The Interview Process – Part 3

Once you’ve successfully passed the video interview you’ll be invited to participate in an assessment day.

You’ll just need to access your online account via the Virgin Atlantic careers site and choose a date that is most convenient for you. Be warned, slots can fill up quickly, so try to be quick.

Even the phrase ‘assessment day’ strikes fear in the hearts of so many prospective cabin crew members, but seriously, this is really nothing to worry about – well, in my experience.

For my airline, all assessment days are held at ‘The Base’, which is the airline’s training facility in Crawley, West Sussex.

If you get through to an assessment day, please note that Virgin Atlantic can’t reimburse travel costs.

I’d highly recommend staying at the Premier Inn – Manor Royal if you can. It’s not the cheapest hotel accommodation in the area, but it’s certainly the most convenient.

I can’t count the number of nights I’ve spent in this hotel, but I’ve always found the staff to be great

As you’ll all know, assessment days are a popular recruitment method that is used to screen a large number of candidates at once (even if the airline has managed to whittle down the total number of candidates).

Virgin Atlantic occasionally change the format of their assessment days but the general principles remain the same.

In general – and from my own experience, the Virgin Atlantic assessment day will look something like this:

1) Introduction’s and presentation on the company and the role
2) Physical checks (e.g. ‘reach test’ and ability to fit in crew harness)
3) Group exercise
4) Reading and memory test
5) Final interview

The group exercises will usually be comprised of a problem-solving exercise – on my assessment day we were tasked with trying to work out which items we would take with us onto a desert island (from a long list).

We were split up into groups of five-six, and we were given about ten minutes to discuss how and why we should choose the items from the list.

The assessors will be observing how you speak to your counterparts, how you react to their ideas, and how you get your own opinions and ideas across.

It’s important to find the balance between ensuring you’re heard and ensuring you are listening to your peers – the occasional “that’s a great idea” will do wonders during this segment.

Once you’ve finished presenting, you will then move on to the reading and memory test. This is a very simple part of the day. Just ensure that you read clearly and carefully.

Virgin Atlantic will give every candidate shortlisted to the assessment day the opportunity to take part in the final interview. There won’t be the awkward ‘culling’ of candidate’s half-way through the day.

The interview will normally last between 25-40 minutes and takes place on the same date as the assessment day.

The interview will be made up of competency and behavioural based questions. You’ll need to have examples from your previous work experience that prove you possess the skills, qualities and competencies that the Virgin Atlantic recruiters are looking for.

It can take some time to gather the evidence and become comfortable with your answers.

Remember:

S – what was the situation that you found yourself in?

T – what was the task that needed to be completed to successfully bring the situation to a close?

A – what were the actions that you undertook?

R – what were the results of the task and the actions to bring about the end of the situation?

Once the final interview is finished, you’ll be shown your way back to reception and out of the door….

It’s time to relax and unwind…and wait….

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The interview process – Part 2

Well, after the leisurely first round of the recruitment process, the nerves started to kick in after receiving the following email:

“Congratulations, you are now onto the next stage of the Cabin Crew recruitment process!

Please read the following carefully:

So we can find out more about your skills and experience, we’d like to invite you to complete a pre-recorded video interview. The interview will last no longer than 20 minutes.

Please do not attempt to complete multiple interviews, this is monitored in our recruitment system and we can only except your first attempt.

We are looking for different answers in the video interview from your initial application, so please do not repeat answers from your initial application as these will be discounted.

We will be asking you to cover details of your employment history over the past 5 years covering any gaps, taking us up to your most current role. We will also look at your motivation for the role of Cabin Crew and some specific questions relating to your work experience.

All you need is one of the following:

•           PC or Laptop with a webcam

•           Tablet or a Smart Phone with a camera functionality (You will be required to download the WePow app)

If you do not have the equipment needed for the video interview please contact the recruitment team who will arrange a telephone interview for you. Please note you cannot do both a video and telephone interview.

It may take longer for us to arrange a telephone interview for you so we really do encourage you to complete the video interview.

If not completed by the above date we will assume you no longer wish to be considered for this role and withdraw your application.

Once you have submitted your completed video interview the recruitment team will be in touch as soon as possible to advise you of the outcome and the next steps in the recruitment process. We thank you for your patience awaiting our response this may take up to 3 months depending when you submit your video.

We really look forward to finding out more about you and your experience…….

Best of Luck!!”

How exciting; but nerve-wracking!

The idea of completed a pre-recorded interview definitely put me at ease, but the thought of only having one attempt definitely ramped up the pressure to get it right.

That said, it would certainly feel much more like a real-life interview, and I just thought of the process as a ‘practice run’ for a potential assessment day.

More and more airlines seem keen to move toward the medium of video interviews. It allows them to get a better understanding of the candidate that they’re interviewing – as well as getting to see how you present yourself.

