“I’ve always wanted to work as a flight attendant! It’s been my dream job, I’m a people person, I love to travel, and I want a job that I can grow in, and I love your company logo and paint scheme. I know I’m great fit, this is the job I’ve been waiting for all my life!”
A few days later, you receive the dreaded Thanks, But No Thanks, or TBNT email.
Where did I go wrong? I smiled a lot. I was friendly. I showed that I was outgoing and very interested in working for them, so why wasn’t I picked?
In all likelihood, you weren’t selected for a couple of reasons.
- They asked you why you want to work as a flight attendant for them, but your entire response was all about you.
- They didn’t learn anything about you other than you want to work there and that you think you are great fit, but they did not hear why you are a good fit for them. You didn’t give them one reason why they should hire you.
There’s a method of interview that some companies use, or expect you to know when you respond to their questions, which is referred to as the Situation, Task, Action, Result, or STAR interview format. The STAR format gives the interviewer the opportunity to learn about you, situations you’ve encountered, what you had to do, what you did to resolve it, and what the outcome was. Your past performance on the job does help them predict what kind of future employee you would be for them, to determine if you have the skills and experiences required to do very well representing them.
The STAR method tells a lot more about you than “I’m here, I want to work for you, so hire me!”
Let’s go through one sample question and how to respond in a way, the STAR format, that lets the interviewer learn about you.
Interviewer: “Tell me about an occasion where you experienced bad customer service.”
Situation: it was my friend’s/relative’s birthday and we wanted to make it special for them.
Task: celebrate the occasion we decided to all go out to XXXXX restaurant, known for making excellent seafood which we knew so-and-so liked very much. When the orders came, it was clear that the fish was quite overcooked and not possible to enjoy.
Action: When the waiter came back, we explained why we were not pleased with the fish and would appreciate it to be re-cooked the way it’s supposed to be done. The waiter was not too happy with our request, and a few minutes later he came back and told us that’s how the fish is supposed to be prepared. That’s how they do it. We asked if the chef could re-cook a new meal, and we were told they won’t do it because this is the right way to prepare the fish.
Result: None of us were happy with the way the waiter handled the visible problem with the meal. Because of that experience, we decided we would never return to that particular restaurant ever again. It’s too bad it happen this way, because we had been there many times before and the food was always good. However, this one bad experience has changed our opinion of ever returning. It’s very clear how important consistent, good customer service is to ensuring the customers happy and will want to return.
Answering the question this way, in a full narrative gives the interviewer insight to what you were thinking and your actions to address the situation. Compared to a common response that interviewees give when asked to tell about a time they experienced bad customer service.
“I was in XXXX retail store looking to buy some clothes but couldn’t find what I was looking for. I tried for a few minutes to find a salesperson that could help me, but there was no one around, so I just walked out and decided I won’t shop there anymore. If they can’t be bothered to help customers, I can’t be bothered to shop there. Customer service should always be the best, all the time, because businesses need customers to stay in business.”
That kind of response doesn’t say much of anything, and in fact, would reveal a bit of attitude on the interviewees part. This is why the STAR format is so important to use when answering interview questions. Naturally, not all questions can be answered in star format, but most of them can. Keep this in mind when you prepare for your video or face-to-face interview. Remember, prepare yourself by thinking of different situations you can give as examples when asked. Just as bad as giving a less than helpful response is to not be prepared. Sitting there stammering with “um, um, let me think for a moment” tells the interviewer you were not prepared for the interview, and it may end up causing you not to be selected. Prepare yourself in advance, but do not memorize word for word what you want to say, because if you script yourself, it will sound scripted. Worse yet, if you forget exactly what you wanted to say, it will throw off your response and make the interview go bad.
- Think of examples to use.
- Think of key elements of the example in STAR format
- Be ready to answer the questions, and hopefully… get offered a job!
Do you want help preparing for the video and face-to-face interviews? We can work one-on-one with you to prepare you how to answer the questions properly based on your work and life experience! Call us at 480-787-6440 to find out how we can help you get started working as a flight attendant.