Saturday, May 27, 2017

Singapore Airlines Cabin Crew Interview process and stages including video interview tips - ( Updated Version 2017 )

Hi aspiring SIA cabin crew interviewees, I am a male candidate who would like to share my recent experience at Singapore Airlines’ cabin crew walk-in recruitment held on 11 March 2017 at the Renaissance Hotel in Kuala Lumpur. I’ve also previously attended an earlier version held at Hotel Jen in Penang on 7 January 2017, but was unsuccessful at Round 4. 

So this article shall be a combined recount of my experience at both recruitment events. I hope that the detailed information provided here will help future candidates be more prepared and also to understand the complex process of an SIA interview and what to expect.
The entire interview is made up of about 5 rounds over a period of 2 days. Each round consists of a different panel of judges that would eliminate and advance people to the next round according to how they perform. Passing one round does not guarantee that you will pass the next or the one after the next. Hence it is very common to hear people say that all stars must align in an SIA interview in order for you to survive “not being eliminated” till the very end and finally given the employment form to fill up.


Arrival, Document Check and Queuing for Number

As advertised on FlyGosh, candidates can walk in anytime between 9am – 2pm. However, one would realise that there are already people who would queue up as early as 7am. Usually those early birds will be processed first and would be able to go through Round 1 of the interview before noon when other people are still lining up. So if you are pressed for time, try to come early.

I on the other hand didn’t want to arrive too early nor too late, so I came at about 10.30am. As I walked into the lobby, there were already an insane amount of people queuing up for a number. The recruitment in Kuala Lumpur was so overwhelming that the line was not a straight one. It winded and snaked through the entire lobby. There were also rejected candidates who were hanging around on the side in discussion with their friends. These people have already gone through Round 1 and were eliminated.

While you’re in queue, there will be floor representatives from the airline who would walk up to check your application forms and documents. Make sure that you fill in every single field as instructed, and put “N.A” for things that are not applicable to you such as the National Service section for non-Singaporeans. If you are applying with your SPM qualification, ensure that you have a minimum of 5 credits including a B in English. A few people were sent home because their English did not meet the minimum B criterion. Although not explicitly stated in the website but do bring a few passport size photos along.

Your waiting time at any walk-in recruitment largely depends on the volume of walk-in(s). For the one in Kuala Lumpur, I stood in the winding queue at the lobby for a good 2 hours. Started at about 10.30am, but was only given a number at 12.30pm when my turn came. My number was already well in the 800(s) by the time I reached the process desk and there were still about 200 people in queue behind me. After getting my number, we were told to go for lunch and come back at 2pm.

The Marking Criteria for SIA’s Round 1 Interview

When it was my turn to submit my forms at the desk, I couldn’t believe my eyes when I accidentally saw the marking sheet the airline uses to judge candidates for Round 1 on the table. They were clipping it with my application form. Round 1 is commonly known as the Round of Death as the majority of people often don’t survive at this stage. I have met many frustrating candidates who have tried many times for this interview, only to keep getting eliminated at Round 1 without knowing the reason why or how they were being judged. How can we succeed or win a war if we don’t know what the goal is? So here it is.

1.      Accent / Cohesion
2.      Complexion / Blemish
3.      Pleasant Looks
4.      Body Proportion / Frame
5.      Posture

Accent or cohesion refers to the way one speaks. So when you speak, make sure your sentences are clear, pleasant and have a consistent flow. Foreign sounding accents such as American or British, or accents that are too localised to the point of sounding too Malay or Chinese or ethnic should be avoided. Keep them neutral.

Complexion or blemish probably refers to your facial skin. Make sure to show up with good skin without any acne or conspicuous flaws. For pleasant looks, I have a feeling they are searching for warmth, approachability and also if you look the part of a cabin crew. 

Body proportion or frame is something we have no control over as it falls under genetics. However, we can do something about our posture. So make sure to always walk tall with your head up high and straighten your back. A person’s posture or way of standing can change the energy in which they bring into the room. 

I have a feeling a candidate has to score in every one of the above judging category in order to survive elimination and advance to the next round. The discovery of the marking sheet also made me realised that what you say, or the answer you give to the interviewer for Round 1 does not hold as much weight as the criteria above.

