Unlike most airlines that organised open day and mass interview at one go with multiple stages to see whether you qualify to be a cabin crew, Japan Airlines (JAL) only have 2 interview stages and medical checkup to determine if you're suitable for the job.
The application process is done online through their JAL Singapore site where you have to fill in various information like education, job experiences, references etc, just like what most companies would require one to fill up before the interview.
After you're done, wait for their email for the 1st interview, I received it 2 days after the closing date for applications. If you are unable to make it to the interview timing indicated, you can email them and reschedule for a earlier/later timing(dates can't be changed).
Make sure you are there at least 15 minutes before your interview slot. Do take note of the requirement stated in the email too, for the 1st interview I was asked to bring along photocopied IC and educational certificates.
There wasn't any requirements as to what attire I should wear so I chose to wear a white long sleeve shirt(folded up to 3/4 sleeve length) and a plain black pencil skirt while keeping my hair up in ponytail.
Make sure you have light makeup on and keep your nails clean, preferably without any nail polish and take out any additional ear studs if you have more than one on each ear.
On the day of the 1st interview, I reached about 45 minutes earlier and was the first to be there. A Japanese staff was there in JAL uniform to greet me and check the photocopied IC and certificates that I was asked to bring along. A number sticker was then issued and required to be placed on the left side of your clothing. Height was also taken and recorded before I took a seat to wait for the other candidates to arrive.
Do note that if your height is below 158cm or can't reach up to 208cm without tip toeing, don't bother trying, they are very strict on this because of safety reasons.
Once it was our turn to enter the interview room, there will be a staff to brief on the procedure of how the 1st interview will be done and then asked us to stay behind after interview to read a short Chinese passage. After which, we were told to enter the room in 4s and to place our items at the side table before standing in the arranged order in front of the interviewers. They will then ask you to take a seat, be sure to keep your legs closed and sit in an upright posture at all time. There were 4 interviewers, if I didn't remember wrongly, 2 Japanese, 2 Singaporean.
Before the start of the interview, one of the Singaporean lady informed us on the pay(optimistically $2.5k all-in) and routes(KL, Japan, New York, Helsinki, that's all I remember) that Singaporean-based crew will fly. And even jokingly said it is alright if we would like to back out now. The interview process was kept brief and in a casual manner where we each had to stand up and do a self introduction. The same lady will then ask us 3 very general questions based on our self introduction or application form that we filled in. Questions ranged from:
"Where do you see yourself in JAL in a few years time?"
"Do you know that cabin crew is not a glamorous job?".
"Why did you choose to leave your current job that pays even better than JAL?",
"How would you support your family with your current pay?"
I can't really remember the questions but it was easy to answer. While we were answering the questions, each interviewer filled in the forms and gave scores from 1-10 based on the way we expressed and carried ourselves. I knew I did badly because my answers were pretty bad and I caught a glimpse of my marks reflecting that I had the lowest score among all the other girls :(
The interview process took about 30minutes to an hour and then we proceeded to another area of the office to read the Chinese passage individually(one-to-one). It was straightforward and simple, a Chinese announcement passage that stated the plane had just landed in Singapore, temperature and time, etc. If you're not the first in line, you can still check with the other girls on the pronunciation of certain words. Honestly I haven't been reading Chinese books/texts for a long time and I do know all of the words written in the passage so don't worry too much on this.
2 days later, to my surprise, I received another email for the final interview and this time round they specifically asked the females to tie up their hair, be in business attire and to bring original educational certificates and IC along. Not forgetting to mention, a t-shirt and shorts for skin check.
I was actually overseas when I received this email so I didn't really prepare for it. The final interview was slightly different(5 interviewers, 4 Japanese, 1 Singaporean), the atmosphere seemed to be more tensed, the interview started with a self introduction then to questions. The questions asked were more specific. The 4 questions that my group received were:
"Why did you choose JAL instead of SIA?"
"What are the qualities you think a cabin crew should have?"
"Describe Japan/Japan Culture in one word and why?"
"How would you promote Singapore to the Japanese?"
After exiting the room, we were asked to changed into t-shirt and shorts for skin check. It was done in a fitting room where the lady first asked if you have any tattoos to declare before proceeding to check the chest, back, neck and arm areas. It was fast, she didn't really look closely whether I had any scars. I heard that the skin check will be done more thoroughly during the medical checkup. Before I left, they mentioned that I would receive a call before 5pm.
So I didn't receive a call but I have friends who are currently training in Japan, they are the reason why I decided to join in the first place. Oh well, it was a good experience :) I hope my post would help those who are interested to apply in the future. Hopefully you all will do so much better than I did :x I admit I was nervous to the point that I stumbled over my words a few times, which was probably the reason why they didn't select me.
Some other pointers:
1. Do not state that you can speak Japanese if you only studied basic by yourself or through anime. They will test you on it and ask you questions in Japanese.
2. Smile as much as you can throughout the interview
3. Be confident and answer each question with a smile
4. Sit in an up right posture at all times
You can also find out more from Singapore Expats Forum! :)
That's about it for JAL interview process in Singapore, to those who wish to apply, remember to do your research, prepare a good self introduction, brush up on your mandarin and communication skills. Good luck and all the best to those who will be applying :)
***13/10/2014 News Update: Imagine my relief when I received a call from Japan Airlines this morning, the lady asked me how much I wanted this job and if I could support my family with their starting pay. She then went on to ask whether I exercise on a regular basis and my weight.
The last time I got my height and weight checked was in school 2 years ago and I'm standing at 1.69m but weighing only 41.5kg. I know I'm severely underweight and it's because of my thyroid hormones being lesser than normal. According to my doctor, this affects my metabolism somehow but it is still within acceptable levels so I don't have to rely on medication just yet. I'm happy in a way I can eat all I want and keep to my weight but also frustrated at times when I can't find clothes of my size or having to constantly deal with comments(like being anorexic, etc). I'll probably start exercising soon to gain some muscles (no idea how soon though :p).
So now I know I didn't screw up my interview! She assured me that I did fine with interview, just that the weight and thyroid issue is a health concern. Anyway, I'm so relieved/glad they actually considered me :')