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Thread: Flight Attendant Interview Process

  1. #1

    Default Flight Attendant Interview Process

    I've been receiving quite a few e-mails and inquiries about the flight attendant hiring process at United. So I will attempt to describe the process as best I can. The training process may be different from previous years as United does tweak and change the way it hires from year to year.

    Usually, United gets a good portion of the applicants from the hotel "cattle call". This is where they post a location (ie. the Washington Dulles Airport Marriott) or someplace similar. They usually hold 3 sessions or so a day, most lasting 3 hours or more. You should be there at least 15 minutes early as these sessions do fill up quickly and, if there's no seat for you, then you have to wait for the next session or go home. During the first hour of the session, someone from the company gets up and explains the job in detail. What is expected of you, what the job entails, the reserve system, uniforms, pretty much a quick A-Z. After this is done, they typically ask everyone to stand up, come to the front of the room, and give a 2 min speech about themselves. They ask you to give your name, where you are from, and why you think you would be a good flight attendant. They are looking for good appearance. (For women, a nice dress or a suit is appropriate. For men, a suit is required. They are very strict about this. Don't bother showing up unless you are in full business dress.They will throw your application in the trash. United is a very conservative company, so sticking to the blue, black, grey family of colors is my advice. Your interview day is not the time to radically experiment with your wardrobe, hair color, or make-up. Ladies, make sure you are wearing tasteful make-up and pantyhose.) They are also looking to judge how you are speaking in front of people, how you do under pressure (as you will probably be speaking in front of 30-60 people), if you can project, and what kind of personality you have. Relax, take a deep breath, and smile. They want people who look approachable and friendly. Once this is completed, they used to give you a short written test with a few basic questions about military time, time zones, and some other common sense things. If you haven't used military time before (the 24 hour clock - ie. 1800 is 6pm), then they give you a quick explanation of it on the sheet, so don't stress. That is the cattle call interview in a nutshell. They usually tell people they will be notifying them by mail.

    If you are successful at this stage of the game, within a week or two you will receive a letter in the mail inviting you to a group interview in Chicago. They will send you a full application to fill out and instructions for how to get your ticket at the airport. You will fly to Chicago and return the same day. Once you get to O'Hare, there will be instructions on how to proceed to the interview site. (Sometimes they hold the sessons at World Headquarters, sometimes they hold them at airport hotels depending on how much hiring they are doing.) Usually you start the interview session in a group of 10 people or so. They give the group a task to complete in 15 minutes. They are looking to see how well you can interact in a group, whether or not you participate, and what kind of a crewmember you would be. [Keep in mind, as a flight attendant on a widebody aircraft, you will have to be working as a team with 10-15 other people and it can be a long flight to Sydney if you're arguing with everyone on the crew. ] You don't have to be the one talking the most, but you should be participating and offering ideas and constructive criticism when needed. After this is completed, they will call each person in for a one on one interview. This usually consists of about 20-30 minutes of basic interview questions with a few scenario driven questions thrown in. (Ie. You are at the end of a meal service and you have run out of meal choice. You only have beef left and someone tells you they are a vegetarian. What do you do?) After your interview is complete, you are sent home.

    If you are successful after this, you will eventually be sent to the closest United Medical facility for a physical. (We have medical centers in most of the major hubs - SFO, IAD, ORD, LAX, JFK, DEN.) They will do a standard work physical and drug and alcohol screening.

    PLEASE NOTE - the training process has changed since I went through. When United started including international training as part of initial training, it pushed initial training up to 9 weeks. This was very hard on people who weren't being paid and away from their families for that long. So for trainees in 2001, United started sending you some bookwork to complete at home after you were hired (3 weeks worth of basic knowledge). They would then have you report to a local facility in your city (previously it was a Sylvan Learning Center or something similar) to test you on the 3 weeks of material you should have completed and learned. If you passed, then you would be sent to Chicago to complete your training of 6 weeks. I'm sure we will all learn more when United releases more information tomorrow.

