an expensive three-piece suit to succeed. Finish the look with polished lace-up shoes or classic slip-ons with matching, un-patterned socks.
Colour Choice and Accessories: According to a recent study, job candidates who wore the colour black to their Final Interview were more successful than those who opted for a different colour. However, you might also consider grey or navy blue as a classic and professional colour choice.
Accessories such as neckties, shawls or cravats should be in a complimentary colour with an understated pattern or design. Socks should match the colour of your suit.
Always wear a watch. It doesn’t have to be expensive.
Ladies: Wear your hair up, in a style such as a French twist, classic bun or French braid. You can wear your hair to the side if you wish but it must always avoid touching the collar line. You don’t have to wear a matching scrunchy or hair net if you would prefer not to.
Recruiters will expect you to be wearing makeup. This includes foundation, eyeliner, mascara and lipstick. Ensure the look is blended in well and avoid heavy contouring and ‘dark’ eyes. You may choose to wear the lipstick colour of the airline you are applying for but select a shade that matches your skin tone.
Hands and nails should be maintained to a high standard. A classic manicure is expected.
Gentlemen: Keep your hair short with the back and sides neatly groomed. It must not touch the collar line. Avoid high gloss hair products.
You should not wear any type of makeup. Your face should be cleanly shaved and moisturised. Some European and North American airlines will allow you to have a beard but this must be fully grown and maintained to a very high standard.
Wear it With Confidence
Once you’ve got the right outfit, you’re only half way there. The trick now is to wear it with confidence and ease. If you’re not used to wearing business attire, I would recommend doing a trial run to make sure the whole look ‘works’.
This might all seem like a lot of hard work but your efforts will go a long way to impress the recruiters.
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 used by some of the biggest names in journalism.