Round 1: Introduction & Random Question

After lunch at about 2pm, my new friends and I were back in the hotel and the waiting continued. I queued up this morning at about 10.30am, but was only called into the interview room for Round 1 at about 4.30pm. So in total, I have waited for about 4.5 hours if you exclude lunch.

In preparation for Round 1, you will be assigned into groups of 10 according to your numbers. So for example, candidate numbers 700 – 709 will be in one group, 710 – 719 will be in another, so on and so forth. The suspense of the wait can be nerve wrecking as you see other groups go before you. My group and I joked that it is starting to feel like an animal slaughter house where we as a herd are just waiting to meet our demise.

Once your group is called, you enter a room with 2 judges and 10 vacant chairs, of which you will sit according to the number sequence. Remembering the marking sheet for Round 1, I made sure I walked tall with good posture and my back straightened. I have a very strong feeling that the moment you enter the room, the judges are already observing you and watching your every move.
You are then tasked by the judges to stand up introduce yourself and to answer the random question that will asked. The question that my group got was: “Name one bad thing you’ve heard about Singapore Airlines”. 

The entire room froze and everybody’s jaw dropped. The question was tough and an unexpected one. How do you tell a prospective employer straight to their face how bad their airline is? The first guy had it the hardest as he stood up and struggled to speak. Everybody was thrown off guard with that question, but for us who sat in the middle still had time to think. 

One girl went into complete babbling mode about how she didn’t hear anything bad about Singapore Airlines, but proceeded to trash Malaysia Airlines for a good few minutes which was out of topic. That was painful for everybody to watch. 

I answered by saying Singapore Airlines is a very popular premium airline with travellers and economy class flights on certain routes can be sold out or unavailable when we want to book and fly with them. So it is simply a case of inability to keep up with demand. Other candidates commented on the airfare being very expensive which is very logical, and another girl mentioned that SIA does not arrange or provide its stewardesses with housing in Singapore if they are selected. 

There really is no correct answer to the questions asked for Round 1. So just answer them as naturally as you can while keeping all the marking criteria mentioned above in mind. Other questions I’ve surveyed for Round 1 from other groups included:

§  “What was a recent favourite movie you have watched, and what is the lesson you took away from it that made it your choice?” (my topic for Penang Interview)
§  What is your favourite number and why?
§  What is your favourite colour and why?
§  If you were given a free ticket, where in the world will you go and why?
§  Tell us about a favourite drink of yours.
§  Do you prefer black or white?

My Tips for Round 1

§  Try to keep your speech brief and concise in well under 1 minute. Give yourself roughly about 10-20 seconds to introduce yourself and maybe 30 seconds to answer the random question. 

§  Don't speak too long or demonstrate over-confident dominance as SIA finds this a turn off. When you speak, make sure your voice is clear and that you sound humble. 

§  Stand tall too with good posture.

§  Make sure to smile, and maintain consistent eye-contact with the interviewers and also with your peers in the room when you speak. I have a feeling this could be key although not 100% sure.
When your group finishes, everybody will be told to wait outside for the results. After about 5 minutes, only 3 people in my group out of 10 made it through. It was me and two other girls. There really is no fixed quota as I have seen instances when an entire group was given the green light to advance to the next round, and an entire group was sent home. SIA is looking for quality candidates.

Round 2: Height and Weight Check

Immediately after the success of Round 1, guys and girls will be asked to stand on a height measuring machine to see if you meet the minimum height requirement. Guys have to be at least 1.68m and girls 1.58m to be able to reach cabin overhead compartments. They would measure your weight too to ensure your BMI is acceptable.

One of the girls from my group who was elated that she got through Round 1, was told to go home after the guy took her height measurement as she was about 1.57m and did not qualify. It was so sad.


Day 2 of the interview is usually reserved for successful candidates who have made it past Round 3 and are returning to complete Round 4 and 5. However, due to the large volume of people that needed to be processed, our interview for Round 3 was postponed to Sunday. By about 6pm on Saturday, we were each given a piece of paper signed by the recruitment manager and told to come back the next day at 9am. That piece of paper outlines the documents and photocopies that you should bring along with you (in case you are successful). It is also the document to prove that you have successfully passed the earlier rounds and are now invited to come back for the second day.

