MADRID – A group of aspiring flight attendants were forced to strip down to their underwear during the interview selection process to work for Kuwait Airways. The Meccti company recruited staff in Madrid for this airline.
The Spanish Labour Inspectorate has opened an investigation to verify the facts. “We don’t like your smile” or “you have a body like a roller coaster” are statements that some candidates for the job of flight attendant at Kuwait Airways have heard. The position they applied for took place in November at the Meliá Barajas Hotel near Madrid Airport.
Shirts lose and sweaters and skirts up
Several applicants told elDiario.es how that test took place. They had to unbutton their shirts and pull up sweaters and skirts to finally perform tasks in their underwear. This gave the recruiter a good look at their bodies. A practice that is completely illegal in Spain, and many other countries.
“Excellent overall presentation”
The call came from the recruitment company Meccti. Already in the advertisement, candidates were asked for “an excellent overall presentation”. One of the candidates says that the first test consisted of having conversations in English with other applicants: “They turned away people who spoke super good English, but at 37 they were too old. Even people who had tattoos could go.”
No men hired
The boys, there were only three of them, were told they would not be hired because the airline only hires men from Kuwait. They even said to one of them, “If we asked you to eat more, would you eat more?” They said everything out loud, without any scruples,” recalls one of the candidates.
No report filed
The Labour Inspectorate, which was informed of the remarkable procedure a few weeks ago, decided to open an investigation against the company in question, although none of those involved has filed a complaint. The aim is to know if the facts can be considered a crime, and to bring the case before the Public Prosecution Service.
“The first came out crying”
Another applicant tells El Diario that “the girl who was the first interviewee came out crying and told us they had made her take off almost all her clothes except her underwear. It was her first job interview. The others came out and told the same thing. I found it hard to believe, I was shocked. But they didn’t exaggerate.”
“I was in my bra”
When it was her turn, the recruiter asked her about her date of birth, weight, height and whether she had visible tattoos: “It was the second time they asked me that. Then she asked me to pull up my dress. I pulled it up a little bit, it was just below my knee, and she pulled it up to my panties, the dress had a zipper in the back, and she asked me to open the zipper to my waist which put me in my bra. According to the recruiter, it was to see if we had no scars, birthmarks or tattoos. She kept walking around me to examine my body”.
No scars and moles
Another young woman has a similar experience. She recalls that “a girl who spoke seven languages was disqualified because she had a mini-scar on her eyebrow. She was told that those languages didn’t matter much, but they don’t hire people with scars. Another girl was told she couldn’t get through would go because of moles on her face. Still, another was told she was a bit chubby. To another candidate, she said her smile wasn’t good because she had glasses and braces…”
Like an animal in the zoo
References to applicants’ weights were continuous and loud for everyone else to hear. “The recruiter told me ‘you have marks on your face, I don’t like that’. I rubbed my face so he could see it was makeup and then he asked me if I could smile. Then he looked inside and from the outside to my teeth. He asked me to take off my glasses because they don’t normally hire people with glasses,” the woman explains. The test continued: “She asked me if I could unbutton the top of my shirt. She touched my arm to get me to take it off. I stayed in my bra with my skirt and stockings. She looked at my arms and front and back. You feel like an animal in the zoo. Meanwhile, he was taking notes in a notebook.”
1900 euros deposit guarantee
In addition to this entire process, the recruiter informed the applicants that, if selected, they would have to pay €1,900 euros as a guarantee. “She explained that they would invest a lot of money in us and that they needed to know that we would go for it if elected,” they say.
No response from the company
ElDiario.es has tried in every possible way to contact the recruitment agency and the airline, including through the Kuwaiti Embassy in Spain. Neither company has responded. On the Instagram profile, Meccti announces a new selection process in Spain, in January, but still without a specific date.
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