Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Singapore Airlines cabin crew interview process and stages - ( Updated Version - 2016 )

Hi everyone!

With the next intake just around the corner, I hope this article will provide useful insights into SIA interview process so that you can get a rough idea on what’s it like.

I guess everyone should be familiar with the rounds of interview on the first day by now. SIA usually conduct their interviews over the weekend; Assessment Day on Saturday & Management Round on Sunday. Sometimes if the turnout for the first day is huge, it may overrun till the second day. I’ve heard of cases but it has never happened to me before. I’ve attempted three times – twice in 2014 & my third attempt this year.

Registration falls between 0830hrs to 1400hrs. If you reach any time after 0800hrs, be prepared to be anywhere about Group 30 = 290 interviewees standing before you. Any time after 0900hrs and congratulations! You’re in the running towards becoming somewhere between Group 60-80, which is equivalent to 800 hopefuls in front of you. I arrived shortly after 0800hrs and my Debate Round got pushed to after lunch at 1300hrs. Do people really reach at 0700hrs? - You may ask. Likely.

In my first attempt somewhere in mid-2014, I was rejected by one of the checkers at Skin-check due to weight issues. I was 48kg (5’5”) at that time. It was so depressing because the checker didn’t give me any sort of chance to prove to her that I wasn’t weak. I just look weak to her. She asked if I was at least 50kg and when I told her I wasn’t, she said “Please eat more and try again next time. Thank you for your time.” At that time, I thought maybe she didn’t like me and was just looking for an excuse to boot me out. For obvious reasons, I asked if it’s possible to return to the Skin-check Round in the next intake but she rejected my idea.

Oh and before I forget, my question for the first round was: If you’ve a foreign friend visiting SG, where would you bring him to and why? I vaguely remembered I answered Clarke Quay because it’s beautiful in the day and night. And since SG is pretty much known as the lion city that never sleeps, Clarke Quay makes a relatively good nightlife hotspot. My friend and I could enjoy a drink or two and catch up with each other.

I remembered one of the girls said that she would bring her foreign friend out of Singapore and gave a long speech. No offence but, I felt that she didn’t comprehend the question at all. Clearly we were asked to bring our friend around SG and she initiated somewhere in Malaysia. If anyone tells you answers don’t matter, here is one good example. 

Your answers really don’t matter. The interviews are looking for confident speakers so wear your confidence and keep smiling. First impression is gold. One other gave Botanical Gardens as her answer but she gave a monotonous speech so she was booted out. Her answer was perfect though, but it just wasn’t engaging.

My second attempt was in Oct-2014. My question for the first round was: I’m sure many of you do have regrets in your life. Tell me a significant one. I told them my greatest regret in life is that I did not make a career out of my passion. I was passionate about skating but I only became competitive at the age of 17. I felt that I was already too old to make a career out of it HAHAHA. That really was a genuine regret in my life. 

I remembered 2-3 of them mentioned other sports eg. Running/Swimming/Tennis but they didn’t make it through to the next round. If answers really matter, I wouldn’t have gotten through as well. Some regretted not studying harder to become a doctor/lawyer etc. Whatever it is, the success rate for the first round is always around 50% in my opinion.

The next round was a basic check on height and documents (highest qualification certificate).

Skin-check Round

This time, I was asked a couple of questions about my life and my previous/current job. Expect questions like ‘What do you think of SIA cabin crew?’ ‘Why do you want to be a flight attendant?’ ‘Why did you leave your previous company?’ My take on this is: Just appear confident, and be sincere. I must admit I do have visible spots on my hands and arms but thankfully, they went unnoticeable even under spotlights. 

If you have visible scars, try concealer just before your turn. It works like magic! Make sure the concealer is in the right shade or else you may end up having to remove it if the checker notices it.

Debate Round

My question was: Do you think Singapore is a ‘fine’ city? We were given 2 minutes to discuss in 2 groups (3 to agree & 3 to disagree). I asked the interviewers what they meant by ‘fine’ as I wasn’t sure. Their reply: I could interpret it however I want it.

of very high quality; very good of its kind.
"This was a fine piece of film-making."

in a satisfactory or pleasing manner; very well.
"‘And how's the job-hunting going?’ ‘Oh, fine.’"

a sum of money exacted as a penalty by a court of law or other authority.
"A parking fine"

In the end, the argument went completely hay-wired. I had to agree that SG is a fine city and I went on blabbering about our low crime rate/govt. fine us for everything and that’s what makes us clean & green like Japan. I guess in a way imposing fines do make us a fine city LOL. Some went on to say SG is not a fine city because we have no landscape/only high-rises & pigeon holes a.k.a. HDBs. Note that during the 2 minutes of discussion, the interviewers are looking at each and every individual to see how well you work in a team, how much you are contributing, or if you are just sitting quietly and not communicating with the rest. After the intense debate, 50% made it to the next round.