Round 3: Debate Round

Round 3 is often called the "debate round" as coined by many past try-outs. As a returning candidate, I showed up at 9am and was immediately assigned into a new group. For this round, it will be a group of 6 people. Again the wait was long and nerve wrecking. However, it is a good time to get to know your group members and also to chat, socialise and share tips. There was this particular girl in my group who I felt was a little off in her social skills. I remembered clearly wondering to myself if she was going to survive this round.

Finally the 6 of us were called into a room with 2 judges and 6 vacant seats. Then it was announced that there will be 2 parts to this interview. The first part entails dividing the 6 of us into partners of 2, and each partnership will be given about 2 minutes to discuss and find out more about each other. By the end of the 2 minutes, we are to stand up, say our name and age and proceed to introduce our partner to the entire room.

Keeping in mind that SIA doesn’t like it when people get too long winded, I made sure I kept my introduction of my friend brief and concise. It is also easier to remember things like hobbies, what is he or she good at, why do they want to be a cabin crew etc. So keep it simple.

The atmosphere for this round was less tense as everybody laughed, smiled and had a more human touch in their interaction. But unfortunately, I had no idea what the marking criteria for this round are in black and white. I’m guessing the interviewer wants to see how well you interact with passengers or how fast or skilful are you in getting to know someone and their personalised story?

After part 1 was done, here comes part 2. We were divided into 2 groups of 3 and given a topic or a statement to agree or disagree. Unfortunately, you have no choice as to the side you want to be on. You will then be given about 2 minutes to discuss with your other 2 team mates regarding certain points you would like to say. The topic we were given was: “Money can buy you happiness”

I belonged to the team that was tasked to agree with the statement. So my team mates mentioned how money can buy you a plane ticket to travel to amazing places to heal a broken heart, how money can be used to go shopping and to buy you a ticket to see your family if you live abroad. For me, I mentioned something along the lines of agreeing that money can buy you happiness, as there is no happiness in poverty and money is needed to buy you the freedom and comforts in life that will become the prerequisite for other bigger happiness to arise. 

My team performed well as all of us were very graceful and humble when we say our points without addressing or directing any sort of refute to the disagreeing group. This passive attitude is a big key to any Singapore Airlines interview.

When the girl who I thought was a little off in her social skills earlier stood up and spoke her point for the opposing team, the ego in her came out in full force. She became very confrontational, defensive and aggressive in her tone. She even addressed her long winded disagreement directly to my team mate which I thought wasn’t very pleasant. It was clear that she failed to demonstrate emotional maturity in a competitive setting and I had a feeling she wasn’t going to make it through this round.

After part 2, we were told to go out and wait for the results. Back outside, the girl who was confrontational became very quiet and distanced herself from us. True enough, she didn’t make it and only 2 out of 6 people were given the green light to advance to the next round. I was one of them along with another pleasant 19 year old girl from the opposing team.
Other debate topics I’ve surveyed for Round 3 from other groups include:

§  “Beautiful people make more money.” (my topic for Penang Interview)
§  Should men be the head of the household / Should men be the dominant decision maker.
§  Should married couples live with their parents.
§  Should senior citizens be sent to live in the old folks home.

My Tips for Round 3

§  This is not a “real academic debate”, but more of a casual style conversation. So just stand up, deliver your point gracefully, humbly and maturely. Do not treat it as a competition for dominance and do not directly address the “opponent”.

§  Even if you don't believe in the statement and are chosen to agree when you disagree, you will have to find points and do your best. 

§  Don't speak too much and don’t be over-confident. Limit what you have to say to less than a minute or so. Make it concise, clear and straight to the point.
§  Always smile with warmth and maintain consistent eye-contact by spreading it to your peers and to the interviewer.

Round 4: Management Round (2 to 1 Interview)

Round 4 is what is called the management round. This is a personal two-to-one interview where I find it to be the toughest one to pass, but also the most exciting one because you have made it so far in the journey. So a part of you is now addicted to finding out if you are worthy enough to win the next level. 

