Etihad Assessment Day Explained: Reality vs Expectations!

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I am sure lots of you were happy when you received the short-listed email to attend Etihad Airways assessment day. However, many factors play a huge role in passing your interview and some of which might not sound fair or appealing. 


Let me say this first:

I would like to start by telling you the truth and the real conclusion of my experience and hundreds of others that were qualified and overqualified yet they weren’t chosen during the first stage without even getting a real one on one interview. Yet they kept applying and finally made it after attending lots of cabin crew interviews. 


It would have been completely reasonable if Etihad picked up qualifying candidates during their first try, but to be fair evaluating large numbers of applicants can be difficult especially for a small period of time and that leaves a big gap for a chance.

It’s messed up i know, but maybe you can take something out of this:

Etihad is always hosting flight attendant jobs and I was short-listed and then invited to attend the assessment day on the 28 of December 2015 in Casablanca Morocco. I had prepared all the requested documents that were sent to me through email ( registration form, pre-employment declaration form, the introductory statement, passport photo, and full-length photo in business attire, resume….ext). Two days before the assessment day I had to take 13 hours bus to get to Marrakech and 3 hours ride on the train to Casablanca. So it’s not like I live around the block neither many candidates that came from all over the world.

assessment day cabin crew

Credentials background:

+ High School Graduate From NJ USA.+ Over two years of experience in customer service, “Exxon Mobile.” + 6 months of marketing and sales “Clear-view Energy,” an energy provider company.

About recruitment team:

I won’t disclose the assessor’s names for the sake of privacy, but I will describe them from how they presented themselves to the candidates and as a whole:

  • Algerian Assessor: She was nice overall, and she is in charge of the assessors from what another candidate told me. She was the one who told us who passed the first stage by calling out their names, and she apologized mostly about any inconvenience and to those who didn’t get the chance to continue along.
  • French Assessor: This guy is pretty chill, and he was very interactive with candidates. I personally got the chance to answer one of his questions during the PowerPoint presentation. His French accent is pretty good, yet he apologized for it anyway, and that made me smile :).
  • Emirati Assessor: She was the one I registered with, and she wasn’t excited as her colleagues were, but she is pretty calm and chill. She made a joke saying, “I am not Moroccan,” although she looked Moroccan (Lol). She gave an excellent presentation about Abu Dhabi UAE’s lifestyle and Etihad Airways history, and she seems proud of doing it.
  • Romanian Assessor: She is a lovely young lady. She was smiling the whole time and full of energy. I did my impromptu speech with her, and she greeted me nicely, and she asked me a question about manners. A friendly candidate sitting next to me liked her more than anyone else did during that day.
  • Irish Assessor: She was delightful, although I didn’t talk to her personally. However, she was very nice and understanding (She did something remarkable that day!). 

Assessment day stages:

  • Arrived before 8:00 am to Movenpick hotel
  • Led to an auditorium inside the hotel at 8:00 am
  • Registration began where they take your registration form and one passport photo only
  • Asked to reach 210 cm by the interviewer and given a name tag with a random number
  • Registration stage finished about 10:00 am (about 200 candidates)
  • Followed by a simple English test (2 pages-20 min)
  • 25 min break after the test
  • impromptu speech 1-on-1 (1 min per applicant) where they ask you random questions to test your English skills
  • After given your impromptu speech you are asked to come back at 2:15 (lunch break) 
  • At 2:15 pm the two assessors explain the lifestyle of Abu Dhabi and more info about the airline (around 40 min).
  • Filtering the candidates and those who passed so far (Nerve-Wracking Part)
  • The end of that day (those who passed were asked to come back the next day).

Interview stages (in detail):

Everybody is dressing up in business attire and I arrived on time. After getting to the hotel auditorium, we begin registration and there were about 200 candidates setting in 4 long table rows. There were only 4 assessors which I’ll get to talk about in a different section of the article. I was registered by the Emirati assessor and she wasn’t excited as her colleagues but she wasn’t rude either. She asked me “how did you apply for Etihad airways” and I said “Online” she then asked “do you have any tattoos or piercings” and I was saying “No”. Then she asked me to reach a 210 cm mark on the wall which I did easily / I am 5’9″ (To make sure that you can reach the safety equipment onboard the aircraft). I was then given a name tag and a number adjacent to it. The last letter “E” of my name is missing and I didn’t mind; not a big deal.

She then told me to have a seat and I was like “Thank you”. After all the candidates registered we were given the English test that consists of 4 parts/2 pages (grammar, comprehension, multiple choice answers) it was easy although it could have been better if they had given candidates more time but I can’t complain, because they also need to test how fast you can finish up things. After the test, we had a 25 min break where the candidates can use the bathroom or go for a smoke w.e.

The impromptu speech was right after the break and for those of you who don’t know what is ‘an impromptu speech’ is basically a random question of any soda of topic to test your English speaking skills and how you would respond to the question. A good way to prepare yourself for that part is to practice English communication skills and have em rate your answers based on grammar and orientation.

Etihad assessment day questions:

Cabin crew interview questions are pretty broad and you just can’t prepare for them especially during the impromptu speech. Here’s a couple of examples that were asked when I attended the flight attendant recruitment day:

  • is it good to be young?
  • what makes people smoke?
  • what is your favorite dish that your mother makes?

Also, when it is your turn for impromptu speech you must go to a different assessor than the one you registered with. I did my impromptu speech with a Romanian assessor where she asked me “are manners important in the workplace?” I replied with ” I’ve worked in customer service for ‘Exxon mobile’ over 2 years and manners are very important to interact with customers and to win their trust. Also keeping manners under stressful situations is important in customer service and not to take things personally if you’ve been wronged” She was pretty happy with my answer from what I can tell and she told me to come back at 2:15 pm. I left the rest of my documents on the table except for my passport and I left with another candidate to get lunch. I was pretty comfortable with myself during the break because I knew I did good and I was overqualified compared to many other candidates that I’ve spoken to.

I came back from the break feeling confident about moving to the next stage. The French and Emirati Assessors presented a PowerPoint presentation of Abu Dhabi and Etihad Airways which included; Videos of places in Abu Dhabi, Pictures of upgraded air crafts, Facts like the 7-year consecutive awards airline and about the airline’s CEO James Hogan, Destinations of the airline…..etc the presentation lasted for about 40 minutes and the applicants were pretty vigorous when it comes to answering questions.

The Algerian assessor told the candidates that they shouldn’t be demotivated if they are not chosen to continue on the assessment day and that we are there because they saw something in our resumes/cv that made them invite us! however, they are going to decline candidates without any personal feedback because of their confidential policy.

She says “You can always apply after 6 months” and then she started reading out names from the registrations forms. Everyone was anxious when she was reading those names because no one knew whether she was calling out the winners or the losers. They just have to raise their hand and stay seated. Then after the candidates are called out (about 40 maybe) they were asked to follow the French assessor to a different room while the rest must stay seated and I was among them. She then apologized and told us we did NOT make it.

Send your cover letter & resume for feedback & advice, FREE APPRAISAl. 

‘Click on picture for details’

Final thoughts:

I got to give credit to the Algerian assessor because she had to do the toughest part but in my personal opinion the flight attendant recruitment isn’t fair because I wasn’t called out; but because less qualified candidates got called out and I can’t even tell what I did wrong! I wouldn’t write a whole long article about my experience if I wasn’t interested in joining Etihad Airways but I believe in fair process and judgment which every airline should make a priority when it comes to recruiting cabin crews and employees in general.

That’s it

How did your first cabin crew interview go? The airline, Where, When, Advice?

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