    I hope this clears up some of the questions you are all having. Getting hired with United can be a daunting challenge. I went to 2 cattle calls before I was hired. My best friend (who had previous flight attendant experience) went to 9! So you might have to be persistent. I wish I could tell you why he wasn't hired for years as he is the best flight attendant I have ever met, but I have no explanation. For flight attendants from other airlines and commuters, I wouldn't mention my experience until the second interview. Just smile a lot and act excited like the newbies in the room. When you get to the second interview, the inevitable question will be "Why do you want to leave your current carrier and work for us?" DO NOT trash your current employer, even if you are dying to leave. Simply state something along the lines of "I have very much enjoyed working for ________, but I would like an opportunity to do more international flying (or something else that's professional)." If you even give off a hint of "I am a flight attendant already, I don't need this job...", then you won't get it. You have to give them a good justification for why you want to work for United.

    If you speak a second languge, you will most likely be given preference in hiring. (Asian languages are more coveted at United due to our route structure, but they will still give you preference if you speak any other language - Polish, ASL, Italian, whatever you speak.) They previously asked at the first interview if you spoke a second language and noted this on the paperwork. I don't know how they are doing this now. At some point during the hiring process, if you speak a common foreign language, they will have you go through a language test over the phone to verify that you are conversant in your language. It's usually a basic conversation for 5 minutes and then they will ask you to make several announcements in your language (ie. We will be landing in Paris in 20 minutes.).

    Finally, I would recommend getting to one of the hotel cattle calls if you possibly can. I realize if you live in Lousville, KY or Minot, ND, this could be a challenge. Still, unless you speak a particular language that we are in need of, I feel the company gives more weight to the open house applicants than the online applications because they have already been able to get a taste of what you look like. (Keep in mind, as a flight attendant, good appearance is KEY because you are the most visible employee of United to most passengers. We are the ones who are with them for the greatest amount of time and have the greatest impact on whether or not they return to United as a customer.) So if you truly want to work for United, then invest in a cheap ticket and a hotel room the night before the cattle call. I flew to Houston from Memphis when I was hired and I feel certain that was one reason that I got hired.

    Hiring age for United was 20 previously, but I'm not sure what it is now. Also height had to be between 5'2 and 6'2 previously. This will likely be the same. United does like to hire older applicants as well, so if you feel that you are too old to be applying, don't! There was a 57 year old woman in my class and she was a great flight attendant. If you have some good life experience, that usually enhances your ability to be a good flight attendant.

    So good luck everyone! I will try address more questions as they come up. I'm sure we will all learn more tomorrow about the new process. I'm not sure what this Phase II bonus is. That's something new as well.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Austin, Texas (for now)
    Age
    42
    Posts
    42

    Default Re: Flight Attendant Interview Process

    777FlyGuy:

    This is such a wealth of info, and I know I speak for all soon-to-be applicants when I say that we all appreciate your having taken the time to give us such concise details of UA's process.

    It sounds like my bilingual skills in French may be more important than I thought. Keep your fingers crossed for us all!

    Best,
    Gotham Boy

  3. #3

    Default Re: Flight Attendant Interview Process

    How did your interview with Continental go?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Austin, Texas (for now)
    Age
    42
    Posts
    42

    Default Re: Flight Attendant Interview Process

    survivor:

    I applied online this past week; still waiting for an interview date. Do you currently fly for CO?

    Best,
    GothamBoy

  5. #5

    Default Re: Flight Attendant Interview Process

    Deleted due to double posting

  6. Default Re: Flight Attendant Interview Process

    Could you tell me ,, what the base reserve system is like?? i.e: are you on reserve every month or does it rotate?

  7. #7

    Default Re: Flight Attendant Interview Process

    They take a percentage of the base and put them on reserve, anyone above that holds a line. Sometimes people spend little or no time on reserve. BUT I would guess you will spend a long time on reserve because of the bases they are hiring for. After 5 years, every other month is spent on reserve. Until then, straight reserve.

  8. Default Interview this Saturday

    Hi,
    I'm having my interview in DC this Saturday, would appreciate any suggestions from anyone who just had an interview. Thank you and good luck to everyone.

    Mike

  9. #9

    Default

    hey mike,

    good luck
    Last edited by IAD747flyguy; January 27, 2006 at 09:30 AM.

  10. #10

    Default

    Smile a lot, stress customer service, be yourself! The Spherion people are very nice! I'm going to Chicago next week.

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