Sarong kebaya, red nails, a neat bun and a mega-watt smile.
As a young girl, I used to aspire to be one of those poised SQ girls clad in the iconic kebaya – to be part of the crew, and to globe-trot for a living. To many around me, it was but a high-class waitressing job; to me, it was an esteemed desire to provide world-class service in Singapore Airlines, and an opportunity to see the world.
When I finally turned nineteen, I mustered all the courage i had, and together with two other girlfriends, we went for the SIA cabin crew interview. So what is it that the interviewers at Singapore Airlines look out for, and what qualities must you possess to be recruited? We were as clueless as you might be now.
Honestly, there is no one manual that will provide model answers and step-by-step guides on how to ace the many rounds of interviews, but there is a certain formula and things to adhere to. Here, I share with you 8 tips on how to prepare for SIA cabin crew interview based on my own experience, alongside stories from many other friends who are part of the prestige cabin crew team.
#1 WHAT TO WEAR FOR SIA CABIN CREW INTERVIEW
This is something that always bothers every candidate the night before. Is there a rule on what to wear? Not really, but just don’t turn up looking all flippant in shorts and slippers.
As with regular interviews, most candidates play safe with formal wear like shirts and pencil skirts or pants, and with court shoes or polished leather shoes. Some look corporate-sleek with a shift dress and tailored blazer, some with polo tees and jeans.
My take is to be presentable, and to wear your confidence on your sleeve. For the ladies, makeup is essential because it is a form of respect, but keep it classy and minimal. No gaudy eyeshadow colours and overly long false lashes. For the gentlemen, snip off that extra long fringe, and keep your hair to the side without covering too much of your face.
#2 WHAT TO BRING ALONG FOR SIA CABIN CREW INTERVIEW
The usuals – your portfolio of certificates (everything. I’ll tell you why in a bit), application form (to be filled up before you go for the first round), a few passport photos, your identification documents, a pocket mirror (so that you can always check on how you look), lipstick to touch up, a lightly-scented perfume/ cologne, a book to read while waiting in between, and your confidence.
And why I’d say to bring along all your certificates is because apart from that impressive degree you thought would be the only paper the interviewer is going to look out for, you’d never know what your miscellaneous “accolades” would help blow your trumpets in the most unassuming ways! My interviewer was so impressed with my merits in classical piano and distinctions in music theory that he spoke about how he had such admiration for people who are well-versed in music and poised when playing the piano!
#3 THE FIRST AND MOST CRUCIAL ROUND OF INTERVIEW
This is one big chance to make (or break) an impression during the SIA cabin crew interview. And believe me when I say many kiss their chances of being a crew goodbye at this seemingly easy first round.
You go in to the room in groups of ten or so, and you are given a minute each to do a self-introduction. The chief interviewer will tell you the things he wants to hear, together with a random question. The norm is to introduce yourself together with your age, your current or previous profession and your hobby.
Yes, your hobby. Said a HR manager that I had a brief chat with, “what you love doing and what you do in your free time speaks volume of your character.”
As for the random question, it is really up to the interviewer. The most common one, which was also the one I had to answer is, “Why do you want to be a cabin crew at Singapore Airlines?” Other questions I’ve heard of from friends and fellow candidates include, “what is your favourite colour and why?” “Have you had breakfast this morning? Do you think breakfast is important?” “Who is your favourite movie star?” and “what is your favourite country?”
Strike an impression in that one minute. Plan your speech in your head, and take a deep breath before you start. Project your voice; you have to be articulated. If you are quavering in your voice, do not panic or frown. Instead, apologise, smile and restart that sentence. Do not keep your gaze at only one interviewer (there are a few); look at all the people around you – both interviewers and candidates – and smile as you speak. And when you are done, thank everyone for listening.
#4 SKIN CHECK AND KEBAYA-FITTING
Do not worry a thing about having to be perfect. The interviewers have their ideals, and we do not know what exactly, so just smile and remain confident.
The skin check round will have a huge light shining at you while they examine your face, forearms and hands, and neck. But the routine differs from person to person.
And when you are ushered to the kebaya section, pick a size you think fits you best. Some girls from my round rummaged through the rack in such a distasteful manner that one of the interviewers frowned so hard. And because I was not fast enough, I was left with a L-sized set. But an assistant staff was kind enough to help me pin up the excess material, so all went well. I was asked to do a short walk around the room, and as much as it may sound awkward, you’d have to get the walk done with confidence.
Chin up, breathe in, and smile.
#5 ATTITUDE AND PERSONALITY TESTS
These come in a series of game tests, mostly with the interviewers standing at a corner to observe. Candidates are split up into groups for a game or two, and the objective is really to assess how much of a team player you are.
So whether you win or lose the game does not determine your success for the round. More importantly, focus on your communication with your team members – all of whom you are not acquainted with. This is a simulation of how your future work environment would be, when you’d always have to work with strangers and people you meet for the first time. And your interviewer really wants to find out if you are a leader or a follower.
#6 FAQS ABOUT Q&A ROUNDS
There will be one-to-one interviews and debate-style group interviews for Q&As.
The former is a casual session where you’d be seated with one interviewer – of whom might be an interviewer from the first round, the one you’d have to leave a crucial first impression with – and he/ she will have you read a passage out loud before chatting with you. He/she may ask about your family, or your travel experiences. It may also be about your career, or the subjects you excelled in at school. Just relax, and think of it like a passenger making small talks with you.
The latter is usually left for the last round. The panel of interviewers may cast a scenario, and you’d have to share your views and how you’d handle the situation. Always be polite; raise your hand and make your speech after the interviewer gives you the permission to do so. Should you want to disagree with a fellow candidate’s statement and make a rebuttal, begin with “thank you for sharing your point of view. I thought if this was to happen, I would…”
And of course, when the dialogue is over, thank your interviewers before making your exit.
#7 HOW TO EARN BONUS POINTS
There are little things you can do along the way to make an impression – subtly, of course. Take the chance to hold the door open for others as you enter and leave the interview room. Show that you are really interested in listening when others speak. I’ve seen candidates using their phones when others are making their introduction, and they never made it through that round. The interviewers may walk around the holding areas, so do not be caught digging your nose or sitting with your legs up.
#8 WORDS THAT MAY HELP
Whenever you can and whenever there is a need to, say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’. The power of such positive words reflect very well on your mannerism – one vital attribute that all cabin crew must possess. Words like ‘I believe’ and ‘I understand’ convey confidence and politeness as well.
And at any one point in time, do not attempt to be bossy or vulgar. This guy who was in my group for the games round exclaimed a very loud “bloody hell!” when we missed a tile. How very classy. Another “leader” in my debate round was overly eager to impress at every possible minute and was eventually instructed by the interviewers to “take a break and let the other candidates speak.”
Like you, I was clueless before my SIA cabin crew interview and I didn’t know how to prep myself. I tried googling for tips and things to look out for, but nothing much came up. Over the years, friends have shared so much with me about their respective interview experiences, and every so often, I have friends and aspiring young people coming up to me and asking for tips on how I aced mine.
With this, I hope you have a better understanding of what to expect for the different stages of SIA cabin crew interviews, and to prep yourself for that important day.
As for me, you may wonder if I eventually made it through the grueling rounds. I did, much to my delight. But I never joined the force at Singapore Airlines, because of a prevailing health condition. If you are medically unfit, go for your checks, have your doctor certify that you are fit to fly, and bring the relevant supporting documents along.