Like some tales, this one started with an ugly duckling.
My ugly duckling was my break up from a long-standing relationship. Before that, I would never have given a second thought to actually attending an Emirates Open Day. Having said that, it doesn’t mean I had never thought of it before. I had. And how. It all started with a picture. An ad to be precise. A row of pretty profiles, each donning the red hat, their lips carefully painted with the same shade of lipstick. They were all facing forwards, away from the camera lens, their smiles soft and easy. The dark skinned, the blonde, the olive skinned.And then there was the caucasian. Her head was tilted at an angle, so that her eyes met the camera. Her smile was wide, perfect white teeth showing. The veil cascaded flawlessly down one side of her face and over her left shoulder. She was beautiful. When I saw that, something sparked in my ever fertile imagination. I saw myself in that instant and wondered vaguely how my life would be like. A globetrotter. A jetsetter. And the more I thought about it, the more I liked what I saw in my head. But I already had a job. A good one at that. I was teaching in a Secondary State School with a near 100% job security. And I had a boyfriend. Although I am a true believer in love conquers all, this was bordering on the very edge of that. So I dismissed the idea entirely and my dream went up in smoke. Smoke that lingered though, as would be proven later.
Fast forward a year or so and what I thought was an end to something was indeed, as many would claim, the beginning of something else. Come the 11th of May, the day of the Emirates Open Day in Malta and I was still unsure as to what exactly I was doing, walking up to the venue, CVs in hand, feeling strange with bright red lipstick in full daylight (I quickly got used to that). But my friend’s words still echoed in my head. “What have you got to lose?” Nothing. I had nothing to lose and everything to gain. So I took a deep breath and went in.
I was in good company throughout the Open Day. Two of my closest friends,were with me as well as some other people I got to know well later on. During the entire Open Day I just sat and listened and although the recruiters were involving us, we were too many and I wasn’t sure whether I wanted to participate in front of a 100+ audience. So I kept my peace. The recruiters talked about Dubai mainly, about life in the largest city of the UAE, of Emirates as a leading airline of how this was not a competition between us, that we’d all be taken if we were deemed up to the company’s standards. After watching a couple of videos, we were asked to individually hand in our CV. Upon doing so, the recruiter, Andrea, asked me what I did for a living, to which I answered that I taught English. At this her eyes widened slightly in what seemed at the time to be approval. She asked me if I had tattoos in the visible areas on a diagram and then promised she would call if I got through. I left, almost absolutely sure I would never receive the call.
An hour later, when I had not even removed my lipstick yet, I got the call that I was through. I hardly believed it but I was happy I had made it. My joy deflated somewhat when by nightfall neither of my friends had received the call. I would like to tell you I know the secret to getting through the Open Day but honestly, I think it’s just a combination of luck and having a good CV. That and a genuine smile. You can never go wrong with that. Before I went to the Assessment Day (that’s the second day of selection) I talked to a couple of friends who already worked with Emirates. They gave me a brief outline of what I was to expect. We were 20 in all and I surprised myself with how calm I was feeling when nearly everyone else was restless and agitated. I figured some of them were counting on getting this job because they had no other. Others had been trying for quite some time and were feeling the pressure of having to get it right this time. I was lucky I guess. I had none of this hanging over my head. Indeed if I had failed the selection, I know my mum for one, would have been much the happier for it. First off we were given the Reach Test. You have to be at least 212cm, on tip toes and arms outstretched, to make qualify as cabin crew with Emirates. I reached it (just barely mind you) and after that they asked me a couple of questions about my current job, what I find challenging about it and how I deal with it. After that we all had to give a presentation about one of Emirates’ destinations. We were partnered up and we had to imagine that the rest of the group were passengers who had just asked us what they could do in that particular destination. I had Rio de Janeiro and my partner was none other than the only other girl who got chosen for the job, and now one of my closest friends, Katia. For me this task wasn’t too difficult. I was a teacher. I was used to talking in front of a group of people and to express myself in a lively manner. That done, 10 of us got through. We had an English test after that. Again this was quite an easy task for me, even though the level of the test was not easy. 9 of us went through to the next stage.
The last and most difficult of all. We role played facing angry customers. We had to give reasons for not being able to provide the service promised them initially and also offer solutions. On the spot. With everyone watching. Not nice. I remember at that point my palms were sweating and I had no idea what possible solution I could offer which could effectively please them because nothing seemed to please them. But something happened then. I can be very resourceful if I want to and at that moment this streak in me kicked in and I could breathe normally again afterwards. Out of nine, 6 went through to the final interview.
The final interview was quite easy, even though I hate using this word loosely. The interview was very personal. It concentrated on my current job and I was given different scenarios and how I had reacted to them. I suppose they assess you on how you handle situations, on how assertive and communicative you are. My tip is to be genuine, smile, be open and outgoing. Don’t be afraid to share your opinions on matters, to say where you think you had made a wrong choice. Be prepared to offer examples from your work experience and how you could, in hindsight have handled the situation better. Just be you, at your best and no one will have anything to say even if you don’t get through.
Best of luck! Remember to be positive. Your smile will take care of the rest.