So…you’ve taken the leap of faith, and you’re going to build your wings on the way down! Out of your comfort zone, and you’ve applied for an amazing aviation role. Better yet, now you’ve been invited for an assessment centre! You are one step closer to the sky!
There are so many thoughts running through your head, it’s hard to process how you feel. What to wear? What to do, say and even think on the day will all be part of the application and decision making process. I can personally vouch when I say it is a long and tedious process, with amazing outcomes in the right situations.
Here are a few tips to get you going, so you’ll be preparing for departure in no time!
First Impressions Do Count
Whether you agree or not, you’ll have to accept that the aviation industry is largely based on branding and advertising. As Cabin Crew (or airport staff) you are, basically, a walking, talking, flying billboard for the company. This can be both a blessing and a burden, as it can be hard not to blur the line between company policy and your own identity. Part of the privilege and sacrifice of a role with such great benefits is image and uniform. This starts from your interview. If you arrive punctually, are well presented and polite, you are on the right track!
- Neat and tidy hair. Women: a bun or french twist is best, with no flyways or lumps. Men: cleanly shaven, with hair styled so that no parts of the style are noticeably shorter than others (ie do not have a number one on the sides and number 3 on top)
- Cover your blemishes! It is not important to wear thick, caked- on layers of makeup, but rather to cover your imperfections and accentuate your natural features with a few clever tricks. Even men can use a light sheen powder to eliminate redness and moisture if they are feeling a little flustered or sweaty.
- Business Attire is a must. For women, it’s best to wear a skirt or dress with stockings to show off your lovely legs! Remember, the role is largely based on image and that is from toes to nose!
- Jewellery: should be kept to a bare minimum. Try to avoid wearing necklaces and bracelets, you won’t be allowed to wear them with your uniform, and they can be distracting and look unpolished! Stick to one pair of modest earrings per ear, and wear a watch to keep track of time, and indicate your appreciation for punctuality (which should be a priority!)
- Tattoos: Unfortunately, if you have visible tattoos on your body (arms, hands, feet, legs, face, neck, ears, shoulders), most airlines will either refuse you, or alternatively make you remove/ cover them permanently. The same goes with piercings. The only acceptable ones as far as I am aware is one hole per ear. No nose, lip or eyebrow piercings need apply. If you have other areas pierces (such as navel) this is fine as you cannot see it in your uniform.
95%, actually no 100% of your role in customer service will be smiling. Hello smiles, goodbye smiles, I’m-sorry-sir-we-are-out-of-chicken smiles, unfortunately-the-flight-is-overbooked smiles, happy, sad, empathetic and possibly even pretend smiles. Your smile is something that is free to give and is worth millions! A little positivity and respect goes a long way, especially if you aren’t able to give people what they want. Smiling and being friendly in an interview situation places the other candidates and even the interviewers at ease, and shows you are mature, optimistic and bubbly even in stressful times, which will work in your favour!
If you struggle with public speaking, memorisation or speaking in front of large groups…I would practice. BIG TIME! There very well could be another 300 people in the room with you, and you might have to describe anything from your favourite meal to your best holiday, just as an ice breaker. Think about why you want the role, your past experiences, and what makes you different! Everyone else in the room may want the same job, but they aren’t YOU!
Many airlines use Behavioural Event Interviewing questions to determine past experiences and optimum candidate personality traits. Do your research, and think of a few examples in case you are caught off guard!
Come armed with ID, including a passport (if you have one), licence copies, birth certificate, student cards, bank cards , qualifications, certificates…EVERYTHING! if you progress to the next round, you may be asked to provide these things and it will be super handy (and professional) if you can provide them up front!
Also bring a water bottle, lunch, snacks, spare pair of stockings, bobby pins, make up, mirror, flat shoes (girls, wear comfortable yet professional heels!) and an umbrella. You may be asked to sit around all day whilst decisions are made, or even to have a lunch break where there is no lunch bar in sight. Alway be prepared for the best (a long day!) and the worst (a long day without lunch..)
Let It Go
Even if you are successful (yay!) you will still have to wait for the results/ next step/ final interviews/ medicals/ final approval…something. Once you have finished your assessment day, kick off your shoes, roll down those panty hose and have a glass of wine or a piece of chocolate. Go for a walk, clear your head and distract yourself. This whole experience is a huge waiting game that tests your strength of heart and your patience. You’ve made it this far, what will be will be and if you’ve done your best, that sounds pretty good too me!