Wednesday, December 17, 2008

And the winner is...

well... not me this time. Got an email from Emirates saying, thank you but no! *sigh*.... and now need to figure out what to do next...

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

16 days of waiting...

... and so far, Emirates did not say that they wanted me; nor did they say they did not need me. Waiting is indeed one of the things that brings you hope but also takes it away at the same time.

Two of my buddies received their calls from Emirates already...

Waiting... waiting... waiting...

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Notification began...

Today, a friend of mine who attended the final interview with me on the same day, has received his "golden" call from Emirates. He will be joining them on February 20th. I am so excited for him. The guy was very nervous during the whole selection process; and yet he deserved to get a positive answer. Great job, Miguel!! I am proud of you!

As for me, nothing so far. It would be so much easier if I knew the results before going to Germany... Times goes by so slowly...

Friday, December 12, 2008

Some thought about Emirates - 2

To add what I have posted earlier, it seems to me that what the recruiters look if they have 300 applications during the initial screening are things that make you stand out from others (after all, the company itself wants to stand out among other airlines and be on top. And to achieve this, cabin crew plays a role in this mission, too. Therefore, by employing people who are (or have a potential of being) just a little bit more impressive than the rest of the pool, the company, to a certain degree, ensures that while on board, these new cabin crew will also make an impression that will last and will make a passenger's experience with EK stand out from his/her experience with any other airline.

Also, they are not looking for perfect people, but rather for people who have this genuine capacity of being friendly and being able to develop a warm relationship on a short notice. And yes, like in every single industry, EK may have employed people who do not necessarily have skills requited to perform this job exceptionally well. However, this is not EK's fault but rather a human being's capacity to bypass the system and sell what is wanted. So, speaking 3-4 foreign languages, having 10 years of customer's service experience and having MD degree are not the prerequisites. These qualities help one a lot, but only if they are matched with a genuine friendliness and being a human being (which entails that you might have some flaws, too).

From my experience, I can share that it helps if you come to the assessment day with a positive attitude and no expectations that you will make it. Having a desire to go to the final round is what matters (and the trick is to understand where expectations end and your desires begin). Being determined/obsessed to make it will, in most cases, alert the recruiters of the fact that you are desperate to get the job. And despair is not what they may necessarily need.

Some thought about Emirates

I have been reading a lot of posts from people who did not make it to the finals and they ask why. Below is what I think Emirates MAY be looking for.

Disclaimer: These are not company-based policies but purely my conjecturing using common sense and what is left of my knowledge of psychology.

This is what I wrote in response to a claim made by one of the person who applied for Emirates and who thought it was unfair that he was not chosen to the second round of the selection process in Australia where more than 300 applicants showed up for the initial screening...

The only thing I can add is what I have experienced during the assessment day in Japan. More than 150 candidates came to the preliminary assessment – everyone looked smart, smiled and had all the required documents, all hoping to make it to the second stage. And yet less than a third of them were selected to the second round. While I do not think that Emirates have, at this point of the selection process, a certain list of "tick-off" criteria, I think that the only principle they may utilize when having to deal with such a large number of homogeneous people (all look cute, all with docs, all friendly and nice) is their first impression of a candidate. Admittedly, Osaka screening had had half the number of people of what you, guys, in Australia had; however, time-wise, the recruiters had as much (or rather little) time to preselect the lucky ones in Japan as anywhere they hold assessment days.

Come to think this way - if you have a choice of 10 products and you can only pick 3, most likely your decision will be based on what appeals better to you at first glance. I suppose, at this stage, recruiters just scan through the CVs (having 2 minutes at most per an applicant) looking for something eye-catchy (e.g., person A speaks 4 languages; person B has 5 years of customer service experience, person C has MA in Hospitality). If there is nothing in your CV that has a potential to impress at first glance, then chances of being remembered (and, and therefore, wanted) are slim (consider person D speaking 1 language, person E having a 2-month experience, and person F just having high-school diploma). Now, this does not mean that persons D, E, and F are not qualified for this job or are less smart. But rather that in the pool of 10 people, persons A, B, and C have more chances to stand out. And in absolute fair terms, if people in past worked harder to have these advantages, it is fair enough if they derive benefit now over others who invested less time/energy into what they have on their CVs.

In such cases of having a simple CV, trying in station where there is not such a large number of applicants may be more fruitful (needless to say, more costly, but then if you do not want to pay for traveling to such places, try to change CV in such a way that you are not just "one of the many" but "one of the few.")

