Mateusz Maszczynski is a serving international flight attendant with experience…
The cabin crew Assessment Day can be a daunting experience – even for the most confident of candidates. The success rate is low with airline recruiters always inviting far more applicants than they have jobs for. It’s a high-pressure environment and nearly every candidate is bound to make a mistake.
We’ve written in the past about how you can maximise your chance of success in the cabin crew Assessment Day but over the time we’ve been attending these events, we see the same mistakes happen all too often. Inevitably the candidates who make these mistakes soon get rejected.
In the end, it’s about striking the right balance. Presenting yourself in the perfect light to the airline recruiter and minimising any behaviour that might set off an alarm in the recruiter’s mind. Forewarned is forearmed so read on to find out what mistakes you should avoid at your next cabin crew Assessment Day.
1. Not Smiling and Other Facial Expressions
Why so serious? Come on, we know you’re nervous but at least crack a smile. Have some fun and enjoy the day. Interact with everyone around you and let your personality shine through. The recruiters are looking for candidates with a natural charm and relaxed happy personality.
That doesn’t mean wearing a smile on your face like a clown. A false smile is all too easy to spot and it’s not going to get you anywhere. It has to be natural and relaxed.
At the same time, be aware of other facial expressions you might subconsciously pull throughout the day. Yes – you really are being watched by the recruiters the whole day – consciously think about what facial expressions you’re making and how they might be interpreted.
2. Saying Too Little
This is not a time to be a shrinking violet – the Assessment Day is the best opportunity that recruiters have to judge your skills and personality. They can’t-do that unless you get stuck in and actively participate with every element of the day.
That starts the very moment you enter the venue. The ability to make light, informal conversation with everyone you meet is so vitally important for cabin crew.
Actively engage with the other candidates, ask a question during the presentations, find opportunities to engage during the assessments.
3. Or For That Matter – Saying Too Much
That being said – this is not a one (wo)man show. You are not the only candidate and hogging every opportunity to speak is going to make you look like a diva.
Be self-aware and identify the right opportunities to speak. Give others the chance to convey their opinions and thoughts. If you ask a question, please take the time to actually listen to the answer.
Again, this is all about being self-aware. When you’re consciously thinking about your performance you’ll be able to identify the time when it comes to shut up and let other candidates have their moment.
4. Not Displaying Empathy
It’s one of the most important qualities that cabin crew recruiters are looking for in candidates. But so many times, candidates are wrapped up in their own self-interests. Try not to think of the other people at the Assessment Day as your competitors – only judge your performance against yourself.
This comes back to listening to other candidates and the recruiters. Make the recruiters like you by displaying warmth and genuine interest.
5. Failing To Look The Part
Recruiters judge candidates on their appearance. Fact. So if you’re going to be judged on what you look like, make sure the recruiter is left with a good impression. This isn’t about beauty but personal presentation.
We’ve written extensively about what to wear at an Assessment Day and it’s still good advice. That’s not to say that you can’t turn up without making an effort and be successful but why take the risk?
Oh, on the flip side – wearing something outlandish to make you ‘stand out’ might seem a good idea at the time but you also run the risk of looking like a diva again. It’s down to personal preference but we’ve always found classic suiting to work the best.
6. Bad Manners – And Even Worse Timekeeping
How you act around your friends or family is probably going to be very different to how you’re expected to act at a cabin crew Assessment Day. This is the time to present the very best, politest version of you. Avoid, avoid, avoid the following:
- Applying makeup or spraying perfume in public
- Chewing gum
- Using your mobile phone – just don’t, turn it off and put it away
- Shouting or using any kind of profanity or curse
- Smoking – If you are a smoker, just wait until the end of the day.
This is a formal occasion so use formal, polite language. Oh, and whatever you do don’t turn up late. Not just at the start of the day but after any breaks as well. It will be the kiss of death to your chances of success.
7. Not Listening
You are going to be told a lot of information during the Assessment Day. Some of the presentations can go on for a long time and each assessment will have specific instructions that you must follow.
It’s a lot to take in but whatever you do, stay engaged and listen carefully to everything that is being said. It looks really bad if you don’t follow the recruiter’s instructions because you failed to listen to what they were actually saying.
On this point, make sure you look like you’re paying attention as well. Yawning and a glazed over expression will be easily spotted and is not a good look. Finally, wait until the recruiter has completely finished speaking before you move or start doing something. I know it sounds obvious but you’d be really surprised!
8. Failing To Prepare
Kudos to the people who can rock up at an Assessment Day without doing any preparation and sail through the process. For the rest of us, winging it is not an option.
I don’t know about you but even having done this on so many occasions now I couldn’t just walk into a Final Interview and give good responses without first preparing for the types of questions that might be asked.
This doesn’t mean rehearsing every single thing you’re going to say but instead thinking about what experience and skills you have. Know what examples you have from your past jobs. Research the airline in question and be aware of what they are looking for in their cabin crew.
All this information is freely available on the internet (including this site) so there really isn’t any excuse. You’ll normally have plenty of time between being invited to the Assessment Day and the actual event so don’t leave the preparation to the last minute.
9. Being Too Quick
The cabin crew Assessment Day is a marathon, not a sprint. You can’t just rush into the venue and try to tick all the boxes in five minutes. You have to maintain your performance the entire day and look for the right opportunities.
I’ve seen this all too often and it’s this need to rush where many of the other mistakes come in. You start talking too much because you want to make yourself heard. You flit between candidates, failing to listen to anyone because you want to seem popular. You display boredom during the presentation because you’re so keen to get on with the actual assessments.
Just relax and strap yourself in for the long haul. There will be plenty of opportunities to shine.
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.