Open House Interview – What to Expect

We have received several e-mails requesting information on what to expect at various airline Open House Interviews for an air hostess job. Here we will discuss current practices at a typical Open House interview, although format may vary by airline.

The Open House Interview (also called Open Interview Session or Job Fair) is a general information session for you and gives the airline a chance to screen a large group of potential candidates at one location. Sessions are scheduled after successful completion of an online pre-screening (invited) or may be open to anyone (uninvited). Open House dates are usually published on the airlines website.

There is normally a morning and afternoon session. If there is a choice, we recommend scheduling the morning session, since interviewers are freshest and friendliest in the morning. At the Open Interview Session, typically you will be asked to fill out a questionnaire and will be given a short speech about the airline by a flight attendant representative. Each person may be then be required to take a written, multiple-choice test, which includes some customer service questions. Those that pass the test will be asked to remain while the others are excused. The remaining group will be asked to speak or read in front of the group. Usually, the topic deals in some way with customer service. Resumes or applications are usually not collected at the Open House. Most successful candidates are advised during this session of their advancement to a second interview, although airlines have also been advising some candidates by mail. There are sometimes individual interviews at the Open House session.

Your presentation is very important during any Open House. Members should review the sections pertaining to interviewing, and “packaging,” i.e. dress, grooming and attitude in the Application Center. In addition, review all interview questions and our recommended answers, especially those pertaining to customer service.

What About Those Basic Requirements?

If you have ever considered the list of basic flight attendant requirements, you may have questioned some of them as they refer to you. In an attempt to clarify and simplify, some of these will be explained in more detail here, starting with the basics.

As a flight attendant applicant, you must be a high school graduate; if you do not have a diploma, a GED is sufficient. A college degree is not required, but you must have at least 2 years of college or 2 years experience working with the public. Airlines like to see stability – proof that you can finish things that you start is important when an airline is considering you for employment. They are also interested in any jobs you have had which show you are able to work well with the public.

You must have a clean background. Airlines perform a 10-year background check, so it is important that your resume does not contain any gaps. For security purposes, they need to know where you have been for the past decade, that you can account for your whereabouts. If you have a gap in which you were raising children as a stay-at-home mom or you were traveling for an extended period of time without employment, you will need to get a friend or acquaintance who can write a statement to vouch for your activities during that time. Included in the background check are drug screens; be aware that some substances can remain in the body for 30 days or more, and airlines are a no-tolerance industry when it comes to illegal drug usage.

When applying to an airline it is imperative that you have a valid passport. Most airlines now will not even interview you if you do not have a passport in your hand, even if that airline does not have international routes! The reason for that is, you could find yourself in a situation where you are involuntarily diverted to another country during flight. In some countries, you can find it difficult to get home or even seek contact with your homeland if you can’t prove your citizenship.

You must have an acceptable range of vision to work as a flight attendant. Vision must be correctable to 20/40 or better. Should you encounter an emergency situation, it is especially critical that you have good eyesight, as you will be better equipped to cope with any difficult conditions that may arise.

Airlines require you to be at least 18 years of age. Most require age 20 as a minimum, but several airlines accept 18- and 19-year-olds. Stressful situations may occur in-flight, and naturally, the more life experience you have had, the better your ability to handle the situation. Maturity and reliability are important attributes to airlines. Episodes such as inebriated customers, difficult personalities, medical problems and in-flight irregularities may transpire, and younger applicants can lack the skills necessary to deal with these unpredictable circumstances.

Airlines typically carry customers from points all over the globe, from all walks of life. While they welcome diversity in employees and truly need employees who can relate to people of diverse cultures, U.S. airlines require their employees to possess a good command of the English Language. Airlines very much appreciate bilingual employees, but they must be able to be easily understood by customers for the express purpose of being able to direct customers effectively during an emergency. Things happen quickly during crises, and flight crews must be able to communicate clearly and accurately.

Finally, airlines like to hire people who pleasingly project their company image. Beauty is not a prerequisite, but employees do need to be well-groomed and professional, with a positive attitude and pleasing personality. Flexibility is mandatory, and weight should be in proportion to height. The weight requirement is not so much for aesthetic reasons as it is a safety issue. A flight attendant must be able to fit comfortably on a very narrow jumpseat, seated alongside another flight attendant; be able to move easily down aisles that have become increasingly narrower, and be able to exit the small window exit openings. Flight attendants must be physically fit enough to work extended hours, lift at least 50 pounds, work while standing for prolonged periods, and deal with fluctuating schedules and working conditions. Being a flight attendant is hard work, and not a job for the faint of heart, but if you meet these requirements, you can be on your way to a fun career in the skies!

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