This is the second article in a two-part series looking at a new and increasingly popular Cabin Crew recruitment practice – on-demand video interviews. In the first article, we discussed exactly how these video interviews work and the common pitfalls that many candidates make. Now, we’re going to find out how to successfully pass the on-demand video interview.
But first, full disclosure – We’ve taken a number of on-demand video interviews in preparation for this article. To say the experience was an eye-opener would be an understatement. As a team, we’ve taken part in multiple face-to-face cabin crew interviews – and have been offered the job every time. But the first video interview we took didn’t go quite to plan.
The good news is, we’ve improved a lot since that first unsuccessful effort and have developed a winning strategy for the on-demand video interview. That’s not to say you won’t be a natural at it but most people need a little practice.
As a quick reminder, on-demand video interviews use special software to automatically analyse your performance. The software then decides whether you should be shortlisted for the next round with little human involvement. In order to perform well, you need to prove you possess the qualities that have been pre-programmed into the system.
Our tried, tested and proven to work technique is to plan, prepare and rehearse:
1. Plan – Know Your Resume Inside Out
The difference between traditional interviews and on-demand video interviews
You wouldn’t go into a face-to-face interview without first thinking about the questions the recruiter might be about to ask you – and then preparing examples and possible answers. An on-demand video interview is no different. In fact, it’s even harder – in a face-to-face interview you get time to prepare your answer, you can stall for time or ask the interviewer to repeat the question or clarify what they mean.
As you answer the question, you get immediate feedback from the interviewer and if necessary they can even ask follow up questions to help you provide breadth and depth to your answer. But with a video interview, you don’t get any of those opportunities.
Once you start the interview, you’ll have about 30 seconds to prepare your answer to a question that appears on the screen. After your preparation time has finished, the video will automatically start recording. You can’t delay the process and you can’t record your answer over again if you’re not happy with your performance. You have to get it right first time.
Prepare answers and examples for the most common interview questions
Admittedly, you can’t know what questions will be presented during the video interview but you can make a fairly good guess. Why? Well, the questions have been chosen by the airline recruiter to see if you possess the skills that make a great member of cabin crew. These skills and qualities are fairly uniform across all major airlines.
Ideally, you should pre-prepare answers/examples for the following skills:
- Customer service
- Communication skills
- Exceeding customer expectations
- Safety and security
You should also prepare answers for some of the most common cabin crew interview questions:
- Why do you want to become cabin crew?
- What do you think the role of cabin crew is?
- Tell me about yourself?
Make rough notes and jot down key points
This really is the absolute minimum you should be preparing for. Start this process as early as possible. Know your examples inside out. If someone were to ask you one of the questions above right now, would you be able to confidently answer without thinking about it? Could you speak comfortably for two minutes without hesitation?
You might want to write some rough notes to refer back to but try to avoid writing an entire script. You don’t know how the question will be phrased in the video interview and you need to be able to adapt to what is being asked.
2. Prepare – Think of This as a ‘Real’ Interview
One of the great things about the on-demand video interview is that you can do it at a time and place that is most convenient for you. So long as your device has a webcam you can do the whole thing quickly and easily – be it on a laptop, tablet device or even your mobile phone.
But hold on just one minute. When you the email from the airline recruitment team saying you’ve been invited you to take part in a video interview it’s tempting to get it done straight away. Some airlines even encourage you not to waste any time – they’ll give a deadline and say the recruitment window might close at any moment.
Don’t rush to complete the video interview
But are you ready? Think about some of the following considerations before you rush to complete the interview:
- Are you well rested?
- Are you looking and feeling good?
- Do you have the time and space to do the interview without being interrupted?
- Have you mentally prepared yourself?
- Do you know your resume and examples inside out?
If you answer ‘no’ to any of those questions, consider if you need to give yourself a little time before you plunge in at the deep end.
Treat it like you would a face-to-face interview
The actual interview may only take 15 minutes to complete but you’ll need a lot longer than that you properly prepare.
Where are you going to record your video interview? Try to find a white or neutral backdrop that is well lit (with an even amount of light across your face). Make sure you have this place entirely to yourself. Ensure it’s quiet with no background noise.
What device are you going to use? If you use a desktop or laptop computer, make sure the camera is at eye level. You might need to put your laptop on a base to get it up to the right height. You can use a mobile phone or tablet but avoid holding it in your hands – you want to concentrate on the interview, not holding the device.
You might not be leaving the house but think of this as a real interview. Wear the same clothing and achieve the same look as you would for a face-to-face interview. Our guide will give you more details.
Sit up straight with a good, solid posture and avoid fidgeting or fiddling with anything (your hair, a pen or ring for example). Think about your facial expression – the video interview software is analysing your behaviour so consider how your expression might be interpreted – confident, happy, friendly, approachable. Smile where appropriate. This article on emotional contagion explains all.
For more details about how to behave and act during a interview, check out this article: An Introduction to the Cabin Crew Final Interview: Here’s What to Expect and How to Succeed
Rehearse – Are You Happy Talking to Yourself?
Give it a go now
How happy are you talking to a computer? You might not realise how disconcerting a video interview can be until it’s too late. Open the video recorder on your mobile phone now and give yourself two minutes to explain to the camera why you want to be cabin crew.
How was it? You might have been really confident – some people are naturals. Others don’t find it so easy. But there’s no way of avoiding the video interview. You won’t have a chance to explain why you didn’t perform well. You just need to get comfortable with the process.
Use these tools
Using the video recorder on your mobile phone or laptop is probably the easiest way of practising. Try answering the following questions:
- Tell me about yourself (and work experience)
- What do you think the role of cabin crew is?
- What do you think is excellent customer service?
- If you had to change something on an aeroplane, what would it be any why?
- Name three important skills needed to be cabin crew
Give yourself two minutes to answer each question. How did you do?
Watch and listen carefully to your answers – How many times did you say ‘erm’ or ‘err’? Were you looking at the camera or yourself (pro tip: Look directly into the camera throughout the interview)? Were there long, uncomtorfable pauses? Were you fiddling with anything? What was your facial expression like? – happy and confident or stressed and uneasy?
This isn’t the time for modesty
You don’t need to be self-deprecating and definitely, don’t be embarrassed by singing your own praises. This is your time to shine and take the spotlight. Enjoy and embrace it. This is fantastic opportunity and you know you have what it takes – now go and prove it!
Have you taken an on-demand video interview? What are your top tips? Let us know 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.