Life back to normal in Singapore here

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Information on SQ cabin crew job and interview

Due to many enquiries from our SIA Steward/Stewardess wannabes, I have decided to post as much information as possible to help them. I will try to answer questions in the comment space provided below but in case I overlook your question please do forgive me. The information below may not be 100% accurate and I would advise the wannabes to refer to the SIA website. Also my answers to your questions may not necessarily be 100% correct or current and as such I should not be held responsible.

Singapore Airlines has always been the airline to fly with. The Singapore Girl is the epitome of beauty, elegance, and premier service. What does it take to become a Singapore Girl? Find out more about the hard work that goes into making every flight a great way to fly.

Singapore Airlines …a global brand and arguably the best airline in the world. Synonymous with Singapore Airlines is the Singapore Girl. Mention those two words and immediately a picture of a slim, sweet, smiling Asian girl in a sarong kebaya comes to mind. Her internationally recognised uniform, designed by French couturier Pierre Balmain, is associated with unparalleled service standards – service with a smile, whatever you ask for you will get, no questions asked.

The Singapore Girl has always been perceived as a glamour job reserved for the elite - beautiful women, impeccably groomed, jet-setting the world. But has that changed? With the rapid take-off in the air travel industry and increased competition by other major airlines, is the Singapore Girl still the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, the job that all women are eyeing?

60 years ago, Singapore Airlines started with 3 flights a week but today, their route network reaches 60 destinations in 32 countries with 668 weekly flights. The company employs around 6,800 cabin crew to man their fleet of 89 aircraft. With this great demand, the airline has had to employ cabin crew from around the region – so the Singapore Girl is not always Singaporean. In fact, the majority of the stewardesses hail from Malaysia, with others coming from Taiwan, Indonesia, China, Japan, Korea and India. This is also advantageous to the airline since stewardesses will be able to communicate with Asian passengers in their native language.

Obvious benefits of flying for Singapore Airlines are the opportunity to travel, experience different cultures and meet people from all over the world; not to mention the prestige associated with being a Singapore Girl. Cabin crews enjoy free entry into many popular night spots. Other advantages include a monthly salary of about S$3,500, which is significantly higher than the starting pay of fresh university graduates. In addition, there is also an annual wage supplement of one month’s basic salary, a profit-sharing bonus and a medical copayment scheme. Each staff member is also entitled to a free ticket to any Singapore Airlines destination once a year, with discounted travel at other times. Spouses of married staff will also be entitled to a free annual ticket. With at least 21 days of paid annual leave (senior and supervisory staff get 2, all these perks contribute to make flying with Singapore Airlines a very attractive career prospect.

Being a Singapore Girl is a lot more than just smiling and looking pretty though. The hours are long and flying all over the world through different time zones can be very exhausting. A typical month usually consists of 1 long flight, a few 3-day flights and some turnarounds (i.e. flying to a destination and back within a day). Long flights are to destinations in Europe, the United States or the Middle East. Mid-range flights are regional – Australia, Japan, China or Taiwan. Turnaround destinations include Indonesia, Hong Kong, Vietnam and Malaysia. Long flights will mean 4 to 9 days away from Singapore, including a few days to rest. Cabin crew are then entitled to 2 to 3 days off after they return from long flights before having to fly again, which works out to about 15 off days a month.

A typical flight would require cabin crew to report for a briefing 2 hours before take-off. They will then have to prepare the aircraft for passengers to board. Upon takeoff, the focus is on taking care of passengers’ needs, from meals to duty-free shopping to keeping toilets clean and handling any request, however unusual it may be. One stewardess was even asked to separate a passenger’s mixed nuts, just because he did not eat brazil nuts!! Needless to say, it was done … with a smile of course. Attending so diligently to the passengers is hard work but there are rest areas for crew onboard the aircraft to take a break or even a quick nap.

