On your assessment day you will be nervous, if you’re not nervous maybe you don’t want it enough! My advice is if you don’t live near the assessment location (normally Heathrow Airport), get a hotel for the night so you’re nice and refreshed for the big day. I went up the night before just after tea time, sat at the desk in my hotel room and just went over everything again and again until I was confident enough that I knew I could answer anything that came my way!
Tip number one for the assessment day!
Try and dress like Cabin Crew. You want them to see you looking like you’ve already got the job. I wore a black pencil skirt, white shirt tucked in, and a blazer on top, with some black Cabin Crew heels. You could also wear flat shoes if you’re not comfortable with that! Then straight away you’ve made a good first impression.
When you arrive, let reception know you’re there and they’ll direct you to take a seat. This is where you get to know the people who are on the same assessment day as you. It’s an opportunity to share how nervous you’re all feeling, where you’ve come from and you make new friends!
You will then be taken through to the designated area for assessment days. You then provided the documents you have been requested, passport, reference letters etc. you are then issued with your pass which you will need throughout the day. When you are waiting to be called you have another opportunity to calm yourself chatting with the other candidates and sharing stories. Then you all take a seat in the lobby area and just have a chit chat, drink some water, tell stories, calming each other’s nerves.
The two exercises you have to do is The Role Play and The Group Exercise.
The candidates are split into groups and have their assessment on a conveyor belt system, so be aware, there is a lot of waiting! Make sure you’re not on your phone while you are waiting because you are being observed even though you might not realise it! You could do the exercises in any order, it will just depend on the group you are allocated to on the day.
ABOUT THE ROLE PLAY:
Everyone seems to get really worked up about this, as it sounds daunting. I was the first time (this was my second assessment day with BA) it sounded like my worst nightmare. But it’s really not bad at all, and that’s coming from me! You get a sheet of paper with some info on it, and you have to sit there for two minutes and read the sheet and memorise as much as you can, this sheet gives you information. The assessor, who is playing the role of the customer, is going to ask you questions like ‘why is this happening?’ ‘What can you do?’ your replies will be on the information sheet. If you memorise that sheet you will be absolutely fine! Even if you forget something, make something up. They just want to see how you handle a tricky situation, so don’t panic, don’t say ‘umm I don’t know’! Just speak to them as it was a real customer. They are great actors these assessors and it will make you laugh a little bit! Just make it fun, memorise what’s on this sheet and be professional with a ‘bring it on’ attitude!
ABOUT THE GROUP EXERCISE:
The group exercise is actually great fun, I loved this part of the assessment day! You’re in a group of about 5 or 6 people and you sit around a table, and there’s an assessor on each corner of the room watching, so you can’t hide! The group exercise is basically, everyone gets a sheet of paper to take notes and there’s a paper in the middle of the table with a situation on it. It can be anything from a plane being delayed because of a tornado, or crash landing in a desert island and what supplies are most important. The end conclusion doesn’t have to be right, they just want everyone to come to an agreement at the end. I find it so fun I don’t know why! Honestly my biggest advice for this is to just SPEAK. They want to hear you talk, if you just sit there and nod your head at what everyone is saying, you’re not going to get through. Instead of nodding say something productive like “ah that’s such a good idea!” Or “yeah I agree but we can do this too…” and include the people who are being quiet. They like it when you include people and involve everyone in the conversation. Don’t talk over anyone and don’t be too over powering. Don’t worry about this one at all, just look forward to it! After the exercises are completed you are then taken off into another room and are shown a slideshow. You will be told everything you need to know about working with BA. What destinations you’re going to, the pay, what the training is like etc. which is exciting!
After the slideshow comes the horrible part! Your entire group gets split into two. One half will stay for the interview and the other half go straight home. This is quite tough when you’ve made friends with someone and then you get separated and you don’t know what group is going and which is staying, and you don’t get to say goodbye! When you’re called into you’re two groups you start analysing each other like “oh she was really good and confident and she’s in that group so that means I’m going home”, this is not the case at all! But you can’t help it though, it’s natural to judge who’s in which group! It’s happened to me before when I’ve seen some people who I thought ‘wow they’re so confident they’re definitely getting through’ and they got sent home! Thankfully I haven’t been in the group that’s been sent home. I got to the interview stage last time and I got an email a day later saying I wasn’t successful. And obviously the second time I had got it!
When you get taken into your room and you sit down the nerves are so, so, high. Even writing this has given me a weird feeling because it’s such a cliff-hanger, you’re all looking at each other reassuring each other. Then they come out and say it “so unfortunately guys…” and they mess you around a little bit “…you’re going to be staying here with us a little while longer because you’ve all passed” and we all cheered and there was some tears. There’s so much pressure and when you find out you actually did okay it’s a huge relief. We had to wait in the room until the other group who got opposite news got their bags and left. It was horrible seeing this because you never got to say bye to your new friends and you just want to give them a hug!
When they have left you go and sit back in the lobby area and this is the crucial time of whipping out your interview notes and going over them one last time. But as soon as I sat back down and frantically got my notes out they called my name. I was so nervous because I hadn’t looked at my notes since the night before and I didn’t think I’d get this far again! When I went for my assessment day the first time I was so nervous in the interview and that was what ultimately let me down. This time round I knew what was coming. I just thought to myself they don’t want a nervous person. Obviously they make allowances for people being nervous and take that into account and were really aware about people being nervous, they really are the nicest people. So I just thought to myself, my nerves ruined it for me last time, I am not going to let them get the better of me again! So I walked to the interview room with one of the assessors and chatted to her along the way which certainly made me calmer.
We both took a seat and she gave me some water and she just asked me some questions. My advice for this is, pretend it’s not an interview, try and just shut that thought out! Think, to yourself ‘It’s just someone asking questions’, this will help you to demonstrate what you already know and provide confident answers, remember you practiced the situation so many times you’ll be fed up of saying it! Just revise, revise, revise! I can’t stress this enough! Practice at home before you get there, get someone to ask you the questions or ask yourself and have that answer ready in the back of your mind.