Also, trying to be TOO friendly is something that may cause a reverse impact. I have seen many people trying to impress with their killing smile, and oh boy, did they kill... When one has to see 300 smiles, it is pretty easy to "decipher" those who are fake.

These would be my 2 cents coming from studying psychology for half a year :-)

Final Interview with EK

The interview itself is nothing but a coffee-like chit-chat. In my case, we spent about 20 minutes chatting. The recruiters were very nice and friendly. Here is the list of some of the questions I was asked:

1) Why do you want to work for Emirates?
2) Give an example of a situation when you knew the rules prescribed one way of doing things and yet you followed the other one. Why? What was the outcome? (Here, I would recommend not to mention anything shocking. I mentioned a story with a 2-hour before departure rule at the airport and me not following it. However, I also made it sound that because I did not follow the rule I actually got burnt and was taught a lesson that no matter how rule seems bizarre, it is there to be followed)
3)Give an example when your initiative worked.
4) Give an example of the worst customer you have ever had. How did you handle it (Needless to say, you accommodated his/her needs even if you were on the edge of loosing your patience. Making others feel comfortable is paramount; your needs come second).
5)Give example when you did not obey the authority
6)Give an example when you did more than you were supposed to (and of course, you did something that helped others, even at your own expense).

There were some more questions, but I can't remember any of them.

I heard that others were asked these:

Tell me something about you what is not on your CV
What was the biggest challenge for you when going to a foreign country
How do you imagine FA's working day.

A few tips:

1) speak quickly but not too quickly. The recruiter takes notes and you want to make sure that he/she puts down every single good thing about you;
2) smile (a billion times);
3) sit straight and appear confident (after all, in crisis situations you are the one who will act and who will be responsible for others)
4) be well-groomed
5) have some questions to the recruiter, too. Show that you are interested in EK as much as they may be in you. Two-three simple questions is enough (something like, "What was the most unpleasant thing you had to do on board?", "Living in Dubai, can I can some language courses in Arabic?", etc.

If your file is complete (i.e., you have submitted the required photos {1 full length in business attire plus 2-3 casual, passport size and required papers}, they say you can expect to hear from them in 1 to 3 weeks.

I am down to my second week. Indeed, waiting is the worst.

What I did so far:

1) read more about Emirates than an ordinary person did (now I feel I can teach Emirates 101)
2) took HIV test (saves time in case you are accepted)
3) checked my phone a millions times
4) for those who speak Russian (позвони мне, позвони, Емирейтс);
5) made great friends wit people I met;
6) keep on reading pprune and other blogs. This does help.

Second week to go....

Screening Day at EK

On November 26, 2008 I had my assessment day with Emirates Airline for the cabin crew position.

Here is how the assessment day looked like in Osaka (pretty standard and very much like those in other countries).

10am - all those who passed the initial screening were invited to come on that day. Two groups were formed and sat in a circle. The task was "Ask the person to your right what he/she would do if he/she had 1000000 dollars and why." As you are discussing the questions (and getting to know others), they call you one by one to once again pass the 212cm reach test.

After that, each person stood up and presented the person to his/her right and what he/she would do with the money. In this case, be sure to greet everyone again, mention the person's name you are going to talk about and BRIEFLY (in under 45 seconds) tell what you have learnt. Smile, stand firmly and comfortably and enunciate properly. In this test, they measure you overall level of English. So, be sure to use simple and yet clear phrases as well as try to interchange long sentences with short ones. What I said looks like this:

"Good morning everyone! Today I have a pleasure of introducing XXX to you. If XXX had 1000000 dollars, she would spend it on the prevention of hunger and starvation in Africa. XXX thinks that African continent is facing severe problems with undernourishment and the international community does not pay enough attention to address this burning issue. To XXX opinion, making other's lives happier is what makes yours happier. too. Thank you!" [and keep on looking at everyone in the group as you are speaking. Maintaining eye contact helps. And smile, smile, smile]

After that, about 20% of people were eliminated, mostly those whose English did not meet minimal standards.

The second test was another group activity. The task was "Choose 5 cities which might host next Olympics and give the reasons for your choice." In this group discussion, I would outline the following:

1) If you are by nature a leader, that is perfectly acceptable. You may (and maybe even) should initiate the discussion. Offer one city... and then keep silent (occasionally, dropping "yes, it is a good idea; oh wow, [mention person's name], this is a very good point."

