While academic brilliance is not a prerequisite to make an outstanding cabin crew, empathy and a fine understanding of people are. The profile demands certain skill-sets that are very distinct to the profession. The right profile would include a pleasing personality, good communication skills and good interpersonal skills.
Being a front-end function, there is focus on appearance — ranging from specific height and weight requirements, clear eyesight (no spectacles), a healthy skin, and even good teeth. Typically, cabin crew selection is based on rounds of interview — in groups and one-one-one. But ultimately, medical fitness has a lot to do with selection.
Scrambling through the door, grabbing a chair, not listening while others are speaking and laughing at mistakes made by others are some of the traits that a panelist would rate the candidate on.
In the one-on-one, the ability to communicate clearly, including grammatically-correct English and spoken Hindi, posture and body language, and the confidence while conducting oneself are critical factors. Sometimes candidates are tested to evaluate their patience and ability to handle difficult situations.
A potential cabin crew member must believe in service from the heart and the selection procedure strives to find that profile.
(Nair is deputy general manager, Kingfisher Training Academy, Mumbai)