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                                              Interview Tips

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            “The most important single

            ingredient in the formula of

            success is knowing how to get

            along with people.”     Theodore Roosevelt

Interview Questions: 

“It doesn't matter if your interview is 60 seconds or 60 minutes long. You should communicate everything you need to in the first 30 seconds. Any additional time should be spent expanding your basic points.” 

                                                     TJ Walker, Media Training Worldwide

Typing responses to key questions will help you organize your education, work experience, skills, and traits into thoughtful responses that highlight your strengths.  Your answers should include at least one specific example to support your point. Refer to the STAR approach to answering behavioral questions below for ideas.


• Tell me a little bit about yourself and why you’d like to work for ABC Company. (See example below)


• Why do you want to leave your current job?


• Give me an example of a difficult situation you have had at work with either a coworker or a customer and tell me how you handled it.


• What misconceptions do people have about you?


• How have you prepared yourself to work for ABC?  


• Are you willing to relocate?


•  Name one of your strengths and one of your weaknesses.


• What is the meaning of exceptional customer service?


• Describe a tough problem you've had to resolve.


• What kind of decisions are most difficult for you?


• Do you prefer working with others or alone?


• What do you consider your greatest achievement?


• What is your favorite, out of all the jobs you've held and why?


• How have you developed in your current job?


• How do you feel about the progress you are making at your current job?


• What traits or skills do you feel you can improve on?


• What are some of the things that motivate you?


• What else should I know about you?


• If you could talk to any famous person in history, who would that be and why?


• Do you have any more questions?


Click here for : More behavioral questions

Interview Questions: What They Ask and What They Mean

7 Cringe-Worthy Questions to Avoid Asking in an Interview:


Interview Online Self-Test: Click on the link and then enter your name and 90630 as the password.


Mock Interview Checklist:   InterviewChecklist.doc


Learn what others say about interviewing for the company where you applying by going to Glassdoor or Indeed. 


Hot Tips!  Watch these “Ted Talks to Watch Before an Interview.”

Interviewing Tips from Delta Recruiter HotTips.doc

Tips from a former student: CathayPacific.doc

What Should I Bring to the Interview?

Career Portfolio*

Resume & References

Ten-year background history

Copy of your completed application

Social Security card

Passport (airline & cruise only)

Two pens

Wear a watch

Breath mints--no gum

Nutrition snack--hidden in case the day is long


Likable demeanor!


* Not necessary for all interviews but can be very helpful in keeping you organized and providing essential information when asked.

What Should I Wear?

Generally, you should look like the position you are applying for.  If for example, you are applying for a position as a flight attendant, you should look like a flight attendant.  To download the appearance regulations for most positions, click on the link:     AppearanceReg.doc

Hot Tip: Research shows that blue suits are the best for both men and women. You may wear a white shirt or you may want to wear a solid color shirt that looks good on you. For example, a blue shirt can enhance your overall look and help you stand out a bit without looking too bold.

Need Motivation?  Watch this video.

Tell me why you want to work for ABC Airways:

When you talk about why you want to work for any airline, you want to include key information about yourself and how your credentials match the corporate mission of that airline.   So look up their mission statement (or vision or goals) and then introduce yourself in that context.  

For example (corporate philosophy and goals are in bold):

ABC Airways comes strongly recommended to me by my Professor Kathleen Reiland at Cypress College in California. One of her former students, John Smith, who also studied in the Aviation & Travel Careers Program, speaks highly of working as a flight attendant for ABC Airways.  I will be completing my Associate in Science Degree in ________ within the next year.  I have also been working at Disneyland for the past three years.  Since your company is one of the fastest growing and most innovative airlines in the world, I would welcome the opportunity to contribute my education, work experience, and commitment to the highest standards of service to ABC. Having studied abroad, I understand the rigors of long flights and relocating, and for that reason, I am most willing to relocate to any location in the world. Since I speak English and Spanish fluently, I would be proud to join the culturally diverse family of ABC Airways.  Thank you.

