What the recruiter won't tell you (about flight attendant jobs)


There are many guidelines out there nowadays to instruct the flight attendant candidate in how to apply for an airline job. But few will tell you some of the underlying truths about why some do not get hired.

Many variables enter into the recruitment equation. It is not only a matter of how well you answer questions or how classy the clothes you wear to the interview. True professionalism requires forethought, planning and basic common sense. In order to project a refined appearance, it is important to remember the "little things" that can keep you apart from the rest and hold you back in your pursuit of your goal.

Aside from the usual requirements, there are things that you need to know about flight attendant interviews that no one will tell you. It is acceptable to apply if you have less than perfect vision or a little bit of an overbite, but if your teeth are exceptionally crooked, yellow or out of alignment, this is may be looked upon unfavorably.

Airlines consider the flight attendant to be along the front lines in conveying the corporate image. There is nothing that is more of a turn-off than someone who is very obviously in need of dental care, and it is imperative to choose people who possess a healthy and polished image.

Have your teeth cleaned prior to going to the interview and consult your dentist about any necessary cosmetic dentistry you may need, such as repairing any noticeable gaps or missing teeth. If you need your teeth capped or bonded and have been putting it off, now is the time to do it.

Another item that is often overlooked is the scar. If you have a small but noticeable scar on your face, hands or arms, it is not necessary to worry – few of us have baby-perfect skin. But if you have a larger or more obvious one, a cosmetic course of action may be in order. Try applying Dermablend to the scar. This product is what beauty pageant contestants use to cover imperfections, as it is an excellent concealer, and can be purchased at any major department store. If the scar is distractingly obvious, you may want to invest in some cosmetic surgery to improve your look. This is particularly important if you are interested in a flight attendant or any other customer service type of position where you are in the limelight.

Many people speak with an accent, whether it is a southern, northern, midwestern or a foreign one, and many times there are cultural differences in how we express ourselves. This, in itself, usually poses no problem. But the incorrect pronunciation of words or use of poor grammar will detract you’re your professional image and lessen your chances of consideration for employment as a flight attendant.

No matter how impeccably a flight attendant candidate is dressed, it can make a recruiter’s skin crawl to hear double negatives, slang words, cursing, mispronounced words or other such undignified grammatical errors.

This is the business world, and such indiscretions are not acceptable. Brush up on your speaking skills – take a class in public speaking or ask a teacher or an articulate friend to help you if you have trouble.

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Many airlines require flight attendant applicants to read a boarding card during the interview, to ensure that they have adequate verbal skills, so make it a habit to practice using correct speech in your daily life. If you have an obvious speech defect or a shrill, weak, monotone or otherwise annoying voice, this will also distract from your presentation.

Work with a speech therapist will improve a voice problem or speech defect and help you to overcome the problem. All these things can interfere with your professional life in the workplace.

An unprofessional resume with obvious gaps or one that indicates an excess of "job-hopping" will not win you points with recruiters. Do your homework. If you don’t know how to construct a resume, get help from a professional. It’s not brain surgery, but there are things you need to include and certain ways to best showcase your experience.

If your hair needs coloring, do it before the interview! Brassy, unnatural colors and roots that are showing are also bad news. Consult a colorist if you have difficulty managing your hairstyle or color. There is no excuse for telltale roots or a bad hairdo ruining your looks, especially since it is so easily fixed. If you leave something like this undone, it says to the interviewer that you don’t care enough to bother. Big poblem, easy solution. ‘Nuff said!

Check yourself in a mirror before you go into an interview. There is no reason why you would enter this type of situation with food between your teeth, a mascara smudge on your cheek, a slip that shows or lipstick on your teeth, so take a quick peek in the mirror first.

Airlines really do consider how their image is perceived to the flying public. If an employee’s persona detracts from that company’s image, the company will not be interested in having that person represent them to the public. Doing what it takes to get ahead in the business world will not only land you the job of a lifetime, but will give you a more confident and self-assured outlook on the future.

---By Wendy Stafford, a former flight attendant and president and senior consultant at Airline Inflight Resources, a professional interview coaching company devoted exclusively to airlines. Visit her website at http://www.airlineinflight.com

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