As we sit and wait for our turn, we would chat amongst each other along with other final interview candidates. Everybody is very friendly, encouraging and genuinely happy for each other that we have made it this far, which is what makes the environment so positive. We would even ask candidates who come out of the room what were some of the questions they were being asked, what did they talked about, what was the key topic of discussion and how was the interview rapport etc.
Apparently interview questions vary from candidate to candidate as they look at your work and academic history. Some other candidates from my batch were only asked to talk about their family, their mother etc.

Then my turn finally came and I was called into the room. There was an empty chair for me in front of two interviewers, of which I took a seat. I had no idea who the lady interviewer was, but I immediately recognised the man as Mr. Tan Pee Teck, the current Senior Vice President of Cabin Crew for Singapore Airlines. 

Before settling down, I was tempted to walk up to them both and shake their hands, but felt it might come across as dominant or confident so I held back. From the moment I sat down on the seat, I maintained strong eye contact with the interviewers while smiling. 

The interviewers asked me questions like what is the correlation between being a cabin crew and my degree in design, what interests me, what makes me think that I will be happy being a cabin crew, am I an achiever, give us examples of when you achieved something, what is your career goal in joining SIA cabin crew etc

So I answered by saying in the current millennium we live in, people often end up in jobs that are not related to their degree and it is very normal. What interest me is people. I’m always curious to find out more about people and their stories and I love talking to people in general.

There is no guarantee that a cabin crew job will make one happy because true happiness is something that comes from within. One very good example of that is when one does something for somebody else other than themselves, or when I’ve served someone or helped someone in a way that makes me feel empowered.

In terms of being an achiever, I don’t think I am an achiever because all my life I have been quite average in my academic performance. However having said that, I do sometimes feel I am not a complete failure too and am surprised at my own capabilities when I manage to lead a project to satisfactory outcomes. I proceeded to give some examples from my extra-curricular activities.
My career goal with SIA is to meet as many people from all walks of life as possible and to learn how to handle difficult situations in the airline service industry, as one will inevitably meet many difficult passengers and interesting scenarios on board that will put you in a very good state for future endeavours.

Before I left the interview room, they asked me if I have any questions for them and I took the opportunity to show my genuine interest about the job. I asked them what should we be expecting next if we are chosen, is Singapore Airlines acquiring any new aircraft or expanding to any new destinations, and how long is the cabin crew contract for.

As I waited outside for my verdict, I passed on my interview observations and tips to candidates who were still waiting for their turn as a way to pay it forward. It is always nice when we help each other and share as much information as you can. Finally, my name was called and I unexpectedly passed the interview for Management Round. I was then told to follow one of the assistants who took me into the grooming room for Round 5.

My Tips for Round 4

§   A fellow candidate asked me to share with her what I did differently this time in comparison to my last failed attempt that led me to successfully passing Management Round. If I were to analyse my performance, my strategy this time in KL was to “not care too much”, in the sense that I was prepared to not make it through. This way, I psychologically cloaked myself in a state of mind where I wouldn’t “try so hard” and wouldn’t come off as desperate. I told myself to only speak when necessary and answered the questions in a monotonous tone that sounds passive and humble. There was even a point where I felt I was elaborating too much on something we were talking about and I stopped immediately. 

§  When you walk into the interview room, first impression always count. So make sure to smile and move as gracefully as possible when you walk. Walk with your head up high, straighten your back and make sure you exude good posture. Maintain consistent eye- contact with both interviewers and smile, but don’t come across as too desperate or eager. 

§  When answering their questions, always make sure to sound humble and neutral. But this does not mean you can mumble your sentences. Make sure to articulate yourself clearly and consistently. 

Never speak with an over-confident accent and try to be as passive as possible. I might even throw in the word submissive as I get the impression that individuality might be an overkill although this is just my observation.

§  You should always design and tailor your answers to be about “people”. Try to show them how interested you are in people, how genuinely people oriented you are and how have you demonstrated this trait in your past experience whether personally or professionally. Again, make sure you sound passive and humble when you talk about yourself.

§  When asked by the interviewers if you have any questions for them, always ask something even if you don’t have any in mind to show them genuine interest about the job and the company.