Another Sample: Maria Smith Interview Response.doc

Crafting Your Career Story
    (or Your 30-second Commercial):

“Instead of emphasizing events in your life, use the start-up question as an opportunity to showcase your skills for the job. The most important thing you should bring out is what your past taught you, not where you were.”
                          Get Hired, Paul C. Green

Remember that “facts tell, but stories sell.”  Every good career story has its challenge (set-up), struggle, and resolution.  To begin developing your career story, you can use the “script approach” which applies the structure used by modern storytellers in Hollywood or you can use the “journey approach” identified by anthropologist Joseph Campbell. 

Script Approach (with example):

Setup (goal setting: keep brief):   
    I have wanted to be a flight attendant since I flew alone to Hawaii when I was ten to visit my dad.  I was initially apprehensive but one of the flight attendants was so kind, checking often to make sure I was okay, that I felt special and thoroughly enjoyed the flight.  Since then, I have flown several more times--enough to know that I really want to be that same kind of helpful flight attendant.

Struggle (the challenge, problem solving, wisdom gained from coaching)
    But I had no idea about how to prepare myself or to apply, so I went online and found that Cypress College offered a Flight Attendant Associate in Science Degree.  I enrolled and immediately learned that being a flight attendant was much more than just serving coffee and smiling. For example, I had to take a class called Customer Care, which I thought would be an easy “A.”  But after writing a fifteen page research paper, comparing the services levels of two airlines, I learned how competitive and complicated delivering exceptional service and safety can be in the airline industry.    

Resolution (triumph, emphasize a theme that shows what you’ve learned)
    Knowing now that there are no easy ‘”As” in the competitive airline industry, I understand how important it is for you to hire competent and caring employees.  I am well-prepared in that I have completed a Flight Attendant A.S. Degree, two years of customer service experience at Starbucks, and I have saved some money in case I need to relocate.  

I should also say that I am willing to work hard to contribute to ABC Airlines’ reputation for exceptional service.  My goal is to be the kind of flight attendant that I had that day on my trip to Hawaii, one who responds to the needs of passengers by making them feel special.  Thank you.


    Employers rely on your past behavior

    to predict your future performance.

    Your Challenge:

    Educate employers about what you have

    accomplished in the past that will make you

    an excellent coworker in the future.

    Targeted Selection:

    Training material for recruiters: TargetedSelection.doc

Behavioral Interviewing and the STAR or SAR Approach:


A common interviewing technique now being used is the "Behavioral Question."  The premise behind behavioral questions is that “past behavior predicts future performance.”  

With this in mind, understand that when recruiters ask about how you handled past experiences, they are using this information to predict your future success in similar situations.  The behavioral question is usually a three-part question:  The first part asks about an experience you’ve had; the second asks how you handled it; and the third part asks for the outcome which must illustrate what you learned from the experience.  


Just like the challenge, struggle, and resolution of every good career story, strong answers to behavioral interview questions operate the same way.  You’ll want to prepare short, one-to-two minute stories to key questions to exemplify your strengths.

As you rehearse your stories, remember that a good story has a beginning, a middle and an end where you should state the (1) situation or task (2) the action or how you handled it, and (3) the results or outcome (what the experience taught you).  Remember to use specific times, dates, names, colors, smells, sounds, or details to illustrate your story.  Practice by preparing answers to the following behavioral question:  


•  Give an example of a situation where you had to handle an irate customer.  Use the STAR or SAR (same as STAR without the “T”) method to make sure your answer is complete:

    ––Situation (set-up your experience and the conflict)

    ––Task (optional: explain the challenge or the struggle)        

    ––Action (describe the action you took or how you handled it)

    ––Results (the resolution or outcome: what you learned)


Read a sample SAR answer:



Writing Your "Bio"

At times, you may be called upon to write your own bio (a short biography or blurb about yourself)  for the purpose of introduction. To write your own bio, review the tips below.  Your bio does not need to be perfect, so have fun with it!  Be sure to acknowledge the "bios" of your classmates by posting a "reply" to their bios.

Sample Bio

Maria Smith is a sky-diver and a second-year student in the Airline & Travel Careers at Cypress College.  She has one semester left until she completes her Flight Attendant Associate in Science Degree, wherein she looks forward to paying off her 1984 hand-me-down pick-up truck with dings on every side.  For the past three years, Maria has also been working hard at the Ritz-Carlton, "fulfilling customer's unexpressed wishes."   For vacation, Maria's sense of adventure has led her backpacking around Europe, running from rhinos on safari in Africa, and riding elephants in China.  Maria Smith can be contacted at mariaskydiver@aol.com or you can find photos of her adventures on her website at www.marialovestoskydive.

