As a flight attendant applicant, you may be apprehensive about the interview process. One flight attendant question that may catch you off guard is “Tell me about a time you had to correct your supervisor.” This is one of those tough behavioral interview questions because it specifically discusses an interaction with authority and requires you to provide an example of when you had to take the initiative and go against your supervisor’s direction.
When answering this question, it is important that you focus on how you respectfully handled the conflict while still standing up for yourself. This question is meant to assess your ability to communicate effectively, exhibit confidence, and make decisions in the face of authority.
- Why do airline company recruiters ask this question?
- Other variations of this question
- The Step-by-Step procedure for answering the question
- Sample Answers to “Describe a Situation Where You Had to Correct Your Boss”
- Tips for Answering the Question
- Questions to Ask Yourself to Help you Answer
- Examples of Bad Answers
- Video: How Did You Handle a Situation Where Your Boss Was Wrong?
Why do airline company recruiters ask this question?
The primary goal of the interview process is to identify the best candidate for the job. Airlines seek individuals who can handle difficult situations with ease, possess excellent communication skills, and can be authoritative when necessary.
This question aims to evaluate all of these criteria by presenting a scenario where you exhibited the quality to exercise authority over your supervisor. Therefore, the way you respond will provide recruiters with a clear idea of your communication skills, problem-solving ability, and leadership potential.
As a flight attendant, you will be working in a high-pressure environment where decisions need to be made quickly and errors can also have serious consequences. It is therefore important that you provide an example that demonstrates your ability to handle challenging situations, even to a superior.
Other variations of this question
Depending on the airline and interviewer, the question may be phrased differently, but it will still aim to assess the same skills. Here are some variations of the question you may come across during the interview:
- Tell me about a time when you had to confront someone in authority.
- How did you handle a situation where your supervisor was wrong?
- Have you ever disagreed with your supervisor? What did you do?
- Can you give me an example of a time you corrected your supervisor?
The Step-by-Step procedure for answering the question
The STARR method is a popular interview technique that can help you answer interview questions with ease. It involves constructing your answer in the Situation, Task, Action, Result, and Reflection format. Here is our step-by-step guide on how to use the STARR method to answer the question, “Tell me about a time you had to correct your supervisor”:
- Situation: Introduce the situation you encountered and the person involved.
- Task: Explain your responsibilities and describe what was expected of you.
- Action: Describe what you did to address the issue at hand.
- Result: Explain the outcome of the situation and the impact of your actions.
- Reflection: Discuss what you learned from the experience and how it helped you grow.
Sample Answers to “Describe a Situation Where You Had to Correct Your Boss”
Here are some sample answers that you can use as a guideline when answering this question:
- “I was working in a restaurant where I had to serve customers and take orders from my supervisor. When one of the customer’s orders got mixed up, the supervisor immediately assumed it was my mistake. I calmly explained to her that I hadn’t taken the order and that another server had taken it instead. She eventually agreed with me and apologized for the misunderstanding.”
- During a pre-flight briefing, our supervisor overlooked an essential safety instruction. As safety is the most crucial aspect of our job, it was my duty to ensure that all safety protocols are in place and followed. After the briefing, I approached the supervisor and respectfully pointed out the safety instruction that was overlooked. I also explained the potential risks involved in not following it. The supervisor appreciated my input and corrected the safety instruction. The rest of the flight proceeded safely without any incidents. I learned that it takes courage to speak up when safety is at stake, and that is a key trait of a responsible flight attendant.
- While working with a new supervisor, it became apparent that he was unfamiliar with a company policy. As a more experienced team member, it was my responsibility to ensure that the policy was followed. I approached the supervisor in a respectful manner and provided them with the relevant policy document and explained the details of the procedure. The supervisor was appreciative of the clarity, and the issue was resolved without any further incidents. I saw that even the most competent people can make mistakes, and it is my responsibility to help them correct those mistakes.
- “I was working on a project that required me to write detailed reports and present them to my supervisor. When I presented one of my reports, my supervisor rejected it because he thought the content wasn’t up to standard. However, I knew that I had followed all the guidelines properly, so I respectfully asked him to take another look at it. After reviewing the report again, he accepted it.”
- “At my previous job, I was part of a team responsible for managing an important event. My supervisor made a decision without consulting me first which would have significantly impacted our timeline. I decided to approach her and explain why I disagreed with her decision. She eventually listened to me and made the necessary changes.”
- While serving as an intern in a corporate office, I noticed that my supervisor was struggling to complete a task on time. I offered to help them by providing additional resources and guidance. After presenting the supervisor with the materials they required, they were able to complete the task in half the time. Through this experience, I gained a better understanding of how to navigate challenging situations involving those in higher positions.
- While conducting a pre-flight check on the aircraft, I noticed that one of the emergency exits was not secured. As the lead flight attendant, it was my responsibility to ensure that the aircraft was safe for flight. I immediately brought the issue to the attention of the pilot, and we coordinated efforts to secure the exit. The exit was secured, and the flight proceeded without any issues. I learned that being attentive to every detail, no matter how small, can prevent potentially dangerous scenarios.
These sample answers provide insights into how you handle difficult situations, communicate effectively, and exercise authority when needed.
Remember that you should tailor your answer to fit your own background and experiences. Focus on demonstrating your problem-solving skills, communication abilities, and leadership in a professional manner.
Tips for Answering the Question
- Provide specific details of what occurred.
- Talk about the skills you used to resolve the situation.
- Discuss the result of your actions and the lessons learned from the experience.
- Don’t talk about how bad the supervisor was. Focus on the task at hand.
- Don’t share personal stories! Keep it professional.
Questions to Ask Yourself to Help you Answer
- What was the situation?
- What was your responsibility in the scenario?
- What was your supervisor’s mistake, and how did it impact the situation?
- How did you communicate with your supervisor?
- What actions did you take to address the issue?
- What was the outcome of your actions?
- What did you learn from the experience?
Examples of Bad Answers
- I’ve never corrected my supervisor.
- I wouldn’t ever correct my supervisor; they’re the boss.
- I’ve never been motivated enough to tell an authority that they were wrong.
- I haven’t had the opportunity to correct a supervisor yet.
- I yelled at my supervisor and told them they were wrong.
- I didn’t do anything because it wasn’t my job to speak up.
- I simply told my boss that they were wrong and they were embarrassed. I was so proud of myself to prove I was right.
Don’t say the above. The best answer will detail a specific situation where you respectfully and calmly corrected your supervisor, the actions you took to address the issue, and what you learned from the experience.
Video: How Did You Handle a Situation Where Your Boss Was Wrong?
This clip from Spark Hire on Youtube talks about how to phrase your response accordingly to help you effectively answer the hiring manager.
Mistakes can be made by anyone in your career journey and it takes courage to speak up when safety or policy is at stake. While correcting a supervisor may seem intimidating, if done respectfully and calmly with the goal of ensuring process accuracy, then everyone involved will benefit from this exchange. This is how you should present the answer to the interviewer.
With these tips in mind, you should be able to confidently describe an experience during the Q&A interview with ease.