Two Interesting Incidents While Waiting for Round 4

On a side note, there were two very interesting incidents that happened right in front of my eyes while I was waiting for my turn to enter the final interview room.

1.      There was one girl who was clearly very confident after she exited the interview room for Management Round. She was all smiles and was very open in sharing with us what went on inside. She felt that the interview went very well and was looking forward to being chosen. Unfortunately, when she was informed by the assistants that she wasn’t successful. It caught her by surprise and she was shocked.

Singapore Airlines practices a policy where they will never tell a candidate why he or she is unsuccessful. If you fail a certain round, you are told to go home. That’s it. However this girl took matters into her own hands. After hanging around in the lobby after the news, she decided she wanted to get to the bottom of why she wasn’t successful. She came back with another girl who was rejected, knocked on the management interview door and entered the room to question the interviewers without seeking permission from anybody. 

The HR assistants that were on duty were caught off guard for a moment, until suddenly one of them dashed from the far end of the corridor and into the interview room yelling. “Excuse me, excuse me! You are not allowed to do that. No, no, you are not allowed to do that. Please get out Please leave. You are not allowed to do that.” The girl had no choice but to leave with a very dejected expression. I wondered if candidates such as this will be blacklisted as I’ve heard rumours that SIA does blacklist people who demonstrate unprofessional behaviours.

2    During the interview in Penang, there was another candidate who was eating while waiting for her turn which is understandable as we were all hungry after a full day of waiting. One of the interviewers from a previous round who was walking past us, called her out in front of everyone and said in a half serious half kidding tone: “Do you know that if you are an SIA stewardess, you automatically become a public figure and you cannot be seen eating in public?”

The girl smiled awkwardly but wasn’t sure if the guy was serious in what he was saying or if he was kidding. You could see the torment in her eyes, should she bring her food to a corner or should she continue eating? I sympathised with her and felt that what the guy did was very unnecessary. In the end, she excused herself to finish up her meal in private and it made me realised the military culture life one will be in for if they end up working for the airline.

Round 5: Skin, Height, Weight, Walk Check / Kebaya Fitting (For Girls)

After passing Round 4, I was ushered into the grooming room for Round 5. In there, my height and my weight were measured again after taking out my socks. There was a yellow line on the top of the wall which I was told to reach my hands out to touch. I’m guessing that is probably a mock-up for the cabin overhead compartment? 

Then I was told to stand on this spot with a shoe marking on the floor. Under a light, the judge for that round inspected me up close. I was told to fold up my sleeves and unbutton the top few buttons of my shirt so that she could inspect and take a good look at my hands, neck and skin to see if there were any conspicuous flaws, bad skin conditions or visible tattoos. I was questioned about certain pimples on my face and was asked if it was permanent. My fingers were checked too for any visible scarring etc. 

The whole inspection up close can feel very uncomfortable as they really do come close. Then, I was told to walk ten steps away and ten steps back while smiling. After that, I was told to wait outside for my results.

For girls, they will be told to change into the airline’s signature Kebaya and tie their hair up. They will then have to follow the judge back into the former management round room for the management interviewers to have a good look at the candidate. I’m guessing to see if the girl fits the Singapore Girl look or if she might look over-weight.

Success & Employment Form Application

After waiting for a while, I was informed that I was successful and was given the Singapore Airlines employment application form to fill up along with the form for work pass application with Singapore’s Ministry or Manpower and form for medical check-up. Once completed, we were given a small briefing by the recruitment manager about what to expect next along with some of the clauses that are outlined in the cabin crew contract. One notable one would be the 2 year bond with the airline, of which failure to complete or withdrawal from the company via premature resignation will result in a penalty of about SGD13,800.

Later on, we found out too that there were about 1,000 walk-in applicants at the Kuala Lumpur recruitment, but only 15 were successful.

Medical Check Up and Golden Call from Singapore Airlines Human Resource 

The week after the interview, successful candidates are required to go for a thorough medical check up at a Singapore Airlines appointed clinic in your city of choice (Singapore, Penang or Kuala Lumpur). The medical check up fees are covered by the airline and has to be completed within a week of your successful interview. 

