You’ve worked diligently on your resume, crafted a convincing cover letter and you have three sure-fire personal references who can vouch for your character as well as state that you are an invaluable worker. Together, all three steps can go a long way to helping you get your next job, but there is one area which you must still master — the job interview. Lest you think that interviewing is a walk in the park, you must be prepared to answer some behavioral questions about yourself, including tough questions designed to reveal to the interviewer whether you are right for the job or not.
You Have Everything Down Pat But The Interview Questions
Showing up at the interview on time and being impeccably addressed are pluses as are having copies of your resume and references available. However, interview questions are something you cannot control so you must master the way that you respond.
Although many airlines offer first round group interviews to screen out candidates, you will likely have a one-on-one interview with a human resources administrator or flight attendant supervisor at some point in the process. If you do, the following types of questions — tough questions at that — could be asked. Please read on, but don’t worry — I’ll share some hints with you on how to respond.
What would you do in such and such situation?
, these types of questions are designed to find out how you would respond in a particular situation. Don’t worry about getting the answer right if you aren’t certain what the answer is — your interviewer wants to know how you think through problems.
Has your experience working with the public prepared you for a job as a flight attendant?
This can seem like a simple yes/no answer, but that isn’t what your interviewer wants. Instead, give an example: While working at Big Box retailer, when a customer had a problem I made sure that I answered the question to their satisfaction. I believe my personal attention to customer needs while working in retail is the same attention I will give to airline passengers.
Brilliant — you gave an example that clearly demonstrates what you can do for the airline and you based it on your past experience.
Please tell me the reasons why you want to work for XYZ Airline?
An open question
means you should respond with a definitive answer. Craft your answer carefully and give two or three reasons — avoid rambling or straying off the topic. Learn some important points about the airline and use those points in your answer. For example, “XYZ has the highest level of customer satisfaction of all U.S. air carriers. I am passionate about serving people and want to associate myself with a clear winner.”
Do you know CPR?
Closed questions leave little doubt that you should give either a yes or no answer as the interviewer is trying to assess your skills. You may be asked follow up questions to elaborate your answer. For example when asked specifics about your training you could respond: “I completed CPR training in 2004 with The Heart Fund, but I haven’t renewed by certification.”
I noticed you attended college from 2003 to 2005. What courses did you take? Why did you drop out and what are you future educational plans?
Multi-part questions are common and sometimes difficult to answer immediately. If you are not certain what the questions were, then ask for a repeat. Or, answer the first questions and then follow up with a, “would you please repeat the second part of your question for me?”
The STAR Technique
Career experts use a simple way to help people respond to behavioral questions, what they call the STAR technique
Situation — describe the situation.
Task — what problem did you face?
ction You Took — what action did you take?
Result — what was the result of your action?
It can be helpful to practice answering anticipated questions prior to your interview date. If you aren’t sure what those questions will be, please remember that the details you share about yourself on your resume, cover letter or job application will hold some of those questions, while the remaining ones you’ll have to answer as presented to you. Simply respond to every question intelligently, clearly and with brevity and you’ll come across as someone the airline may want to hire.
For a humorous look at blowing your interview, please read You Can Guarantee You Won’t Get Hired
for tips on how to not get that job!
Photo Credit: Maarten Uilenbroek, Netherlands