For seventy five years, the Philippine Airlines (PAL) serves as the home in the sky for millions of Filipinos. PAL Express, PAL’s local counterpart has been known for its wholehearted services and heartfelt smiles, touching the lives and hearts of the Filipinos.
The airline is best known for its outstanding warm services and hospitable cabin crew-the prim, proper and stunning flight attendants. For the past years, in order to be part of the crew of choice, the hiring process takes place only at their main office located in Manila. “The trend in employment changes kasi so we have to adjust to better accommodate applicants form other cities and provinces,” says PAL Express Human Resource Assistant, Ana Corina T. Padilla. According to Padilla, the extensive hiring process usually takes a month, “since we invite applicants for Visayas and Mindanao, and it is a month-long process, sayang yung fare and other expenses so we decided na kame na rin yung lalapit sa applicants for their convenience,” she added.
In partnership with the Western Mindanao State University through the University Career and Placement Office, Guidance and Counseling Center, University Public Employment Service Office (PESO) and the WMSU Alumni Relations Office (WMSU-ARO), PAL Express conducted a one-day cabin crew hiring fair for Crimson studes and alumni.
During the opening program, PAL Express Line Administrator Mr. Kenneth Chester G. Cruz gave the orientation of the hiring and training procedure. In his talk he emphasized “in five years’ time, we’re not sure where and what we’ll be so let me somehow give you an idea kung anong pwedeng maging kayo” while sharing their experiences on their journey to belong to the crew of choice.
The screening process of around 142 registered applicants started with medical tests such as the biometrics and eye examination to assure if the applicants meet the required height (at least 5’6” for male and at least 5’3” for female) and vision (20/20 or not beyond 30/30). Those who didn’t meet the required biometrics then are not allowed to proceed to the impact interview.
The impact interview is crucial since the factors affecting the applicant’s luck are quite complicated. “We only do not consider the physical appearance alone, siyempre total package talaga yung tinitingnan namin for the flight attendant position. Aside from their physical attributes, we also look into their communication skills and customer service orientation,” said Padilla.
Two out of 91 interviewed applicants were able to pass the impact interview and proceeded to the executive panel interview as to where, the top three hiring executives screen the qualifiers. Inflight Services and Training Department Director Leonides V. Peña heads the extensive interview, looking deeper into the communication skills, confidence, commitment, and physical attributes-the body frame proportions. The applicant’s wit and first aid skills are also examined. Upon passing the executive panel cross examination, passers were subjected to written examination to which the result will be released in a month’s time.
In an interview during the event, Mr. Peña encourages the applicants to hold on to their dream as he disclosed “the first time I applied with the Philippine Airlines, I didn’t make it-I was turned down. I didn’t give up, I wanted to fight for my dream and on my second attempt, I was able to get hired and now I am already the Director of the cabin services.”
Through the screening event, according to Padilla, PAL Express does not only provide employment opportunities, they too establish partnership with schools and universities in the country for internship programs and on-the-job trainings. “Since most applicants are students, if ever they’re not yet prepared for the employment, we get them as interns para ma-expose na sila sa airline industry and upon graduation, they’re ready,” she explained.
According to Padilla, PAL Express would be honoured to join the University’s Job Fair conducted every February. “Since this event is concentrated only in recruiting flight attendants, we asked the University when their job fair will be-mas open kasi yon to other courses and other positions in our company.”
This is the first time an airline company partnered with the University to conduct a sole job hiring for cabin crew. The University hopes that this activity strengthens the link between WMSU and PAL Express. Mrs. Melva A. Villarta, OIC Director for University Career and Placement Office expressed the University’s sincerest gratitude for the partnership. “Indeed our graduating students and alumni are given the rarest opportunity to be interviewed and the chance to be part of your reputable airline industry as soon as they will be hired,” said she. (Ella Dee Cruz-PAO,WMSU)