“Should Beauty Pageants Accept Applicants who have Gone Through Plastic Surgery?”–And Other Interview Questions from Singapore Airlines

January 24, 2021

Glassdoor.com is a website for prospective employees to look for jobs as well as a portal for finding reviews of companies. It also includes a section for interviewees to comment on the interview process and report on the interview questions they were asked during the interview. I focused on collecting all the interview questions for cabin crew (including flight attendants and stewardesses). I collected interview questions from 198 interview reviews–covering July 27, 2011 to December 28, 2020.

Singapore Airlines grabbed the number two spot in the 2020 list of the world’s best airline–slipping one spot since 2019. In their interviews for cabin crew, they ask a wide variety of questions, which I categorized into three bins–debate, situational, and behavioral. One interviewee remarked: “They literally asked you very random questions and you have to answer with poise.” This post takes a survey of the gauntlet of interview questions.

One of the most surprising and controversial categories of questions are the questions that incite debate. One example of a debate question is: “Is it immoral to sell human organs?” They also asked a series of questions regarding traditional roles of women and marriage, “Women should get married early or late?” Also, “Married couples should live with their parents.” Another category of questions related to beauty: “Intelligence is more important than beauty,” “Do you think beautiful people are successful?”, and “Should beauty pageants accept applicants who have gone through plastic surgery?” Finally, they asked a series of questions about money: “Can Money buy happiness?” Also, “Money is the root of all evil.”

The situational questions offer up scenarios for interviewees to explain how they would deal with each scenario. One example is: “A small sized guy is seated between two big sized guys and appeared to be uncomfortable due to lack of space. The flight is full. What will you do?” Another question surrounding customer service is: “Elderly passenger and a parent with child, both need your assistance /help at the same time who would you choose first and why?” Another common situational interview question is: “How would you handle a passenger who has rejected the available meals on board?” Also, “How would you help a nervous first time traveler?” Finally, “What if a passenger does not understand your language. How will you communicate?”

The behavioral questions ask interviewees relatively random questions and have them respond. One of the most common behavioral questions Singapore Airlines asks is: “Who would you want to be with if you are stranded on an island, why?” Another questions is: “If you could have supernatural abilities, what would it be?”

Also, they asked a series of “favorite” questions–including favorite food, fruit, movie, music, city, destination, drink, number, and favorite app on the smartphone. Furthermore, they had a set of questions asking interviewees to chose between two options–job satisfaction or money, black or white, sunset or sunrise, male or female if born again, glass half-empty or half-full, personality like a wolf or sheep. Finally, they had a set of “if” questions–“If you were a flower, which flower would you be”; “If you were given a wish, what would it be”; “If you were to feature in a headline of newspaper, what would be the title”; “If I asked you to shave your hair, would you do it”; “If today is your last day in the world, what will you do?”

They also asked a lot of questions surrounding travel–“If you were given a chance to travel, where and why would you pick that place?” Do you prefer, “Bangkok or Paris?” “Do you have any secret food finds in Singapore to recommend a tourist?” Where would you bring your foreign friends if they have never been to Singapore? “Would you recommend Kopitiam or Starbucks to a passenger inquiring on food and beverage in Singapore?”

Finally, the interview questions revealed that looks were a major criterion for getting hired. Besides asking, “Why did you choose the outfit you are wearing today,” interviewees said they were told to go to the back of the room and stand in front of the camera so the interviewers could see a full body view. They were also asked to sit and give a smile. They told one interviewee that they could not pass her right now because of acne.

For cabin crew members, getting hired at Singapore Airlines involves navigating a wide range of sometimes controversial questions. Referring to the interviewee who said that the employer just wants to see you answer with poise, the questions do seem to provide a gauntlet–and navigating that gauntlet does not seem straightforward.

Sources: https://www.forbes.com/sites/ericrosen/2019/11/27/the-2020-list-of-the-worlds-best-airlines-is-out-now/?sh=4ffd7e3f16e3

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