Mastering the Flight Attendant Interview With Southwest Airlines
Becoming a flight attendant can be a fun and rewarding job but getting the job can be one of the most stressful experiences you’ve ever had, that is unless you know what to expect.
As competition in the commercial air travel space has increased and profit margins have decreased, airlines have either merged or gone bankrupt – Southwest Airlines is a survivor. As we go through the steps to become a flight attendant keep in mind some suggestions others who have endured the process offer “be honest and always keep the passengers in mind when answering questions.”
Step 1 – The Application
Southwest accepts resumes online. You have three options:
1. Upload your resume
3. Use the wizard feature
In addition to your resume you will be asked to complete a form requesting personal information and some general employment history. This part is pretty standard as far as job applications go. When finished you will receive a conformation code and that’s it.
Step 2 – The Call for a Group Interview
If your resume is powerful enough, you will bypass a phone interview or as they call it “a courtesy interview” and go directly to a group session. The first part of this interview is not really an interview but an introduction to the company, duties/expectations/wages, and things of this nature.
The real fun begins when the candidates are grouped (6 to 8) at a round table; each with one interviewer in attendance. The interviewer will present a situation to the group and observe the interaction among the group either in answering a question or solving a problem.
Group interviews can have hundreds of candidates in attendance. The purpose is to weed-out prime candidates for the one-on-one interview. It’s impossible to be specific on what the interviewer is looking for, but some of the general traits seem to be: good under pressure; articulate; courteous; solution oriented.
Step 3 – One-on-One Interview
At this stage of the interview process you will be under the microscope. You must be prepared to answer questions, but what kind of questions?
Many of the questions pertain to past behavior because…this gives indications to future behavior. Here are some of the questions you can expect to be asked:
1. How do you handle stress?
2. Recall a stressful situation in the past, and how did you handle it?
3. Describe the circumstances when you had to make a quick decision
The airlines, through this line of questioning, is looking for people who are a good fit for the position. If hired, the employee will go through several weeks of training and the airline will invest a great deal of time and money on this training. So, through this interview process, they are out to find the person best fit for their program.
The key characteristics they are looking for:
1. Candidates who are friendly
2. Candidates who can work in a team environment
3. Candidates who are customer service oriented
4. Candidates who can handle stress
5. Candidates who are solution oriented
The job of a flight attendant is predominantly a customer service position. It will be to your advantage to emphasize during the interview that you are that type of person. When appropriate, include in your answers the fact that you enjoy helping people. Remember – past experiences dictate future behavior – in the eyes of the interviewer anyway.
Be prepared for the standard background/medical/reference checks. No surprise here, these are common in this line of work.
Step 4 – Job Offer
Southwest Airlines uses the “targeted selection process” to qualify candidates for employment. As mentioned, if you are offered a position as a flight attendant then several weeks of flight attendant school will follow.
When you’re dealing with the public you not only have the awesome responsibility of caring for passengers normal needs, but you must also respond to emergency situations. Reverting back to the interview phase, interviewers look for one major characteristic – reactions without emotions. This is what training is all about, especially during emergencies. If the flight attendant cannot click into “autopilot mode” during emergencies then passengers lives could be in danger.
Smile, relax, keep your cool, prepare answers for some of the questions we have outlined for you, and you could very well be on your way to being the next flight attendant that Southwest hires in the future.
I hope this post gives you a good idea of what things look like behind the doors of Southwest Airlines. If you are serious about starting a career as Commercial Airline Flight Attendant, then read The Essential Guide To Becoming A Flight Attendant - Kiki Ward explains it all!
If you have any questions, feel free to comment below, of contact me here.