2) If you are a follower, then let someone start the conversation (this does not diminish or increase your chance of getting through, as it seemed to me). But then speak up. Mention one city and give your reason.

If you choose to be either 1) or 2) (i.e., if you have a chance to mention one of five cities or you are the one who opens the discussion), make it no more than 45 seconds.

3) If it happened that five cities were mentioned and you did not get a chance to contribute your own point, then now it is the time for you to act. The safest way is to say this "OK, guys, we seem to have reached the consensus. So, to summarize, our five cities are...".

ALWAYS smile and maintain eye contact with EVERYONE in your group. Ignore the recruiters. I actually forgot that they were walking around us.

Then they asked 5 people from the group to stand up and present the 5 cities. In this case if you did not get a chance to talk or do the summary, volunteer to present. They need to somehow remember you. When presenting, try to use "We as a group decided that the city XXX should be on the list because..." "I's and me's" expressions should be used as infrequently as possible.

After that, about 10% of people were eliminated. It seemed to me that they were looking for:
1) how you work in team;
2) whether you can accept and appreciate other's opinions;
3) how good your English is;
4) your general posture (how you sit, eye contact, gestures); and
5) how you present.

Then we had a short break. After a while, they invited us to take the English language test. The test is nothing like GRE or GMAT but it does require a relatively high proficiency in English. There were about 40 questions and one essay to write. You do get more bonus points if your essay is both well written (structure, logics, coherent) and well argued. They do not care whether the statements are actually correct (I ended up saying that hockey, figure staking and triathlon should be dropped off from the 2012 winter Olympics games list while 2012 are SUMMER games). As long as you:
1) follow the Western standard of writing (INTRO-Three Main Points-Conclusions);
2) use very good to excellent grammar and vocabulary; then you will make it. After all, cabin crew is not a job for dummies. Ability to communicate and be understood is important.

Do not take your level of English for granted. There was one girl who seemed to be pretty confident with her language skills, and yet she failed.

After the test, about 25 % were thanked and asked to leave.

Then came the HARDEST group discussion. In a small group of 10 at most, you are given a topic, 4 questions to address and 10 minutes to come up with the solution. In terms of role distribution, you may follow the same pattern as described above. But remember who said what, since the recruiters may ask some questions further. If they ask the group "Whom did you {as a group meaning} choose to be the actor?" and you know the answer, say "We have decided that for this sitcom the best actor is XXX". Do not say more than they ask (i.e., no "why"s and so on).

30% people were left... and we made it to the finals. Then, there was a personality test and final interview scheduling.

Overall, it is a very very exciting process. You get the chance to meet amazing people, interact and feel so professional. And once you step out from the hotel, you feel so proud.

A few tips:
1) be nice and smile;
2) do make sure that you look neat (shoes, hair, smell);
3) do not disagree. Say "Yes, this is a very interesting point of you".. and swallow the rest. After all, who cares. It is not like your decision whether Riga is to become the next EK destination will actually matter for EK itself;
4) talk to people when you have free time. Share concerns and make friends;
5) always thank everyone, even if he/she did not do anything.

My final interview is this upcoming Sunday.... And then... I think I know what I want for Xmas this year :-)

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

I made it! The initial screening is done and I am going to have my first interview with Emirates next week! Kambatte kudasia, Sasha!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

First Entry, First Attempt

So, how did it all started...

In July 2008, being bored, I was browsing through the Internet and came up across the information about Emirates. It said they were hiring. I made my application online, and.. forgot about it. And then suddenly - woo hoo. They invited me for the Assessment Day!

November 16, 2008 - Assessment Day. I came to the venue about 45 minutes before the scheduled time; met some nice people (surprisingly, only 6 boys and of those only 3 Japanese - welcome to globalized world!!! ). The recruitment team showed us a video about Emirates Airline and Dubai and then we had a brief interview which lasted for about 2 minutes (basic questions, like your age, where you are from, which languages you speak, and whether you have any customer service experience). They say the closest distance between two points is a straight line. Well, I say, it is not. The closest distance between two people is a curve, THE curve which appears when one smiles. So, (and here, it will not be as if I have discovered Atlántida), once again the best tip for those who want to be successful - SMILE.

I do not know if I have made it through the initial screening (they will notify us on Wednesday, November 19). Whatever the outcome is going to be, it is a great experience. If you think you have what it takes to be a flight attendant, go for it!