Saturday, 26 July 2014

Cabin Crew Assessment Day at British Airways.

Hi guys, I just thought I’d write about my experience of the Assessment Day and hope that it provides a guide to prospective cabin crew as to what to expect!

I arrived at Waterside in my chiffon shirt, black jacket and pencil skirt and of course, my hair in a doughnut bun. We signed in at the desk, sat down and completed the height and reach check. This was to make sure we were between 5’2 to 6’1 and able to reach a height of 6’8. Your feet had to be flat on the floor and your hand able to grip and rotate on a metal bar with no shoes. They also made sure we could fasten and un-fasten the seatbelt in a jump seat to ensure our physical size was appropriate. 

After being divided into Gatwick Fleet and Mixed Fleet, we sat down and were spoken to by the recruitment team. We watched a powerpoint about the job and what to expect. It is at this moment when it really sinks in that you were chosen out of thousands of applications and how badly you want the job. Before the Assessment Day, I had already accepted a job elsewhere, and thought that had I not been successful, it wouldn’t have been the worse thing in the world. However, after the presentation, there was nothing I wanted more. 

Stage One: (exercises which all applicants completed in different orders). 

  1. My first exercise was the multiple choice questionnaire. Honestly, it was mostly common sense questions. There were a few questions that were a bit more difficult, but earlier whilst chatting to the recruitment team, we were given a few answers. Hint: There was no need to revise or prepare anything for this exercise. 

  2. My second exercise was the role-play task. I was fortunate that I was sitting with a group of applicants that had all completed their role-play exercise first and spoke about it, so I was able to prepare myself. I was sent into a room and asked to read a sheet of paper with the instructions on it. I was then asked to read it out aloud. I made sure to speak loudly and clearly as I knew this was a mini-test to test my ability at cabin announcements. My role-play was that I was a waitress who had to deal with a customer(the assessor) who wasn’t happy and wanted to swap dishes from two different set menus. My task was to try and come up with a solution without going against company policy but also making sure that the customer was happy with the solution. Hint: Make sure you remember exactly what was written on the sheet you are given at the start because you won’t be able to look at it again. It will give you information that you can use to your advantage during the role-play.

  3. My last exercise of the morning was the group exercise. We were in groups of about 5/6 and had to discuss the design of a uniform for an entertainment company. There were different options based on price, warmth, wash options, time to make etc. Once we had all agreed on the choices for the different clothing options, we were then given an additional piece of information. We once again had to all agree on new options for the uniform based on the new information received. Hint: In this task, they are looking for team-work. Don’t try and be the person that speaks the most and won’t let anyone else talk, but don’t be the quiet one either. Use phrases like ‘I really like that idea’ ,’that’s a really good point’ ,’i agree with…’, ‘what does everyone think’, ‘do we agree that…’. Also, never cut of someone when they are speaking. Use a lot of non-verbal communication tools too: nod, make eye-contact, use positive body language and gestures. 

And that was that for the morning. We then had to sit there whilst the recruitment team marked up our scores for the morning. It was the longest 45 minutes of my life! Finally, half the group were taken to a room and told they didn’t make it through whilst we were told that we had survived. We had a quick lunch break and then it was straight into stage two: the 2:1 interviews.

Stage Two: (2:1 Interview).

There were about 6 assessors in the afternoon that called us in one by one. I was one of the last people to be called so I had to endure a few hours of anxiety. During that time, I was asked to fill in a security questionnaire. I was finally called in, and sat down in front of two members of recruitment.  Overall, the interview lasted around 25-30 minutes. They asked general questions like ‘why do you to work as cabin crew for british airways?’, ‘what is your understanding of the gatwick fleet?’, ‘how will you cope with the lifestyle?’, ‘why do you think you’ll be good at this role?’. However, most of the interview was based around ‘give me an example’ questions. ‘Give me an example when you gave excellent customer service’, ‘give me an example when you have had to take the lead/initiative at work’, ‘give me an example of when you have worked well in a team’, ‘give me an example when you have had to deal with an unhappy customer’, ‘give me an example when you have had to handle different cultural diversity in the workplace’. Overall, I believe I was asked around 12 questions. Hint: Make eye-contact, appear bubbly and happy, smile, don’t panic if you can’t think of an answer straight away, ask them to repeat the question, and take your time. Just relax. You’ve done the hard part and got through to the interview. As long as you let your personality stand out, have around 20 example questions prepared and don’t let the questions faze you, it’ll go well. 

And that was it. I shook the hand of my assessor, retrieved my passport from the front desk and left. It really wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be. Obviously, I was relieved it was over, but I met so many lovely people that day, that even if I hadn’t got the job, I still would have been glad I went.

Anyway, that was my experience! Hope it helps all you guys succeed. If you have any other questions about the AD, send me a message and i’ll do my best to reply as quick as possible!


Sunday, 20 July 2014

My Application Process for British Airways.

Having a job as Cabin Crew at an airline was something I had always thought would be such an amazing experience, but my dreams to be a Clinical Psychologist always took precedence. I have a couple of friends who are already Cabin Crew at British Airways and I would be forever whinging to my partner about the amazing places they are able to go. He always encouraged me to apply but since I have been quite academic, the thought that I could begin a career that did not involve the thousands of pounds I had just spent on a University degree, just didn’t feel right to me. 

Apparently, at some point in March, I must have thought ‘f*** it’, because I filled out an application anyway. At the time, I was sick and tired of my job and had seen someone on Facebook that day say that applications for British Airways Gatwick Cabin Crew were open. It was a sign. So there I sat on the evening of March 6th, filling in an online application form. I never thought for a second that when I submitted my application to British Airways, that I would be successful. 

