A very long way to go.

by Nelson Caparas

A few weeks after I graduate, I decided to pursue my career in advertising where I can expand my interests in arts, communication and marketing, but the industry has an extreme level of standards I don’t even qualify for an entry level post. Firstly, the degree I finished is outside the organization and secondly, I have no experience yet. I applied to almost all of advertising firms (small and big companies) in Makati, Ortigas and Quezon City but to no avail. I had to let it go.

One of my best friends Yzelle influenced me to pursue my career in hospitality management and tourism. To be a Cabin Crew or perhaps work in a five-star hotel (here or outside the country) became my target, getting either of the two jobs I will surely be in a euphoric state. That is of course for obvious reasons, to travel the world while getting paid. After more or less, one month, I applied to one of the most trusted head hunters in the Philippines for a Cabin Crew post for Emirates Airlines. Unfortunately, I didn’t meet their standards. Yzelle, on the other hand, made it to Emirates Airlines.

So I decided to pause, figure things out and focus. I found a job and worked my ass off while improving my imperfections for the position I am rooting for. I want to become an international Cabin Crew, in a five-star airline, first class.

Whilst working as a Customer Service Associate for Telstra (an Australian Telecommunications Company), I’m attending job interviews, resume submission and assessments with different airlines. After two failed attempts with Emirates Airlines, I focused on myself entirely. I worked my ass out, lost a few pounds, worked on my skin and teeth. I always make sure I look good and pleasing.

Because when applying for a Cabin Crew post, even if it is just a resume submission, you always have to dress up like one. Always in business attire, as much as possible; for guys coat and tie, pressed polo, slacks and black leather shoes. For the ladies, hair in a bun, full make up, corporate attire with blazer and closed shoes.

Let me give you an idea about how they do the assessment. Information here are combined inputs from my experiences and my friends’ experiences.

Cebu Pacific (IATA Code – 5J)Cebu Pacific

* First thing that they are going to do is measure your height (while doing this, they are already observing your posture, face and self-confidence), if you meet their standards, they will get your resume and give you instructions on the next step.

* Second step will be the initial interview. Just like normal job interviews, they will ask you the usual interview questions (I bet you know what these questions are). And if you are qualified, you get to advance to the next level which is exam, so on and so forth.

I wasn’t able to reach the third step so I have no idea what happens after that but as far as I know, you are going to take a test and then next is final interview. And I guess a series of medical tests to make sure you are fit for the job. This is the normal routine for 5J’s assessment days and I attended their assessment day last year, I’m not sure if they still do the same thing.

AirPhil Express (IATA Code – 2P)

AirPhil ExpressYou can walk in anytime in the morning for the assessment, as long as they have openings for the Cabin Crew post (both male and female).

* Firstly, they will get your resume, will let you fill-out an application form and proceed to the initial interview. During the initial interview, the interviewer will ask you to stand in front of her and answer her questions briefly. As expected, just normal interview questions – you have to show the interviewer that you are confident and comfortable. Because the way she looked at me during the initial interview, it’s like I’m auditioning for American Idol. Normally they look very intimidating but don’t let them blow you away, don’t be scared, fight it. :)

* If you pass you get an hour break and proceed to the Executive Interview right away. You will be speaking with the HR Manager of AirPhil Express. The HR Manager checked my height, weight, knees, arms, hands, elbows and teeth before the interview starts. Situational interview questions will be asked so you have to be prepared for this one or perhaps be careful with words you’re going to use. Because this is where I failed. :D After a long “interrogation” I got a “thank you for your time” slip. I know what my mistake was, it was too little but too late as well. The next step will be written exam, after that you will start training. ;)

Philippine Airlines (IATA Code – PR)Philippine Airlines

This is one of my desired airlines to work for. If I can’t make it to Emirates Airlines, Etihad Airways and Qatar Airways, at least Philippine Airlines. I find them very elegant and classy. I sent my resume after my graduation but I never received any response from them. I do that religiously at least 3 times a year but to no avail. Last month, I tried it again, fortunately I got a call from them inviting me for an impact interview. During the call, the young lady I was talking to asked for my height, weight and if I have a perfect vision. To make sure that I am qualified and advance to the impact interview.