I went to the clinic and filled up some forms. After in which blood and urine samples were taken. There was an eye/vision test, physical inspection by the doctor (spine, limbs, abdomen etc) followed by an X-ray in another medical centre which might require you to do a bit of running around. I would say the entire process could take up to about 4 hours if you count in all the waiting around. However, something showed up in my X-ray and I was required to be sent to another medical hospital for additional checks, of which I had to pay with my own money. So because of this, my medical check up took the whole day.

About 2 weeks after my medical check up, I finally got a follow up email from the human resource telling me that I passed my medical, along with a phone call a week later to kick start the ensuing process to come on board. 

So here is my comprehensive detailed experience of what a Singapore Airlines Cabin Crew Interview is like. I sincerely hope the information provided here along with the tips, observations and stories will help future aspiring SIA cabin crew interviewees in their journey to successfully securing the role. I am happy for the opportunity of being able to recount my experience and to pay it forward.

Extra General Interview Tips and Observation:

1.      Be prepared for a lot of waiting. You can be waiting for hours and hours. Bring a good jacket as sometimes, waiting rooms can be very cold.

2.      Make sure to have all your documents in order, originals and also photocopies. When you are told to come back the next day with the list of required items, please make sure you do as it will save you a lot of trouble.

3.      Bring a book to read while you wait. Otherwise do try to be as open and as friendly as possible to other candidates. Make friends, talk to them, get to know them and exchange tips. Be friendly and approachable.

4.      Have some grooming products in your bag such as deodorant, hairspray, wax, make up (girls) for touching up. As you spend an entire day in the hotel, you will definitely need them to stay fresh looking and well groomed.

5.      Do have some bottled water, snacks or simple bread in your bag as you might get hungry in between interviews or during the long wait. Water is to constantly stay hydrated.

6.      Always make sure to be on your best behaviour as I have a feeling people might be watching you. They might not seem like they are paying attention, but there are eyes all around to see how you interact with people, how warm you are, how approachable you are etc.

7.      Don’t make any plans for the entire interview weekend and try to keep both days (Saturday and Sunday) free of appointments and dinners. No one can predict the time that is needed to be there as sometimes interviews can run late and can spill over to the next day should you advance to later rounds. So save yourself the headache and try not to make plans.

8.      If you're eliminated, don’t be disheartened. Just try to analyse what went wrong or what you could have done better and try again at the next recruitment. I have met many successful candidates who go through 5 – 10 SIA cabin crew recruitment try-outs before they finally succeed. The most tries I’ve ever heard was 16, the guy got the job on his 17th try.

Video Interview Tips

You can go to FlyGosh time to time to see if there is any latest vacancy for SIA cabin crew and submit an online application. After that, you have to wait until you received an email stating that you are shortlisted. You will received the email within 3 days after the online application deadline. 

For example I received it about 11 p.m. at the second day after the deadline. Below the email there will be a button saying "Practice or Interview" . You will be interviewed through an app called HireVue. 

There will be a deadline to make the video interview. 
The deadline I received in the first email was at May 10 but after 2 days I received another email saying my deadline had changed to May 3.  So remember to check your inbox from time to time because sometimes they  may change the deadline. But relax they will send Reminder emails . 

I did the interview at 9.00 on the day of the deadline. While doing the video remember to wear formal attire , find a bright spot to do it (if don't your face will look dark) , find a plain background , be in a quiet room and most importantly smile. Before doing the interview you can always practice it by pressing  "Practice or Interview" and press start interview. 
Don't worry that it will start the interview because you can choose again to practice or do the interview. Practice is important as you can find the best angle and experience the video interview. You can either use your laptop or smartphone to do the interview. I chose my smartphone as it is easier the control.

There are 3 video questions and 1 essay question. The questions I got were :
 1. Tell us about your last weekend. (video)
 2. Which do you think is more important work or money? (video)
 3. If dishonesty happens in your workplace what will you do ? (video)
 4. In this 10 years, which invention or finding that you find is helpful to us ? Describe. Your answer should not be more than 200 words .(Essay)

For the video interview you will have 20 seconds to think and 3 minutes to answer and 5 minutes for the essay question. Be careful will doing the video interview because once you've recorded it , you can never change it again. If you are shortlisted through the video interview  you will be notified by 2 weeks.
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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