A lot has change in the airline industry since the outbreak of covid-19 pandemic. Many small airlines went out of business, thousands of flights were canceled, and uncertainty remained the only certain thing. However, big brands do always survive, and United Airlines is not an exception to the rule.
Operating the third largest fleet in the world, and flying to more than 200 destination is almost 50 countries, the company continues to set the bar for the industry standards, especially in the United States.
In this short article we will look at ten questions you can face in your interview with the company. It doesn’t matter if you interview online or face to face, these ten questions can make your head spin, especially when you do not have a lot of experience with interviewing for jobs. Let’s have a look at them!
Why do you want to work for United Airlines?
Try to convince them that they are your first choice, praising the company for something. Perhaps you fly with them often and enjoy the experience immensely–now it’s time to move to the other side, helping them to deliver such an experience to the customers.
Or you love their list of destinations, the branding of the company, how they try to minimize their environmental impact, or the sheer fact that they are big and in these uncertain times it is better to work for a bigger airline.
Alternatively you can refer to a recommendation from a friend. Maybe someone you know has the same position with the company. They told you great things about the collective in the workplace, employee benefits, career growth, anything else. Their word and your research motivated you to apply with United Airlines, instead of one of their competitors–though they might offer a better salary to the applicants.
Tell us about a time when you got an excellent customer service.
Everything in airline business is about small details–which make a flight an unforgettable experience–in good means, of course. You should narrate your experience in detail–and it can be from a hotel, restaurant, store, but also from the skies.
The way they treated you from the start, how you felt welcomed and heard out during your stay, the little surprises the crew (or staff) prepared for you, how they had a great system in place and how you felt safe the entire time, etc.
Once you finish your description of the situation, you can add that you’d love to provide the same level of service to the customers of United Airlines (do this especially if you apply for a cabin crew position).
What would you do if you saw that one of the employees was not following the rules?
Teamwork and camaraderie are important pillars of the working culture at United Airlines. At the same time, however, safety rules go first in the clouds. Ensure the interviewers that you would intervene immediately. You’d go and talk to the colleague, explaining how they were not abiding the rules.
You would not report them immediately unless it was something serious–that’s the camaraderie part, because everyone can make a mistake. If it was something serious, however, or if you saw them breaking the rules again, despite your recommendation, you’d report them to the managers, regardless of the relationship you have with them.
Describe a time you had a disagreement with one of your colleagues.
For sure you’ve experienced your fair share of conflicts, and certainly they had all kinds of outcomes. For your interview, however, you should pick a conflict that you managed to pacify quickly, one which did not escalate into something bigger. Because you cannot afford big conflicts in the skies, being responsible for the safety of the passengers.
What’s more, you should pick a conflict about some professional issue. Maybe you had a different opinion on a way something should be done, or disagreed about a way how to solve a problem. Instead of letting the conflict escalate, however, you discussed things in a calm way, and eventually came to a compromise.
Do not talk about personal or destructive conflicts, for example when you blamed someone for some mistakes (or they blamed you), or when you argued about some personal stuff.
Tell us about experience at work you are most proud of.
This should be something you did for the others, not the prizes or accolades you got. Can be a situation when you went above and beyond for the customer. Or a situation when you suggested some improvement to this or that process, and as a result helped your employer to save money.
Hiring managers at United Airlines should get an impression that you enjoy such moments, and find some sort of personal satisfaction in them. Because when it is the case, you will find it natural to go above and beyond for the customer, and to make sure they enjoy their experience with the company.
* Special tip: You can download the list of questions in a one page long PDF, print it, and practice your interview answers anytime later:
How do you feel about being away from family, friends, or beloved pets?
Each job has some drawbacks, and when we talk about airline jobs (especially cabin crew and pilots), this is something many employees find hard to bear. You have a few options for a good answer.
First one is saying that you’ve heard so much about excellent atmosphere and camaraderie at United Airlines. Sure, you may spend much less time with your friends back home. But you will meet new people, make new friends, and see no reason why you cannot find “another family” within your circles at work.
Second thing is saying that this is not an issue anymore in the era of modern technologies. You may not see them in person, touch their hand, look in the eyes, share a glass of wine… But you can make a video call, basically from any place in the world. You can be in touch, and that’s enough for you.
Last thing is saying that getting away from home and family is exactly what you are looking for. You feel like you need a change–new places and new faces, and have no regrets about leaving your circles behind. Such an answer makes sense in many life situations.
Tell us about a situation at work you wish you had handled differently.
Once again, you should refer to customer service. With this question they test your ability of self-reflection. Can you admit making a mistake? Do you learn from your mistakes? And, do you care about every little detail, just as an excellent flight attendant does?
Maybe you neglected a customer, or replied to their request in an inappropriate way, and later regretted it. But you could not turn back the clock, they left a bad review online (for the restaurant, store, or company where you worked). You could not remedy it, but you learned your lesson, and did not repeat the same mistake again.
Humility and continuous improvement is highly valued in the airline business. Show them that you personify these qualities.
What do you see as the most challenging aspect of working as a flight attendant (or another position)?
This really depends on your expectations and preferences. It can be the fact that all eyes are on you, and the expectations of passengers are higher each year (and the same is true about airlines). Or the responsibility you carry on your shoulders.
Perhaps you do not fancy the idea of being away from home so often. You can also find your lack of experience (if that’s the case) super challenging–since you are a perfectionist, and want to exceed the expectations of the passengers.
One way or another, ensure the interviewers that you are ready to deal with the challenges. You know that each job has some pluses and minuses, and the same is true for this one. It’s good to be aware of them and have a healthy level of respect, but you definitely aren’t scared.
Is there anything else you’d like United to know about your qualifications?
If you speak some foreign languages and did not get a chance to talk about that up to this point, you should definitely do so with the last question. United flies to six continents, and not everyone onboard speaks English. On some flights it can be less than 20% of passengers. Spanish, French, and Chinese are especially helpful.
You can also add any previous experience with working in customer service, or some seminars and trainings you went to. Try to end the interview on a high note. If it’s done online, do not forget to smile, be positive, and thank them for considering your application. They should get an impression that it means a lot for you to interview with them, that’s it’s not just another interview on your long list…
May also help you succeed:
- Flight attendant interview questions and answers – 20 questions you may face, including some tricky behavioral questions.
- How to dress for an interview – Not sure what to put on, for your online or face to face interview? We have the answers.
- What are your weaknesses? – Sample answers to one of the most dreaded interview questions.