Singapore Airlines pride themselves on offering service of the highest order. With passengers also getting more and more demanding, what qualities does the Singapore Girl have to possess in order to be successful? “Patience” was the answer given by one flight steward, who has been flying with Singapore Airlines for the past 10 years. To him, the most rewarding part of his job is the satisfied smiles on passengers’ faces as they disembark from the aircraft. On the flipside, the hardest part of flying is the physical toll on the body as a result of irregular working hours, changes in time zones and jet-lag.

So do you have what it takes to become a Singapore Girl? Application requirements have become more stringent over the years. Singapore and Malaysian applicants need to have at least 2 principal passes and 2 subsidiary passes in their A-levels (or its equivalent) and a relatively high standard of English. This is in comparison to the previous requirement of O-level passes. Applicants from other Asian countries need an equivalent of a Degree. In addition, females need to have a minimum height of 1.58 metres. Preference is given to candidates who are able to speak foreign languages or with experience in customer service.

Some candidates are also required to wear a sarong kebaya to see if they ‘look’ like Singapore Girls. Once candidates make it pass these 5 rounds, they go through about 4 months of training which includes basic service and safety, English diction, social etiquette and makeup. There are several tests interspersed throughout the training but the critical ones that have to be passed are first aid, safety and evacuation procedures. The emphasis that Singapore Airlines places on safety is very clear as these tests have to be passed annually in order for cabin crew to keep flying. Before graduation from training, candidates take part in ‘wet-runs’ undergoing on-the-job training on actual flights. Upon graduation, they have to sign a 2 year compulsory service bond, with a 6 month probation period. They are also offered renewable 5 year contracts which pay out a generous lump-sum on completion.

The Singapore Girl has always occupied the limelight, but what about the Singapore Boy? Does he exist? Theanswer is, Yes! 30% of cabin crew are male stewards and there is no gender distinction. They enjoy the same benefits and perks that the Singapore Girl does and have to go through the same stringent selection process and training.

Upon securing a permanent position with the airline, what do advancement prospects and career progression look like for cabin crew? There are 4 ranks, indicated by the colour of the uniform. An entry-level stewardess wears the blue sarong kebaya. One level up is the Leading Stewardess who wears Green. A Chief Stewardess is clothed in a red kebaya, while the In-flight Stewardess wears Purple. The stewards’ ranks are distinguished by their necties. In order to maintain the high level of service which Singapore Airlines is well-known for, service rules and regulations are very strict. Cabin crews are continually assessed throughout the year, via evaluations which are conducted on-flight by different supervisors and Inflight Auditors. A performance report will be given to them after the flight and the crews are not told in advance which flights they will be evaluated on.

In summary, if you want to be in the service industry, enjoy traveling and meeting people, are not prone to air-sickness, have a adaptable body clock and just happen to have a permanent, megawatt smile, it looks like a career flying the skies is for you. Almost 60 years of innovation and service have pushed Singapore Airlines to the forefront of the industry, so it looks like the Singapore Girl (or rather, Singapore Person) is still a great way to fly.

SIA cabin crew interview are usually held as "Walk in" or "Write in" types.

Sequence of an interview.

1) Self-introduction to a panel of cabin crew
executive interviewers (2), in groups of 10 candidates plus a question. 
An example of the question may be like this one>>>"What is your favorite food and tell us why you like it?"

2) A round of games eg. flipping of Uno cards and a one-on-one interview.

3) Kebaya and skin check for girls and skin checks for guys.

4) Management or Final Round...2 groups of candidates and a panel of interviewers.

After you've passed all the above you will be sent for a medical check up.
After getting a clean bill of health,you will then be sent for training at STC.


Anonymous said...

Interesting stuff!!! However, it's tiring for crew as nowadays can u imagine going to SYD on 777 at early morning n arrival at hilton at dinner time, den next day noon checkout to fly back on 380.

Anonymous said...

It is tiring, but its a job one signs up to do, and accepts that it is the lifestyle with its rewards and perks at the end of the day, when you finally fly to your favourite shopping destination and splurge your entire allowance. It is all part of making the most of being a Singapore Girl :)