Mateusz Maszczynski is a serving international flight attendant with experience…
As the only major Middle East airline still actively recruiting cabin crew, Qatar Airways has gained a huge amount of interest from aspiring flight attendants. And boy is Qatar Airways recruiting. Every month, they’ve been holding multiple Assessment Day’s in different countries and cities around the world – at the same time as the likes of Emirates and Etihad continue a near year long recruitment freeze.
But an Open Day at Qatar Airways can be a shocking experience for many candidates. We haven’t written about Qatar’s recruitment process in the past because the advice we give in this website isn’t any guarantee of success. That’s not to say that it won’t help (and we always recommend putting a lot of effort into your resume) but Qatar operates a very opaque and confusing recruitment process.
But over the last six months we’ve been inundated with questions from readers about the process. Some of you may have attended an Open Day in the past and wondered what went wrong? Well, we want to answer your questions. Over the last few months, we’ve been doing lots of research to find out what really happens. Speaking with ex and serving crew – and even attending Assessment Day’s. Here’s what happens and what you can do to increase your chances of success.
This article has been broken down into simple, bite-sized chunks to explain every aspect of the process:
1. The Background
Qatar Airways is one of the world’s fastest growing airlines. It started life in its present form in 1997 and now flies to over 150 destinations with a fleet of 184 aircraft. This year, Qatar Airways was named as the Skytrax ‘World’s Best Airline’. Its cabin crew have received multiple awards and the airline is lauded for its luxurious cabin interiors and service.
For lots more information about Qatar Airways, check out this essential guide.
As a Qatar Airways cabin crew, you’ll receive some of the best and most comprehensive training in the industry. Taking your career further, you’ll find employers will look up to your level of experience and knowledge. Having worked for Qatar Airways, new doors will open for you in roles within the aviation industry as well as in hospitality and similar careers.
Employers will appreciate your work ethic, in the knowledge that Qatar Airways cabin crew are expected to work very hard. That being said, the airline will provide a generous pay and benefits package along with company provided accommodation. On top of heavily discounted flights, you’ll also receive one free flight to your home country every year.
On the flipside, some of the negative work conditions at Qatar Airways have been well documented – independent human rights groups have criticised the airline for its treatment of staff (particularly female cabin crew). Qatar Airways says these issues have been addressed although some ex-Qatar crew still claim that life at the airline can be difficult.
More details about the accusations (and Qatar Airways response) can be found here.
Nonetheless, many cabin crew go on to have an enjoyable and satisfying career with the airline. Should you be offered a job with Qatar Airways, we suggest carefully reviewing the terms of employment to ensure the offer meets your needs and you are completely happy with what will be asked of you.
2. Minimum Requirements
The criteria listed below are the absolute minimum required to join Qatar Airways as cabin crew:
- At least 21 years of age
- Able to reach 212cm (this can achieve on tip toes)
- Fluent in written and spoken English (a second language, especially Arabic is desirable)
- Minimum High School education
- ‘Excellent’ health and fitness
As all Qatar Airways cabin crew are based in Doha, you’ll also need to be willing to relocate and live in Qatar. Finally, the airline says it looks for candidates with an “outgoing personality” who have “good interpersonal skills.”
Qatar Airways recruits cabin crew from around the world and you can attend an Open Day in any country or city that is advertised – you do not need to be from that country to take part.
However, be aware that Qatar Airways carefully chooses Open Day locations based on what nationalities they desire at the time (for language skills, cultural awareness, etc).
One of the least understood parts of the Qatar Airways recruitment process is the selection criteria that recruiters use to initially shortlist candidates. It’s an incredibly subjective process that can be highly dependent on the recruiter that reviews your resume.
It’s important to note that your skills, experience and presentation are still very important but unlike many other airlines, these are not the only deciding factors. Recruiters are given specific instructions about what type of candidate they are looking for on any particular day – factors include gender, age, nationality, language skills, height and weight.
There is also the Qatar Airways ‘X’ factor – candidates that recruiters believe will be able to work well in the unique corporate culture of the airline. This is incredibly subjective and recruiters are given a high level of autonomy in their decisions.
3. Current Opportunities
Qatar Airways regularly holds Open Day’s in cities around the world – these are listed on the official airline careers website.
You can find the official list here. Check out your Open Day of choice to make sure it hasn’t been postponed, cancelled or the venue changed.
Existing cabin crew
Qatar Airways sometimes advertises for ‘existing cabin crew’ and offers a separate application process. If you already work as cabin crew or have done the job with a different airline in the past, this can be a tempting way to apply for the role with Qatar.
Be warned, however – it is incredibly rare for recruiters to respond to candidates who apply online for the ‘existing cabin crew’ position. Although it might be worth submitting your application online, you can still attend any Open Day of your choosing.
On the official Qatar Airways careers website, you might notice that you can apply for the cabin crew role online. There is no requirement to submit an online application – you can simply turn up at an Open Day without an invitation. If you choose to apply online then you might receive an invitation to attend an Open Day.
Receiving an invitation is for the Open Day only – you will be treated like any other candidate and there is no guarantee that you will be selected to take part in the Assessment Day.