You may well have seen lots of hints and tips on how to do the ‘perfect’ video interview, but I would honestly not put too much pressure on yourself.

Just ensure that you’re groomed to the standard you would at any interview, and dress to impress (yes, top to toe); this will ensure you’re really in the interview mindset.

Also, please ensure that all of your technology works before you begin the process.

With my airline, before the main event, the system will let you test lighting and sound before you commit, so if you can, use this time to ensure that everything is satisfactory.

When I clicked ‘start’ on my video interview, I was genuinely so nervous, however, with all of my examples and stories in my head (and some well-placed notes on the table in front of me), it was all relatively painless.

At the start of each question, the ‘interviewers’ would appear on screen and ask the question. Once finished, a 30 second countdown would appear, after which, the system would automatically begin to record.

I actually found that I clicked ‘begin now’ for each of my answers, as I really didn’t need the full 30 seconds – and just wanted to dive in with my answers!

Each answer session would record for 2 minutes, so really not enough for any waffle.

I can’t quite remember all of the questions off verbatim, however, they were something like this:

“What if your understanding of the role of cabin crew?”

“When have you showed amazing customer service and really “wowed” a customer?”

“When have you worked well as part of a team or group, what was the situation that you had to overcome?”

“When have you overcome a stressful or difficult situation?”

As you can see, these were fairly basic questions.  

Again, I cannot stress enough how helpful I find the S.T.A.R method when trying to get all of my ideas and points across when answering interview questions.

As per my last blog post, this is broken down:

S – what was the situation that you found yourself in?

T – what was the task that needed to be completed to successfully bring the situation to a close?

A – what were the actions that you undertook?

R – what were the results of the task and the actions to bring about end of the situation?

You may have your own system for answering interview questions too; I’m just speaking from personal experience.

Once the final answer session finished, the system automatically closed and submitted the interview.

After a few days of pumping myself up to the video interview, it was literally over in about 14 minutes total.

I received an email 3 weeks later inviting me to the cabin crew assessment day – this was it – the final hurdle in the interview process.

Up next: The Interview Process – Part Three

The Interview Process – Part One

A career as a cabin crew member (or flight attendant) is one of the most sought-after in the world.

Competition is always fierce and statistically, it’s often claimed that it’s easier to get into Oxford or Cambridge than bag a job with some airlines – such as Virgin Atlantic.

That said, the online part of the application is something that you can really enjoy completing.

If you have decided on the airline, I would recommend setting aside some time to really research the airline before you start answering any questions.

It’s a great idea to try and understand the ‘culture’ of the airline; “what do they stand for”, “what is there mission”, “what proposition do they offer for their customers”, “what values do they look for in their employees”?

The culture of British Airways and Ryanair will be poles apart from example.

By doing a bit of research, you can start to tailor your application answers more uniquely to the airline; and even use “buzz” words that will really stand out to the recruitment team.

I was a little daunted at the application questions for my airline, but by giving myself plenty of time to think of some great examples, as well as being aware of what the airline was looking for, I actually ended up really enjoying this part of the process.

The questions that were in my online application were:

“Please highlight to us your suitable skills and experience and why you believe you would be a great addition to our Cabin Crew team (maximum 300 words)”

“We pride ourselves in delivering irresistible experiences that our customers love. We are known for doing things differently and being industry leaders, connecting our customers to their favourite destinations and also to keep them coming back. Please tell us, in no more than 300 words, about a specific time when you have had to use your initiative to exceed a customer’s expectations going above and beyond to deliver a fantastic customer service that you were really proud of. In your answer, we would like you to outline the situation, tell us what you did and how the customer reacted to the incredible service that you delivered and why you were proud.”

As you can see, there was only really one question that required specific examples of providing great customer service – most other airlines will have a few more questions, but I can only speak from my own airline.

I’m sure you all have fantastic examples that would work, it’s really important to fully answer the questions and have a story that is tailored to the situation.

Start thinking of all of the “stories” in which you have gone above and beyond wth your customer service; where you have exceeded all expectations; a time that you worked well under stress; about the time that you worked well as part of a team….I could go on.

The more of these that you have in your catalogue, and the more you think of them, the easier they will come to mind, and the easier you will find in adapting them!

When answering any interview question, the S.T.A.R method has always worked for me.

This is broken down like this:

S – what was the situation that you found yourself in?

T – what was the task that needed to be completed to successfully bring the situation to a close?

A – what were the actions that you undertook?

R – what were the results of the task and the actions to bring about the end of the situation?

Apply this method to every “story” you have, and you’ll be fine!

After spending about a week on my application, and really thinking about my ‘stories’ and ensuring that I had successfully answered the questions I submitted my application.

After waiting four days, I received an email from the airline congratulating me on successfully making it through to the next round – the video interview!

Up next: The Interview Process – Part Two