How to Write Your Own Bio

    write in third person (as though you are introducing someone else)

    list facts, not wishes

    cite relevant experiences

    belong somewhere

    write tight

    add a hook

Write in Third Person. People automatically give more trust to what is said of one person by another, than to what people say about themselves -- even when they know that the bio was written by the author. Elementary psychology, and used by everybody who needs respect. In addition, the third person creates a distance that allows the reader or audience to feel less intruded upon.

List Facts, Not Wishes. If you are a lumberjack and/or a housewife, you are free to say so or refrain from doing so. You may also say what you do as a hobby, but don't bother to explain that you hope to do your hobby full time in the future -- the audience is unlikely to be interested in your dreams at this point. Neither is it recommended that you overdo the posturing -- you may be an excellent student, but that is for the reader to find out. Every superlative used in your bio will reduce the audience's trust in the objectivity of that bio, and hence of your material. It shouldn't be necessary to tell of the dangers in actually lying in a bio -- being caught in a lie is a major breach of trust and can do irreparable damage to your reputation.

Cite Relevant Experiences. If you have an education, then mention it. Any earlier work experience is also worth mentioning. Be specific--just don't go into too many details. Once you have two or three references, you can stop; keep it down to a few good ones.

Belong Somewhere. If you are a member of any club or association, mention it as increases trust among the audience -- they know that others are able to give more information about you or get hold of you if need should arise.

Write Tight. This is a good rule in all your writing, and particularly in your bio. The reader is checking out your bio only for a moment, and mostly only in order to estimate the value of your experience. Write more than a few lines, and you have lost him.

Add a Hook. You should include one or two bits of information that help give your bio that extra little color that will make readers remember your name next time you meet. Perhaps you can mention an unusual hobby, or something else that will twitch the reader's smiling muscles?

Keep your bio down to one small paragraph, write honestly and to the point, and you will have a pretty good chance of being remembered.

Adapted from Writing Your Bio by Terje Johansen.  Terje Johansen is Norwegian, married, and a computer engineer by education, and writes because he loves to. In addition to writing about electronic publishing, he does a little bit of web design, mulls over antiquated and dilapidated camping stoves and walks the occasional forest path. He reads a lot, fiddles with hammers and screwdrivers once in a while, and generally likes to have his hands occupied. http://www.writing-world.com/basics/bio.shtml

Additional sources for writing bios:




Sample response to the question "tell me about yourself."

The following response was developed, edited, and presented by a student to United Airlines.  The Cypress student was hired on the spot. 

When I was a young boy, I flew to many places like China, England, Malaysia, Thailand, the Phillipines, and the United States with my parents. No matter which airline and where we flew, the flight attendants always gave us a warm welcome when we entered the cabin. Many times they also gave me a painting box or model airplanes to play with. I felt that flight attendants were the warmest and most caring people in the world. As time passed, I became dedicated to learning more about becoming a flight attendant.

Before I really learned about becoming a flight attendant, I thought they only needed to serve people peanuts and cokes and give toys to children. After I enrolled at Cypress College in California, where they offer a Flight Attendant Associate in Science Degree, I learned much more about the challenges and the hardwork of being a flight attendant. For example, there is a class called Passenger Service and Safety that I thought I could finish the class with little effort. However, when I realized that I had to be familiar with the government rules and all the safety procedures, I understood that the flight attendant job was not as easy as I had once thought.

In addition to paying attention and devoting much time outside of class to my course work, I also enrolled in California State University, Los Angeles to complete my Aviation Administration Bachelor of Science degree and completed my Aviation Science Associates in Science and Liberal Art Associates in Arts degrees at Mt. San Antonio College. I now feel that I better understand the aviation industry and the important role that flight attendant plays in providing customer service and safety. I also understand that airlines like yours require flight attendants to be very competent, caring and also dedicated and I would welcome the opportunity to contribute these attributes in addition to what I have learned in school and my work experience. I would also like to thank the flight attendants who gave me the painting boxes and toy planes. It is not because of the gifts that they gave me, but it because of them, the flight attendants who opened the first door for me to become interested in the aviation industry. Thank you.