Management Round
I don’t quite remember the waiting time but it was just as nerve-racking. When it was finally my turn, I remembered everything went on well and the interviewers were really nice and friendly. That was when I let my guard down and probably came across as being too casual? I was thrown questions like ‘What did you have for breakfast?’ ‘Why did you leave your previous organisation?’ ‘If we were to hire you, what attributes can you bring to our organisation?’ ‘Where do you see yourself in 5years?’ 

Many of them were hypothetical questions so that they can analyse and predict if you’re a potential #flyerforlife or just looking to join SIA #forthefunofit. SIA is looking to recruit those who are not only qualified but also someone who will not contribute to their already very high turnover rate. Haha.

To be honest, I only have myself to blame for giving a half-hearted answer because at that point in time, I was directionless and living life by day without a plan for my future. So even Gandalf would say the same to me, “You shall not pass.”

Of course, I was rejected, and dejected. I walked out of the place feeling so less of myself. I saw girls (who failed together with me) crying in the toilet, at the car park, on the phone. My disappointment was visible, but I decided that I shouldn’t feel miserable like as if it’s the end of the world. My partner was so happy I failed HAHA. So of course, when the ‘What Ifs’ were thrown out of the window, he was relieved that this whole episode was over. And then, he thought I'd given up so yay us, we get to prolong our r/s for the next two years before I went ahead for one last try.

It was my 3rd and final attempt at Pan Pacific Hotel in May 2016. I made a promise to myself that this would be my last. I feel that I could no longer handle rejections no more. Even though I was so tempted to go on trying forever till I get in, I know that my life shouldn’t just revolve around SIA interviews. I have to get my life back because me & SIA Interview = A toxic relationship. At the same time, I wouldn’t encourage anyone to try for more than 10 times because if you have to do that, it means that the job might not be right for you. 

Same theory as getting a driver’s licence: My relative failed her driving test for about 9 times before finally getting her licence on her 10th try! First month out on the road and she met with an accident. Sometimes, we fight so hard for the things we want in life even if it’s not right for us that we end up having to deal with the consequences before realising it’s too late.

First Round

Question: Tell us about your dream destination. Note that you will always have to do a short introduction of yourself so it’s always best to prepare ahead. A little preparation goes a long way. First impression counts, so if you’re well prepared, you’d be able to give an eloquent speech (at least for the first one minute of self-introduction). For me, a dream destination is a place I have never been before. 

So when some of them gave their favourite countries such as Taiwan/Australia and these are places they’ve visited before, I thought it was weird. Then again, the one who gave Taiwan as his answer didn't make it, but the one who gave Australia as her answer got through. Again, there are no perfect answers. When we were done, we thanked the interviewers and were invited outside to wait. It was a surprise because out of the 10 of us, 7 made it (out of which 4 were ex/existing crew).

Other group’s question: “Why do you want to join SIA as a cabin crew?”

Skin-check Round (NA)

Hurray! Skin check was no longer needed. Yay, less waiting time! After the height and documents check, it was straight to Debate Round.

Debate Round

Question: Intelligence is more important than beauty. Basically, 3 of us had to agree that being brainy is everything, and 3 of us had to argue that beauty is more important. Mine was definitely no model answer. I talked about how companies would normally consider brains over beauty. In fact, organisations tend to employ based on qualifications and not all resumes will have a face on it. 

Hence, intelligent candidates will have an edge over beautiful people who are less intelligent.Then there was this one guy who stood up and his mind went completely blank and he just stared into space. He was the guy that told me he would be the most wayang (slang: pretentious or boot-licking) if being wayang could get him the job. He’d hold the door for everyone, or greet the interviewers by their name etc. He was the ‘Maxi Lim’ in Ah Boys To Men lol. There were some who were genuinely themselves and even though their answers were less than 5 sentences, they made it through. 

The interviewer went on to ask one the candidates if she thinks she’s beautiful, and her reply was “I’m presentable.” Her answer was so herself and she got in by the way. Also, try not to use ‘I disagree’ because one of the girls opened her speech with that and she was deemed rude and had an attitude problem. 4 out of 6 of us advanced to the next day.