4. The Open Day
Although Qatar Airways advertises these events as Open Day’s this isn’t an opportunity to learn more about the airline or find out whether this is the career for you. This is purely a recruitment event which can be incredibly cut throat in its approach. Nonetheless, you’ll meet a lot of amazing people so take the time you find out more about the other candidates and enjoy the experience.
Here’s what happens:
- You can turn up at any point between a set time period (this is normally 9am to 5pm but times can vary).
- Most candidates will make sure to turn up at the very start of the day – in some cases, getting to the venue several hours early and forming a queue.
- The event will be held in a conference room – two or more recruiters will sit behind desks and meet each candidate individually.
- You’ll wait outside until called forward. Once inside, you’ll hand over your documents to a recruiter.
- The recruiter will review your resume and you may be asked some short questions.
- At this point, you will either be selected to take part in the Assessment Day or rejected.
Alternative Open Day
Some Open Day’s tell candidates to turn up at the venue at a fixed time – such as being at the hotel by “9am strict.” At these Open Day’s the process is a little different. You’ll take part in more activities as part of the shortlisting process and you’ll learn whether you will be taken through to the next round.
You will need:
- A copy of your resume / CV
- One full-length photograph
- One passport sized photograph
- A copy of your highest education certificate
The full-length photograph and education certificate is rarely asked for but you should have these with you just in case.
- You should be wearing professional business attire (including a jacket and tie for men).
- Stand facing straight on towards the camera, hands down by your side (not held together).
- You should be smiling with a large but natural smile (ideally showing teeth).
- To be taken against a light blue backdrop.
The full-length photograph should be sized: 6×4 inches (15×10 cm). The passport sized photograph should be sized: 45×35 mm (1.77×1.37 inches).
Qatar Airways asks candidates to attend the Open Day in ‘formal business attire’. More details about what to wear can be found here.
5. Waiting for a phone call or email
Once you have handed over your documents and spoken with the recruiter, one of two things will happen:
- The recruiter will hand you a piece of paper with details of the Assessment Day. This acts as your invitation. You will be asked to keep this to yourself and not show it to any of the other candidates.
- You will be told to expect an email or phone call at the end of the day, telling you whether you’ve been shortlisted or not.
If you experience option 2, you will not receive an email or phone call. Unfortunately, you have not been shortlisted and your application will not be progressed any further. Having said that, we’ve recently heard of some candidates recieving emails with an invite to the Open Day. This looks like a new change and we would recommend keeping a close eye on your inbox just in case.
Some candidates will actually take a change of clothing with them to the Open Day so that they can go through the process again (and hopefully meet with a different recruiter). The selection is so subjective that this method can sometimes work.
6. The Assessment Day
The Assessment Day will normally be held the day after the Open Day – so make sure you are available for when you are shortlisted. You will be given details about what documents to bring with you. The dress standards are the same as the Open Day.
You will be introduced to the airline and the role of cabin crew with a short presentation. You’ll learn about life in Qatar and have an opportunity to ask questions. This can go on for some time – ensure that you remain engaged and respectful of the recruiters throughout the entire presentation.
Once this is over, you’ll be asked to take the ‘reach test’ and complete an English test. Then you’ll be split into groups to take part in group activities. This part of the recruitment process follows industry standards. I would highly recommend reading this article to give yourself the best chance of success: How to Ace the Group Exercise at Your Cabin Crew Assessment Day 2017 – In Four Easy Steps
7. The Final Interview
There will be several elimination rounds throughout the Assessment Day. But if you successfully pass all elements, you’ll be invited to take part in a Final Interview – this normally takes place on the same day as the Assessment Day.
Many people find the Final Interview with Qatar Airways can be very short – this is not an indication that you have been successful or not. Prepare for the interview like you normally would, ensuring you know your skills and experience inside out. We have lots of articles on how to prepare for your Final Interview as well as examples of popular interview questions.
8. Sending Photographs
If you haven’t already done so, you’ll have to create an online account on the Qatar Airways careers website. This will then give you access to the advanced candidate zone where you can manage your application.
You will be expected to upload photographs of yourself for review by the airline’s central HR team. You must closely follow the instructions given to you by the recruiter. Unfortunately, some candidates will be rejected at this point.
9. Medical Tests
Finally, you’ll need to upload the results of medical tests onto your account. The costs of these tests are borne by you. What tests you are asked to submit will change on a case by case basis.
Typically, these include a general self-evaluation survey, blood tests (for common sexually transmitted diseases, Hepatisis, etc) and a medical screening conducted by a medical doctor or other healthcare professional.
You’ll be assigned a recruitment coordinator who will give you specific details about what medical tests you need to obtain. Should these tests be acceptable to Qatar Airways standards you’ll receive a formal employment offer and details about your start date.
The time this process takes varies between candidates. Remember that Qatar Airways is recruiting a lot of new cabin crew at the moment and backlogs can occur. The whole recruitment process can typically take between 3-4 months but on some occasions this can be longer.
Mateusz Maszczynski is a serving international flight attendant with experience at a major Middle East and European airline. Mateusz is passionate about the aviation industry and helping aspiring flight attendants achieve their dreams. Cabin crew recruitment can be tough, ultra-competitive and just a little bit confusing - Mateusz has been there and done that. He's got the low down on what really works.