After applying online, I tried to push the application to the back of my mind. I had a look on for the first few days after and was fascinated and a little obsessed by all the comments and stories of the whole application process. However, I didn’t want to get my hopes up so I stopped. I was also applying to a few other jobs at the time, so it wasn’t the only thing I was waiting on and pretty soon, I had completely forgotten I had applied. 

Now, lets fast forward to March 21st. I distinctly remember that I was out at dinner at a lovely Mediterranean/Moroccan restaurant with my partner. He had just gone to the toilet (my partner is a peeing machine and I’m pretty sure most important events always happens when he is in the bathroom), when my phone buzzed. A new email titled ‘Outcome for application for Gatwick Cabin Crew’ popped up. I already have a pretty unhealthy high heart rate but as soon as I read the email title, I’m pretty sure my heart rate tripled. At the time, part of me didn't want to open it and read the possible rejection in the middle of a happy evening out. The other part of me needed to read the email as quick as possible. I was so nervous but I couldn’t ignore the message any longer. As I had a few minutes to myself, I was able to read and digest the email alone.  But I needn’t have worried, It was a CONGRATULATIONS email! I had passed the screening process and would be invited to an assessment day in due course. I proceeded to spend the rest of the dinner chatting about how I wasn’t going to get my hopes up because I still had to pass the Assessment Day, even though secretly, I was dying of excitement inside! It was like the world had opened up right in front of me. I think I proceeded to spend everyday for the next few months looking up every Cabin Crew blog I could find, reading about peoples adventures around the world.

After my congratulations email in March, a whole month went by with no contact from British Airways. I was starting to get paranoid that they had sent me the email out by mistake! Finally, on the 24th April, I was leaving work and checking my emails when I got an email with two available Assessment Days for the 1st and 2nd May. I quickly booked myself onto the 1st May whilst sitting in my car. I suddenly realised I had less than a week to prepare! Ahhhh! Luckily, I only had a couple of days left working as I had handed in my resignation two weeks previous. I didn’t have to pull a sickie and I was also free to do some research on British Airways and prepare for the 2:1 interview. 

So the day came and went (post on the Assessment Day to come) and I was left stewing in my own thoughts about my performance. Not having to go to work was nice but it also meant that I had a never ending week after my Assessment Day, refreshing gmail every 5 minutes, waiting for my outcome email! I had read from a variety of people on that they received their outcome email within 2 days, whereas management tell you it could be up to 8-10 days, depending on admin. Nevertheless, I was never away from my phone or laptop for those 7 days! On the 8th May, I finally got my golden email saying I had passed the Assessment Day and that British Airways were offering me a position. I still can’t believe it to this day! 

I’ve put in a timeline to give you an idea of how long the whole process took:

Online application completed: 6th March 2014
Online application outcome: 21st March 2014
Available Assessment Day email: 24th April 2014
Assessment Day: 1st May 2014
Assessment Day outcome: 8th May 2014

So all in all the process from start to finish took around 2 months!

Thanks for reading,

The Start of the Beginning.

Currently, I am waiting to begin my training as Cabin Crew for British Airways. But how did I get here?
Let’s rewind a bit and I’ll try to explain my life leading up to today and the choices I have made along the way. My curiosity of the world all started when I was 8 when my parents moved our family to China for two years. At the time I was scared. I was leaving my friends behind to go live in a whole different country! I should add that I am half-Chinese (my mum is from Shanghai) so when I say a whole different country, it wasn’t a completely crazy ‘my parents are having a mid-life crisis’ move. So yep, we packed up our stuff and that was that. I was enrolled in an international school, and for the next two years, I mingled with students from pretty much all over the world. I loved it. I loved being half-Chinese but I was also proud to be British (well, until it came to International Food Day, and all we could come up with was shepherd’s pie).

But anyway, aside from living in China for two years, my parents also love travelling to different countries, so I was very grateful that I was able to travel to many different places
when I was younger. You could say I became a ‘passport stamp collector’. Something that recently caught my eye in a National Geographic article was the way in which we can associate something that is essentially a bit of ink, to a past memory.

“For travelers, a passport stamp is like a medal of honor: proof of places explored, adventures had, and lessons learned… Each page tells a story, or three, depending on how many stamps are squeezed in.”

When I flip through the pages of my passport, I’m instantly transported to various stages in my life: road tripping around California, petting kangaroos in Australia, riding on an elephant in Thailand, and relaxing with my friends in Dubai. Long story short, I loved/love going to different countries and experiencing the different cultures. It opened my eyes...well to the world outside of my four bedroom walls. So cliché...sorry!

Having been to different countries and experienced different cultures, I was able to see first-hand cultural differences (if you study A-Level Psychology, you’ll be a pro at understanding what I mean by ‘cultural differences’). I don’t think there was an essay I wrote that did not have those two words in. So, after two years studying for my A-Levels, I was excited to start a degree.  My previous curiosity of countries and their different cultures stemmed into an interest in studying mental functions and behaviours in a human and off I went to study Psychology at the University of Kent.

To put this all into perspective, my rambling essay is essentially my way of trying to explain to you guys some of the reasons why I chose to study Psychology at Uni (I say some of the reasons, because sometimes, I don’t even know why I picked it). Anyway, fast forward three years of a lot of drinking, working, studying and exams, I finally graduated in 2013 with a First-Class Honours degree. Wahoo. Yep, definitely the best three years of my life.

Now, you’re probably wondering how I went from graduating with a Psychology degree, to accepting a job as a cabin crew member. But, I think I’ve already written enough for today, so I think I’ll leave that for the next blog.

Speak soon and stay tuned,