I have a confession… I recently attended an Etihad cabin crew Assessment Day and I got rejected pretty early on in the day. I won’t disclose which location I attended but it did come as a bit of a surprise. In the last couple of years, I’ve submitted so many applications and attended so many Open Day’s and Assessment Day’s that success has become normal.
So what went wrong on this occasion – and more importantly, what did I take away from Etihad’s Assessment Day?
Well, first off, the good news is that my CV (or if you prefer, resume) got me shortlisted for an Assessment Day. At the moment, Etihad only holds Assessment Day’s so you have to submit an online application via their official recruitment website (except for a small number of recruitment events run by third-party recruitment partners). That means you have to write a winning CV.
I didn’t try anything different with the CV that I sent to Etihad on this occasion – I used one of the free templates that are available to download on this site and focused on writing about achievements. The editing process did admittedly take a little while and I made sure to tailor every line to the qualities that Etihad are looking for in their cabin crew.
The CV passed the initial and automatic shortlisting process and before long I had received an email inviting me to an Assessment Day. What I definitely think helped grab the attention of the human recruiter was including an impactful, passionate and concise cover letter that again highlighted my experience, skills and knowledge with specific examples.
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I also included some professionally shot photos for this application – I don’t think this is necessarily essential but when a recruiter is sifting through hundreds of applications, you want to be looking your best. This is the first impression the recruiter is going to have of you.
That being said, I’ve previously achieved a similar look on a shoestring budget and been shortlisted so don’t think you have to spend a lot of money – or that throwing money at the problem will help you pass the selection process.
The Assessment Day
No matter how early I am to an Assessment or Open Day, I can guarantee that there will be many others who have been queuing up for hours. That’s perfectly fine, although I don’t think it’s essential. Clearly, you definitely don’t want to be late and you should also leave plenty of time to sort yourself on arrival but don’t think a super early arrival will award you bonus points – it won’t.
As usual, most candidates followed the similar formula for clothing choices – a dark coloured suit and plain tie for men, while most female candidates opted for a black blazer and skirt with a white or light-coloured shirt. This is a safe option that I would highly recommend – I’ve never seen recruiters go out of their way to pick candidates who go for more outlandish looks. Let your personality help you stand out, not your clothes.
What really struck me was just how friendly, approachable and confident all the other candidates were. They seemed genuinely pleased to be there and many were just happy to have been invited this far – you would have thought that would be the case at any airline Assessment Day but no, sometimes it’s really difficult to make conversation. This most definitely wasn’t the case on this occasion.
The other thing that has always struck me about Etihad cabin crew Assessment Day’s is that the recruiters are genuinely interested in you doing well and want to make the experience a positive one for everyone… no matter whether they succeed or fail.
Not only are the recruiters friendly but there are enough of them to keep the day running smoothly. While there are a few sticking points, the whole set-up feels very well organised and slick. It certainly puts your mind at ease and there are plenty of opportunities to ask questions from serving crew.
Don’t expect the crew to give a warts and all account of the job – they are realistic and don’t shy away from the fact that the job is hard but they are there mainly to sell the airline and opportunities it offers.
The Recruitment Process
On this point, the recruitment process hasn’t changed all that much – there are a few cosmetic changes and they’ve tried to make the English test a little harder but on the whole, it’s pretty much the same process as I’ve written about here…
What Went Wrong?
Unfortunately, like most airlines, Etihad doesn’t provide individual feedback – a fact that they are at pains to point out. It’s, therefore, a little difficult to pinpoint what exactly went wrong on this occasion but if this happens to you then I would highly recommend reviewing your performance.
Try to do this when the events are still fresh in your mind and then revisit this process several weeks later. It can sometimes be hard because the event is filled with so much disappointment but it’s essential if you want to develop yourself.
On this occasion, I know my performance in the verbal comprehension test was poor – I hadn’t prepared as much as I should have done and this is something I definitely would work on if I attended another Assessment Day.
Who Got Picked?
We’ll never know for sure what particular skills the recruiters were looking for on the day but there were some themes. On this occasion, most shortlisted candidates…
- Spoke at least two languages
- Had previous experience as cabin crew (both full-service and low-cost)
I was certainly one of the oldest candidates at this Assessment Day – could this have played a part in being rejected on this occasion? Well, Etihad doesn’t actually ask for your age at the initial application but this does become apparent once you’ve handed over documents like your passport at the Assessment Day. Shortlisted candidates were mainly in their early 20’s but that’s not to say that Etihad is excluding older candidates.
Remember, the skills that recruiters are looking for at a particular Assessment Day can change based on their needs at that point in time. The fact that Etihad is looking for candidates with cabin crew experience, though, would suggest the airline is trying to reduce training costs.
How did you find your Etihad Assessment Day experience? Did you notice anything different?
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.