Management Round (Usually held on Sunday)

I arrived close to 1100hrs (30mins before my scheduled time) and after close to 40 minutes of waiting, it was lunch time. We were told to sit around or find something to eat and return an hour later at 1245hrs. I waited for another 45 minutes before being led to a waiting room. While I tried to remain calm and collected, it was mission close to impossible. I was so nervous so I started making small talks to the candidate next to me. Find someone to talk to, this will help you loosen up and at the same time prepare you for your final interview.

When I entered the room, I greeted the interviewers and closed the door behind me. Again, interviewers were really nice and friendly but DO NOT LET YOUR GUARD DOWN. First of all, you do not know what they are looking out for. They can be so nice to talk to, and that’s when you start to be opinionated. 

They asked questions like ‘Have you had your lunch?’ ‘Do you like the facilities in the Sports club?’ ‘If we were to hire you, how do you think you can juggle your studies and your flying schedules?’ I stated my availability only at the end of the year, so I was puzzled when he kept emphasising that I would not be able to change flights lol. I told him that my priority is my studies, and I double-checked with him if training has to start immediately. I think he finally understood what I was trying to put across and let me off. 

Moving on, the other female interviewer asked if I had applied for the position previously. I went ‘Yes’ and then it was awkward silence. They were waiting for me to speak I supposed, so I continued by giving them the reason why I did not make it through previously (my assumptions) and that only after losing it, I realised how much I wanted this. She was like,

“You didn’t lose it. You just never got it.”

I then agreed with her, smiled, and that was it. I was feeling so negative while waiting outside because I didn’t think that they’d let me through. They didn’t seem interested to ask me more nor wanted to hear more of me. My interview barely lasted 5 minutes. However, I know that I wouldn’t regret should I fail this time round again only because I’ve given my best and said my piece. If the lady came up to me and say, “Sorry you’re not selected. Thank you for your time.” I would gladly accept it and leave with NO RAGRETS.

Sidetracked, I started talking to another candidate and she told me about her experience on the first day. She said that she had a 1-to-1 talk with the interviewer from the Debate Round and was told to wear make-up for the final interview before he agreed to let her advance. She was deemed too sloppy in his opinion. For her Management Round, she was asked if she does housework at home and she answered ‘Not really’. She went in right after me but we were both presented with the results at the same time. It made me wonder if the interviewers had to make a choice to only select one of us because one of us got through. But again, that was just my assumption because the selection criterion is really unpredictable.

Kebaya-fitting & Skin/Height/Weight-checks

I was told to wait outside for my turn together with the rest. All of a sudden, one of the girls started crying tears of joy. This place is filled with contrasting emotions. You would see girls jumping for joy and crying all at the same time.

When people say they were KIV due to oily skin problem, I immediately started blotting my face because I swear my skin is the oiliest. It was another 10-15 minutes of wait before we were led into the room to change into the uniform. In the room, I was touching up my make-up and trying to find the right fit of the uniform all at the same time. I think I took 10 minutes in total but no one was rushing us. I overheard one of the candidate was told to lose 1kg in a matter of 6 weeks. I never thought I had a problem with my weight (46kg) BUT behold, I was told to gain 3kgs and return in July.

Out of the 4 of us who advanced from Saturday, 1 wasn’t selected and 3 were under KIV. Out of the 10 of us from the initial interview, myself & one other made it till the end. He got in, but I was KIV due to weight issues. Right now, nothing is confirmed and I dare not bring my hopes too high since it’s going to be another long wait plus worrying is not going to make anything better.

If you’re looking for tips to score a second day interview, here’s a few:

1)    Ample rest so that you look refreshed and super awake. The wait is relatively long so you don’t want to end up looking restless over time.
2)    Look presentable. No one is perfect, so conceal your flaws if you have to, a neat hairdo might earn you some brownie points!
3)    Be yourself. Interviewers are looking out for qualified candidates with a great personality and not just a pretty face. If you’re constantly trying to please everyone/ be someone else, this job might not be the right choice for you.
4)    Introduce yourself in a way whereby interviewers will still remember you even after you leave the room. The way you introduce yourself to others speaks volumes about your self-confidence.

That’s all. I hope this article will be able to help you achieve your dream job!

Click here for the earlier version of the Singapore Airlines Cabin Crew interview process and stages  
You can view the cabin crew interview process of other airlines by clicking here 
Above article written by my PAID guest writer. If you are interested to contribute your experience to FlyGosh, please check out Get PAID to be a guest writer for

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