So what exactly an impact interview is? It is not the normal job interview,  you get to present and sell yourself. No questions from the recruiters. Before doing it, one of the recruiters will present in front of everybody about Philippine Airlines, the people, job, compensation and benefits. And also, what’s going to happen for that day. So here it is:

* You will fill-out an application form (the one that you get from the career page of their website) and attach the 2×2 picture. They didn’t ask for our resumes anymore since we applied online, they have a copy of it.
* One by one, we stood in front of everybody, introduced ourselves and told everyone something that we think is interesting about us (you can include here why you want to be part of PR, etc.).
* For guys, after the self-presentation, we were asked to walk towards the “judges” ;) show our arms and elbows, grin widely so they can see our teeth, smile and while smiling we were asked to face left and right. And then wait until everybody is done with the impact interview. For the ladies, they were asked to walk a few steps towards the recruiters, turn around, do the same thing (with the arms and smile etc) and they were asked to remove the coat/blazer to see their shoulders and arms and asked to wait until everybody is done.
* After the impact interview, they gave us slips where the results are.

There are 3 kinds of results:
1. The negative which means you didn’t meet their standards.
2. The conditional status which means they are considering you but you need to improve some aspects like your weight, skin and teeth and come back whenever you are ready.
3. And for medical, which means very good, apparently. You will advance to the next step which is the unofficial medical test. After this test and met their standards, you will be scheduled for an EPI or Executive Panel Interview where all of the executives of PR will assess if you really are qualified to be a PR Cabin Crew.

I didn’t meet their requirements. I anticipated the result though because I did something wrong during the self-presentation. ;)

Qatar Airways (IATA Code – QR)Qatar Airways

Qatar Airways always does Open Days in the Philippines at least 3 or 4 times a year. Some information here about the recruitment process are from my QR Cabin Crew friend.

Open Day – Registration and reach test. If you were able to reach the 212cm mark, you’re good to proceed inside the ball room. If not, your application will be rejected. Inside the ball room, you only have to pass your resume or cv (curriculum vitae) to QR Representatives, answer few questions from them and wait for them to contact you through a call or a text within the day if you are shortlisted and advance to the next level that always happens the day after the Open Day.

Assessment Day – Only those applicants who received the “golden” call or text (that’s what we call it) will be accommodated for this day. Walk-in applicants are not allowed. They are divided into two batches, one in the morning and another batch in the afternoon. For each batches, there are more or less 100 shortlisted applicants (male and female). An introduction about Qatar and Qatar Airways will be presented. After the presentation, you will be asked if you have questions or if there are things that you want to clarify before going for a 15-minute break. After the break, you will be answering different kinds of tests (reading, grammar, GMT, general, essay) which according to my friend and to those who were able to reach this part, is a very easy test. At the time of the test, applicants will be called one by one to do the reach test again and check if you have tattoos and visible scars. Once everyone is done with the test, you get a 30-minute lunch break before announcing those who were able to make it to the next level. Roughly 50 applicants will advance to group dynamics. For the group dynamics, they will just give you topics and discuss it with everyone in your team. While the discussion is happening, the recruiters are actually observing you, how you communicate and of course your leadership skills. After this activity, another elimination will happen and usually only 10 applicants advance to the next step which is the Final Interview.

Final Interview – A nerve wracking interview with the QR Representatives, situational questions and other stuff about aviation. It doesn’t happen right after the Assessment Day, it is a scheduled interview. Others get interviewed a few days after the Assessment Day while others don’t. Sometimes they schedule them for an interview after a month, it really depends on what’s going to happen.

If you pass all of these, you’re good to proceed to medical exam here in the Philippines. If everything goes well, you will be sent to Doha, Qatar for training. But before the training you will undergo another medical there to make sure you are fit for the job. If not, you need to pack your things up and go home. :(

I never get invited to attend Qatar Airways Assessment Day. I started attending their Open Days last year (October), my second attempt happened sometime in June, third was in July and last October 2nd was my fourth and last attempt for this year. I will be resting from attending Open Days of any airlines for now. Firstly, I have a new job which I think is really fun. Secondly, I will have my orthodontic braces on before the year ends. And thirdly, I just need a break. I’m not giving up though, like what Celine Dion said, “if you want it the most there’s no easy way out” (admit it, you sang it! lol). I will just take a break, improve myself more for two years and then try it again. I can never turn my back on something I really want. ;)

One day, I will click “I’ve done this” on “Become a Flight Attendant” bullet on my 43things account.


If you have questions/clarifications, don’t hesitate to ask.

And to all aspiring Cabin Crews out there like me, you might want to download this e-book: How To Become A Cabin Crew for more information on acing the interview, grooming, et al. You will need a .zip extractor to open the file. Enjoy! Fly with you soon!

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