If you’re interviewing for a position with Southwest Airlines, you’ll want to be prepared. Southwest is a well-established company that values its customers and employees, and they want to hire workers with the experience, skills, and personality to represent their brand.
Your interview experience can vary depending on the personality of the interviewer, questions asked, and plenty of other factors. However, knowing as much as you can about the airline and the details of the position will always set you apart.
Read on to learn more about Southwest Airlines and to get a glimpse of some questions you can expect in your interview.
About Southwest Airlines
Southwest Airlines is a major airliner based out of Dallas, Texas with flights to over 100 destinations across the United States, Canada, Mexico, and the Caribbean. It has been in service since 1971 and currently has over 55,000 employees.
Southwest operates in a more localized area than other major airlines and offers lower rates. The company culture is built on providing quality service with a sense of warmth, friendliness, pride, and spirit.
The first step to landing a job with Southwest is applying on their website and creating an online profile which covers your job history, skills, education, professional achievements, and other work history information.
If your application impresses, you’ll be invited to interview. The first interview is often with a Southwest representative who contacts multiple applicants and decides which candidates will proceed.
You may have additional interviews with department officials, independent investigators, and employees from Human Resources. Your interviewers may repeat questions other interviewers have already asked; be patient and consistent with your answers.
Do your research. You should know detailed facts about Southwest so you seem passionate and informed. Read through their annual company report, which you can access from their website.
You should also know the position’s requirements and how your skills and work experience applies.
Southwest Airlines General Interview Questions
Southwest’s interview questions vary depending on the position you’re pursuing. We’ve rounded up some of the most frequently asked questions and the answers that will help you progress. These are questions that you will probably be asked no matter what position you’re applying for.
Tell Us about Yourself
Focus on what sets you apart from the crowd: your hobbies, previous work experience, and education. Don’t elaborate too much; keep it to the point and focused on your work experience.
What Can You Tell Us about Southwest Airlines?
The interviewer is looking to see if you’ve done your research and are excited about Southwest.
If you can memorize specific facts about Southwest and its history, you will seem more passionate. Just make sure you don’t sound like you’re reading from a textbook; keep your tone of voice active and engaged.
Why Do You Want to Work for Us?
This is where you can tie in your personal experiences and your interest in Southwest Airlines. Try to pick out Southwest’s specific strengths. It’s a people-oriented company, so talk about your passion for customer service.
You can also point to Southwest’s achievements:
What Is Your Greatest Strength?
Try to provide an answer which shows you’re confident you’d fit in with Southwest. You could say you’re a quick learner, so you won’t need extensive training, or that you’re composed under pressure and therefore ready to handle complex customer service challenges.
What Is Your Greatest Weakness?
It’s best not to mention anything which could contrast with the job’s requirements. When in doubt, talk about being a workaholic and neglecting other areas of your life in favor of your work.
Where Do You See Yourself in Five Years?
It’s helpful to have an answer for this that specifically aligns with the opportunities Southwest has available. Look at their website for more advanced positions.
Why Did You Leave Your Last Job?
Be honest, but try to downplay any negative feelings toward your old job, especially if you didn’t leave on good terms.
What Questions Do You Have for Us?
Now’s your chance to ask questions about the position. You can ask your interviewer what they enjoy about their job, what room there is for advancement for your position, and what they’re looking for in an employee.
Position-Specific Interview Questions
Here are a few descriptions of specific positions with Southwest and the respective questions they’ll be asking.
Ramp Agent Interview Questions
A ramp agent handles cargo service, loading and unloading the aircraft; services and directs the aircraft; prepares baggage records; operates motorized equipment; and other assigned duties.
This is a highly physical job that requires lifting and moving 70 pounds or more regularly; crawling, climbing, kneeling, and stooping frequently; and working in cramped or high places. Agents also need to be aware of their surroundings and communicate effectively as they’re dealing with massive machinery. The job may also require working nights, weekends, and overtime.
Here are some of the most common questions you’ll be asked when interviewing:
Why Should We Hire You?
You’ll want to stress your physical fitness and ability to carry out your duties. Stress your attention to detail, which will help ensure that baggage gets to the right place, communication skills, and your ability to handle pressure. Be prepared to list specific examples of these traits.
Do You Have a Valid Driver’s License?
You’ll need one to drive motorized equipment such as belt loaders.
How Would You Handle a Conflict with a Coworker?
Your interviewer wants to know how you’ll deal with the inevitable issues that arise when you’re working with a team. It’s important to show that you won’t let a conflict with a coworker escalate. Point to a specific incident from your previous work experience and how you resolved it.
What Hours Can You Work?
Since the job description requires some nights, weekends, holiday and overtime work, let your interviewer know you’re comfortable with a variety of shifts.
Flight Attendant Interview Questions
Flight attendants have a customer-facing role that requires extreme grace under pressure and comfort with flying. Here are a few questions you might get in a flight attendant interview.
Why Do You Want to Be a Southwest Flight Attendant?
This is a good opportunity to list some of your favorite things about Southwest Airlines and your traits which suit your career as a flight attendant. Some of these may include communication skills which will help you work with customers and other crew members; multi-tasking skills; attention to detail; and leadership skills which will help you respond in emergencies.
Why Should We Hire You?
Elaborate on your skills and experiences that make you a perfect fit for the job. Stress your customer care experience and your physical ability to push carts weighing over 250 pounds.
How Would You Deal with an Upset Customer?
Since customer service is key to this role, your interviewer wants to know how you handle stressful situations. The best way to deal with upset customers involves listening to them and understanding their problem, sympathizing with them, and doing your best to help. Stress that your interaction with the customer will not affect your service to other customers.
Are You Willing to Relocate?
Being flexible about your location might help you get the job.
Customer Service Interview Questions
Customer Service Agents handle ticketing, check-in, baggage claims, reservations, and handle customer inquiries and issues. Requirements include being able to climb, bend, kneel, and stand for extended periods, typing skills, and being available to work a variety of shifts.
Why Should We Hire You?
List your relevant skills and traits. Examples of skills that fit this position include communication, working well under pressure, physical fitness and the ability to lift heavy baggage, and customer service.
How Would You Deal with a Difficult Customer?
Flying can be stressful; it’s important to listen to the customers, sympathize with them, and solve their problems as quickly as possible. If you can’t do anything about the problem, you would contact your manager to help.
What Hours Can You Work?
Be as flexible as possible.
Additional Interview Tips
On the day of the interview, clean up, dress up, and look professional. You should wear business attire, your hair should be neatly styled, and practice good hygiene.
During the interview, the way you present yourself and your body language may make as much of an impression as your language. Pretend you’re a passenger in an airplane about to land: stay seated in an upright position and avoiding fidgeting. Just don’t overdo it; you don’t want to appear rigid. Smile, laugh and be social and friendly.
You will seem more engaged and confident if you maintain eye contact with your interviewer. You’ll also want to speak in well-thought-out sentences and avoid one-word answers. Practice your answers to some of these questions out loud.
Ready to Interview
Know the ins and outs of the position you’re applying to, brush up on information about Southwest, and practice answering these questions and others, and you’ll walk into your interview with confidence.
If you’re passionate about the position you’re applying for, and you’re well prepared, you should be able to ace the interview and start a rewarding career with Southwest Airlines.