How to ace the cabin crew telephone interview

How to Ace the Cabin Crew Telephone Interview

There are more cabin crew applicants than ever applying for the limited number of positions available.  In the past, candidates could expect to submit an application and then be invited to an assessment day.  Nowadays, there is an additional hurdle to jump – Some airlines have introduced a video interview whilst others have gone for the cabin crew telephone interview.

If you don’t feel confident about talking to a recruiter on the telephone or simply don’t know what to expect then don’t fear.  This guide has been put together to give you the very best chance of success.

Airlines are constantly evolving their assessment procedures so there is no definite list of what will be included in the telephone interview.  However, with a little prior preparation, you can be ready and confident to face any challenge come the big day.

What Are the Pros of a Telephone Interview?

Telephone interviews are undoubtedly more effort for candidates but there are plenty of good reasons why you should embrace this extra step in the recruitment process:

  • What other interview have you ever been in where you could refer to notes?  In a telephone interview, you can do exactly that,
  • Unlike a recorded video interview, you actually get to speak to a real human being and take immediate feedback from cues in the pitch and tone of their voice,
  • You don’t have to travel anywhere!  One of the biggest annoyances of cabin crew applicants is the expense of travelling to an Open Day only to be rejected in the first round.  There’s no such expense with a telephone interview,
  • You can save your best business suit or dress for the actual assessment day – If you don’t want to get dressed up then you don’t need to (although some telephone interviewees like to dress up to get in the right frame of mind).

Immediately Before Your Interview

Obvious yes, but once you’ve been invited to a telephone interview, log on to your candidate profile with whatever airline you have applied and double check that your telephone number is recorded correctly.  If you live in a different country from the where the airline is based ensure your country code has been included.  You don’t want to annoy the recruiter before you have even spoken to them by making him or her research the correct number to contact you on.

On the day of the interview and if you are using a mobile/cell phone, ensure that it is 100% charged and within an area of good signal.  You’ll need to be somewhere that is quiet and undisturbed for between 30-45 minutes.  Turn your phone to silent and make sure that friends, family members or even work colleagues know not to interrupt you.

You’ll need to have an updated version of your resume to hand, as well as a pen and paper to record any important information.

What Will be Included in the Interview

Topics covered in a cabin crew telephone interview differ slightly from airline to airline.  However, you should prepare for the following basic subjects to be covered:

  • Why do you want to be cabin crew?
  • What do you think the role of cabin crew is about?
  • What do you know about the airline you are applying for?
  • Examples of work experience relating to cabin crew competencies.

You might also be asked to briefly introduce yourself.  This can be a daunting question that can leave interviewees perplexed as how to answer.  Stay professional and focus on the role you’re applying for:

State your education, summarise your professional experience and explain the skills you possess.  Describe how they all come together to make you the ideal candidate for the role as cabin crew.

Unlike a normal interview, you can have notes written down and in front of you so there’s no excuse not to have prepared answers to these likely questions.  It is far better to prepare for a question that is not asked than to be asked a question you have not prepared for.

How to Answer Competency Based Questions

Expect two to three questions that relate to important cabin crew competencies:

  • Customer Service
  • Team Work
  • Resilience
  • Problem Solving
  • Conflict with coworkers

The easiest way to answer these questions is by using the SOAR model:  Describe the situation and your objective.  Then go into details about what actions you took and what the result was.

There are far more details about the SOAR model here: SOAR to Success at Your Cabin Crew Final Interview

How to Speak with the Recruiter

One of the most important ways we make judgements about someone is to observe their body language and demeanour.  During a telephone interview, the recruiter loses this ability to effectively judge you for the great candidate that you are.

You’ll need to make up for this by using the pitch and tone of your voice to strengthen your personality.  Add emphasis to keywords that you want the recruiter to pick up on.  Remember, have a big smile throughout the interview as this will naturally alter the way you sound over the telephone.

How Much to Say

It’s important to give detailed answers but don’t try to fill silences by over talking.  Once you have answered a question, remain quiet and give the recruiter a chance to speak.  Simple questions may only require a “yes” or “no” answer.  Give a short, friendly answer and resist the temptation to carry on talking unless you really need to add additional information.

What Else Might Come Up

This will be the first opportunity the recruiter has had to talk to you about the resume you submitted with your application.  If you have any glaring omissions, big gaps between employment or a huge change in career then be sure to have the answers ready.  Know your resume inside out.

Towards the end of your telephone interview, you’ll likely be asked if you have any questions.  Show interest and take this opportunity to ask a pre-prepared question.

If the recruiter has introduced him or herself then be sure to use their name when you thank them and wish them a good day.

Coming Soon: How to Ace the Cabin Crew Video Interview


Mateusz Maszczynski

Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.

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